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Survivor Season 40: Winners At War Episode Recaps

Don't miss a single second of the epic 40th season of Survivor on Wednesdays at 8/7c.
Posted on Mar 26, 2020 | 11:45am
The fight to determine who will be crowned the best Survivor player of all-time—not to mention win a life-altering $2 million—has begun!

In Survivor: Winners at War, 20 previous Sole Survivors face off in the highest-stakes season yet, as they outwit, outplay, and outlast one another in an effort to gain Survivor immortality.

To make sure you don't miss one second of the scheming, blindsides, and strong bonds that are sure to define this landmark 40th season, we'll be keeping track with episodic recaps for easy reference.

Be warned: there are spoilers from here on out.

STREAM: Full Episodes Of Survivor: Winners At War On CBS All Access

"We're In The Majors" (Episode 7) / Voted Off: Yul
Parvati and Sandra adjust to their new reality on Edge of Extinction, but Sandra surprises everyone by raising the mast and ending her game

At Sele, Yul tries to hash things out with Wendell after the blow-up at the previous Tribal. Wendell tries to apologize to Michele for Tribal, but they get into a squabble instead.

At Extinction, the castaways struggle to stick it out. Ethan, in particular, has a hard time and opens up to Parvati about it, who conjures some optimism for him. The players get a box full of scrolls, which turn out to be clues to finding four fire tokens hidden on Extinction. Tyson finds one but Rob finds three of the four.

At Dakal, Tony feels secure despite Sandra being gone. Meanwhile, Kim, Jeremy, and Denise talk about sticking together against Tony.

At Yara, the Tribe enjoys leftover PB&J but tensions start to boil up between Ben and Adam as they start wondering where the hidden Immunity Idol is, not knowing that Sophie actually has it. 

Adam is convinced that Sarah has the Idol, which Sophie relays to Ben and Sarah. Sarah tells Adam to dig through her bag to prove that she doesn't have the Idol. Adam is confident that his suspicions are correct but doesn't take her up on the offer.

At the Immunity Challenge, the Tribes have to work together to carry a large, heavy saucer filled with water to fill a well and then complete a puzzle. The last Tribe to finish will go to Tribal Council. Yara is the first Tribe to finish, followed by Dakal, sending Sele back to Tribal. 

Back at camp, Nick and Yul target Wendell, while Michele tells Wendell that she'll vote with him against Yul. Yul presents a plan to not only vote out Wendell but to vote him out while also getting his fire tokens. The plan worries Nick and considers sending Yul home instead, and Michele agrees.

At Tribal, Jeff points out that all of the old school players are gone except for Yul. Again, Wendell is put on the spot to talk about his relationships with his Tribemates, particularly Michele. 

The Tribe votes, and it is Yul who is sent to the Edge of Extinction. Before exiting, Yul gives his fire tokens to Sarah and Sophie.

"Quick On The Draw" (Episode 6) / Voted Off: Parvati And Sandra
Ben celebrates Boston Rob's exit from the game. Adam is hesitant to celebrate, worrying that he's on the outside of the Tribe. 

At Edge of Extinction, the cast-offs get a new clue leading them to potential fire tokens. As everyone hunts, Tyson spots something along the coast and snags it while pretending to pee. It turns out to be an Idol Nullifier, which he can sell to someone in the game. 

At Sele, Parvati finds the offer for the Nullifier and pays one fire token for it. Tyson spends the fire token on peanut butter, hoping it will boost his energy when it comes time for a potential challenge to re-enter the game. 

At the Immunity Challenge, the castaways compete in an intense physical competition. Jeff reveals that only the first Tribe to finish will receive Immunity, and the two losing Tribes will go to Tribal Council. The winning Tribe will also receive peanut butter and jelly as a reward. 

It's a tight competition, but Yara wins Immunity and reward. 

