Survivor: Winners at War - Episode 11 Recap

This Is Extortion

By Kim Hollis & David Mumpower

April 29, 2020

Idol in her crotch

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Greetings and salutations! Kim and David are stepping in for Jim for this week’s recap of Survivor. The good news? If you dislike Tony, we’re here to help you through it. The bad news? If you’re a Tony fan, this was an episode Jim wished he could have handled himself.

Anyway, in our previous episode, Tyson was voted out. Again. If the folks over on Island of Extinction run out of food, he’ll be the first one devoured.

We begin on Night 45, with Jeremy explaining his reasoning behind using his advantage at the previous Tribal Council. He knows everyone’s been lying to each other, and he has no intention of going out with the advantage in his pocket. Regardless, his instincts were right. He needed to use it.

Of course, he’s on pins and needles waiting to see who’s coming back. He realizes that Tyson’s outster is bad news for him. Although Tony asks Jeremy why he leaves and wonders why he abandoned “their plan,” Jeremy’s answer is essentially, “C’mon man. How stupid do you think I am, exactly?”

For his part, Ben believes that his group of five - him, Sophie, Sarah, Tony, and Nick - has a solid alliance heading into the end of the game. Even though they weren’t able to eliminate Jeremy in the previous vote, he can stick with that group.

Jeremy does try to poke some holes in Ben’s argument and mindset. Tyson had been a shield, and now Kim, Michelle, Denise, and Jeremy continue to be in a tough situation. To their credit, they fully recognize their peril and also know that it’s time to make some plans. If they can flip the script, they can even the alliances.

Fortunately for them, Tony decides that now is the time to act like… Tony. He’d been playing a fairly under the radar game (for him), not searching for idols and mostly keeping his dumb spying to a minimum. (When he did go to his “spy shack,” everyone knew it and totally messed with him.)

So, while his tribemates are crashed and asleep, he goes out to look for an idol, with a plan for where he’ll search. But his sneaky plan is derailed when Nick wakes up and decides to take a walk, discovering Tony also out and about. In an effort to separate himself from Nick, Tony sends his alliance member to search an area where he had already looked.

Back on his own, Tony discovers a big obvious rock. It covered a tiny package, so he runs into the jungle to read the note. Sigh. He finds an idol.

At some point, Survivor will do a season with NO idols other than the ones you get from challenges. And instead of hiding idols, they’ll hide booby traps (or disadvantages). We don’t mind them as much early in the game, but after the merge, they top the odds too much.

At this point, we’re reminded that Sarah is playing a social game as she designs her own line of Survivor clothing for her fellow contestants. When she suggests a runway walk, Tony gets annoyed and leaves. Just PLAY ALONG, dummy.

No, instead Tony says, “I want to play the game!” (Note: Sarah IS playing the game.) He hangs out with his number one target Jeremy as he wants to negotiate a bit of spycraft. He tries to convince Jeremy that Kim and Tyson were trying to tell him to vote for Sophie or Denise, and that he was just as blindsided as Jeremy was.

Because he’s “undercover,” Tony also tells Michelle that Jeremy is his number one person. He has TOTALLY infiltrated this group. As he again tries to convince people he voted for Sophie at tribal (Jeremy and Kim this time), it’s pretty clear Kim doesn’t believe him.

“In my real job, I never went undercover like this,” says Tony. No kidding.

Somehow, though, Tony has convinced Jeremy that they are an alliance. Nonetheless, Kim isn’t considered one of the best players ever for no reason. She tells Denise that she is sure Tony is a double agent, and the two of them start planning for the eventual likelihood that they will need to put one past him.

Edge of Extinction time. Natalie finds a wine bottle with a note. She and Parvati share the information. The clue mentions crawl, crown, and rest.They decide that it must be under the bed at camp, but no one leaves the area until evening. Eventually, Parv is able to lure them away with the promise of viewing a beautiful sunset, and Natalie finds the new clue.

It’s an “Extortion Advantage.” They have the ability to block a player from participating in the next Immunity Challenge or from voting in Tribal Council - unless they pay as many fire tokens as they can convince someone to pay.

Parv and Natalie have to decide whether they care more about sabotaging someone’s game or getting tokens. They start to think along the lines of disrupting someone who is already completely chaotic in the way they approach the game, and who would stop at nothing to acquire the tokens they need to buy their way out of the disadvantage.

Together, they correctly surmise that this person would be Tony (or so we can assume from their phrasing and the fact that the production crew makes a quick cut to Tony sitting alone.

As the other Survivors discuss Nick’s vampire-like features, Tony realizes that he has something in his bag. He springs to life, sprinting so fast into the jungle that he falls down.

When he sees that the first word is “Extortion,” he chortles with glee. So do we. He can’t “extort” people in real life, so he’s excited to do it here, on Survivor! He does think it sounds fun to watch mobsters do it in the movies, though! (Never mind all the killing, jail, and general evilness involved here.)

He reads through ALMOST the entire clue, getting more and more excited as he does so. But then…

“This advantage is being played against you.” Tony’s mood changes quickly from joy to gloom. He talks about how in the real world, this would violate some sort of criminal code!

Clever girls that they are, Parvati and Natalie have set the price at a lofty six fire tokens. One way or another, they win. If he pays the tokens, they split them. If not, they’ve unleashed some havoc in the game, particularly since this particular player is completely unpredictable.

Tony has three tokens, so he’s going to have to find a way to gather three more. And almost immediately, a clue for the immunity challenge shows up in tree mail, so Tony’s on a time limit. He decides to approach his fake alliance for assistance, telling them he’s in trouble and he needs their help so that he can join with them for the next Tribal Council vote.

