Double Tribal, double the shock. Survivor scratched their numbers down from 14 to 12 in a matter of moments in this week’s jam packed episode.
Let’s just say this wasn’t my favourite Survivor episode for a number of reasons. But, it’s Winners At War, and when there’s 20 champions battling for another shot at the title, there’s always going to be a few laughs, a few tears, and a few expletives from me on my couch.
EPISODE 6 RECAP
Now that the Robfather is done and dusted from the game, the four on Yara are celebrating their time away from the big bad wolf that was Rob Mariano. Adam particularly enjoys finally taking out one of his biggest adversaries of the season, as well as Ben who basks in the glory of the blindside. But the new four needs to find a fracture, and Ben believes Adam is on the outs of the trio that is him, Sarah and Sophie, so it’s probably imminent trouble for the Millennials vs Gen X winner. Meanwhile, on the Edge of Extinction, a new chance for a fire token is granted to the six, including the reunited married duo of Rob and Amber. A hunt for a rock ensues with everyone searching all over the island, with Tyson narrowly being successful in finding an idol nullifier, which he sells to Parvati, earning a fire token. Considering what he can do with the token, rather than saving it for an advantage in the re-entry challenge, Tyson chooses to buy a jar of peanut butter, hoping it will fuel him over the next few days as we watch him take savouring mouthfuls of a peanut butter hooping.
In an early Immunity Challenge, Jeff informs the tribes that two tribes will visit Tribal Council, resulting in two eliminations from the game. The tribes must swim out and collect three bags with balls inside, which they must manoeuvre through a maze to win the sole Immunity idol. With everything on the line, the tribes are relatively even for the challenge’s entirety, with Dakal slightly trailing Yara and Sele. Sele and Yara land one ball in their maze, but when Wendell makes a comment to Jeff, the distraction sees Yara take the lead with two balls landed. Sele drops the second ball, as Dakal quickly falls out of it. Sophie and Nick battle to land the final ball, but Sophie and Yara succeed and win Immunity, sending both Dakal and Sele to Tribal.
At the Sele camp, Parvati and Michele are on the bottom, as Parvati believes she’s the target lacking in any help of numbers, idols, or advantages. Even though Nick believes working with Parvati would be fun, his loyalty to Yul and Wendell is too deep to truly consider wavering. Even when Michele and Parvati discuss flipping Nick, Michele isn’t confident it’ll work, and instead tries to use the vote as a benefit by telling Wendell that she’ll vote with her on Wendell to earn Parvati’s fire tokens. But Wendell despises the plan, believing two votes against him is risky. He and Michele argue over relationships and reality, with Michele furious that he doesn’t trust her. Later, Wendell and Paravti talk about being each other’s targets, and Parvati proposes changing it to Nick or Yul. But they still don’t trust each other, so Wendell asks Parvati for two fire tokens to prove her loyalty. She doesn’t agree to give them to him before voting, so instead uses the opportunity as evidence for Nick to possibly flip. Nick is weary of Wendell willingly throwing his name out in exchange for fire tokens, and when considering the threat status of both players, Nick is concerned about the roll on effect of whatever decision he makes.
Over on Dakal, Tony is concerned about Jeremy or Denise holding an idol, or if Sandra or Kim will flip. So, in classic Tony fashion, he hides in a spy bunker by the well, as the other four discuss what the options are going into the vote, as well as often questioning the whereabouts of sneaky Tony. Sandra and Kim talk to both Jeremy and Denise, telling them the Dakal three are likely staying together and the vote is one of the Sele two. Denise understands how the game is played out, and admits that she needs them and they don’t necessarily need her. With Tony’s absence notable between Kim and Sandra, they both express concern about his gameplay. Once Tony pops out, he talks to Jeremy, Sandra and Kim about voting out Denise, keeping the big threats around after the systematic voting of them of late. Sandra is concerned about Denise going home, so instead wants to hand her idol (which only lasts this one Tribal) to Denise in exchange for two fire tokens. Denise however realises what Sandra benefits from the exchange, and even moreso sees it as an opportunity to make a move, considering she has an idol of her own that she could use to protect herself. Her and Sandra make a deal, that Denise gives one fire token to her before Tribal, and one after. With Denise now possessing two idols, and two confirmed eliminations coming up, it’s going to be an exciting remaining 15 minutes.
