And then there were five — with five days left in the 39 days of “Survivor: Winners at War” competition on Fiji’s Mamanuca Islands.
All the rest of the players have been voted to the Edge of Extinction, where they have to fight their way back into play for the $2 million Sole Survivor title.
Soon the field will be winnowed to the final three in the CBS-TV reality game of strategy, skill and stamina.
In the two Tribal Council votes of the episode dubbed “The Penultimate Step of the War,” Jeremy Collins was voted to the exile island, in a council devoid of the drama of the past several weeks.
Sarah Lacina of Cedar Rapids deemed the episode’s second Tribal Council vote “the biggest one yet,” and made a case why Denise Stapley of Marion was the one to send packing.
“She slayed the Queen (two-time winner Sandra Diaz-Twine), she found an Immunity Idol, has tons of tokens and hasn’t made anybody mad,” Lacina said. “That makes her hard to beat.”
In slaying the Queen on the March 18 episode, Stapley played one Immunity Idol for herself and gave another one to Collins, keeping them both in the competition. Diaz-Twine elected to leave the show rather than stay on the brutal Edge of Extinction.
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Leading up to Wednesday night’s vote, Stapley, a mental health therapist, took a philosophical approach, painting the word “endure” on her dominant left hand, and “let go” on her right hand, reminding herself to keep the outcome in perspective.
Even though Stapley drew two votes that night, that wasn’t enough to topple her, so she and Lacina remain in play.
At the end of the episode, the people previously voted to the Edge of Extinction were released from that island and returned to the main island, where next week, one will fight his or her way back into play for the $2 million.
“Season 40 is the best of the best, so let’s see the best go at it,” Lacina said in the episode’s final comments.
The season finale plays out Wednesday on CBS-TV and CBS All Access.
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