In Survivor: Winners at War episode 6, two iconic players bit the dust. We look at the second vote-out of the night, and the eighth vote-out of the season.
At the start of Survivor: Winners at War episode 6, the state of the Dakal tribe is quite like that of the Sele tribe; each tribe has a 3-to-2 majority for the original Dakal members. With so few players on each of the three new tribes, this majority is quite dangerous to those in the minority, as it allows for very little wiggle room or opportunity to plead one’s case.
In this same episode, we saw an iconic winner fail to break out of a minority death sentence. So how did an unassuming player on the new Dakal tribe manage to single-handedly dictate the tribe’s vote? With two immunity idols, that’s how.
But how did Denise, of all players on this cast, pull off the season’s biggest move so far and send Sandra packing? Let’s look at the sequence of events that made this possible.
After Yara wins immunity, sending both Sele and Dakal to Tribal Council, we see the winners on Dakal pouting a bit over the loss. However, they are mostly in good spirits, and we don’t see much bitterness at all. It’s clear to everyone what has to happen next: the Dakal majority will deliberate and decide to vote for either Jeremy or Denise.
When asked if she will vote for Jeremy, Denise says, “Do I want to write his name down? No, not at all. But if it means staying in the game, then absolutely.” When asked if he will vote for Denise, Jeremy says, “If it’s me or Denise, obviously I’m gonna put Denise down.” The stage is set, and everyone is on board. Easy peasy.
Then Sandra gets ambitious. She has zero fire tokens (she spent hers on an idol earlier this season) and wants to get her hands on at least a couple. Who has a couple to spare? Denise. “What would you trade your two fire tokens for,” Sandra asks her. Denise responds that she’ll “take immunity for two fire tokens.” Sandra makes Denise an offer that, ostensibly, she could not refuse: “Give me your two fire tokens, and I’ll hand you immunity.”
Denise reminds us that “I actually have an idol in my bag, so I don’t need this,” but that she “could make a move that literally for the first time in my Survivor career feels like it could be game-changing.” Uh-oh. Maybe this won’t go the way Dakal expects.
At Tribal Council, Jeff asks Kim what the theme of Survivor: Winners at War is shaping up to be. “It’s about the threats versus the non-threats,” she answers. Sandra elaborates on this, naming herself, Parvati, Rob, Tyson, Jeremy, and Tony as examples of threats in the game. On the other hand, she says, “a Nick or a Michele or a Denise” are not threats (here, we see another great example of ironic/prophetic things said by soon-to-be-voted-out winners this season).
Without sounding confrontational, Denise offers a different perspective: “We’re all threats for different reasons. It’s just – which one is getting targeted tonight?”
When it’s time to vote, we get to see Sandra holding up Denise’s name. “This is all for show. I’m certain you’re not going home tonight,” she says, and here we see another great example of ironic/prophetic things said by soon-to-be-voted-out winners this season.
Jeff recites his Immunity Idol invitation. “Jeff, can you give me a minute?” Denise says, before playing an idol for herself and returning to her seat. After another moment, she says, “Jeff, can you give me one more minute?” Jeff replies, “Yes,” and Denise spends her second idol to guarantee Jeremy’s immunity.
It’s a real treat to watch an understated winner like Denise pull out the tricks and theatrics in such a way, particularly when she was labeled a non-threat just moments before. It’s poetic, really. Four of the tribe’s five votes are cast for Denise, and none of them count. Denise casts the one and only vote, and the eighth person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War is Sandra Diaz-Twine.
Sandra was the eighth person sent to Edge of Extinction because she became too ambitious and underestimated her competition. Had she kept her immunity idol for herself, there is a chance she could have survived this episode. Instead, she was overconfident that she could trade her safety for a couple of fire tokens, and it ended up costing her game.
She is, like Rob and Parvati, a huge target this season. This makes her a prime target for players looking to make a name for themselves. “I took out Sandra” is a phrase someone was going to be proud to boast this season. Unfortunately for her, it wasn’t the big names like Tony or Tyson who took her out; it was someone she had barely considered a worthy adversary.
The queen stays… the eighth person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War?