Jeff Pitman's Survivor 38: Edge of Extinction recaps

The dog that didn't bark until the finale

Episode 14: The dog that didn't bark until the finale

Published: May 21, 2019


Chris Underwood carved an impressive course through the Edge of Extinction finale to win the million dollars, so why was he virtually invisible for the entire rest of the season? Jeff explores this question, along with a final verdict on the Edge format, a Survivor records update, and a peek at next season.

Jury Jeopardy - EoE

Pre-Episode 14: Jury Jeopardy - EoE

Published: May 13, 2019


The True Dork Times writers once again anticipate a Survivor finale by forecasting the jurors' preferences, this time for Edge of Extinction. Wow, sixteen people are still potentially in the game? That's ... a lot.

The path not taken

Episode 13: The path not taken

Published: May 12, 2019


As the Survivor fanbase fights over the mostly irrelevant question of whether Rick's idol bluff affected the vote, a better topic for debate is: Was targeting Aurora a good idea for Victoria and Gavin? Here's the case for why it wasn't.

Death by 1000 shows: The edit vs. Rick Devens

Episode 12: Death by 1000 shows: The edit vs. Rick Devens

Published: May 5, 2019


In which Jeff explores how Rick Devens is the latest example of a larger-than-life Survivor character who presents the editors with a dilemma: Show more of him, and risk irritating fans by overexposure, or show less of him, and worry the show becomes less entertaining to watch?

No more Wardog has the power

Episode 11: No more Wardog has the power

Published: April 29, 2019


As another big character joins the field of bodies burning, Jeff looks at the uneven characterization of the season as a whole. With four episodes left, all but two or three of the remaining contestants are relatively unknown. Does their newfound prominence presage imminent victory or doom?

The dawn of Wardog's early-morning strike force

Episode 10: The dawn of Wardog's early-morning strike force

Published: April 23, 2019


While it wasn't great to lose both David and Kelley in a single episode, at least Survivor presented the twin evictions in an exciting new way, by using a critical flashback explaining how Wardog struck early to set up the episode-ending blindside. Jeff explores this and other (less great) storytelling choices the show has made in depth.

Chaos is a ... pilotable aeronautic vehicle?

Episode 9: Chaos is a ... pilotable aeronautic vehicle?

Published: April 13, 2019


Jeff reflects on a fun date with a mostly silent Probst at Tribal, some fun date-related data in making this one day an episode, the eerie silence about the larger game at Edge of Extinction, and some fun facts on challenge performance rates.

Hiding in plain sight: The stealth strategist

Episode 8: Hiding in plain sight: The stealth strategist

Published: April 9, 2019


Jeff takes an extended dive into trying to read the edit, wondering whether we're seeing a turning of the tide in the season-long editorial disdain for the Wardog, what we're supposed to make of big moves from invisible players, what's up with the extra vote expiration, and more.

A chance to be daring, swiftly avoided

Episode 7: A chance to be daring, swiftly avoided

Published: April 1, 2019


It was the best of times, it was the blurst of times. Edge of Extinction's merge tried to do too much in one hour, and while the re-entry challenge worked well, the post-return portion was a confusing mess. Still, here's an attempt to discern Joe's intent, the edit's foreshadowing, and what's going on with the jury.

Rallying back from the brink

Episodes 5-6: Rallying back from the brink

Published: March 25, 2019


Edge of Extinction's double-episode worked, despite back-to-back underdog blindsides, because it focused on its characters. Jeff revisits that, previews the return challenge and post-merge, and dives into a whole lotta Joe (with context).

The problem of the perpetual premiere

Episode 4: The problem of the perpetual premiere

Published: March 19, 2019


Time management appears to be the biggest flaw in Edge of Extinction, and Jeff looks at how the problem may be just one of numbers: too many people. Still. Numbers are also a problem with expansion swaps to three tribes, but there it's too few people per tribe.

You forgot it in people

Episode 3: You forgot it in people

Published: March 10, 2019


Through the first three episodes, character development, something Survivor did so well during David vs. Goliath, appears to be teetering on the Edge of Extinction. How has the show's ability to present three-dimensional (or even one-dimensional) characters vanished so rapidly?

There's no winning in mixed seasons

Episode 2: There's no winning in mixed seasons

Published: March 3, 2019


It's a bleak week in Pitman recap-land, as Jeff points out the competitive balance flaw hanging over the season, a potentially hazardous twist, and a potentially unfair editing choice. At least nobody has died yet?

The shortest hour

Episode 1: The shortest hour

Published: February 24, 2019


Jeff looks at the limitations of a shorter Survivor premiere, ponders the ramifications of crafting the edit towards setting up the Edge of Extinction twist, the host as unreliable narrator, and more short takes.

At the Edge of history? Pre-running the Extinction numbers

Pre-season: At the Edge of history? Pre-running the Extinction numbers

Published: February 19, 2019


Jeff takes a quick run through the Survivor career record numbers that could fall this season, courtesy of Edge of Extinction's four returning players (with some also potentially crackable by the newbies).

The TDT EoE contestant draft

Pre-season: The TDT EoE contestant draft

Published: February 17, 2019


As the new season nears the True Dork Times writers (Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) gather to draft fantasy teams of three players. Whose prediction skills will drive their team to extinction? Whose prognostication will give them an edge and a victory?

Edge of Extinction contestant projections

Pre-season: Edge of Extinction contestant projections

Published: February 5, 2019


In a surprise-laden journey, Jeff Pitman sorts the newly official Edge of Extinction contestants into tiers of win probability (Likely, Possible, Unlikely, Impossible). Okay, you won't be all that surprised. But you might be.

The evolution of idology

Pre-season: Survivor: The evolution of idology

Published: January 23, 2019


Jeff Pitman's data-based investigation of why men have built up a 4:1 edge over women in finding hidden immunity idols in Survivor. With far more stats, tables, and graphs than you really need for reality TV analysis.


Jeff Pitman's recapsJeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, you can do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes

Other TDT recaps:

Jeff Pitman has been writing about Survivor for far too long. Here are some options for further reading...


Survivor: Winners at War | Island of the Idols | Edge of Extinction | David vs. Goliath | NZ: Thailand | Ghost Island | Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers | Game Changers | Millennials vs. Gen X | Kaoh Rong | Cambodia | Worlds Apart | San Juan del Sur | Cagayan | Blood vs. Water | Caramoan | Philippines | One World | South Pacific | Redemption Island | Nicaragua | Samoa | Gabon | China | Fiji | Cook Islands | Palau | Vanuatu | The Amazon | Thailand | Marquesas | Africa


See also: The full True Dork Times index of past seasons.