Survivor‘s ultimate battle royale has almost come to an end, and by this time next week, a new champ will be crowned! Though Winners at War seems to have flown by faster than Tony Vlachos flailing out of the jungle, there’s still a lot of game to be played. Wednesday’s episode whittled the castaways down to five and delivered some devious schemes that are bound to boost résumés at final tribal. Here are the highlights of the penultimate (two-hour!) episode.
Michele calls tribal council “a disaster as usual.” Though Jeremy’s survival is a plus for her, everyone now knows she’s willing to play an advantage for him. “I sort of feel like I took a butter knife to a gun fight, and I don’t know how I can recover,” she says. Jeremy gives her the 50/50 idol back, and let’s be serious: She may need it.
The next day, Tony reminisces with Sarah over their three seasons together and seems very sincere in wanting to take Cops R Us to the end. But Ben has become a liability. The stubborn veteran won’t rest until he takes Jeremy out, so Sarah manipulates Ben into thinking that blindsiding Nick is his idea. Her ploy works.
IMMUNITY IS NOW UP FOR GRABS | The players must navigate an obstacle course and get two large balls to a slide puzzle at the end. The winner takes immunity, plus two fire tokens. Jeremy takes an early lead getting to the puzzle first, but Tony, Ben, Nick and Sarah aren’t far behind. Nick wins the challenge and cannot be voted out anytime soon. Looks like Ben needs to be fed another idea by the island’s resident cops.
After the challenge, Ben tells Jeremy to get Michele’s advantage back, but then tells Michele to keep an eye out for Jeremy. It doesn’t take long for Jeremy and Michele to sniff out Ben’s terrible gameplay, so the two set their sites on Ben. Tony, however, wants Jeremy to go, while Nick finds himself caught in the middle of two plans.
THE TRIBE HAS SPOKEN | Sarah talks about how different this season is because this time, real friendships are on the line. Nick worries the influx of truths leaves the game open for someone to lie their way to the end. All of the players then reflect on the ways Survivor takes its toll, particularly with regard to trust issues, even with close family. Votes are cast, and Michele pulls out the 50/50. She gives the coin a flip and… she wins immunity! Jeff proceeds to read the votes, and Jeremy becomes the next inhabitant of the Edge. He leaves his fire tokens with Michele.
After tribal, Michele tells Nick that there’s no path to the end for them. Michele knows she’s next on the chopping block, but knows she does her best when her back is against the wall. She says everyone better buckle in because she’s going out fighting. She has nothing to lose.
THE EDGE | The ousted players get tree mail that points them to “a throne of stone.” Everyone takes off running in different directions, but Natalie knows exactly where to go, and she finds yet another advantage. (Girl is KILLING. IT.) It’s another disadvantage, only this time Nat can sell it to a player who can then turn and use it against someone else.
Nick is the lucky recipient, only he needs two more tokens to buy it. He approaches Michele for help and she agrees to cough up the remainder. Nick can now give someone a disadvantage in the immunity challenge, and that castaway won’t know it came from Nick.
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE #2 | Players must stack blocks on a beam while attempting to avoid trip obstacles. The first player to arrange their dominoes correctly and hit a gong wins immunity and two fire tokens. Jeff then announces that Ben is the recipient of the disadvantage, so he’ll have a penalty of a 30 percent longer beam. Michele smokes the competition, winning the challenge in one try. “I needed this so bad,” she tells Probst. She’s been riding the struggle-bus lately, so it’s great to see the huge smile plastered on her face. (For anyone keeping tabs of winner’s edits… I kind of feel like her edit is saying something. Thoughts?)
Post-challenge, the group wants Nick gone, buuut Nick thinks he’s in the best spot in the game. (Perception is reality, I guess.) He then tells Tony and Michele that Ben can make fire in minutes. If Ben is thrown into the fire-making challenge, he’ll destroy any one of them, which worries Tony… who then re-opens the spy nest. (Tony is a gift from the reality TV heavens.) Tony then overhears Denise selling him out to Sarah and Ben, which then puts her square on Tony’s radar.
THE TRIBE SPEAKS AGAIN | Michele says she knows she was on the bottom. “I need this necklace today… like you need a blue button-down and khakis,” she tells Jeff. The conversation turns to the use of fire tokens and the unpredictability they bring to the game. Michele says they’ve been invaluable, giving her hope to keep going. Denise continues her “fake out” play she started at camp, telling them she accepts whatever is going to happen because she no longer feels like scrambling. The votes are cast, and Jeff reads the results: Nick is the next player sent to the Edge.
THE EDGE | The players are psyched to see their last sunrise on the Edge. It’s time to do or die, and spend those fire tokens because their final battle-back is officially here. Only we’ll have to wait until next week to see who returns!
Returnee aside, who are you rooting for to win the game? Vote in the poll below, then tell us why in the Comments!