John Powell – GlobalTV.com
The only two-time Survivor winner said it best on the first episode of Winners at War.
“They all want what I already have, which is my crown,” said Sandra Diaz-Twine, the Survivor Queen.
For 12 years Sandra has been the only castaway to ever win the game twice: Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Now there are 19 other former winners who want to share her crown, share in her Survivor glory.
From the moment the 20 players stepped on the Fijian beach to do battle with one another it was clear that Winners at War is about far more than double the usual prize money. It is about making Survivor history and being the best of the very best.
The Winners at War tribes are:
Sele: Natalie Anderson, Danni Boatwright, Jeremy Collins, Ben Driebergen, Michele Fitzgerald, Adam Klein, Rob Mariano, Parvati Shallow, Denise Stapley and Ethan Zohn.
Dakal: Amber Mariano, Tyson Apostol, Sophie Clarke, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Wendell Holland, Yul Kwon, Sarah Lacina, Kim Spradlin-Wolfe, Tony Vlachos and Nick Wilson.
Along with the clothes on their backs the players also brought their Survivor baggage to the island. Their lives in and outside the game followed them there. Some include Sandra, Rob and Tyson played together on Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains. Jeremy, Kim, Boston Rob and Tyson playing celebrity poker once. Sandra was the reason Tony was voted out of Game Changers. The list of relationships on Winners at War would give even an accountant a migraine.
Those partnerships quickly rose to the forefront on the premiere with Natalie and Amber being targeted, voted out and sent to the Edge of Extinction because of their bonds. Natalie was a close ally of Jeremy’s on Survivor: San Juan del Sur. Even though they were on separate tribes (unlike Natalie and Jeremy) Amber is still married to Boston Rob and therefore there is that undeniable threat of Mr and Mrs Survivor teaming up if Rob and Amber were to make it to the merge.
Battle lines were drawn when Sele went to Tribal Council. Adam, Ben, Danni, Denise, Ethan, Parvati and Rob voted to boot Natalie while Jeremy voted for Adam. Natalie and Michele voted for Denise.
At Dakal’s first trip to see Jeff Probst it was Kim, Nick, Sandra, Tyson, Wendell and Yul voting for Amber while Sarah, Sophie and Tony voted for Kim. Amber voted for Nick.
Complicating the Winners at War game are not only the returning Hidden Immunity Idols and The Edge of Extinction twists but the new Fire Tokens. Fire Tokens are in-game currency that can be earned and used to buy luxuries, food and even advantages. They cannot be stolen and once a player is voted out they have to will their remaining Fire Tokens to a surviving player. Natalie used her banishment to the Edge of Extinction to sell her Hidden Immunity Idol to Sandra back in the game for a Fire Token.
Will the Fire Token continue to heavily influence the game? Stay tuned.
Survivor Scoop – Week 1: Top Moments
This week’s Top Survivor: Winner at War Moments are…
Moment # 5: A toast begins the game.
Moment # 4: Ben spills the beans to Boston Rob.
Moment # 3: Yul calls out the existing relationships.
Moment # 2: Boston Rob and Parvati join forces.
Moment # 1: Natalie sells her Idol.
Next time on Survivor…
Week 1: Game Fails – Natalie Anderson and Amber Mariano
Not much to criticize Natalie or Amber for here. Natalie could have distanced herself from Jeremy but the obvious bond would still be there. The same goes for Amber. There is really nothing either could do except perhaps build a strong alliance themselves or somehow convince others that there are bigger threats than them.
Apart from a couple of scattered conversations we didn’t see much scheming from them, although Amber was shown doing a little more such as looking for a Hidden Immunity Idol and Natalie made the decision to sell her Idol to Sandra.
Amber Rating: 2 / 5
Natalie Rating: 2.5 / 5
Natalie’s social game wasn’t featured a whole lot while Amber bonded with other parents.
Amber Rating: 2.5 / 5
Natalie Rating: 2 / 5
We got to see Amber discuss her approach to the game but we never got the chance to see her implement her ideas. We did get to learn how she felt about returning after such a long absence. Natalie was barely in the episode, except when she was fighting for her life as Tribal Council approached and her time on the Edge of Extinction.
Amber Rating: 2.5 / 5
Natalie Rating: 2.5 / 5
Final Castaway Rating: Amber: 7 / 15
Final Castaway Rating: Natalie: 7 / 15
Week 1: Powell’s Picks
Who played it cool and who proved themselves to be a fool? Every week John Powell makes his picks for the worst and best players of the week.
Bronze Amateur: Ben Driebergen
He got star-struck and babbled everything to Boston Rob.
Silver Amateurs: Adam Klein and Denise Stapley
They should never have went off into the jungle alone as a pair, nor took so long. It looked suspicious to the others considering how Denise played with Malcolm in her season.
Gold Amateurs: Jeremy Collins and Natalie Anderson
The paranoia their partnership was bound to cause perhaps should have been dealt with better and with more urgency?
Bronze MVP: Yul Kwon
He has the relationships figured out, threw the Poker Alliance under the bus and has teamed up with the level-headed Sophie.
Silver MVP: Danni Boatwright
She is at the centre of conversations; many already have trust and faith in her.
Gold MVPs: Ben Driebergen, Adam Klein
They worked together to save Adam as well as switch the vote to Natalie.