One will return to the game as the tribes merge and the Edge’s first re-entry challenge plays out. With so much happening at this checkpoint in the game, the game’s fundamental blindside was never far from the forefront.
It’s the battle we’ve all been waiting for. Which Edge of Extinction player was going to survive and make it back into the game? With so many iconic faces in with a chance, this episode was sure to be a major one for this season. So what happened in Survivor: Winners at War? Let’s find out!
EPISODE 8 RECAP
On the Edge of Extinction, the eight players waiting to get back into the main game learn the day has come, and are each given a scroll to learn what they may spend fire tokens on. Amber loans her only fire token to Rob, and with his four he buys an idol and advantage. Natalie does the same with her four, while Ethan, Tyson and Danni each buy one advantage with their only token. For Amber, Parvati and Yul, it’s all up to sheer skill to make it back in. Meanwhile, the remaining eleven players merge into one tribe, as they learn Sandra raised the flag and left the game. Jeff has a quick chat to the eight potential returnees, but it’s time to get to their first shot to get back in.
For the challenge, the players must race through a series of obstacles before manoeuvring a ball up a snake puzzle, landing it to earn a second chance in the game. Tyson and Rob get out to the second stage first, as Ethan, Natalie and Danni follow, with the three that didn’t buy the advantage quickly seeing how far it puts them behind. Rob makes it to the final stage first, with Natalie and Tyson right behind. Yul and Danni follow, with Parvati and Ethan all up the final stage. Tyson makes it to the last stretch of the snake, with Rob the only person possibly catching him to get back into the game. Right to the nail biting finish, Tyson manages to sink the ball and lets out a loud and passionate roar for claiming that victory. The remaining seven Edge players go back, awaiting another shot, as they also join the jury and will immediately begin visiting Tribal Council.
The merged tribe arrives at their feast where details of what happened since the swap are shared, with Denise explaining her extraordinary move to blindside Sandra and Adam noting the peculiar scenario that all old school players were voted out. They arrive at camp, where Wendell begins forming his army and sees Jeremy as a worthy ally on his side. But when Wendell tells him that Nick is his closest ally, Jeremy theorises eliminating Nick to ensure Wendell is attached to him first and foremost. Meanwhile, Tyson and Ben talk about keeping the big targets in the game before those who aren’t realise they have a numbers advantage and takeover. Tony is brought in on the plan, with the three boys dubbing players like Wendell, Michele and Nick as the ‘sleepers’. The next day, the rain is torrential at camp, but that doesn’t stop the strategic talk. Wendell discusses with Tyson about voting out Denise for making a big move and holding a large resume.
As the rain continues, the final twelve will play a classic Survivor endurance challenge, seeing the winner hold onto a pole for as long as they can. In a twist, a fire token will be gifted to the winner as well, not to mention that this time there will be two Individual Immunity necklaces, for both the woman and man who survive their own sex. Michele drops first with a massive fall, Adam drops soon after. Sarah, Tyson and Wendell follow suit. Tony’s next in quick succession, with Sophie out afterwards. Kim and Denise are left to battle for the women, with Kim dropping first and Denise winning, possibly saving herself from a blindside. Ben drops next, with Jeremy and Nick now in a showdown. Nick slowly shows signs of discomfort as Jeremy barely holds on. Nick drops first however, and Jeremy joins Denise in being immune and earning a fire token.
Back at camp, the big targets want to vote out either Nick or Wendell, with Jeremy pulling the trigger at Nick to keep his ally Wendell safe. Ben makes us aware of Nick’s odd tactic to walk in on conversations, which is hilarious to watch as we see a montage of Nick just pulling into frame. Adam and Sophie are brought in on the plan, but Sophie instead wants to take out Wendell because he IS close with Jeremy and doesn’t want to give him too much power. This gets back to Sarah and Tony, as the tribe slowly starts to agree on Wendell. Ben shares this with Jeremy, and now Jeremy wants to just flip it completely and work with Nick and Wendell to vote out Adam for being attached to Denise and acting as a risky player. He then shares this with Kim, Sarah, Michele and Tony, with them all happy to agree on Adam. Jeremy also tries to bring in Denise, and because she’s such an analytical player, she concedes and agrees to vote for Adam if she has to, acknowledging that their alliance from Day 1 may not last. Adam grows concerned and voices this with Sophie, Denise and Ben, who shut him down for being paranoid and that only Nick and Wendell are voting for him. He’s rightfully concerned however, and maybe there isn’t enough time to change it.
