Sophie has been playing a strong game in Survivor: Winners at War so far, and her performance in episode 5 bumped her gameplay up a notch.
Surviving Tribal Council with eight or nine other winners is hard enough, but that’s nothing compared to getting past a vote on a new tribe with only five members. When the game shifts from two tribes to three, everyone is at risk. That was certainly the case for Sophie in episode 5 of Survivor: Winners at War, as she went from being in a strong secret alliance to a two-person minority.
Throughout the pre-swap phase, Sophie has played a strong social game without raising anyone’s eyebrows. She formed a tight partnership with Yul, had alliances with Wendell and Nick, and was on good terms with the Game Changers threesome. Even Kim felt closest to her, as she confided in Sophie about her idol find and gave her the half.
Seeing how well she has been managing her relationships early on in Winners at War indicated that she would bring that same gameplay to her new tribe. Being one of only two Dakal members on Yara, Sophie immediately solidified her bond with Sarah. As a pair, the duo only needed one guy to flip. By tactfully prying into the situation with the original Sele tribe, Sophie and Sarah realized how fractured their loyalties actually are.
They were quick to act on this opportunity, as they were willing to hear out the guys individually calling out each other. As Sophie began to see that Boston Rob was trying hard to control the game, she flat out said that she has no interest in playing with him. This bold but effective statement gave Ben and Adam the hope of finally taking out Don Mariano. A further testament to Sophie’s social game is the fact that when the guys were discussing who they wanted out first, they agreed upon keeping her and voting out Sarah instead.
To compliment her social game, Sophie found herself a Hidden Immunity Idol. Similar to Denise and Kim’s idol, Sophie had to give half of it to someone before sundown. She used this twist as a way to build trust with Sarah, and it looked like it worked. Sarah even gave her half back before Tribal Council, which means Sophie has a fully operational Hidden Immunity Idol.
It’s worth noting that as far as the edit has shown, Sophie is the only person who knows the location of two Hidden Immunity Idols. Her knowledge of Kim’s idol could give her additional power coming into the merge, further strengthening her position in the game.
As the time to head to Tribal Council was looming, Sophie kept her cool and composure despite the frustrating buddy system Boston Rob put into action. She put her well-founded faith in Ben and Adam, but she wasn’t satisfied with letting the cards fall where they may as she went on the offensive at Tribal.
One skill I’ve grown to respect from Sophie over these five episodes is her ability to make bold and pointed comments at Tribal Council without bringing any blowback on herself. In this episode, Sophie wasn’t afraid to call out Boston Rob’s buddy system and the diminutive ways he tries to control his allies. She wasn’t afraid to openly plea for the guys to align with her moving forward.
Whether or not her statements at Tribal had a measurable effect on the end result is hard to tell, but it’s clear that Sophie can find that balance of fighting for her life while still staying calm and trusting. That balance is critical in Survivor, especially around swaps and merges in a returning players season. If Sophie keeps up this high level of gameplay, she will be a strong threat to win it all.