After the challenge, the men of Sele start strategizing to take out Parvati, even though Nick is disappointed to vote against his Survivor crush. Meanwhile, Michele suggests to Parvati the idea of trying to turn Nick, while telling the cameras she might just side with the boys to benefit her game.

Michele tries to sell Wendell on putting his name down while everyone else votes for Parvati, so that Parvati will still give Michele her fire token when she leaves. Wendell isn't receptive, and their romantic history bubbles to the surface. 

Meanwhile, Wendell tries to trade Parvati's vote for two fire tokens, which Parvati uses against him, telling Nick about it.

At Dakal, Tony tries to build a spy bunker near the water well to eavesdrop on conversations. Denise confronts Sandra about her status in the game, trying to convince them to shift the attention to Jeremy instead of her. 

Kim, Sandra, and Jeremy catch on to Tony's bunker, so he reemerges and tries to make an excuse for why he disappeared. The four of them discuss voting for Denise. 

Sandra offers Denise her hidden Immunity Idol in exchange for two fire tokens, revealing that the plan is to vote for her. Denise agrees, but stipulates that she'll give Sandra one token before Council, and one after. 

The first Tribal Council is for Sele, where Wendell seems to be the target of many frustrations within the Tribe. Parvati reveals Wendell's offer of his vote in exchange for fire tokens, and Jeff makes them address the offer in front of everyone, but it seems like no consensus is reached. The rest of the Tribe is nervous. They vote, and Jeff reveals that Parvati is the next player to be voted out. On her way out, Parvati gives her fire tokens to Michele. 

Dakal enters Tribal Council, and Sandra suggests that everyone in their Tribe is a huge threat except for Denise. Alternatively, Jeremy suggests that the original Sele might vote together. 

After some more discussion, the Tribe votes. Before Jeff reads the votes, Denise plays the Immunity Idol she got from Sandra for herself--but she also plays her second Idol for Jeremy

All of the votes are for Denise, except for the name Denise wrote down: Sandra. On her way out, Sandra gives her fire token to Yul.

"The Buddy System On Steroids" (Episode 5) / Voted Off: Rob
Nick finds the fire token that Tyson left for him. 

Yul opens up to Sarah and Wendell about his friends Jonathan Penner, a former castaway, and Jonathan's wife Stacy, who is battling ALS (read more about that here).

The castaways meet up with Jeff, who tells them to drop their buffs for a Tribe swap. The castaways realize they are moving from two Tribes to three. 

Michele is concerned that she wound up on a Tribe with Wendell, because they used to date. 

The new Sele Tribe consists of Parvati, Nick, Yul, Michele, and Wendell. 

The new Dakal Tribe consists of Jeremy, Denise, Tony, Sandra, and Kim. 

The brand new Tribe, Yara, consists of Rob, Ben, Adam, Sarah, and Sophie.

The castaways head back to their new camps and try to get used to their new Tribes. At Dakal, Denise tries to recruit Kim into an alliance with her and Jeremy. 

Tony pitches Sandra and Kim on teaming up together, but Kim feels like she's making progress with Jeremy and Denise.

At the new Sele Tribe, Parvati and Yul hit it off despite their history on Cook Islands, and Nick tells Parvati that she was his high school crush. Wendell and Michele awkwardly talk about the elephant in the room, and Wendell is annoyed that Michele brought it up

At Yara, Sarah explains to Rob how Amber was voted out. Sarah and Sophie can tell that Rob, Ben, and Adam are butting heads and decide to use it to their advantage to try and get Adam and Ben on their side to take out Rob.

The Tribe starts looking for the hidden Immunity Idol. Rob struggles to adapt to the new school way of finding an Idol. Sophie finds it, having to give half to someone in order for it to be active, and chooses Sarah

At the Immunity Challenge, the new Tribes have to complete an obstacle course and finish a puzzle, and the last Tribe to finish would head to Tribal Council. In the end, Sele and Dakal win Immunity, sending Yara to Tribal. 

