Survivor: Winners at War Episode 10 Review

Updated: Jan 24

I'm not crying. You're crying.

The loved one's visit is always a special episode of Survivor, and the show pulled out all of the stops for the Winners at War edition. Instead of a singular family member, the castaways were surprised with their whole families. Spouses, significant others, siblings, and children all made the trek to Fiji, where they got to spend a day on the beach together.

Even the castaways living on Extinction got to spend time with their loved ones. This week was a celebration of not only the winners but the families that have held down the fort at home while they chase down the title of Sole Survivor.

The show spent the first half-hour on the loved one's visit, a welcome site during the time of Covid. Survivor had no way of knowing that society would find itself in a lockdown due to COVID-19. But tonight's episode was a reminder of the importance of family support as we struggle through difficult times. I'm not a hugger, but I will be hugging anyone and everyone once it is safe to go back out, and we can all leave our personal Edge of Extinction.

As a fan of the show, I always look forward to this episode every season. Growing up, Survivor was my family's show. It was the one piece of television programming we all watched together. Every Wednesday (and Thursdays before that) was pizza and Probst night in our household, a tradition that continues whenever I visit my parents.

The episode was like soup for the soul. It is comforting and calming amid difficulties. There is no strategy with the loved ones on the beach, just a few moments to remember what truly matters in all of this: family.

Let's Get Down To Business

The second half of the episode put a focus back on the game. While everyone put the swords away during the family visit, the castaways were ready to battle it out as they headed into the immunity challenge.

This week's challenge was another Survivor classic. Balancing an unstable table with rope, castaways had to walk back and forth to collect letters to spell immunity. This challenge has been used several times in the past, including Michele's seasons, where it took over an hour to finish.

Challenges like these require patients and stability. Neither of those words has ever described Tony, so it is only natural that he ends up winning. He outlasted Ben, who isn't known for his patients either. It is the world we live in now, folks. What a strange time it is to be alive.

As the castaways return to camp, the two five-person alliances making up the tribe jockey for position. The first consists of Sarah, Sophie, Tony, Nick, and Ben. The second is Jeremy, Tyson, Kim, Denise, and Michele. One of these groups will take control of the game after tribal council, but which one?

Tribal council was crazy again this week, with several advantages left lying in the wreckage of the war between the two alliances. Kim played her idol for Denise. Jeremy played his safety without power advantage to leave camp without casting a vote. Sarah used her steal a vote advantage. Let's break down each of those decisions.

Tyson ends up going home, but he was certainly not the target going into tribal. It appears Jeremy had the bullseye on his back. Jeremy has struggled to take control of the game in the last few weeks. Like many of the winners this season, Jeremy hasn't faced a ton of adversity in his Survivor career. It will be interesting to see how he responds.

Of course, to save himself this week, he had to use his safety without power advantage. He made the right call in playing it because he was going to go home. It severely hurt his group's chances of taking control of the game, but Sarah was stealing a vote anyway, so his presence at tribal may not have helped his alliance.

I wonder what would have happened if Sarah stole Jeremy's vote, and he then played his advantage. Does she lose Jeremy's vote? Get to steal someone else's? Since she would have possession of his vote already, does she keep it while he just leaves? I don't know what the outcome would have been.

That brings us to Kim and her decision to play her idol on Denise. Sophie knew Kim had the idol if she wanted to play it. After Jeremy left, the group had to decide who was least likely to receive it from Kim. Typically, Denise would be the target because her lack of physical ability in challenges- their words, not mine - would make her the least valuable to a minority alliance.

So Kim played the idol on the person she thought the other alliance would be most likely to vote for, which ended up being incorrect. Even if she did guess right, Sophie would have probably played her idol to guarantee her safety, and Denise would have gone home.

Was it the right call to play it? I think so. She was doing whatever she could to help get control of the game, and she doesn't know that Sophie has another idol. Kim played the cards she was dealt and went all-in with a couple of jacks. She just happened to be going up against a full house.

I know what you are thinking: isn't it possible that Kim plays her idol for Jeremy instead of Denise if Jeremy is sitting at tribal council. While this is technically true, Kim still has to play it correctly. Even if she does, Sophie probably plays her idol, and either Tyson or Denise goes home.

Lastly, we come to Sarah, who played her steal a vote. On a personal note, I am not a fan of this advantage. Historically, it hasn't been game-changing for its owner. Sarah is ironically the only player to have ever played it successfully.

But did she play it right a second time? The answer is probably no. The final vote count was five votes for Tyson, two for Sophie, and two for Denise, both of which were nullified by the idol. That means Michele must have flipped. Tyson still receives four votes if Sarah doesn't use her advantage, and Kim still has to play her hidden immunity idol correctly to keep him from going home.

It is feasible that Michele only voted against Tyson because Sarah used her advantage to steal a vote. There is a scenario where Sarah doesn't use it, and Michele stays loyal. In that case, Denise or Tyson still go home. Even if Kim player her idol correctly on Tyson, Sophie would probably have played hers. In this scenario, Denise goes home.

That leaves two advantages in the game, including Sophie's hidden immunity idol and Michele's 50/50 advantage. That will all change in the coming weeks. Sometimes, though, Survivor can have too many advantages at once, so it is nice to have a pseudo clean slate.

Sophie deserves a lot of credit for this week. She did receive two votes but held onto her idol and is part of a majority alliance. She has a lot of power and is in a great position to make it to the end of the game.

Then again, everything is changing on a week to week basis. With so many big targets remaining and a ton of game left to play, there is no telling who will be going home next..

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