Survivor: Winners At War Episode 4 Recap - It's The Climb

*SPOILERS OBVIOUSLY AHEAD*

With five people out and 15 remaining, we're roughly a quarter of the way through Season 40. As far as I'm concerned, this season has definitely lived up to the hype and should get even crazier with the tribe swap next week. Before getting into the recap, I'd like to thank JetBlue for giving me the opportunity watch Survivor live last night on my flight back from Tampa. The satellite wasn't working at first, and I was about to write a strongly worded letter to JetBlue HQ, but the signal came back at 7:58 so there was no need for me to cause a scene. (If the FBI is reading this, I just would've like loudly huffed and puffed or some shit. Not anything actually threatening). 

Alright onto the recap...

Sele Camp (Blue)

Sele got back to their camp after the Ethan vote. At first, it was mainly just people shitting on Adam for being a weasel and playing both sides in the last vote. This led to the Adam apology tour. He also started actually working around camp to try and get back on everyone's good side. Everyone saw through it. Adam's edit is really interesting to me. There have been times, more so early on, when it seemed like there were potential traces of a winner's edit. He's been getting a lot of airtime, and people were calling him a smart player. But recently, he's become the butt of jokes basically. Everyone is calling him a weasel and is basically toying with him. It seems like he's in over his head. I think he's unlikely to win, but he's definitely been a huge storyline so far. 

Speaking of toying with Adam, that's exactly what Boston Rob and Parvati did. It was clear that they were on the outs of the tribe. They were talking to Adam in the water and trying to bait him into saying something that would get him in trouble. He kept his foot out of his mouth, but that didn't stop them from stirring something up. Rob realized that they basically could just lie. They told Jeremy and Michele that Adam was talking to them playing both sides again. Both Jeremy and Michele bought it. Jeremy gave a confessional saying how he doesn't trust Adam and needs him out. So it was a job well done by Rob and Parvati. 

One other interesting moment was Rob and Michele talking together. Michele told him how much backlash she received after her win and how that made things tough on her. Rob basically said, "Who cares? You won." And he's right. Just thought this was an interesting scene to include. I'm getting more and more winner vibes from Michele, my original winner pick back when the cast was originally announced. 

Dakal Camp (Red)

Everything was pretty delightful over at Dakal. They've only been to one tribal so far, and everyone has been getting along for the most part. Yul was even waking everyone up with morning hugs. If anyone else in the game did this, it would probably annoy me. But something about Yul is just so god damn likable that I didn't mind it. 

We were also shown some clips of Tyson bonding with Sarah, a rather unlikely duo. Tyson began planting seeds about a potential four-person alliance amongst the one-time players: Yul, Nick, Sophie, and Wendell. He was actually exactly right about this. He stressed the need for the bigger threats to stick together. Sandra, however, wasn't buying it and still wanted Tyson out since he originally wanted to target her.

I didn't realize how close the Edge of Extinction was to the camps. Dakal was gazing out into the distance and saw them over the water. Speaking of...

Edge of Extinction

There were now four over at Extinction Island: Natalie, Amber, Danni, and Ethan. To get a fire token, they had to climb up the mountain 20 times to grab a log and walk it back down. Safe to say it was quite a hike. 

Totally not worth it if you ask me. Save up that energy and take a nap or some shit. But all four chose to do it. Natalie was an absolute beast and got through it first, pretty easily. Ethan was struggling and fainted at one point. Medical attended to him, but he chose to keep going. It was a very inspiring and uplifting moment. He likened it to how he never gave up during his battle with cancer and just kept pushing through. For his last trip up, all three others made the hike with him. Survivor can be cheesy with emotional moments sometimes, but this was not the case. It was a genuinely awesome moment that people will remember from this season. Overall so far, I think they've handled the Edge Of Extinction twist very well. 

Immunity Challenge

The challenge was for immunity and also reward, four chickens. It was mainly a water challenge, pulling a boat and jumping off some plank to try and grab small buoys. Dakal got out to a massive early lead. Sele did a terrible job picking their jumpers: Adam, Parvati, and Denise. They just couldn't jump up and reach it. It became comical to watch them keep jumping and missing the last one. 

