Survivor Winners at War Episode 1 Review and Player of the Week

Ivan Ornelas
7 min readFeb 14, 2020

I love Survivor, and this 2-hour season premiere reminded me exactly why. Every player that stepped foot on that sand pit to celebrate with Jeff Probst before switching gears into game mode represents some of my fondest TV and fandom memories. Now it is time to make some new ones in a season that feels like a fanfiction come to life.

The tribe breakdown was an interesting one from the start

Dakal: Amber, Kim, Nick, Sandra, Sarah, Sophie, Tony, Tyson, Wendell, Yul

Sele: Adam, Ben, Danni, Denise, Ethan, Jeremy, Michele, Natalie, Parvati, Rob

Reward/Immunity Challenge Day 1

I couldn’t help but draw parallels to Heroes vs. Villains as the first challenge was melee, beach side, and in pairs. It set the tone for that amazing season as I hoped this challenge would for this season. It’s still early days but this challenge definitely hit that high for me. We know these great players are going to go at it strategically, but seeing them go head to head physically as well as so much fun. Tony vs Rob taking each other down? You love to see it. Sarah definitely stood out as well, reminding everyone just how strong the “cop turned criminal” is and being a huge factor to Dakal winning the first challenge of the season.

Dakal Camp Hour 1

Dakal comes together, takes a collective sigh of relief that they avoided going to Tribal Council the next day. That allows them to think about the fire tokens as well as building the shelter. All eyes turn to Wendell, but Wendell tries his best not to go to full Ghost Island and instead tries to be more of an assistant rather than the team captain of the building effort. As Tyson, Sarah, and Amber discuss leaving their kids behind and Sandra and Tony reassure each other “water under the bridge” given their tumultuous history in Game Changers, Sophie and Yul form what could be a key alliance. I personally love this duo, both of them are nerdy like I am but they also have other skills that can make them a lethal combination in this game. Sophie referring to Yul as his “nerd shield” was terrific and they were smart in detecting the sub alliances that have formed: Sophie, Yul, Wendell, and Nick as the free agents, the Game Changers trio of Sandra, Tony, and Sarah, and the “Poker Alliance” of Kim, Tyson, and Amber. Tyson, Kim, Rob, and Jeremy played in a poker game where Tyson joked they would be a great alliance if…

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Ivan Ornelas

Manchester United, Quakes, Roots, and Chivas fan. Primarily covering soccer, followed by other sports. Occasionally Writes about Reality TV and Games too.