'Survivor: Winners At War' recap: Sophie Clarke voted out with an idol after Tony Vlachos flips the vote
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 04/23/2020
Survivor: Winners At War featured Sophie Clarke getting blindsided and voted out with a hidden Immunity Idol in her pocket after Tony Vlachos played double agent, fought his way out of blackmail and flipped the vote during Wednesday night's Season 40 episode on CBS.
Sophie, the winner of Survivor: South Pacific, was voted out of her Koru tribe on Day 28 of the game at Tribal Council instead of Survivor: Cambodia winner Jeremy Collins, who also appeared onSurvivor: San Juan del Sur, and Survivor: Kaoh Rong winner Michele Fitzgerald.
Survivorhost Jeff Probst revealed at Tribal Council Jeremy had received three votes and Michele had received two votes. Four votes went to Sophie.
"I've never been blindsided before. I think it's a traumatic experience," Sophie said following her ouster.
"I played as best as I could and it's a bummer to go out with an idol in your pocket. I came into this game feeling like I was a bottom-tier winner, and it's been fun realizing that I can hold my own."
TheSurvivor broadcast began at the Koru tribe on Night 25. Jeremy was waiting back at camp for his tribe to return from Tribal Council given he had played an advantage that allowed him to just get up and walk out of Tribal early.
However, Jeremy -- who thought it was necessary to save himself over being a voting ally -- was unable to vote and watch Tribal as a result, so he was anxiously waiting to see whom the tribe decided to vote out.
Once Koru returned to camp without Tyson Apostol, who had been relying on Jeremy to work with him, Jeremy was bombarded with questions as to why he left, and no one wanted to share the details of what just went down with Jeremy given he had excused himself from it all.
But the tribe agreed it was the craziest Tribal Council they had ever been to or seen.
Ben said he had a real clear-cut plan going into Tribal Council with Sarah, Sophie, Nick and Tony. The group had been gunning for Jeremy, but since they couldn't take him out, Ben called him Public Enemy No. 1.
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Ben anticipated his group of five would be able to move forward together and take control of the game, and he wanted to go after "the biggest threat" remaining in Jeremy.
Jeremy told Ben they were better off without Tyson because he was a huge threat, but Ben disagreed and pointed out right to his face that he thought Jeremy was a bigger threat than both Tyson and himself.
Jeremy wanted Tyson as a shield in the game, so he was disappointed about the results of Tribal.
Meanwhile, Michele talked to Kim about how she had been left out of the vote and felt like she was on the bottom of the tribe. Michele vented about how she didn't trust anyone left, and Kim believed Michele, Jeremy, Denise and herself were "screwed" going forward.
On Day 26, Tony prided himself on having played a patient game thus far without being or creating paranoia. Tony said he had avoided trouble by not leaving camp and openly looking for idols, but he was ready to start playing a more aggressive game.
Tony therefore woke up in the middle of the night and went searching for a hidden Immunity Idol while his tribemates were sleeping. While he was looking, Nick showed up because he was also looking for an idol.
Tony convinced Nick to search a different part of the island, an area he had already checked out and exhausted, so he was happy to resume his search alone. And suddenly, Tony found an idol. Tony bragged being the first one up to look for an idol is how you win the game of Survivor.
On Day 27, Sarah revealed she's very creative and had started her own clothing line in the game. Sarah said unlike her ally Tony, her social game was really good.
Tony then shared with the cameras Jeremy was his target, and so he went undercover and talked to Jeremy as if they were working together.
Tony insisted he had been blindsided by the Tyson vote, and he pretended to be on Jeremy and Michele's side in order to keep himself infiltrated in the group he really wanted out -- which also included Denise and Kim.
Tony insisted to the girls that he had been working with Jeremy and didn't want him out. Jeremy called Tony "extremely believable" and began thinking Tony was with them after all.
Tony loved playing undercover and was having fun, and it clearly worked with Jeremy and Michele.
However, Kim told Denise that she thought Tony was playing "double agent" in attempt to pull them in with him. Kim assumed Tony was trying to salvage his relationship with Jeremy, so she began viewing Tony as her "biggest enemy in the game" at this point.
That day on the Edge of Extinction, Tyson said not winning the game could potentially drive someone like Adam Klein crazy and ruin his life. Tyson suggested he and Wendell Holland would be okay with it, and then suddenly, Natalie Anderson and Parvati Shallow stumbled upon a wine bottle buried in the sand with a note inside.
The note read the following: "The goal was so clear, be crowned best of the best. But with my fire gone, it's now a difficult test. Yet I'll crawl if I must, there's no way I'll rest. For to lie down now would be the end of my quest."
Natalie and Parvati went searching for an advantage and decided not to share their findings with anyone else. Natalie said something might be hidden in the shelter where they sleep and rest, and after Parvati pointed out they must crawl to get something, the girls agreed an advantage was hidden under their bed.
Since everyone laid on that bed all day long, Parvati and Natalie had to figure out a way to secretly retrieve their advantage. At one point, everyone migrated away from the shelter to watch the sun go down.
As Parvati distracted everybody, Natalie began looking for something under their shelter and she came across a small scroll tied to the bed.
"This is an Extortion Advantage. This gives you the power to block one player from participating in the next Immunity Challenge and from voting at the next Tribal Council unless they meet your payment demands," the scroll read.
"You can attempt to extort as many Fire Tokens as you think they can play."
