Survivor: Winners At War Episode 12 Recap

Updated: Jan 17

Oh boy, a lot happened this week, and I am not sure how to feel. Let's start at the end and work our way back as we unpack this week's episode.

As an audience viewer, this season has produced two struggles for me. The first is watching some of my all-time favorite players get voted out. Granted, that one is due to an emotional attachment to these great winners. This week, Kim's number got called to head off to the Edge. Kim came into the game with high expectations. Her dominant gameplay in Survivor: One World earned her a reputation as a strategic mastermind. While she technically still has a shot of getting back in the game, her chance at winning doesn't seem promising at this point.

Kim has struggled to gain footing in the game all season long. Unfortunately, a random poker game she played outside of Survivor put an immediate target on her back. From there, she was fighting an uphill battle to regain control of her game.

Kim has struggled to gain footing in the game all season long. Unfortunately, a random poker game she played outside of Survivor put an immediate target on her back. From there, she was fighting an uphill battle to regain control of her game.

Despite the difficulties she experienced this season, Kim played a good game overall. She managed to last 29 days, find an idol, and navigate some murky waters without having any true alliance. The only question about Kim's game entering Winners at War was her ability to handle adversity, something she never had to on One World. Suffice it to say, Kim was a fighter to the very end.

With all of that said, Kim's game wasn't perfect, and this week was no different. It was a huge mistake to make it well known to almost everyone that she wanted to target Tony. Ben immediately told Tony of the plan. You have to get numbers to make moves at this point in the game, but Ben has done nothing but show loyalty to Tony and Sarah to this point. More frustratingly, she was willing to let Jeremy go if needed. Why not wait until after the immunity challenge and approach tribe members one at a time to gauge their interest. If no one bites, at least Jeremy is still a potential target.

Kim also had no business stepping down in the immunity challenge for peanut butter. Survivor history tells us the return on giving up immunity is rarely worth the investment. Sure enough, Kim learned that lesson the hard way.

For those wondering what approximately $2 million worth of peanut butter looks like, we have provided some context below:

My other chief complaint this season has seen an uptick in whispering and strategizing at tribal council. When JT did this maneuver during Survivor: Game Changers, little did we know that he literally changed how Survivors would approach tribal council social protocols. Please send all of your complaints his way.

This trend doesn't seem to be going anywhere anytime soon, a problematic issue from the fan's perspective. As an audience member, these tribals have been hard to follow. I will say that the added subtitles this week helped cut through some of the confusion, but I would like to see this stop going forward.

I can only imagine what the jury must be feeling as they watch these players get up, whisper to one another, and then watch as Jermey pulls out a little pouch that he holds out but doesn't play. I got confused just typing that out! How is the jury supposed to quantify all of this?

You can also start to see the frustration among the castaways with the votes changing at the last minute each week. Denise was very vocal with Jeremy about her unwillingness to continue chatting at tribal. Look, I think Denise could be more tactful in her approach, but I get it. It must be infuriating to have a plan only for one or two people to pull the rug out from the rest of the tribe. And if Denise, one of the most patient and understanding people to ever play the game, is vocalizing their frustration, you know we have some issues.

On the flip side, I get why Jeremy feels the need to whisper and stir up controversy at tribal. He knows he will receive votes, by his former allies no less. Are we supposed to expect him to lie down and give up? He has to do whatever he can to save himself. In many ways, I find it hypocritical when someone like Ben suggests he is tired of all the theatrics, especially as he won his season by dropping Ben Bombs at tribal council. I'm not saying Ben is wrong for feeling this way, but you would think he would be the most understanding of Jeremy's position.

I honestly don't know how to feel. I am drowning in an ocean of emotion from all of this! And I just remembered that Kim got voted out. Sigh. What a revolving door of sadness. So let's move on to something more exciting.

Tony! Tony always promises to provide some fun moments. Plus, he played an important role in all the major events this week. Tony has been impressive these last few weeks. He won immunity for a third week in a row, dictated the vote once again, and introduced us to his spy nest!

That's right, folks, Tony has taken his spy game to the air by hiding in a tree with some strategically placed branches. He is playing a high level this season (literally), but people are starting to notice. One of the reasons Kim targeted Tony this week was because of the big moves he has been making.

On top of this, Tony has some damage control to do with Sarah and Ben after blindsiding Sophie last week. One of my favorite moments this week was at the very beginning when Sarah had a confessional about keeping her cool before immediately flashing to her berating Tony for the move. I would hate to see her when she isn't "keeping her cool."

I think this is a pivotal moment for Tony's game, though. He and Sarah move forward together this week, with Tony even offering to use his immunity idol on her at tribal, but there is a divide between them. There is a similar distrust from Ben towards Tony as well. When Ben finds his idol, he got caught by Tony trying to hide it from him.

Tony stuck his neck out to save Jeremy by forcing his alliance to vote the way he wanted to. Tony was also the catalyst for all the chatter at tribal council this week. I really think Tony is starting to rub people the wrong way.

For Sarah and Ben, it may be time to let Tony go. His strategy is becoming unpredictable. You really never know what he is going to do next. More importantly, the jury is beginning to notice that he has been dictating things lately. I believe it was Boston Rob who christened Tony "Boss Tony" in this episode. If Tony gets to the end, he has the best resume of all remaining players.

Speaking of the jury, this week's Edge of Extinction featured another physical challenge that saw castaways running halfway across the island to collect coconuts. The castaways had to retrieve 20 coconuts, bringing each back one at a time. The first six to finish would win two fire tokens. The competition is very similar to the challenge when the castaways had to collect firewood and bring it back to camp, though the drama factor was way down on this one. The six finishers were Natalie, Sophie, Yul, Tyson, Parvati, and Wendell.

The real story here was Boston Rob. He really struggled with this challenge. At one point, he even took a nasty stumble down some rocks, gashing his elbow. In true Boston Rob fashion, though, he completed the challenge even after it was over.

The guy is the epitome of the Survivor spirit. Rob is a legend because of his never quit attitude. He will continue to push, no matter how hard things get. It's what makes him so endearing to the Survivor community. No matter how this season ends, I am glad we got to Rob play one more time.

Alright, I am emotionally exhausted. So, I am going to give a brief rundown of some other items that happened this week:

  • Michele gave Jeremy her 50/50 advantage to use. I think this will be a great move for her. Jeremy never had to use it, and it solidifies trust between them. I am here for a deep Michele run.

  • Ben and Jeremy cannot get along. Ben doesn't seem interested in working with Jeremy at all. I am not sure what happened here, but Ben is holding onto some grudge. Ben did vote with Jeremy this week, but I see the two still targeting each other down the line.

  • Nick continues to lurk in the shadows. Nick is interesting as he doesn't seem to have any real allies, but he seems to be the player everyone turns to when they want to make a move. A few weeks back, I indicated I would love to see Nick lean into his role as an outlier to use his vote to help take out bigger targets. Considering everyone keeps coming to him about making moves, it seems like he is doing just that. It's a great strategy to get to the end, but I don't know if the jury will see any of the moves as his.

  • Denise had a quiet week until she wasn't anymore. She snapped at Jeremy at tribal council out of frustration. I don't know where these two go from here. Can they work together, or is Denise done trying to play the game with Jeremy?

Okay, that is it for this week. Next week, we get a two-hour episode, meaning we most likely get two vote outs. Will Tony's immunity streak continue? Will Ben and Jeremy ever make up? Whose ear will Tony listen to at tribal council? Will Jeff continue to provide play by play when tribal council devolves? Find out all of that and more next time on Survivor.

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