Survivor: Edge of Extinction is only just heating up, but its twist—Extinction Island—is as fiery as ever.
In last week’s season premiere, the Manu tribe voted out Reem Daly, but before she could sail into the sunset toward a tasty cheeseburger at Ponderosa, she faced an important decision: did she want to stay in the game and keep playing for the $1 million or did she want her game to end?
When this season’s contestants are voted off, they have an option to take a boat to an area known as “Extinction Island” or leave the game permanently. Extinction Island is an abandoned beach with even fewer amenities than the tribes’ main island camps. Contestants on Extinction Island then await their future fate (another opportunity to re-join the game), but if the conditions prove to be too brutal, they can exit the game at any point by raising a flag on a ship’s mast. Those who choose to stay, however, will become members of the jury after they compete for a chance to re-enter the competition.
“There’s two elements to it. There’s the spiritual and there’s the gameplay,” host Jeff Probst told Entertainment Weekly. “The gameplay is — you don’t know this, it’s a secret — but when you’re voted out, you’re going to leave Tribal and walk around the corner and finally come to this lighted torch with a signpost. And the signpost will say, ‘You have a decision to make. If you’re done playing and you want your adventure to end, keep walking. If, however, you want a chance to get back in the game, take the torch and get in the boat.’ That’s all you know.”
When Reem disappointingly walked down the path toward what she thought would be Dr. Joe’s medical tent (all contestants have a medical check-in after leaving the game) she reached the signpost Probst just explained. After reading the sign out loud, Reem nodded and expressed a “Hmm…nice!” before grabbing the torch and heading out to discover her next adventure. When her boat arrived at its destination, she was shocked, confused, and a little shaken. “Oh my God, there’s nothing here!” she said. “What is going on? Holy crap, what is this?”
In the previews for tonight’s episode, Reem continued through tears asking, “What do I have to go through for this second chance?”
The new Survivor contestants are joined by four returning all-stars: Joe Anglim (Worlds Apart, Second Chance), Aubry Bracco (Kaoh Rong, Game Changers), Kelley Wentworth (San Juan del Sur, Second Chance), and David Wright (Millennials vs. Gen-X). None of these returning four have ever won a season of Survivor, but Bracco came close: she was the runner-up of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, the show’s 32nd season.
While these contestants may be used to the starvation, exhaustion, and bugs, they have no idea what to expect if they ever wind up on the Extinction Island. In fact, the contestants who remain in the game won’t know about the post-vote-off twist until much later when their ousted tribe members come back to compete for a second chance and their ultimate revenge.
Survivor: Edge of Extinction airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.