Survivor Winners at War episode 6 recap: Double double

Two players went home across two Tribal Councils, as the Survivor: Winners at War episode 6 results ramped things up ahead of the coming merge.

It’s been a rough few weeks, but the sweet grace of Survivor: Winners at War on our televisions broke through the dreariness that has been almost suffocating recently. Of course, no good deed goes unpunished, as we faced not one, but two former Sole Survivors having their dream of ultimate supremacy fall just short in episode 6, “Quick on the Draw.”

Yara Renewed

Boston Rob being sent to the Edge of Extinction last week has had an understandable impact on the game. Ben Driebergen used the opportunity to illustrate his reasoning in the elimination, as it allows him to get out from under the thumb of his control while also further cementing his relationships with Sarah and “to be quite honest, Sophie, too,” showing everyone he can adapt his game.

Adam Klein, however, knows that he is likely in a worse position over at Yara. He sees that relationship dynamic between Sophie, Sarah, and Ben, and notes that he gets absolutely nothing out of Ben when having his one-on-ones.

What I like most about Survivor: Winners at War is how well attuned these players are as an effect of having won the game. Adam can see days ahead of time that he’s in trouble, so having that knowledge is going to be key for his options to flip the script.

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Another Edge Challenge

It became clear that this episode of Survivor: Winners at War was going to rush through everything possible in a one-hour window. Tyson brought a log to the other Edge of Extinction tribemates, explaining that they could earn a fire token by finding something hidden on the island. Boston Rob immediately went into a leadership role with Ambuh Amber, suggesting it was hidden on the edge of the island.

Tyson clung to the words “at the right place, at the right time,” noting that the only thing on the island affected by time was the tide. This was a clue that many picked up on social media, but gladly, Tyson picked it up with his sleep-and-food-deprived brain, and after pretending he was urinating to get Boston Rob to stop looking at him, he grabbed a power hidden on the rocks at low tide.

The discussion of fire token efficiency became a hot button issue in Survivor: Winners at War episode 6, and the most hilarious case came to be the very first in the episode. Tyson found an Idol Nullifier that he sold to a buyer in Parvati, yet instead of burning three tokens on an Immunity Idol should he come back, he bought a jar of peanut butter.

Strategery aside, the fact that Tyson bought the peanut butter to energize himself as half the reason and to get away with something sneaky being the other half is true to character, proving that there’s still life in the game even when you’re voted out.

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Immunity, Already

Just nine minutes into the episode, we saw the Day 16 Immunity Challenge where tribes boated a series of heavy rice bags through a series of obstacles in the ocean, take it from the water to a bench on the beach, stab open the balls and take them to a lever-based maze. Jeff Probst declared just one tribe would be safe this week, and just one tribe will eat PB&J sandwiches as a reward.

With Sandra and Michele sitting out for their tribes, all tribes stayed fairly even until it came to stabbing the rice bags and retrieving the balls. Dakal lagged a bit behind heading into that station while both Yara and Sele headed into the puzzle portion at the end.

Here is where Sandra’s perfect record in challenges could have helped Dakal make a comeback. Wendell thought he was the big dog, talking smack to Jeff Probst during his performance for Sele, but he managed to drop the ball (literally) right after doing so. It was the lead and skip performance by Sophie (buoyed by Adam in the middle) that saw Yara’s diminished tribe numbers overcome and thrive, as their immunity win forced the other tribes to equal out to four each by the end of the episode.

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Early Scramble

Even though Parvati was granted an idol nullifier, it is powerless without having the numbers. Though Michele and Parvati realized that the odds of getting the original Dakal numbers to flip were low, it’s the game of winners to at least try to find the cracks and break them open. They realized that Nick was that possible split, but all it took was a means of breaking through.

Michele’s attempt to break Wendell was quite ironic after she admonished Adam for trying to play both sides with Boston Rob. She posited that she’d put Wendell’s name down while still showing support for him down the line, which had him absolutely flabbergasted. She was trying to have her cake (Parv’s fire tokens) and eat it, too (getting Wendell’s support while voting for him), and he wasn’t having it.

It was Parvati’s attempt to get Wendell to crack that gave her an option to socially maneuver. Wendell was open about selling his vote for two fire tokens, with him and Parvati approaching each other like a gunslinger standoff. That led Parvati to try to get Nick on board with her side, leveraging that information to potentially get him to flip. Nick even thought that his passive game could be a thing of the past, and now was the time for him to potentially make a big move.

