Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War analysis
Lots of family, cops, and an original Dakal duo

Lots of family, cops, and an original Dakal duo

 

Welcome to “Top Five Baby!” where after each episode of Survivor, Brent Sullivan will try to break apart and find the top five moments that made a lasting impact on the season or moments that could at least affect the next few episodes. Sometimes the moments are obvious and other times ... not so much, but after years of watching and analyzing this show to myself, I like to share the ones that I think stand out the most.

 

Chaos last week and love this week. This was such a unique episode. Not only did both spouses and kids come out during the loved one’s visit (which has never happened, but the contestants didn’t have to compete in a challenge during the visit either (that also has never happened). From the looks on their faces, I don’t think they were even expecting a family visit this early. Someone might have even mentioned that fact.

 

I was surprised to see that the players on the Edge of Extinction also got to visit with their families as well. Definitely some nice moments all around, but it sure didn’t leave me much to write about with all the extra screen time for family reunions. Some of them may be rather short, but I will do my best on this week’s Top Five Baby!

 

Family visit

 

1: Family visit

 

I know I just talked about this above, but another aspect of the family visit that I didn’t mention was the fact seven of the players have spouses and kids and only three don’t. I am sure that this has come up before now, but it makes me wonder if Kim, Ben, Sarah, Denise, Tony, or Jeremy will have an edge. If any of them are sitting at the end and the other players, who have seen and met their kids, are on the jury, will that be enough to sway anyone? Not to take away from Nick or Sophie’s future spouses or Michele’s sister, but having someone else to talk to about kids can be a real bonding moment.

 

This goes the same for the people on the Edge of Extinction. Quite a few of them also have kids and they can use that if they are able to win their way back into the game. Hopefully, if someone plays a better game, they don’t lose because of this, but if it’s a close vote, then that could be just enough.

 

Cops R Us argument

 

2: Cops R Us argument

 

I don’t know why I enjoyed watching Sarah and Tony argue at the water well this week, but it was entertaining. They have been working together very well all season and this is the first signs of a crack between them. I have wondered all season if one or the other was going to try and cut the other one before they made it to the end together, but they have held tight so far.

 

With such little time to focus on gameplay and strategy talk this episode, I was surprised that we got so much of their discussion, so hopefully it’s not a sign of things to come. I have enjoyed watching the two of them so far and hopefully they can make it work. They also both appear to be in the larger group of five (or six) so they would have to be careful if they did try to make a move that it didn’t ruin their place in the group. Let’s see how the next few episodes pan out for them.

 

Sarah and Sophie

 

3: Sarah and Sophie

 

Both of these women are playing great games and both of their names have been coming up as potential boots, but this is the first time that someone directly mentioned that Sarah and Sophie needed to be split up. They have been on a tribe together this whole time. They both started on Dakal and then both got swapped to Yara, and they are still together. They have had their fare share of luck, strategy, and advantages, but overall, they have been making moves while still avoiding getting voted out.

 

However, Jeremy wanted to vote one of them out this week to separate them. There is a good chance his move was going to backfire on him. If he hadn’t left tribal council with his advantage, he probably would have been voted out. How will they react moving forward? This is another fun pair that I have enjoyed watching this season, so hopefully they can stick around a bit longer.

 

Sophie at Tribal

 

4: Sophie at Tribal

 

It was another crazy tribal council this week with people standing up and whispering almost as soon as tribal council started. Really, what was all the whispering about? But the big power move came after Jeremy left. Sophie pulled her group of five off to the side to decide what to do now that he had left tribal.

 

In a season of all winners, I felt like this was a massive power move to directly exclude four other players right in front of the jury, also it was crazy to make it so obvious. I understand that Jeremy was most likely the target and the remaining Survivors needed time to regroup after he left, but to be so up front about it at this point in the game was bold.

 

There are still nine players left and there is still plenty of room for movement amongst the remaining players, so let’s see how this affects her endgame.

 

Advantages are played

 

5: Advantages are played

 

In my opinion, one of the best things that this game has offered over the last few seasons is putting a time limit on some of the advantages. Not only does this prevent everyone from holding them until the last moment, but it also keeps some of the post merge tribal councils exciting. You never know when someone is going to be playing an advantage or something else.

 

This week we had three advantages leave the game. Jeremy finally played his “Safety Without Power” advantage, and from the looks of it, he might have picked a great time to play it. How will the people in his alliance treat him when they get back to camp?

 

The next one was Sarah’s “Steal A Vote” advantage. I don’t know if it really needed to be played this time around or not, but Sophie mentioned it, so I wonder if she urged her to use it? Finally, Kim played her idol (incorrectly) on Denise as Tyson was voted off.

 

So, the last two idols or advantages that we have left in the game is Sophie’s hidden immunity idol and Michelle’s 50/50 advantage which has a time limit on it. I can almost guarantee that at least one new advantage will come into play next week now. Only question is ... who will get it?

 


 

So, there you have it for this week’s episode. Not a whole lot of strategy and gameplay going on this week, so not a ton for me to talk about, but plenty of sweet family moments. Also, congrats to Tony for winning his first ever individual immunity challenge. I think even he was surprised that he won that one.

 

But I want to hear from you as well, let me know if I missed any moments or if you think I’m way off base, the interaction is part of what makes this fun!

 

Did you like all the airtime given to the loved ones visit?

 

Was Tyson the right decision to send to Extinction Island?

 

Please catch more of me here next week where I will try to bring you more fun top five thoughts as we continue the 20th year of Survivor!

 

Thanks,

 

Brent Sullivan - Top Five, Baby!Brent Sullivan is a long-time fanatic of Survivor and has been writing about it for years. When he is not writing, talking about, or applying to be on the show, he spends his time with family, doing nerdy IT stuff, and watching movies. Follow him on twitter: @BSully_13

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