“Survivor: Winners at War” Episode 3 Recap – Shallow End?

“Survivor: Winners at War” (CBS)

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Last Week: Stability is what Tony’s ladder lacked, idols were found that weren’t intact, and the Guatemalan football chic was sacked…

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor Blog

Alright, let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand.

The Dakal Tribe (wearing orange)

  • Kim, 36 – “One World”
  • Nick, 28 – “David vs. Goliath”
  • Sandra, 44 – “Pearl Islands” and “Heroes vs. Villains”
  • Sarah, 34 – “Game Changers”
  • Sophie, 29 – “South Pacific”
  • Tony, 45 – “Cagayan”
  • Tyson, 39 – “Blood vs. Water”
  • Wendell, 35 – “Ghost Island”
  • Yul, 44 – “Cook Islands”

The Sele Tribe (wearing blue)

  • Adam, 28 – “Millennials vs. Gen-X”
  • Ben, 36 – “Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers”
  • Denise, 48 – “Philippines”
  • Ethan, 45 – “Africa”
  • Jeremy, 41 – “Second Chance”
  • Michele, 29 – “Kaôh Rōng”
  • Parvati, 36 – “Fans vs. Favorites”
  • “Boston” Rob, 43 – “Redemption Island”

We kick things off at Sele Beach where Rob is messing with Adam while he’s sleeping…on the ground. Haven’t they figured out this shelter yet? It’s been a week.

They have themselves a little chat about poker (oof…is that a dangerous topic). Adam is describing a scenario of which Rob points out that his “probability of winning is very low.” There’s some foreshadowing if I’ve ever seen it.

Later on, Adam tells us that “Boston” Rob always needs to be in control. He thinks it’d be better for Rob to take a page from the Adam playbook and hang back. I don’t disagree with that statement completely. Rob’s move to get everyone to empty their bags at Tribal was next-level brilliant, in a vacuum. Anyone who didn’t empty their bag would have become an immediate target. However, by forcing everyone to do something they didn’t want to do, it made Rob a bigger target.

Eventually this all leads to Adam pitching a plan of getting rid of Parvati to Denise. The theory is that they can get rid of her but still keep Ethan and Rob on their side because they’ll be glad it’s not them. Yeah, that worked out so well for Danni…

Adam takes his strategy to Ben and Michele, who seem into it. But, Ben’s also really interested in reuniting the Marianos.

The plan hits a major snag when Adam runs it by Ethan. Adam even predicts how I will act in the future by saying that we’re going to be yelling at our TV screens. Well, I didn’t yell, I just shook my head. Sure enough, Ethan isn’t gonna give up Parvati for Adam.

Also, Adam has given his portion of the idol back to Denise. All she needs is three more, then she can summon Captain Planet!

Hey, Sharks!

At Dakal Beach, Sandra’s fish net manages to snag a pretty decent-sized shark. And, the thing goes ballistic when Tony tries to retrieve it. Fortunately, he manages to get out of the predicament with all of his limbs intact. I love that Tony is getting the Super Dave Osbourne edit.

In other news, Tyson is not used to being everyone’s target. So, he pitches the idea of getting rid of Sandra to Yul. And since neither of them is in Yul’s core group, he immediately tells Sandra.

Sandra is cool with it though, because it’s all just a game.

Just kidding, Sandra wants Tyson’s pretty head.

Extinction Easter Egg Hunt

Our trio is each greeted by a clue that directs them to a tree. Under the tree is a combination lock box with instructions that they all already have the information they need to determine the combination.

Danni guesses it might be their birthdays. Nope.

Amber thinks it might be some random numbers that are printed on boxes by the flag. Uh-uh.

Finally, Natalie realizes that the clues came with a string of shells. She counts the shells and is able to figure out the combination and retrieve the advantage. She also destroys the other women’s shells as a safety measure.

The advantage is an opportunity for a steal-a-vote that she can offer to someone in the game. However, the person will have to go to the other tribe’s camp to retrieve it. That’s insane. All Sandra had to do was a say “Yes” to get an immunity idol.

Also, Natalie keeps her discovery a secret from Danni and Amber. I’m not sure why that’s important. Only one of them is getting back into the game.

