Survivor Season 40 Winners at War Finale Recap and Live Blog

The season finale of Survivor: Winners at War airs tonight on CBS. Read a live recap and join the discussion here.

After Jeff Probst greets us from his garage (no live audience due to COVID-19), he calls this the greatest season ever. He gives all the credits to the players, and he calls it an unpredictable finish. We also see the twenty castaways from their webcams. Afterwards, the episode begins.

It’s time for the Edge of Extinction challenge. One castaway will win his or her way back into the game. The castaways must untangle themselves from rope, dig for rope pieces in the sand, build a rope bridge, go across it, and then solve a table maze. The first person to land two balls in the table maze will win his or her way back into the game. Natalie has three advantages, allowing her to skip her way to the rope bridge (which is also one 1/3 completed) after she untangles herself from the rope. The challenge begins, and Yul is the first to start digging with Parvati and Wendell right behind him. Natalie is struggling untangling the rope, but she finally breaks free. She is now in the lead with Wendell. Soon everyone is working on the rope bridge. Wendell is the first across and he begins on his table maze. Eventually, Rob, Yul, Parvati, Tyson, and Natalie reach their table maze too. Wendell lands a ball first, and he’s followed by Natalie. Tyson lands a ball too. One of these three will only need to land one more ball to reenter the game. Natalie lands her second ball. Natalie returns to the game!

After the challenge, Jeff talks to some of the castaways about what Survivor and this experience means for them. Kim says she was told her first game was perfect and easy, but she admits she screwed up this time. However, she feels at peace. She is still herself, and she’s glad she didn’t turn down this opportunity. Tyson gets choked up talking about Survivor. He says Survivor has been part of his life for the past decade, but he says being a dad is a good replacement for Survivor. Amber says she came back for Rob. She is also emotional as she says no one respects the game more than Rob. She adds that she feels like she only won Survivor: All Stars because the jury hated Rob more than they hated her. Rob says Amber has been a great role model for their children. He says their mom is a champion. Parvati wasn’t sure if she had much left in the tank after being a new mom, but she was willing to come back to play with all she had left. She’s proud of herself. Ethan says Survivor changed his life and saved his life. Ethan says he was fighting for his life, and he dreamed to be healthy enough to play again. He adds that the charity he founded helped fund the cure that helped heal him from his cancer diagnosis. He says this season was a perfect bookend for the life Survivor has gifted him. Jeff applauds all the winners, calling them all a family.

Next we see a montage with voice-overs from the twenty castaways. Adam says he got to play Survivor with his childhood heroes. He believes anything is possible. Tony says playing the game is the most amazing experience. Kim says you find out who you are when you play Survivor. Michele says Survivor changed her for the better. Parvati says Survivor quenches her thirst for adventure. Wendell says it’s a blessing. Sophie embraces being okay with failing. Natalie goes back to what she overcame in Survivor whenever she faces hardships in her life, reminding her anything is possible. Nick says Survivor helped him grow up. Denise learned about life and what she is capable of. Yul says Survivor validated the person he has grown into. Sarah’s life changed with the million dollars. Sandra wouldn’t have what she has without Survivor. She calls Survivor the greatest thing she’s done. Ethan says it’s a game about human relationships. Ben grew immensely as a human. Danni realizes what’s important in life. Rob was just a kid when he played, and Amber says everything she values in life is thanks to Survivor. Tyson has the freedom to spend time with family thanks to the million dollars. Jeremy says Survivor has taught him to enjoy what he has.

Back on the island, Natalie says she has achieved her goal. She says it feels amazing. However, she knows the target is on her. She wants to create waves, and she wants them all to turn on each other. Natalie tells everybody that everybody on the jury is obsessed with Tony. She says they all believe they are taking instructions from Tony. However, Tony is aware Natalie could be lying. He hopes no one believes her. He goes to talk with Sarah, and she is unsure if she can believe what Natalie is saying since she didn’t play with Natalie before. Regardless what the jury may think about Tony, Sarah says in a confessional that Tony wouldn’t be there without her. She wants to make sure the jury doesn’t assume the man is calling the shots.

