'Survivor: Winners At War' finale recap: Tony Vlachos crowned $2 million winner over 'Edge' returnee and runner-up Natalie Anderson
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 05/14/2020
Survivor: Winners At War crowned Tony Vlachos the winner of the largest prize in reality-TV history, $2 million, over runner-up Natalie Anderson and third-place finisher Michele Fitzgerald during Wednesday night's Season 40 finale on CBS.
Tony, who won Survivor: Cagayan and also appeared on Survivor: Game Changers, became the "Sole Survivor" and the "King of Survivor" when a jury comprised entirely of formerSurvivor champions voted for him to win with a total of 12 votes on Night 39 of the game at Season 40's final Tribal Council session.
"Jeff, [the money] is definitely life-changing. I mean, especially now with what's going on in the world, you can really see how financial security is so important," Tony said after his victory was announced.
"I walk into buildings and people can't pay their rent now, so with this money, I'm going to make sure that I secure my family and be financially secure for the rest of my life."
The epicSurvivor finale began with Jeff filming himself live from his home's garage.
"This is as real as it gets, and it's the perfect way to end this fantastic season," Jeff noted.
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"I think this is the greatest season we've ever done... I hope you are ready for a packed finale because it's dramatic, it's emotional, it's unpredictable. There's so much story going on, we don't have time for a reunion show -- it's that packed. We'll see."
The Final 5 castaways were then shown gathering on Day 35 of the game to meet Jeff, who then welcomed all of the players from the Edge of Extinction, which had started 33 days prior with Natalie Anderson arriving to a deserted island alone.
In addition to Natalie, the following players were about to compete for one spot back in the original game: Amber, Rob, Parvati, Ethan, Yul, Wendell, Adam, Tyson, Sophie, Kim, Jeremy, Danni, and Nick.
For the challenge, the castaways were attached to a rope and had to race through a fence obstacle and then a post obstacle. After digging up a rope rung from the sand, the players had to use a series of rope rungs to build and cross a rope bridge.
The players must then race to the end and maneuver two balls through a table maze. The first person to land both of their balls would earn their way back into the game and resume competing for the $2 million grand prize.
During their time on Extinction, the players had worked hard to earn advantages. Natalie, Parvati, Yul and Wendell bought the first advantage, allowing them to skip the fence obstacle and start at the post.
Natalie also purchased the second advantage, which enabled her to skip the dig. Her rope rung was therefore waiting for her at the rope bridge.
In addition, Natalie bought the third advantage, which meant one-third of her rope bridge was already assembled.
While Natalie had such a huge lead right off the bat, she found herself wrapped around the post and struggled to get through. She also fell through the center of her rope bridge when attempting to cross it.
Wendell grabbed his two balls and was the first person to start the table maze, followed by Natalie, Rob and then Yul. Wendell landed one ball in first place.
But it didn't take long for Natalie and Tyson to catch up and land their first ball around the same time.
It was a close race, but in the end, Natalie won her way back into the game after 33 days on the Edge. Parvati told Natalie after her victory, "Give them hell," and then Natalie said to Tony, "Thank you for voting me off."
Natalie had been the first person voted out of the game and was now a member of the Final 6.
Natalie fell to her knees and cried after winning, and then Jeff asked some of the eliminated players and jury members about their experiences this time around in the game.
Kim said she didn't play a perfect game and had made mistakes but would be leaving Survivorfeeling even better about herself and at peace with her story, knowing she's not perfect and doesn't have to be.
Tyson teared up, recalling howSurvivor had dominated the last decade of his life. Tyson saidSurvivor embraces all of his unique talents, but then having children encompassed his "weird talents even better."
"I think I kind of needed [Survivor] to know I don't need it. I think being a dad, for me, is a good replacement forSurvivor," Tyson told Jeff.
Meanwhile, Amber and Rob were crying in each other's arms, with Amber saying she only decided to compete on Survivor for her husband.