When he approaches Michelle, she has to invent a story about why she has no fire tokens at this time. In truth, she purchased the 50-50 advantage, but she doesn’t want anyone to know about it. She tells Tony that she gets an advantage in the challenge if she goes to Island of Extinction. He believes her, especially when she tells him it cost her four fire tokens. He chalks it all up to inflation, figuring that the Island of Extinction crew is getting greedier and more desperate.


“Jeremy probably has tokens,” she tells Tony, and offers to go talk to Jeremy about it. After showing Jeremy the clue, the two of them realize it’s a doomsday scenario, so Jeremy agrees to give Tony one token. Now, Tony has to approach his “real” alliance. Nick and Ben both give him one as well, which means Tony has enough to pay off the “disgusting” disadvantage. Remember when he thought it was a hoot?

Halfway into the episode, it’s finally Probst time! Today’s Immunity Advantage will require the contestants to stand on a narrow beam while balancing a statue on a block placed in a precarious manner. Winner gets immunity PLUS two fire tokens.

As is true of many of these types of endurance challenges, it’s not super exciting to describe. Despite barely moving, Kim drops her statue. The rest of the crew makes it long enough to move to the next “round,” where they will be required to move back further on the beam. People with short little arms like me are in a world of hurt, as evidenced by both Denise, Michelle, and Sarah falling out almost immediately.

Sophie is the only female remaining, which provides some evidence that it’s a bit of a biased challenge. Nick is the next one out before her, though she follows before he can get to the loser’s bench.

It’s Ben and Jeremy plus Tony, the man to whom they both believed they are allied. When Ben falls, Jeremy follows, allowing Tony to take his second win - and get back two of the fire tokens he’d lost. When Probst points out that Tony is dominating with two challenge wins in a row, he replies, “Don’t say that, man.”

Now, Tony can pay back his debt (though he owes THREE, not two), but I guess since he plans to vote out Jeremy anyway, that fire token doesn’t matter in his brain.

Wisely, Kim recognizes that Tony winning two in a row is actually good for her game long-term, even if it doesn’t help her four-person alliance in terms of winning the next game. Now, the target is more on Tony’s back in the coming days, keeping her under the radar.

At the same time, Kim understands that Tony is playing Jeremy, which means she’s going to have to work with the other alliance - even if she doesn’t trust them. So, it’s probably joy to her ears when they talk about splitting the vote between Michelle and Jeremy. Aha!

Sophie says that the plan is totally Jeremy, with just a couple of votes on Michelle as a just in case, since she and her alliance think that the two of them are an island alone.

Then, Denise, Kim, and Jeremy discuss voting for Ben, with Jeremy saying he believes 100 percent that Tony is voting with them. Kim knows better, and Denise has a different plan in mind. The two of them agree that they will help to blindside Jeremy.

Part of the reason the Ben suggestion sticks for Jeremy is that Ben annoys the crap out of him. Everything the dude does or says is irritating. We’re sure some of that is because Ben has put up a brick wall when it comes to working with Jeremy (he learned a few things in his time with Rob Mariano), and some of it is because Ben is a tiny bit eccentric in his own right. But then again, Tony is worse.

Like Kim, Michelle seems to be suspicious of Tony’s true alliance, but backs off when Jeremy says he’s certain of the connection.

Of course, Tony IS an agent of chaos, which means it doesn’t matter who you are. If you align with him, you can get burned, bitten, both, or worse. He figures he has an opportunity to make a move in the game. He doesn’t like that Sophie is close to Sarah, his top ally. So, rather than vote for Jeremy, obviously always the “low man on the totem pole,” it’s time to get rid of Sophie and, uh, solidify his partnership with Sarah.

That’s some real circuitous thinking.

He waits until the sun is just about to set and then approaches Nick with a plan to vote for Sophie. Nick is onboard. (By the way, Nick is playing a solid game. He’s seeing the direction the wind is blowing and rolling with it. He’s very much a swing vote at this point, so the group he works with is going to be ahead after tonight.)

Next, Tony tells Jeremy that they should vote for Sophie, as Kim and Denise are working with Ben, Sarah, and Sophie to split votes and eliminate either Jeremy or Michelle. Funny thing is that NOW Jeremy doesn’t believe Tony.

The moral of the story is that you should never ever stake your lot with someone as chaotic as Tony.

At Tribal Council, Sophie and Ben admit that they are on edge after the events of the previous vote, as they just don’t know when another bomb could drop. Jeremy points out that you just have to default to believing that everyone else is ALWAYS lying to you.

There’s a lot of conversation around making big moves and building resumes here, but Jeremy ultimately analyzes it correctly when he says that it’s more than just MAKING big moves. You also have to time them correctly. If in fact the vote does go for Sophie, you could argue that the timing is great for Nick, Jeremy, and Michelle, but not for Tony, who orchestrated it. Why? He will have alienated his closest ally, Sarah, and potentially thrown both their games into turmoil.

The other three, however, suddenly have the ability to go back to working with Kim and Denise to get rid of one of Tony, Ben, or Sarah.

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. Usually when Survivor tries to convince us a vote is going in an unexpected direction, it doesn’t. Thus, Jeremy *should* be the person going to Island of Extinction tonight.

No idols are played this evening, and Probst reads out the votes:


She gets voted out with an idol in her pocket, pissing off Ben, Sarah, and possibly even Kim in the process. For Ben and Sarah, their alliance is gone. For Kim, she feels like she was wrong about Tony (even though she wasn’t). For Tony, he’s made a big move, but probably at the expense of some people who will now target him.

Jeremy, Nick, and Michelle can sit back and watch it play out.



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