At Tribal Council, Tyson’s re-entry is discussed with Sophie and Tony explaining that the dynamics have changed and Tyson is now valuable to the game and strategy since he has returned. Quick conversations and locking a plan down is brought up, as constant paranoia might situate a target on someone else. With Sarah detailing that the punch of a vote might never be coming, and instead many will be sniped, the tribe is instead very secretive and limiting conversation at camp as much as possible. The tribe votes, with Nick voting Adam and Adam voting Wendell with an incredible voting confessional ranking in among the top ten almost instantly for me. Jeff reads the votes, and in a stunning blindside, Wendell is voted out and is sent to the Edge in a 9-3 vote. He gives a fire token each to Michele and Nick, his former Sele allies and only people to vote with him for Adam.
Well old school isn’t dead yet! Tyson, the king himself managed to come back into the game and while I’m equally upset literally none of the other Edge players returned, it’s great that Tyson was able to integrate himself back into the strategy and not go home again. Wendell was also a shocking boot to me and I’m loving Adam’s survivalist gameplay still working out for him. Here are my thoughts on all things merge.
WHEN DO WE SAY BYE, WENDELL?
I was blindsided on this one, I really thought the Adam vote was gaining a lot of traction that it wouldn’t turn around. In fact, that the vote was just too obvious yet the editors tried their best to make it seem like it COULD be Wendell. Then it was! Jeremy’s efforts – thwarted. Adam survives again – priceless. It sucks for Jeremy not being able to get his way with this vote but at least he went with the fold and is still firmly within that alliance that made that decision. And in fact this blindside should really give major props to Sophie who successfully and with sophistication switched it from Nick to Wendell, all while preventing it from being Adam as well. What did Wendell do wrong? I think some overconfidence came before him. It was a true blindside and he didn’t know that his name was even out there (shout out to that legendary voting confessional Adam). Wendell certainly kept that aggressive attitude which blinded him from seeing any rumbling of his name, although I acknowledge that the plan was so locked in and kept quiet there was little room to even hear it. My biggest wonderment of this vote is why we were wasted with the Michele and ex girlfriend storyline of the last three episodes. That just ended? Abruptly? It was clearly filler for what was prominent on Sele and didn’t carry into the merge. Could it have been ignored? Unlikely. I think the dynamic of Michele and Wendell was so important to the votes of Parvati and Yul considering Wendell was the person on the other end anyway. But Michele got no confessionals, no hint to knowing Wendell was going. It all just ended and we aren’t seeing it continue (unless we revisit it on the Edge). That’s just disappointing. But I enjoyed Wendell and didn’t expect to see him go so soon. I thought there was some elements of longevity in his edit to stay as a villain archetype for at least a few more episodes. I just think Wendell was a bit, used. Quite frankly. He had two storylines that went nowhere. He wasn’t voted out for being a bit abrasive or in a Michele led blindside, but for being a close ally to Jeremy. A rather lacklustre boot if the edit didn’t hide it so well. Wendell has potential to do well on the Edge and return, so perhaps it isn’t over. But seeing Wendell go so soon is a surprise from both the edit and episode run. And I like that.
A TIGHT VICTORY FOR TYSON
Wow that was an incredible challenge and victory. Tyson’s roar with such passion and relief was amazing. My already high appreciation for Tyson the player and man just sky rocketed. And this is a guy I didn’t even like when he first played. I’m so incredibly happy for him and I think Tyson’s chances of actually getting a successful run this season are quite high and higher than much of the other Edge players anyway. It all makes sense why we had a lot of Tyson content this season, his bond with Sarah and poker connection with Kim will likely be revisited, his mantra of keeping the threats together is now in full swing, and maybe that fire token gift to Nick will come in handy too. It all just seems to come full circle where I don’t think it would have with other players. Out of all the old school players, Tyson’s win came the latest and amidst the new school game. So I think that helps Tyson’s odds at fairing well upon his re-entry as well. But to not even be considered a target at the merge, incredible. I’m so glad he’s still carrying the old school flag and is blending in with what is happening in the game as if he never left. I wish Tyson much success, and maybe he won’t win again but I think he has the skill set to survive a few more Tribal Councils. I’m just so happy for him and I really hope this season becomes an iconic chapter in the Tyson story. The redemption arc is so fun to watch. And I’ll no doubt be upset if anyone tries to lay a finger on him again. LEAVE HIM ALONE!