"Nobody respects this game more than my husband does. I wanted to be here for him. I wanted to be his rock. I never thought I had a chance in hell to win this time around because even when you read my name as the All-Star winner, I knew that nobody really felt like I deserved it," Amber said in tears.
"Everybody felt [Rob] deserved it, and the only reason they voted for me was because they hated him."
But Rob announced the couple had tried their best and never gave up, and he added, "[My children's mother] is the toughest woman in the world... She never complained. This is a woman that is a champion. 188 days for me. I'm leaving here with nothing but love for everybody, gratitude and appreciation."
And Parvati told Jeff that she gave this season -- an adventure as a new mom -- her whole heart and she was leaving it very proud of herself.
As for Ethan, he had been on "the Edge" in real life given he had battled a rare form of blood cancer.
"Some of the money raised through 'Survivor Stand Up To Cancer' helped fund the drug that saved my life. So not only did I create a life from this show, but this show saved my life," Ethan shared.
It was an emotional moment for everyone in the game, but Tony told the cameras he was ready to put the pedal through the medal and fight even harder to win.
Footage then flashed to Jeff in his garage, and the host explained a reunion show wouldn't be happening. However,Survivor played pre-taped audio from many Season 40 players talking about what their Survivorexperiences mean to them.
Later the day, the Final 6 returned to Koru camp, and Natalie couldn't believe she had made it back on Survivor. Natalie gushed it felt "f-cking amazing" to have made it this far, but she knew she had to overcome some major hurdles to win -- including penetrating the "tight clique" that remained.
Natalie felt she just needed to shift the focus onto someone else, and so she decided to share with the castaways how the jury was thinking and feeling.
"Everybody is on the Tony bandwagon. I'm just sick of it. The Old School people, basically the impression is that Tony is doing everything and everybody else is basically taking instructions," Natalie said.
Tony acknowledged Natalie was "very dangerous" for her game and she could've been telling nothing but lies. Tony believed Natalie had painted a huge target on his back.
"Deep down inside, I hope it's true. But I hope nobody believes that," Tony said.
Tony and Sarah discussed whether or not Natalie might have an advantage, and then Sarah said she didn't think Natalie would win if she made it to the end. Tony hearing that worried him because it meant Ben was probably thinking the same way.
Sarah didn't know how savvy Natalie was, and so she wondered whether Natalie had been truthful in what she said about Tony or just trying to get everyone to vote Tony out.
Sarah said Tony wouldn't be in the game at this point without her and vice versa.
"I was not your puppet, and I know that," Sarah noted.
"I have to get my story out to the jury and make sure that they know women are just as equal to men, and just because a man and a woman are working together doesn't mean the man is calling all the shot."
On Day 36, the Final 6 castaways met Jeff again for the season's next Individual Immunity Challenge.
Each competitor was required to race through an obstacle, collect a bag, run up a tower, drop the bag, and then launch him or herself down a giant waterslide -- and then do it again.
Once a player collected all three bags, he or she would use the pieces inside to solve a three-tier puzzle.
The winner of the challenge would live to see Day 37, while one of the losers would be voted out at Tribal Council and become the fourteenth member of the jury.
Michele was the last person to start her puzzle, but she had done it before on a previous season of Survivor. She created her first tier so quickly that the other players glanced over and tried to copy her work.
Natalie caught up and so Michele was feeling the pressure, but Jeff said she was "on fire."
"There's a theme this season that some players feel they have something to prove -- and Michele is proving it right now," Jeff declared.
Michele blew everyone out of the water and won immunity, and Denise told Michele that she was very proud of her. Michele danced with happiness and looked extremely disappointed.
Tony worried Natalie had come back to camp with an idol from the Edge of Extinction just like Chris Underwood had during Survivor: Edge of Extinction, which Chris ultimately won.
Later that day, everyone sat around and ate rice, but Natalie joked she was going to run off and look for a hidden Immunity Idol. Still, Tony assumed Natalie already had an idol in her pocket.
Ben hoped Tony would just play it cool, but Tony was definitely paranoid. Tony suggested to Ben they should put two votes on Natalie and two votes on Denise -- and then send Natalie home at the tie.
