‘Survivor’ recap, Week 3: Duke pre-med student is battling against extinction

Keith Sowell after leaving Tribal Council in the second episode of “Survivor”: Edge of Extinction.
Keith Sowell after leaving Tribal Council in the second episode of “Survivor”: Edge of Extinction. CBS Entertainment

Week 3 of “Survivor” seems like a good time to check in our North Carolina contestant and Duke pre-med student Keith Sowell.

Keith, a Fayetteville native, had a rough go of it last week, when his very poor swimming skills put his team at a disadvantage during the immunity challenge (which they ultimately lost). His team seemed ready to get rid of him, and they did just that later that night at Tribal Council.

Keith was disappointed and emotional, but not surprised.

But in a new twist this season, those voted out of “Survivor” are offered a chance to go home or go to a special island called Edge of Extinction. At the end of Week 2’s episode, we weren’t sure what Keith would do. He stood at the sign saying “dang” and “come on, God” over and over — and then the show ended.

This week’s episode opened with Keith, torch in hand, trudging his way to the Edge of Extinction island, which is already inhabited by Reem Daly (who incidentally, tried to help Keith with his swimming in Week 1).

Jeff Probst, right, extinguishes Keith Sowell’s torch at Tribal Council on the second episode of “Survivor”: Edge of Extinction. Robert Voets CBS Entertainment

Apparently, one person from the Edge of Extinction will get to return to the main game at some point this season. We do not yet have details on how that happens. For now, those people just have to survive.

Reem told Keith right away that it’s really rough on the Edge and that she hasn’t eaten for days. She was actually about to give up and leave when Keith showed up, but now she says she feels like she must stay to look out for him.

The next morning, Keith and Reem find maps inside bottles, and they’re instructed to find some stairs. After a bunch of walking, they find the stairs. Reem struggled on the climb (she is starving!), but at the top they found a bucket of rice. Their celebration was short-lived when they discovered it was just a tiny bit of rice. Apparently they have to trudge to the other side of the island and climb those stairs every day for a bit of food.

Keith Sowell, a Fayetteville, N.C., native and pre-med student at Duke University, on the premiere of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.” Robert Voets CBS

The rest of the show goes back to the main island, where Keith’s old tribe loses for the third week in a row (there was a lot of swimming involved, once again, so it’s a good thing Keith wasn’t there).

At Tribal Council, the very likeable Chris Underwood was voted out. Chris, incidentally, is the person who tried to help Keith swim when he was struggling in the Week 2 challenge. Moral of this story: do not help Keith with his swimming.

When faced with going home or heading to the boat for his ride to the Edge of Extinction, Chris grabbed his torch and said, “Screw those guys. I’m getting back in the boat.”

Another NC contestant

We also have Ron Clark, who is from Chocowinity but now lives in Atlanta. Ron has been on the winning tribe each week so far this season, so he has steered clear of drama. We did get to see some really excellent dancing from Keith in Week 2.

Ron Clark, a contestant on “Survivor: Edge of Extinction,” is originally from Chocowinity, N.C., but now lives in Atlanta. Timothy Kuratek CBS

And here’s something else we didn’t know about Ron: Matthew Perry played Ron in a movie about his life, called “The Ron Clark Story” (Ron has his own academy for underprivileged kids in Atlanta).

Watch ‘Survivor’

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

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Brooke Cain is a North Carolina native who has worked at The News & Observer for more than 20 years. She writes about TV and local media for the Happiness is a Warm TV blog, and also covers local retail.