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Winners at War – Episode 10: “The Full Circle”

Wow, I knew that was going to happen. No, not today’s episode.

Just the fact that life has taken a crazy turn and because of that I couldn’t write this blog last week, and it’ll be a short one and different one this week.

If you care, you may know that I live in Japan, and that the country is not on lockdown, probably won’t totally be, despite a nationwide state of emergency declaration today.

I teach at the university and the semester was about to start normally (don’t ask). Luckily, with a few other teachers, we pushed for the classes to be moved online and after two weeks of struggles and endless unsafe meetings (because no social distancing), the administration agreed. However, it means that whereas April is usually a pretty chill time, this year it’s been as crazy as it can be, as I have to redesign entire courses in the matter of days to port them online.

But enough about me, let’s talk about Survivor.

First of all, I want to say a few things about Adam Klein.

Sure, I feel bad that he was voted out last week, but even more, I really don’t like that he was depicted as an idiot for most of the season. It really isn’t fair. Sure, he made too many mistakes and overplayed his hands, but he also played harder than anyone there during the first half of the season. He even controlled the votes early on at Sele, despite the fact that the edit didn’t give him credit.
Even his “podium idol” attempt was a good move, not a dumb one. A dumb move would have been to “know he’s on the chopping block, to be pretty certain this fleur-de-lys is an idol and not try to play it because people could make fun of him if it failed.”
Doing what he did was definitely not dumb, quite the contrary. If it had been an idol, it would have been regarded as an amazing and historic move.

So, let’s give Adam a break a minute.

With that being said, I’m sure that there is an idol in the voting booth. We saw two people looking in the past (Adam and Rob). Why were we shown these shots?

We’ll see.

OK, onto this week’s episode.

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Tyson got voted out again! That’s a big bummer. I was sure he was going to be the winner, but now, I’m way less certain, also he could return again.

Before we go into the strategy, yes, the loved ones visit was fantastic, it can’t be topped, and yeah I teared up a bit… Now why does Probst feel like he has to act like he doesn’t understand human emotions and ask the tritest questions every time?

Back to the game.

First, I’m afraid that we’re falling again into some problems we’ve had in the past with the edit. Many people have said it before, but with an all-returnees season, we really need at least 90 minutes per episode, more would even be better.

A lot of the social and strategical dynamics didn’t make sense, for example, the fact that last week Tony, Ben, Jeremy, and Tyson were in an alliance, and this week they’re split into two different factions. What happened? How did that happen? We’ll probably never know.

Another confusing thing was tribal council.

Enough with the live tribal councils! They were fun one time exactly, the first time it happened (with JT in Game Changers), since then they’re so annoying because we simply can’t follow what’s happening. They’re not good TV.

So, let’s try to understand what’s happening.

When it’s pretty much time to vote, we have an apparent tie: 5 vs 5


Then, Jeremy – feeling that he’s the target and/or not wanting to go to rocks – uses his “safety without power” and leaves.
And Sarah uses her “steal a vote” advantage.

So the situation becomes as follows:


Almost every time a “steal a vote” advantage has been played, the person whose vote was stolen was also the target. So stealing Denise’s vote made her the target (or was it?). And Sophie knowing that Kim had an idol, they could assume that Kim would use her idol on Denise, as she did.

However, as there was still a chance that Kim plays it on herself, it made sense to not vote for Kim at all.

Splitting the votes between Denise and Tyson is what made sense. It would create a three-way tie between Sophie, Tyson, and Denise. Or a two-way tie Tyson and Sophie as the idol is being played on Denise.

However, only two votes went to Denise’s direction, not three. Which I find a bit odd.

If no one messed up, and the plan was indeed four votes to Tyson and two votes for Denise (and three votes for Sophie), it was extremely dangerous, as if the idol had been played on Tyson, Sophie would go home, not Denise. Unless Sophie was planning on playing her own idol if Kim’s idol was played on Tyson? Probably, but it’s really weird. It’s a much safer plan to have three votes on Tyson and three votes on Denise and force a tie, with Tyson or Denise voted out at the revote no matter what.

Somebody must have messed up and voted for Tyson although they were supposed to vote for Denise.

Oh, and there is another thing… Tyson didn’t get four votes, he got five! And Sophie didn’t get three votes, she got two. That is because Michele didn’t vote with her group at all, she voted with the majority.

Why is that?

Seeing Tyson’s dejected face when Jeremy left the tribal council, it may not have been a blindside at all. Tyson knew he was the target, and if Tyson knew everyone else knew too.

So, Michele either jumped ship because she knew that there was no way Sophie would get voted out, or – after all, Nick is her ally and he was on the other side – she never really was with the Tyson, Denise, Kim group. She only was with them because she’s been allied with Jeremy from day one (or even before), and she had no reason to stay with them once Jeremy left tribal.

It was a very interesting vote, but I’m not going to lie, my face is similar to Tyson’s right now, and I’m a little mad at Jeremy, even if I understand his position… a little… Still, a Tyson, Denise, Kim, Jeremy alliance was a dream come true. It lasted less than an episode and ended as badly as possible.

Ok, that’s all for today, no time for a warrior award (Sophie and Sarah for managing the situation perfectly? Jeremy for having the greatest impact on the vote this week? Not sure), no prediction for next week, no winner pick (although as insane as it sounds, Tony’s edit is starting to look like a winner’s edit).

Let’s just hope that next week I’ll have more time for this.

Stay tuned.

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