Survivor fans have been waiting for this moment for years. Finally, we're getting a season of past winners returning for their shot at another grand prize, with host Jeff Probst revealing it's going to be the biggest cash offering in reality television history: two million dollars.
Winners At War welcomes back 20 former Survivor players who each made their way to the tops of one of their respective seasons - with one of them even managing to scoop the million dollar prize twice. That player is Sandra Diaz-Twine, but after seeing her in action for 90 minutes in Wednesday night's (February 12th, 2020) premiere, she could be in danger of biting herself in the ass if she continues down the path she's going.
See, Sandra is mad that Boston Rob is also back to play again. Having spent over 30 days with him as mentors on Season 39, where he told her every day he would never return to the competition, she feels betrayed. Sandra doesn't reveal if she ever told Rob she would be making a comeback, but that's beside the point. Not only is Rob back, but he's got his wife Amber alongside him. With Amber on her tribe, Sandra wants to immediately dish out her version of justice to one of the greatest players of all time.
This isn't a bad strategy for an outsider looking in, but Sandra decided to still plough ahead with her plan even when she realised that Natalie - who was booted first from the game and sent to the Edge of Extinction - had sent her an Immunity Idol good for three tribals, in exchange for a Fire Token. With her horns quickly locked against Rob, is sending his significant other to a place where advantages can be sent to players still in the game, really the best idea? Sandra could have made the most momentous mistake in her entire Survivor history.
But let's take a step back for a moment. Why is Edge of Extinction back after being received hugely negatively by audiences when it was first introduced? It allowed someone who was voted out of the game to come back in at a very late stage and win the whole thing. Viewers hated it. So why potentially tarnish an all-winner season with its inclusion? Well, it appears that Edge of Extinction has been through quite the revamp...
Players are no longer asked if they wish to venture to the Edge of Extinction: instead they are told they must head there after bequeathing any Fire Tokens they've collected (a new form of currency brought into the game that can buy you anything from luxuries, to snacks, to game advantages). Of course, the castaways can quit once they reach the island by raising the white sail, but will we really see anybody do that when there's a cast full of winners battling it out for such a huge prize?
The Edge of Extinction element was also introduced to every player upon their arrival into the game, so exactly how people are going to play will now also hinge on who they want to burn despite giving them a chance to get back into the game at a later stage.
Once a player has been voted out and finds themselves on the Edge of Extinction, they're likely to face a challenge which could earn them a game-changing advantage. We don't know all the ins-and-outs of this just yet, but what we saw in the premiere was Natalie earn an Immunity Idol good for the first three tribal councils of the player still in the game that she could sell it to. She chose to offer it to Sandra for one Fire Token, and receives the Fire Token at Edge of Extinction.
There are so many layers to this year's gameplay that the winners are going to have to go all out if they want to stand any chance of being named the Sole Survivor. The tagline of Outwit, Outplay, Outlast is constantly evolving and we have seen it this season take on a whole new meaning. If our feature-length premiere was anything to go by, we're going to have a season for the history books on our hands. Bring it on.
Survivor: Winners At War continues Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.
Tagged in Survivor