Survivor: Winners at War – “Please, Don’t Let It Burn Him”

Step back and assess, this week of Survivor was jam packed with two challenges, an Edge hunt, and chaos left, right and centre!

This was a really detailed episode of Survivor: Winners at War, there was a lot going on, especially in the back end of the episode. But it was one of my favourites all season and had an absolutely hilarious moment that’ll go down in the show’s history. You’d have to see to believe it.

WEEK 9 RECAP

After Wendell’s shocking blindside, Michele and Nick feel rightfully betrayed, and left on the bottom. Michele is particularly annoyed she couldn’t add the move to her resume, after desiring Wendell’s elimination since the beginning of the game. While Michele and Nick are frustrated they are on the outs from the other nine, Tony tries to defuse their anger while Adam feels grateful for staying in the game, but also believes he knows the location of an idol. On Jeff’s podium where he reads the votes, a fleur-de-lis, the same object shape from Denise’s hidden immunity idol earlier in the game, is sitting right in the sight of everyone at Tribal Council. Adam is confident it is a live idol and hopes he can grab it next Tribal if he’s vulenrable.

On the Edge of Extinction, the inhabitants receive a clue to the location of an advantage, a clue strikingly similar to one received on the original Edge of Extinction season. Breaking up into pairs and trios, Natalie purposely tries to separate the group from Yul and Wendell, so if fire tokens are found, they are neglected from the group to buying food. Danni and Parvati discuss the clue, and Danni works out it is a callback to the previous Edge season, and Parvati successfully finds the advantage in the same spot as last season. The advantage is a 50/50 coin, safe or not safe, and Parvati can decide how many fire tokens it can sell for. Discussing with Danni, they agree to offer it to Michele for four fire tokens, because they know Michele has the most and they’d gain the most tokens from her. While she initially hopes to keep the advantage between her and Danni, Parvati reveals the details of her find to the other six Edge players that arrived before her (Natalie, Amber, Ethan & Rob), hoping that if the transaction with Michele is successful, they can buy and share a jar of peanut butter together.

Rob, Amber, Parvati and newest arrival Wendell sit at the shelter on the Edge of Extinction, all with a grim look across their faces.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

The first televised Reward Challenge of the season sees the Koru tribe divided into two teams of five, where three players must swim out and retrieve fish puzzle pieces and bring them back to shore, with the remaining two solving a puzzle with the pieces. For the winners, Chinese food back at camp. Jeremy and Kim are captains, with Jeremy selecting Tyson, Adam, Tony and Nick for the red team; and Kim selecting Sarah, Ben, Sophie and Michele for the blue team, with Denise not chosen and left out of winning the reward. Blue gets out to an early lead over red, but it’s relatively close upon arriving at the puzzle. Both teams believe they are getting close, with red first to get super close, although it doesn’t fit perfectly. Blue then gets super close, and they manage to win the challenge. Just before the tribe departs, Sarah asks Jeff if she can swap out her spot as a winner with Nick, which is accepted. She swears it’s a genuine decision only as a present for Nick’s birthday, but Adam is extremely sceptical of her intentions.

Back at camp, Sarah explains her decision as a nice, genuine decision. But Tony tells her he believes it was a risky choice that showed weakness in her game as many will perceive it as a strategic decision, not genuine at all. Jeremy is frustrated with Sarah, and after making a similar move his first season that led to his blindside, he’s aware of exactly what can happen after doing so. Nick on the other hand doesn’t feel any loyalty to Sarah, and is just as ready to take her out despite her gesture. As the five reward winners enjoy their food, Michele explains to us that with Wendell’s fire token, she now has four and the most at camp. But Parvati’s 50/50 coin arrives in her bag and Michele weighs up the decision to take the advantage for all of her tokens, even ‘testing’t the advantage first to see what the coin will land on, because maybe if she can get ‘SAFE’ two times in a row, it’ll raise her chances on a 50/50 coin being ‘SAFE’ at Tribal Council? Lol. Anyway, she decides to take it and now Parvati has four tokens on the Edge, and Michele has some possible power in the near future.

At the Immunity Challenge, another endurance challenge, this time balancing on a platform in the water. The last person standing also receives a fire token with Immunity at Tribal. In the first stage, Michele and Denise fall off quickly, while everyone else makes it to the next stage, with a lot more casualties in Tony, Tyson and Jeremy all dropping, despite Jeremy’s hilarious sounds and moves to prevent the fall. As six remain, the now infamous and mocked ‘Winners at War’ theme song plays, out of no where, to remind us that yes, this season has its own song for some reason that fans are still trying to figure out. In the final stage, Adam, Nick, Sophie and Sarah all drop, forcing a battle between Kim and Ben. Both wobble about trying to maintain their balance, but it’s Ben who drops first making Kim the winner, and setting a record in American Survivor for most total Immunity Challenges won by a woman, with five across her two seasons.

