Survivor Winners at War: What the First 2 Episodes Told Us About This Season
To prepare for the finale of this season, I decided to binge through Winners at War to get a better grasp on the season as a whole. It was chilling to watch Parvati and Robb laugh on a beach during episode 1 about the fact that everyone isn’t targetting them, only to know the old schools are going to get systematically taken out one by one in the upcoming weeks. On the other side, Tony told us how he was playing the game and has 100% done exactly that.
The funniest thing about Episode 1 is Tony literally tells us he’s on probation and needs to prove he’s not the same crazy Tony from the past. However, he also states the second he does gain that trust; the old Tony is going to come back in full gear. What happened? People trusted Tony, and now he’s back to his old ways, finding idols, blindsiding opponents and allies, and spying on people in trees. Tony laid out his gameplan to us, and now he might win his second game of Survivor.
She entered the game with a massive chip on her shoulder. Survivor fans fought since the day that Michele won on Koah Rong over whether she or Aubrey deserved to win. Michele might have won the million dollars, but you can tell going into this all winners season, she plays the game carrying the social media threads and comments in mind. If you’ve watched this season, Michele has 100% proved why she is a winner. Michele plays a game where she understands that she won’t be the person calling the shots, but understands the game in such a way that she can’t be a floater and can’t be the biggest threat either. In this game, Michele has displayed a remarkable amount of loyalty to those in her alliance(s). So even though Michele has been on the wrong side of multiple votes, she has put herself in the good graces of various jury members.
Michele has Parvati, Wendell, Nick, and Jeremy, who can vouch for her game. Those are good champions to have in a jury. It’s hard to imagine to her getting there, but if she does, it’s an incredible underdog story.
His goal was to prove he can play a typical game of Survivor and improve socially. It was working until Adam got voted out. Adam was like the most annoying kid in class with the way he was playing the game, and the second he left, Ben took the role of Adam. He is a third banana to Tony and Sarah and has no shot going up against either Michele, Denise, or whoever is on edge. Ben has proven to be able to get to end playing a different style. The bad part about that is the fact it is not a winning style of play. Ben ruins potential blindsides telling both sides the plans and has had no sense of jury management.
She cared about playing a more human game after some of the backlash of her more criminal playstyle on Game Changers. Sarah wanted to people to know she’s playing a good game and to like her. Likewise, she wanted people to see the good side of Tony and understand he’s incredibly likable and trustworthy.
Sarah’s gameplay looked elite at first. However, Sarah is playing the game that Sophie mentioned during the tribal she got voted out. Over time, Sarah is looking like someone with a long list of actions without any quality to it. Her friendly game is almost an insult to the players she befriended because she is blurring the lines too much between cop and criminal. Sarah’s playing the exact opposite of Michele’s game. There’s a real lack of self-awareness to Sarah’s gameplay this season. Even worse, she wanted people to trust Tony as she did, and now Tony is Cagayaning everyone, including her.
In the opening episode, Denise gets lost trying to find the water well alongside Adam, in which he asks if he can be her Malcolm. He succeeded by getting voted out of the game. As a whole, this episode was a great depiction of Denise’s game, where she is always on the outside looking in. Denise is a rogue double-agent who weirdly finds herself connected to those who most would see as the more social pariahs (Adam and Ben). She’s played a savvy game, though it is difficult to get a grasp as to whether everyone else in the game appreciates Denise.
You have to feel bad for Nick. In the first episode, he talks about how being a new school player will get him an advantage when it comes to the twists in the game, and most importantly, how to use the fire tokens. In the end, he saved up six fire tokens to play a small disadvantage (worth eight tokens) on Ben that would lead to Michele winning immunity and Nick getting voted out of the game.
From the jump, it was Jeremy or Natalie. The entire game was his name on the chopping block. It was Natalie instead of him, and then after the swap, it was Sandra instead of him (Sandra gave Denise the idol to vote him out initially). Once the merge occurred, his advantage saved him and made it Tyson instead of him. Then Tony’s blindside made it Sophie instead of him and followed it up with it being Kim instead of him. In the end, Michele played the advantage for herself, ultimately saving her and ending Jeremy’s time (of course, she was going to save herself). Jeremy played on borrowed time. However, if he made it to the end, his case for winning would have been great.
Sidenote: Natalie saved Jeremy twice. Once with the advantage, she sold to him, and with the idol she sold to Sandra (that she traded to Denise).
She started from the bottom and felt out of control. Despite this, she managed herself incredibly well from the jump, understood to vote for Amber, even though she liked Amber. Kim played the hand dealt to her the best she could. Unfortunately, a game of poker, and a whole lot of other variables sunk her game. Kim immediately did not trust Tony or Nick at all, and her instincts were entirely right.
Sophie opened the game strong, and her alliance with Yul was smart. The original Dakal 4 of Yul, Nick, Wendell, and Sophie had the potential to be a devastating alliance. Her relationship with Sarah led to her downfall as Sarah put trust in Tony, and thus, Sophie put her trust in a madman.
Similar to Kim, he quickly realized he was on the bottom and tried to adapt. Sadly, he was still too big of a target and on the outside. Tyson talked about the importance that being on Survivor meant for him and his family. Watching his loved one visit melted me away.
In the first episode, he’s going to every person telling them to split up Jeremy and Natalie, and it was an idea strong enough for everyone to jump. This style of play works in small doses. As a whole, it grates on other players, especially in an all winners season, ultimately resulting in his downfall.
He was on this season. Again, the alliance of he, Nick, Yulu, and Sophie had tons of potential. Voting out Yul made sense because Michele and Nick are closer to him and beatable in the long-run. Although getting rid of Yul hurt his potential merge alliances.
Out of all the old schoolers, Yul adapted to the new school style of play the fastest and most comfortably. Ironically, he’d use his old school status and distance from the game as a shield to create alliances and connections. What he didn’t bank on is Michele and Nick having a pregame agreement, and Wendell being her ex-boyfriend (kick it, partner). Only so much you can plan for.
She got an idol early from the EOE to guarantee her safety. The same idol ended her game. That’s why this season is called Island of the Idols.
Parvati and Rob
They are laughing in episode one about them not being targets for the first vote when they are the legends on their tribe. They quickly got removed once the tribe swaps occurred, and the laughs were over.
A victim of passivity. He wanted to play the game so badly. However, his ties to Parv and Rob made him the blindside target. In a world where Parv/Rob gets taken out first, I think Ethan would have been able to adapt and discover a new game because he is so likable. Watching him struggle on the EOE has been rough.
A rough season for Danni, she falls coming off the boat entering this season and was floundering by episode two when she wasn’t even on anyone’s radar.
I feel bad for Amber. A victim of being attached to Rob, yet not on a tribe with him. Amber also wasn’t great at keeping pace with the modern as she didn’t know if she should be idol hunting. Not to mention, a calm Tony Vlachos was like the Tasmanian devil to her. Imagine her playing with him now?
Is it weird to say that Natalie getting sent to EOE first was better for her Survivor legacy? I mean, good lord, this girl is demolishing endurance challenges thirty days into the game despite weeks of malnourishment and fatigue. Natalie didn’t get any reward challenges, no merge feast, and no Sandra shark steaks. At best, Natalie got a jar of peanut butter and a daily scoop of rice, yet she was walloping the other players in challenges. Get her on MTV’s The Challenge asap.