The premiere of Survivor: Winners at War premieres tonight on CBS. Read a live recap and join the discussion here.
Tonight begins one of the most anticipated seasons of Survivor yet. For its 4oth season, Survivor will feature a cast made up entirely of former Survivor winners. How will these past champions attempt to claim the title of Sole Survivor and the grand prize once again? Let’s find out!
The episode begins with the male winners and female winners on separate boats on the way to see Jeff. We hear confessionals from some of them. Tony says fans have been waiting 20 years for this season. Parvati says she hasn’t had a chance to be her diabolical self for the past few years while building a family, but she’s ready to play again. Ethan was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma, and he says it’s a miracle he’s playing today. Amber was a kid the first time she played, but she met her husband Rob on Survivor: All Stars and now has a family. She says it would be awesome to beat her husband again. A Jeff voice-over says this will be the biggest battle in Survivor history.
The men greet Jeff on the beach first before they are joined by the women. Sandra is shocked to see Rob and Amber. In her confessional, Sandra reveals that Rob never told Sandra he was playing again while the two of them were on the Island of the Idols. She says she feels betrayed.
Jeff talks to some of the winners. He asks Wendell the feeling, and Wendell says it’s the greatest feeling. He sees a lot of legends. Yul played 14 years ago, and he says he feels like a dinosaur. The game has changed, so he’ll have to change. Jeff asks what Survivor means to Amber now. She says it’s a vacation to not worry about dinner or grocery shopping. She says it’ll be the most epic season yet, and she couldn’t pass it up.
Next, Jeff hands them all a glass of champagne to celebrate the occasion. Afterwards, Jeff reveals to them that the tribes are not going to be divided into men and women after all. They all randomly grab a buff to decide which tribe they will be on.
Dakal – Tony, Wendall, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sara, Yul, Sandra, and Tyson
Sele – Natalie, Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, Jeremy, and Adam
Jeff reveals the first twist. There will be a currency called Fire Tokens. They each will start with one and can earn more as the game progresses. In addition, Edge of Extinction is back in the game. And not only that, but the winner of this season will receive $2 million.
It’s time for the first challenge. Along with fire in the form of flint, they will be playing for immunity. In each match, they must race out in pairs to retrieve a ring. The first person with one hand on a ring and one hand on a pole will win a point. The first tribe to three points will win. The first match is Tyson and Yul vs Jeremy and Ethan. Tyson is the first to get the ring and wrestles with Ethan. Jeremy and Yul join the fray, and Yul is the first to touch the pole. Next is Natalie and Parvati vs Kim and Sarah. Natalie gets the ring, but Kim and Sarah put up a fight. Kim pulls the ring away, getting her and Sarah closer to their pole. Kim touches the pole. The third match is Wendell and Tony vs Ben and Rob. Ben manages to pull the ring back to his tribe’s pole. Rob grabs the pole, giving his tribe its first point. The fourth match is Denise and Natalie vs Amber and Sarah. Natalie gets the ring first, but Amber and Sarah put up a tough fight. Sarah grabs the pole. Dakal wins immunity!
At the Dakal tribe, they all get to work on building shelter. Nick is intrigued by the fire tokens twist and Wendell hopes his hard work building shelter will make him seem useful. Elsewhere, Amber, Sarah, and Tyson are missing their kids. Amber says it was an easy choice to play again, but it was tough to leave her and Rob’s kids behind. Tyson stops himself from getting emotional in his confessional, but he admits it’s hard to be away from his family. Meanwhile, Sandra is aware she has a target on her back. She says she’s the queen, so she knows people will come after her. She already has what everyone else wants, which is to win Survivor twice.
At the Sele tribe, Parvati and Jeremy talk about their kids. Parvati admits it was tough to leave her ten-month-old baby behind. In her confessional, Parvati says she won’t be playing as the flirt anymore since she’s now married. Instead, she plans to play the mom card. In Ethan’s confessional, he says life after cancer is tough. There is the fear of relapse and death, but he is happy to be here. He’s interested to see how he plays in this new era of Survivor. Meanwhile, Denise is unhappy to be going to tribal council again since she attended every single tribal council back in Survivor: Philippines. She and Adam agree to align while out in the forest. Everyone else notices their absence. They see this as an easy excuse to target them. Jeremy says it was a rookie mistake, which is unheard of for past winners.
Back at the Dakal tribe, Tony remembers his mistakes from Survivor: Game Changers. He won’t be doing his antics that make his tribe members nervous, such as publicly looking for hidden immunity idols. Meanwhile, Amber goes off searching for a hidden immunity idol. She’s aware how she and Rob will be targets. Elsewhere, Yul and Sophie agree to align together. In his confessional, Yul admits he may be at a disadvantage for not being part of the Survivor community and not playing multiple times. He brings up how Jeremy, Kim, Rob, and Tyson have played poker before, and we see a clip from that poker game. Tyson even says that in the clip that if they were ever to end up on the game together, then they will be in an alliance. Sophie agrees with Yul’s thoughts, and we hear a confessional from Sophie. She says she’ll need shields in the game, and she believes Yul can be a shield for her.
