Survivor: Winners at War "The Buddy System on Steroids" (Episode 5) Recap

Updated: Nov 17, 2020

We may be talking Survivor, but the real world should head the famed slogan of Big Brother, expect the unexpected, as cities essentially shut down due to the coronavirus. Hopefully, all of you are all staying safe, and the impact has been minimal in your lives. Lives will irrevocably change from all of this, so if you have the chance to do something that supports your neighbors, do it. We will all need to rely on each other to get through this, albeit from a safe, socially isolated distance. And if I know one thing about the Survivor community, they show up. It's one of the reasons I love being apart of the Survivor community.


I also have to apologize for the delay in getting the recap out. It's more difficult balancing a full-time job and finding time for all of this than anticipated, especially amid everything that is going in the world. I am officially working from home for the foreseeable future, so hopefully, I will be able to dedicate more time to the site, providing more timely posts. With that in mind, this week's recap will probably be a bit shorter. So here we go!


"The Buddy System on Steroids" featured the much-anticipated tribe swap. I keep waiting for the season that foregoes the tribe swap altogether, but this season desperately needed it. First off, Dakal has dominated the game for the most part. Sele would have voted out Rob, Parvati, or Adam if they went to a tribal council again, so the swap immediately adds more intrigue of who will be going home. Secondly, this is a season of all winners, and it's exciting to see some of our favorite castaways interact for the first time.


In a rare Survivor occurrence, the two tribes split evenly into three new tribes. Dakal consists of Jeremy, Sandra, Kim, Denise, and Tony, while Michele, Wendell, Yul, Parvati, and Nick make up the new Sele tribe. Finally, the third tribe, Yara, features Rob, Sophie, Ben, Adam, and Sarah.

The tribal swap presents some intriguing possibilities that will play out over the next few weeks. On Dakal, Jeremy and Denise are closely aligned from the original Sele while Tony and Sandra bring an alliance from the original Dakal. Kim greatly benefits from the swap because she a free agent who could sway either way. Recognizing she is on the outs, Jeremy quickly swooped in to build a relationship with her. Sophie also gave Kim her hidden immunity back before heading to the swap. All of a sudden, Kim finds herself in quite the power position after fighting from the bottom the first few weeks.


On Sele, old relationships bubbled to the surface this week. Of course, the most obvious connection is with Yul and Parvati, who played together back in the Cook Islands. While they weren't aligned, they have a pre-existing relationship that could benefit both of them moving forward. The show took a moment to point out the connection, so that is likely to come back at some point.


The other pre-existing relationship comes the way of Michele and Wendell, who previously dated each other, and it doesn't sound like it ended well. She doesn't seem to trust Wendell, though she does indicate she is willing to let bygones be bygones for the sake of her game. Michele should probably be worried, though. Wendell doesn't seem interested in talking through their issues, and he is part of the majority alliance with Yul and Nick.


Of course, Parvati and Michele may have one trick up their sleeve that could save their games. Over the last few weeks, Parvati has collected quite a collection of fire tokens. Last week's episode even featured a confessional from Parvati about maybe investing her fire tokens in an advantage. We have yet to see anyone take this option, but the thought of it is exciting. Could this be a route the girls go if they find themselves going to tribal council? It is quite possible, especially since two tribes are going to tribal council next week. Could Wendell find himself in trouble? Maybe, because hell has no fury like a lover's scorn.


The last tribe in the swap is a brand new one, Yara. As a new tribe, the group heads off to a new location, forcing them to start from scratch. Initially, Sarah and Sophie assumed they were in trouble with three former Sele members joining them. But it quickly became apparent that the group has no trust in each other. In only a few minutes, Sarah and Sophie went from dead on arrival to dictating the vote with Rob as their target.


Despite cracks among the old Sele members, Sarah and Sophie got some added safety by finding a hidden immunity idol. Everything was looking up for the duo until Adam, Ben, and Rob met and agreed to stick together and vote out Sarah. Give Rob credit as he knew that he couldn't trust Adam and Ben, so he suggested they all stay at camp and not leave. He employed a similar strategy to great success when he won Redemption Island, but it is a strategy that annoyed all of his tribemates because they could see right through it.


Adam and Ben didn't feel comfortable playing Rob's style of game, so they ended up flipping on him. Was it the right move for them? Probably not. After all three guys quickly threw each other under the bus, Sarah and Sophie have no incentive to consider turning on each other. If Ben and Adam keep Rob, they could get rid of him if Yara loses again and still maintain the numbers. Hell, even if Rob got to the merge, his threat level makes him a prime target for the tribe. The guys made an irrational decision because they couldn't take a back seat for one night, and it will probably cost them the game.


And now Rob heads off to the Edge, where he joins his friends, family, and alliance members who were all voted out because of their connection with Rob. It is surprising to see Rob make it this far, considering the target he had coming into the game. His big downfall was probably his inability to change up his game, overlying on the same strategy he has used in all of his appearances at this point. Yes, Rob was always going to have a tough time winning the game, but he could have given himself a better opportunity by changing up his gameplay.


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