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Survivor: Edge Of Extinction Cast Assessment - Everyone Please Watch This Season

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The 38th season of Survivor debuts tonight – Survivor: Edge of Extinction. It has been an unbelievable run for the show that changed television forever. If you somehow haven’t heard me talk about it incessantly, it also happens to be my favorite TV show of all time. I will be a contestant one day – you can hold me to that. (They just have to pick me).

Last season, David vs. Goliath, was fantastic. It had an entertaining cast of characters and fascinating gameplay. It will be a hard act to follow. This season has a lot to live up to, and I’m a little nervous. There are four returning players, but it’s a lackluster quartet. That leaves us just 14 new players, lessening the odds of us getting entertaining players.

My main concern is the theme – Edge of Extinction. Here’s my understanding of the new twist. When someone gets voted out, they will walk out of tribal and be presented with a choice. A sign post will say “Have you had enough? Or do you want more?” They can go to the typical “loser lodge.” That’s where everyone typically goes after getting voted out – it’s known as Ponderosa, there’s videos of it online. They have beds, showers, foods, and other amenities. It basically becomes an island vacation.

Or they can choose an option that just says their game can continue. If they choose that option, they will be taken to another remote island. The resources will be even scarcer than the normal island, and they really have no idea what to expect. Per Probst, “It would be very different if we said, ‘This is how tough it will be.’ When you have nothing to go on, it’s really daunting. Resources are scarce, information is almost nonexistent, and they realize that the odds of getting back into the real game and winning are very low.” Eventually, someone will enter back in the game from the island, but the how and when are unclear.

I just don’t like any twists that give people a second chance, like Redemption Island. When you’re voted out, your game should be over. Twists like this are #NotMySurvivor. But it’s still Survivor, and I understand wanting to keep it fresh, so I can’t complain too much.

Here’s my cast assessment of the 18 players. This is strictly judging books by their covers. I haven’t watched or read any of Jeff’s cast assessments. Only going off these pictures and biography answers that come from CBS, along with a few videos of them on the Survivor Youtube. I picked out a few biography answers from each that I found interesting.

The Returnees

Aubry

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Previous Seasons: Kaoh Rong (2/18), Game Changers (5/20)

If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why?
Astrology Book: best conversation starter ever and personality investigation ever.
Headphones: ’cause it gets really annoying listening to the castaways whine about being hungry.
Not a thing, but the presence of a very dear person: Tai Trang. Finder of all things edible, Survivor soulmate and Idol king. 

-Show me a person who follows astrology, and I’ll show you a moron.

-Headphones won’t do you any good without anything to plug them into.

-Tai is cool.

My Take On Aubry:

This is her third season, and I still can’t remember if her name is Aubry or Audry. I have no idea why she’s back for a THIRD season. I have not found her particularly entertaining in either of her first two. That being said, she can definitely win this season. There’s a chance she will be taken out pre-merge for being a threat, but if she makes the merge, she can last for awhile since she’s not a physical threat like Joe. 14th and 1st are both very possible outcomes.

Joe

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Previous Seasons: Worlds Apart (10th), Second Chances (8th)

Hobbies: Filmmaking/videography, art and equine therapy, design, creative art, nature therapies, yoga, and hiking.

Booooooringgggggg

Pet peeves: I find it incredibly displeasing when I see someone lose their patience and become aggressive, disrespectful, and rude. 

I find it incredibly entertaining when people do this.

Who or what is your inspiration in life? Sierra Dawn Thomas. I’ve never been more inspired by such a hard-working, beautiful, and caring woman. She inspires me to be the best version of myself every single day. 

Had no idea they were a couple. What a cringe answer.

My Take On Joe:

I’m not excited to have Joe back. I get why he’s returning. He’s a fan favorite of mom Survivor fans who think he’s a nice, handsome young man. But to me, he just has a very predictable story arc. He’ll be kept around pre-merge for challenges and camp life, but will instantly become a threat at merge. Barring a magical immunity challenge run, he likely can’t win, but the Edge of Extinction twist does help him. Is there a chance he finally puts together a perfect game and wins? I guess there’s a slight chance, but it’s unlikely. He’ll probably come in like 7th.

Kelley 

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Previous Seasons: San Juan Del Sur (14th), Second Chance (4th)

Pet peeves: Unseasoned rice, games involving balls, and people who think they’re basically badasses.

Survivor has all three of those things.