However, Ben was focused on "the human aspect" ofSurvivor and trying to grow as a man and a player, so he didn't want to eliminate someone like Denise, who had become both his ally and friend.
Natalie went off with Michele to talk, and Natalie hoped they could work together to "break up the foursome." Michele promised Natalie that she wasn't loyal to any of the players left, and so that was music to Natalie's ears.
Michele was pumped about the idea of finally shaking up the game, especially since she learned Natalie had an idol. Michele called it "the ideal situation on Day 36."
Michele suggested to Natalie they should take out Tony, but Natalie believed Tony was going to play his idol for himself. Natalie was so thankful she had an idol, saying she'd definitely be going home otherwise.
Michele then spilled the beans to Tony and Ben that Natalie was planning to throw her vote on Tony. Tony and Ben assumed the girls were just trying to flush the idols out of the game.
Tony was annoyed no one was willing to throw votes on Denise, and he was even more annoyed about how Ben and Sarah were adamant that Natalie did not have an advantage or idol to use.
Tony wanted to get rid of Denise to ensure Sarah's safety if, in the worst case scenario, Natalie played an idol and so both he and Ben had to burn their idols as well.
Tony wanted to keep Natalie over Denise, but Sarah was insistent upon the fact Natalie didn't have an idol to play and so they had nothing to fret about.
"I have to always tell him, 'Will you just trust me? Calm down.' That's all I do, and that's what people don't realize," Sarah said in a confessional.
"Natalie doesn't have an idol, and you know why? Because Natalie and I, in the one day she's been here, have built a good enough bond that Natalie would've told me if she had something... These girls don't have anything, so calm down dude! Who's in control? Sarah! Sarah knows what's going on!"
At Tribal Council that night, Ben admitted Natalie had made a lot of friends on the jury while over at the Edge of Extinction. Ben said it was also hard because they had to take Natalie's word for everything with no way to fact-check.
Sarah announced she was thankful for Natalie, who had given her valuable information from the Edge on how to better proceed with her game. And with that being said, Natalie repeated how the jury felt Tony was running this game.
Sarah announced there's a gender bias on Survivor in that men are complimented and praised for being aggressive, lying and backstabbing, but if women do the same, they are labeled phony, fake or a "b-tch."
Sarah said the bias holds women back from playing the game the best they possibly can, and she revealed that she had been too hard on herself after fans perceived her to be a certain way onSurvivor: Game Changers.
"I felt like I was such a bad person, and I'm not. And I really feel like I can finally let that go now. [Natalie] brought that to me, and it's such a weight lifted off my shoulder. I know who I am and I can do a lot of things, and I'm not scared of anyone," Sarah said, before listing her career accomplishments.
"If a man can do it, then so can I. And so can Michele and so can Denise and so can Natalie."
Ben agreed women needed to be respected because they are everyone's mothers and daughters.
Feeling like she was the easy target, Natalie said she hoped something was going to happen that would shake the foursome up.
Natalie said, "I talked to all the ladies. I said, 'Don't shoot the messenger, but you are giving Tony $2 million unless you shake things up.'"
"She's good at what she does," Jeff.
After votes were cast, Natalie played her hidden Immunity Idol for herself, and Tony pointed out, "Of course she does [have one]."
Natalie said there was no point in saving her idol, and Tony looked at Ben and Sarah and said, "Damn, I told you guys."
Ben called it "crazy" and Sarah just appeared shocked. Tony therefore played his idol to keep himself safe, and then Ben also had to play an idol for himself.
Natalie shook her head and said, "Damn!"
Jeff then read the votes in the following order: Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Ben, and Ben.
Since votes were not cast for a vulnerable player, there had to be a re-vote -- and no one could vote for Michele, Natalie, Ben or Tony.
"The only people you can vote for are either Denise or Sarah," Jeff explained. "Denise and Sarah, since you can only vote for each other, you won't vote. Four people are voting."
