Survivor’s latest season, named "Edge of Extinction," aired from February through to May 2019. Once again, 14 contestants competed for the grand prize of a million bucks. Staying on Mamanuca Islands in Fiji, the players, which included both new and returning contestants, had to fend for themselves and fight in competitions for guaranteed safety. Every week, a new player was voted out until we were left with the final three.
This season was the first to include the “Edge of Extinction” twist whereby players who were voted out were given the choice to leave for good, or stay on an abandoned beach, away from the other contestants, and wait it out until they potentially had the chance to compete to get back into the game. Of course, every player chose to stay after being voted out.
But who were the overall best and worst players of the game? Here are our picks.
10 Best: Chris Underwood
We have to give it to Underwood; while the name of the game is to survive, he was voted out third, spent 26 days on the Edge of Extinction, yet still pulled out the win. One could argue that he didn’t really play the game, which requires you to outwit, outplay, and outlast the competition. He spent most of his time sitting on an island with other evictees simply biding their time.
Underwood fought his way back into the game through the second re-entry competition and won a second chance. Then he made the smartest move he could have made by giving up his immunity and challenging his friend and rival to a fire-making challenge to determine which of the two would make it the finals. He won, earning the respect of the jury in the process for the bold, yet necessary, move.
9 Worst: Reem Daly
Angering a lot of players, it’s no surprise that Daly was voted out first, and spent the rest of the time at Edge of Extinction. She was deemed overbearing and blunt, an attitude that continued as newly voted out players joined her on the island.
She gets points for lasting so long on "Edge of Extinction." Nevertheless, she had two chances to get back into the game, and couldn’t do it. Patience is only a virtue if it actually leads somewhere.
8 Best: David Wright
A fan favorite returning player, Wright previously played in Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, where he placed fourth after being deemed too big a threat. One of the best stories of transformation of any contestant, Wright started off as an anxious and paranoid competitor who never believed he could win challenges, to a fierce force who found multiple idols, steered the ship with alliances, and won competitions.
He was voted out for an 11th place finish, but it’s only because everyone knew he would have had it in the bag if he made it all the way.
7 Worst: Aubrey Bracco
Returning as a fan favorite, Bracco played twice before, in Survivor: Kaoh Rong and Survivor: Game Changers. She placed second the first time around, and fifth the second time. This season, she was voted out early on in the game, being deemed a threat.
As a cunning and strategic player who was also likable and a great speaker, it’s no wonder no one wanted to sit beside her in the end. She had two opportunities to get back into the game but came up short both times. However, what really puts her on the worst list is that she got blindsided with both an idol and an advantage in her pocket.
6 Best: Rick Devens
Arguably deserving to win over Underwood, Devens and his self-professed “dad bod” quickly became a threat when people realized how likable he was, that he was great at competitions, and he was super smart. In this game, that’s a dangerous combination. He was voted out, but won the first re-entry dual, and made it all the way to the final four before losing to Underwood in a fire-making challenge.
His ability to escape multiple eliminations, even with a huge target on his back, and his clever idea to make fake idols to fool the other alliance members, make him one of the best, and most entertaining to watch, of the season.
5 Worst: Gwendolyn “Wendy” Diaz
Her upbeat personality and quirky nature made her fun to watch, but Diaz rubbed too many players the wrong way, particularly when she decided to release the chickens so they couldn’t be cooked for dinner the next day. Seriously, why?
Wendy had a hard time separating her relationships with people from the gameplay, making her too unpredictable to keep around. Placing second to last, she went to "Edge of Extinction" but left the game after failing to win the first re-entry competition.
4 Best: Joe Anglim
Returning for the third time, previously appearing in Survivor: Worlds Apart and Survivor: Cambodia, Joe was designated as the biggest physical threat right from the get-go. He flew through the first part of the season thanks to being on the stronger tribe (carrying many of the competitions himself).
Sadly, Joe was voted out in 10th place as soon as the tribe got the chance after the merge. Still, as far as physical competitors go, Anglim is one of the best.
3 Worst: Daniel “Wardog” DaSilva
Anyone who calls himself Wardog simply has to be the worst. Taking a page out of the playbook of past winners like Tony Vlachos, DaSilva was constantly paranoid, cocky, controlling, and aggravated other players.
Positioning himself as a leader, he often dictated to his alliance instead of discussing things with them. Despite supposedly being in a tight-knit group, an emotional outburst cost him, and he was blindsided to finish in ninth position. Good riddance.
2 Best: Gavin Whitson
The charming and sweet Whitson was one of the fan favorites to win, given his tremendous social game, and ability to fly under the radar. He made it far with this strategy, never having a single vote placed against him.
That in itself is an accomplishment, even if he came up short against Underwood and couldn’t pull out the win. He still made it farther than everyone else, while never really ruffling any feathers.
1 Worst: Keith Sowell
Another to raise his flag and leave Edge of Extinction after losing the first re-entry match, Sowell didn’t really align with anyone while he was in the game – a crucial part of Survivor – and didn’t perform well in challenges.
He was voted out second. No alliances, bad competition performance, and giving up instead of sticking it out until the bitter end are a surefire recipe for getting onto a Survivor worsts list. The competition requires contestants to go out of their comfort zone, but Keith never even managed to find his.