THE BIG THREATS
We’ve still got some pretty big threats rolling around and they’re realising that what happened to the old schoolers can’t happen to them. Tony, Ben, Jeremy, Sarah, Denise – they’re all working together with some affiliation with others I’ll talk about in the next paragraph. I’m naming these five the big threats instead of the other five for a reason: Tony, Sarah and Jeremy each for playing more than once and being either a legendary winner or winning a previous all-returnee season. I’m putting Denise in there because, although I would consider her a quiet assassin, her move to take out Sandra has been voiced by multiple people already as threatening and building up her resume, so she’s at high risk right now. And Ben’s in there simply because he was a core member of this big threats faction, compared to anyone else. He was the only one relaying messages to everyone else on the tribe. He was worried about Nick sneaking in on every conversation, but hello, Ben, you’re everywhere too, lol. Finally Tony sees some success with keeping what he wants to happen down, that is in eliminating either Nick or Wendell. He didn’t seem to mind either which way and he’s still significantly under the radar. I think this might be one of the best games he’s played in three outings. Yes, he was dominant in Cagayan but damn, I like subtle and under the radar Tony (when he’s not spy shacking). It’s mysterious. Jeremy failed in his plan, not getting either Nick or Adam gone, and clearly conceding to take out a close ally. That’s a huge notch on Jeremy’s game and it’ll be difficult to bounce back, especially since he was doing a lot of the running for both plans that he failed to see through. Jeremy also won Individual Immunity first in his original season, before going home the very next Tribal. So I hope history doesn’t repeat itself, I love Jeremy! Same could be said for Denise however in that she won her first Immunity at the merge again, but went on to win the season in Philippines. Maybe (hopefully) history will repeat itself here. Denise is such a great player and I really hope these rumblings about her threat level are just that and flail out, although I don’t think they will. Had Denise not won Immunity, maybe everyone jumps on board to vote her out. She’s a much more appealing target than Adam. But once again Denise proves how analytical of a player she is by openly stating that she’ll take out Adam and break their Day 1 alliance to progress further. We saw what happened when someone threatened Jeremy’s ally, he tried hard to move it somewhere else. Instead, Denise let the wind blow that way if it had to and was ready to move on. Thankfully, she doesn’t need to. Sarah showed signs of staying relaxed this episode, willing to go with whatever she was told and not wanting to throw any punches. This is really good for Sarah, I think it’s really smart. She is now known as a quiet threat who sneakily talks to make people do what she wants, that went away this season, and for the better. She’s got time for it later when she’s surrounded in allies. I’m impressed. As for Ben, I’m liking the game this time around and I think he’s doing very well this time. He’s a little shaky at times, just stuttering a little and being leaky. But he’s also in that position because a lot of people trust him, so I think he’s good for a while at least.
THE QUIET ASSASSINS
Our assassins are Sophie, Adam, Kim, Nick and Michele. Starting with the latter, where the hell was Michele this week? Is she only needed when she’s pivotal the episodes’ storyline? I think so, and that doesn’t help her winning edit. Her relevance this season is when she’s making a big move to try and prove why she deserves to win, and she didn’t even get to pull the trigger on what would have been a great move on Wendell. Instead, she’s left out and on the bottom. Thankfully, she’s got four fire tokens, but I think we need some Michele content after this Wendell blindside, it was strange to see her pretty ignored all episode long. I otherwise had Michele billed as a close winner pick behind a few others. Hmm. Sketchy. Nick’s also in a tricky spot and at risk too. Somehow I think he’ll survive and the majority nine will turn on each other but if they don’t I see Nick being first off the chopping block than Michele. He’s going rogue next episode, by the looks. So maybe it’ll be a simple Nick vote. We’ll see. But will three fire tokens spell success? Maybe. I can’t help but laugh at the montage of Nick sneaking into every frame either. Damn, that was funny. Kim has remained severely quiet all season. Probably the most quiet player overall. And it sucks because Kim’s such a revered Survivor player. Anyway, I hope she’s doing okay. Hard to assess when your only confessional is about the rain. Maybe Kim’s options will come up next episode? Adam was my expected boot and I LOVE that he wasn’t the one to go. He’s actually pretty enjoyable even if it seems he’s getting tossed around back and forth by everyone like a football on the field. I mean, Ben, give Adam a break! Adam’s edit and gameplay aren’t too great, and I think he’s got to play a little risky to ensure he’s not the zero vote finalist. Because that’s what I’m worried about for Adam right now, going too deep he’s the goat because nobody trusts or likes him. Start swinging Adam, get something going and at least go home for being a liability or threat. While this time last week I thought Adam might be going, I’m not calling it like that right now. He might be okay. And then there’s the STRATEGIC LEGEND Sophie! How the hell did she switch that simply saying, “I’d prefer Wendell”? Just…. how?! Sophie’s ability to entrance people to fall under her strategic spell is admirable and truly incredible. Even when it was wavering to Adam, she got her way, as she has constantly all season. Sophie’s the front runner to take this whole thing out. Her content is extremely positive and no one’s got a whiff of how good she is. Tyson forgot her damn name. She’s got it lapped up y’all. Write the check and go home. Sophie’s too damn good for these winners. And that’s after I’ve given so much praise to everyone else. This truly is a legendary cast.
