Survivor: Winners at War – “Another Undercover Operation”

Blindsides, whispers, back burners and back to back Immunity wins. Another truly epic week for Survivor‘s 40th season, as the cast show that there’s no slowing down this season!

Only eight players remained in the game, but at both camp and on the Edge, everyone set out to prove their worth and make it an extra step closer to winning the whole damn thing. This was probably my favourite episode of the season thus far, and I’ve said that a lot, with everyone getting a confessional and so many iconic Survivor moments that are solidified in the history books. Let’s check out the week that was in Survivor: Winners at War.

EPISODE 12 RECAP

Returning to camp from Sophie’s stunning blindside, Sarah is furious with Tony and blows up at him on the beach. She says she will let it go until it sinks her, showing some bitterness to Tony’s move. But Tony realises she’s overreacting, and pledges his allegiance to her. He also pledges it to Ben, telling him about his idol before getting pooped on by a bat/bird, a sign of karma, maybe? Despite a tumultuous evening, Tony and Sarah are back in good graces as Tony’s 3rd edition of spying upgrades to a nest in a tree by the well, with Sarah the only one aware of the undercover operation. Ben’s ignoring Jeremy, refusing to talk with him at all. But even with Jeremy on the outs, Kim wants to rally the numbers to split up Tony and Sarah, wanting to make a big move – pulling in everyone but the pair to join in on a blindside on Tony.

The eleven inhabitants on the Edge of Extinction set out on another effort task for two fire tokens.
IMAGE: CBS

On the Edge of Extinction, all eleven inhabitants are given a chance to earn two fire tokens through another effort task – collecting 20 coconuts, one at a time, from a pile along their beach and back to camp. The first six to do so will earn the tokens, anyone else that arrives after: nothing. It’s a huge effort from everyone, with Rob taking the lead before deciding to pace himself. Ethan and Adam struggle while Natalie and Sophie thrive, with the two women getting 1st and 2nd, respectively. As Rob continues in the challenge, he suffers a hard fall that cracks his elbow, solidifying that he was out of contention. Yul finishes in 3rd, Parvati and Tyson come in together for 4th and 5th place. For the last spot, it’s between Danni and Wendell, with Danni confident she can get lap him to take 6th. But a truly brutal fall puts her in 7th, with nothing, and Wendell picking up the last two tokens. Despite the challenge finishing, Rob continues to solider on and finish, even though he lost – a sign of great pride and strength from one of the best.

Back at camp, the mini wars between players is fuel for Nick to draw up a path to the end with Michele and Denise as a final three, with Kim as a fourth. He wants to make a big move and stand out as a threat amongst the big dogs – Sarah, Tony, Jeremy. While the whole tribe searches for an idol, Ben and Tony discuss their move going forward, and Ben successfully stumbles upon it, but tries to hide it from Tony. Except he’s extremely unsuccessful, and even tries to bluff it off, but he’s completely played the moment wrong and Tony’s concerned about Ben’s trust now, as Ben equally expresses a lack of trust with Tony. Nevertheless, Ben’s got the idol, and Tony’s on the chopping block.

At the classic Immunity Challenge, the final eight must hold their arm up, attached to a bucket of water. If it falls, water will dunk, and they are out. Additionally, two fire tokens and it’s again, the last man and woman standing who will win Immunity. At five minutes again, the contestants already ask for temptations to drop, with Ben asking for peanut butter and cookies. Soon, Jeremy and Ben fall, and then Sarah. As five remain at 15 minutes Jeff tempts everyone with, you guessed it – peanut butter, cookies and milk. Kim takes it up, dropping, followed by Michele, granting Denise the win. Nick quickly makes a deal with Tony for one of his fire tokens, and he also drops for the food. Tony wins his 3rd Individual Immunity Challenge. The three share the food, and Denise and Tony walk away with a spot in the top seven.

Kim and Nick discuss making a move and blindsiding Tony.
IMAGE: CBS

At camp, the plan to blindside Tony is on the back burner, with everyone agreeing to just go with Jeremy and get Tony next time. Michele, who remains loyal to Jeremy, wants to throw him a lifeline and offer the 50/50 coin to him, so has a shot at staying. Meanwhile, Ben leaks everything (UGH) to Tony, so now Tony is targeting Kim for leading his blindside charge. He questions Nick about it, but Nick fails at bluffing it off well, fumbling his words. Tony rallies Jeremy and Ben, albeit the latter reluctantly, on for the target, but with Jeremy still concerned about his chances, he gets the 50/50 coin from Michele hoping it can save him for one more night.