At Sele’s Tribal Council, Wendell openly admits that he will stab whoever he needs to in the back as he moves forward in the game. But Nick, Michele and Parvati all subtly express disdain with Wendell’s approach, so he quickly becomes defensive by saying he’s just keeping it real. Continuing to talk about keeping it real, Wendell’s invitation to Parvati about a fire token exchange is still live, as they both barter what they could do with an exchange. Wendell won’t give a name, and Parvati is weary about trusting him and decides to decline any offer because it may not be concrete. Yul the begins to grow nervous, as Michele becomes visibly distressed over what will unfold. The tribe votes, and despite her efforts, Parvati is voted out 3-2, with only Michele sticking by her, possibly out of loyalty, or to indeed gain her three fire tokens, which Parvati grants to her. And it was at the exact moment of Parvati’s torch snuff, that my heart shattered.
At Dakal’s Tribal Council, the status of a threat and how they appear in the game is brought up, with the makeup of possible voting configurations discussed. Even though everyone talks about not just simply voting along tribal lines, physical strength and relationship building is argued by both Jeremy and Denise, who seem to be pleading their case. Sandra makes a concluding comment about holding the numbers advantage, and despite the seemingly imminent targets being Jeremy and Denise, Jeremy chooses not to play his advantage which allows him to exit Tribal Council. We see Sandra voting for Denise, although she mentions that it’s just a vote and she’s certain Denise won’t go home. Jeff returns with the urn and calls for idols, with Denise standing and playing the idol from Sandra for herself. Jeff validates it, and proceeds to call out the votes… but Denise isn’t done. She asks for another minute by playing her own idol on Jeremy, collectively saving the Sele two in a stunning double idol play. The first vote is Denise, followed by Denise, Denise, and even Jeremy’s vote for Denise. With Denise’s sole vote counting, two-time winner Sandra is blindsided by her own idol, which sees her exit the game once again on Day 16. Sandra then gives her only fire token (from Denise) to Yul, just, out of nowhere, but also very Sandra-esque.
So I was wrong about this week turning out to be a sole boot, and in fact, now I’m even more angry it was a double Tribal because two legends of the game just went out systematically in a rushed one hour, cramped episode. We lost the queen in a stunning idol blindside, and Parvati dropped from the main game leaving me crushed on the floor. Here’s all my thoughts about the monster week we just went through.
DOUBLE TRIBAL, DOUBLE EDITING TROUBLE
I’m absolutely shattered of the events of this week’s episode, even if the content was great TV. But damn there was so much that needed to be thrown in, I’m surprised the producers/editors didn’t want to make it a double hour episode. To be honest, Parvati and Sandra don’t deserve a one hour split episode to showcase their boots from this episode. We had no pre-challenge content, which I alluded to last week being necessary, so we saw only one segment from each tribe, with Dakal and Sele being post-Immunity loss. I would have killed for more Parvati (and Sandra). And then seeing Parvati go home first, and have the episode still continue on just didn’t feel right as a fan because I couldn’t spend a week mourning her loss. Even though Sandra was never high in my favourites this season, it’s still saddening to see the queen go down. But top it off, Parvati wasn’t even the first boot of the night. Sources and editing sleuths have confirmed that Dakal’s Tribal Council actually filmed before Sele’s, but likely given the events of Sandra’s boot (a stunning double idol play) was much more fascinating television than Sele’s more straight shooter Parvati elimination, Sandra actually comes in at 14th place, and Parvati 13th. Yet, canon to the editing, Parvati is 14th and Sandra 13th. For two women, who battled against each other to win Heroes vs Villains (Sandra winning in a 6-3-0 vote), and claims about who’s the better player and that a winners season would settle the score, Parvati and Sandra NEVER cross paths, become voted out on the SAME NIGHT, and their placement is DISPUTED and could be considered either way. You really can’t separate them. They’re both amazing players. But I’ll always back Parv. Anyway, I’ll talk more about them next but I did just wanna make mention of the rushed editing, and by that I mean so much content jammed into one hour, and how I think the episode deserved more (whole season, actually), and the sneaky trick to swap the two Tribal Councils. But it was strange to not include Rob and Amber’s reunion from the Edge, even in last week’s episode when there was time to do so. It was instead a secret scene? Wtf? It was not my favourite episode editing wise, even if I was GLUED to the screen the entire time. They did well to cram what they could in, but damn, was it a tough task.