My Take on Kelley: 

I’m more excited to have her back than Joe or Aubry. She’s an extremely dangerous player, as demonstrated in Second Chances. She can definitely put together a Parvati type game and win the whole thing. HOWEVA – she will have a huge target on her back out of the gate. There’s no reason to keep her around. She’s a challenge threat, social, and strategic. It would behoove her tribe to remove her immediately, but she might be able to charm herself into a deep run.

David

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Previous Seasons: Millennials vs. Gen-X (4th)

Hobbies: Chess, 3D printing/making puzzles, and figuring out how to live forever.

As a fellow neurotic hypochondriac, same on the last one.

Pet peeves: Sudden loud noises, people who don’t use the turn signal, people who don’t clean the lint trap after using the dryer, people who don’t keep their dog on a leash and then act surprised when it jumps on me, people who believe in ghosts and psychics, and people who incorrectly use the word nonplussed. People. 

I love this guy.

My Take On David:

David is the player I’m most excited to see back. I thoroughly enjoyed him as both a player and character in Season 33. He was always witty and perturbed at something. I put him in the same boat as Aubry, could be an early exit or the winner. There’s really no reason to keep him around pre-merge. He’s not helpful in challenges and is a known schemer. But if he can squeak by until the merge – he might be able to put it all together and win this thing.

Chances To Win Of Returning Players

1. Aubry

2. David

3. Kelley

4. Joe

New Players

Victoria 

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Hometown: Bronx, New York
Current residenceBronx, New York

From one Bronx native* to another, good luck

Pet peeves: Slow walkers, leaving cabinets open, my guinea pig who I named Peeve, and when customers don’t read the menu and then ask dumb questions like, “are there meatballs in the meatball sauce?” 

I think I may be in love? Naming your guinea pig Peeve, so that you have an actual “pet peeve” is one of the most brilliant things I’ve ever heard.

What is your personal claim to fame?  
I was valedictorian of my college with a perfect 4.0 and I bring it up in conversation as much as possible. 

I am no stranger to giving myself credit for things. I try to work my 2130 SAT score into conversation whenever possible (like just now).

Who or what is your inspiration in life? 
This is going to sound nuts, but my guinea pig Scamp.

Alright, I’m out.

My Take On Victoria:

Winner potential written all over her. Sounds like she’ll contribute in challenges enough to make it to merge. And if the “Pet Peeve” thing is any indication, we have a mastermind on our hands. Likable, good at challenges, and witty is a recipe to win.

Ron

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Age: 46
Hometown: Chocowinity, North Carolina
Occupation: Teacher, Ron Clark Academy

Hobbies: Life doesn’t get any better than giving my Chow Chow pups belly rubs!

Oh God.

Pet peeves: I’m a sore loser. Like really sore. I’ll stew over a Monopoly loss for weeks, wondering, “just where did I go wrong.”

That’s a good sign. Need competitive fire out there.

If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why? 
-A recording device that I could leave under the shelter so that I would always be in the know.
-A returning player that others would focus on voting out so that the target wouldn’t be on me.
-My wedding ring so I’d be inspired by the love waiting for me at home.

-Recording device is genius.

-Well, you’re going to have 4 of them.

-Stupid.

What’s your reason for being on Survivor?  
Since Survivor: Borneo I have been hooked. My friends and I have hung on every episode, pausing constantly to debate moves and re-watching our favorite episodes again and again.

Another good sign. Looks like Ron will know how to play the game.

My Take On Ron:

Seems like Ron is going to be one of the season’s superfans. They actually have been faring well in recent seasons. However, I can see him getting voted out early. He is a teacher and that may turn into him becoming a “leader” on the island. You never want to be the tribe’s first leader because that’s a one way ticket to a torch snuff.

Julia

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Age: 24
Hometown: Hazleton, Pennsylvania

Hobbies: Traveling, shopping, and eating.

Be more basic, you can’t.

Pet peeves: Being ignored, loud chewing, and when people document EVERYTHING on social media.

More basic, boring answers.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?  
I am a team player and an excellent communicator. I have charm and wits and I am not afraid to make risky moves.

Classic answer of someone who won’t win.

My Take On Julia:

Not optimistic. If those answers are any indication, it doesn’t seem like she’s going to be some huge character or player. This could be a classic “invisible edit” situation. But again, I’m basing this on nothing so who knows.

