We don’t think we can understate enough how surprising a winner Chris Underwood was on Survivor: Edge of Extinction. Entering the finale, was he even on anyone’s radar? This was a guy who was voted out just three episodes into the season, but was able to stick around on Extinction, keep fighting, and eventually find his way back into the game. From there, he did what we honestly considered to be unthinkable — actually make the moves necessary to make it to the end, and also win in front of the jury.
Below, you can see what Chris had to say to us from the red carpet of the season finale about what happened at the end of the season, how he got there, and whether or not he’s really invested in the idea of coming back. You can also check out our video below for some scoop on next season — subscribe to CarterMatt on YouTube and also take a look at our Survivor playlist for more.
CarterMatt – When you were leaving Tribal, what were the odds in your mind that you were going to be winning this season?
Chris Underwood – Leaving Tribal that night, I started to feel the tide shift a little bit within the journey. I felt like I had a shot by the time I left. Going into it, very small chance. I needed to convince some people, for sure, that I was worthy of your vote.
You made a lot of moves in the amount of time you were back in the game, but perhaps your biggest was actually just finding a way to sway some of the jurors — this was the move that got you a million dollars. How did you manage to do that?
I just feel like I was able to explain succinctly why I did what I did on every day in my time back in the game. Just being very straightforward — having sales experience helped me to leverage my relationship with Lauren or having the social capital with Rick to know that if I gave him my half of his idol, he would give it back to me. That morning, we woke up at 4 in the morning, before everyone else got up, to find an idol for Rick. Those types of strategic gameplays were what was necessary to pave the path for me.
So many people in your position would’ve just been bitter, angry, and would have just left the Edge of Extinction and just trashed it. But, you obviously kept your composure while you were there and got a lot of votes. How were you able to keep your cool?
There was a lot of confusion at the beginning. You can look back at the episode and see that I was kind of shell-shocked — a lot of those cuts are just of me staring off into space, wondering what the heck happened! So, I definitely had to be okay with what happened and when Rick came out, in my mind I was like ‘karma’s a b—h. You betrayed me and you got voted out fourth.’ We bonded on that, knowing that if he hadn’t flipped on me, both of us would be in a better position. Having that relationship with him and forgiving him really impacted both his gameplay moving back into the game and my gameplay. It really came full-circle.
You already had the wonderful experience of being both blindsided and winning in a single season — you’ve already had the full scope of the Survivor journey! Do you really feel any thirst to come back now?
(Laughs) There are very few things that I have not fulfilled on my Survivor journey. I’m very happy with the outcome. We’ll see what happens in the future, but for now, I’ll sit back and be a fan.
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