Survivor: Winners at War - Episode 7 Recap
We're In the Majors
By Jim Van Nest
March 25, 2020
Hello good people and welcome back to BOP's continuing coverage of the 40th (!!!) season of Survivor, Winners at War. I hope everyone's staying both healthy and at home and that you're not going to stir crazy from not being able to leave the house.
Wow - what a week last week, right? 2 legends of the game eliminated in the same night and one of them in epic fashion. Parvati and Sandra have found their way to the Edge of Extinction while Denise and Wendell have seriously amplified the targets on their backs. And let's not forget about Adam. He's on an island by himself over at Yara. But, it doesn't look like they'll be losing soon, so he's probably safe until the merge and then who knows what can happen.
There's no mention of a merge and commercials for tonight show all 3 tribes competing in a challenge, so it's business as usual for Survivor tonight with only 1 person going home. So, it's crazy times now, let's start the game of "It's Anyone but Adam, Tony or Michele" now and see how it turns out.
We begin at the Edge tonight. Oh yay! Parvati is lamenting getting voted out at the merge as Sandra arrives. She gives them all the story of how Denise took her out. And then, out of nowhere, she tells everyone that she's out. She ain't staying on the Edge of Extinction. She's done. She lights a torch, raises the sail and sails off into the black of night. And I'm ok with that. She has nothing left to prove and she has next to 0 chance of actually winning her way back in. And let's not forget that she just spent 36 days out on these islands. She got a 2 week break and then started playing again. And what, she's gonna sit out there for another 12-13 days to not get back in? That ain't happening. Also, she did mention that she got voted out, so it's time to go. Sandra has been very vocal about not liking the Edge, so she took the twist into her own hands and refused to accept it. I wouldn't have it any other way. God speed, Queen!
We check in with Sele after the Parvati vote. Yul is not very happy with Wendell trying to make a deal with Parvati at Tribal. He pulls Wendell aside and asks him about this. Wendell is pretty un-explanatory really and Yul does not really trust him so much anymore. Ultimately, Wendell is now the centerpiece of this tribe. Michele also asks him about Tribal and he gets pretty indignant about it. I love me some Wendell, but the heel turn is now complete. Survivor has turned one of the all-time good guys into the villain of Season 40. It's so weird. And at this point, it looks like Michele is in the clear and Wendell now has his neck on the block - even after she gave him one of Parvati's fire tokens. Whaaaaat?
Back at the Edge...wait, what? We're getting 2 Edge segments before we check on 2 of the tribes ACTUALLY in the game? Ethan is really struggling with the Edge. He's getting depressed and he's starting to worry about his health a little bit. He's worried that the deprivation could be opening the door for his cancer to return. He really leans on Parvati for a little inspiration to keep his head in the game. This leads to Sail Mail. Today - 4 fire tokens are hidden at the top of the island. Whoever finds them gets them. And the race is on. Rob takes off first, then Ethan, then everyone else.
We get the play by play from Rob and Tyson for the most part. Rob was first there and was thinking he'd have the edge. Tyson is next to arrive and immediately finds a token. He shows people that he found one. And the search is on. Of course, he completely lies about where he found it. But they all get together and no one cops to finding any. So, it would seem that there are still 3 tokens out there somewhere. Then we get the montage and the play by play of Rob finding all of the other 3 tokens. And in typical Rob fashion, he lets us all know he's the best that's ever played. I mean, in the "find the hidden fire tokens game", yeah, he's the best.
We come back from break and finally get to check in with Dakal the morning after the Sandra vote. For some reason, Tony is running on the beach for everyone. Who knows? At any rate, Tony feels like he's in a pretty good place right now. He's pretty happy that Denise took out Sandra and did it in a flashy style. Maybe that makes her a new shield to put in front of him. Jeremy, however, isn't fooled. Tony is the much bigger threat in the game. Kim - Kim's worried about the merge. She's worried that if the group of 4 don't pull it together and make a plan, the merge could be bad for them. And this is why she's so damn dangerous. She is thinking about the game without letting anyone know that she is.
She feels locked in with Jeremy and Denise and they seem to have a nice solid three. As expected, that leaves Tony on the outs, should Dakal lose the challenge. So, at least I have that one right.
At Yara, they're enjoying left over peanut butter and jelly. Ben and Adam are talking about the idol. Ben thinks it's still out there while Adam is certain that it's been found. Ben, also, is getting on Adam's nerves big time. He's convinced that either Ben or Sarah have the idol. So, everyone pretends to look for an idol, though I think Ben is actively looking. So now, Adam is convinced that Sarah has the idol. They go back and forth about it a little more and then Adam lets us know that he's never been more convinced of anything on Survivor than he is that Sarah has this idol. Spoiler alert: she doesn't. As crazy as the Wendell hell turn has been this season; the way they're editing Adam to be this huge doofus this season is also super confusing to me. He had an amazing edit the first time around and they are really making him look stupid this season. It just has me really wondering where this season is headed the way they're editing some of the more visible players. it's making it look like those 2 won't be around much longer. Maybe tonight's the night.
Anyway, we're back from break in time for a Probst Sighting. And, all the time spent on Extinction looks to have cut the reward challenge out of the episode. I only mention it because I was waiting to see the reactions of the tribes to see that Parvati AND Sandra were gone. But we didn't get that here, which only means there was a challenge before this one. Since the episode, I learned I'm right on that. It was the Fijian pizza reward and Sarah's Yara tribe won it. But, to the matter at hand. Immunity is back up for grabs.
