History loves to repeat itself when it comes to the tribe swap twist on Survivor. Sometimes it’s the bad luck of the draw that sees someone get the boot because they end up on the wrong tribe. That’s what happened this time on Survivor: Winners at War. It’s an even divide for all three tribes, but a string of bad luck sent Boston Rob packing. I didn’t think he would win Survivor: Winners at War – he is Boston Rob, after all. But, the way he got eliminated was surprising based on his narrative so far.
Boston Rob’s story so far had him squarely at the bottom of the game since everyone saw him as a threat. His own alliance got picked off one-by-one (Danni, Ethan) and anyone even slightly associated with him got the boot too (Amber, Tyson). He kept trying to crawl his way up from the bottom, and because of his scheming, he broke the trust of many tribe members. But, when he ended up on the Yara tribe with a majority alliance, things looked up for him. This is the type of luck that many players who get “swap screwed” wish they could’ve had. All Rob had to do was reaffirm his trust with Adam and Ben to get them to stick to his side.
The problem, however, was that the “Robfather” re-emerged. Look, Boston Rob’s gameplay during Survivor: Redemption Island was unique because he amassed severe control over the game and had everyone following his lead; he instituted the buddy system and struck fear in the tribe. That strategy worked then with newbie players, but that doesn’t work with capable Survivor winners. Everyone knew his strategy and him reinforcing that gameplay destroyed more relationships than it did to help him. His forced control on Yara destroyed any chance to build a connection with Sophie or Sarah and it most likely pushed Adam and Ben to flip, who were already wary of him in the first place. Boston Rob’s desperation to get back what he lost hurt him most.
Also, he’s been having major back luck during Survivor: Winners at War during the challenges. How many losses has his tribe had so far? It seems like a lot! The Yara tribe even had the lead for a long time, but their poor puzzle-solving worked against them. They need to shake things up and have different people try the puzzles from now on.
I’m loving the new alliance between Sarah and Sophie. If they had not been swapped to a new tribe, there’s no way they would have worked together. Now that they’re together, they immediately placed their trust in each other and formed a tight bond. Hopefully, they can stick around well past the merge. Each one has an ability that could help them in the season, and they’ve shown the type of friendship that didn’t need any questions or doubts. Plus, Sarah gave Sophie back her piece of the idol, so they’re in this for the long haul.
At the new Dakal tribe, Kim has the best position possible. Sometimes being in the middle and playing both sides can work against you, but Kim has developed a longstanding reputation of being a trusted Survivor player. Tony/Sandra and Jeremy/Denise would kill to have Kim flip to their side because it would mean they’d stick around, but they would have someone who would back them up. I’d guess that Kim would move over to Denise/Jeremy first. She formed an alliance with Denise and the Denise/Jeremy pairing has a similar type of gameplay style to her compared to the others. Tony and Sandra are too much like villains for Kim to fully trust. The only way Kim would stick around is if she’s banking on her former tribe having the numbers come to the merge, which could happen now that Boston Rob got voted out.
Over at the new Sele tribe, that is an awkward hell I would not want to live in. What is the full scoop on Michele and Wendell’s former relationship? He played it off like they were just hanging out, but she used words like “relationship” and “a couple of months.” Either way, it seems like he did her dirty and acted like a villain. Wendell played the entire situation terribly! He joined a new tribe with someone he had a connection with from the outside. Sure, they ended on bad terms, but a little forgiveness could’ve fixed their problems and he would have an ally who would trust him. Instead, he has both Parvati and Michele look at him with a side-eye.
Wendell is pretty insulated with his Yul and Nick alliance; all three guys trust each other and seem like they’ve got a tight trio forming. However, all it takes is one moment for their trio to be broken apart. Enter Parvati. Parvati is emerging back into her former gameplay style and it’s working like magic – it’s no wonder she’s one of the best players in Survivor history! Her charm won over Nick, she slowly chipped away at Wendell’s cold exterior, she developed a strong bond with Michele, and she utilized her history with Yul to reopen discussions. And now with two more fire tokens from Boston Rob, she could feel reinvigorated to search for a new hidden immunity idol or manipulate one of the boys into flipping.
“The Buddy System on Steroids” was a return to Survivor seasons of the past, but with an all-winner twist. The players faced their past histories head-on and tried to form new connections. However, some players can’t shake the ghost of the past, even when they try to use the same strategy a second time to put them back in the lead. That doesn’t always work. Boston Rob is another casualty of his scheming coming back to haunt him.