Survivor: Winners at War had the most emotional loved ones visit in all of Survivor history. For such an iconic season, the reveal of entire families appearing was the perfect way to surprise the veteran winners and treat the viewers. Some of these players carried over arcs from their previous seasons (like Adam and Ben), while others showcased the growth of their lives since the previous times they played (like Jeremy, Rob/Amber, and Tyson). “The Full Circle” was an emotional night.
Having the episode start right at the loved one’s visit is one of the earliest times the round has jumped into the game. Survivor dismissed any post-Tribal Council discussion to give extra time for the players to be reunited with their families (both at camp and at Edge of Extinction). This was the right call because with so many family members, there needed to be time to give each player their moment and to showcase the reunions. I do still wish there was some challenge happening at the game – possibly to win an advantage and still have everyone have time with their families. Not utilizing the extra people is a missed opportunity that could’ve made this the biggest and most impactful loved ones visit yet.
Though, this type of larger experience should only be kept to Survivor: Winners at War. The episode didn’t feel like a full episode, though. Rather, “The Full Circle” was essentially a half an episode as the round was put on pause. Once the immunity challenge came into play, the tone and momentum kicked into overdrive to catch-up. It’s an exhausting feeling to see the players scramble right up until the walk to the Tribal Council urn. It was a cute moment, but it doesn’t need to become a thing.
Tony winning his first immunity challenge was a tad surprising based on the challenge he won. The balancing rope was a game that required balance, patience, and precision; Tony was not known for any of that or having a level head, but he dominated the challenge with ease and a calm demeanor. Maybe we should be keeping our eyes on him as a potential winner? However, based on his heated strategizing with Sarah, he has to start reigning himself in.
The strategizing at camp and the strategizing at Tribal Council were extensions of each other. The whispering only stopped in the short period the castaways walked to Tribal Council. Don’t get me wrong, strategizing is an essential part of the game and the players should keep fighting right up until the vote. However, the chaotic whispering at Tribal Council has become old. Do the players not settle on a target before heading to vote? Granted, the post-Jeremy leaving whispering was needed, but the players have to stop relying on this luxury. I’m missing the moments where people destroy their games during Jeff Probst’s questioning.
Jeremy playing his advantage is a hit and miss moment. He made the right call with getting the immunity because he was definitely the target from the group. Ben spilled that detail by openly talking about it. However, him walking out of Tribal Council put a huge target on his back because he left his alliance to fend for themselves and there is no way Tyson or some of the jury members will vote Jeremy to win after that. Plus, Kim and Denise probably feel abandoned after that moment. In Sarah’s case, her power helped to ensure her alliance’s victory, but if she had used her power first, would Jeremy have used his power too?
Sophie made the biggest move that defined the lines of the alliances. Her calling on her alliance to a separate location to discuss the vote put a huge target on her back and she couldn’t hide in the background anymore. Sophie has shown her aptitude to be a strategizer, and while the move worked out in her favor, she most likely moved forward in the hit list. She could be one of the next targets soon.
Tyson getting the boot came down to bad luck. His alliance didn’t have the power (one player left and one lost their vote) and he still had his reputation of being a big threat. If Jeremy hadn’t left Tribal Council, Tyson most likely would still be around. How could he stay? He would’ve literally had to go to the other alliance to convince them to protect him and vote the way they wanted. It would ruin relationships with his current alliance, but that’s the only way possible. (Unless, of course, Kim had played the hidden immunity idol on him instead.)
“The Full Circle” delivered an iconic staple of Survivor earlier in the season and on a much grander scale. It’s a heartwarming break from all the deception and strategy that’s usually rampant on Survivor and they used the time to just enjoy the moments in between. Basically, Survivor took a break for 30 minutes before returning back to the chaos. This episode was sweet filler, but in the best wa