13:49 Minutes Worth of Reasons Why Sophie Clarke Is (Probably) The Best Female Winner of Survivor of All Time.
Less than two weeks ago, New York native Sophie Clarke took out the title of Sole Survivor on the long-running show’s 23rd South Pacific aka “We’re in Samoa for the 3rd time in 2 years, but we’ve still got a surplus of creative ways to Macarena around it” edition.
Now, before anyone starts drinking the crazy juice, I’m not quite ready to say 22 year old Clarke is the single best female contestant to ever play. I’m not renouncing Challenge Dominator, Social Slayer and all-around Master Strategist Parvati Shallow just yet. But following Survivor : South Pacific closely this season (in spite of myself), I’m wondering if the single best game by a female winner EVER just got played. If you only were watching casually, you’d be wondering what the hell I’ve been smoking in my little Southern Hemisphere corner of the globe, but all the deleted The Insider scenes CBS posted each week tell a story very different to the (somewhat) epic Coach Vs. Ozzy battle feat. Woody Allen we had rammed down our throats the last 14 weeks. From Day 1, when she formed a tight five person alliance til Day 39 when she won in a 6:3:0 victory against Coach and Albert, she was never in any danger of leaving. With the exception, possibly, of the Final 5 vote, but she clearly had Rick and, particularly, Coach so wrapped in in individual alliances that this was never any danger.
And that’s the thing that sets her apart from other amazing female winners over the years (Parvati, Tina, Danni) is the lack of luck involved in her getting to the end and getting the check. The only flaw I had with Parvati’s (who I consider to be still the best overall player ever) game in Micronesia is that, had the anticipated Final 3 actually eventuated, she would have been slaughtered by Cirie. I never understood why they let her get that close to the end. Sandra, for all her delightful sass and attitude, made it to the end due to luck as much as anything else (it was 50:50 between her and Courtney getting voted out at one point and, again, with Jerri). Still played a great game, but one hugely reliant on luck and bad judgement on others parts as much as anything else. Sophie, meanwhile, played on of the most focussed and controlled games I’ve ever seen anyone play and that’s what is so impressive. She made it to the end with deliberate choices and gameplay the whole way through. Sure, there was a certain amount of luck involved in any Survivor game, but hers was a lot more minimal. She formed a Final 5 alliance on Day 1 and made sure she was at the centre of it. She helped make the Final 4 deal with Cochran that got him to flip at the merge. She cultivated an alliance with Coach that saw her never be in danger once it got to endgame. Plus, she kicked butt in challenges when needed – at the Final 8 to stop Whitney winning immunity and again at Final 4 to finally get Ozzy out of the game.
Also, it helps that I just find her ridiculously droll and entertaining to watch. In a lot of ways, she was really the funniest person on the show this season and was almost a much-needed Greek Chorus to all the insanity going on within the Upolo Tribe. She was actually my pre-game pick to win as well and only dropped to my #2 pick around the middle of the game when the editing kept crediting Coach and Cochran (in particular) for moves she made and kind of ignored her, which is normally a sign that someone doesn’t win. Needless to say, the editing this season was FUBAR’d.
Anyway, a well deserved and entertaining win – here are almost 14 minutes worth of top notch game play, hilarity and general awesomeness..
00:14 – Mocking Coach’s Russian and totally getting a handle on his personality in about seven seconds flat.
01:07 – Getting Lil Brandon Hantz’s number in about the same amount of time when no one else had any clue.
03:01 – An amazingly exasperated speech about Brandon’s inconsistency and general craziness.
03:56 – Calling out the whole entire Savaii Tribe for Ozzy’s woeful Amanda Kimmel School of Dramatic Arts worthy performance on Redemption Island.
06:20 – ANGRY wood chopping
06:36 – TOTALLY staring down and downright owning Probst at Tribal Council. Can’t think of the last time a contestant managed to do that.
08:04 – Coining the term (and eventual Survivor pay per view cable spin-off) “Ozzy’s Pleasure Dome”.
09:26 – “Will you let me f*cking finish!” Probably the only time she really lost her cool all game. Which, considering she was on Tribe Ridiculati though whole time, is a pretty impressive feat in itself.
10:04 – Her sublimely incredulous eye-roll when Albert’s Immunity Necklace falls apart at Tribal.
10:25 – Besides her takedown of Probst at the previous TC, this is probably my favourite. Not just for how confidently she tells off Albert, but for the sheer ingenuity of even thinking outside the square on how to beat the challenge. Drop your damned stack!
11:50 – A new slayer is born..
12:56 – Possibly the best answer to a Final Tribal Council question ever. And the most hilarious. “and when I met Coach, I saw him as the equivalent of a young girl..” Poor Coach!
13:21 – WINNING.
If they had of included her amazing warrior-like eventual vomiting in the middle of the Coconut water challenge, it’d be complete. Got the pics HERE though (as well as our mid-season deconstruction of the game)..
So yeah. If we were doing our Winner Rankings again (see HERE), she’d definitely be Top 5, maybe higher – need to sit on it for a bit still. Hopefully we’ll see her slay more dragon butt next All-Stars. In the meantime, it was just nice to see someone play such a thoroughly thought out, controlled and well executed game. KADOOS!