Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War analysis
Enemies, extortion, chaos, and ... Tony!
By Brent Sullivan | Published: April 26, 2020
Survivor: Winners at War Episode 11 recap/ analysis

Enemies, extortion, chaos, and ... Tony!


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.


Tony is absolutely TV gold. There isn’t a single player in the history of Survivor that can play the same way that he can and still be around at this point in the game. I seriously thought about making the entire top five all about him this week. It is named from something he said, after all. But I decided that there was still other stuff that I wanted to cover as well, but do not worry, there is plenty of Tony on this week’s Top Five, Baby!


So, let’s get to it.


Jeremy is enemy number 1


1: Jeremy is enemy number 1


Or is he? A lot of people seemed to be upset at Jeremy for getting up and leaving tribal council last week. Especially the group that was going to vote for him. Even Jeremy wasn’t happy with the outcome, but personally I don’t think he has a right to complain if he wasn’t there to help out his group. Some things obviously changed, but shortly after the episode started, Jeremy appeared to be the easy next target that everyone was aiming for. He and Ben also don’t seem to be getting along so well either. They both point the finger at each other and say that the other one is a bigger target.


Heading into tribal council almost everyone was on board with Jeremy being voted out, but at the last minute, Tony swooped in and saved him. Jeremy was able to vote with a new foursome containing Tony, Nick, and Michele to knock out Sophie. You have to wonder, where Jeremy goes from here? Just because things went his way this episode, doesn’t mean that they will next week. He may find himself still stuck in that enemy number one role again.


Natalie and Parvati's tokens


2: Natalie and Parvati's tokens


So, there is a new advantage (or maybe disadvantage) in Survivor: The Extortion Advantage. Natalie and Parvati stumbled upon a hidden bottle on the Edge of Extinction that led them to an advantage hidden under their bed in camp. When they were finally able to get everyone away, Natalie was able to grab it. From here, I thought things played out beautifully.


At first, I thought six fire tokens were a lot to ask for, but Tony has enough contacts in the game that he was able to round up three more from Nick, Jeremy, and Ben, to go with the three he already had. Since he was able to pay up, we can now assume both Natalie and Parvati now have three each. So, the question here is what will they use them on? Will they buy an idol with them or save it to buy an advantage at the next (and last) challenge to get back into the game?


Either way, they have more than anyone else on Extinction Island and should be able to use them to their advantage.




3: Ben


We haven’t seen a whole lot from Ben this season as far as him being a threat and a target to vote out. He sort of placed himself in the “big threat” group awhile back. For the most part though, he has played the part of the goofy guy, the go-between, or the guy looking to foil all Adam’s plans. This is the first time his name has been on the chopping block, in fact, he hasn’t received a single vote all season long.


Jeremy really wanted him gone and he thought he was able to get in with a group that also wanted him sent to the Edge. However, even though that wasn’t the real plan, the takeaway from this is that Ben’s name has been out there as a possibility now and with Jeremy still in the game, I think it could happen again. Jeremy could easily try to get Tony and his new voting bloc to vote with him and take Ben out next. Will Ben be able to survive now that he’s been marked?


Where will everyone land?


4: Where will everyone land?


After the mix-up and the 4-3-2 vote split, there is going to be a bit more chaos during the next episode. I want to take a minute or two to discuss what I think each person is going to do in the coming weeks. First up is the duo of Kim and Denise. It looks as if these two are going to stick together. They were together for a bit on the new Dakal and grew close. Now they are working together pretty well and even played double agents together against Jeremy. These two are in a real good spot to be the swing votes next week between the two groups that voted for Sophie and Jeremy this week.


Next up is Jeremy and Michele. They also seem to be working together again. They were tight at the beginning of the season and that relationship has lasted this long so I don’t see them separating now especially since they may need each other. They will probably try to stay with Tony since he saved Jeremy this last time, but will Tony want to work with them?


Tony will continue to be a wild card until he is voted out or makes it to the end. Sarah may be forced to work with him in the short term since her other biggest ally just got voted out, but Sarah also has Ben as a voting partner. She and Ben have been working together since they were on Yara after the swap. Sarah, Ben, and Tony could keep Nick and go after one of the other four, or Kim and Denise may switch back to their old side.


Finally, that leaves Nick. I am still not really sure where Nick is going to go. He has Tony, but who else is on his side? He has worked with Michele in the past, but that pair doesn’t seem strong. After all of this, my official prediction is that Tony will jump back with Sarah, Ben, Kim, and Denise and after a few weeks of being the target Jeremy finally goes home leaving Nick and Michele on the bottom together.




5: Tony!!!


I saved the best for last. This one happens to be the major story of the episode too. Pretty much everything that happened this week somehow involved Tony. Just read my first four points above and you will see that evidence. In this single episode, he did everything I am about to mention.


He got up early to hunt for an immunity idol, which he found by tricking Nick into looking in a place that he had already looked. He became an undercover agent to get into the good graces of Jeremy and his group. He got the extortion (dis)advantage from Natalie and Parvati and was somehow able to acquire three more fire tokens. He won his second straight immunity challenge. He waited until the last possible minute to convince Jeremy, Nick, and Michele to vote for Sophie, which is the person that he wanted gone.


This sounds like a pretty good season doesn’t it? It’s hard to imagine that he did this all in one episode! Where could Tony possibly go from here? Well, based on everything that I have been writing about, I think that he will be around for a few more votes and he will try to bounce back and forth like he did in season 28. No matter what happens, it has been an absolute pleasure watching him up to this point.



So, there you have it for this week’s episode. What more can I say about this episode? Tony is amazing to watch and hopefully he can work his magic for a few more weeks so we get to continue watching him. Also, it seems crazy that there are only eight people left in the game already. It’s been a fun season and I can’t believe that it is winding down towards the end.


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!


Do you think that Tony is in a bad spot now or will he work some more of his magic?


Will Jeremy survive another tribal?


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!




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