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Dakal Doubts

Just when you think that Tony is playing things straightforward, he breaks out the spy bunker, as he built another spy shack right near the water well. While Denise and Jeremy were playing for their lives, trying to position themselves to Sandra and Tony as the ones to take, Tony was back to his Cagayan days, trying to obtain ill-gotten information.

The funny part is, after Denise pleaded her case to be taken further over Jeremy while he positioned himself as a beacon of strength to carry the tribe forward, the jig was up on Tony. Both Sandra and Kim knew that Tony was likely hiding in a spy shack, and he popped out at perhaps the worst time as all but Denise clouded around him.

With Tony being an unreliable player making the Dakal players cautious, Sandra temporarily abandoned her “anybody but me” strategy in order to play a “give me even more power while making myself vulnerable” play. She leveraged her one Hidden Immunity Idol to Denise as a means of securing two fire tokens for herself, allowing her to nurture a relationship with Denise and have the potential of getting out either Jeremy or Tony.

Sandra made a big risk, although you could see how it could have been a much bigger move overall. Her idol was set to expire at that Tribal Council, yet it was clear she wasn’t going to be voted out. Sandra hoped that she was trading up powers while also expanding her social reach and taking out a threat like Tony, leaving them both to wipe their hands clean. That clearly was not the case, as it gave Denise all the power in the world just for a brief moment.

Tribal Council: The Prequel

Ever since Wendell arrived on the Sele beach with Michele, he’s made it clear that this season is about pre-existing relationships. It arrived again at Tribal Council, where Wendell made it clear that he’s going to be straightforward and stab you in the front and the back. Whereas other seasons you might see people dance around the backroom conversations, things became quickly cleared on the floor of tribal.

Michele and Wendell’s past relationship became a topic of conversation but quickly veered back toward gameplay before it could linger too long down that path. While their words towards each other became terser over the days, Parvati quickly plated the fact that Wendell was willing to sell his vote for two fire tokens, to which he called her bluff by asking her to name a name in a public forum.

That clearly gave Nick and Yul pause, especially with Yul being the biggest strategic threat in the game. Nick posited that the sickness of the game’s emotional manipulation is a byproduct of a winning season, as someone else will take over and win by growing a backbone and playing through the awfulness.

We didn’t even see the votes cast after coming back from commercial break, but even a commercial break couldn’t save a legend from their fate. Parvati Shallow became the seventh victim in Survivor: Winners at War, bequeathing her three remaining fire tokens to her closest ally, Michele.

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Tribal Council 2: Electric Boogaloo

What made the Dakal Tribal Council so fascinating is the difference in opinion about what the theme of Survivor: Winners at War is. Kim posited it as the battle between known threats and lesser threats, with the established thought on the tribe that everyone but Denise is one of those big threats that need to band together.

Denise was obviously opposed to having that kind of designation, while Jeremy suggested that things could have just as easily been old Dakal versus old Sele lines. For what it’s worth, Denise sold the idea that she was forlorn about having to be voted out, while Jeremy was pitching that as hard as it is to go with the numbers, he could offer something in strength in the days ahead.

Little did the tribe know that Denise was about to enter Survivor history. With nobody else playing idols or advantages, she played not just one temporary idol for herself, but also her permanent idol for Jeremy in the hope of completely nullifying any votes heading their way. Though everyone else’s vote came for her, the sole vote for Sandra Diaz-Twine slew the queen and quickly established herself as a threat just as capable as the others that remained.

Quick on the Draw

Survivor: Winners at War

A-

While it was quite ridiculous to have gone to the Edge of Extinction in an episode where two tribes went to Tribal Council, Survivor: Winners at War episode 6 showed us that everybody is playing their hardest, including those who you least suspect.

Key Observations

  • Survivor needs to stop showing just one tribe ahead of an Immunity Challenge in a two-tribal episode. It was clear as day when only Yara had screentime that they would be immune, and the other two tribes would lose.
  • Sophie is unbelievably skilled at tactile dextrous challenges and puzzles, and she has proven the case once more for Yara.
  • Thank god Tony survives another round while still showcasing spy shack tendencies.
  • It’s gotta be Tyson or Natalie that return from the Edge of Extinction, no? Everybody else seems to be also-rans, in contrast.
  • It looks like we are not actually going to merge next week. We could go down to the Final 11 before that happens, which is quite rare for a season where so many players are on the jury.
Next: Survivor winners: Ranking the best Sole Survivors by season

We lost two legendary women in Survivor this week, and fire tokens have fundamentally been central to the conversations surrounding their departure —no wonder why it’s in the future of the show’s blueprints going forward.

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