“Survivor: Winners at War” sees 20 winners of the game return to duke it out. It’s the greatest crop of contenders the show has every seen. And in my “Battlelines” recap each week I will diagnose the casualty of the week and declare both who I think won the episode’s battle and who is best positioned to win the war. Please feel free to give your thoughts in the comments below.
“Stealth Bomber” crashes
In her winning “Survivor” game Danni Boatwright described herself as a “stealth bomber” stating, “I never flew under the radar. I beat the radar.” And entering “Winners at War” Danni was one of the hardest to gauge the prospects of. She hadn’t played “Survivor” in around 15 years! It proved disastrous. In a reversal from her glory days, she put herself on the radar in a big way. She did this by, in a panic, outing her old school alliance and turning on her ally, Parvati Shallow. Plans to vote out Ben Driebergen or Jeremy Collins were quickly abandoned and Danni became the consensus choice. Paranoia led this past champion, whose greatest asset was being unnoticed, to self-destruct.
Paranoia is tricky in a game where people get blindsided on the regular. Why wouldn’t you assume people are coming for you? And maybe her allies could have done more to include her in their planning. To win the game though you need adaptability and self-awareness. In the first episode Amber Mariano demonstrated a weakness in adaptability by not seeing value in the way Tony Vlachos strategized. This episode saw Danni fail at being aware of her standing. There’s no doubt the “stealth bomber” read her place in the game wrong. The looming question is: has she taken the other “Old School” players (Parvati, Boston Rob Mariano and Ethan Zohn) down with her?
Who won the battle?
Adam Klein bags half an idol and some allies
In danger on the premiere, Adam Klein was able to brilliantly place a bigger target on the pairing of Jeremy and Natalie Anderson (with the latter being voted out). This week we see Adam convince Denise Stapley to share her idol with him. He then positioned himself with the core of voters that decided whether it was Danni or Parvati getting their torch snuffed. After a first episode that saw Boston Rob and Parvati run the show with their old school alliance it now looks like the new school players have the numbers, and Adam is in a good place with that group.
Who’s winning the War?
Sophie Clark gets a little idol and still has her ‘nerd-shield’
Yul Kwan was masterful in the first episode, putting together an alliance. By crafting the threat of the poker alliance and identifying Tony, Sandra Diaz-Twine and Sarah Lacina as playing together he was able to unite the four remaining players with no ties. It’s why Yul is Gold Derby’s current favorite to win the game with 4/1 odds. However, I think Sophie Clarke is best placed to win the war. She helped Yul form this no-ties alliance, which also includes Nick Wilson and Wendell Holland. And she identified that she won’t get voted out for being too smart if Yul is still around. Of all the alliances formed this season, this feels like the one that is the best placed to last. And when it gets in trouble “nerd-shield” Yul will be the biggest threat. Kim Spradlin also gave her half of an idol this week, which equips Sophie with more options. A lot of game is still to be played but Sophie is best placed to win at the moment.
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