The men at Yara agree to remain aligned despite their disagreements and lack of trust, and decide to vote for Sarah.

Rob enacts the "buddy system" so that no one can be separated from the group to strategize. Ben considers flipping and voting Rob

Sarah and Sophie manage to get away for a few minutes and discuss using Sarah's Steal a Vote advantage to take out Rob.

Tensions are high at Tribal Council as the women express their frustration about the mood around camp thanks to the buddy system. 

Yara votes and Rob is blindsided when he's sent home. On his way out, he leaves his fire token to Parvati.

"I Like Revenge" (Episode 4) / Voted Off: Tyson
After Tribal Council, Adam feels betrayed by Rob, but apologizes to everyone for playing all sides. 

At Dakal, Yul tries to keep the positivity up, but the isolation of Edge of Extinction looms over camp. 

At Extinction, Amber finds a box containing a chance to earn a fire token. It requires the cast-offs to dismantle a pile of wood one piece at a time, making 20 trips up a steep path. 

All of the players go for it, and all of them struggle with depletion. Ethan in particular struggles to keep at it, and eventually collapses after 16 trips. A medic comes in and tells him that he's going to faint if he keeps going and doesn't rest. He steels himself and continues.

Natalie, Amber, and Danni all finish, but decide to join Ethan on his final trip in solidarity. 

At Sele, Michele and Rob talk about Michele's "controversial" win, but Rob tells her not to sweat it. 

Adam does his best to make up for his actions by doing all of the hard work around camp. Rob and Parvati talk with Adam about his agenda, trying to get him to make a mistake. Rob lies to Jeremy and says that Adam was back to playing both sides, which makes Jeremy and Michele consider voting him off. 

At Dakal, Sarah and Tyson's friendship blossoms, but the game looms over them. Tyson is concerned that some people are flying under the radar, but Sandra is more concerned with taking out Tyson. 

At the Immunity Challenge, the Tribes compete for safety and a reward of chickens. Sele struggles early on, Adam's portion of the challenge proving difficult. Incredibly, Sele has an epic comeback and comes from behind to win. 

At Dakal, Tyson starts plotting for Tribal, throwing out Nick's name to Yul, Sarah, Sandra, Tony, Sophie, and Wendell. Tyson blames Nick for losing the challenge. Meanwhile, the Tribe is secretly considering to vote out Tyson. 

Tony is conflicted about voting for Tyson, since Tyson could act as a shield. Sarah, Tony, and Kim try to get Sandra on board to keep Tyson. 

At Tribal, everyone says they were in on a plan, so nobody knows exactly where the axe is going to fall. After the votes are in, it's revealed that Tyson is the one being cast-off to Extinction. On his way out, Tyson leaves his fire token to Nick. 

"Out For Blood" (Episode 3) / Voted Off: Ethan
Denise and Adam are concerned following the Danni vote, and Adam pitches taking out Parvati in order to target "the big dogs."

Adam brings the idea to Ben and Michele, who agree with the plan. Ben expresses the frustrations he has with Rob. Adam pitches Ethan on the plan to vote Parvati, but to the camera, Ethan says Parvati is his number one.

At Dakal, Sandra claims she's retiring from Survivor after this season and wants to prove herself to her Tribe. Tyson pitches Sophie and Yul on taking out Sandra should they go to Tribal. 

Sandra manages to catch a shark for breakfast, which turns out to still be alive when Tony picks it up. Sandra catches on to Tyson's plan to vote her out and starts preparing for it.

On the Edge of Extinction, Danni goes spearfishing. The three castaways on Extinction get treemail that includes a clue to a puzzle that they have to solve. Danni and Natalie work to figure it out, but realize that Amber has disappeared to solve it on her own—and failed. 

Natalie manages to solve it on her own and receives a Steal a Vote advantage that she can sell for a fire token

Back at Dakal, Sarah finds a note in her bag about the Steal a Vote advantage, which not only requires one fire token, but also for her to sneak into Sele's camp at night and find it. Tony helps Sarah prepare for the mission by putting ashes on her face for camouflage. 