It’s time for the immunity challenge. They must go through different obstacles to collect bags of puzzle pieces one at a time. Once they collect a bag, they must climb up a flight of stairs and drop their bag by a table. Once they collect all three bags, they can work on solving their three-tier puzzle. The challenge begins, and Ben is the first back with a bag. However, everyone else is close behind. Ben stays in the lead, but Tony and Natalie are close behind. Michele is still in last place while everyone else is working on the puzzle. Michele still need to collect her bags, but Jeff points out how Michele has done this puzzle before and won. Michele finally gets her bags of puzzle pieces, and she starts working on the puzzle before anyone else finished. She makes good progress, and Jeff says it would be a massive comeback if she wins. Michele is the first to get a tier completed. Natalie and Sarah catch up when they get their first tier completed, but Michele remains in the lead after she has her second tier completed. Everyone else is trying to copy Michele, but it’s too late. Michele completes the third tier and solves the puzzle. Michele wins immunity!

The tribe returns to camp. Natalie says she wants to go look for an idol, acting like she doesn’t have any advantages. Tony wants to prepare for the unknown. He says it’s better to assume Natalie has something than feel comfortable that she does not have an idol. Tony and Ben talk game, but Ben is not worried. He does not want to split the votes either, and he is against writing down Denise’s name tonight. Meanwhile, Natalie wants to work with Michele since she knows Michele is on the bottom. Natalie tells Michele she has an idol. Michele is excited to shake up the game. Michele wants to vote out Tony, but Natalie is sure Tony is going to play his idol for himself tonight. They want to at least guarantee that Tony will no longer have an idol tomorrow. Meanwhile, Tony is baffled that Ben is unwilling to split the votes and cast a vote against Denise. Tony says get rid of Denise to be safe. Tony also tells Sarah to get rid of Denise, but Sarah does not believe Natalie has an idol. Sarah believes she built a good enough bond with Natalie. Sarah says if Natalie had an idol, then she would’ve told Sarah. She says she is in control and she knows what’s going on.

It’s time for tribal council. Jeff asks if Natalie would be the easy vote tonight. Ben says Natalie has brought information, but there is no fact-checking since they can’t talk to the jury. Sarah says it’s a blessing since she got to learn what the jury is thinking. Jeff asks what this information is, and Natalie says everyone on the jury thinks Tony is running the show. Sarah says there is a double standard. If a woman lies, cheats, or steals, then she’s fake and phony. If a guy does it, then he’s strategic. Sarah gets emotional, and she says she’s not a bad person. She felt bad about herself after how she was perceived during Survivor: Game Changers, but she feels better and she’s not scared of anyone. Ben adds that women can do anything. Jeff also admits his biases on how he viewed men and women in the game. The discussion goes back to the game. Natalie says Michele is on the bottom. If she didn’t win immunity, then Michele or Natalie would be getting voted out tonight. Tony says Natalie is creating a crack and it feels like they are battling the unknown. Natalie says people have their blinders up and are just giving Tony $2 million unless they make a move. Afterwards, it’s time for the vote.

Before Jeff reads the vote, Natalie plays her hidden immunity idol for herself. “I told you guys,” Tony tells Ben and Sarah. “I knew it.” Afterwards, Tony plays his hidden immunity idol for himself. After Tony sits down, Ben plays his hidden immunity idol for himself.

Jeff reads the votes. The first vote is for…

Natalie

Natalie

Natalie

Natalie

Ben

Ben

There are no valid votes. The only people that can now receive votes are Denise and Sarah. If there is another tie, then Denise and Sarah will compete in a fire-making challenge. Natalie and Michele whisper to each other before they all go recast their votes.

Jeff reads the votes. The first vote is for…

Denise

Denise

Denise

Denise is the seventeenth person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War.

Back at camp, Tony says they wasted an idol because they wouldn’t listen to him. He says he is angry and frustrated. He says he and Ben are vulnerable at the Final 5. The only good thing is that there were three idols played. He goes on a hunt for a hidden immunity idol that night instead of waiting for morning. However, he does not find anything by the time the sun comes up. Everybody is hunting for an idol at the same time, and Michele calls it awkward. Eventually, Natalie finds the hidden immunity idol!