Reem

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Age: 46
Current residence: Ashburn, Virginia
Occupation: Sales

Hobbies: Chess, kickball, and neighborhood security.

“Neighborhood security” made me laugh out loud.

Pet peeves: Intolerance, humming, bad manners, nose picking, slackers, and snobs. 

Classic mom answers. Surprised she doesn’t have “when someone’s pants are low and you can see their undies.”

If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why? 
Hat: to stay warm and my hair will be a mess.
Hoodie: comfortable, warm, and good for sleeping.
Pants.

So clothes? You want clothes.

My Take On Reem:

Pretty clear she’s the “mom” character we have every season. That means one of two things. She will either be voted out extremely early; or she will get in a solid alliance and be taken until the end, where she will come in second or third but not win.

Dan “The Wardog”

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Age: 38
Current residence: Los Angeles
Occupation: Law Student/Former Military

Thank you for your service.

Pet peeves: Weakness for sure, but most of all negative energy, that person who just complains constantly that the world never breaks their way.

So he will inevitably be yelling at people on the island he thinks are lazy.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
The Wardog is his own blend—I’m not Tony, I’m not the Specialist, I’m not Boston Rob.

I’m so IN on this guy if he consistently refers to himself as “The Wardog.”

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?  
I bring a certain sex appeal that men my age haven’t had for over a decade or most have never had. 

The Wardog!

My Take On Dan: 

I’m all in on The Wardog. He will definitely be an entertaining character. Don’t think he’ll be as out there as Phillip, but he’s certainly got something to him. His potential downfall? If, like Phillip, he comes off as bossy and too “in your face” with other castaways. Plus, him being a veteran means people won’t want to sit next to him in the end.

Rick

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Occupation: Morning News Anchor

Combine his look with him being a morning news anchor, and I’m already sold.

Pet peeves: Not taking ownership of actions, over explainers, waiting in line, and people not using coasters.

I have a list of 7 pet peeves and “waiting in line” is one of them.

If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why? 
The Stand by Stephen King. A great book and long so it’ll entertain me for a while.
A LEGO figure. My son always asks me to keep his LEGO men safe.
A picture of my family, dogs, and cats included.

All of those things would be absolutely useless.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?  
I’m an Eagle Scout and have all the basic survival/first aid skills. I’m a hard worker and good at alleviating tension.

Wouldn’t have expected him to be an Eagle Scout. That certainly can’t hurt him.

My Take On Rick: 

The nerdy superfan who will be a fan favorite. Being an Eagle Scout means he may be better in challenges than a Cochran/Christian, but will he be as charming as them? Only time will tell. He’ll make a deep run if he is, and will be an early boot if he’s annoying.

Wendy

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That hair color instantly makes me think she’ll be annoying.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
I am a hybrid of many players! I think I would play the game like Sandra, I would be the second Diaz to win! But my attitude towards people would be more like Tai. He is just so full of life and I love his outlooks on things. 

If she’s like Sandra, I won’t like her. If she’s like Tai, I will like her. They are pretty opposite players though so weird comparison.

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?  
I think I have the agility and the cunningness to win. I love outdoorsy stuff and can’t wait to see what the wilderness throws at me!

I know this sounds crazy, but being “outdoorsy” really doesn’t mean anything when it comes down to winning Survivor. It’s all a social experiment.

My Take On Wendy: 

Hard to form a concrete conclusion off what we have on her. Could be annoying and the first boot. Could be fun, endearing and last awhile. Probably not a winner.

Eric

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Age: 34
Occupation: Firefighter

Judging a book purely by it’s cover. He will make the merge and then be ousted for being a challenge threat.

What’s your reason for being on Survivor?  
My primary goal of being on the show is for the adventure of it! Adventure is something that is important to me, and something I think I will always pursue. 

The classic “I’m here for adventure” answer makes me even more confident in that initial assessment.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
I have to say Tony Vlachos. I don’t think we are very similar people but I think we agree fundamentally on how you play the game. Tony was a grinder from start to finish. He understands that EVERY piece of the game, EVERY moment, EVERY situation has value and can be used to influence your outcome. I think most players only identify the most obvious parts of Survivor as pieces on the board when in reality, every last detail is a movable piece. It’s going to be my goal to be “ON” all the time in the game.

Well Eric, you now have my attention. Tony played, in my mind, the greatest game in Survivor history. A lot of people like blindly comparing themselves to him, but his explanation is awesome and promising.

