Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War analysis
Peanut butter comfort, spy shack paranoia, and twice the idol fun

Three new tribes and a lot of hardware

 

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.

 

I hope that everyone is still staying safe in these tough times and that you are using this opportunity to spend some quality time with your loved ones. I know there are more important issues going on bigger than a TV reality show, but hopefully Survivor (and to a lesser extent, my blog) can bring some joy to a few people in these trying times.

 

I can’t believe two more big names got voted out this week. They are dropping like flies out there now. The last five to get voted out are five of Survivor’s biggest names in the show’s history. I like watching all these winners play, so it makes it tough to see them keep getting sent to the Edge every week. But, on the other side, it has also been fun to watch some of these legendary players get out-played by the other “new school” players. This week was a double tribal episode, so there is lots to cover, so without further delay, here is this week’s Top Five Baby!

 

Adam still isn't comfortable

 

1: Adam still isn't comfortable

 

Everyone at the Yara tribe is so happy that Rob got voted out during the last tribal council. Well, everyone except Adam. He knew that both he and Rob would struggle trying to work together moving forward and felt like Ben and himself had to make the move to further their games. But now that Rob is gone, Adam is definitely starting to feel the pressure again. Not only does he see Ben bonding well with both Sarah and Sophie, but he also notices that Ben doesn’t seem to want to talk to him when just the two of them are alone. He is now afraid that he is squarely on the bottom of the tribe and would be an easy target if they lose another immunity challenge.

 

Lucky for him, they won this week’s immunity and he doesn’t have to go anywhere, but since it doesn’t appear that a merge is happening next episode, he'd better hope they win again. Personally, I think that he made the right choice is getting Rob out. They had so many issues between them. Adam’s game is better without him trying to navigate around Rob after the merge. However, I do still think that he is in a tough spot. I think the reason Ben doesn’t want to talk to him is because he is still upset about him spilling the plans to Rob when they were on Sele together.

 

So, after a strong start out of the gate, Adam has made some mistakes and he is still trying to play through them. I wonder if he and Denise will be able to work together at the merge (if he makes it) or if Ben, Jeremy, and Michele would ever trust him again. Original Dakal still has the numbers, so they may be forced to work together if old tribe lines become a thing. Either way, he has a tough battle ahead.

 

 

Tyson is a fool

 

2: Tyson is a fool

 

Or is he? So, Tyson was able to fool his buddy with a fake bathroom break and find the idol nullifier on the Edge of Extinction this week. He also was able to sell it to Parvati for one fire token. However, this didn’t end up having any impact on her, at least none that we saw.

 

So what did Tyson do with this fire token? Did he save it up, like Natalie has been doing? No, instead he bought a giant jar of peanut butter to enjoy while on the Edge of Extinction. During my first watch through I couldn’t believe what he had done. Why on Earth would he trade in something that could help him get back into the game for food? But after a second time watching it, maybe Tyson isn’t a fool after all.

 

This is his fourth time playing Survivor, he knows what it takes to survive the elements and how to get some nourishment. Remember the “Coconut Bandits”? So maybe he knows exactly what he is doing. Maybe eating all the peanut butter over a few days’ time will give him just enough nutrients to help him compete better in the challenge to return to the game. After all, we don’t know what sort of challenge it is going to be and we don’t know how big of an advantage each fire token will equal to. The challenge advantage may end up being such a small reward that the extra nutrients will be the bigger advantage. Plus, it’s sneaky and hilarious too, right?

 

My only issue with his decision is how is he going to hide it the whole time? That is an awfully big jar to try and hide, plus his breath is going to smell like peanut butter for hours after eating it. I look forward to seeing if this pays off.

 

Old Tony makes an appearance

 

3: Old Tony makes an appearance

 

Isn’t Tony just great to watch? I feel like we were all cheated out of something fantastic in season 34 seeing him get voted out so early. But here he is back on our TVs and being amazing once again. He has adapted his game this time around and has really been able to move around more than last time. We have seen glimpses of the old Tony from season 28 off and on, but he was almost all the way back this week when we got to see the return of the Tony “Spy Shack”. Unfortunately for him, nothing really came of it and Sandra even suspected something like this was going on. We heard a few people say that Tony has been great, but on tribal council days he starts acting like this.

