Who won ‘Survivor: Edge of Extinction’ season 38?

Originally posted Wednesday, May 15, 2019 by RODNEY HO/rho@ajc.com on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog

In possibly the most controversial winner in the 38 seasons of “Survivor,” Chris Underwood won the $1 million.

In other words, none of the final five who entered tonight took home the prize. It was actually a man who sat 27 days on Edge of Extinction! 

Chris was only on the main island 12 total days out of 39. He was blindsided on day eight and voted out. But he did play a brilliant final three days.

He was able to forgive Rick Devens, who had blindsided him a month earlier and rebuild those bonds. He managed to convince Lauren O’Connell to give him an idol during the final six, having learned from Edge of Extinction she had one. (Thanks Kelley Wentworth!)

He was able to take down his second-biggest rival Victoria Baamonde, using information he gleaned  from Edge of Extinction (She was a stealthy excellent player who was on the right side of almost every vote.)

He convinced Rick to give him an idol in the final five. He won the final immunity challenge. He gave up his immunity to challenge his biggest competitor Rick to a fire-making battle - and won. 

So he was able to sway 9 of the 13 jury members to give him the victory. (It didn’t hurt that he was able to spend bonus time with the jurors while on Edge of Extinction.)

Gavin Whitson was a mediocre player the entire run. He never received a vote in a tribal council, which was impressive but in a sense it was because he was never considered a threat. He was a borderline goat. 

Julie Rosenberg was a classic goat. Everyone wanted her in the final three and she proved it by getting zero votes. She did win two individual immunity challenges but her strategic game did not appear strong and her emotional breakdowns did not project strength. 

Ultimately, this was a terrible final three but it was not clear after the final tribal council who had tied it down. In my opinion, Chris did a great job selling himself, using his sales techniques. Gavin was not nearly as good at proving his worth. Julie tried but she had no chance. 

Honestly, Rick would have run away with the game if he had won the fire-making challenge. 

There is no doubt “Survivor” will never do an “Edge of Extinction” type of twist ever again. It ended up being a relative disaster. It’s cool the producers are willing to experiment but this was an experiment gone awry. 

Rick, the Macon broadcaster, did win a nice consolation prize: $100,000 from super fan Sia

Atlanta’s Ron Clark, during the live reunion, said he told his students at the Ron Clark Academy that he had to lie and manipulate. “I told them to go for it and dream big,” he said. “I wasn’t trying to be a villain. I played aggressive.”

And if you want a classic ridiculously long recap of the episode that is always entertaining, Dalton Ross of EW will provide you that hands down. 

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About the Author

Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho
Rodney Ho covers radio and television for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.