Survivor: Winners at War - Episode 3 Recap

Out For Blood

By Jim Van Nest

February 28, 2020

One of the good ones.

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Hello good people and welcome back Survivor: Winners at War! We're talking episode 3 and we're also talking about a pretty fantastic season of Survivor thus far. I mean, Rob is hooked up with Parvati. Cops R Us is back together. Yul and Sophie have the smartest alliance ever assembled and Tony Vlachos is out there...being Tony! It's a really good time for Survivor right now. And they desperately needed it.

The tribes are starting to split into factions. Old School vs New School on the blue Sele tribe and Cops R Us (+ Sandra) vs the One Timers (Yul, Sophie, Wendell and Nick - though Kim is trying, trying, trying to play with the One Timers). Oddly enough, one of the more likable guys out there with possibly the most pre-game ties, Tyson, is kind of an island to himself right now.

Last week, Rob tanked the puzzle and Danni tanked the Old School alliance. One of them paid the ultimate price while the other is now left in a very sketchy position with a 3 person alliance in an 8 person tribe. Not the best odds going right now.

We begin this episode at Sele and Rob is having a little fun with a sleeping Adam. Which leads us to Adam's confessional we saw in the previews. It's old school vs new school and he thinks it's time for the new schoolers to take over the tribe and take one of the big dogs out. So, he goes to his #1 ally, Denise, and hatches the plan to take our Parvati. He wants to take her out but try to maintain relationships with Rob and Ethan. Denise tells us about getting Danni's fire token AND that Adam gave her back the other half of the idol, so she has the whole thing now. She, too, is on board with getting rid of the power alliance and taking control.

Of note here, at Tribal, when Rob "made" everyone empty their bags and Adam was the only vocal opponent - he actually had no idol in his bag. So, again, I'm not sure what the point was of emptying the bags or what was gained by it. We see more conversation, this one including Ben and Michele. Michele is WAY on board with the Parvati plan. She says Parvati is out for blood this time and she'd be very happy to vote her out. Ben goes along with the plan, but he really wants to get Rob off this island. And considering every time he talks to Rob he turns into a blathering idiot and gives away ALL the plans, I can't say I blame Ben for that assessment.

And here's where things start to go off the rails. Adam has plans to try not to alienate Rob and Ethan despite taking out their girl. He starts with Ethan and tells Ethan that he has his back, even though they're targeting Parv. Watching on TV, you can tell that Ethan is not down with this idea. I'm not so sure, though, that it would be as apparent in the moment. At least Adam is self-aware. He tells us that he knows people will be watching at home wondering what in the hell he's doing. It's actually part of his plan. He's trying to have his Survivor cake and eat it too. As a superfan and a winner, he should have known better. The next confessional we see is Ethan talking about what a huge mistake it was to tell him the plan to vote out Parv. (I should add, that even though we've never met and she doesn't know this little article is a thing - everyone else is calling her "Parv" so I'm sure she won't mind if some internet blogger hack does the same.)

Time to check in with Dakal and they're fishing. Led by, Sandra? She tells us that since this is her last time playing, she wants to prove she has the survival skills and can be an asset to camp life as a provider. So, she leads a small group to set the fishing net in a little cove of rocks to get fish that get tangled up in it. While this is going on, Tyson is trying to find his place in the tribe. He thinks targeting the Queen might be his way to get with other people as everyone agrees they don't want her to win a 3rd time. Yul is a fan of Sandra, but not a fan of playing with Sandra. He's a logical thinker and Sandra is too much of a wild card. He doesn't trust Tyson at all, but he could possibly get on board with a plan to topple the Queen.

The next morning and Sandra has caught a shark in the net. And leave it to my friend Tony to be the one to sing Baby Shark. He's also the one that decides to grab the shark out of the net and then we get the scene from the preview of Tony running on the beach carrying this shark. Yul tells us Tony is scared of sharks, but he does hold onto it and they do feast on shark steaks. Yul seems to turn the corner on Sandra now. He's seeing her worth a little more, so he tells her about Tyson's plan to try to take her out. Right now, she's not worried about it because they keep winning. But we head to break with her telling us, "If you f*ing come for me, I better not find out about it."