BACK TO THE EDGE
Seven players couldn’t earn a second shot into the game: Natalie, Amber, Danni, Ethan, Rob, Parvati and Yul. I think Natalie’s got a good shot to win the next challenge, although by being a first boot, can she really win? Yes, Chris won after being the third but Natalie was the first AND I think this cast is better to know not to hand someone the win after they’ve been out for so damn long. The cast is also stellar, and I’m not convinced Natalie can play a game worthy of the win in three or four days than anyone else has done thus far. It’s just a great cast. Natalie needed to win this challenge, and she lost. It sucks, I love Natalie but it is what it is. I’ve accepted that she was voted out, and we shall move forward accordingly. Amber gave her fire token to Rob and hey I get it, Rob’s got a better shot to win and it clearly paid off. But damn Amber, it would have been fun to see her back. But she won’t. She doesn’t have the physicality or is savvy at the puzzle stage to make it back, don’t worry, I’m still crying about it. Danni was pretty close, she was right there with them. I’d love a Danni return and as much as I love her I don’t think her gameplay could win the game. I think she’s done too. I was really hoping Ethan could have come back in this time, just because it would have been a great story arc for him. Unfortunately, as bigger players and physical threats join him on Edge, Ethan’s chance of getting back in at the final six are slim. I’m so glad he came back though. It’s just another early, sad loss. Rob was pretty damn close and I can’t help but think had he have bought all three advantages he could have just been ahead of Tyson and won the re-entry challenge. That decision might haunt him, but Rob also had a great shot of turning around and going back there. Especially if he played aggressively. Rob would have had to be the shield for everyone, again, for a few episodes, but Ben and Adam would have been scared and tried targeting him again. So even if Rob would have returned, as cool as it would have been, I don’t think it would be long for him to go back anyway. Now Parvati and Yul were ROBBED of earning a fire token. Once again, the fundamental flaw of the fire tokens and the Edge is the fact that the earlier the boot, the better the chances to earn a fire token. Parvati got 1, Yul got 0. That’s extremely unfair considering they were able to survive so long in the game, more than Natalie for example, and she had four tokens! I think making the eliminated players bequeath tokens was a bad decision, instead, they should have kept them and use those tokens on the Edge to save for re-entry challenges. Perhaps the formula of the token mechanism could have been reworked. Parvati returning was my personal ideal situation. She could have survived a few rounds and I could see her blending in well where she can. She probably wouldn’t go too deep. If she can win the final re-entry (which I think chances are slim), maybe she can do just enough to get to the end and win, but it’s gotta be good. For Yul, he probably would have returned alright and join the forces to take out Wendell, since that’s who got rid of him anyway. It would be like he never left, and Yul possibly could have done just that if he had one damn fire token. I love the Edge for seeing these players on our screens every week. I don’t like it for the fact fire tokens are too hard to claim the closer you are eliminated to the re-entry challenge. It’s a big deal, and I don’t buy Jeff’s explanation of that camp life is easier in the main game than on the Edge. It doesn’t equal out Jeff.
THE TOP FIVE
SOPHIE CLARKE: I mean did you guys see what she did? I’m in awe of how good Sophie has come back this season. It’s just pure incredible strategy and I’m excited to see Sophie’s run continue. WIN IT SOPHIE!
ADAM KLEIN: It seems like a lot of us are all up and down on Adam but I enjoy watching him generally and watching him survive near snuff was great to watch. The voting confessional = amazing. He’s well up on me this week.
DENISE STAPLEY: She escaped being the boot by claiming Immunity and I’m still very high on her since the Sandra boot. Not to mention how incredible she is in strategy, Denise is just amazing, AGAIN.
TONY VLACHOS: I was tossing up between him and Jeremy this week, but with Tony staying subtle and being pivotal to the vote but not enough to make waves, Tony’s 100% smarter than his second outing. It’s great to watch.
TYSON APOSTOL: The roar from this man still amazes me. He’s back in it to win it and with that, a return to the top five. My huge congratulations to Tyson for the achievement, and I hope we can soak it up for as long as possible.
Massive honourable mentions to Jeremy and Sarah for this week. Ben and Kim in next, Michele afterwards, and Nick bringing up the rear. Let’s not forget the Edge legends: Parvati, Ethan, Rob, Natalie, Amber, Yul, Danni and now, Wendell.
Are you glad Tyson returned to the game? And how long do you think he will survive? What are your thoughts on Wendell being the merge boot? 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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