Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

When asked by CBS as to who I wanted to interview at season’s end, the real answer was: Everyone. In a “normal” season of Survivor, I would interview each and every contestant, week-by-week, as they were voted out of the game. But when CBS introduced the theme and twist of Survivor: Edge of Extinction, the format did not lend itself to those traditional weekly exit interviews. So needless to say, there is a lot to discuss now that we’ve reached the end.

Just in case you missed it or are not caught up, please take a read through my passionate (and sometimes angry) response to last night’s Season 38 Finale Recap.


Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

When the dust settled, I had requested to speak with the Final 3 (not yet knowing who they would be), and I also put in a special request to chat with Reem Daly, the coolest and most memorable first-boot in the history of the game. I regret to say that I miscalculated a bit though, and somehow Rick Devens slipped through the cracks…in my head, I had just assumed he’d be in the Final 3? My own fault, surely. But that’s OK, the interviews that I DID get were splendid and eye-opening.

You can listen to ALL of my exit interviews with Sole Survivor Chris Underwood, runner-up Gavin Whitson, finalist Julie Rosenberg and the Warden of Extinction Island herself, Reem Daly, on the latest episode of The FilmSurvivor Podcast (there is also a link at the bottom of this page). But here are some highlights:

Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

From Chris, on addressing some of the haters (like me) who think there should forever be an asterisk by his name in the record book:

Chris Underwood: This was a really aggressive season with aggressive players, strategically, out there. I had to take really, really big swings, and the swings that I was taking, I knew I had to either hit a home run, or I was going to strike out. There wasn’t a “make contact,” I had to hit a home run and do that at every at bat. So I had four or five at bats and had to hit a home run every single time. I think I did that. The jury was not easy, they were undecided even up until that Final Tribal Council, so I really had to articulate why I did what I did, and when they started to see that, I think the tide started to change a little bit. But from a game play perspective, the quality of my moves was greater than the quantity of the moves.

Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

From Gavin, on whether or not he likes all of these major format changes, like Edge of Extinction or Season 39’s “Island of the Idols”:

Gavin Whitson: You know, the game I fell in love with when I was eight years old was classic Survivor. That’s what pulled me in. And I feel like that’s the type of game that I played. I can’t choose what season I’m going to be on or anything like that. But if I was watching Edge of Extinction as a fan? I might think it’s the greatest thing ever, but I knew that it was bad for my game. As soon as I saw Aubry and Wendy and these people I had just voted out walking back in, I thought, this is not good. For next season, I’m excited to see it, Survivor is Survivor, it’s going to be good to me no matter what it is, you know, I do love the game. But there is a big part of me that just loves the classic Survivor, that’s what I fell in love with, that classic “outwit, outplay, outlast.”

Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

From Julie, about the element of sexism that exists in the game, calling her game “emotional” when others didn’t receive that same label:

Julie Rosenberg: There were many times, many moments in the game, where I was just crying. Tears would start coming down my face when I’d be sitting around the campfire. I had some real lows at certain points in the game. Starvation would set in and I’d start thinking about my kids and my husband, and not knowing how they’re doing. I do think that being a mom does put it on another level when you’re out there…so I was very emotional, but at the same time, I think I saw almost every other person out there cry. And I’m the one that gets labeled as being emotional, because I do think that’s who I am. I’m the 46 year old woman out there. And I hate to say it, but I do think there are stereotypes in Survivor, and when a woman plays a very aggressive game…it’s not looked upon highly. But if a woman is playing a subtle game or more of a social game, then that’s not really looked upon as a game-winning strategy either…I think a lot of people wrote me off maybe the first time they saw tears in my eyes, like OK! She’s the crier! She’s the mom! She’s losing it out here. I do think there’s a little bit of that that goes on, for sure.

Exclusive Survivor: Edge of Extinction Interviews With the Final 3 and Reem

From Reem…you’ll just have to listen to the ft (below) to find out what she has to say!

Stay tuned for my updated “Most Memorable” Seasons and “All-Time Winners” rankings, as well as a special look ahead to the upcoming Season 39, Survivor: Island of the Idols.

Note: Those that have followed me also know that I am a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic. I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews. I am also a movie critic/TV personality in the Detroit area. As always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.


[Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell]