“Survivor: Winners at War” Episode 12 Recap – Michele Gives a Flip

“Survivor Winners at War” (CBS)

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Last Week: Tony found an idol, Tony was extorted, Tony won immunity, Tony blindsided Sophie.

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor Blog

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands.

The Koru Tribe (wearing black)

  • Ben, 36 – “Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”
  • Denise, 48 – “Philippines”
  • Jeremy, 41 – “Second Chance”
  • Kim, 36 – “One World”
  • Michele, 29 – “Kaôh Rōng”
  • Nick, 28 – “David vs. Goliath”
  • Sarah, 34 – “Game Changers”
  • Tony, 45 – “Cagayan”

The Tony Apology Tour

Well…here’s a shocker…Sarah is not thrilled that her Cops R US ally Tony blindsided her buddy Sophie. They have a little chat after Tribal that is less of a chat and more of Sarah yelling in Tony’s face.

He tries to calm her down by telling her that he has an idol that he can use to protect them both. He also swears on his family that he didn’t want to blindside her. Swearing on his family? This is a Cagayan reboot! Who’s gonna play Trish?

Before things calm down, Sarah tells Tony that she’ll never talk to him again if she gets voted out. She seems very serious. Wow, what a tool to use against someone you know outside of the game. Knowing what I know about Sarah, this is probably just a ploy, but if one of my friends threatened to never talk to me again, that’d carry real weight with me.

Tony’s kind of blown away with how  she’s taking things. Which I get, because in Cagayan when Tony went all Tony on everyone, you couldn’t really get mad at him. A snake is going to bite you, you know that going in. You shouldn’t get mad when you get bit.

Tony also makes amends with Ben, going so far as to tell him about the idol. Oof…I don’t like being all fast and loose with telling people about advantages.

There’s also a funny moment where Tony is pooped on by a bird (or maybe a bat?) So, Natalie and Parvati last week and a bird this week. Got it.

The Silent Treatment

Ben is straight up refusing to talk to Jeremy. He literally just shuts him down two days in a row. It’s like Dwight Schrute shunning Andy Bernard. That’s a bold strategy, Cotton.

Seriously, if you’re ever cast on the show, know two things; first, be nice to me during pre-game interviews. Odds are I’ve been sitting in the hot sun for twelve hours. And second, never completely shut down a line of communication. All you’re doing is encouraging that person to target you.

The Spy Nest

We finally get to see Tony’s latest espionage innovation; the Spy Nest. Unfortunately, we don’t really get to see it in action. Nobody wanders by while he’s perched up in a tree. Equally unfortunate is the fact that he didn’t use the world’s wobbliest ladder to get up there.

Targeting Tony

Coming off of the big blindside, Kim is making moves to send Tony packing. She approaches  Michele, Denise, Jeremy, Ben, and Nick with this plan. That’s…uh…that’s a wide net you’re casting there, Kim.

It also looks like we’re seeing a potential three-person alliance featuring Nick, Michele, and Denise. Yikes…who’s the winner out of that trio?

Let’s Try to Kill Ethan Again

Over at the Edge of Extinction, the crew is challenged to yet another go-retrieve-an-item adventure. They’ll have to travel to the other side of the island to get a coconut, then bring it back to camp. Oh…and they’ll have to do it twenty times.


The first six people to do this will receive two fire tokens. The rest will receive nothing.

Fortunately, Ethan doesn’t pass out. Unfortunately, Rob wipes out and gashes his arm. He takes this as a sign that he should sit the rest of this one out.

When it’s all said and done, Natalie, Sophie, Yul, Parvati, Tyson, and Wendell all earn two fire tokens. Buuut…poor Danni comes in seventh. So, she ran the whole challenge and has nothing to show for it. She’s also looking scary thin. Maybe someone can treat her to a jar of peanut butter?

Before we head off to commercial, we learn that Rob is going to complete the challenge anyway. I get it, this might be one of your last moments on the show. You don’t want to go out quitting.

Idol in Play

The remaining eight players are out and about on an idol hunt. The big winner is Ben. However, he finds it in front of Tony and gets caught attempting to hide it. Ben tries to play if off and give him a big hug, but you can tell that it really bothered Tony.

