'Survivor: Winners At War' recap: Tyson Apostol re-enters game, Wendell Holland voted out after the merge
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/02/2020
Survivor: Winners At War featured Tyson Apostol winning the Edge of Extinction challenge and returning to the game, before the newly-merged Koru tribe voted out Wendell Holland during Wednesday night's Season 40 episode on CBS.
After Tyson -- the winner of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, who also previously appeared on Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains -- re-entered the game, Survivor: Ghost Island winner Wendell was voted out of his Koru tribe on Night 21 of the game at Tribal Council instead ofSurvivor: Millennials vs. Generation X winner Adam Klein.
TheSurvivor broadcast began on Day 19 at the Edge of Extinction.
The players on the Edge knew it was the day they'd be battling back to enter the original competition, so everyone with Fire Tokens were making their preparations.
Natalie Anderson planned to use her four Fire Tokens toward one advantage in the comeback challenge and then the last three Tokens on a hidden Immunity Idol, and Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano intended to do the exact same thing after his wife Amber Mariano gave him one Fire Token.
Natalie admitted being the first person to go to the Edge of Extinction was hitting "rock bottom," and Tyson shared that he attempted to find humor on the Edge but it was nearly impossible at times.
Rob then opened up about how the Edge of Extinction was the worst place he had ever been to, and he hated the fact his wife had been sent there previously, potentially because of him.
Tyson edges out Boston Rob in the comeback challenge
It then became time for the comeback challenge, and Jeff explained each player must race through a series of obstacles and then, at the finish, maneuver a ball to the top of a long, windy track.
The first person to finish would get back in the game and resume competing for the title of "Sole Survivor" and the huge $2 million prize.
Natalie, Danni, Ethan, Tyson and Rob each earned one advantage in this challenge thanks to the Fire Tokens they had accumulated, so when it became time to dig up a bag in the sand, their bags would already be waiting for them above the sand.
The challenge was an incredibly close one between Tyson and Rob, and in the end, Tyson dropped his ball in the target apparently a mere second or two before Rob could get the job done.
Ben called the challenge "insane," and Tony pointed out that he understood why Sandra quit early.
Tyson therefore won a spot back in the original game, and he cried tears of joy.
However, the players on the Edge could return to the Edge of Extinction and await another opportunity to rejoin the game. They'd also automatically become the first seven members of Survivor's Season 40 jury.
The castaways begin merged tribe life
On Day 19, the merged tribe returned to camp, and everyone realized the price of luxury items, idols and advantages had gone up now that more Fire Tokens were in use in the game.
The tribe enjoyed a huge feast, but lines were very blurred and Sarah said she didn't know where each relationship started or ended.
Denise shared her story of taking out Sandra "The Queen," and everyone began viewing her as a huge threat to win the game.
"I'm honestly the only OG left on this beach. There are all new-school players here. I played three times before most of these people even put their Survivor diapers on. Are the kids that are coming up now changing the game so much that I can't adapt? I don't think so," Tyson told the cameras.
"If I were these people, I would get rid of me on Day 1... because if you let me get my roots in... I'm going to build a home."
Wendell said he really trusted Michele and Nick but they needed more numbers, and so he tried to work on his relationships and bring Jeremy into his alliance.
Wendell shared with Jeremy that he was close with Denise and Sophie as well, but Jeremy warned him Denise was playing a better game than he thought.
Jeremy said he liked Wendell and they had a mutual respect for each other. But Jeremy wanted to be Wendell's right-hand man and No. 1 instead of Nick, so he wanted to take out Nick.
Tyson told Ben the biggest targets were already outnumbered and so they needed to take control before the others picked them off one by one.
"We're drawing lines. It's going to be big threats vs. little threats," Ben said in a confessional.
Tony was brought in on their plans and he loved the idea of targeting Wendell, Nick, Adam and Michele, whom Tony said were "good players" but "low profile" and "not in the spotlight."