At Tribal, the whispers don’t take long to start up, with Tony initiating it. Jeremy informs him his advantage is 50/50, and that he’d rather get the numbers to ensure his safety than the coin. Tony confirms that he’s got it down. With Kim’s master intuition, she senses trouble and starts talking with everyone to get it changed on Sarah. Jeff hilariously commentates the movements, as the jury start to go insane tracking the conversations. Sarah expresses she’s at her mental and emotional peak, while Denise ceases all chaotic conversation by throwing her hand in Jeremy’s ear when he leans into her. They argue for a little bit, before the tribe votes. Tony goes to play his idol on Sarah, but she refuses the offer, and he puts his idol away. As Jeremy considers playing the coin, Tony says he thinks he’s got it and Jeremy takes the risk to not play the advantage. He picks up three votes, but Kim is successfully blindsided with five. She splits her three tokens to the remaining women – Denise, Michele and Sarah.

Kim is voted out of Survivor: Winners at War, waving goodbye to the final seven.
IMAGE: CBS

REVIEW

KIM FOILS TO BEN’S TROUBLESOME TOILS

God damnit. Why can’t we have nice things? Kim was one of the most dominant winners to come into this season and with the old schoolers simply decimated, she was really the last one to hold the flag for nostalgia reasons personally. But she couldn’t go all the way. I really appreciate her effort, especially this week in trying to take out Tony. She seemed like the only one who was capable of bringing in the people to do it, only FOR BEN TO RUIN THE WHOLE DAMN THING! Pick a side bro. Ben’s playing for 3rd place at this point, I can’t see the jury voting for him after such a messy gameplay. Even putting my bitterness towards Kim’s elimination aside, Ben wanted to work with Tony, then went against him for a blindside, but flipped back. I’m not sure what leaking everything really did for his game OTHER than get Sarah and Tony to understand he’s not a bad ally compared to everyone else. And, they’d probably beat him. Even the idol mess was just too bad for Ben, and now we have to see him goat it to the end? Maybe not, it’s hard to say. But nah, Ben, wtf are you doing? Back to Kim, she’s a strong strategic, physical and social player – truly a legend in this game. Yeah, stepping down for food was a bad move but we all make mistakes. Tony’s made mistakes, Rob, Parvati – all the greats. Kim’s intuition is truly incredible, she’s sensed everything coming her way for the last few weeks. I truly adore her gameplay, and she’s been a delight to watch this season. A strong presence in the merge stage, if Kim got back I’d be excited. This could be a blessing in disguise. Either way, thank god Kim came back and maybe we’ll see her again one day. Please. PLEASE!

THE BIG DOGS

We’ve discussed Ben, but let’s look at everyone else. Tony is dominating this game. But everyone knows he is risky. The big problem: He got his way, again, this Tribal, and he’s got an Immunity streak, immunity idol, and a charming way with words. Granted, everyone now knows about his idol, but I can just see Tony making his way out of this. He’s so good in every area except not being seen as a threat. He’s got Sarah, 100%, but with Jeremy with little options, Ben just rolling back to him, and Nick wavering, it wouldn’t surprise me if Tony was completely vulnerable next Tribal and still survived, lol. I do think he’ll play his idol as soon he’s not safe, unless he has previously played it on someone else. But Tony’s at risk, although he holds a lot of tools and skills to get him to finale night. I’d love a Tony win, but I’d equally love a massive Tony blindside (cough, Ben, cough). Sarah‘s both hit and miss. I love Sarah this season, she’s my favourite Sarah out of all three seasons. But the blowup after Sophie’s blindside was unnecessary. We heard Tony say it, that’s the game. Sarah should know things change and she can work with Michele, Jeremy etc. It’s a cast of winners, there’s no need to blow up. Anyway, a moment of weakness. Sarah had huge balls to not have an idol played on her, but she was right. So good on Sarah. I also think between her and Tony, she’s got a much better social game and is often, certainly not always, but the brains behind the operation. Tony’s loud and crazy and thinks irrationally sometimes. But Sarah is (mostly) cool and calm, she thinks more rationaly is always the sounding board for Tony’s ideas. I would be willing to bet, for all of Tony’s successful plans, the failed ones are both not shown on TV and rejected by Sarah. She reigns him in, and she just might be better than Tony in the more classical game style. It’s a thought, something to consider. I could see her giving him a run for his money heading to the finale in two weeks time. Jeremy has escaped Tribal after Tribal, wow. I think it’s a matter of time before he’s done. He’s just too big of a threat but maybe Tony needs him for just a couple more Tribals that he can find a path to the end. I don’t know. I love Jeremy, but it’s hard playing from the bottom. I just think his days are numbered. But, I’d love to be surprised to see him stay. It’s happened for four weeks now, why not again?

