Survivor season 38 is over. The winner of the $1 million dollar prize is Chris Underwood, the district sales manager from South Carolina. Chris mounted an impressive comeback from Extinction Island, and managed to snag the majority of the final votes to come out on top. Gavin Whitson and Julie Rosenberg placed second and third, respectively.
Chris is the first Survivor winner to have been previously voted out of the game. “I had to earn my spot to get back into the game,” he said. “And I had to earn it against the best player. I am the player I am because of the Edge of Extinction. It took grit, will and reflection.” Read on for an account of the finale’s major events below:
8:00 – The show opens with host Jeff Probst welcoming all remaining contestants from the main camp and Extinction Island. He gives them a challenge in which they have to maneuver through a ropes course and then a table maze.
8:15 – Joe Anglim and Chris Underwood are the final two contestants in the challenge. As they inch closer to the end, however Joe drops his ball off the course and Chris completes it. Chris gets to leave Extinction Island. The remaining contestants head to Ponderosa, while Chris returns to the top five and acclimates.
8:30 – For the first immunity challenge, the final six raced through a series of obstacles, including balance beams, in order to release a combination lock and then solve a standing puzzle. They also get steak and chocolate cake meal as reward prize. Chris and Rick Devens, the fan favorite to win, both got to the lock, but Victoria Baamonde unlocked it first. Julie wins her second challenge of the season, and got to choose two other people to join her on reward. She chooses Chris and Lauren O’Connell.
8:45 – After he returns from his meal, Chris sits down with Rick and touches base, saying that he doesn’t want to work against him or hold any grudges. Rick said he didn’t want to backstab Chris again, but he said he’s going to play his idol no matter what and would keep his options open to determine if Chris is going to be a friend or foe.
9:00 – At the final five immunity challenge, the players had to scramble across an obstacle course hovering above the water and collect all the pieces. Chris and Gavin took charge initially, but Rick catches up to them and ultimately places his piece first to win immunity. This cements his place in the final four.
9:15 – After the votes were cast, Julie plays her fake idol first and then Rick played his real idol for Gavin as he initially promised. Chris acted upset about Rick’s choice, before playing his own real idol. That meant that only Lauren and Julie were eligible for votes. Lauren is then voted out.
9:30 – The final four immunity challenge sees the players undertake a balancing race where they have to balance a teetering see saw and place a tower of six blocks at the end of it. Rick gives a weak performance, allowing Chris to apply his slow-and-steady approach. Julie makes a last minute run for victory, but Chris comes out on top and inches his way into the final three.
10:00 – In the fire-making challenge, Chris got a flame first, but it went out and allowed Rick to get a flame, too. The two struggle to maintain their respective flames, but Chris’ fire reached the rope quickly and nabbed him the top spot. Fan favorite Rick is out.
10:15 – At the final tribe council, the remaining players discussed who their most valuable relationships were. Gavin said that Victoria was his most valuable relationship in the game, while Chris called Rick his most valuable and Julie cited Ron. Chris ran into some friction with the jury when he tried to throw Gavin under the bus and criticize one of his answers, while Julie ran into some resistance when she talked using her emotional breakdowns as strengths.
10:25 – The jurors cast their votes for a winner and Jeff reads them off: Gavin, Chris, Gavin, Chris, Gavin, Chris, Gavin, Chris, Chris, Chris, Chris. Everyone except for Kelley, Lauren, Aurora and Rick voted for Chris, making him the winner. He’s the first Survivor champion to have come back from an elimination.