Jeff Pitman's S40: Winners at War recaps
Jeff Pitman's Winners at War recaps
Survivor: Winners at War Recaps and analysis

Survivor and the problem with the first vote

Multi-season: Survivor and the problem with the first vote

Published: July 31, 2020

Jeff Pitman's analysis of the challenges facing Survivor's Black, Indigenous, and People of Color contestants when their tribe makes its first vote. Running the numbers, it's clear they receive a higher percentage of those first votes, and this problem has grown over the past decade. With suggestions for fixing this, and broadening Survivor's story-telling resources.

The friends they made along the way

Episode 14: The friends they made along the way

Published: May 19, 2020

The Winners are finally no longer at War, and the season finished on a high note, and one surprisingly steeped in emotion. A solid finale that reaffirmed the core Survivor game, with a well-earned win from an entertaining winner who somehow played an even better game this time around.

Ending Edge of Extinction

Episode 13: Ending Edge of Extinction

Published: May 11, 2020

With Edge of Extinction and fire tokens both (mostly) ending this episode, Jeff takes this pre-finale opportunity to assess their impact, what should be kept (hint: only one), and potential improvements in their execution. Hopefully leading to a bright, distraction-free conclusion to Winners at War.

The long and the short of challenges

Episode 12: The long and short of challenges

Published: May 4, 2020

This episode featured a stark contrast between a grueling Edge of Extinction task and a spectacularly short 'endurance' immunity challenge. That probably wasn't by accident, and was probably intended to boost the audience's opinion of the Edge. Sigh.

This one goes to (Episode) 11

Episode 11: This one goes to (Episode) 11

Published: April 27, 2020

Tony Vlachos dusted off the old Cagayan songbook, got the old band back together (with ongoing auditions for a new Woo), and cranked the amp all the way up this week, Episode 11 of Winners at War. Jeff looks at this, a potential SurvivorAU comp, and two people challenging a record that may surprise you.

So many loved ones!

Episode 10: So many loved ones!

Published: April 20, 2020

The many, many loved ones took up a lot of time, but they were worth it. Was it also worth it to intentionally trigger an advantage avalanche in the same episode? Jeff explores that, some potentially prophetic editing, and more.

End Survivor whispers

Episode 9: End Survivor whispers

Published: April 13, 2020

What was once Survivor's shiny new toy - the alleged 'Live Tribal' awash in whispering - has become a narrative crutch, deployed seemingly at random to give the illusion of an up-in-the-air conclusion. They rarely actually are, leaving the audience with little more than unintelligible confusion. Please stop.

Emerging questions

Episode 8: Emerging questions

Published: April 6, 2020

The Winners at war are now battling against each other on one tribe, and how that changes the game at large still feels like an open question. The merge episode raised a lot of questions overall, actually, which in some aspects is a good thing. Jeff explores those questions here.

The ebb and flow of the Edge

Episode 7: The ebb and flow of the Edge

Published: March 30, 2020

Winners at War is now perched on the precipice of the merge, which also portends the (first) returnee from Edge of Extinction. With that in mind, Jeff takes a mid-season look at how this version of the Edge has fared . (Spoiler: Surprisingly worthwhile, or at least it would be if it ended here.)

Big moves, big food, big episode

Episode 6: Big moves, big food, big episode

Published: March 23, 2020

As the merge approaches, the Winners at War gameplay finally ratcheted up to the intensity of its title. As the culling of the legends continues, a new crop of contenders are making legendary moves of their own. It's real, and it's spectacular.

A nice day at the beach

Episode 5: A nice day at the beach

Published: March 16, 2020

With its swap episode, Winners at War returned to the promise of its premiere, indulging in its characters and focusing exclusively on the actual game of Survivor. A lot of strategy and social game, a lot of scheming, except for the poor Yaras forced to just stare at each other all day and talk about cookies. But overall: A lot of fun.

Edge of Extinction vs. Survivor

Episode 4: Edge of Extinction vs. Survivor

Published: March 9, 2020

This episode, with its spotlight dive into Ethan's physical struggle during an Edge of Extinction task, demonstrated clearly that it's possible to love something and hate it at the same time. Compelling TV, deeply affecting to watch, but also an artificial construct that stole a quarter of the episode from the actual game.

Restricted access and the invisible hand of the fire token market

Episode 3: Restricted access and the invisible hand of the fire token market

Published: February 29, 2020

Winners at War marks the second season in a row where idols and advantages are flying off the shelves, yet not every player has access to them. Does Survivor's attempt to even out distribution in this manner actually make them less fair?

Fewer Edge letters, more ladders, please?

Episode 2: Fewer Edge letters, more ladders, please?

Published: February 20, 2020

Winners at War's second episode was a mixed bag, even after being dumped out at Tribal Council. Despite asserting that Survivor is a game of relationships, almost none of those were shown in the first half of the episode, focusing instead on various idols, tokens, and advantages.

Winners at war with the record books

Episode 1: Winners at war with the record books

Published: February 17, 2020

Strong, beloved characters and fierce competition made the Winners at War premiere a huge success, albeit one that could be watered down substantially by the season's twists. But until then, Jeff looks at the many Survivor records that can and/or will fall this season.

Winners at war with the game itself?

Pre-season: Winners at war with the game itself?

Published: January 22, 2020

If you've been wondering 'What could Survivor possibly do to screw up something as bulletproof as an all-winners season?', don't worry. Jeff Probst has a plan for that. Can the best cast ever break free of the showrunner's shackles? All we can do is hope.

Jeff Pitman's recapsJeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes