'Survivor: Winners at War': One of the Game's Biggest Targets Gets Voted Out in Season Premiere
By Jennifer Drysdale
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Survivor is back -- and the stakes are higher than ever.
The reality competition series is celebrating its 40th season with an all-winners season -- but that doesn't mean it'll be one big party. Legends like Boston Rob, Sandra, Parvati, Tyson and more old school favorites are back for another shot at the title of Sole Survivor, but they'll have to fight for it against new school winners like Adam Klein, Sophie Clarke and Wendell Holland Jr. Sandra told ET fans can expect Winners at War to be a "bloodbath."
"The one thing you don't wanna do in your 40th season is just sit back and celebrate. You have to continue to plow ahead," host Jeff Probst told ET. Survivor has done that this season with a $2 million prize, and the introduction of money into the game.
"That's the thing that levels the playing field this season is we now have 20 winners, but there's a new twist. How is money going to change Survivor?Its' going to usher in a new era. 40 is not the end. 40 is the beginning of something new, and we're letting winners to teach us how to play this new version of Survivor," he added.
ET was live blogging Wednesday's season premiere -- during which one of the game's biggest targets was sent to the Edge of Extinction. Scroll down for minute-by-minute updates.
Wasn't the Best
Next week -- Rob finds out Amber was voted out, and sets his sights on getting Sandra out. Tony heads up a dangerous ladder, and Tyson wonders how he's still alive.
But first, Amber reaches Extinction and meets up with Natalie. "I hoped for the best, and it wasn't the best," she says.
To Rob, From Amber
Amber gives her fire token to Rob and heads off to the Edge of Extinction.
Another One Bites the Dust
The tribe votes, and Jeff reads them aloud.
The votes are: Nick, Kim, Kim, Kim, Amber, Amber, Amber, Amber and Amber.
Amber gets five votes, enough for her to get sent to the Edge of Extinction. Her torch is snuffed.
Friends or Not
"We don't know how tight people who played poker one time a year ago can be," Wendell says. "But you have to take that into consideration."
"Friends or not, we're willing to do anything," Amber says.
Sophie is excited about the $2 million, and so is everyone else. "If friends have to be lost along the way, I think it's a price every single person out here would be willing to pay," Sandra says.
Sandra throws a little shade at Amber, saying she's not used to the pace of the game.
Sophie recaps the day, and how strategy started immediately. "There was panic," Sandra says. "But then the names were narrowed down to a small group."
Kim says she knows her name was brought up due to the "poker player alliance," which she says doesn't exist.
Tyson says he hopes he did enough not to go home, but Sandra notes he's part of the poker group too.
Some Things Never Change
"Some things never change," Jeff says as the Dakal tribe arrives at tribal council and gets fire for the first time.
Amber opens up about how things have changed since the first time she played. "I feel like if I'm not on my toes at all times, I'm behind," she admits.
Tyson says the older era players are observing, while the new players are already acting.
On the Outs
Kim cannot infiltrate anyone's group, and she realizes she's on the outs.
She's emotional. "This is not the way I envisioned my comeback... I think Tyson, Amber and I are in trouble," she admits. "One of the three of us are being voted out, and I think there's nothing I can do to change that."
"It's been the biggest mess," Kim says as the tribe heads to tribal council.
Tyson figures out that his poker alliance has come back to bite him, and has switched his strategy from controlling the game to surviving.
He feels bad for distancing himself from Kim and Amber, but he's gotta do what he's gotta do. Kim is starting to get a bad vibe from everyone, and the paranoia sets in.
An Idol for Sandra
SANDRA HAS AN IMMUNITY IDOL. This is not a drill!
She found one in her bag, and used a fire token to buy it. She's not sure if Natalie sent it to her from Extinction (did she?), but it's a lifeline.
"Everything is in flux," she notes.
Tony hears that Tyson wants him out, and now he's in freak out mode. Things are getting CRAZY.
Strategy talk has started, and it seems Sandra and Tony's names are being thrown around. Oh, and Amber.
