Survivor Winners at War: Why __ was sent to Edge of Extinction thirteenth

Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

At Survivor: Winners at War’s thirteenth Tribal Council, a strategic force was blindsided and sent to Edge of Extinction. Read on for an explanation of what went wrong for this week’s unlucky winner.

This week on The Tony Vlachos Show Survivor: Winners at War, the stage was set for an easy vote. The tribe overwhelmingly agreed on a target, and even planned to split the vote in case their target pulled any funny business at Tribal Council. By all measures, it should have been an easy vote at the thirteenth Tribal Council of the season.

Then Tony Vlachos arrived.

Sure, Tony has been in the game since Day 1. He has worked to minimize his target this season as one of the most erratic and unpredictable winners in the show’s history and has managed to stay away from the Edge of Extinction up to this point. But the Tony we know from Survivor: Cagayan only arrived this episode. Exactly as promised, he has waited until his tribe-mates lowered their fists, then made his first strike.

At the start of the episode, Jeremy is the tribe’s target. By the end, Sophie is voted out of Tribal Council and becomes the thirteenth player sent to the Edge of Extinction. As a recurring MVP of the season, Sophie is one of the last players we expected the tribe to eliminate this week. It’s just salt in the wound that she had an idol in her pocket. But as a true blindside, she never could have seen it coming.

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Tony decides to flip the script rather late into the episode (as the sun is setting for the last time before Tribal). Knowing that the majority will be splitting their votes between Jeremy and Michele, Tony just needs four votes to pull off a Sophie blindside. The timing of this move minimizes the chance that his plan fails, and it works perfectly for him in this episode.

Jeremy reluctantly agrees with the plan. Michele, the majority’s plan B in case Jeremy played an idol, is also in on the blindside. Tony convinces Nick, and that makes four votes. At Tribal Council, it is clear that no one outside of these four suspects any trickery. When asked about the vibe at camp, the tribe agrees that it was pretty quiet and peaceful.

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To see her blindside coming, Sophie would probably need to be omniscient. With Tony Vlachos finally and unpredictably on the scene, there was no telling who he would target first. In a false sense of security, the tribe failed to recognize that certain players might be looking for resume-boosting moments like these.

This will be increasingly relevant as the end of Survivor: Winners at War nears, and our winners look for ways to stand above their peers in hopes of snatching a second win at the Final Tribal Council. Concurrence is great for surviving one Tribal Council. But for selling yourself as the most deserving winner of an all-winners season with $2 million at stake? Not so much.

Moving forward, we have to wonder how much longer Tony will last now that his jig is up. He certainly needed to come out of the shadows at some point, but how long can he survive with his game in broad daylight once more?

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“Sophie, the tribe has spoken.”