In the second episode of Survivor: Winners at War, an unexpected sequence of events extinguished a third winner’s torch, sending them to Edge of Extinction.
This week, a winner with very little risk of elimination found her way to a unanimous vote-off and a trip to Edge of Extinction. That winner, of course, is Danni Boatwright. In this episode, she showed us what it means to go from 100 to 0 real quick in Survivor. If the show’s edit is taken at face value, Danni’s surprising fate was a consequence of her paranoia and failure to read the room.
At the Immunity Challenge, Sele assigned Boston Rob and Denise to the puzzle section of the course. In a head-to-head with Dakal’s Sandra and Sophie, they dropped the ball hard. In spite of this, neither Rob nor Denise found themselves in danger during this episode. Instead, the narrative focused on two other possibilities: the tribe might take its shot at Parvati, the biggest strategic threat and ally to Boston Rob; or, the tribe might take out Danni, whose antics revealed her unpredictability to everyone.
Both options really felt possible. In the episode, Adam describes Rob and Parvati in godfather-like terms, with Rob being the godfather himself and Parvati being his most loyal companion. Taking out Parvati would mean weakening the godfather, which would be in everyone’s interest. Parvati’s threat level alone (outside of Godfather analogies) would justify taking her out.
Adam reminds us that these are two of the greatest players to ever play the game. If you were Danni, you would be thanking your lucky stars that the tribe was considering Parvati instead of you. There is no more hopeful situation. Unfortunately, there is no room for screw-ups in Winners at War.
This season, we’ve seen that relationship building will be even more critical than usual. And any inkling of suspicious behavior can put you squarely at the bottom of the tribe. When one odd trip to the water well with a tribe-mate is enough to draw attention to yourself, you can expect loose lips to sink your ship in Winners at War.
Danni was sent to Edge of Extinction this episode because she fell victim to paranoia and overplayed. When she thought her ally Parvati had turned on her (when she hadn’t) and told Boston Rob about voting for her, Danni’s hope was lost. While talking with Ethan about the “old school” versus “new school” players in the game, she failed to realize Ben (one of the newest players) was standing 3 feet away. At Tribal Council, she continued to dig her grave by verbalizing her paranoia, which Parvati visibly reacted to. But even before then, the grave was too deep to escape.
Overall, Danni’s elimination feels unnecessary. She had almost no threatening qualities. It was easy to see her coasting to the merge (and perhaps into the end game). However, as previously stated, Winners at War takes no prisoners, and one misstep is good enough to send you packing.
The good news for Danni is that her favorite NFL team won the Super Bowl this year. The bad news is that she is this week’s Survivor vote-off, and some people had her in their Winners at War draft picks (those people aren’t bitter though, not at all).
“Danni, the tribe has spoken.”