The closing moments of the 38th Survivor premiere centered on Virginia’s very own Reem Daly, voted out in a tense Tribal Council after a series of personality clashes. Like hundreds of other players in Survivor history, Reem walked away from executive producer and host Jeff Probst down the long and lonely path of elimination. Unlike those players, at the end of the path, Reem came face to face with an unprecedented choice: Leave the game forever, or continue onward for an enigmatic second chance.
As one would expect, Reem chose to embrace the new opportunity, only to arrive by boat at Extinction Island, the desolate wasteland where she and other eliminated players will come to call home. Days before she became the island’s first official inhabitant, I tested out the twist during an overnight stay, weathering bleak and confusing conditions for your Hollywood Reporter reading pleasure. Here’s what I can tell you about what Reem is up against, based on my experience.
As illustrated in the final moments of the season premiere, Extinction Island offers very little in the way of shelter, sustenance, or instruction. It’s a barren strip of beach with hardly any tree cover, the wind roaring off of the ocean at all sides. The ribcage of an old ship juts out of the sand, serving as a garden of bones before the meager shelter. The shelter’s roof: a worn-out sail. Its bed: broken planks of wood, so jagged that it can barely fit one person, let alone any other number of castaways who will join Reem in the days and weeks ahead.