On the Sele tribe, Rob proposes an alliance with Parvati. In her confessional, Parvati admits she doesn’t know how Rob will play with her since she played a role in his demise in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. However, she thinks she can trust him since he won’t have too many options for allies since he’s a big target. Meanwhile, Danni, Ben, Adam, and Ethan talk game. Danni tells them they need to get out big targets like Rob early on. Later on, Rob, Jeremy, and Ben walk by the beach and talk game. Ben tells Rob that someone has already thrown out his name, and he asks who. Ben dodges the question, and Rob calls him out on it. Rob says he can’t trust Ben if he won’t reveal who threw his name out, and Ben finally caves and tells him that it was Danni. Later, Rob confronts Danni about what Ben told him. Danni admits that she did throw out Rob’s name and she explains that it’s because Rob has more connections than she does. Rob tells her that he respects that she was honest with him, and the two of them say they are willing to work together. Rob says in his confessional that the tribe division could end up being old school vs new school.
The next morning, the Sele tribe is getting ready for the first vote of the game. No one wants to be the one to throw out names, but no one wants to be the first one voted out either. We see Jeremy and Natalie reconnect, who both played for the first time on Survivor: San Juan Del Sur. They plan to play closely together again. Jeremy asks who should leave between Adam and Denise, and Natalie is leaning more towards voting out Adam. Later, Ben spills the beans to Adam about how he and Denise are the targets for wandering into the woods together. Adam is flabbergasted by this considering Natalie and Jeremy have an existing friendship that started years ago. Plus, there’s the marriage between Rob and Amber. Adam asks Ben if he’s willing to split up Natalie and Jeremy. The scrambling continues, and Parvati is confused by the indecision. She was prepared to vote out either Adam or Denise, but now there’s this new plan of voting out either Natalie or Jeremy. Later, Parvati and Rob talk alone. They are surprised that they don’t seem to be on the chopping block since they’re the biggest targets, but there still doesn’t seem to be a clear plan on how everyone else is voting.
It’s time for tribal council. Jeff asks Ethan about the culture shock of playing Survivor again. Ethan says the pace of the game is shocking to him; it’s immediate strategy talk. Rob adds that it’s lightning fast. He says either line up to play or get out of the way. He says people were already gone and into the forest when the boat landed. Jeff asks who, and Denise admits she and Adam got lost on the way to the water well. She’s aware she didn’t get off to a great start. Adam says he and Denise met yesterday. He points out how there’s already closer pairs in the game, including a friendship formed years ago and a marriage. He says any bond between himself and Denise shouldn’t be the one to worry about. Jeff says no one wants to be the first one out, and he points out how Natalie’s sister Nadiya was voted out first on her first season. Natalie doesn’t want to the first one voted out either, especially with Edge of Extinction waiting for her. Parvati says no one should feel comfortable, but a lot of people do. Jeremy doesn’t like that answer. He says people find out who has their backs at tribal council. Ben says his heart is racing, and Michele adds that she’s nervous too. Michele says she is a calm person in the real world, but every word can be skewed and twisted. She’s trying to hold on. Before they all go to cast their votes, Jeremy whispers to Ben how Parvati and Rob might’ve set something up.
Jeff reads the votes. The first vote is for…
Natalie is the first person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War. Natalie, Jeremy, and Michele are blindsided. Jeremy asks Ben who was it, and Ben simply says “We’ll talk.” Before she leaves for the Edge of Extinction, Natalie learns she must bequeath someone a fire token. She chooses Jeremy and gets on a boat to the Edge of Extinction. In her confessional, Natalie says she feels mad. She never experienced getting voted out before. She had higher expectations for herself. She doesn’t know how fire tokens are going to impact the game, but she knows she’ll have a chance to reenter the game.
The next morning, Sandra, Yul, and Sarah talk game. Sandra asks Yul if he is a free agent, and he tells her that he is. Sandra says she is not one to play emotionally, but she feels betrayed by Rob. Throughout all of their time together on Island of the Idols, Rob told Sandra he won’t be playing again. Sandra tells Sarah and Yul this, and Sarah says that Rob lied to Sandra for 36 days straight. Sandra gets mad all over again when she sees Amber. If she has it her way, then Amber will be the first one voted out of their tribe. Later on, Yul solidifies his alliance with Nick, Wendell, and Sophie. He says he thought they would be at a disadvantage by being one time players, but it’s turning out to be an advantage. He tells them that he believes Sandra really is gunning for Rob and Amber, and Wendell says Rob and Amber need to get to the Edge of Extinction as soon as possible. Wendell is fine with Sandra’s plan. However, he wants their alliance to remain as just the four of them.