Returning to camp, Kim explains that the vote isn’t too crazy and the vote just needs to be split between two of Nick, Michele and Adam. Nick isn’t trusted by Kim strategically, but with his plans to cause chaos, it might not be so clear cut. Nick lies to Tyson by telling him Sophie is targeting him, so Tyson relays this back to Jeremy and Adam, with Adam deciding the vote needs to be Sarah, her partner, instead of Sophie. This gets to Nick, Michele, Denise and Kim, with Kim shocked that Sarah is on the block. Kim and Tyson talk about this, and then decide to target Adam because he’s calling the shots and is a dangerous player. Jeremy laughs at the vote turning again, with the name switching again. Tony and Sarah are brought in on the plan, with Sarah angry with Adam throwing her name out there. Sarah tells Ben that Adam brought up he and Sarah are close, so Ben confronts Adam about it who denies that he ever said this. Explaining that it doesn’t matter, Ben walks away from Adam saying he doesn’t wanna force him to fess up. Adam is sick of being treated like a child, and compares it to Boston Rob, but then Adam reveals that the camp went chaotic afterwards. Everyone is now scrambling on the vote, trying to either dictate who it is or prevent it from being themselves. Jeremy, again laughs at the confusion as it turns to Nick. But then it changes to Sarah. Back to Adam. And then Tyson, prompting another hilarious reaction by Jeremy confused as to how Tyson’s name came up. Adam tells us he’s currently voting Sarah, but the plan is switching so much and before we know it, we’re heading off to Tribal with no idea who’s going home, and Adam deciding he needs to go after the idol he believes is hidden at Tribal Council.

Adam talks with Denise and Tony about something while sitting on the beach of the merged Koru camp.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

After chaos at camp, Koru arrives at Tribal Council with even more chaos on the menu. Sarah is questioned over the game’s cagey nature thus far, but Sarah concedes that that no longer exists and it’s very much a solo game at camp. This is echoed by everyone at Tribal, with Nick detailing that the reasoning is behind the easy votes are fighting back. Whispering begins, and some side conversations over who the vote is begins. Vote changes and such are discussed, with Adam increasingly getting paranoid. He and Nick talk, and agree that they were both told to vote each other. Ben and Adam then exchange blows and openly argue over their loyalty to each other, or lack thereof. All this as everyone else whispers and huddle as they discuss the vote. It continues for some time, before it all quiets down. Adam, still paranoid, asks a few people what to vote, prompting Tony to explain how Tribal Council and voting works, with Adam now worried he is going home because Nick expresses satisfaction with his spot in the game. When Adam asks the group what the vote is, he’s met with absolute silence, and the tribe then votes.

All the chaos at Tribal and silence at the end prompts Adam to make his move and try and grab the fleur-de-lis at Tribal Council when Jeff calls for idols. He tries to pull it out and off the podium, but it won’t budge, so Adam believes it is just a piece of the set. Jeff then questions him and asks if he’s convinced it isn’t an idol. With Adam now telling him he wants to play the piece that he can’t remove from the podium, Jeff explains that if it is an idol, it would be historic and a first for Survivor, an idol on Jeff’s podium. It is NOT an idol however, and Adam is thus voted out 8-2-1, with Denise and Sarah voting Nick and Adam voting Sarah. It was worth a shot, but Adam’s game is over and he bequeaths his fire token to Denise before heading to the Edge.

Adam is voted out of Survivor: Winners at War, getting his torch snuffed by Jeff for the first time in 62 days of playing the game.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

REVIEW

A huge episode of Survivor this week and a personal favourite of mine. This was such a stellar, chaotic chapter in the 40th season. I can’t wait to see how the final half of this season goes!