It’s time for the immunity challenge. They must go through a series of obstacles before tossing two sandbags onto a small table. The challenge begins, and the castaways must race up a ramp and dive into the water before collecting a key on a beam. They must then crawl under a net and then toss their sandbags. Everyone is fairly even, except for Michele who is in last place. Ben, Natalie, Sarah, and Tony reach their tables and start tossing their sandbags. Ben is the first to land a sandbag, and he is followed by Tony. It’s now a showdown between Ben and Tony. They only need to land two sandbags to win, and Tony lands his second sandbag first. Tony wins immunity!

Back at camp, Natalie wants to break up the trio. She wants to target Ben tonight. Tony tells Sarah he’ll be in his spy nest. He requests Sarah to go talk to Natalie by the well so he can overhear if they have an idol or not. Sarah and Natalie talk by the well while Tony is up in the tree. He is hidden from view as Natalie throws out the idea of voting out Ben tonight. Natalie does not want to compete against Ben in a possible fire-making challenge. Sarah notices a bulge in Natalie’s buff wrapped around her wrist, so Natalie shows Sarah the hidden immunity idol she hid there. Unbeknownst to Natalie, Tony now knows Natalie has a hidden immunity idol. The conversation eventually ends, and Tony climbs back down. “They were talking for like an hour,” Tony tells the cameraman. Sarah and Tony talk later. The two of them discuss voting for Michele since Natalie has an idol. They don’t think Natalie would play it for anyone but herself. Meanwhile, Michele and Natalie talk too. Natalie reveals how Sarah now knows she has an idol. Michele tells Natalie that they are going to vote for Michele. She tells her they know she has nothing. Michele says she is the obvious target tonight. Meanwhile, Sarah is asking Ben if Natalie would play her idol on herself or Michele. Ben is unsure, but he gets emotional and gives her permission to write down his name tonight. Sarah is shocked, and she gets emotional too. Ben says friendship and loyalty is more important than money. Ben tells Sarah that she’ll have to go on and win the game.

It’s time for tribal council. Jeff points out their competitive spirit. He asks them about breakthroughs. Does Survivor invite intense personal scrutiny? Sarah says she was so hard on herself, but it’s okay to forgive yourself and grow from the experience. Ben wanted to be someone his family can be proud of. He says it’s worth more than the money. Tony says people who watch on TV are not dealing with the emotions and feelings. They don’t see the social aspect. They only see the strategic. Tony says it’s hard to vote people out the more he gets to know them. Sarah says they have to evaluate how they deal with tonight. Sarah says the game turned into an individual one tonight. After tonight, there is no more voting people out. Michele says Tony, Sarah, and Ben found a very strong alliance that carried them throughout the game.  She is hopeful, but she tells herself she needs to curb her expectations for tonight. Afterwards, it’s time for the vote.

Before Jeff reads the votes, Natalie plays her hidden immunity idol for herself.

The first vote is for…

Ben

Michele

Ben

Michele

Ben

Ben is the eighteenth person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War.

It’s time for the final immunity challenge. They must drop a ball into a spiraling contraption and then catch it when it drops out at the bottom. As the challenge progresses, they must add more balls in the contraption. If they are unable to catch a ball when it drops, then they are eliminated from the challenge. The challenge begins, and everybody makes it to the stage that requires two balls at the same time. Eventually they must add a third ball, and Tony is the first one eliminated. He is unable to catch his ball, and he’s out of the challenge. Sarah is the next to be eliminated, making it a showdown between Michele and Natalie. They both have four balls in their contraptions now, but they must add a fifth ball. Natalie almost drops her balls at various points, but she quickly catches them. The challenge continues, and Michele is unable to catch a ball. Natalie wins immunity!

