A second ‘Survivor’ contestant quits just four episodes into the season

A buff-dropping tribe swap wasn’t the only unexpected twist on Wednesday’s Survivor, as the show saw its second castaway of the season voluntarily quit just four episodes in.

With new and old alliances being molded after host Jeff Probst told everyone to “drop your buffs” for a three-tribe shake up, tensions were running high for a few, including Sean Edwards, a 35-year-old elementary school principal from Provo-Orem, UT, who would go on to shock everyone at Tribal Council with the news that he wanted his name to be written down.

Here’s a look at how it all unfolded.

Sean’s exit

After the tribe swap, Edwards moved from the fledgling Lulu Tribe — which was down to just three after losing multiple immunity challenges — to the Reba Tribe. However he ended up with four remaining Reba members and found himself in a tough spot,and potentially on the chopping block.

Next was the first immunity challenge as new tribes, where immunity was offered to the two tribes that could carry a large wooden cage out of the ocean and then shoot balls into tall baskets the fastest. Unfortunately it was the Reba Tribe that fell short and found themselves at Tribal Council where someone was to be voted off.

During the pre-vote banter, Probst asked Edwards, “what has Survivor been for you?” A question that “opened up the gate” according to Edwards.

“Growing up in a very conservative world, being Mormon, was incredibly complex and challenging for me. I tried everything, everything, to live a straight, faithful, Mormon lifestyle. And because of those many, many years that I lost, Survivor, for me, was an opportunity to reclaim that lost time,” said Edwards, who is gay. “It’s being here that I’ve realized that my true adventure of a lifetime is back home with my husband, Matt. “And I know how bad all four of you really want this, and I don’t want to take your dream away from you because this is not mine and I’m at peace with that because my dream is at home. So respectfully, I would kindly ask that when you vote tonight, that you write my name down on the parchment.”

And with that Edwards’ torch was put out by Probst and he left the show just nine days in. Edwards’ former tribe mate, Hannah Rose, previously asked to be sent home at a Tribal Council on day three. It’s the earliest two contestants have quit the game voluntarily and only the 18th and 19th quitters in the show’s history.

Jeff Probst’s reaction

Speaking on the latest episode of his podcast, On Fire, and as reported by Entertainment Weekly, Probst had this to say about Edwards’ decision:

“Sean had been playing a very clever game,” Probst said. “He’s a very clever guy. I’m going to be super clear: This was another engineered quit. And I ought to be honest, I think Sean tried to craft a narrative that worked for him because… Sean wasn’t exhausted. He wasn’t worried about food or bad sleeping. This was a sudden discovery, as in that exact moment at Tribal he realized, ‘Whoa, hang on. I think I got what I needed. I’m good, thanks so much.’ I realize — no disrespect to him — I realize he’s missing his family, but it’s not like you’re out there for another six months. It’s barely two more weeks.”

Probst also revealed that it wasn’t Edwards who would have gone home, based on all the interviews they had conducted with the tribe members, but rather Nicholas “Sifu” Alsup.

Viewers’ reaction

Having yet another castaway voluntarily quit sure has taken the wind out of the show’s sails so far, at least according to viewers reacting on social media. Frustrations were brewing because there are so many people out there who would love to play the game.

Looking ahead

Believe it or not, even after Edwards’ plea it wasn’t a unanimous vote to send him home. One vote was cast for Dee Valladares and another for Sifu. A preview for next week shows Sifu reeling from the sight of his name on parchment, while it appears cracks are forming throughout other tribes as well as along with the possibility of a medical issue.

Survivor airs Wednesdays at 8 p.m. on CBS.


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