Survivor Winners at War: How Parvati Shallow can win a second time

Survivor legend Parvati Shallow - (Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.)
Survivor legend Parvati Shallow - (Photo: Timothy Kuratek/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.) /

How a two-time Final Tribal Council participant and one-time winner like Parvati Shallow can have a score to settle (and settle up) in Survivor: Winners at War.

With Russell Hantz obviously out of the running in the eyes of the jury by the time Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains arrived at the Final Tribal Council, it would become clear that the show would have its first two-time winner declared by the end of the night. Sandra Diaz-Twine would eventually take it down, but little could we know Parvati Shallow would hold onto that fire a decade later for Winners at War.

Before we arrive at the end, let’s start at the beginning. Despite the controversy surrounding the theme, Survivor: Cook Islands produced one of the greatest casts in the show’s history. With relatively little danger through the early parts of the Rarotonga swapped tribe phase, Parvati used her social charm to flirt with some of the other players like Nate Gonzalez as a strategic means of immersing herself on all sides of her tribes.

Once Candice and Penner mutinied, she formed a tight bond with them and Adam to maintain control of the tribe while maintaining a slowly dissolving 5-4 hold over Aitu at the merge. However, Penner’s betrayal meant their alliance (with the exception of Penner when Aitu had a 4-2 advantage on their own) was picked off one by one, and when Yul noticed just how alluring Parvati could be at the Final Six Reward Challenge, she was taken out before the challenge threat Adam Gentry could.

Though her social and competitive challenge game was well defined in a season that had Ozzy win all but one Immunity Challenge, her winning drive all came together in Survivor: Micronesia. Saved by a Jonny Fairplay “faux quit” (who was hurting from pain medication withdrawal after suffering an injury created by Danny Bonaduce), Parvati worked with Cirie Fields and Amanda Kimmel for what would be the rest of the game.

After voting out Yau-Man, Parvati found herself swapping into a tribe that would suffer two losses only from a medical evacuation and a quit before reuniting with the Favorites at the merge. With Natalie Bolton joining her trio, the Witches Coven absolutely dominated the post-merge, blindsiding legends like Ozzy strategically, finding (and hiding) a Hidden Immunity Idol and charmed others into giving away individual immunity in a move as infamous as the show itself.

With an individual immunity win, advantages discarded, and social play dominating, she managed to become the Sole Survivor in a 5-3 vote over Amanda. Her game would only become flashier in Heroes vs. Villains, as her threat level was at an all-time high yet managed to stay in the game after the season’s third vote thanks to Randy Bailey being the weak link.

Her alliance with Russell Hantz and Danielle DiLorenzo proved to be thick, as she was capable of going home at the Villains’ next vote. Thanks to Russell convincing Tyson to spoil his own blindside as a split vote against an idol play caused Tyson to be voted out 3-2-0 and with Jerri flipping against Boston Rob, the trio had the appearance of an all-women alliance led by Parvati once again.

With the Heroes playing up Parvati’s influence, J.T. managed to sneak a Hidden Immunity Idol to Russell as a means of getting him to flip their power and enter the merge on a more even playing field. Meanwhile, Parvati found an idol of her own, keeping it a secret from Russell to gain more influence with Danielle, and J.T. would eventually be blindsided at the merge by his own idol after Parvati gave hers to Jerri, nullifying the 5-5 deadlock.

Russell eventually got back at Parvati for her betrayal, blindsiding his own ally in Danielle to regain influence among the remaining Villains. Yet Parvati won three individual immunities and was deemed a lesser threat to Russell than Jerri at the Final Four, as he thought Sandra would gladly take $100,000 (she didn’t know about that). Sandra’s relationship with the Heroes plus Courtney won her the million-dollar check over Parvati, though the jury did respect her comp skills and individual play.

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Parvati Shallow enters Survivor: Winners at War as one of the best (if not the best) overall player throughout the show’s history, racking up more days played than most others in just three seasons. She averages 38 days (!) per season, with her name being synonymous with “this young woman who could charm the pants off anyone has got to be voted out” in dozens of player comparisons to follow.

If she is to last in Winners at War, she’ll need to call up some favors. Her ET Canada video suggests she has a score to settle based on Heroes vs. Villains, even floating the idea that had the jury been given all the info, she could have won. So she likely has Sandra on her hit list, but other than that, she seems to be playing into her new mother character as a facade to lower her threat level.

Even with that in mind, Parvati needs to gather the squad together and make things work early. I’m talking about getting together Boston Rob, Ethan Zohn, Jeremy Collins, and maybe Danni as a core while working with some of the young fans early like Adam and Michele. Those first three names are some of the likeliest to win if they make it to the end, and that’s exactly what Parvati needs to rely on if she wants to avoid getting pegged as the person to vote out.

There’s no breathing easy for Parvati, as these winners have seen her play two almost-winning ways. They know she has an allure that can make you buy sand on a deserted island, and I do fear that she won’t get the chance to make the inroads necessary. However, if there’s someone well-balanced enough to take on the various tasks required for an Edge of Extinction challenge, I feel like Parvati is one of the likeliest to earn her way back into the game, either at the merge or at the end.

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With fire tokens, Edge of Extinction, idols, idol nullifiers, vote-steals, vote blocks, and so much more, the game has evolved much quicker than ever before. However, if Parvati can convince enough people that she’s not ready to take on those challenges for just long enough, I feel like she could win a jury vote against anybody not named Sandra Diaz-Twine.