Natalie and Parvati could essentially blackmail someone and mess up his or her game, and they had to decide whom to pick. Natalie weighed the pros and cons of targeting someone with a lot of Fire Tokens or someone that would enable them to do a lot of damage in the game.
Parvati suggested they give this to a chaotic player, a player who would stop at nothing and would be willing to give all of his or her Fire Tokens to play in the Immunity Challenge and fight.
Footage then flashed to Tony's face.
On Day 28, Tony looked in his bag and found a scroll and he was very excited, thinking it was an advantage from the Edge. Tony was thrilled to read the first word -- "Extortion" -- but then he continued on.
At the very end, the scroll said, "This advantage is being played against you."
The demand was six Fire Tokens, and Tony thought it was "cold" and "illegal in the States." He thought it was "ludicrous," and Tony only had three Fire Tokens to begin with.
Denise received Tree Mail about the next Immunity Challenge, and so time was running out for Tony to make his payment. Tony decided to approach his fake alliance in attempt to receive their Tokens so he could play in the challenge and vote with them, but Michele had zero left.
Michele had spent her Tokens on an advantage that would help her in the comeback challenge if she's eventually sent to the Edge of Extinction. Michele said Jeremy probably had Fire Tokens, and so Michele went off and did some work on his behalf.
Michele told Jeremy that they needed Tony to vote with them, so Jeremy agreed to give up one Fire Token. However, he wasn't willing to be left with zero.
Tony then needed two more Fire Tokens, so he asked his real alliance members for help. Nick agreed to give Tony one since he was in trouble, and then Tony also managed to snag one from Ben.
Tony managed to retrieve a total of six Fire Tokens, so he was able to play in the challenge and keep his vote at Tribal Council.
It then became time for the Individual Immunity Challenge, which required each castaway to stand on a narrow beam while balancing a statue at the end of a long pole. At regular intervals, the players moved farther away from the statue, making it more difficult to balance.
If, at any point, a person fell off or his or her statue dropped, that person would be out of the challenge. The winner would receive immunity as well as two Fire Tokens.
After 32 minutes, the challenge came down to Ben, Jeremy and Tony, and Tony ended up winning in a dramatic finish. Tony was so glad he had won some Tokens back, and his plan was still to take out Jeremy.
Kim knew Tony was playing Jeremy, but she said she didn't have the numbers to make a difference. Kim therefore had to work with Ben, Sarah, Sophie and their group, whom she didn't trust at all.
While Jeremy was their real target, Sarah suggested they throw votes at Michele as well just in case. Sarah and Kim therefore planned to write down Michele's name while everyone else would vote for Jeremy.
The group was fine with Michele going home if Jeremy happened to play a hidden Immunity Idol.
Sophie felt confident Jeremy would go home, and then Kim suggested to Jeremy and Denise they vote for Ben. Denise felt like she was playing double agent because Ben wasn't really her plan.
Jeremy told Kim and Denise that Tony was 100 percent with them and they needed to trust him. Denise revealed to cameras that she and Kim were working together to blindside Jeremy that night.
Jeremy then admitted to cameras Ben was annoying him all the time and so he wanted Ben out, especially since he thought Kim and Denise wanted him gone. Jeremy therefore spoke to Michele about voting out Ben, adding that Tony was onboard with them.
Everyone was cool, calm and quiet, and so Tony decided to flip-flop and blindside somebody. Tony said Sophie was getting too close to his No. 1 ally, Sarah, and so he thought it would be a good idea to remove Sophie from the game.
Since he knew Sarah's group was splitting their votes, he wouldn't need a lot of people to pull off a Sophie blindside. Tony figured Jeremy and Michele would vote Sophie with him, but he needed Nick onboard as well.
Tony therefore intended to pitch this idea just minutes before Tribal Council.
Tony said Nick, Jeremy, Michele and himself were going to vote for Sophie, especially after he told Jeremy and Michele it was an attempt to save them. Tony thought Jeremy and Michele would feel like they owed him one.
Jeremy was annoyed because he thought they were going to get rid of Ben, but Tony said Kim and Denise weren't really with him and so Jeremy needed to listen to him.
Jeremy had trouble believing Tony, but Tony begged him to trust him in this situation. Tony insisted he was trying to save Jeremy and Kim and Denise had jumped ship and were going after him.
"If you don't believe me and vote Ben, you're going home tonight," Tony vented to the cameras in a confessional about Jeremy.
At Tribal Council that night, Jeremy told Jeff that everyone was telling half-truths, and Sarah acknowledged people were starting to build their Survivor resumes and make big moves in order to win the $2 million.
Jeremy explained had he not played his advantage at the previous Tribal Council, he'd be sitting in Tyson's seat on the Edge of Extinction.
Ben, Michele and Sophie agreed things at camp had been very quiet and uneasy before Tribal, so Sophie assumed most people were feeling comfortable.
After votes were cast and no one played an idol or advantage, Jeff read the votes aloud in the following order: Jeremy, Michele, Jeremy, Michele, Jeremy, Sophie, Sophie, Sophie and Sophie.
Sophie yelled she had an idol in her pocket on her way out of the game and said she didn't even know how to leave correctly given she had only won the game before.
"I don't know how to do this!" Sophie shouted, before telling her tribe they had done a good job and she never saw this move coming. "I can take the idol out of my crotch now."
Sophie then bequeathed one Fire Token to Kim and one Fire Token to Sarah.