'Survivor: Winners At War' recap: Ethan Zohn gets blindsided and voted out at Tribal Council
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 02/27/2020
Survivor: Winners At War featured Ethan Zohn getting blindsided and voted out of his Sele tribe at Season 40's fourth Tribal Council session and heading to the Edge of Extinction during Wednesday night's episode on CBS.
Ethan -- the winner of Survivor: Africa, who also appeared on Survivor: All-Stars -- was voted out of his Sele tribe on Night 9 of the game instead of Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites winner andSurvivor: Heroes vs. Villains runner-up Parvati Shallow as well as Survivor: Millennials vs. Generation X winner Adam Klein.
Parvati, who also appeared on Survivor: Cook Islands, only apparently received one vote from Adam, based on the votes Survivorhost Jeff Probst read aloud, while Adam earned himself three votes.
"My alliance with Boston Rob and Parvati didn't go so well," Ethan told the castaways on the Edge of Extinction following his ouster.
Ethan then told the cameras, "I'm not afraid of the Edge of Extinction because I've been to the Edge of Extinction having to go through cancer. So I think I have the mental strength to get through it."
Adam pointed out Danni Boatwright had been voted out at the previous Tribal Council because Parvati, Rob and Ethan had turned on her. Adam said the three old-schoolers were "running the show."
"Rob needs to feel like he's in control at all times. He won this game because he was in control from start to finish, but... this is Survivor: Winners At War. He needs to adapt... This is the time to draw a line in the sand and target some of the big dogs in this game," Adam told the cameras.
Adam suggested to Denise they vote out Parvati and maintain relationships with Ethan and Rob. Adam claimed Rob really trusted him, although the plan was still "dangerous."
Denise felt she was in a good spot because she had a whole hidden Immunity Idol now with full power as well as two Fire Tokens since Danni had willed her one.
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Before Tribal, Adam apparently gave Denise her other half of the idol she had found to show they were tight and she could trust him. Denise felt secure with Adam as an ally, and she figured it would be a smart move to break up the tight three of Parvati, Rob and Ethan.
Adam then got Ben and Michele onboard with voting out Parvati, but Ben was fed up with Rob and said he needed to keep his temper under wraps.
Adam also pitched the idea of taking out Parvati to Ethan, saying he needed Ethan in his corner if Parvati was really about to go to the Edge of Extinction. Adam said he still needed Ethan to trust him and want to work with him going forward.
However, Ethan insisted Adam had made a "mistake" by sharing that plan with him. Not only did Ethan consider Parvati his "No. 1," but he also said he trusted Parvati with his life.
"Having one person you can trust no matter what is huge! It's more huge than having a decent relationship with Adam," Ethan told the cameras.
Meanwhile, over at Dakal's camp, people were fishing.
Sandra and Nick were spearfishing together, and Sandra noted once this season was over, she was going to retire from this game. Since this was her last stint on Survivor, she wanted to switch gears and prove her worth to her tribe by catching some fish.
Meanwhile, Tyson said it had been a tricky seven days for him, a little bit of a roller coaster, and so he needed to point the target somewhere else.
Tyson therefore figured he could pitch Sandra's name since she was "the weakest player on the tribe" and already had $2 million in the bank from Survivor. He thought eliminating "the queen" would please everyone on the show.
Tyson talked to Sophie about his goal, and Yul noted Sandra had a reputation of using misinformation to stir things up. Yul wanted to play with people known for rational games whom he could work with without expecting to be backstabbed towards the end of the game.
Yul didn't trust Tyson, but he said his proposal to vote out Sandra was definitely an option.
On Day 8, Sandra caught a shark for her tribe to eat, but when Tony picked it up, it was still fighting and trying to bite him. Tony was afraid of sharks and everyone thought the scene was hilarious.
"Don't come after me," Sandra said in a confessional of Tyson. "If you come after me, I better not find out about it."
On Day 8 at the Edge of Extinction, Danni said there were no coconuts on the island and no rice and so the castaways had to provide for themselves and fish in order to eat.
Danni, however, was holding out hope -- and then suddenly, the three ladies came across some Tree Mail wrapped in shells. A photo of a tree was on the scrolls, and the girls realized they must head to specific trees on the island in order to hopefully receive some rice.
"This is not a guessing game. You've been given all you need. You must have the numbers in order to proceed," the girls read once they reached a huge combination lock.
Something popped in Amber's head, and so she ran away from the other two girls and headed to a bunch of crates over by the giant mast.
Amber had remembered subtle numbers were painted on the side of the crates, and she acknowledged she was playing for herself and didn't want to work too closely with the other girls.
Amber wrote the numbers down so she wouldn't forget, and then she tried to open the lock and succeeded.
But Natalie had an idea of her own. She realized the scrolls were wrapped with shells, and the shells were attached to a string in a sequence of numbers, with knots in between groupings of shells.
Natalie was so excited and then broke the shells so the other women couldn't figure it out. Natalie said luckily, Amber and Danni had already seemed to give up.
Once Natalie put the numbers in, she read a scroll that revealed this advantage would help a player in the game find a "steal a vote." The advantage had no value on the Edge of Extinction but she could sell it to any player for one Fire Token.
Natalie was going to have three Fire Tokens, but she was pretending to be completely poor like the other girls. She said everything she was doing was leading towards her eventual goal of getting back into the original game.
Natalie offers Sarah the "steal a vote" advantage
At Dakal's camp, Sarah discovered a note in her bag that revealed a "steal a vote" advantage was hidden at the other tribe's camp inside one of the player's torches.
This advantage allowed Sarah to sneak into Sele's camp at night and attempt to find it. The advantage, however, cost one Fire Token.