Amber is already overwhelmed, and even Nick and Sophie haven't seen this much scrambling. "The target is constantly shifting," Sophie says.
Can't Do Anything to Help Her
Dakal is headed to tribal -- and Rob is worried about Amber.
"I can't do anything to help her. This is possibly my wife's life in this game," he says.
Tied... and then Not
Yul nails the combition, and Dakal heads straight to the rings.
Wendell hooks a few, and Adam cracks the combination for Sele. Jeremy hooks a ring, and they're tied. Then Jeremy hooks another, and Sele is in the lead. Then Wendell hooks one, tying it again, but Jeremy hooks his third. Sele wins!
Sandra is keeping it up with the mat talk, reminding Tony to stay focused while Sele struggles.
Rob got everyone over the wheel, but now he's struggling to get Jeremy over.
Finally, it's Rob's turn, and he juuust makes it. Onto the combination.
Next is the barrel roll, and it looks HARD.
Dakal is losing their lead with the difficulty of the obstacle, and Rob starts hurling his teammates over the barrel.
Sele runs their boat into their first obstacle, and it's an unexpected move for a bunch of WINNERS. They can't figure out how to row their boat, and it's a huge mess.
Dakal has the lead grabbing their first bag and heading over the crates.
Time for another challenge.
Wendell has a toothpick and looks SO COOL and now it's time to get a look at the new Sele tribe, sans Natalie.
Immunity is once again up for grabs, and this time, it's a huge obstacle course. Dakal has one extra person, so Sandra sits out.
Natalie gets up to the top of the island to find the last place she can see the sunset, and she finds an Immunity Idol which she can sell to a player who is still in the game.
"I have to pick a person from the losing tribe, and they have the opportunity to buy my idol for a fire token," she explains.
Jeremy is feeling down after Natalie was voted out, but she gave him his fire token. "Two is better than one, so I'm the richest on this island," he says.
He's planning to wait on them, and see what he can do.
On the Edge of Extinction, Natalie finds a box listing what she can purchase for tokens. An Idol is three tokens, while an advantage is one.
She can earn a fire token by journeying to the last spot she can see the sunset.
Day 3 -- and Daniele reveals she was the one left out of the vote.
Ben tells Daniele that Rob is trying to pull the wool over their eyes. "They're intimidating," he admits. "We can take control of this part of the game."
Yul forms an alliance with Wendell, Nick and Sophie, and feels more control of the game.
"I think Sandra really is gunning for Rob," he tells Wendell -- who agrees both of them should get to Extinction ASAP.
Yul is feeling confident, but now we're worried.
Back on the other tribe, Yul tells Sandra he's a free agent.
"It's very rare for me to take something so personal," Sandra says of Rob telling her he wouldn't show up on the season. "It's just that every time I see Amber, which is all day, I just think about it."
Sandra wants Amber out -- and Yul asks if she's down to break up the poker alliance.
Edge of Extinction
Natalie heads out, giving her fire token to Jeremy and taking her torch to the Edge of Extinction.
"I don't think it's hit me that I just got voted out first," Natalie says. "I've never gotten voted off."
"I thought I would be fine, but I'm just mad," she adds.
Natalie discovers she can use fire tokens to get back into the game -- or raise the white flag and give up.
First Person Voted out
Jeff is back with the votes, and asks if anyone has a hidden immunity idol. We can't get over people looking around like it's a real possibility.
The votes are read: Denise, Adam, Denise, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie, Natalie and Natalie.
Natalie is the first person voted out.
Time to Vote!
It's time to vote!
Ethan says it's good to be back, but we're not sure we believe him.
"Everyone's holding a loaded revolver behind their back. No one should feel comfortable, and probably a lot of people do feel comfortable," Parvati says, and Jeremy is not pleased with that statement.
No one wants to say who their voting for, and Ben can't even remember the questions Jeff is asking. "Every word could be skewed and twisted. My head is on a spinner, and I'm just trying to hold on," Michele says.