My Take on Eric:

Tough nut to crack. I initially viewed him as a Dan from last season. But maybe I’m wrong. If there really is a social and strategic player under that jock exterior, we have a dangerous player on our hands and a potential winner. Plus, he can use Joe as a shield.

Aurora

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Age: 32
Current residence: Orlando, Florida
Occupation: Divorce Lawyer

Divorce lawyer has me intrigued right off the bat. She’s used to helping tear people apart. A key skill in Survivor is making others fight and keeping the target off your back.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
Tyson for being a manipulative, mischievous prankster, Ciera for her attitude and foot in the mouth moments, and Michaela for her die-hard competitiveness.   

That’s a unique combination that interests me.

What’s your reason for being on Survivor?  
I love the show and have been obsessed with it since the beginning. I want to be in the depths of the conversations, manipulations, and absolute psychological warfare. 

Why do you think you’ll “survive” Survivor?  
I will bring my analytical skills. I’m good at going into a situation knowing what I want, reading others, and finding out what drives them, manipulating the situation to make them think my goal is theirs. I have the ability to take the personal side out and bring forth the cutthroat side.

AWESOME duo of answers right there. I’m sold.

My Take On Aurora:

She’s going to be a contender for sure. Could have a Kim Spradlin type player on our hands, who played one of the best games in Survivor history. Aurora is clearly a strategic and cutthroat player. If she can disguise that, she has a great shot of winning. If not, she will be targeted for playing too hard.

Lauren

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I like her.

Hobbies: Binge-watching multiple Netflix series at once, sleeping through my alarm, and eating a party-sized Peanut M&Ms bag in one sitting.

Do you like Instagram followers? I know a guy.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
Parvati Shallow is my spirit animal. Her infectious smile, smart wit, and expertise in using her sexuality has won her a place in my heart and I feel like my gameplay could be similar to hers. I also strongly relate to Kelley Wentworth’s gameplay.

Parvati is the greatest charmer in Survivor history. If Lauren can use her looks to her advantage like Parvati did, she’s VERY dangerous. Also, she’s going to play with Kelley so that’s kind of funny.

My Take On Lauren: 

She’s probably safe until the merge. If she’s even half the charmer and manipulator that Parvati was, she has major winning potential. Otherwise, we’re probably looking at like a 9th place finish.

Julie

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Age: 46
Current Residence: New York City
Occupation: Toymaker

A toymaker? That’s kind of cool.

Hobbies: Psychological thrillers, hot yoga classes, escape rooms, and spending way too much time online researching gluten-free recipes that I never end up making. 

Psychological thrillers and escape rooms? She has a curious mind. Good sign.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
A combo of Stephanie for her tenacity, Cirie for her humor and fun-spirit, and Dawn for her propensity to have some emotional moments. 

Comparing yourself to Dawn is a red flag. Dawn was the WORST. If Julie’s going to be crying all season long, I’m out.

My Take On Julie: 

A bit hard to read. I was optimistic on her until the Dawn comparison. She is unlikely to win. Sadly, it is disproportionately difficult to win Survivor as a woman 40 of older. It’s been done just twice in 37 seasons. It’s perhaps a sad reflection on society, but numbers are numbers, and it makes her an unlikely winner.

Keith

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Age: 19 
Hometown: Fayetteville, North Carolina
Occupation: Pre-Med Student

A pleasant young man with an infectious smile. He will be well-liked by both castaways and fans.

Three words to describe you: Religious, competitive, and creative.

If you could have three things on the island, what would they be and why? 
My Bible because it would be a constant reminder for me that God is always watching over me! 
My poetry book because my poetry gives me life! 
My Black Panther jacket because I’m a Marvel fanatic and it can always bring a smile to my face. 

Who or what is your inspiration in life? 
My inspirations are definitely my mom and grandma! Without them there’s no way I would be the type of person I am today

What’s your reason for being on Survivor? 
No doubt my primary motivation for being on the show is my family.

He’s just a nice young man. We’ll root for him. He probably won’t win.

My Take On Keith:

Younger males have fared well recently on Survivor – think of winners Nick and Adam. But even they were in their mid-20s. The youngest player to ever win is Fabio, who was 21. Winning the game as a teenager is extremely difficult. He’d have to be wise beyond his years while being cunning and cutthroat. A wolf in sheep’s in sheep’s clothing if you will. Based on what we know about him, that seems very unlikely.

