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Sophie Clarke

Survivor Season 40 Premiere Episode Recap: ‘Winners At War,’ Legacies On The Line

What an absolute dream come true. After 20 years on the air, and now into its 40th (!!!) Season, Survivor is back and is as good as ever. The nightmarish ugliness of Season 39 is but a distant memory, and all signs point to this season, “Survivor: Winners at War,” as being one of the best, most epic seasons of Survivor yet. It sure started off with a bang, and if you can’t keep up with the speed of the game, like Queen Sandra Diaz-Twine says, you need to just get out of the way.

Twenty previous winners have returned to compete in “Winners at War,” with a new Reality-TV record-prize of 2 million dollars waiting at the finish line. That’s a lot of money y’all. Perhaps of equal (or OK, lesser) overall importance, these winners are all placing their legacies on the line. Some that are thought of as the “greatest” may reveal – up against other winners – to be less than. While some “lesser” winners may end up truly being thought of as the greatest of all-time.

Some legacies have already began to shift, rise and slide following the first two-hour episode of Season 40, “Survivor: Winners at War.” And it’s a dream come true to be given the chance to continue to analyze and dissect this game that I love after all this time. So let’s do this, shall we?

As I do at the beginning of every recap, please heed the following: Remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s episode of Survivor: Winners at War. If you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap. It is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.

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Get Ready for ‘Winners At War’ As Survivor Kicks Off Its 20th Anniversary Season!

“Excitement” doesn’t quite do justice to how I’m feeling right now. We are literally just days away from the beginning on not just Survivor‘s 40th (!!!) and 20th-Anniversary Season, but the occasion is being celebrated with the long-awaited, highly-anticipated “all winners” season. Yes, “Survivor: Winners At War” will feature 20 previous Sole Survivors all vying not only for the increased TWO million dollar prize, but for the unprecedented title of “Best of the Best.”

I’m shaking just thinking about this season, and I can’t wait to bring you this special look ahead (and a look back) to the best Reality Competition Show that there ever was, or ever will be. There’s lots to get to, not just the new twists that Season 40 has in store (Fire Tokens???), but we’re going to take a look at each of the 20 returning previous winners and where they “rank” on my all-time list heading into this season…and while I’m super-ecstatic as to the 20 winners that ARE returning, we’ll also examine the ones that were left out, and whose legacies are at stake the most.

If you have “tuned out” of Survivor over the years – especially after the exhausting Season 39 this past Fall – you will WANT TO GET BACK INTO IT THIS SEASON! I’ll be right here Recapping the entire Season 40, and am happy to once again have Survivor Legend and two-time player Erik Reichenbach on-board as well contributing his unique Survivor artwork and creativity each and every week…just wait what he drew up for this special “pre-season” look ahead!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

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Somebody had to win. With fan favorite Oscar “Ozzy” Lusth just missing the final three last night on the finale of Survivor: South Pacific, fans were left with three lackluster surprising finalists!

First, Ozzy managed to fight his way back into the game after defeating Brandon Hantz in the last redemption island challenge setting up a final five which included Benjamin “Coach” Wade, Sophie Clarke, Rick Nelson and Albert Destrade.

Ozzy won the first challenge of the finale which led to Rick being voted off by the tribe. Unfortunately for Ozzy, he failed to come through when it mattered the most as Sophie ended up winning the final challenge. Ozzy pleaded with Coach to force a tie, but the “honorable” Coach once again went back on his word by voting off Ozzy.

The jury members were obviously not pleased with the final 3, but somebody had to win. In the end, Sophie, a 22-year-old medical student from Willsboro, New York, was declared the ultimate winner of Survivor: South Pacific! Sophie received 6 of the 9 jury votes to beat Coach. Unfortunately for Albert, he failed to receive any votes.

Ozzy — who won eight Redemption Island challenges — was able to walk away with $100,000 as the season’s fan favorite!

“I think that right away, I started sizing people up. You saw me do it with [Brandon Hantz],” said Sophie after her win. “I think I had my finger on the pulse of the game the whole time and I tried to just figure out other people’s motivations and kind of worked within the framework of the game.”

During the live reunion show host Jeff Probst announced the 24th season of the show, titled Survivor: One World, which will begin airing in February. Jeff also teased a season with Brandon and his uncle/ultimate villain Russell Hantz! Now that would be something to watch no?