They return to camp, and Tony and Sarah are practicing their fire-making skills. Tony and Sarah are convinced Natalie will send them into the Final 4 challenge. However, Natalie is torn on her decision tonight. She believes Sarah would be tougher to beat in the Final 3 if she is the one to take down Tony. She contemplates if Michele should be the one to compete against Tony. Michele says it would be cool to win the fire-making challenge, but it’s such a risky way to end the game. In her confessional, Natalie says she has all the power and must make a very important decision.

It’s time for tribal council. He asks Natalie about being the first person voted out of the game, yet she has earned her spot in the Final 3. Natalie says it feels like a dream, but the possibility of making it to the end was the motivation she needed to make it through the Edge of Extinction. Michele says she did nothing but practice making fire after the challenge. Tony does not care who he goes up against tonight. Sarah says she would rather go up against Tony. Jeff asks her why, and Sarah get emotional. She says Tony is her partner, and she’d rather they go against each other than have someone else take a shot at them. Michele would rather go against Tony since he can win the game. There is the option of Natalie putting herself in the fire-making challenge like what Chris Underwood did, but Natalie wants to leave the fire-making to someone else tonight. Natalie decides to bring Michele with her to the Final 3. Tony and Sarah will battle it out for the last spot in the Final 3.

The fire-making challenge begins. Natalie is rooting for Sarah to win as Sarah and Tony scrape their magnesium. Tony and Sarah both get a flame, and both flames are building at the same time. They add wood, and Sarah’s flame has reached her rope. It’s burning, but the rope hasn’t broke yet. It looks like it’s only seconds away until Sarah can claim victory, but the fire suddenly becomes smaller. She must rebuild it while Tony’s flame is growing larger. Sarah quickly catches up, and it’s an extremely close challenge. Both fires are growing and reaching the rope. Tony’s flame has become bigger, and it finally burns through the rope. Tony wins the fire-making challenge! Sarah is eliminated and the final jury member. Tony and Sarah hug, and they are both very emotional. Tony apologizes, but Sarah says it’s okay. Jeff talks to Sarah, and Sarah says that she still got something valuable out of this experience. She and Tony are both crying as Sarah says she and Tony have talked about sitting together in the Final 3 since the first day. However, she’s at peace with the outcome. She says if she were to be eliminated from the game, she wouldn’t have wanted it any other way. If she wanted someone to take her out, it would’ve been Tony and vice versa. She wish she could’ve been in the Final 3 with him, but she’s happy for Tony. Afterwards, she gets her torch snuffed and walks away.

The next morning, the Final 3 enjoy a breakfast together. We hear their thoughts about the game in confessionals. Michele fought from the bottom, and she’s proud of getting herself to the end. Natalie was able to duke it out with the best of the best. She is confident in her game. Tony says you have to be good at different aspects of the game of Survivor, and he believes he’s good at everything. He excelled in the strategic, physical, and social aspects of the game. Sandra is the Queen of Survivor since she’s won the game twice. Tony is confident he can win again and become the King of Survivor.

It’s time for the Final Tribal Council. Jeff begins discussion with the social aspect of the game. Yul first offers kudos to the three of them before getting to the questions. Yul wants to know the missing blanks to have a coherent narrative of their games. Denise asks if they had any missteps or missed opportunities. Natalie admits her mistake was relying on her strength for the tribe to stay safe for the first vote instead of trying to build bonds with people. Michele says she had great one-on-one alliances, but she failed to get numbers for a majority alliance. Tony says he doesn’t think he had any missed opportunities. He says he got to know them all from the inside out. Nick asks about getting to know people before burning them, and Tony tells Nick that he knew Nick didn’t want to go to the end with him. He says bonds were real. Jeremy asks about their bond, and Tony admits he was scared of going to the end of the game with Jeremy.

Adam says there’s no denying Natalie crushed the Edge game, but he asks how does she make the jurors want her to win? Natalie says it was her play to make Edge of Extinction look how she wanted to the castaway still in the game. Rob asks why did Natalie isolate Rob, Amber, Ethan, Yul and Wendell while at the Edge of Extinction. Natalie says she knows she is a strong personality, and she was doing something secretive with the advantages she was sending players in the game. She sent the extortion disadvantage to Tony and the challenge penalty advantage to Nick. But Natalie says she’s been real from the start. Parvati agrees, and she says Natalie is honest and doesn’t put up an act. Parvati wants to know how did Tony blindside people without being burned. Tony tells him about the spy nest, which amuses the jury.