We come back from commercial to our Edge of Extinction segment. In a nutshell, Danni catches a teeny tiny fish. Then we find some scrolls at sail mail. They're a picture of a tree. It's really easy to find and underneath the tree is a lockbox. The note says that they've been given everything then need to solve this numerical code. After much searching, they all just give up looking. Or have they? Natalie remembers that the notes came in a tube of bamboo tied up with twine and a series of shells on it. When she looks at them, they are knotted off in specific numbers. She quickly destroys one of the tubes and throws the other in the jungle so Danni and Amber don't have them and she heads to the box. She was right and the box opens up. Inside is the Steal a Vote advantage. Same as it ever was, she has to sell it to someone for 1 fire token. Before we leave Extinction, Danni and Amber are still trying to figure it out, while Natalie is reveling in being the billionaire of Extinction with a potential 3 fire tokens.

Back at Dakal, Tony is continuing the shark story and as he is, Sarah has something in her bag. The note tells her of a Steal a Vote advantage hidden in the torches at the other tribe's camp. What? She goes through the pros and cons of this and decides that because it's Winners at War, she's gonna go for it. She studies up on the torches to see where it could be hidden. I mean, it'll be dark as hell when she goes over there. She's also concerned about not having seen the other camp. She decides that she needs some help to get prepared for this. And who would she ask? C'mon, man! It's Tony time.

They sneak away from camp and he helps her get out. He also gets some ashes to help camouflage her face. They get it all setup and Sarah heads over into the Sele camp. As she gets there, Ethan is still awake tending the fire. He goes to sleep by the fire and she sneaks into camp. She finally makes her way to the torches. You can actually hear her clanking torches and breaking twigs. And she can't find it. After what seemed like forever, but was probably about 30 seconds, she finds the paper in a torch and gets the hell out of dodge. So, to break everything down: Jeremy has the Safety leave Tribal thing, Sandra has an idol that I think expires with this next Tribal and now Sarah has the Steal a Vote. Also, Denise has an idol and Kim and Sophie have a half idol each. Got it? Good, now let's get to the...

...Probst sighting! Today's challenge is different. It's an obstacle course that ends with a puzzle. Oh wait, I guess that makes it the same. Also the same, Sandra sits out the challenge for Dakal. Today we're playing for immunity and a stack of kabobs. I could break down every piece of this challenge, but come on, it's always the same. Both tribes get through the obstacles and onto the puzzle. One is in the lead, they lose the lead and it becomes a neck and neck race to finish the puzzle. In this case, it's Sophie and Sarah on the puzzle against Rob and Michele. Sophie gets Dakal ahead by a piece or 2 and as Sarah adds a piece, she knocks a couple pieces off opening the door for Rob. But I'm not so sure it was even as close as it seemed - Sarah gets the pieces back on and Dakal wins for the 3rd time in 4 challenges. And the puzzle master title has to have flipped from Rob to Sophie. She is absolutely crushing it on these puzzles. Despite losing this challenge, Rob was the only reason Sele was even in the challenge. The lead Sophie and Sarah had was just too great to overcome. As we leave the challenge, Denise reiterates the plan to vote out Parvati and acknowledges this could blow up a lot of people's games.


We come back from break to a standoff at Sele. The entire tribe sitting around the fire. No one talking and no one leaving. No one wants to be the one to start everything. After what seemed like forever, Jeremy is the one to break everything by getting up and leaving. And Ben follows. Denise also joins and they get Jeremy on board for the Parvati vote. Jeremy gets Michele on board. This is a done deal, as long as no one screws it up. Oh wait, what's this? Adam wants to talk to Rob! He tells Rob what he wants to do. I'm not sure - but Rob might actually be considering it. Obviously, he follows the first rule of Survivor and locks it in. Because that's what you do. And we get a confessional from him about how he has no plan to vote Parvati. But the look on his face when Adam was talking - he at least considered it for a minute.

Now, this is where Rob is head and shoulders above most players. He's in a spot where's staring at a 5-3 disadvantage. They are locked in and he knows it. He can go to Parvati, but what would that accomplish right now? Instead, he goes to Jeremy and Michele. "I know what's up. I know for real, what's up. I know the plan to blindside Parv." He suggests they just dump Adam. Michele is worried about an idol, but Rob thinks he has Adam in his pocket and he wouldn't play it, even if he has it. He then goes and tells Parvati about the plan and that Adam is the new vote. She is in shock that not only is the new kid coming for her, but that he told her island bestie about it. In any other season, with any other player, Adam's play here might work. But with this group and with that guy - you're trying to be too cute and too clever here. You suck it up, accept the loss of Rob's friendship, and you send his girl packing. Period.