Sarah sneaks into the Sele camp and manages to find the advantage without being caught.

The next morning, the castaways compete in an Immunity Challenge, completing an obstacle course and puzzle to not only win the Immunity Idol, but also a reward of chicken kabobs and grill. The contest is a close call, but ultimately it's Dakal who wins

Back at camp, Sele gets tense as they start to strategize. Adam tries to convince Rob to vote for Parvati, but Rob doesn't buy into it. He tells Jeremy and Michele that he knows Adam's plan, and they ponder blindsiding Adam instead.

Rob tells Parvati the new plan. Meanwhile, Jeremy and Michele consider breaking up Rob, Ethan, and Parvati by taking out Ethan. 

At Tribal Council, the Sele Tribe was shaken up with a vote for Ethan, who bequeathed his fire token to Parvati before heading to Edge of Extinction. 

"It's Like A Survivor Economy" (Episode 2) / Voted Off: Danni
Amber copes with being on Edge of Extinction, hopeful for getting back into the game. Meanwhile, Rob receives the fire token he was bequeathed from Amber when she was voted off. 

Rob tells Parvati about the fire token and his suspicion that it came from Amber.

At Dakal, Ben tries to work on his social game by showing Denise how to find hidden Idols—which she does. The Idol requires the holder to give half to another player, which she suggests to Adam should be Parvati. Adam outright dismisses the idea and convinces her to give him the other half instead.

Kim reflects on the trajectory of her game so far, feeling like she's at the bottom. She goes hunting for an Idol and finds one identical to the one Denise found and gives Sophie the other half. 

At Edge of Extinction, Natalie and Amber receive a clue that might lead them to where they can get an advantage to sell for fire tokens. They explore the island together but don't find anything. 

However, Natalie goes to get water and discovers something in the well. It turns out to be a Safety Without Power advantage, which allows a castaway to leave Tribal Council before the vote. Though the player cannot vote, they also cannot be voted out. 
Natalie selects Jeremy as the recipient, who agrees to pay one fire token in exchange for the advantage.  

Tony tries to occupy himself by building a giant bamboo ladder to pick papayas to mixed success. Sarah and Tony solidify their alliance, despite Sarah having been burned by him in the past. 

At the Immunity Challenge, Rob's suspicions of Amber's elimination is confirmed. The two Tribes compete against one another to complete an obstacle course and build a complicated puzzle. Dakal wins and takes home not only the Immunity Idol, but a Survivor spice kit. 

Rob blames himself for Sele's loss, but still isn't worried about being a target at Tribal. Danni is concerned about her spot in the game because nobody is talking with her, including Parvati. 

She reveals the old school alliance to Ben by mistake while talking to Ethan. Ben pitches Jeremy, Adam, and Ethan to vote for Danni to show that old school/new school isn't going to fly.

Danni pitches Rob on voting Parvati. Rob lies and says that he's in, but then talks with Adam and Ethan that he wants to vote Danni. 

Ethan tells Parvati about Danni throwing her name out. Jeremy and Michele discuss their options; they can either go with the vote or turn the game upside down and go for Parvati, which Adam weighs as an option as well. 

At Tribal Council, Sele talks about the nature of their relationships within the Tribe and the potential old school/new school divide. Ben stirs things up about paranoia, which spins people out and gets them whispering. 

Rob asks point-blank who has the Idol, and when no one responds, he dumps out his bag and gets others to follow suit. Even though Denise and Adam take out their stuff, they manage to hide the Idols they hold. 

After the ruckus settles, the Tribe votes and it's Danni who is sent to Edge of Extinction. On her way out, she bequeaths her fire token to Denise. 

