Welcome everyone, to the first edition of our Survivor: Winners at War breakdown. With everything that’s happening in the world, everybody could use a good distraction. Here, weekly, we will recap each episode, handing out weekly awards that are more valuable and prestigious than winning the two million dollars the winner receives. These are awarded from two different perspectives; one a lifelong fan (Reims) and one watching his first season (Pant). Following one of the craziest episodes in the show’s recent history, there isn’t a better place to start. Spoilers follow.
The theme of this season has been the threats and non-threats, and this past episode, two bonafide threats were voted off the island in the form of Survivor legends Parvati Shallow and Sandra Diaz-Twine after a shocking blindside by underdog Denise Stapley. There’s plenty to talk about, so let’s get right into the awards.
Most Valuable Player: Given to the player who contributed the most to this episode
Reims: I hate to pick the clear-cut choice, but it’s Denise. Not only did she negotiate a better deal as to keep one of her two tokens, she removed one of the game’s biggest threats and cemented a relationship with Jeremy, who is always somebody you want on your side. This vote will go down in history, and Denise deserves all the credit. Some may take issue with the second immunity play, but Sandra probably should have voted for Jeremy to be safe, so I think the use was smart.
Pant: I think the answer is obvious this episode, it has to be Denise. In what could go down as one of the most memorable Survivor moments ever, she managed to obtain Sandra’s idol and use it on Jeremy, play her own, while also voting out Sandra, arguably the biggest threat in her tribe. I was glued to my seat the entire tribal council and Denise brought it home, proving to Sandra that she should be considered a “threat.” Honorable mention to Parvati’s performance, despite the elimination.
Least Valuable Player: Given to the player who receives significant screen time and performs the worst.
Reims: Even though he came out on top of the vote, I’m going to go with Wendell. He got played by Parvati the whole episode and only survived thanks to her status as a threat. That should have been an easy vote, but, whether or not he intended to honor his “deal” with Parv, it was never a smart play to offer it. I don’t know if it was just the edit this week, but he came off so unlikeable and arrogant that it wouldn’t surprise me if he gets taken out next week.
Pant: Because of the blunders she made throughout the episode, I have to go with Sandra here. I know she is the queen of Survivor, but I have to go with Sandra. I never would have expected the two time champion to be manipulated like that. Giving her immunity idol was not smart by Sandra, especially after calling Denise “not a threat” in tribal council. Her in-control attitude cost her this episode and may have damaged her Survivor reputation.
Most Improved: Given to the player who boosted their stock most from last episode
Reims: Not to double dip here, but Denise takes it for me. Going from the definitive bottom of her tribe to the orchestrator of the definitive move of the season, ensuring that Jeremy stays her ally, and completely flipping her tribe wins it for her.
Pant: This could come as a surprise to some, but I think Nick was the most improved player. First of all, his performance in the challenge was great and he almost obtained immunity for his tribe. Additionally, he managed to vote out his Survivor crush Parvati, proving where Nick’s loyalty stands and how cutthroat he can be. With his relaxed attitude and calm demeanor, Nick is a sleeper pick to win this season.
Current Godfather: Given to the player who is pulling the most strings and in the best position to succeed.
Reims: A low-key pick for me, I’m saying Sophie, who’s also my sleeper pick to win the whole show. With an idol in her pocket and Sarah by her side, I’m confident she’ll make it to the merge. Once there, she has a set relationship with Yul, another strong player, and Kim, who also has an idol. She’s so underestimated, and I think her relationships building is up there with the best of them. She’s likely not considered a major threat, so I think she can fly under the radar long enough to control the game.
Pant: An obvious pick here, but I have to go with Yul. So far he has been playing a perfect game and he is in the position he wants to be in. The Sele tribe has four members left and Yul is the leader of a strong alliance that managed to vote out one of the biggest threats on the island. I can’t remember a time this season where his name has been talked about before heading to tribal council. Despite his image as a threat, Yul has managed to prove that he is the godfather with 12 people left in the game.
Out next week: Given to the player we think will be eliminated next week
Reims: I say Michelle, who is rock bottom of her tribe. If Wendell throwing Nick and Yul under the bus didn’t sway them at the last tribal, I don’t see them switching here, unless their only reason they stuck with voting Parv was her threat level.
Pant: I don’t believe the Yara tribe can win consecutive challenges, so I think Adam will be eliminated next week, voted out by the Girls and Ben alliance that was foreshadowed early in the episode.
Stay tuned next week, when we’ll only be left with eleven castaways.