Jeff continued, "Let me explain how the tiebreaker works in this situation. Our normal tiebreaker states that when two people are tied, they become immune and everyone else draws rocks. But there is nobody to draw rocks, so in this situation, if there is a tie between Denise and Sarah, you will settle it with a firemaking showdown. Those are the stakes.
Denise and Sarah said, "I love you," to each other before the re-vote, which resulted in three votes for Denise.
Denise was therefore ousted from the game, and Tony apologized to her on her way out. Ben also expressed his love for Denise and gave her a big hug.
"Kick ass!" Denise yelled out after her torch was extinguished.
"Unreal," Ben noted.
"I may not have won the game, but I get to be known as The Queen Slayer. Nobody else did that move with me. I got more than I needed and more than I wanted out of me second time out here, and I'm incredibly grateful for that. But Mama D is out," Denise said in her final words.
All of the castaways eligible to vote wrote Denise's name down on the re-vote.
That night, Tony gently scolded Sarah and Ben for not listening to him and respecting his opinion. Tony was admittedly frustrated and angry because now neither he or Ben had an idol and they were vulnerable at the Final 5.
Knowing at least one idol was back in the game, however, Tony built a small fire in the jungle and escaped on "a midnight special" in search of an idol.
Tony came up short and then the sun rose, so everyone went on a mad dash looking for an idol at the same time. And much to Natalie's surprise, she found one!
Natalie ran off with Michele and told her the good news, and she intended to break up Sarah, Tony and Ben. Ben admitted he and Tony were screwed if one of the women found the idol and then the other won Individual Immunity.
On Day 37, Natalie, Michele, Tony, Sarah and Ben competed in the next Individual Immunity Challenge.
Jeff instructed each castaway to race through a series of obstacles, collecting a key along the way. That key unlocked two sandbags which would then be thrown onto a target in the distance.
The winner would be guaranteed a spot in the Final 4.
Michele got off to a slow start and found herself stuck on a balance beam at the beginning of the course, but it was a tight race for everyone else.
Ben thought he had it but his last sandbag wouldn't stick, and so Tony ended up winning immunity.
Ben feared if everyone put their votes on Natalie and she pulled out an idol, he could be in trouble. Natalie knew everyone was going to throw votes on her, but she told Michele they should convince Sarah to vote out Ben.
Natalie knew if she didn't break up "the threesome" that day, she'd be out before the Final 3.
Tony asked Sarah to talk to the girls while he did some spying in his nest high in a tree, and Natalie told Sarah that she wanted to write Ben's name down so she wouldn't have to compete in fire.
Suddenly, Sarah noticed something in Natalie's buff around her wrist. Natalie then showed Sarah her hidden Immunity Idol, and Tony overheard everything. Natalie told Sarah to make Tony feel comfortable in the meantime.
Tony sat in the tree while the women talked for an hour, and he joked it was "the worst experience" of his life. Sarah complimented Tony on being spot-on.
Sarah told Tony that Natalie would probably play the idol for herself and so they needed to throw votes on Michele since they didn't want Ben out.
"[Michele] is going home tonight -- done," Tony boasted.
Natalie ran back and told Michele that Sarah was on their side, but Michele wasn't buying it. Michele told Natalie that the threesome was just going to vote her out now that Natalie couldn't be eliminated.
Michele insisted she was "the obvious target," but Sarah questioned during a conversation with Ben whether Natalie would play her idol for Michele.
"Coming from the Edge, probably. That's the kind of move she's going to have to make to win it -- playing an idol for herself one Tribal and then playing an idol for someone else at the next Tribal," Ben reasoned. "But I'm all for writing down Michele."
Sarah assured Ben that she wasn't going to write his name down, but Ben advised Sarah to do it in order to boost her resume. Sarah couldn't believe Ben would be okay with that.
"That way, you can't say you got dragged along," Ben said. "You know what I'm saying?"
Sarah broke down into tears because of Ben's selfless offer. Ben even cried, telling Sarah, "You have to go f-cking win it though! Okay?"
Ben knew in his heart that Sarah was struggling, and he said he didn't want to drag her down.
