The Survivor: Winners at War finale brought the end of an epic journey. Here, we discuss the first Tribal Council of the episode and the story of 6th place.
She may have defeated the queen of Survivor earlier in the season, and still had a real shot at winning the game. But with such strong players left and no protection for herself, Denise saw her torch snuffed in the Winners at War finale’s first Tribal Council (the 17th of the season).
Denise didn’t make any serious mistakes to end her game. She was simply one of two people who were not immune at this idol fest of a Tribal. Given a choice between her and Sarah (henceforth “Lacina”), the remaining players chose to keep Lacina around.
With Michele winning the Immunity Challenge and Tony, Ben, and Natalie playing immunity idols for themselves, all votes were negated in the first round of voting. On the re-vote, Denise and Lacina were the only options remaining.
Tony would vote for Denise, of course, given his close relationship with Lacina. But from a viewing perspective, the other three voters (Ben, Natalie, and Michele) could have gone either way. Lacina had just finished giving an impassioned speech about gender bias in Survivor and the real world and had played the game as one half of a power duo that, frankly, we’re shocked made it this far in the game as such big targets from the get-go.
But despite Lacina’s status as a formidable opponent to the remaining players, they unanimously vote Denise out.
It’s a little surprising that Natalie and Michele wouldn’t try to take out one half of Cops-R-Us at this opportunity. My best guess at the rationale is that they were afraid of forcing a tie and going to rocks. But even if the re-vote had tied 2-2 between Denise and Lacina, they could have backed down and voted Denise out anyway, reaching a consensus and avoiding the rock draw.
Perhaps, in reflecting on each player’s resume, the tribe found Denise to be a more dangerous player to save for the endgame. She did, after all, take out Sandra in the season’s flashiest move. What better resume-booster could you want? And, if resume bullet-points were on the top of everyone’s mind, then this unanimity makes sense.
This season, Denise was a true contender for the two-time crown. Her single-handed slaughter of Queen Sandra was easily her boldest move to date, and one of the highlights of Survivor: Winners at War. She was this close to the end but, alas, she became the 17th player voted out this season.