Survivor: Winners At War "We're in the Majors" Recap

Updated: Jan 25

Even when you think the season has reached its peak, Survivor: Winners at War still manages to surprise fans with each passing episode. This week saw the exit of two huge names from the game, with Yul heading off to the Edge of Extinction while Sandra decided to call it quits and head on home.

I can see people disagreeing with Sandra's decision, especially those who aren't fans of her wins. I can already hear her critics yelling from the rooftops, "if she is the Queen, then why did she quit? That just goes to show her game was all social, and she couldn't offer anything else".

Yes, she had a shot of returning to the game, but what were her odds of actually winning a competition to get back in? Why sit around for 20 days to lose and be apart of the jury. Sandra didn't win just because she played a great social game, which she did. Her greatest strength isn't her social skills but rather a firm understanding of her strengths and weaknesses. Sandra isn't a challenge beast, so why pretend like you have a realistic shot of winning against anyone on the Edge, especially physical players like Tyson and Natalie.

For goodness sake, they are now calling the sit-out bench "The Sandra Sit Out Bench," a name she happily embraced. She sits out of immunity challenges because it gives her team a better chance at winning. And isn't that sound strategy? If you can avoid tribal council, they can't send you home. Don't be a hero by trying to insert yourself into a part of the game that isn't your strength. Once she hits the merge, there is little reason to vote Sandra out because she cannot win individual immunity. She lays back, maneuvering through the game on her social ability.

If you don't believe me, look at her performance during Game Changers. She was more aggressive and was a pre-jury boot because of it. She got lost in trying to play a game that didn't fit her.

The Edge is all about surviving until you get the opportunity to win your way back into the game. She wasn't going to win, and her strategic gameplay is rendered useless on the Edge. Ultimately, Sandra made the right decision by leaving. Besides, she has already won twice and has nothing left to prove. After this season, there will only be two castaways ever to win the show twice, and Sandra will forever be the first to accomplish the feat. Go off and enjoy your retirement Queen Sandra. It's well earned.

Scavenger Hunt to the Extreme

Sandra choosing to leave wasn't the only segment from the Edge of Extinction this week. The remaining castaways were each given a note containing instructions to search the island for four fire tokens.

The castaways are searching for the equivalent of a needle in a haystack. Tyson does manage to find the first one, but no one else can seem to find one. After a few hours of looking, they all regroup to shake each other down, literally and figuratively, for information. Everyone denies finding the tokens, leaving the group to assume they are still on the island hidden somewhere.

Only, they aren't. In the least surprising moment of the episode, Boston Rob reveals he was lying. He managed to find the remaining three fire tokens without the tribe knowing. Rob now has some ammunition as the castaways move closer to someone reentering the game, most likely at the merge.

Trouble in Tribal Paradise

Before we get to the Yul vote, tribal dynamics took a front seat this week, a sign we are in for a volatile merge next week. On Dakal, the four remaining castaways are still abuzz with Denise's move to blindside Sandra. The tribe dynamics are interesting here. Tony believes Denise did him a favor by voting out Sandra without him having to get his hands dirty. Subsequently, Denise has started to make herself a target. On top of that, he still believes he has allies in Kim and Jeremy. In Tony's book, this is a win for him.

Jeremy and Kim don't see the move in the same way. The other three seem content moving forward together, meaning Tony would be the target if Dakal heads back to tribal council. It has been quite the turnaround for Jeremy, Denise, and Kim. In the first episode of the season, all three were in danger of going home. Now they are a strong three heading into the merge.

On Yara, there is some tension boiling, and the tribe is ready to explode. Adam believes that Sarah or Ben found the hidden immunity idol even though both vehemently deny it. Ben is content with making the matter worse by agitating Adam into looking for the immunity idol. In reality, Sophie has it, but she isn't even a consideration. In Adam's mind, it is Ben or Sarah. Sophie's game isn't flashy, but it has her in a position for a deeper run if she plays her cards right.

Sarah, who knows where the idol is, tries to squash any rumors of her having it by telling the remaining three tribemates she would be happy to empty her bag and prove her innocence. She plays up her part perfectly, allowing Sophie to declare that they should table all idol talk so they can focus as a group on the immunity challenge.

Once again, Adam believes he knows what is happening, making a blunder by declaring Sarah or Ben have the idol. For Adam, this is becoming a reoccurring theme this season. Hopefully, he takes a step back at the merge. His saving grace may be that he has irritated a handful of players already, which could create a path to the end as a "goat," but his chances of victory seem to be dwindling with each passing day.

Finally, we have to discuss Sele. After the revealing tribal council last week, Yul feels betrayed by Wendell. While they have a good conversation with one another after tribal, Yul overhears Wendell talking with Michele about everything that went down between the two of them. Yul doesn't appreciate how he treats Michelle, only adding to his distrust.

The whole Wendell and Michele relationship is just confounding to me. They clearly have unresolved baggage from their relationship to work through, but it's hard to do that in a game for two million dollars. So instead, we continue to get this passive-aggressive relationship, with neither of them wanting to work together but not wanting to vote each other out.

To make matters worse for Wendell, now his original alliance is questioning if they want to work with him going forward. Last week's tribal council showed Wendell isn't the most trustworthy teammate.

Nick and Yul were also annoyed with Wendell's behavior during the immunity challenge. Instead of focusing on the puzzle, Wendell insisted on calling Jeff over to check if they had it correct before they had finished. Sele lost by a second to Dakal, making Wendell an easy scapegoat.

To be fair to Wendell, he lost an individual immunity challenge on Survivor: Ghost Island by not calling Jeff over at the right time. Besides, this could also be a tactic to cause panic in the other tribes, who cannot see how far Sele was with their puzzle. If they think Sele is finishing up, they are more likely to make a mistake as they speed up their pace to catch up. So Wendell deserves some reprieve here. Really, his tribemates needed firm reasoning to vote him out and jumped over the first perceived mistake they could.

Wendell was the easy target, but it's Yul that gets sent to the Edge of Extinction. It all boils down to his threat level. Michele and Nick correctly identified Yul as the bigger threat. He doesn't help his cause by strategizing how they can still get Wendell's fire tokens when they vote him out. Nick, in particular, does not like this. Yul comes off as controlling, something Nick and Michele don't want any part of. .

Is this the right move for them? Honestly, I am not sure if it's. Yul is a threat to win, but one who offers protection. I mean, who is going to vote Nick out over Yul? He would have been a target after the merge anyway, so what harm does it do keeping him around? Plus, Wendell has given the tribe every reason not to trust him. Just let Yul stay around, take the heat off of you, and vote him out later.

You could make the argument that Yul is too strategic to keep around. While true, Yul's strategy is rooted in logic, making it easier to predict how he will act. Wendell, meanwhile, has shown he will throw people under the bus to benefit his own game. Look at this vote. Yul wanted to work with Nick and Michele because he could trust them and not Wendell. His logical approach ironically blinded him to the possibility those around him would turn on him. Wendell will act on emotion, making him more dangerous to work with long term.

With all of that said, Nick and Michele weren't wrong for voting out Yul. He will win if he gets to the end. Wendell has already aggravated some people with his personality. His strategy has also been all over the map since the tribe swap. Much like Adam, it is starting to feel like Wendell will need to make some adjustments if he wants to have a shot at winning.

Of course, all of that will change once the tribes merge next week. If the promo for next week's episode is any indication, we are in for a chaotic first vote. Adding in the possibility of someone returning from the Edge of Extinction, next week should be a lot of fun to watch!

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