Today's challenge is another David v Goliath retread. This is the one where they have to carry the huge dish over some obstacles, fill it with water, carry it back and empty it into a well. Once full, puzzle pieces will drop and they'll have to complete a round puzzle inside the dish they've been carrying. Nick was in on this challenge in his season and it was one of the worst performances in the history of the show. Let's see if he can do any better this time. And once again, I can save keystrokes by saying that it comes down to the puzzle - which is farther than Nick got last time. So, yay Nick! As it stands, Yara really runs away with this one and easily wins immunity. The real competition comes down to Wendell and Michele vs Jeremy and Denise. They are neck and neck on the puzzle every step of the way. With a few pieces left, Wendell calls Probst to get his attention, but it was all for naught as Jeremy and Denise pound in the last 2 pieces and win immunity for Dakal. So, Sele heads back to Tribal and it's not looking good for our boy Wendell. As we head to break, Yul lets us know that Wendell has really put himself in a bad place.
And it's time to officially play "It's Anyone but Wendell." Nick and Yul are both super irritated with Wendell "showboating" during the challenge. Nick says that it was so close that if Wendell was acting right, they wouldn't have even lost. Nick and Yul are locked in. Meanwhile, on the beach, Michele and Wendell are locking in and they're planning to target Yul. NOOOOOOOOOOO!!! So, in a situation where Michele is the obvious boot, it's between Wendell and Yul. How does that even happen? Michele and Yul talk and the topic of fire tokens comes up. Yul, who is definitely the smartest person on the island - possibly the smartest Survivor ever - concocts a really complicated nonsense plan to try to get Wendell to get his fire tokens. He's offering some sort of deal that would get the tokens given to Michele and then he'd get one and it really makes no sense to us mere mortals.
Michele and Nick feel the same way and realize that they're going to control this vote tonight. They need to decide between Wendell, who they feel cost them the challenge and has proven that he's ready to turn on someone for fire tokens. And Yul, who is clearly the brain trust here and if they stay with him, will they be stuck following him and playing his game all the way to the end. As a really odd musical choice emerges under the proceedings, Michele lays out what she's really playing for. She's mentioned it before, but this is seriously her goal out here, to prove she deserved to win Survivor. She has such a massive chip on her shoulder about her original season that she's doing whatever she can to leave her mark on THIS season as a way to show EVERY damn one that she deserves to be here. So, moving forward (including tonight's vote) to predict what Michele will do, we only need to see what would be the "bigger" move or what would play better on TV. Which makes me wonder, what makes a bigger blip: voting out her ex or taking out the mastermind? Methinks Yul is in trouble.
Tribal begins and before Jeff and even speak, Wendell is smiling and shaking his head. They discuss the challenge and the heartbreaking way they lost. Wendell says it doesn't change who's going home. Jeff asks Yul about being the last "old school" player. He says that there's so much going on now that makes the game more challenging. He talks about trying to get fire tokens and how they are such a viable currency in the game. Maybe someone won't vote with you now, but if you give them a token, maybe they will. Yul really lays it out brilliantly as he's so very smart. Unfortunately, he's not smart enough to know that laying it out like that at Tribal does not help him. It only hurts. It only makes him MORE dangerous. He's talking about things the others haven't even thought of yet and he's acting as if it's been on his mind since the beginning. Jeff asks Nick if it was different today around camp. He says that it was different because you do have to think about the Edge. He then throws out that even if voted out, he feels so good about this group that he would want to get right back with them if he got back in the game. Wendell basically says, "Aw, hell no." Yul kinda plays the middle ground on it. And again, somehow, Michele is not even an option tonight. It's crazy. It's also time to vote.
We see Wendell vote for Yul and Yul vote for Wendell - as expected. Jeff tallies the votes and asks for idols. There are currently no advantages of any kind on this tribe, so it's a straight up vote tonight. First 2 votes are the 2 we've seen. Third and fourth vote: Yul! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!! I knew it was coming, but I still hate it. I hate it so much. But, for the 2nd week in a row, we've seen two amazing Survivor players tank their own games trying to be too cutesy with the fire tokens. First Sandra sold an idol and now Yul talked Michele right out of voting with him. Had he just left the tokens alone and talked strategy with Michele, he might still be there. Hell, if she was that worried about the tokens, give her one of yours to lock in her vote. But, people are getting blinded by this currency that they don't even really know how to use. On his way to the Edge, Yul drops 1 token into the box for Sophie and 1 to Sarah.
Next time on Survivor: Drop. Your. Buffs. We're merged! And the craziness is on. We see a handful of names thrown out there but the beef between Adam and Ben is highlighted just a little bit more. It makes me think we might finally see the end to it next week. Also, not in the segment, but confirmed by Jeff, someone WILL return from the Edge next week. Boom!! And this gives me a moment to take another shot at this whole Edge idea, including the fire tokens. At this point, Natalie and Rob each have 4 fire tokens. Everyone that completed the log challenge has a token. Yul has now landed on the Edge and will turn right around to compete to get back in the game with absolutely no chance to earn those tokens that could help him. There is simply no way to do this and make it fair. And sure, Yul hasn't been on the Edge as long as Natalie, but if she buys an advantage in the challenge - that may not matter at all. It's just not a well thought out twist and it really plays loose with fairness and competitiveness. Either way, though, next week promises to be quite the episode. You better grab a notebook if you wanna try to keep up with everything once this tribe merges and 1 player comes back in the game. Until then, kids, take care of yourselves!