Survivor: One World – Finale – May The Best Woman Win

Survivor: One World – Or, How Kim Got Her Groove Back

Not in the actual Stella sense, but who knows, $1.1 million goes a long way. Nah, as we learned in one of her confessionals, Kim was recently divorced and had been suffering some serious confidence issues in the aftermath. Needless to say, she has her confidence back.

Kim’s long march to Survivor glory was fulfilled with a 7-2-0 victory over her alliance mates Sabrina and Chelsea. If she had simply said at Final Tribal the joke she used earlier as her argument, “I know I lied to you when you were voted out, but I have no boobs left, so have a little mercy,” she still would have won. And maybe have convinced Troy or Leif to switch their votes. The minute this jury elected to not harbor any animosity – the kind that sunk Coach, Russell, HvV Parvati, Steph, All-Stars Boston Rob – and vote for the person who deserved it, Kim had it in the bag. She had a choice to go to the end with those two, or to pick Cha/Alicia, but elected to take out the wild cards. With Sabrina and Chelsea, she could be guaranteed that no one could make an argument for an alternate strategy of dominance (in her mind, Alicia could, as they veered off from each other for a while), and no one could earn the spite vote (Cha could have been Gabon Susie and almost win by default). All of her plans had Sabrina and Chelsea involved, and the two of them could, in theory, split the anti-Kim vote in a bitter jury.

As it turns out, this was one of the nicest juries in show history – one of the few developments of this season that truly shocked me. Kim won the last two immunities, taking away any drama that the remaining women would gang up on her at the F4 and take out the obvious threat to win. I am curious as to if they would have done so – they had to have known Kim was a gigantic challenge to defeat in Final Tribal. But, we will never know. The jury was kind, and made her one of the most dominant winners in 24 seasons.

Because the goings on were rather dull. Was it me, or was there a LOT of shots of foliage, crabs, etc? The only moments of drama in two hours came in these spots – the first challenge results, would Kim back the Sabrina/Chelsea pair or the Alicia/Cha pair, would Cha pull off the upset in the F4 challenge, and would Kitten explode in insanity and rage. I’ll talk about these moments in a few, but first some historic perspective.

Where does Kim rank? She dominated this show this season. Bottom line. I instantly thought of Boston Rob, Tom and Brian. Perhaps Brian is the best example because he dominated a season of weak players, just as Kim has just done. Rob’s game was even stronger because of the target on his back the whole time, and that he could not afford a single mistake. Tom had Ian, so he’s a tick behind despite really being in control from Day 1 to Day 39. If I had to rank 24 winners, using simply that season’s dynamics as the criteria, I would go in this order.

Class By Himself – Richard Hatch (Borneo). He’d lose each time he plays now, but he invented the alliance system, and won despite not being liked at all.

The Truly Dominant – Boston Rob (Redemption Island), Brian (Thailand), Kim (One World), Todd (China). No one at all could compete with them. Amanda came close in China, but she was the pretty face blocking Todd’s scheming. I never gave Todd much credit that season, but in retrospect, he really did dominate that season.

So – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd is the Top 5

The Dominant Duos – JT (Tocantins), Parvati (Fans vs. Favorites), Earl (Fiji), Yul (Cook Islands), Tom (Palau), Ethan (Africa). If not for Stephen, Cirie, Yau-Man, Ozzy, Ian and Lex – this group does not win.

To sum up my Top 11 – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd, Tom, Parvati, Yul, JT, Earl, Ethan.

The Social Queens – Sandra (Pearl Islands), Sandra (Heroes vs. Villains), Vecepia (Marquesas), Tina (Australia). Sandra played the same strategy twice and won. She mastered the method of winning by being popular. Tina was the social alternative to Colby, and Vecepia was everybody’s friend. None of them were physical threats. Guys have a hard time with this strategy, but it works with women in their 30s and older.

Top 15 (and the only ones who arguably dominated an aspect of the game) – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd, Tom, Parvati, Yul, JT, Earl, Ethan, Sandra 2, Sandra 1, Vecepia, Tina.

The Comeback Kids – Chris (Vanuatu), Danni (Guatemala), Jenna (Amazon) – No one can diminish their wins, but the three of them did not dominate anything. Chris played a solid social game and was seen as less of a threat than the other guys, but thanks to the women splintering was able to parlay that into a win. Danni also lingered, made a big play with the immunity clue, and managed to get in Steph’s head. Jenna never controlled anything – that was Rob and Deena – and checked out at one point. However, she turned things around when it counted at the end. Great season, overrated win.

Top 18 – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd, Tom, Parvati, Yul, JT, Earl, Ethan, Sandra 2, Sandra 1, Vecepia, Tina, Chris, Danni, Jenna.

The Alternates – Sophie (South Pacific), Natalie (Samoa), Amber (All-Stars). All three women won because another person lost. They were the beneficiaries of jury anger. All three were a major ally, but were the beta and not the alpha. If the jury didn’t lash out at Coach, Russell and Rob, all three would have lost. They deserve more credit than fans give them, but let’s be honest; they were not the best players that year.

Top 21 – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd, Tom, Parvati, Yul, JT, Earl, Ethan, Sandra 2, Sandra 1, Vecepia, Tina, Chris, Danni, Jenna, Amber, Sophie, Natalie.

The Accidentals – Fabio (Nicaragua), Bob (Gabon), Aras (Exile Island). I still have no idea how they won. Fabio was basically not Chase or Sash. That’s it. Bob was the kindly uncle who was not Sugar or Susie. Aras beat Danielle, but no one remembers that duo that season in the Terry vs. Cirie battle.

Top 24 – Hatch, Rob, Brian, Kim, Todd, Tom, Parvati, Yul, JT, Earl, Ethan, Sandra 2, Sandra 1, Vecepia, Tina, Chris, Danni, Jenna, Amber, Sophie, Natalie, Aras, Bob, Fabio.

OK, enough distraction.