"I know that the right thing to do is to give her permission, and she doesn't have to, but if she does, she does," Ben cried in a confessional.
"I know no matter what happens, I'm going to walk away fromSurvivor with my head held high and actually have actual friends -- because having friends is worth more than playing."
Sarah said she and Ben had looked out for each other throughout the whole game and they trusted each other 100 percent. Sarah said she didn't want to hurt Ben, but in order to have a shot to win, she had to make a big move -- a move without Tony.
Sarah knew an extremely difficult decision was ahead of her, and she wasn't sure what she wanted to do.
At Tribal Council that night, Sarah confessed Survivor brings out the best and worst in people, but she said growth is worth it all.
Ben shared how he wanted to leave this season a better man and role model for his family and others with friends to go home to, and Tony agreed it was very hard to vote people off whom he had become close to.
Sarah told Jeff the game had turned into "an individual game" and conversations were had with each and every person remaining. Sarah suggested it would be every man or woman for his or herself going forward.
After everyone cast their votes, Natalie walked up to Jeff in tears and played a hidden Immunity Idol for herself. She said she hoped everything would go as she planned.
Jeff then read the votes in the following order: Ben, Michele, Ben, Michele, and finally Ben.
Ben hugged Sarah and said, "I love you," on his way out.
"This has been a humbling and a fantastic learning experience for myself," Ben said following his ouster.
"I got what I needed out of this season, a lot of self-growth, and I left it all out there. I'm proud of my game and grateful for the experience that Survivor has given me and my children and my wife. I'm very appreciative and blessed."
Michele, Natalie and Sarah voted for Ben, while Ben and Tony voted for Michele.
On Day 38, the Final 4 castaways arrived at the final Individual Immunity Challenge of Survivor: Winners At War, Season 40.
Each player had one hand tied behind his or her back. On Jeff's "go," each castaway had to drop a ball down a shoot that would spiral to the bottom. The objective was to catch the ball at the bottom and put it back in.
But at regular intervals, more balls would be added, making it more difficult to keep them all going at once. If a ball dropped at any point, that person would be out.
The winner would be guaranteed a spot in the Final Tribal Council and an opportunity to plead his or her case to the jury about why he or she deserves the title of "Sole Survivor" and the $2 million prize.
In addition, the winner would be able to decide whom to take to the end and determine which to castaways would make fire in an epic showdown.
Tony was out of the challenge first, and then he was followed by Sarah and then Michele.
Natalie therefore won Individual Immunity, and Michele was very happy for her. Natalie jumped up and down with excitement, but she was about to force two people to make fire.
Tony had been hoping to tie the record of five Immunity Challenge wins, but he said he lost focus for a second and came up short.
Sarah and Tony figured Natalie would ask them both to compete in fire, the "Cops R Us" alliance, but Michele practiced anyway just in case.
Natalie considered Tony "the biggest threat in the game" and wanted him out, so she really only saw there being two options -- taking Sarah or Michele to the end with her definitively.
Natalie worried if Sarah beat Tony in fire, she'd have a really strong story to tell in the Final 3. She therefore contemplated making Michele do fire against Tony.
Natalie was open and honest with Michele about her concerns, and Michele acknowledged she wouldn't mind making fire in order to boost her resume. However, Michele pointed out it would also be extremely risky for her.
"But it's times like these when, honestly, my strengths come out," Michele told the cameras.
Tony noticed Michele was good at making fire, and so he grinded all afternoon -- with Sarah -- to better their skills. Sarah insisted she wasn't afraid to make fire, but Tony appeared to be panicking a little bit.
"I'm either going to win this game or I'm going to lose trying," Tony said in a confessional.
At Tribal Council that night, Natalie said was proud to have all the power and be able to dictate how the end of the game was going to play out.
Natalie said this dream was the only thing that had kept her going on the Edge of Extinction. Sarah announced that if she was going to make fire, it would be against Tony.
Sarah got emotional, saying she loved Tony and he was her partner.
"If we're going to get shot, I'd rather shoot at each other than have someone else do that," Sarah cried.