 

So what does that mean for him going forward? Well, with a merge being so close, he may have to only miss one more tribal and then he will be attending all of them until he gets voted out or makes it to the end. Does this mean we will get to see the great Tony antics every week until the end of the season? If so, then I am totally on board with that! He is such a great character and I have loved watching him this season.

 

If Dakal goes back to tribal council though, he may be in trouble. I don’t see why Denise and Jeremy won’t keep working together and with Kim not being close to Tony, from their original tribe, that may be her chance to jump ship. I really want to see Cops R Us get back together, so hopefully they can not finish last in the next challenge. This way he can make the merge and team up with Sarah again. I am excited for this to happen.

 

Michele is all alone

 

4: Michele is all alone

 

We knew after the tribe swap that this new Sele tribe was going to have the most straightforward vote of all of them. I don’t know if Michele and Parvati were necessarily swamp-screwed, but I really don’t think either of them had a chance when we saw that Yul, Nick, and Wendell all ended up on the same tribe together. They are three members of, most likely, the strongest alliance this season — with only Sophie not being with them for the moment.

 

So, all the talk between Parvati and Wendell was most likely just for the people watching at home as neither of them were going to budge. Parvati did her best by trying to bring up the bargaining during tribal, but I really don’t think that Wendell was ever going to take that deal and I also think that Nick wasn’t considering making a jump to the other side either.

 

Parvati and Michele were clearly on the bottom of that new Sele tribe and now that Parvati has been voted out, Michele truly is alone in the group of four. She not only has no one left to talk strategy with, but she is also still stuck on the same tribe as her ex-boyfriend. That seems to bother her more than anything else. She is trying to make something work with him, but he just keeps shutting her down. If they can win and she can make it to the merge, she has a few other allies that she can work with, like Jeremy and Ben. Otherwise, she is easily the next to go if Sele goes back to tribal council before the merge.

 

Denise's legendary move

 

5: Denise's legendary move

 

I have watched this multiple times now and each time I am still impressed. The way Denise was playing weak and dumb to the other “big threats” in her tribe was fantastic. Sandra was trying to make a big move by getting rid of Jeremy or Tony while gaining an ally in Denise. That obviously backfired on her in the worst way possible. She wanted to trade her idol (which had to be used at that tribal council before it expired) for two fire tokens. Denise agreed to give her one now and one after tribal. Sandra is a professional at Survivor, so I am surprised that she had that much trust in Denise. On the other hand, Sandra also knows that you must make some big moves in this game, so she tried to do just that. In the end, Denise played the idol on herself and put her one vote on Sandra sending her to the Edge of Extinction.

 

This puts Denise in a great spot now. Jeremy will be working with her still after this and if they can both make it to the merge, they can team up again with Ben and Michele (if she makes it). Plus, Adam may be there as a fifth if they need him. She also gained some respect from both Tony and Kim that may earn her some jury votes if she can make it to the end. Although, I think that Tony may be in a tough spot if they go back to tribal next week. Finally, she has a great big move on her resume now and it comes at a time where it’s not too early to be thinking about that sort of thing. Apart from the in-game stuff, this move shot her up the rankings of all-time winners in my book. She just showed that she can play with and out-play even with the best!

 


 

So there you have it for this week’s double elimination episode. Only four people left in each tribe now. No place to hide, so tribal immunity will be huge next week, especially for Adam, Michele, and Tony. It also looks like no merge yet too which is interesting. I thought it would be here by now in this season.

 

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!

 

Are Adam, Michele, and Tony doomed if their tribes lose?

 

Is the merge going to happen after next week? That would be a 12-person merge with a vote out next week and someone coming back into the game from Edge of Extinction.

 

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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