Top Five, Baby! - Brent Sullivan's Survivor: Winners at War analysis
Lugging logs and legging the trek up from the bottom
By Brent Sullivan | Published: March 8, 2020
Survivor: Winners at War Episode 4 recap/ analysis

Lugging logs and legging the trek up from the bottom


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.


Ok, right off the starting line here, I am going to hop up on my soap box. I know I am not alone in not liking the Edge of Extinction twist. My opinion on EoE isn’t so much centered around the “integrity” of the game or not being fair, my biggest issue with it is the amount of screen time that it gets. I understand, especially on this season of all winners, that we want these players to be on our screen for a whole season instead of just a few weeks (or less), but why are people that have been voted out of the game getting so much screen time?


There is so much more going on at Dakal that I am sure we haven’t seen, and we could use some more post-tribal footage as well. I’m not saying that the challenge of them climbing up the stairs twenty times and seeing Ethan struggle with it wasn’t dramatic, because it was. But I also think that it was manufactured drama that we really didn’t need, and we definitely didn’t need to spend 10 minutes of a 44-minute show focusing on it. This is just one of the few reasons why I was hoping this season was going to be 90-minute episodes.


Thankfully there is enough other stuff going on so that I didn’t have to manufacture some top five moments here this week on Top Five Baby!


Adam the worker bee


1: Adam the worker bee


Poor Adam. He is in a tough spot after last week’s episode where he got busted trying to play both sides. Granted, it was his own fault. He actually thought he could work with his group of five, but still tell Rob and Ethan the plan to vote out Parvati in hopes that they would still want to work with him. Not only did it completely backfire on him, but now he is clearly in a tough spot. It appears he may even be the go-to vote over Rob or Parvati at this point (upcoming swap positions pending of course).


He made his apology tour and has become quite the worker bee around camp now too. The foursome of Jeremy, Michelle, Denise, and Ben might have been able to forgive him and work with him again, until Rob lied and said that he was still trying to come over and talk to them and that he wanted to still work with them. So, how is this going to impact Adam’s game moving forward?


He obviously has a huge hill to climb (no EoE pun intended there) to get back to where he was. The upcoming swap may be a good thing for him. He just has to hope he has good enough luck that he ends up on a tribe with someone who has a bigger target than himself and in the numbers. He could potentially earn back some trust if he is swapped with a couple of people from the foursome that he betrayed along with a couple from Dakal and they are able to work together to knock a couple of them out. Otherwise his days may be numbered.


Another update from the edge


2: Another update from the Edge


Despite my feelings on the Edge of Extinction, there is still a lot going on there every week that is going to impact the game. At this point, we still don’t know how the fire tokens are going to impact how the players can make it back into the game. What we do know is that after this week, Natalie is still killing it with four tokens. The only difference is that Ethan, Amber, and Danni all have one now as well.


The other thing we don’t know yet is when exactly they will have a challenge to bring someone back into the game. Are we to assume that it will be the same as season 38 and someone will come back at the merge and the final six? Is it possible that they bring someone back next week since the swap is uneven numbers?


Regardless of when they do it, Natalie is still going to be the odds-on favorite to make it back. Not only does she have those four tokens, but she appears to be handling the life on Extinction Island great. She was jogging while doing the challenge with the firewood and has been out there the longest. The fun part is going to be watching whatever the challenge is going to be to get back in the game because there are a few good challenge performers out there, so even though Natalie has the edge, it should still be a good competition.


The other update that I need to mention is how it showed Ethan, Amber, Danni, and Natalie bonding while doing that grueling challenge. This could be huge come later in the game. If one of them makes it back into the game and just so happens to be sitting in one of the final three spots, you’re looking at what could be three easy votes for that person to win. I know that this should be up in the section why I discuss why I don’t like this twist, but it belongs here too.


Rob and Parvati on the bottom


3: Rob and Parvati on the bottom


What are they to do? After the Ethan vote last week, Rob and Parvati feel like they are on the bottom of the tribe now. While they are not exactly wrong, they do still have Adam around, so there may be some hope for them.


It has been an odd season for Parvati. She has been pretty quiet (at least for her) and she is going along with votes more than she is directing them. Rob, however, is still playing his same type of game where he is making moves and controlling people and votes.


Moving forward, I don’t know what their best course of action is. The swap could help them out if they are swapped together, but they must be with the right people. If they are separated and Rob is with Sandra and some of her crew, that may be the end for Rob. Even though Parvati has been quiet, she may be able to turn on some charm especially if Nick is on her tribe. How fun would that be after hearing him say that he had a crush on her? Who will end up with whom and on what tribe is the big question going into this week and depending on how that ends up will determine Rob and Parvati’s fate.


Sarah is social


4: Sarah is social


We have seen Sarah play three times now and we are finally getting to see her social side that we have been hearing about. We knew that everyone loved her on Game Changers, but we didn’t get to see very many of those conversations. It has been nice to see, in the limited time over on Dakal, that she does have some pretty good social skills.


We know she and Tony have patched things up, they even have a private handshake this time around they are using. It also appears she and Sandra are good now too, even though Sarah helped vote her out in season 34. We obviously saw her hanging out with Tyson a bunch, plus she and Kim were down on the beach together hanging out. This is a good sign for her that we are seeing this side of her game. It is also good for her and her ability to be friendly to everyone on the tribe and not just her alliance.


I think moving forward, she is in a really good spot. First, her Dakal tribe has the numbers advantage over Sele. Secondly, she has been voting with the majority both times she went to tribal council. Third, the people she has aligned herself with are way bigger targets than herself. Finally, I don’t think she will have any issues making friends at the swap or merge. So, Sarah’s social game if going great right now and I think we will see that help her out over the next few episodes.


Fallout from the Tyson vote


5: Fallout from the Tyson vote


Dakal just voted out Tyson. What happens now?


Well, the first takeaway from this is I think Tyson was the first big target to get taken out. I know that they are all winners and they are all targets, but there are a handful of players this season that rise just a little higher than everyone else when you talk about threat level and experience in the game. Those names are Sandra, Rob, Parvati, Tony, and Tyson. Now, one of them has fallen.  Does it open the door for the others to start being taken down as well?


Tyson getting voted out definitely doesn’t help Rob’s game either. They are friends outside of the game and would have teamed up for sure if they were on the same tribe. Another thing that does is put Kim as the sole person left from the “poker alliance” from Dakal. I don’t know how much she has been able to distance herself from that, but she put down Tyson’s name at tribal council this week, so she is at least trying.


The last thing Tyson’s vote out does is it gives the Yul, Sophie, Nick, and Wendell alliance more power since they didn’t lose one of their own. Depending on how they are swapped, that alliance can be pretty strong moving forward. Plus, like I have mentioned several times, there are still some massive threats left in this game. Let’s see how it all plays out next!



So there you have it for this week’s episode. After five vote-offs, it looks as though a swap is finally happening. I am curious to see how they split up. Also, are they going to two tribes or three? There are a handful of people that this swap can save and a couple more that may swap screwed. Also, I just want to mention how funny I thought it was at tribal council when Yul said he thought Tony was going to be different. There have been so many small funny moments this season that has really helped elevate this already great season to another level.


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 someone will get blindsided or will another big target go down?


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