TELL US – THOUGHTS ON THE SURVIVOR FINALE? GLAD SOPHIE WON OR WERE YOU DISAPPOINTED WITH THE FINAL 3? DO YOU WANT A SEASON WITH BOTH HANTZ MEN?


Last night’s Survivor found the original Upolu alliance of five going head-to-head. Brandon makes a selfless and bold move, while Albert scurries to get ahead. His tribe mates are quickly turning against him. Plus, there is a lot — A LOT — of praying.

Once the final five head back to the beach, Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants leads the group — in what else? — a prayer. Benjamin Coach is excited to see the alliances within the alliance come into play. Albert is starting to worry that Sophie is proving to be a major competitor. His move is to cozy up to Rancher Rick, who he deems least dangerous. Albert considers himself a rogue beside Coach’s cult leader status.

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I was anxious to see last night’s Survivor, because the Savaii are now completely eliminated from the Te Tuna, with Ozzy and Cochran residing on Redemption Island. It will be interesting to see how BHCP’s admission plays out with his alliance members.

Cochran joins Ozzy who doesn’t say “I told you so” but asks for Cochran’s support when/if he and Coach are the final two. Cochran is insulted that Ozzy already thinks he has to chance to win the duel.

Back at camp tensions are running high after Brandon’s ridiculous honesty rant at the most recent tribal council. What else is new? BHCP wants to bless the day, but Edna walks off in a huff since she’s “not really part of this tribe.” Edna feels duped by a bunch of people who are talking about on both sides of their mouths. She feels foolish, but BHCP is kind enough to pray for her. Edna is venting to Coach about Brandon while he arrives screaming he’s found some Sprint tree-mail.

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After some time off from Survivor, given last week’s “highlight reel,” we resumed last night with just as much drama and backstabbing as you’d find at a middle school girl’s cafeteria table.

The Te Tuna (mainly Coach) returns to camp ecstatic that the Savaii has been picked off one by one. Cochran is thankful for being adopted into the former Upolu tribe. He’s aware he is the seventh in a seemingly six strong alliance, but I’m certainly not counting him out seeing as he’s gotten this far.

Cochran is trying to solidify his place in the group by telling stories of his youth when he would prank call girls discussing sperm. Sophie is starting to think that maybe he’s not such a victim because he is proud of making such a bold move in the game. While Brandon Hantz Crazy Pants prays over the group, Cochran compares his new “family” to the Mansons. He calls them together to remind them of his sacrifice and he hopes that, with his birthday nearing, they will spare him now that it’s all about voting off their own. Coach wants to keep Cochran, but Sophie is keeping her loyalty to Edna.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night’s Survivor was a combination of never-before-seen footage, insights into alliances and background on the different castaways. In other words, CBS wants to draw out the season with an additional episode during the Thanksgiving holiday. No matter, it was entertaining and certainly shed some light on the current players of Te Tuna.

The episode begins contrasting each original tribes’ dynamics. The Savaii, led primarily by Ozzy, is a laid back, go-with-the-flow group, with Dawn and Cochran not fitting in as well as their counterparts. A scene is shown where Cochran, the only male not out fishing for the tribe, must gut the day’s catches. As a self-proclaimed PETA adherent, he has a hard time with this gig. Across the island, Coach’s focus is on creating a family bond while working hard to build a solid camp.

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On last night’s Survivor, the cavemen Savaii trifecta find themselves on Redemption Island, Coach continues to preach (literally) about the importance of unity and loyalty (in a game that can have only one winner) and the former Upolu continues to drink the Kool-Aid while the Savaii are picked off one by one.

Marijuana Jim joins Keith and Ozzy on Redemption and Ozzy refrains from telling him “I told you so” after hearing about the Upolu’s latest bakery fix while the three remaining Savaii tried to save themselves. Back at camp, Coach reminds his congregation that they are a family who has just voted out the most dangerous outcast. Really? MJ is dangerous? Crass, sure. Immature, definitely. But dangerous? Please. In his interview Coach stresses how important it is to make everyone feel comfortable so they won’t be ready for an upset. I wonder if that’s what Jesus did…NOT.

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