The cast is freaking out, and Jeremy is whispering to Ben about Rob and Parvati.
Everyone Has a Target
Rob immediately notes that two players went off to the water well, and Denise owns up to it. "I'm not starting on a grand note," she admits.
"Denise and I met yesterday, and this is the relationship you're worried about?" Adam asks.
"There's a reason to vote off every single person up here. Everybody's won the game. Everybody has a target," Rob says.
Get In Line
The set looks AWESOME and we are ready for this tribal to begin.
The Sele tribe picks up their torches, and Jeff recites his famous line about fire representing their life in the game.
Tribal kicks off with Ethan noting how fast the game has been moving, remarking that his last season felt like it was at a "glacial" pace.
"You either get in line or get out," Rob says.
Ruling the Game
Adam works his magic, and tries to turn the target on Natalie and Jeremy.
"I could basically choose which way I want to go," Rob says. HOW IS HE RULING THIS GAME ALREADY?
The tribe keeps the debate going... and Parvati notes with all this back and forth, it could be her.
"You and I are probably the biggest targets, and I'm not too worried," Rob tells Parvati. "The two of us are playing for 10 people."
Natalie and Jeremy are close -- and Natalie notes Adam and Denise already have "strike one" by going off together.
Rob wants it to be one of the two. Ben just wants it to be someone who isn't him -- but also thinks keeping Adam around might be helpful.
"I went to look for the water well with Denise... that shouldn't be the end of the world!" Adam notes. "They should be way more worried about Natalie and Jeremy... and Rob and Amber's marriage."
It's the next morning, and Adam hasn't slept a wink. Someone on the Sele tribe is going to be voted out and sent to Edge of Extinction.
Danni and Michele are paranoid, and we think Danni has a reason to be. SHE THREW ROB'S NAME OUT THERE, AND HE KNOWS IT.
Ethan notes the game is moving too fast for him. "I feel like I'm going to throw up right now," he tells Danni.
Rob immediately confronts Danni for throwing his name out -- and she admits it.
"The fact that you told me the truth right now, I respect it so much, and I'm willing to work with you," Rob tells her. Boom -- what just happened?!
Rob wants to form an old school alliance with him, Parvati, Danni and Ethan, and says it would be beneficial, and show the new kids the ropes.
Danni notes it's been a long time since she's played -- and she's not as connected with Rob. So, her first target? Rob.
Ben tells Rob he's heard his name being thrown around, and it feels too early for this. Ben backtracks, telling Rob he doesn't know who said his name, but it was a girl, and Rob says he feel like he can't trust him.
Then Ben says it was Danni, and the deed has been done. He can't resist Rob! "I was starstruck and told him everything," Ben tells the camera.
Rob asks Parvati to work together this season, despite their "checkered past."
"I don't know how Rob is going to want to play with me," Parvati tells the camera.
Rob doesn't want the new school players to dictate how it's going to go -- but Parvati notes he doesn't have many other options.
In the Middle
Yul notes he used a lot of game theory his first time around, but this time, he's lacking necessary connections.
This season, it's all about poker -- and how Tyson, Rob, Jeremy and Kim have all played together.
Sophie connects with Yul, and notes there's a "cool person alliance" of Kim, Amber and Tyson, and "gritty group," of Tony, Sandra and Sarah. In the middle are Sophie and Yul.
Amber opens up about how hard it was to root for her team in the challenge, but root against her husband. "I'm his biggest fan," she says, crying.
To her, it's a disadvantage that they're both out here. "I've gotta take advantage of this time," she says, searching for idols.
Tony wants the immunity idol, but he's trying to play it cool. "I'm on probation," he jokes to the tribe.
"I don't want to put a target on my back... I want everybody to get nice and comfortable with me," he tells the camera.
Ready to Play
Ethan opens up about coming back to the game after battling cancer. "I'm excited to see how I play in this new era of Survivor," he says. "I'm back, I'm ready to play, and everyone better watch out."
