survivor-south-pacific-final-5.JPG“Survivor: South Pacific” came to an exciting close Sunday night (Dec. 18), as Sophie Clark was crowned the winner, defeating Benjamin “Coach” Wade and Albert Destrade in the final three.

Sophie becomes the 10th female winner out of 23 seasons and the first female winner since “Heroes vs. Villains.” Let’s see how we got there …

The players are not happy with Albert post-tribal. He takes Brandon’s necklace, but doesn’t give it back to Brandon and then won’t own up to it. Coach really takes Albert to task, even spewing some things about being made a fool of because of “Survivor.” Um, you kind of bring that on yourself, dude, when you go on a show and act the way you act.

The final duel is a total Mowgli challenge of hanging on a pole the longest. Ozzy wins, to the surprise of no one, though Ozzy struggles more than you think he will.

Ozzy re-enters the game and Coach immediately starts striking a deal with him, but Ozzy doesn’t buy it. Ozzy would have a win in the bag if he got to the finals. What is Coach even playing at? Is he playing for Ozzy’s jury vote?

The final Immunity is making a “house of cards” with wodden blocks until your stack touches the finish line. But you only have one hand, as the other hand is holding a weight that keeps your board balanced. Sophie builds a great structure, but runs out of pieces. Then Coach suddenly drops his whole stack.

Ozzy has to reset his stack and then Sophie loses some of her pieces to the ground, then she starts telling Albert to drop his stack and help her, but Probst puts the kibosh on that. Eventually, Ozzy pulls it out.

It seems like Rick is the target because he’s so likable plus they need the three strongest people to try to oust Ozzy before Final 3, and Rick hasn’t won a single challenge. That’s exactly what happens – Rick goes home over Sophie by a vote of 3-2. Rick is pretty pissed.

But the big thing is that Ozzy calls Sophie a spoiled brat and then tells her he’s not the only one who says that, which really hurts her feelings and causes her to break down at Tribal. It’s hard to tell if it curries some sympathy with the jury or not.

The next day Ozzy totally plays up Coach’s big sappy side and gets him to think about tying the vote 2-2 so Albert and Sophie have to make fire at Tribal. The two of them seem to be all buddy-buddy, which is kind of gross. Just because you’re a veteran doesn’t mean you’re more entitled to win over somebody new to the game.

The final immunity is an obstacle course where they retrieve puzzle pieces, then use the pieces to complete one of the coolest puzzles. It’s hard to explain, but there are spinners and flowers, it’s neat.

Ozzy is leading following the obstacle part, but Coach and Sophie are not that far behind and Ozzy struggles with the puzzle at first and Sophie overtakes him, then wins Immunity. Good for her.

Unsurprisingly, Ozzy goes home by a vote of 3-1, with the lone other vote going to Albert.

The final Tribal Council is interesting. Coach wins the opening speeches, he seems to really have a bead on what the jury wants to hear, even if it kind of makes me want to heave.

The question and answer portion is typical – Ozzy, wearing his Pippi Longstocking best, is one of the bitter Betties of the group, which is something I always hate. Ozzy calls Sophie a brat? Uh, who’s the brat now, dude?

Jim and Dawn don’t seem too jaded, while Rick is another bitter Betty – he’s maybe the most disgusting, asking Sophie what her name’s worth in the face of all the lies. Oh, give me a freakin’ break.

Brandon is pretty bitter towards Coach, but I expected worse from him. Whitney and Keith aren’t too bad, probably because they’ve been gone so long. Edna’s speech is interesting, talking about manipulation and being duped and saying we shouldn’t have hard feelings against the final three. Huh.

Keith asks about the Idol and Sophie totally outs Coach at finding the Idol and them keeping it a secret. Brandon looks gobsmacked. Cochran’s speech is adorably funny, wanting to know what Coach’s strategy was. Coach cries about how hard it was to please everybody and then he ended up pleasing no one and screwing it all up, as the plinky-plunky strains of “vote for Coach” play in the background.

During the vote, we see Cochran vote for Coach and Dawn very adorably vote for Sophie. I’d vote for Sophie, I think she played a better game than either of the men.

At the reunion, the votes go Coach, Sophie, Coach, Sophie, Coach, Sophie, Sophie and Sophie!  YAY! Oh, I’m so happy.

Posted by:Andrea Reiher

TV critic by way of law school, Andrea Reiher enjoys everything from highbrow drama to clever comedy to the best reality TV has to offer. Her TV heroes include CJ Cregg, Spencer Hastings, Diane Lockhart, Juliet O'Hara and Buffy Summers. TV words to live by: "I'm a slayer, ask me how."