Chris 

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Age: 25
Current residence: Greenville, South Carolina
Occupation: District Sales Manager

What is your personal claim to fame?  
My professional career. I went from being a barista to managing the #1 sales team in my solar company within a year.

Actually quite impressive.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
Malcolm because of his charm, Rob because he is a leader but also manipulative, Spencer because of how well he understands strategy, and Ozzy because of his skills in the water.  

Four of the most popular male players in Survivor history. Really aiming high, but relatively cliche answers.

What’s your reason for being on Survivor?  
My primary motivation is to say that I accomplished the goal that I was set out to do—win!  Even if the grand prize was $1,000, if I say I am going to do something, then I am everything in my control to achieve it.   

LOVE this answer. I’ve always said that myself. I don’t care if I don’t get the million. I just want to win Survivor to prove I can win Survivor.

My Take On Chris:

Dangerous player. He’s seemingly athletic enough to be kept around pre-merge. Post-merge, he’s a fan of the show so should understand the game. He also seems like a potential charmer. Could be a three-headed monster with social, physical, and strategic promise. Eventually, guys like that (think Malcolm) become too big of a threat and get taken out later in the game. What he does have going for him is guys like Joe and maybe Eric being around as a shield. Chris has definite winner potential and could be one of the favorites.

Gavin

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Age: 23
Current residence: Erwin, Tennessee
Occupation: YMCA Program Director

Camp counselor and tattoos: “no-collar free-spirit” written all over him

Hobbies: Going to Disney World, binge-watching The Office (I can quote every episode), eating Texas Roadhouse fried pickles. I might need to rethink my life based on my hobbies… 

Wow, he likes The Office. Very unique and quirky.

Pet peeves: Holding the door for someone and they don’t say thank you, people who vape, people asking me if I am still in high school, slow texters, other people touching the radio in my car, and parents yelling at their kids in youth sporting events.

Alright, FUCK YOU BUDDY.

Which Survivor contestant are you the most like?  
Keith Nale. Everyone loves Keith! I would just play more socially aware. He’s the only guy that could compete with Joe Anglim. I want to be the guy everyone is pulling for back home.

Very interesting. Would not expect a Keith Nale comparison from a 23-year-old. Keith was extremely likable though. If he had a little bit more game awareness, like Gavin might, he could have won. (PS: Gavin, you will be competing against Joe too).

What’s your reason for being on Survivor?  
I have this internal drive to win the show. I listen to the theme song when I shower and I dream of winning Immunity. It’s just a burning desire I have always had. I love this show. Also, to prove to my mom I won’t be voted out first. She about died when I showed her the application.  She said I would embarrass myself or pass out when I got hungry. You just wait, Mom…

It’s almost like I wrote this myself. I have the theme song on my iPhone. I daydream of winning the game and the theme music dropping at the live reunion show. Everyone says I will be voted out early, and I want to prove them wrong. I can relate to you, Gavin.

My Take On Gavin:

A young superfan in his 20s, it’s easy to see the comparisons to winners like Nick and Adam. He apparently has been applying to the show every year since he was 18, before finally getting on at 23. That could be a lot like me if I get picked next year (fingers-crossed). If recent history is any indication, he’s a contender. BUT, if his superfandom makes him overzealous and too aggressive early, he’ll be gone. I think it’s more likely that Gavin is around for awhile. Because of recent success from players like Nick and Adam, I’m going to make him the favorite.

Chances To Win Of New Players

The Favorites

1. Gavin

2. Chris

3. Aurora

4. Eric

————-

Contenders

5. Lauren

6. Victoria

7. Rick

———–

Longshots

8. Julia

9. The Wardog

10. Keith

11. Ron

—————-

0.001% Chance

12. Julie

13. Wendy

14. Reem

After reading up and assessing each castaway, I feel like seven of those players have a realistic chance at winning. But I obviously know essentially nothing about them and will have a better feel after tonight. It’s too tough to mix in the chances of returning players with the new players. The returning players have an automatic advantage. They’ve played the game before. People might be drawn to them for their experience. Seasons with returning players typically are dominated by returning players. We’ll see how that fares this time.

Alright, time to finally wrap this up a little north of 4000 words. Survivor is really an awesome viewing experiencing, and I urge you to give it a shot tonight. It’s entertaining and fun to follow along. Root for your favorites, think of what you’d do in certain situations, see some eye candy, watch some drama, and just have a fun time.

39 days. 18 people. ONE. Survivor.