Denise is having flashbacks to her first time around, when she went through literally EVERY tribal council. She's connecting with Adam -- but it seems their time away together might pose trouble.
Rob is worried about the target on his back, while the rest of the Sele tribe is bonding over babies.
"It hits me when I think about her," Parvati says, crying over her 10-month-old daughter. This time around, she's not using the flirt card, she's using the mom card.
Sandra is still the queen, but she's on a tribe with Tony and Sarah, who she went up against on Game Changers.
They all want her "crown," but she doesn't want to give it up.
Wendell gets stuck building furniture again, while Sarah and Amber catch up at the well.
"It was an easy decision, but it wasn't easy," Amber says of leaving her kids behind. Tyson notes he made a daisy chain for his kids to track the days while he's gone, and gets emotional thinking about them.
"Coming out here for me was a big deal because I've never left them for more than a couple days at a time," Tyson explains.
The Dakal tribe gets to their beach, and discover all the ways they can use their fire tokens -- for food, comfort or advantages in the game.
Nick notes that the newer players are used to the twists, while the old school players might have some trouble.
Someone Has to Go
Jeff sends Dakal back to camp with their reward, while the other tribe, Sele, is left to figure out who to vote out.
To complicate things even more, tribal will take place the next day. "This gives you plenty of time to make things happen," Jeff says.
Things are getting PHYSICAL in this challenge. Rob looks like he's drowning, Wendell's arms are everywhere, and the game goes on.
The women are TOUGH and this is so much action right off the bat. Dakal (red) wins immunity, and the first challenge is over.
Ref aka Jeff
It's the good ol' water tube game -- and Kim is already playing dirty, pulling Natalie by the hair. Ouch!
Ref, aka Jeff, where are you?!
The first challenge is here, and the tribes are competing for flint. The losers get no flint -- and no rice until after tribal council.
And it's not just for reward. This challenge is also for immunity. Game on!
Then, Jeff drops another bombshell -- the prize has just been upped to $2 million, the largest cash prize in the history of reality shows.
Wearing red are Tony, Wendell, Amber, Kim, Sophie, Nick, Sarah, Yul, Sandra and Jason.
Wearing Blue are Natalie, Rob, Ethan, Parvati, Ben, Michele, Denise, Danni, Jeremy and Adam.
The first twist of the game are fire tokens. Jeff explains that if they're voted out, they have to will their tokens to another player and head to Edge of Extinction, where they'll have an opportunity to get back into the game.
With that, it's time to get the season started. While the cast started divided by men and women, that's not how they'll play.
Jeff hands out buffs, and it's time to find out who's on a tribe with who.
It's been 14 years since Yul last played -- and he says he feels like a "dinosaur that's been timebombed into the future."
For Amber, who first played the game 20 years ago, this time around, it's a "nice vacation." "How could you pass up this opportunity?" she asks.
Jeff suggests a toast to celebrate, and pops the champagne. The pours are light -- which is probably a good thing considering how little they'll be eating over the next few weeks.
Hitting the Beach
The cast officially hits the beach, coming face-to-face with Jeff Probst.
Everyone is sizing each other up -- but Sandra is shocked to see Rob and Amber. Boston Rob never told her he would be on this season, and she feels betrayed.
Outwit, Outplay, Outlast
Ethan is back after his cancer battle, Amber is back after starting her life with Boston Rob, and it's time to get ready for the biggest battle in Survivor history.
Who will have what it takes to outwit, outplay and outlast? Time to find out!
The season premiere is here! And we're kicking things off with an epic recap of the last... 20... seasons!
Then, it's back to present day, with our returning winners heading to the beach on a speedboat. "I haven't had an opportunity to be my diabolical self the last couple years," Parvati says. She's ready to rise like a phoenix and WE COULD NOT BE MORE EXCITED.
Survivor: Winners at War premieres Wednesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on CBS. Head back to ETonline on Thursday morning for Survivor alum Rob Cesternino's guest blog on the episode.