Wendell points out how Tony made it to the end without any votes cast against him and how Natalie played a good Edge of Extinction game. Wendell wants to know the outwit portion of Michele’s game. Michele explains how she was all alone in the game. She was on the outs, and she had to fight and adapt to survive. Wendell wants to know everything Natalie won throughout the game. Natalie lists them out. She found an idol to sell to Sandra, she sent Jeremy the advantage to leave tribal council before votes were cast, and she sent Sarah the steal-a-vote advantage that required her to sneak into another tribe’s camp. She also extorted Tony for six fire tokens and sent the last advantage to Nick. Natalie exhausted herself to earn fire tokens to help her win her way back into the game. Natalie says she was still part of the game without being on the same island.

Ben wants to talk about the challenges, and he points out how Tony won four challenges. Tony says he wanted to show the jury that he gives it his all in the challenges. Michele says things changed in the game due to her immunity wins since she was on the outs. Rob wants to know why didn’t Natalie step up to face Tony in the fire-making challenge. Natalie says she wanted them to finish each other off. She says her strategy was to force the alliance to turn against each other. The talk goes back to the Edge of Extinction, and Tony says he only got disadvantages from the Edge of Extinction. Michele always viewed the Edge of Extinction as an advantage. It gave her the strength to carry herself through whenever someone sent her an advantage. She also saw Natalie returning as an opportunity.

Jeff gives the Final 3 one last chance to address the jury. Natalie says half the battle of Survivor is to adapt and move on. She wanted to take apart an unbreakable alliance. She adds that she had a big target on her back after Chris Underwood won Survivor: Edge of Extinction when he returned to the game. It was said the returnee would not make it to the end again, but she accomplished that. She’s excited and proud of herself. Michele says she only went to six tribal councils in her first season, but she went to 15/19 tribal councils this time. She adds that she was vulnerable for a lot of them. She worked harder this season to get to the end while playing with integrity and making great relationships. She played as best as she could for the person she is. She’s proud of herself, win or lose. Tony came in as a human being this time around. He says he hustled throughout the game, and he looked for idols at nighttime since he knew he couldn’t search during daytime. He was able to add surveillance to his game with his spy nest too. He also explains how he was leading votes throughout the game without people knowing he was influencing them. He managed to get to the end without anyone writing down his name. He tried his best to be a great player for the season. He calls this season of Survivor the Superbowl season, and he hopes they appreciate his hard work. Danni says all three of them are incredible. Amber agrees and says the jury respects all three of their journeys. Rob says they have made it a hard decision for them. He says they all deserve to be there. After a standing ovation, it’s time for the vote.

We see Rob vote for Tony, and Parvati vote for Natalie. Tysons vote for Natalie, and Ben votes for Tony too.  But who will win?

It’s time for the reading of the votes. Due to current circumstances, Jeff has to read them through a webcam to the Final 3. Michele, Natalie, and Tony are at their homes with their family.

The first vote is for…

Tony

Natalie

Natalie

Tony

Natalie

Tony

Natalie

Tony

Tony

Tony

Tony

Tony

Tony

TONY VLACHOS WINS SURVIVOR: WINNERS AT WAR!

Parvati, Tyson, Ethan, and Jeremy voted for Natalie. Everybody else voted for Tony. Jeff offers his congratulations, and he asks Tony his thoughts. Tony is grateful, and he’s happy this money will help secure his family financially.

And that wraps up this season of Survivor: Winners at War. Thanks for reading, vote in the polls, and post your thoughts in the comment section below.

 

About Steven Curtis 370 Articles
Steven is a graduate of the University of West Florida with a bachelor's degree in communication arts. He enjoys watching reality competition shows, such as American Idol, Survivor, Big Brother, and The Amazing Race.