Tony and Sarah have been allies all season, but who’s really the brains behind their alliance?
IMAGE: CBS

THE UNDERDOGS

For Michele, I think she’s really tried but I don’t know if she’s secured enough on her resume to make a big game out of it. She’s often fooled, left out of ideas. It isn’t a good look and she needs to bring something huge in the next couple of Tribal’s. Come on Michele, she CAN do it, she’s just failing. I feel like every time she takes one step forward it’s two steps back. I’d call her an underdog at this point, so yeah Michele, let’s make a move! And amongst the final seven here, Michele would be the perfect underdog to win just character wise. There’s Nick, who I hope just voted Kim to avoid a tie. If he was told there were numbers, then I can see him succumbing to taking out Kim because she wasn’t in his core ideal final three. But I like that Nick is ‘ready’ to make a move, if that’s true. Unlike Ben though, I do think Nick actually has good intentions to pull it off. So maybe, he’ll finally get the opportunity on an odd number. If Nick ended up winning, it wouldn’t be my favourite victory. But I’d certainly appreciate it if he had a strong ending from this point. Just when Nick was fading on me, there’s another spark back. We’ll see where it goes. Finally, Denise is a bad ass! That shutdown of Tribal whispering was epic, she had enough, she was done, she ended it. I love Denise, but she’s just dropped out of contention for me. Her edit, not great since the merge. Although I think she’s a strong player. Maybe she can win, it’s possible but edit wise not at all likely. Had the edit been in her favour, I could see her gathering the jury numbers. She’s a strong player this season and always has been, but we need another big tick. The blindside of Sandra is long gone, we need a Tony wipeout led by her now. She’s got six tokens in her possession, let’s make it happen.

ANOTHER EFFORT ON THE EDGE

A huge task this week, and I’m really surprised that Sophie was leading for so much. At first glance, you wouldn’t think she would lead, but damn Sophie’s got heart and I love that she picked up the tokens. Great job. Natalie is A BEASTTTTTTTTT. Just owned the Edge all season long, well done Natalie. I’m amazed at her effort this season. She just slayed this season as a first boot. Literally. That’s it. Sucks for Danni just missing out on the tokens, it would have been awesome to see her take that out. But damn how hard was that fall? Ouch! Rob’s fall and elbow crack might just take him out of the running for winning the next re-entry challenge. It was a good montage of him finishing the task too. I really liked this Edge segment. And editing all episode. Everyone got a confessional, how cool? Really fun episode, my favourite. I’ll close the Edge by saying – look how depleted they are! They just look truly terrible! Danni’s clear of this. It does not look good out there, at all. What an effort from everyone out there to stick around and do it. Incredible. Although, still cheering for Parv to come back!

THE TOP FIVE

The players in the Top Five this week include:
Tony Vlachos, Sarah Lacina, Jeremy Collins, Denise Stapley, and Michele Fitzgerald.
IMAGES: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

TONY VLACHOS: Just a sheer dominant force all season long. Tony’s the pick to win, but knowing this season, anything can happen. I’m so impressed by his gameplay this season, and three Immunity wins. Wow.

SARAH LACINA: Sarah’s earned her spot in my love group. Just adoring her this season and I’d love to see her challenge Tony to beat him at the end (or take him out). It would be a huge plus on her side to take him out. Anyway, really impressed with her this time despite a big target going into this season.

JEREMY COLLINS: He survives! Again! Come on Jeremy, just a few more spots ahead. You’ve got this man, I’m praying for you. Jeremy’s victory would just be so satisfying, maybe he’ll pull it out.

DENISE STAPLEY: Shutting down Tribal, just calling it out when it needs to be. We love Denise for that. I’ve enjoyed her so much this season, and she’s got a monster load of tokens. Let’s make something happen.

MICHELE FITZGERALD: Ah Michele. 50/50 coin giveaway, now she’s vulnerable. I don’t know, is she big enough of a target anyway? No risks no reward though. So background rooting for Michele? Like, just as a side thing? Lol.

What did you think about the latest Survivor episode? Do you think Sarah might be more threatening to Tony that it seems? And who’s your pick to go home in the double episode? Let me know your thoughts in the comments or on social media! I love hearing from you!

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Survivor: Winners at War has a two-hour, double episode on 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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