After a whole "don't give up speech" from Jeff, Adam finally got the last one, beginning an incredible comeback. Nick and Sarah really struggled on the puzzle for Dakal, even though Nick had done it and won it in his season. Meanwhile, Boston Rob and Michele flew through it. Jeff went from describing the challenge as one of the biggest blowouts in Survivor history to one of the biggest comebacks. Dakal was heading to their second tribal council after an epic choke job. 

As they headed into commercial, Adam got emotional giving a confessional about how his eighth grade teacher told his mom that "Adam can do anything he sets his mind to." It was another one of those weird Adam edit moments. Not sure if that's something we'll see in a winner montage, or something we were supposed to laugh at. 

Pre-Tribal

Back at Dakal, Tyson immediately wanted to target Nick. He was one of the four one-timers that Tyson wanted out, and now had a convenient excuse with Nick blowing the challenge and never contributing around camp. It seemed too easy at first, a unanimous vote on Nick. But this is Survivor, and things are never easy, especially in a season of this magnitude. 

Nick was upset to hear that Tyson, one of his all-time favorite players, was targeting him. As I talked about in the preseason blog, it's been a theme this season for some of the newer players to be "starstruck" by Survivor legends. Nick, though, realized he now needed to target his idol Tyson. 

It was pretty clear that the alliance of Nick, Yul, Sophie, and Wendell would all be voting for Tyson. The deciding votes were going to be Tony, Sandra, Sarah, and Kim. Tony wanted Nick out. He thought Tyson was a bigger shield for him that Nick, who isn't much of a threat. It's been a common theme for threats to want to keep other threats around as "meat shields." The downside to keeping Tyson is his connections to the other side with Rob and Parvati, and him just being a threat in general. It seemed like the swing vote was going to be Sandra. She realized Tony had some good points about how keeping Tyson around could benefit their game. She didn't want to play overly emotional, but she was still angry at Tyson for coming at her earlier in the game. I thought going into tribal we'd have a 5-4 vote. 

Tribal Council

There was a lot of talk about reputations and idol worship at tribal. Yul said he thought Tony would be an asshole and was surprised at how caring he actually was. They then spent a lot of time talking about how weird it was for the newer players to be up against people they worshipped on TV growing up. Nick mentioned his high school crush on Parvati. It's definitely an interesting dynamic to the season that gives it a bit of a "Fans vs. Favorites" feel. They just have to remember that they're winners too.

It was time to vote. What I thought would be a nail-biter ended up being pretty easy. Tyson went home with a 7-1-1 vote. There were 7 votes on Tyson. Tyson voted for Nick. Nick voted for Kim with the fear of Tyson playing an idol. I thought this would be an overplay that could cost him in a close vote, but it ended up being a smart "just in case" play. 

As Tyson noted, the vote was too obvious, and he should've seen it coming. Tyson did play a perfect game in Blood vs. Water, but he has shown signs of not always being the greatest player. It's sad to see Tyson go. He's always an entertaining player with his dark, biting humor. At least we'll still get to see him on Edge, and you'd have to like his chances to get back in the game with a challenge. He gave his fire token to Nick for worshipping him, even though he'd "rather swallow it." I'm surprised he didn't just give it to Rob or someone from the other tribe who had nothing to do with him getting voted out. 

It looks like we're getting a tribe swap from the preview for next week. I'd guess three tribes of five makes the most sense. In a preview clip, Michele says she can't believe she's on an island with her ex-boyfriend. I was very confused by this at first, but a quick Google search can solve this for you if you're wondering. 

Winner Rankings

This is a running ranking I'll keep all season long of who I think is most likely to win the game. The person ranked last isn't necessarily my prediction to go home next, but I just think they have the least chance of winning the game. It's based on "edgic" which is a mix of "logic" and "edit."

Now that we're a little further into the season, I'll start breaking them into tiers.

Previous Week Rank in ( )

Tier 1

1. Jeremy (1)

2. Michele (3)

3. Yul (2)

Tier 2

4. Sophie (5)

5. Wendell (4)

6. Nick (6)

Tier 3

7. Sarah (9)

8. Kim (7)

9. Denise (8)

Tier 4

10. Sandra (12)

11. Tony (10)

12. Boston Rob (11)

13. Parvati (13)

14. Adam (16)

15. Ben (15)

On Edge

16. Natalie (17)

17. Tyson (14)

18. Ethan (20)

19. Amber (18)

20. Danni (19)

See you next week.