Denise and Jeremy win the Immunity Challenge
On Day 21, the new merged Koru tribe were losing patience, optimism and strength as the rain poured down on them and they were freezing. Adam joked this was "nothing" because he had experienced a cyclone on his previous season.
Kim said it was "almost comical" how miserable everyone seemed to be.
Tyson talked to Nick and Wendell about going after Denise, and they all liked that idea.
Later that day, once it finally stopped raining, Koru met Jeff for the season's first Individual Immunity Challenge. Sophie was crying and shaking before the challenge even began.
Each castaway was instructed to simply hold onto a pole for as long as possible. Once a person dropped, he or she would be out. The last person holding on would win the challenge as well as a Fire Token.
And to make things a little more interesting, Jeff declared one male and one female could both win Individual Immunity, with each of them also earning a Fire Token.
The 12 players held on for as long as they could, but the pole was wet and a bit slippery.
Michele dropped out of the challenge first with a hard and seemingly painful fall, and several castaways were quick to follow.
The challenge came down to Kim vs. Denise on behalf of the women, and Denise won immunity. As for the men, it was a showdown between Jeremy and Nick, and Jeremy ended up winning.
Jeremy's plan was to go after Nick, but he didn't want to be the one looked at as "the boss."
"I want to drive this thing, but I don't want anyone else to know I'm driving this thing," Jeremy told the cameras.
Everyone scrambles before Tribal Council
Once Koru walked back to camp, Ben pitched the idea of gunning for Nick or Wendell to Jeremy and Tony. Jeremy suggested they should target Nick because they could use Wendell, but Tony wanted to take out one of the bigger threats.
Ben said Nick's social game was good and he had no problem writing his name down, but Nick suggested to Michele, Jeremy and Wendell they should vote out Adam since Denise was immune but Adam was super close with Denise.
Nick also acknowledged most people didn't trust Adam, so it appeared to be an easy vote for many.
Sophie told Adam and Ben she'd prefer voting out Wendell because Wendell and Jeremy were "constantly bro'ing out." Sophie could sense the big guys -- Jeremy, Tyson, Tony, and Ben -- all got together and threw out names, like Wendell or Nick.
"But a lot of power in this tribe is coming from Jeremy, and I think Wendell is Jeremy's man," Sophie said in a confessional.
Tony therefore told Sarah, Adam and Ben that Sophie wanted Wendell out, and so the vote appeared to shift to Wendell. However, Sarah questioned whether they could get Jeremy onboard with that.
Jeremy told Ben that if they kept Wendell, Wendell could serve as another shield for them.
Jeremy really wanted to work with Wendell and knew Wendell and Nick were voting for Adam, so Jeremy asked Ben to vote out Adam instead.
Sarah trusted Wendell and told Jeremy that she'd change her vote at the last minute, and Jeremy worked on one person at a time, trying to change their minds. It seemed like Jeremy had convinced Michele, Tony and Ben to flip the vote onto Adam.
Denise even told Jeremy that she would vote out Adam because she was trying to go with the flow and go with the tide. Denise and Adam had created an alliance on Day 1, but she admitted it wasn't necessarily a Day 39 alliance.
Sophie warned Adam that Nick and Wendell were gunning for him, so Adam was nervous and paranoid heading to Tribal Council.
Adam didn't understand what the plan really was, and it didn't seem like anyone else knew either.
Denise told Adam to just "trust the process," but he was scared and didn't want to get sent to the Edge.
Wendell is voted out at Tribal Council
At Tribal Council that night, the castaways made it known a solid plan was difficult to reach because people did not want to talk or throw out specific plans.
Tony explained it was important to swim with the current at this point in the game rather than against it in order to avoid being in a dangerous position. However, Jeff pointed out no one seemed to know if the tide was coming in or going out.
It then became time to cast votes, and Nick was shown voting for Adam, while Adam voted for Wendell.
After no one played a hidden Immunity Idol, Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Adam, Wendell, Adam, Adam, Wendell, Wendell, Wendell, Wendell, Wendell and Wendell.