GOODNIGHT SANDRA AND PARV
Yeah this one hurt. Still. Watching Sandra go down because she altered her strategy to save someone else rather than herself was really ironic and a big mistake on her part. Does Denise still make the move with her own idol? Maybe. But it’s just not a good look for someone who wins twice, comes back and is swap screwed, and then comes back in another winners season, to leave on the same night as last time. Two Day 39’s, and two day 16’s. Wow. The fact she is the only two-time winner outside of the actual winners season is pretty incredible, and she’ll always remain a legendary player. I believe that. But her legacy does take a hit this time. I wish she didn’t return for Game Changers, then it probably barely hurts at all. But Sandra did very well. I just wish she played her own idol on herself. That seems more plausible when she could only use it once. But Sandra made a ballsy move, and Denise equally trumped that with her own ballsy move, which I think really cements her as one of the best to ever play. One vote was all it took to take out Sandra, the two-time winner. So it’s an incredible feat from her and I’m sad to see her go. What I am now worried about is Sandra surviving on the Edge of Extinction, and not just that, but raising the flag. I’d hate to see Sandra give up, even if her chances to win the challenges are slim, she’s the two-time winner. Fight for it. See what you can do. Earn the spot on the jury. If she leaves now, she’ll probably be on a holiday by herself, and not even make jury. I have my reasons to believe she’ll raise the flag, but will keep them sealed until the episode airs, to confirm or deny my theory. But damn, I hope I’m wrong.
Then there’s the vote out of Parvati and damn it sucks. A lot. I mean, I knew she was pretty doomed from winning the season, but making merge would have been nice. She got swap screwed, survived multiple votes, and was still a great presence with the same old Parvati charm, albeit diluted to the mature and parent front she now covets. Should she have taken Wendell up on the token offer? I mean maybe. But if she truly believed Nick was working with her, I think it’s logical to not risk taking a chance with Wendell who has admitted to lying and stabbing people in the back, lose fire tokens, and Nick’s trust. Does Wendell go through with it? Likely not, but maybe. I appreciate Parvati coming back to play, even though she was mellow this time, she’s still a fantastic player and clearly outlasted so many other big threats to get where she did. It’d be awesome to see her win her way back into the game, even if the stay was only brief. But I love EoE granting us the opportunity to see her continue to be present in the game, likely serve on the jury, and influence the season in some way. She tried, she failed. It happens. At least now that she’s gone, I don’t have to continuously hold my breath, especially since I originally thought she’d probably be the first boot. Also, how come out of the four advantages that have been sent from the Edge, Parvati gets screwed with the one that doesn’t help her at all? I know it’s just chance, but damn, an idol good for three Tribals, the leave Tribal completely advantage, and the vote steal all would have kept Parvati in the game. That’s annoying. And hurts me even more. All my old school favourites are gone, and Yul’s the last one to carry the torch to represent the first 10 years of the show. That’s incredibly fascinating and yet disappointing. I just wish these legends could have lasted in the game longer. So thank GOD for Edge of Extinction. And all my love to Parvati. Damn. I think I love her MORE because she came back this time than I did watching her first three seasons.
THE YARA TRIBE
There’s not heaps to discuss this time for Yara because of the jam packed editing. But Adam’s continuous coverage tells me he’s still prevalent (or next out) as a character in the Winners at War story, and I love watching him talk through what he thinks and play this season out yet again. What I was shocked to learn was that Ben believes he’s the third vote to Sarah and Sophie, and that not only did the boys really try to work together, but that Adam isn’t the third person to the alliance, taking over Ben. I just thought Sophie and Adam would really connect which would trump any bond Ben and Sarah had made. Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe Ben’s wrong. But for Adam to be on the outs was a little surprising. Adam has been all over the place this season, good strategically, then bad strategically. But Ben has been a lot more grounded, so is that what appeals him to Sophie and Sarah? Quite possibly. What we should look at is that we have no idea what the truth is. Why? Well first of all, it’s an hour show and five minute segment of Yara after Rob’s vote off. But secondly, we didn’t hear a bean from Sarah and Sophie about the tribe makeup. They are clearly the tighter two, but Ben (and maybe Adam) just jumping at the chance to truly flip sides to work with the girls and former Dakal tribe speaks to their strong social game. But we wouldn’t know. So what will happen next week? I bet we’ll get more screen time from Yara and Sarah and Sophie, for that matter. But we’ll also see what the girls are thinking between deciding if they want Ben or Adam as an ally. If they go to Tribal, this will probably be even moreso. But for now, let’s speculate and I’ll go with Ben’s comment and say Adam’s in trouble. So hopefully Adam digs out of the hole. I don’t like the chances though. Quick note before we finish off on Yara, Sophie slayed that last part of the challenge on the maze. She’s great at challenges, I don’t know why she has been slept on for those abilities. Ben was also going at those bags like a maniac. This tribe fought to ensure they stayed safe, and they did just that. Good to see. Fun to watch.
