The “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” finale is upon us, and we officially have the largest number of players heading into the final episode who could still win the game in “Survivor” history: 16. There are five players left in the active game while 11 lie in wait in Extinction Island, ready to compete for a chance to get back in. So how can we predict who wins this season? Looking at the edit of each player gives us some clues about who producers are setting up as a satisfying winner to the audience. While those currently in the game have a better shot, through the sheer act of surviving so many Tribal Councils, even those who were sent to Extinction Island could have a viable path to victory.
Below is our final “winner’s edit” ranking of the season, combining screen time, confessionals, their individual paths to a win, and trends with past winners.
1. Rick Devens
The past few weeks of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” have essentially become The Rick Devens Show as his fellow contestants try desperately to get him out. His penchant for finding idols, winning Immunity and keeping himself safe has made him an underdog fan favorite, as seen by the various comments on “Survivor” social media posts. He also has detractors who have not been impressed by his lack of socially integrating. It is possible he could fall short, but all signs point to a Rick win. The question is, is it too obvious?
2. Lauren O’Connell
Should Rick fall short, Lauren is the clear alternative. She has had to overcome a failing tribe in the pre-merge, hunger, a fainting spell at a challenge, the loss of her BFF, Kelley, and she has still hung onto an idol she found in Episode 2. There is a sympathetic underdog component to Lauren’s story, too, and she has proven herself to be a savvy player, sussing out Rick’s idol situation in last week’s episode and coming up with strategic backup plans. The only tricky scenario for Lauren will be sitting at a Final Tribal Council with Rick, who may overshadow her.
3. Gavin Whitson
Gavin’s edit has been up and down throughout the season. We’ve seen good personal content from him, including his superfan status and the fact that he moved up his wedding to be on “Survivor.” He seems to be a well-liked tribemate and could conceivably pull in some votes if he explains himself well enough at Final Tribal Council. If he were to win, he would be the most under-edited male winner the show has ever had, but it wouldn’t be a total shock.
4. Julie Rosenberg
Julie’s edit screams “Final Tribal Council loser” more than anything but the amount of focus she has received throughout the season, even when not part of the main narrative, is noteworthy. We always know where Julie’s head is at in the game, even when she’s feeling drained. It may be difficult for Julie to explain to the jury how she played the best game considering she hasn’t been involved in key power shifts and is often criticized for being too emotional. Still, it’s hard to ignore the amount of coverage she has been given.
5. Victoria Baamonde
Victoria has moved through this game like a ninja, never becoming a target to be voted out. The problem is, the editors totally dropped the ball on making the audience care about her as a person. We know very little about Victoria compared to the other four remaining players, which is a shame because she clearly knows what she’s doing out there. She could get some votes depending on who she’s next to in the end, but we haven’t even seen her making the bonds necessary to win a jury vote.
6. Chris Underwood
Savvy superfans have taken note of the curious amount of coverage Chris has received on Extinction Island. We have heard him speak multiple times about being upset that he did not play “a perfect game” and he is among the more physically fit players on Extinction Island. If he were to make it back in, all of that “perfect game” talk could be dramatic irony for him actually going on to win the season. It will be hard for anyone who missed a majority of the post-merge to win, but Chris is likable enough that he has a chance.
7. David Wright
Even if he isn’t the most adept at challenges, David’s story might not be over yet. His partnership with Rick was a major relationship this season that was left a bit unresolved and there is a scenario where they make it to the end together. David is well-liked enough that he has a shot at getting votes and at least hasn’t been out of the active game for that long.
8. Kelley Wentworth
Kelley had a big Edge of Extinction moment after her boot episode that felt like a resolution to her story. She may be a strong contender to make it back into the game and she had a huge edit before being voted out (hence her placement here) but it doesn’t seem like there’s much more coming from her story, unfortunately.
9. Aurora McCreary
Despite being barely shown in the pre-merge, Aurora turned into quite a feisty character through the post-merge. She is another competitor who has a stronger chance than others of winning her way back in, but most of the discussion around Aurora has been about how disliked she is, so she probably couldn’t win a jury vote.
10. Joe Anglim
Joey Amazing is another one who has the goods to win the Extinction Island challenge but even if he does, what can he possibly tell a jury at the end? He kept his tribe from going to Tribal Council before the merge and then was promptly voted out of the first Tribal Council he attended. Any jury vote he wins would be on sheer likability, which probably isn’t enough.
11. Aubry Bracco
Aubry has always been a relatable underdog but her journey this season has felt very solitary. We haven’t seen much of any relationships formed and it’s tough to see her fitting in if she makes it back into the game. Like Joe, she would be a well-liked winner, but this doesn’t feel like her story anymore.
12. Eric Hafemann
Eric is another challenge winner possibility due to his strength, but he has been so quiet most of the season that he is somewhat forgettable. With a heroic type of job as a firefighter, we probably would have seen more of him throughout if he had won.
13. Reem Daly
Reem has singlehandedly saved Extinction Island from being a depressing slog, and the editors know they have a goldmine with her. After being on Extinction Island for a full month, she is probably physically depleted, but she would have one hell of a story if she made it back in and got to Final Tribal Council. Though her aggressive personality probably means she still wouldn’t win.
14. Dan “Wardog” DaSilva
Wardog was a huge character up until his demise and then we didn’t even get a proper Extinction Island moment in the following episode. His edit has suggested he isn’t particularly well-liked and he can’t win an individual challenge to save his life, so it’s looking pretty rough for Wardog right now.
15. Ron Clark
Ron really emerged as a fun character towards the end of the season but considering his tough competition, there’s little chance of him making it back into the game. If he were the winner, we would’ve heard more about his fascinating backstory.
16. Julia Carter
Julia was almost invisible through the pre-merge and we barely got to know her once she finally emerged in the post-merge. There is no precedent for a contestant being as under-edited as Julia actually winning the season.
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