"You want to shoot me now?!" Tony joked.
"Yeah," Sarah replied in tears.
And Michele admitted she'd like to make fire against Tony because he seemed to have the best shot of winning the game.
Natalie said she'd love to battle and beat Tony in fire but felt she had done enough, by winning immunity, to leave the firemaking to somebody else. But several jury members, including Ben and Rob, seemed disappointed in Natalie's decision.
Natalie then announced she wanted to bring Michele with her to the Final 3, which was a last minute decision. Natalie said she wanted to see the end of Sarah and Tony's alliance.
Natalie told Jeff that she and Michele had worked really hard in the past couple of days to take down the foursome one by one, but Sarah coughed up her water, scoffing at that comment.
Natalie said she hoped Sarah would win the showdown and sit next to her in the end.
Sarah and Tony exchanged a couple of playful and teasing comments before beginning the challenge. They were given the same supplies, so what they did with those supplies was what mattered.
Tony sparked a flame first, but Sarah sparked one not long after. They had the same height of flame, and so it was all going to depend on which one could burn through the rope faster.
Sarah used nearly all of her coconut husk to build the flame while Tony's flame was diminishing. But then the roles reversed, and Sarah's flame diminished.
Tony ended building a huge structure with his sticks, and Jeff pointed out it was probably the best firemaking challenge Survivorhas ever seen.
Sarah got her flame back as Tony's was rising, and after an incredible fight, Tony won the challenge and earned his spot in the Final 3. The pair hugged and cried in each other's arms, and Tony could barely compose himself, repeating, "I love you, Sarah."
Sarah essentially comforted Tony and said he could do it.
"Don't apologize to me," Sarah said. "I love you."
Tony clearly hated taking his best friend out of the game and felt immense guilt, but Sarah expressed pride in her buddy.
"If I was going to go out of this game, that's how I wanted to go out. And if I wanted someone to take me out, that's who I wanted to take me out," Sarah told Jeff, referring to Tony.
"If someone was going to take him out, I wanted it to be me. Tony is more than deserving to be sitting in the Final 3, and I wish I could be there with him. We talked about this for the last 38 days -- it's not going to happen, but that's okay. He can still finish what he set out to accomplish, and I know he's going to do it. And so I'm fine."
Jeff snuffed Sarah's torch as Tony bawled his eyes out, and she exited the game with a big smile on her face. Sarah said playing had been "a pleasure" and asked Tony to "crush it" for her.
Sarah said she was emotional but it was because she had no regrets and was happy -- happy for the way she played and the experiences and friendshipsSurvivor had given her.
On Day 39 of the game, Michele, Natalie and Tony enjoyed their traditionalSurvivor breakfast.
Michele felt she had proven she's one of the best players to ever playSurvivor given she had to fight her way out of the bottom all season long. Being in the Final 3 apparently closed an open wound for Michele.
Natalie told the cameras she had played the best Edge of Extinction game possible, showing grit, willpower and relentless effort and drive.
And Tony felt he had it all as aSurvivor player -- a great social, strategic and physical game. Tony knew the jury was in pain and probably bitter, but he hoped they would vote him to become the King of Survivor.
On Night 39, the jury met with Natalie, Tony and Michele, and everyone appeared freezing in the pouring rain.
Denise asked the Final 3 to reveal mistakes or missteps in their social games, and Natalie said it was on Day 1 when she tried to show off her strength in order to be an asset to her tribe. Instead, everyone viewed her as a threat and Natalie said she didn't reach out and make connections.
Michele said she had great one-on-one alliances but was frequently on the bottom. Michele suggested her former relationship with Wendell was a disadvantage, and then Tony admitted he was all about strategy right out of the gate.
Tony, however, said he had been vulnerable with each and every player and got to know them all on the inside and out. Tony told Nick and Jeremy in particular that his bonds with them were real, especially when he and Jeremy talked about their families.
Ben promised Tony had been a loyal player, but Jeremy disagreed because he had voted most of the jury out.
