Survivor Winners at War: Why ____ was sent to Edge of Extinction ninth

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

In Survivor: Winners at War, no one is safe. Read on for insight into the season’s ninth episode, including what went wrong for the winner sent to Edge of Extinction this week.

For the Sele tribe, Survivor: Winners at War episode 7 as a direct sequel to last week’s episode. When Wendell’s behavior at Tribal Council didn’t cost him his game, the natural question was, “How do Nick and Yul feel about him now?” The answer we’re given this episode? It’s complicated.

At the start of Sele’s introduction this week, Yul fills us in on his thoughts: “Tribal Council kind of sucked. Wendell got into it with Parvati, which was completely unnecessary. And then, at one point, he basically said, ‘Make me an offer. Tell me who to vote out, and I’m open to working with you.’ So we know Wendell’s betrayal isn’t lost on his teammates. Last week, we marveled at how he survived after blatantly proclaiming his disloyalty to his allies. But his reputation didn’t make it out unscathed.

So when Sele loses immunity again, it should be straightforward. Wendell out, three to one.

Immunity Challenge part 4 Survivor Winners at War episode 7
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

“I’m so frustrated with Wendell,” Nick says in a confessional. In the Immunity Challenge, Sele lost by about one second, which is at least how long Wendell spent distracting his team in the challenge’s final moments. Wendell has “basically dug his own grave,” Yul agrees in a separate confessional. While Nick and Yul are on their last nerve with Wendell, his best chance is ex-girlfriend Michele, who says she “would love some revenge…just to make sure I don’t fall for his tricks twice.”

We know now that the tribe votes Yul out. Why? Well, this one comes down to Nick and Michele (Wendell wouldn’t really have a choice). Nick and Michele each have good reasons not to trust Wendell, and from that perspective, he would be an easy choice. However, Yul is a much more serious threat, strategically speaking.

When Nick, Michele, and Yul discuss the vote, Yul devises a plan to vote Wendell out without him knowing Michele was in on it. This would optimize Michele’s chances of receiving Wendell’s fire tokens, of which Yul would request one as payment. This multi-layer strategy is incredibly threatening; if Yul can execute moves like this, what other traps could he set without anyone knowing he was the perpetrator?

This is the crux of Sele’s decision this episode: Yul is simply more threatening than Wendell. “Siding with Yul is super dangerous in this game,” Nick says. “We’re gonna have less flexibility” if we keep Yul, he tells Michele.

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Yul doesn’t help himself at Tribal Council. When asked about the new standard of Survivor gameplay, he tells Jeff that “the game has evolved. It’s much more complex, much more fast-paced. This is now like three notches above where I was at before.” True enough. But then he elaborates on the fire tokens dynamic. He explains how a token might be a sufficient bribe to get someone to work with you. “The economics work out,” he says.

Remember, fire tokens were a key piece of Wendell’s almost-betrayal last episode. Without them, he wouldn’t have been open to a deal with Parvati. And as Yul explains the intricacies of fire tokens, we see that the only difference between him and Wendell is how overtly they play their games. It’s a real “devil you know; devil you don’t” type of scenario. Wendell is open about his game, even when it paints him in a poor light. Yul is subtle, cunning, and influential.

By a vote of three to one (the fate we expected for Wendell), Yul is the ninth person sent to Edge of Extinction.

Moving forward, we will keep an eye on the now three-person alliance between Nick, Sophie, and Wendell. With their fourth member voted out, it’s doubtful they will stay together. But crazier things have happened, haven’t they?

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The ninth person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War…Yul.