Survivor Winners at War Final Six interviews: Tony’s fake idol and more!

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

Rob Cesternino recently caught up with the Final Six castaways of Survivor: Winners at War and they revealed interesting stories that didn’t make the final edit.

Similar to season 38: Edge of Extinction, Survivor fans were deprived of exit interviews while Winners at War was airing. Rob Cesternino finally got the opportunity to speak with the finalists, and even in their brief comments, there was a wealth of knowledge we weren’t privy to from our TV screens. Be sure to check out the full podcast on RHAP. Here are some of the biggest revelations.

Tony made a fake idol for Sarah

Winners at War had a little bit of everything: epic idol plays, cool advantages, and a brand new twist with Fire Tokens. The one element that was seemingly missing was the ploy of creating a fake idol. However, Tony revealed that he actually made one in Fiji and gave it Sarah. This was heading into the Final Five Tribal Council, where Sarah was vulnerable, especially if Natalie played her idol correctly.

In an attempt to make Natalie and Michele throw their votes on Ben instead of Sarah, Tony had Sarah casually put the fake idol in her bag with Natalie watching. Although this move probably didn’t make that much of a difference in the end, it does show how Tony and Sarah were always thinking of innovative ways to survive.

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Natalie regrets her fire-making decision

It’s been nearly a year since filming ended for Winners at War, but Natalie is still trying to come to peace with the decision she made at the Final Four Tribal Council. She mentioned how she felt mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted at that point and wasn’t thinking straight. That led her to doubt her ability in making fire even though she had plenty of practice on the Edge of Extinction.

Michele nearly received four jury votes

It was interesting to hear about the dynamics of the jury when it came down to the $2 million decision. According to Michele, after Final Tribal finished, Wendell, Adam, Nick, and Danni all went up to her saying that they planned on writing her name down. However, when they heard that Natalie was gaining the jury’s favor, they decided to vote for Tony to ensure he would win. It’s relieving to hear that the core group of jurors took action to guarantee that the most deserving player wins the season.

Ben opens up on his surprising Final Five decision

One of the most controversial moments of the Winners at War finale happened when Ben basically gave up, giving Sarah permission to write his name down. It turns out that Ben’s decision was actually a logical one. He came to the understanding that the jury didn’t support his game, and if he made the end, he wouldn’t win no matter who he went up against.

Survivor: Winners at War
“It All Boils Down to This” – Jeff Probst extinguishes Ben Driebergen’s torch at Tribal Council on the three-hour season finale episode of SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR, airing Wednesday, May 13th (8:00-11:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network. Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

As a result, Ben wanted to make sure either Sarah or Tony won. In his opinion, Tony already had the resume to win it all. However, he was able to recognize that in the eyes of the jury, Sarah wasn’t playing a strong enough game if Natalie made it to the end too. By allowing Sarah to vote him out, that takes away a move from Natalie and gives the credit to Lacina.

Why Denise got voted out instead of going to fire

A moment that sort of got lost with the exciting final two hours of the finale was that pivotal Final Six Tribal Council. The six votes were all blocked by idols, meaning that zero votes counted. Since only Denise and Sarah didn’t have immunity, the other four castaways had to vote for one of them.

Natalie and Michele both revealed that before this revote, they had extensive conversations with Sarah and Denise. That’s actually when Sarah committed to them, claiming that she would vote for Ben next time if they saved her that night. Natalie truly felt Denise was too tight with Ben to flip, so they decided to write her name down instead of forcing the two women to make fire.

Michele justifies her mystery vote for Tyson

More from Survivor: Winners at War

The Final Ten Tribal Council was one of the most dramatic of the season. After Jeremy left the scene with his Safety Without Power Advantage, the majority and minority alliances literally huddled up. It appeared that Michele was a part of the minority, however, she actually ended up writing Tyson’s name down. How did that happen?

Michele explained that throughout that Tribal Council, she was actually more in the middle going from one group to the other. With Jeremy gone, she was unsure which side was better for her. Since she had a strong bond with Nick, she heard from him the plan to vote out Tyson. Instead of informing Kim to play her idol for him, Michele discretely wrote down Tyson’s name.

Here are a few other highlights:

– Idol knowledge: Tony knew about Sophie and Kim’s idols before he blindsided them.
– Taking out Wendell: Nick and Tony played a key role in the Wendell blindside, telling the others about the way he was getting tokens from Michele.
– Edge of Extinction idol: Natalie was debating between Parvati and Tyson when thinking about who to give her extra idol. She settled on Tyson because of his physical ability.
Jeremy and Ben’s feud: On Day 1, Ben went up to Jeremy and offered to him the idea of working together and forming a heroes alliance. When Ben was leaving, he turned around and saw Jeremy basically saying “who does this guy think he is” to the camera. Ever since, it was hard for Ben to trust him.
– Edge of Extinction gossip: Sarah was pissed at hearing that Rob and Parvati were ridiculing her game, as per Natalie. That fueled Sarah for her powerful gender bias speech.
– Tony’s fire-making skills: With Natalie unsure about her fire-making decision, Tony decided to play it up that he was a master at the craft as a way to intimidate Natalie, and convince her not to give up her necklace.

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It’s sounding like Winners at War is filled with events that the edit wasn’t able to fully capture. It will be fun to hear Cesternino’s longer and more detailed podcasts with these castaways over the Survivor offseason.