THE SELE TRIBE
That boys trio is pretty damn tight, huh? The cracks shown by Nick and Wendell, eh, I don’t know if its smoke and mirrors. Was Nick truly wavering? Or was it a front while talking with Parvati? I do wonder what made him come to the ultimate decision to side with Wendell, I guess the big move is too early. But when someone’s admittedly expressing that they will back stab you, I’m not sure if I’m certain I would stick with it. If it pans out well for Nick, and I mean very well, he’s a genius for sticking by it. But if in a couple of weeks Wendell does blindside Nick, then it’s game over and he probably lost a worthy ally in Parvati. Would Parv stay loyal forever? Probably not. But longer than Wendell I’d expect, because she’s got little wiggle room to move. Wendell can be approached as a swing, Parvati will always be the target, making Nick the swing. It’s risky to take her out even if it’s easy. So fingers crossed, for Nick, it was a wise move. Then there’s Michele and I’m so intrigued to know if voting with Parvati was an act of loyalty and hoping Nick would flip with her, or what I think is more likely, she followed through with the plan to vote with Parvati even though she knew she would go home, hoping to earn the fire tokens Parv would eventually give her. That’s her best move, because it’s win-win. Nick votes with the boys, and she gets the tokens, Nick votes with them, and Parvati stays as an ally to Michele. I’m sure she knew that, but what was her ultimate decision? The arguing with Wendell could have been played up at Tribal to still fool Parvati. But I think Michele really is at risk if Sele loses, even with four fire tokens on hand. I’m just very in awe of Michele’s gameplay right now. And if it wasn’t for Denise’s move, she’d probably be the MVP for me given she voted with Parvati to earn the tokens. She’s no doubt proving why she deserves to play this season, and I think Michele is much more prominent as a player and character to the season than anyone could have initially presumed. Well done Michele. Since we got little to no screen time of Yul, we’ve got Wendell who I don’t think is a villain at all. He got a LOT of hate for voting out Parvati and being antagonistic in the episode, but that doesn’t make him a bad person. He was being open, and up front. I think this might cost Wendell down the road but he’s not a bad guy, jeez. Wendell chooses to not play this game conventionally, in that he doesn’t pull of sneaky blindside and big moves and own them at the Final tribal, he owns it before he makes the move and while he’s playing. That’s not bad gameplay, although I wouldn’t consider it great either given the comments made about that style at Tribal Council. Maybe a little arrogance is seeping through the edit that we’re getting, but Wendell’s a nice guy. I know that from last season, I know that from his social media presence, and I know that from meeting him personally. Editors need a painted villain, and if that happens to be Wendell, who’s a little more outspoken and abrasive than others, so be it. I still love Wendell, even if he spear headed Parvati’s boot. I think he might be around for a little while longer, contrary to what some may think. I’m impressed with him.