I love me some Ben, but he’s had a lot of unforced errors this season.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will stand on a perch and hold their arm up in the air. If their arm drops, a vat will douse them in water and they’ll be eliminated. The last man and woman standing will win immunity and two fire tokens.

Result: This was a weird one. At the fifteen-minute mark, Probst offered cookies and peanut butter to anyone who would drop out. Kim and Michele took the offer, giving Denise immunity. And Nick told Tony, the last remaining guy, that he’d drop out if he gave him a fire token. Tony agreed and Nick stepped down.

Weird, right? Is this because Jeremy went out early and he’s the main target?

Quick Aside: The highlight of this whole thing was that when it was all over, Tony asked Denise to unhook him from the vat because he didn’t want to get soaked by the water. It’s a billion degrees out there!

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Back at camp, Nick feels bad for thwarting Kim’s plan to get rid of Tony. He tries to play if off by claiming that he was about to fall off anyways.

With Tony off the block, the early talk has Kim, Denise, Michele, Nick, and Ben targeting Jeremy for this vote, then splitting up Sarah and Tony moving forward.

Michele wants to keep Jeremy around, but she doesn’t want to vote against the majority, so she gives him her 50/50 advantage.

Later on, Ben tells Tony that Nick has been in on all of this talk about sending him home. When Tony asks Nick if anyone has brought up his name, Nick denies it. When Tony further elaborates by saying that Ben told him differently, Nick admits that Kim and Denise have been targeting him.


Isn’t Nick a lawyer? He should be better at lying.

So, this rightfully freaks Tony out because now he knows that he’ll be down in numbers if Jeremy goes home. He pitches the idea of saving Jeremy to Ben, but Ben won’t go for it. He tells Tony they can get Kim next time.

After all of this, Ben finally agrees to talk to Jeremy, but it doesn’t go well.

Tribal Time

Oh boy…Tony and Jeremy are whispering. We’ve got a live Tribal…again.

Everybody is whispering to everybody. Hilariously, Probst is commentating about it like it’s a horse race.

I don’t know what to take from all of it, although it’s clear that Denise is as fed up with live Tribals as I am. Also, Ben seems very annoyed that Tony kicked off the whispering.

Eventually, Denise literally says, “I’m done.” Jeremy lets her know that she’s safe now, but maybe not next time. But, she doesn’t care. She’s ready to vote. I hear you, Denise.

Voting Time: Michele votes for Jeremy and says that she hopes he puts her coin to good use. The rest of the votes are secret.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol…and…Jeremy…thinks about it.

Thinks about it…

Thinks about it…

And doesn’t play it.

Tony asks Sarah if he should play his idol for her. She’s unsure, so he goes to play it. But, she tells him it isn’t necessary.

Wow…that is some confidence.

Alright, we’ve got one vote for Jeremy, one vote for Kim, two votes for Jeremy, three votes for Kim, and the fourteenth person voted out of “Survivor: Winners at War” is…Kim.

Doh…hope that peanut butter was good.

Bequeath’n Time: Kim leaves a coin to Michele, Denise, and Sarah.

Verdict: I’d imagine the last few episodes have been very polarizing based on how you feel about Mr. Tony Vlachos. Fortunately for me, I love the guy.

  • Tony – I didn’t give Tony the full monty last week because I was worried that he had blown up his relationship with Sarah. I was wrong, he kept her on his side and now he’s marching into final seven with an idol in his pocket. Well done.
  • Sarah – Solid recovery from last week’s blindside. And with all of these idols and big moves being made, her strong social game could take her a long way.
  • Michele – She was on the wrong side of the vote again, but happily so. She might even get that advantage back along with the social (and jury) capital that goes with lending it to Jeremy.
  • Nick – I’m assuming you were that fifth Kim vote, which begs the question; what’s your end game? You’ll probably make final three, but you’re setting yourself up to get beat.
  • Jeremy – Not flipping that coin? Stone cold. Well done. But you’ve got a steep hill to climb. The people you can’t beat have immunity idols or friends with immunity idols.
  • Ben – You found an idol and you won the vote, but the Jeremy shunning and trying to hide the idol from Tony are both bad looks.
  • Denise – That Tribal didn’t go well for you. You came off as frustrated and you lost your closest ally.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @GordonHolmes