Arts & Culture

New plotting begins when tribes merge on 'Survivor'

2 local women still in, Denise Stapley's play gets attention

Sitting between Michele Fitzgerald (left) and Sophie Clarke (right), Denise Stapley of Marion makes a face after taking
Sitting between Michele Fitzgerald (left) and Sophie Clarke (right), Denise Stapley of Marion makes a face after taking a swig of the beverage served at a Fiji Island feast on Wednesday night’s eighth episode of “Survivor: Winners at War.” The television reality game airs on CBS and CBS All Access. (Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment)
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At the start of Wednesday’s “Survivor” episode, the Edge of Extinction lost a member. At the end of the show, it gained another player exiled from the main island in tropical Fiji.

Tyson Apostol worked his way back into play, by winning the Day 19 Immunity Challenge and beating out the others from the exile island. In the end, after a feast and a day of plotting, Wendell Holland was voted off the island, exiled during the Day 21 Tribal Council. And on next week’s preview, he declared: “The war is not over.”

The remaining warriors include Denise Stapley of Marion and Sarah Lacina of Cedar Rapids, who survived to play another day in the CBS-TV reality game of stamina, strength and strategy. The tribal system also fell away, with everyone merging into one group, on their own to develop or strengthen alliances to help keep them into play.

Stapley guaranteed her survival by winning the rainy-day Individual Immunity Challenge by holding longer onto a tall pole than the other women. Jeremy Collins beat out the other men, being the last to lose his grip and slide to the sand. He was the teammate Stapley helped save two shows ago, by using an Immunity Idol so save him at the council vote, right after she used another to save herself.

But that one-two punch — which sent Sandra Diaz-Twine to the Edge of Extinction, where she opted out of the competition — could come back to bite Stapley. A couple of competitors tossed her name around as someone to watch out for.

“Denise is playing a better game than you’d suspect,” Collins said as the strategizing began.

“Denise took down the Queen,” Holland later noted. “That puts a lot of eyes on her.”

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While all the plotting was swirling around who would be voted out next, Lacina explained for the camera that figuring out the new relationships in the merged group “takes a while. ... People are going to get sniped. Everybody is holding their cards close.”

With a $2 million payoff dangling before them, the heat is on among the players who all have been $1 million Sole Survivors on previous seasons. The competition continues Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on CBS-TV and CBS All Access.

Comments: (319) 368-8508; diana.nollen@thegazette.com

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