A VALIANT EFFORT UNTIL THE END

Adam was such a stand out character this season, he was given much prominence this season, having the most confessionals at this point in time over everyone else. For weeks, it was clear Adam’s game was just fumbling out of control ever since he got blindsided in the vote that Ethan went home. That’s a lot of days where Adam was slowly losing control. His rivalry with Ben was hilarious to watch and I really think Adam should have tried to cut him sooner, but he didn’t ever have the opportunity. Adam lost control by playing too much early. That’s what, while slowly, led to his downfall. I thought Adam was going last week, and then turned and thought by him staying, it meant he’d stick around for a while. That’s not the case, clearly, and Adam’s departure was unexpected yet expected at the same time. I thought it was possible the fleur-de-lis would turn out to be an idol all episode, Jeff has openly talked about idols possibly being hidden at Tribal before, and it’s not crazy to think this monumental season would have an idol right there on the podium for everyone to see (especially when the actual idols are the same shape)! But the moment Adam couldn’t get it out, it was clear it wasn’t an idol. But then Jeff asked Adam if he was convinced it wasn’t, and a part of me thought it is a removable idol, but with Adam’s many blunders at Tribal with the torch and not lighting it etc, maybe he just physically couldn’t get it out. LOL! Alas, it wasn’t an idol, but hoe incredible would it have been if it turned out to be something and he had to go back to camp with a tribe that almost unanimously voted him out. Hilarious. He would likely just be voted out again, unless some members of the tribe saw him as a free agent. He’d have to go eventually though, because it would have been a huge move. I’m gonna miss Adam. I actually really enjoyed him this time despite the strategic blunders. I live for the characters, in this season more than ever. There’s just so many fun personalities and Adam still stood out. He will be missed on my end, but who will replace him as the main narrator of the season? I think there’s a few contenders.

THE CONTENDERS

This episode was really big but also highlighted a turning point in the edit. Some players dropped out of sight, some have continuously lost momentum, and others picked it up and are to me, real contenders for being the ultimate winner. Let’s talk about who isn’t. Kim has had a relatively quiet edit all season, probably the quietest of those left. I love her, I think she’s playing well especially after her claw back from being on the bottom of the original Dakal. But given how much other players have been getting all season long, I’m worried for Kim’s chances. After this last episode, Sophie and Denise I’m not confident in. While even last week I considered Sophie a strong winner possibility, she went completely MIA this week with nothing more said about her move against Wendell. She was completely silent this episode and I think if we were gearing up Sophie win, we would have heard something from her. I think she might be going home soon, and someone else will take her spot as the likely winner. It was not a great episode for her. Denise more so though. She’s got a great resume, but she’s been quiet a few times now, that’s damaging and she had an opportunity to give some perspective on Adam possibly going, her closest ally. This brings me to Michele, who I think like Denise with Adam, got no content on Wendell’s blindside episode. She went quiet out of no where. And that’s twice we’ve had little content from Michele this season, and a low premiere as well. The inconsistency of Michele, Sophie and Denise all tell me that while they each have strong cases to being a winner, they just won’t be the person who it ultimately will be. I think Nick‘s time is numbered, and quite frankly I’m not liking his gameplay this time. He wanted to cause chaos because he was on the bottom? Dude, you’ve won! You know it can change! And he’s such a recent winner too. Nick is coming off as a first-time player, compared to how cool, calm and collected others have been. Sarah‘s my only female bet to who I think really has a shot to win. Although I’m not completely convinced. Her move with the reward this episode was extremely odd, even though I believe she was genuine, she had to have known it would be perceived as strategic. It was a rookie mistake from a three-time player, she’s now on the radar. I think that’s deadly for her. Tyson has a strong edit, Edge visit aside. He’s got a good shot although him being such a big player will likely hurt, again, down the road. Especially since he’s still brought up as a vote option. Ben‘s gameplay I don’t think will lead to a win although it’s not far from the expected edit I think we would get from a winner. He’s been a constant character all season long and I think he’s in a relatively good spot strategically and socially. If he does go home soon, I think it’ll be either an idol play or massive blindside. I don’t see him sitting in the minority. That brings me to my two strongest contenders for the win, Jeremy and Tony. Jeremy has had a consistent edit pretty much right the way through. He’s a big presence at camp, many were coming to him and asking for his opinion on the vote and he’s doing well strategically to get things moving hoe he wants them too. The Wendell failure was a miss, but that doesn’t weaken his chances to me because I think everyone’s had a weakness to their game thus far. Tony is my strongest winner pick, purely because of his high consistency in presence this season but extremely because he was such a HUGE character this last episode, for something that really didn’t involve him at all. Sarah’s move with the reward, he’s there. Nick and Michele feeling betrayed, he’s there. Tony had a lot of content in an episode that didn’t revolve around him, and I think that makes him a huge contender for the title, especially when that content wasn’t divided with people like Sophie and Denise. He’s also never been mentioned as a vote option since the merge, even amidst the chaos (so we know of), so I don’t think Tony’s on anyone’s radar. If Tony wins, I wouldn’t be surprised. My only weakness against Tony is his failed attempts all of the pre-merge to execute what he voiced was his intentions. He never wanted Amber, Tyson or Sandra to go, that’s three times Tony failed to get what he wanted. That’s not usually what’d we see in a winner’s edit, although it’s Tony, so anything could happen.