Sarah and Tony’s Excellent Adventure

Sarah receives Natalie’s offer and decides to take her up on it. But, seeing as you don’t follow up on a search warrant without backup, she decided to let Tony know what’s up.

That night, he helps her sneak out of camp. But, he also brings a coconut full of ashes to smear on her face so she’ll be more camouflaged.  He smears away, but it doesn’t work. So they both spit in it to moisten the mixture. (That’s a gross sentence).

Quick Aside: What are the odds this episode would air on Ash Wednesday?

A boat takes Sarah off to Sele Beach where she manages to sneak over to their torches and retrieve the advantage. Crazy.

Immunity Challenge Time: The tribes will race through an obstacle course and then dig up a ladder. They’ll use the ladder to retrieve a ball and rope. They’ll use the ball and rope to climb up a tower. The first tribe to complete the puzzle at the top of the tower will win immunity.

Result: Dakal had a big lead, but Sele was able to catch up during the puzzle. In the end, Dakal was just barely able to finish the puzzle in time to claim the win.

Pre-Tribal Politicking

Things started off with this weird standoff (sitoff?) with everyone just kind of lounging around the fire, not talking.

To start, it looks like Denise, Adam, Ben, Jeremy, and Michele are going to target Parvati. That’s five against three, should be enough to get the job done.

Buuuuuut…Adam tells us that he’s going to try to make this happen without upsetting Rob. So…he tells him what’s up.

Oh, my sweet summer child…

Sure enough, Rob approaches Michele and Jeremy with a plan to get rid of Adam. Ironically, they had already been discussing that exact same scenario because they’re worried he’s playing too many sides.

Later on, Jeremy and Michele see this as an opportunity to weaken the old-school trio by going after Ethan.  Wait, why not just get rid of Rob? A tribe swap can’t be far away, so challenge strength isn’t that important.

Michele also tells Ben and Denise that Adam spilled the beans to “Boston” Rob. See Denise, there’s no replacement for Malcolm.

Tribal Time

Not much was said, honestly. A lot of “Who can you trust?” double talk.

The only really interesting tidbit was when “Boston” Rob got annoyed when Adam brought up that there’s a “Boston” Rob statue in Fiji.

Voting Time: No votes are shown.

JPro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone wants to play an idol and…nobody does. Alright, we’ve got one vote for Parvati, three votes for Adam, three votes for Ethan, and the fourth person voted out of “Survivor: Winners at War” is…Ethan.

Nooooooooooooooooo! Jerks!


Fire Token Bequeath’n: Ethan makes Parvati a little richer.

Verdict: OK, maybe it was ridiculous to make Sarah jump through all of those hoops to get that advantage, but the editing just made me fall in love with Cops R Us. This show just sings when they highlight the personalities.

The same can be said for the Tony vs. the shark highlight reel. I like these people, I want to see way more of them interacting.

Maybe that’s the lesson in all of this; this season can do no wrong because I’m so interested and invested in everyone out there.

Oh…and I guess I was totally wrong about Jeremy and Rob secretly working together.

And screw anyone who voted for Ethan.


  • Michele, Ben, and Jeremy – It’s unclear who pulled the trigger on this move to get rid of Ethan, but they pulled the wool over the eyes of three Hall of Famers. No small task.
  • Sarah – This whole fiasco was so ridiculous and fun. It’s a shame she had to do all that stuff to get a steal-a-vote while Sandra just had to nod to get an idol, but from an entertainment point of view it was totally worth it.
  • Yul – Your loyalty is to your core four, so there’s no harm in sharing Tyson’s plan to target Sandra.
  • Denise – There’s a lesson in this for you; there’s only one Malcolm Freberg, and he is perfect. Fortunately, you didn’t have to pay much to learn it.
  • Parvati and Rob – It’s a good look for this duo that they were so loyal to their trio, but the fact remains that they were mega blindsided.
  • Tyson – Throwing Sandra’s name out there when there wasn’t a Tribal Council in your immediate future? Risky.
  • Adam – I’ll put this in poker terms for ya; you really overplayed your hand.
  • Wendell, Nick, Tony, Sophie, Sandra, Kim – I can’t grade you if you don’t show your work.

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