The fortieth season of Survivor is not only bringing back twenty former winners but also one of its most controversial twists. That’s right, the Edge of Extinction will be in play for the champion of champions showdown which is set to air on CBS in early 2020.
The Edge of Extinction, which was first introduced in the thirty-eighth season, is a desolate beach with limited supplies: eliminated players can choose to stay on the Edge and await an opportunity to re-enter the game or can quit at any point by raising a sail. The inhabitants of EOE compete in two challenges, one at the merge, and the other at the final five, with the winner returning to the game. Those who remain on the EOE post-merge become members of the jury.
In describing the intent behind the twist, host and showrunner Jeff Probst told The Hollywood Reporter that the show wanted to “get a little deeper psychologically, a little deeper spiritually.” It was presented as an opportunity for emotional discovery. “Let’s see how far people want to go,” Probst said. “Is there a possibility of the spiritual death and rebirth that you seek in life, where you realize something deeper about yourself?”
While some fans appreciated EOE’s focus on survival and the emotional journey of its inhabitants, the twist also received its fair share of backlash for its influence on the jury and the way it implemented advantages. Those living on the Edge were given coded maps and letters, which led to the location of various game advantages, some of which could be gifted to the players still in the game. Then there was the controversy surrounding the eventual winner, Chris Underwood, who had initially been voted out on day 9 and returned at the final five with a Hidden Immunity Idol and a jury-load of information.
The Edge was also kept a secret from the remaining players in the game until the merge. It’s unclear if those competing on season 40 will be made aware of the twist from the start or if it will once again remain under wraps until a later point in the game.
What do you think about the EOE returning in season 40? Is it really a “best of the best” season if a player can be voted out and then come back later in the season? Is it just a desperate attempt by producers to keep the bigger characters on-screen as long as possible? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
Inside Survivor confirmed this information with various sources, including renowned spoiler SurvivorsUnite.