Adam praised Natalie for crushing "the Edge game," and then she explained her moves upon returning to the game. However, Rob revealed Natalie had isolated herself from most of the players on the Edge in the week leading up to the Comeback Challenge.
Natalie said many of the advantages she put into the game were secrets and she had to calm and compose herself by getting some alone time before the Comeback Challenge. Parvati complimented Natalie on never putting on an act.
"We're hearing stories from people you blindsided and voted off, and none of them feel burned by you," Parvati told Tony.
"You weren't even targeted!" Rob agreed. "We're fascinated and we want to know, 'How did you do it?'"
Tony disclosed he had created a spy nest in a tree and found out a lot of information that he used as the game progressed, and Wendell congratulated him on playing a game in which no votes had been cast against him.
Wendell asked Michele how she outwitted the others, and she said she maintained a positive attitude and wedged herself between cracks of alliance.
"I think I played a really adaptable and flexible game," Michele noted.
"Tony had all these great alliances and they helped him. I didn't really have anyone helping me in the end. It was me, alone, when everyone was telling me that I was going to be the next to go. So to be on the bottom for that long, it's pretty amazing I find myself sitting here despite all of my challenges."
Ben told Michele that she did "a heck of a job this year" and should be proud.
Jeff moved the conversation into the "outplay" portion, and Wendell asked Natalie to reveal all the things she had found, won or sent into the game.
Natalie recalled the idol she sold to Sandra Diaz-Twine, the Safety Without Power advantage that she sold to Jeremy, a clue she gave to Sarah that made her sneak into the opposing tribe for an extra vote, Tony's extortion for six Fire Tokens, an advantage to Nick that enabled him to disadvantage somebody else, and then two tough challenges on the island of nonstop running and exhaustion.
Natalie said she was absolutely a part of the game without physically being on their island.
Tony won four Individual Immunity Challenges and Michele won two of them.
But Rob pointed out Natalie didn't opt to compete against Tony in the firemaking challenge. Natalie said she wanted to finish off Tony's solid alliance in the game and she felt at peace after winning immunity.
Tony joked the only advantage he received from the Edge was a disadvantage that cost him six Fire Tokens and "extortion."
The last phase of judgment was "outlast."
Natalie reiterated how she made it to the end after being the first castaway voted out; Michele argued she had attended 15 out of 19 Tribal Councils and was vulnerable through most, played with integrity and utilized advantages and Fire Tokens; and Tony said he played this game as a human being and played every second of the day and night.
Tony said he was leading votes without people knowing it and never had his name written down once during the game. Tony hoped the jury would appreciate the hard work he had put into Survivor.
Finally, the jury congratulated all three players in the Final 3 on executing excellent games in their own ways and absolutely deserving their spots in the end of an "immensely difficult" season.
The only thing left to do was determine a "victor of this war," according to Jeff.
The jury members then voted one by one, and it appeared to be a very difficult decision for all.
Rob voted for Tony, saying Natalie had to play a perfect game if she got back in and "almost did." Rob said Natalie had to take Tony out in order to do that. Ben was also shown voting for Tony.
Parvati and Tyson voted for Natalie to win. Nick seemingly cast his vote for Michele because he said he knew how hard it was to be on the outs almost the entire time, but his actual vote wasn't shown.
Jeff told the cast at the Final Tribal Council he'd see them back in Los Angeles for the reading of the votes, but instead, footage switched to Jeff in his home's garage due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Jeff had Tony, Michele and Natalie on Zoom chat, and then he revealed the votes live.
On Zoom, Natalie was joined by her boyfriend, Michele sat with her sister, and Tony had his wife and two children with him.
"One of you is going to win $2 million and become only the second two-time winner of Survivor," Jeff said before reading the votes.
Jeff read the votes in the following order: Tony, Natalie, Natalie, Tony, Natalie, Tony, Natalie, Tony, Tony, Tony, Tony, Tony and Tony.
With the 9-4 votes that were read aloud, Tony was crowned the "Sole Survivor" of Survivor: Winners At War.