‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’: Did the Producers Give Ethan Zohn an Unfair Advantage of Food and Water When He Fainted on the Edge of Extinction?

Episode 4 of Survivor 40: Winners at War gave the players banished to the Edge of Extinction island the toughest challenge they have ever faced. When two-time cancer survivor, Ethan Zohn, fainted, the medics had to step in. Let’s take a look at whether or not they gave him an unfair advantage with food and water to help him stay in the game.

[Warning: Survivor 40: Winners at War Episode 4 spoilers ahead]

Ethan Zohn
Ethan Zohn | Robert Voets/CBS via Getty Images

What happened on ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’ Episode 4 at the Edge of Extinction?

Season 4 of Survivor 40 opened with a grueling challenge on the Edge of Extinction Island. The four castaways voted out so far — Ethan, Natalie Anderson, Amber Mariano, and Danni Boatwright — found tree mail with instructions for earning a fire token.

Each contestant must carry 20 logs down from the top of the island, one at a time by sundown, to receive the fire token. The tokens may be used for advantages or luxuries in the game, such as blankets/pillows. This Survivor currency might also help them get back into the game by purchasing benefits for the re-entry challenges.

The journey from the bottom of the island to the top included about 80 steps. The four took off at a fast pace right away, with everyone competing to finish first. About half-way through, Ethan told cameras that he began to worry that he wasn’t going to make it. At log 16, he was so shaky that the medics came in to make sure he was okay. 

Do contestants get food or water on the Edge of Extinction island on ‘Survivor?’

When players are voted off, they are sent to the almost barren-wasteland that is the Edge of Extinction island. There is a small amount of rice and a water-well at the highest point of the island. So, before they began the grueling 7-8 hour-long challenge, the players hardly ate anything.

“Don’t forget, we have no food, and the Edge has no food,” Ethan explained to Dalton Ross at Entertainment Weekly. “There’s no food on the Edge, really. Couple fish here and there. We got rice. We got to go up to the top of the hill to get our rice, first of all. We did that in the morning already.”

The four castaways did not go into this grueling physical challenge with very much sustenance, so it is a wonder that all four completed it.

What did the medics provide Ethan with after he fainted on the Edge of Extinction?

“They definitely gave me a sugar tab,” Ethan told Ross. “They gave me water. They gave me salt tablets and a sugar, glucose tablet. I felt I’d not say instantly better, but I definitely felt better soon after they gave that to me.”

However, even in his deteriorating medical state, Ethan was worried about the game still being fair for the other contestants.

“If you’re giving me sugar and salt, you need to give them sugar and salt. It’s not fair, and give them fresh water out of a bottle,” the 45-year-old cancer survivor reiterated to Ross what he told the medics. “So for some reason, that’s where my brain went. Meanwhile, I should be like, ‘F— that. I’ll take everything I can get trying to get ahead in the game!'”

Although Ethan got sugar tablets, salt tablets, and freshwater, he made sure his fellow Edge of Extinction castaways had the same treatment. Then, when he climbed up that mountain for the last time, Danni, Amber, and Natalie all went with him to cheer him on. All four earned their fire token with two hours left until sundown.

Read more: ‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’: Has Boston Rob Mariano Finally Surpassed Ozzy Lusth for the title of Most Days Competing?