Sarah admitted it was a huge decision. She had successfully played the "steal a vote" on Survivor: Game Changers and knew how powerful it could be, but there was a lot at stake.
Not only would it cost the one Token she had, but she also had to sneak out of her camp without getting caught and infiltrate a camp she knew nothing about. Sarah said if it was any other season, she'd probably turn the opportunity down, but since this was Winners At War, she decided to go for it.
Sarah considered consulting with Tony, her police officer friend, to help her with this mission. Tony covered Sarah's skin with ashes from the fire he had spit on to camouflage her, and then Sarah made her move.
Once Sarah arrived via boat, Ethan had been awake stoking the fire. Sarah crawled around looking for the torches, and then she found them. The torches were very tall, so Sarah had to stand up and completely expose herself.
Sarah struggled to find the scroll, and her movement and sounds woke up Ben. Sarah called it "a complete disaster," but none of the Sele tribe members saw her.
After patiently searching, Sarah managed to grab the advantage and get out of the foreign camp quietly.
Dakal wins the Immunity Challenge again
On Day 9, the two tribes met Jeff Probst for the season's next Immunity Challenge.
Jeff explained each tribe must leap across a series of ramp walls, dig up a ladder from a sand pit, climb up the ladder, retrieve a rope, use the rope to get to the top of a tower, and then solve a lifesize tree puzzle.
The winning tribe would receive immunity and be safe from the next vote at Tribal Council. In addition, they were playing for Reward in the form of chicken kabobs.
Dakal had one extra person and so they decided to sit out Sandra.
Dakal had a good lead, and Sarah and Sophie were able to start the puzzle before Sele. Once Sele made it to the puzzle, Rob and Michele worked on it.
The challenge was a close call, but in the end, Dakal finished the job and won immunity. Sele only had one piece left and was seconds away from winning.
Dakal now had three out of four challenge wins under its belt, and Sele was incredibly bummed about the loss. Denise noted after the challenge the gameplan was still to vote out Parvati, but she said it was a critical vote that could blow up people's games.
Adam tries to convince Boston Rob to vote off Parvati
Ben thought Parvati was the most dangerous player left in the game as opposed to Rob or Ethan because he said she could bat her eyes, flirt and manipulate her way through. Ben said he had Michele, Denise and Jeremy all in on the plan.
Adam therefore had "the tall task" of recruiting Rob.
When the two guys sat down and talked, Rob pitched Ben, but Adam said, "No." Rob then pitched Michele or Jeremy, and Adam replied by saying, "Are you open to any other possibilities?"
"You want to go there? I'm open to it," Rob said.
"Parv will come after you in the long-term," Adam insisted.
Rob asked Adam if he was sure he had the numbers, and Adam assured Rob he did. Rob asked Adam if he'd be protected going forward, and Adam promised to have his back 100 percent.
In fact, Adam told the cameras he'd actually like to work with Rob long-term and strategically telling people truths at important times can be helpful. Rob said he totally trusted Adam, and so Adam thought this plan was going to work.
Boston Rob tries to target Adam instead
"Adam is going to blindside Parvati, and I'm supposed to be okay with that," Rob said in a confessional afterwards.
"I'm thinking, 'Is this kid crazy?! I know he's seen me play on TV. He's seen every episode! He knows everything! I don't play like that!'"
Rob told Michele and Jeremy he knew what was up, but Jeremy said Parvati wasn't going anywhere. Jeremy and Michele discussed targeting Adam, which would be a perfect time because he wouldn't play a hidden Immunity Idol.
Rob told Michele and Jeremy that Adam thought they were super close, and then Rob spilled the beans to Parvati.
Rob and Parvati agreed to vote out Adam, and then Ethan heard the news as well.
"It's got to be Adam. I am ready to pounce on Adam, devour that guy and just spit out his bones on the Edge of Extinction," Parvati told the cameras.
Jeremy wanted to weaken Rob, however, and Michele realized it was essential to "break up the trio." Jeremy noted taking out Ethan would weaken Rob.
But Michele said Adam had scurried off to Rob and told him the plan, throwing Michele and Jeremy under the bus. And so Michele noted they needed to take out Adam that night.
Michele shared with Denise that Adam had told Rob everything and gave out the five names who were voting for Parvati. Denise replied with, "What the hell?! Not cool."
Ben also wasn't pleased Adam had leaked the plan to Rob, and Michele acknowledged Adam was playing every angle and so he should go next.
Michele told the cameras she and Jeremy held a lot of power that night, and she felt she was proving to everyone that she did actually deserve to win her prior season.
Ethan is voted off at Tribal Council
That night, Sele arrived at Tribal Council, and Ethan announced the players felt like they needed to take care of themselves.
Rob said this was a game where you had to trust someone but you inherently shouldn't trust anybody. Rob said he hoped everyone was going to do the right thing, and then Parvati called herself a "billboard target," saying her name had definitely been thrown out earlier that day.
Adam pointed out Rob had a statue built of him on this island, and he said he was just stating the obvious. But Rob argued by Adam mentioning that, he was playing the game.
Ben told Jeff he was happy with where he was at in the game and whom he was working with, and Ethan said he just wanted to get through this one vote.
"I can't think too far ahead if I'm not in the game anymore," Ethan shared.
After votes were cast and nobody played a hidden Immunity Idol, Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Parvati, Adam, Adam, Adam, Ethan, Ethan, Ethan, and Ethan.
Adam appeared shocked, while Rob had a disappointed expression written all over his face.
Ethan had his torch snuffed, and on his way out of the game, he put his Fire Token into Parvati's chest.