"Greatest Of The Greats" (Episode 1) / Voted Off: Natalie And Amber
Host Jeff Probst welcomes the returning castaways—all previous winners—to Fiji for Survivor: Winners at War. As the castaways get their bearings, the realization that they're playing the game once more settles in, and Jeff offers up a toast.

Then, the players divide into their two Tribes. Dakal consists of Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra, and Tyson, while Sele features Natalie, Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Danni, Denise, Jeremy, and Adam.

Jeff introduces a new Survivor currency called fire tokens, which can be used throughout the game to purchase advantages, food, and other supplies, but must be bequeathed to another player if the holder is voted out of the game.

Players who are cast-off won't go home right away, though. Instead, they'll head to the Edge of Extinction, where they await a chance to get back into the game. Then, the biggest reveal of all comes when Jeff announces the grand prize for Season 40 is doubled to $2 million.

The two Tribes almost immediately compete in their first challenge, with the prize being a fire-making kit as well as Immunity. After a tough physical challenge, Dakal takes home the victory.

Sele is sent away without fire or rice, and they learn that Tribal Council won't happen until the following day, leaving them a full day to strategize.

Dakal begins building shelter and relationships start to form. Sarah, Tyson, and Amber connect while talking about their children. Sandra works hard to keep the target off her back and catches up with Tony to make sure there aren't any hard feelings from when she got him voted out on Game Changers.

Meanwhile, at Sele, Rob is concerned that he's going to be a target right off the bat. Parvati wrestles with how far she's come since her first season playing—from playing as a flirt to playing as a new mom.

Ethan explains how excited he is to be back on Survivor after surviving his battle with cancer. Adam and Denise wander off to find water and strategize, which rubs the rest of the Tribe the wrong way.

At Dakal, Amber is emotional about having to compete against her husband, while Tony does his best to stay under the radar. Yul and Sophie hit it off and start a tentative alliance after Yul reveals that Rob, Tyson, Jeremy, and Kim play poker together.

At Sele, Rob and Parvati decide to work together despite their "checkered past" playing against each other in Heroes vs. Villains. Danni starts trying to rally people to take down Rob, but Ben tells Rob this information and Rob confronts her. In the interest of mutual respect, Rob and Danni agree to an "old school" alliance.

Jeremy and Natalie rekindle their Season 29 alliance and decide to take aim at Denise and Adam. Ben tells Adam that he might be a target, and Adam sets to work trying to convince the others to split the vote between Jeremy and Natalie.

At the first Tribal Council, tensions are high as the castaways reveal their concerns about the alliances that have been forming. The Tribe votes and Natalie is the first person voted out of Survivor: Winners at War. Natalie bequeaths her fire token to Jeremy before she goes on to Edge of Extinction.

The next morning at Dakal, Sandra is annoyed with Rob for lying to her about playing in Season 40 when they mentored together on Island of the Idols.

Yul tries to form an alliance with Wendell, Sophie, and Nick, hoping their lack of apparent connection will work to their advantage.

At Sele, Michele is blindsided by Natalie's dismissal and feels she has a lot to prove. Ben decides that himself, Michele, Jeremy, and Adam should team up as the "new schoolers" on their Tribe. Jeremy discovers that Natalie gave him her fire token.

On Edge of Extinction, Natalie gets a clue leading her to an Immunity Idol, which she can then sell for a fire token.

At the next Immunity Challenge, the Tribes must complete an obstacle course in the water before completing a puzzle. In the end, it is Sele who wins Immunity.

Back at Dakal camp, the castaways scramble to strategize in the lead-up to Tribal Council.

Sandra discovers a hidden Immunity Idol from Natalie and pays the price of one fire token to acquire it. Kim worries she is the target.

Tribal Council is tense as the castaways talk about the names mentioned earlier as potential votes, particularly the members of the non-existent poker player alliance.

The players cast their votes and Amber is voted off. She bequeaths her fire token to Rob before heading to the Edge of Extinction.

Don't miss all-new episodes of Survivor: Winners at War on Wednesdays at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.