Jeremy and Kim sit and eat rice in the hammock, but who is really a contender to take out the title and win Survivor: Winners at War?
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

LIFE ON THE EDGE

I’ll keep this brief, but I’m loving our Edge scenes and tasks. It keeps the segment engaging and I love seeing our favourite faces stick around throughout the season. Parvati really owned that advantage this week, and did well at shooting right at the heart of Michele’s fire tokens and getting them all from her, rather than wagering only two or three, a much more realistic pricing for a 50/50 advantage. I was screaming at the TV watching her get it, I’m so happy she did and claimed it for herself. Her being a hero was awesome by buying peanut butter for the six-person alliance on the Edge. Parvati has a huge heart, we’ve really seen that this season. I commend Danni on figuring out that clue as well, that’s really smart of her and I’m beginning to love Danni just as much as I did pre-game. That’s a great duo that we missed out on there. Also, Amber has really fit the Edge narrator role this season, often getting air time to explain what’s going on. That’s great! I love Amber and the content that is delivered from her all season is just really engaging for me. I know she’s not everyone’s favourite because she isn’t a huge character, but her subtlety is what works for me. I love her. And finally, Natalie wanting to neglect Yul and Wendell from sharing in any food found is hilarious! I love the six-person alliance that’s building on the Edge, how good would this have been if it was actually in the damn game. Seriously, I love these Edge players.

HILARIOUS MOMENTS

We got dished with so many hilarious moments this episode, but all season has really been a treat with some really funny moments. This week, Jeremy’s wobbles and soundbites at the Immunity Challenge were just so funny. He was really trying to stay in it, I loved the fight from him. In another hilarious moment(s) from Jeremy, those reactions to the changing votes at camp were so funny! From laughing at it changing again and again, to truly being confused and bedazzled at Tyson’s name coming up prompting a, “HUH?!”. It was just so funny and honestly, Jeremy was a huge mood for this episode. I was reacting the same way. Tony explaining to Adam how to vote at Tribal Council was yet another super funny moment this episode. Adam was clearly trying to get his name off everyone’s minds, knowing they were coming after him, yet Tony just shut it down. Stopped him from being able to do so by just explaining how Tribal works. Just a truly hilarious and Tony-esque moment. This season is such a ball, and these players are having fun and fighting at the same time. It’s so great to watch. Having these funny moments though make this season truly great and just something special. We really don’t see much of it in other seasons. Even great ones like Heroes vs Villains didn’t have content like this. I’ll be surprised if this isn’t my favourite season of Survivor ever. It just delivers!

THE WINNERS AT WAR THEME

One thing that isn’t delivering is this damn Winners at War theme song that plays, out of no where, for really odd moments. It just doesn’t feel Survivor to me. It was great for the promo at last season’s Reunion episode. It worked there. But why do we need it for a damn Immunity Challenge or when the tribe is walking out to Tribal Council? What’s the point. It seems slotted in to fill moments it could work, and admittedly, sometimes it does. But we’ve had a few episodes in a row where it’s been thrown in. Why? Just, why? It’s a meme everywhere on Reddit now, so if you’re loving taking the piss out of it appearing out of no where, I suggest you head there and laugh your head off like I am. But seriously, why?

THE TOP FIVE

The players in the Top Five this week include:
Kim Spradlin-Wolfe, Tyson Apostol, Denise Stapley, Tony Vlachos, and Jeremy Collins.
IMAGES: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

KIM SPRADLIN-WOLFE: She set a record this week for most Immunity Challenges won by a woman! That’s incredible! I really love Kim and it was great to see be influential this vote, let’s hope she sticks around.

TYSON APOSTOL: I am scared for Tyson’s future but he’s an extremely fun character to have this season and he managed to not go home despite being considered an easy vote. Good job Tyson!

DENISE STAPLEY: It was a tough spot between her and Michele but I think Denise’s ability to not be targeted despite winning the last Immunity Challenge and being a big threat was awesome. Wish we saw more from her though!

TONY VLACHOS: He was central all episode and his explanation of the vote reading and analysing Sarah’s reward move as a mistake shows he’s the same old strategic and hilarious Tony from Cagayan. Keep him around.

JEREMY COLLINS: I mean how could you not? He was so frickin funny this week! He had me dying as he was sitting on his throne this week and he’s my MVP for Week 9. Jeremy only gets better as he plays.

Huge honourable mentions go out to Michele and Sophie this week, with Sarah in behind because of her reward decision, Ben behind that for being a bit of a nuisance with Adam this week, and Nick in last for just not being all too likeable this season/episode. Let’s not mention the Edge. I love them all. Every single one of them.

What do you think about Adam’s podium idol play? Do you agree with my contender picks for the win? And what are your thoughts on the recurring ‘Winners at War’ theme song? Let me know in the comments! We’ve got the loved ones visit next episode, I can’t wait!

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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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