Jeremy and Michele get some time alone and they really want to weaken Rob. They liked the plan to vote out Parvati. But they're pissed that Adam is trying to play both sides. She could be down to vote Adam tonight. Show him he's not in charge. Michele gathers in Denise and tells her what Adam did. She also tells Ben. Basically, the 4 new schoolers (sans Adam) are all on the same page right now. They loved the idea of breaking up the power trio, but they're all super pissed at what Adam's trying to pull. And we head to Tribal with Michele leaving it open ended as to what she will end up doing. By the sounds of it, she and Jeremy will determine which way this vote goes.

Tribal starts with Ben tonight and Jeff hammers them a bit about how they keep losing. Ben talked about the standoff after the challenge. I'm a few minutes into this Tribal and so far, Ben, Ethan, Jeremy and Adam have spoken and said absolutely nothing of note. Everyone playing their cards close to the vest. They give Probst (and therefore, us) nothing to go on. Who's going home? No frickin idea. We go back and forth a little more and Adam calls out one of the big elephants in the room. The giant statue of Rob on Island of the Idols. When they did their pre-season press, they were sitting where they could see the giant Rob and Sandra in the background. Everyone knows about this and they had it directly in their face for the entire pre-game. Rob tries to downplay it, but there's no way to do that.

Ben talks about how the alliance thing is new to him. And for anyone that has forgotten, he was on an island his first time relying on idols and the fire making challenge to get to the end. There's some sort of convoluted bunker metaphor that I'm sure Jeff loved. Most of us didn't get it, including Ethan who just looked confused. His concern is getting through this vote tonight. He can't think too much farther ahead, because what's the point if you end up not being there. They vote and Jeff asks for an idol. No one plays one. First vote: Parvati. Second vote: Adam. Adam. Adam. And Rob smiles. Ethan. And Rob's smile fades. And it just gets worse as Jeremy, Michele, Denise and Ben banded together and took out everyone's favorite - Ethan. Rob and Parvati look devastated. Adam looks confused. And Michele and Jeremy look like stone cold killers. On his way out, Ethan drops his fire token in Parvati's box and gets on the boat.

Ok, let's unpack this and talk about why it's absolutely brilliant. I don't know who to give the credit to, so for now, Jeremy and Michele will share it equally. They wanted to weaken Rob - check. And they wanted to send a message to Adam - also check. They also ended up as the heads of a 4 person alliance on a 7 person tribe. But the way they brought in Ben and Denise, everyone thinks they were in on this. Every single thing about this was fantastic. Except - it cost us Ethan Fucking Zohn! And this dude is a hero, man. I absolutely hate seeing him go out of the game. And I really hate to see it happen this way. A complete and total blindside to everyone (well, except 4 people.) Ethan is an amazing example of courage, grace, kindness, selflessness and all around bad-assery! Everyone who knows him or has met him sings the praises of what a top 5 human he is. And that's before the cancer. The fact that he beat cancer's ass...twice...and was able to come back and play this game again, is nothing short of incredible. And he deserved to play it longer (and I know he will - but you get my point.) Ethan - I can't imagine you will read this - but know that Survivor nation is mourning this vote. Now go kick some ass on Extinction!

Next time on Survivor: Let's start the game now, "It's Anybody But Adam". Jeremy and Michele want him out and we all know Rob wants him out. But then we get an interesting 3-some over at Dakal of Tyson, Sandra and Tony. Tyson is saying that they want relationships out. And it looks like a medical issue on Extinction. Don't know who, but looks like it might be Ethan. Now, because I know this is raw and everyone will be worried about Ethan - if you don't know, Ethan has been all over social media while this show is airing. So whatever happens out there, he is just fine and healthy and hilarious. So, we hate to think something may happen to him out there, but he's not a Faberge egg, he's tough and can handle whatever comes his way. Now, everyone go out and tip a glass for the original Survivor nice guy, Ethan Zohn. Til next week, kids, take care.

As always, hit me on the tweetbox if you have anything to say - would love to hear from you. If nothing else, it lets me know that someone actually reads this nonsense. kthxbye



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