THE DAKAL TRIBE
Okay Tony is freaking nuts. Another spy shack and I’m loving Tony this season, again! Is it reckless and worrisome? Absolutely. But it’s damn entertaining and he better be thanking the gods that Denise didn’t vote him. Tony’s all about risks and big plays. That’s what makes him a great television character, but it’s also what feeds to him being an extremely successful winner or flailing loser. We saw both ways pan out in his previous two instalments to Survivor. Tony’s had a lot of negative sparks to his gameplay this season, with targeting people that didn’t leave at Tribal (3 for 3, actually), and being seen as sneaky for hiding from everyone. But this is similar to what we saw in Cagayan when he actually won, so I think it’s a wildcard approach to what makes Tony a likely winner this season. His edit is good in terms of screen time, one of the best given its consistency, but there’s some negativity that makes me doubt, but not a lot. I think it’ll be interesting to see where Tony sits and plays if he makes merge. We didn’t get too much from Kim, although she didn’t play her idol when she knew only Denise’s vote would count. So that’s either a sign of a ballsy play or likely a sign of a good social game with Denise that she knew she wouldn’t cop the votes. But I think it’s odd that the idea for her to flip to Jeremy and Denise from last episode was abandoned this time. It seemed also locked down for Kim to jump ship but this week it was Dakal strong. What changed? I think this reflects negatively on Kim, because the story was only filler last week, and she isn’t central to the main plot of the show this time around. Hmmm. I’m weighing a few things up in my mind about it. Just strange the flip storyline was left out this episode. Big risky decision from Jeremy to not just get up and leave Tribal Council, although wise for sure considering he wasn’t in trouble. He got some confirmation to settle those nerves, and I think Tony was right about keeping the big threats around, lumping Jeremy in with that. But damn has Denise, at least for me, earned her spot up there. Denise is so calculating, analytical, and just frankly, smart. The way she talks, it’s so alluring. I’m drawn into how she speaks and what she says. She makes a good therapist. But she doesn’t just put up blinders on perception, her comment about understanding the game and that the majority doesn’t need her, but she needs them, is a sign of a great thinker who truly understands the essence of Survivor and how a move to keep someone in the minority isn’t so black and white. So many plead their case by saying what they can do to benefit someone else’s game, but Denise knew it wouldn’t work. She just needed them. Did it fail? Kinda. It got Sandra to confess she was the target and hand her an idol. But then again, not only is Denise great strategically at camp, she’s also huge at Tribal with a double idol whammy sending the queen home. Now Denise has that trophy in her living room and on her resume, and only Denise. That’s a monster move worthy of legendary status. Especially when you lock down an ally in Jeremy, who voted against her. But now he has to trust her, she’s stuck her neck out for him and he’s got a favour to pay back. And a guy like Jeremy will pay the favour back. So she owned that damn episode and systematically set off a chain of events that will be exciting to watch. Denise is one of the best players to come out of this game and she’s really blossomed just this season. I’m so impressed by what she has pulled off and I’m a Denise supporter now. I’m on her ship. Let’s go.
PEANUT BUTTER GLORY
What do you get when you put Tyson on an island with little to lose? Television gold. Who knows what Natalie’s done with her fire tokens, it wouldn’t surprise me if she’s bought some food. But we’re shown Tyson lapping up the peanut butter jar and that’s fantastic! I can certainly see him carrying that with him to re-enter the game. It’s great fuel, unexpected fuel, but really encapsulates what Tyson’s about. The whole scene. He’s a great thinker, a very good Survivor player, so when he finds the advantage and wisely hides it from the others and sells it successfully, him buying peanut butter just adds to the hilarity of the scene and him enjoying it gracefully is perfect and why I love Tyson. A really great chapter from the Edge. I’m still bummed that we missed Amber and Rob’s reunion as part of the official episode, as I mentioned earlier. But it was fun seeing them working together to find the advantage, very cute. No content from anyone else on the Edge but I suspect more next time and hopefully, more Tyson. (And Parvati. And Ethan. And Natalie. All of them, see if I care).
THE TOP FIVE
TONY VLACHOS: The spy shack king, he’s scaring me with his crazy tactics but damn is it fun to watch. Tony has been a key figure this season, let’s keep it that we, shall we?
MICHELE FITZGERALD: Stuck by Parv in what was a pretty doomed situation but was wise to try and find a benefit from it. Michele has improved dramatically every week. It’s a good sign.
JEREMY COLLINS: I just thought Jeremy was really fun to watch this week even if he wasn’t a strong character. He’s got someone to truly trust in Denise but also managed to keep the target off him. I like it.
SOPHIE CLARKE: Puzzle maze queen and I’m still reeling from an impressive performance in Rob’s blindside last week. Sophie is very good at the under the radar strategy, it might work a second time.
DENISE STAPLEY: A monster move going into the history books. Denise deserves this position and has truly cemented herself as one of the best to ever play. So calculating, so analytical. Go Denise!
The whole cast gets an honourable mention. They’re just fantastic. But also robbed legend Parvati sits at numero uno, don’t forget it.
What are your thoughts about the latest Survivor: Winners at War episode? Which boot shocked you the most, Parvati or Sandra? Let me know in the comments below or on the various social media links.
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The next episode of Survivor: Winners at War airs Thursday, 7:30pm on 9Go! in Australia, 8:00pm Wednesday on CBS in the US, otherwise check your local TV guide!
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