Spoilers ahead for the most recent episode of Survivor: Winners At War
There are long-running reality TV shows, and then there's Survivor. The immersive CBS competition is currently airing its whopping 40th season, titled Survivor: Winners At War. Its been a great season thus far, full of beloved castaways who are endlessly entertaining. Fans had been hoping for an all-winners season for a long time, and it hasn't disappointed. Although I've noticed that the show's edit is really changing the audience's perspective of two winners.
Jeff Probst and company assembled a stellar cast of Survivor winners for the show's 40th season. A mixture of new school and old school players combined for Winners at War, all of whom were given dynamic edits on their original seasons. But a season of winners evened the playing field, and two castaways in particular are being painted very differently than they were on their first outing. At least, in my opinion.
Wendell took home the million dollar prize and title of Soul Survivor during Season 36 Ghost Island. He was a tremendously dynamic presence on camera, and was a favorite to win from the jump. Wendell is triple threat of Survivor: a social, strategic, and physical competitor. So he was definitely one of the recent winners that I was looking forward to seeing in his sophomore run. But while he remained a cutthroat strategic mind, he somehow ended up transforming into a villain throughout his time on Winners at War.
Much of Wendell's storyline this season came from his personal connection with Kaôh Rong winner Michelle. Things certainly got tense when it came to voting, as their tried to play together despite their history. Wendell wasn't painted well throughout these encounters, with Michelle's POV of their brief relationship largely serving as the audience's narrator.
Wendell's temper came out a few times throughout his time on the island, not that we can blame him. But those brief confrontations took something away from his former hero edit. And when he eventually had words with iconic player Parvati, certain fans turned their back on Wendell. The backlash was clear online, although there doesn't seem to be any hurt feelings by the castaways themselves.
Adam was the winner of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X, and was one of the most popular players of his season. On top of being a great strategic mind, Adam was also able to connect with the audience through sharing touching details from his personal life. On top of running a homeless shelter, Adam shared details about his mother's battle with cancer. Survivor was something that he shared with his mother, and unfortunately she died shortly after he returned home from filming. While she didn't get to watch the show, he told her he believed he had won.
Adam was the heart of his first season, but he was reduced to a clown-type figure in Survivor: Winners at War. He was the one castaway to be given the dopy music, which is usually reserved for first time players who are in over their head. Almost every episode featured him struggling with the daily part of being on Survivor, especially at Tribal Council. He struggled to put his torch at his first Tribal, and even had hard time closing the urn that holds their votes. Adam also failed to work with some of the other castaways, who found him shifty.
In his last few episodes, Adam seemed to get more desperate and erratic. He was extremely emotional in interviews and challenges. And his final episode before being voted out was his worst. On top of pestering each member of his tribe over the state of the votes, Adam also made a public enemy of his ally Ben at Tribal Council. Feeling the heat and having some divine inspiration, Adam surmised that part of the Tribal Council set was actually a hidden immunity idol in plain site. He made a last ditch effort and tried to pull off a piece of Jeff's podium, to embarrassing results.
Considering Survivor: Winners at War's cast was filled with beloved and notoriously strong players, some of them were bound to get different edits than their previous seasons. But it's certainly strange to see some of the best modern winners all from grace in such an intense way. Both Adam and Wendell are currently on the Edge of Extinction, and it should be interesting to see how they co-exist with the old school players they sent home.
Survivor airs Wednesdays on CBS. Be sure to check out our midseason premiere list to plan your next binge watch.