At the Sele tribe, Michele and Ben talk game. She says it was tough to be excluded from the plan last night. In her confessional, she says it was disappointing how her win was viewed as controversial. She wants to prove herself, so she says it’s worst case scenario to be on the outs already. Ben tells her that the new schoolers need to band together to stop Rob and Parvati from running the show. Later on, we see Jeremy receive his fire token from Natalie.
Back on the Edge of Extinction, Natalie finds a note in a bottle. It tells her to journey to the last spot to see the sunset, and Natalie makes her way to a cliff. She climbs to the top and finds another note. It informs her that she has found a hidden immunity idol good for three tribal councils. It has no value on the Edge of Extinction, but she is allowed to sell it for one fire token to a person on the tribe that loses the next immunity idol. Although she is on the Edge of Extinction, Natalie can still have an impact on the game.
It’s time for the next immunity challenge. They will paddle out to retrieve a bag of number titles. They will then race back, go through a series of obstacles, and then use the tiles to release three rings. They then must toss their rings to land them on oars. The first tribe to land three rings will win immunity. The challenge begins, and Dakal gains a lead as they are the first to retrieve the bags of tiles. However, Sele catches up soon on the next obstacle, requiring everyone to jump off crates into the ocean. The next obstacle is to make their way over a barrel log, and Dakal regains their lead. They are also the first to go over a net crawl as Sandra is cheering them on at the sit out bench. Sele is still trying to get everyone over the barrel log as Yul is working on the combination puzzle to unlock their rings. It took Yul some time, but Yul finally unlocks it after Sele gets everyone over the barrel. Tyson and Wendell alternate tossing rings for Dakal as Adam unlocks the combination puzzle for Sele. Jeremy and Ben alternate for Sele, and both tribes are tied 1-1. Jeremy lands the next ring for Sele, and he lands the third too. Sele wins immunity! In his confessional, Rob admits he’s nervous about Amber. He knows she could be a target because of him, and there’s nothing he can do at the moment to help her.
Dakal returns to camp, and the scrambling begins. Amber, Sandra and Nick’s names are the first ones to be mentioned multiple times. In her confessional, Sophie says everyone is out for blood as if it’s a reward to vote someone off. Later on, we see Sandra spill the beans to whomever’s name was thrown out. She tells Nick that people want him out for being a recent and shady winner. Next, Sandra tells Tony that Tyson wants him out. In addition, Sandra finds out she was given a hidden immunity idol. It’s hers for one fire token, and Sandra gives up her fire token for the idol without any hesitation. Sandra surmised that Natalie gifted her the idol from the Edge of Extinction, and she realizes the value Fire Tokens will have in the game. Later on, Tyson is learning about the supposed “poker alliance” that may be putting him in danger. He wants to make sure to secure his safety, so he says he would be willing to vote out Amber or Kim. Meanwhile, Kim is disappointed how no one wants to talk game with her. She is not used to being on the outs in the game. She is aware of the “poker alliance,” so she believes it will either be Amber, Tyson, or herself getting voted out tonight.
It’s Night 3 and time for tribal council. Jeff reminds Amber how it was sixteen years since she last played Survivor. She says the feeling of being on the edge is still there, but the game moves a lot faster now. Jeff asks if there is a difference on how new school players play as opposed to old school players. Tyson says older players like Yul observes first, but newer players act without thinking first. Tony hopes he’s not in that category of acting without thinking, but Amber says Tony was moving fast today. Tony says everyone else was too. Amber says she’s more cool, calm, and collected. Sandra says you have to keep up with the pace or move out of the way. Jeff asks Sophie about the feeling leading to tribal council, and Sophie hopes she had the right last conversations. Sandra says it was whittled down to a small group of people. Kim candidly says that she knows she is in this group. Kim explains to Jeff how she played in a poker game a year ago, and she fears it will come back to bite her. Kim says there are many more closer relationships than a poker game that happened once a year ago. She also says that there isn’t even an alliance among this poker group. Wendell wonders how close these bonds are, and Kim says not close at all in regards to the poker game. Nick says everyone is thinking about how to put $2 million in their own pockets instead of their friends. Sandra says $2 million may cost some friendships, but she thinks everyone is willing to pay that price to win $2 million.
Jeff reads the votes. The first vote is for…
Amber is the second person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War. Before departing to the Edge of Extinction, we see Amber bequeath her fire token to Rob.
And that wraps up the premiere of Survivor: Winners at War. Thanks for reading, post your thoughts in the comment section below, and come back next week for another live recap.