The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 4 – Sarah Lacina (Winners At War)
Sarah Lacina, simply put, is a badass. Tenacious, quick-witted, and observant, she showed the Survivor world she had what it takes in Game Changers, playing a ruthless, whatever-it-takes game that netted her the win in dominant fashion. Entering the highly-anticipated all winners season, Sarah still had her eyes on the prize but also wanted to shed that tough exterior and show viewers her warm and gooey center.
After suffering a hard defeat in Cagayan, Sarah went into Game Changers with a no-nonsense, business-like attitude. Now, during Winners at War, the pressure was off, allowing her to have more fun than ever before in her pursuit of that second title and two million dollars. Sarah Lacina 3.0 is the best version of her three times out, and while she failed to secure that win, she became a very worthy member of the Day 38 Club.
Check out this stat about Sarah: discounting her first 19 days during Cagayan, where she only had one crack at individual Immunity, she has played 77 days of Survivor without once winning individual Immunity, nor finding a hidden immunity idol. In both times she’s made it deep, Sarah has had to rely on just her wits and reads of her fellow competitors to advance in the game.
That lack of protection never prohibited Sarah from taking big swings either; she’s one of the most fearless players Survivor has ever seen, and it was on full display in Winners at War. There was the moment where she had to sneak into the other tribe’s camp and get a vote steal advantage (yes, it’s not as difficult as it may seem, with the castaways being used to the camerapeople shuffling about at night, but it’s still dark. She could have tripped!).
There was also the advantage stand-off with Jeremy Collins, which was hilarious but also a test of her mettle, showing she was not going to back down from gaining the upper hand. She even denied an offer to have an idol played on her. Shooting down free protection! Who does that?! Sarah does, showcasing her adept ability to read the situation correctly and put trust in the right places.
For all of her outstanding achievements on her own merit this season, there is no doubt that Sarah’s Survivor legacy is at least partly enshrined with her partner in crime. Her reunion with Tony Vlachos, and the rekindling of the Cops R Us alliance, made for an incredibly satisfying final arc to this piece of the Survivor canon.
This time out, Sarah and Tony put their past differences aside and played like a pair of buddy cops going on one last mission together. Even when Tony pulled his crazy last-minute shenanigans, like voting out Sarah’s close ally Sophie Clarke, they would move past it and get back on the same page. They had their eyes set on that Day 39 breakfast together, but the Survivor gods would see it differently.
Their final battle would happen one day earlier, at the final four fire-making challenge. Once enemies, they entered that showdown as friends, with true love in their hearts. After a hard-fought challenge, Tony emerged victorious, resulting in Sarah’s elimination and one of the most beautiful moments in Survivor history. Tony, after clapping at Sarah’s demise in Cagayan, tearfully bid his friend goodbye, expressing the love he had for his fellow cop (R Us). They didn’t reach Day 39 together, but they established themselves as a truly iconic Survivor duo.
Survivor: Winners at War cemented Sarah as truly one of the best to ever play and now one of the best of the Day 38 Club.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.