'Survivor: Winners at War' recap: Sandra Diaz-Twine quits the Edge, Yul Kwon blindsided and voted out before merge
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 03/26/2020
Survivor: Winners At War featured Sandra Diaz-Twine quitting the game while at the Edge of Extinction and Yul Kwon getting voted out at Tribal Council during Season 40's Wednesday night episode on CBS.
Survivor: Pearl Islands and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains winner Sandra, who also competed onSurvivor: Game Changers, decided to leave the Edge on Night 16 of the game because she couldn't envision herself winning the comeback competition.
"I have gained a lot from Survivor. It has changed my life," Sandra said in her final words.
"It's given me opportunities that I might not otherwise have had. I'm happy to go into retirement and know that I did the best I could with what I had. At the end of the day, I'm still The Queen and I will always stay The Queen."
And then Yul, the winner of Survivor: Cook Islands, was voted out of his new Sele tribe on Night 18 of the game through a 3-1 vote at the season's ninth Tribal Council. Yul had cast his vote forSurvivor: Ghost Island winner Wendell Holland.
"Getting so close to the merge and just literally being a split second away from winning immunity and making it and being blindsided is a bitter pill to swallow," Yul said following his ouster.
"I assume that we'll have an opportunity to battle back soon, and I'm just trying to remind myself that this is an adventure and I feel lucky to be here."
The Dakal tribe post-swap featured two former Sele members -- Survivor: Philippines winner Denise Stapley and Survivor: Cambodia winner Jeremy Collins, who also appeared on Survivor: San Juan del Sur -- as well as two former Dakal members in Survivor: Cagayan winner Tony Vlachos, who also appeared on Survivor: Game Changers, and Survivor: One World winner Kim Spradlin.
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Ben and Adam were both former Sele members, while Sarah and Sophie were original Dakal members.
Sandra quits the Edge of Extinction
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 16 at the Edge of Extinction.
Parvati complained no one in her tribe wanted to work with her except for Michele and she found it really lame to have been voted out before the merge. However, seeing Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano and Ethan Zohn there made her feel better, and then in no time, Sandra Diaz-Twine showed up as well.
Sandra shared how she had screwed herself by giving an idol to Denise, who then played the idol but herself but also had another idol in her pocket to play for Jeremy.
Rob was especially surprised Sandra didn't just play her idol for herself. The players couldn't believe she gave that much power and control to someone else in her tribe.
"It sucks I played with my emotions. I said I would just play a strategic game, but in hindsight, at the end of the day, I am still human," Sandra said of one of the biggest and most vicious moves ever played in Survivor history.
"Just like everybody else, I have feelings. I felt something for Denise and it just bit me in the butt."
While everyone was sitting around a campfire, Sandra admitted this life on the Edge was not for her. Sandra didn't want to wait around for 23 days starving and getting bitten by rats just to fight her way through a challenge that she'd probably lose.
Sandra felt she couldn't do anything else and her time on Survivor was done.
"I've done everything that I could possibly do in the world and in the game of Survivor, and I don't need to do anything else but move on," Sandra told the players at the Edge.
Sandra admitted she's not very good at the challenges -- and everyone knows that -- so she would be wasting her time on the Edge. She therefore raised the mast at camp and told the players to get Denise for her.
Meanwhile, at Sele's camp, Yul noted Tribal Council had sucked because Wendell "got into it" with Parvati and "almost kind of blew things up." Yul didn't like how Wendell had created so much "drama and uncertainty" for no reason.
Yul therefore spoke to Wendell in private about how his actions at Tribal Council left people wondering if he was going to flip and could be trusted. Wendell said he appreciated Yul's honesty, but Yul planned to keep an eye on Wendell even though they hashed things out.
The next day, Wendell apologized to Michele for making her feel uncomfortable. Michele told Wendell that when a person creates chaos like that, he or she is typically the one to go.
"Thank you for schooling me about how to react at Tribal. Do you think I didn't know what I was doing last night?... I am here to play," Wendell sarcastically replied.
Wendell vented in a confessional how Michele shouldn't tell him how to play.
"If you want to put me on a leash and try to tell me how to play my game, I might turn around and bite you!" Wendell said.
When Yul and Michele were left alone, Yul pointed out Wendell had "a different tone and demeanor" with her than he did with other people. Yul could hear that Wendell had been "defensive" and "passive aggressive," and Michele totally agreed.
Michele didn't understand why Wendell was treating her poorly considering she had given him one of Parvati's Fire Tokens in attempt to repair their relationship.
Michele believed Wendell thought he had her in his back pocket, but Michele said in reality, she didn't want to move forward in the game with her ex-boyfriend.
On the Edge of Extinction on Day 17, Ethan was struggling physically, mentally and emotionally, and he was asking himself why he was even sticking it out.
Ethan found life in this "in-between" world depressing, and he was starting to feel defeated. He also worried about a relapse; however, Parvati was a good friend to Ethan and gave him the comfort and pep talk he needed to pick himself up and come back stronger.
The players then each received a tiny scroll which read, "Scattered on top of the island, there are four Fire Tokens. Follow the trails to their natural ends, then the search begins. There is no limit on how many Fire Tokens one player can find."
The second the castaways read their scrolls, they left their rice on the fire and took off in a mad sprint. Rob sprinted to the top of the mountain first, figuring he'd have an edge if he could get there first. Rob said he had been up and down the trails for days so he knew where to go.
Tyson was able to find one Fire Token, which was wrapped into a little package, and he shared the news with the other players.
Everyone thought the other three Fire Tokens were nowhere to be found after frantically searching for them, but Rob actually snagged them all quickly, efficiently and secretly.
"Three out of four! We're in the majors and I'm batting 750! I'm the best that's ever played," Rob bragged.
Rob didn't appear to tell anyone about his findings and instead cornered other players into taking off their shorts and showing what was inside their pockets.
Meanwhile, at Dakal on Day 17, Tony felt he was close with Kim and Jeremy. He said Denise's big move at Tribal made her a big threat and target; however, he wanted to keep threats in the game to serve as shields for himself.
But Jeremy still considered Tony the biggest threat considering he was a big name and tended to be wild and unpredictable in the game.
Kim felt good with this group of people, but she hoped they could stick together come the merge.
Kim noted the more connections she could make, the more options she would have. Denise also thought she was in a solid three with Kim and Jeremy, and she promised Kim their alliance "felt right" and should absolutely continue.
At Yara's camp, the tribemates were eating peanut butter and jelly, and Sophie acknowledged tension was bubbling beneath the surface. Sophie said the guys had no idea she had a hidden Immunity Idol in her bag.
Ben went off looking for an idol, but Adam was convinced it was a charade because either Ben or Sarah had an idol. Adam said it was "so obvious" his tribemates were "pretending to look for an idol."
"I'm not an idiot, guys! I can't stand it!" Adam yelled in a confessional.
Sophie told Ben and Sarah that Adam was really suspicious of them and paranoid. Sarah therefore told Adam that he was welcome to look through her bag, knowing the idol was in Sophie's bag.
"Now I have to do damage control when I am convinced they are the ones lying to me. This is ridiculous! There is a chance that I'm wrong... but there are few times in Survivor where I've felt as confident as I do about this," Adam told the cameras.
On Day 18, the three tribes gathered and met Survivorhost Jeff Probst for the season's next Immunity Challenge.
For the challenge, each tribe was instructed to carry a large and heavy water saucer to a water tower, where they would fill it with water and then race through a series of obstacles.
After emptying the water that was left in the saucer after the obstacle course, tribemates must fill a well and then head back and do it again unless the well was full enough to drop a bag of puzzle pieces.
The pieces would then be assembled into a puzzle, and the first two tribes to finish would win immunity and be safe from the vote at the next Tribal Council session.
Adam's tribe took a long time to get through the obstacle course as to not lose any water along the way, but their slow-and-steady approach eventually paid off because they were able to fill the well in one trip while the other two tribes had to go through the course twice.
In the end, Yara won immunity and Dakal finished in second place by just a second or two.
That meant Michele, Wendell, Yul and Nick would be heading to Tribal Council. Nick called it "the most brutal loss" he's ever experienced in Survivor, especially because he had competed in this challenge before on his prior season.
Yul acknowledged his tribe was tight but Wendell was a little bit of a showboater and trash-talker. Yul said if Wendell didn't lose focus in the challenge, they might have won, and so Yul thought Wendell was "digging his own grave."
Once Sele returned to their camp, Nick also blamed Wendell for the loss, saying he should have been focusing on the puzzle and not talking trash.
Nick wanted to keep this four together and was frustrated with Wendell because that was no longer going to be the case.
Yul and Nick agreed to vote for Wendell but tell Wendell that they were voting for Michele.
Wendell figured that Yul was gunning for him, so he asked Michele to stick with him and have his back. Michele promised she'd vote the way Wendell wanted, and he was banking on her loyalty -- as well as Nick's loyalty.
Yul told Michele that he and Nick were voting for Wendell, and then he came up with an idea of how they might be able to get Wendell's valuable Fire Tokens.
"We would tell Wendell he'd be voting for me and Michele would be voting for me but the reality, though, is that you [Nick], me and Michele would vote out Wendell. That way, at least there's some chance Michele might get Wendell's Fire Tokens," Yul explained.
Yul knew he'd be at risk with one person writing his name down, but he was willing to take that risk to get Wendell's Fire Tokens.
Nick called it "a dark" and "strange" situation, and he realized in that moment siding with Yul was "super dangerous" in the game.
Michele talked to Nick about how she was open to voting either way, and so Nick pointed out that if they kept Yul, Yul would probably think he's in control and pitch plans to them.
Michele promised Nick that she'd vote the same way.
While she would've loved to get some "revenge" on Wendell and prove that she had not fallen for "his tricks" again, Michele also acknowledged Yul was "super strategic" and had a good shot to win. She knew she had a big decision to make.
At Tribal Council that night, Wendell announced that although he and Michele had a history, that didn't necessarily mean he wanted to go far with her in the game or sit next to her in the end.
As Wendell spoke, Michele smiled big, and she declared that Wendell had made it clear he was on Survivor and not for anyone else.
Michele said since Wendell had insisted he didn't care for her, she wasn't sure whether she'd want to continue working with him.
Wendell apologized to Michele and clarified that he did, in fact, care for her and her future in this game.
Nick also told Jeff that this tribe was his Final 4 no matter what, but Wendell said it would be difficult to join forces with these people again if they blindsided him.
"I will be bitter with you guys if you blindside me tonight, but I want to leave open the option of working with you," Yul shared. "That might be my only option, and right now, I feel like I know you all better than anyone else in this game."
Michele said she loved her boys but someone needed to go.
It then became time to vote, and after no one played an idol or advantage, Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Yul, Wendell, Yul and Yul.
"Wow, good one, guys," Wendell said on his way out.
"I'm sorry," Michele noted.
Yul gave one Fire Token to Sophie and one Fire Token to Sarah before arriving at the Edge of Extinction.
Yul voted for Wendell and everyone else voted for Yul.