"Survivor" does not always have a happy ending. All too often, the player who fought the hardest and played the best game winds up in the second- or third-place seat because of a bitter jury unable to look past their own fate on the road to the million bucks.
Of all the "Survivor: One World" contestants, only one played a near-perfect game: Kim Spradlin, the 29-year-old bridal shop owner who won the Sole Survivor title on last night's season finale. But victory was far from guaranteed. Not only did she go up against her two fiercest competitors in the final tribal council, Kim also was the clear-cut mastermind of the season, the one who engineered nearly every single juror's exit — the perfect setup for the aforementioned "bitter jury syndrome."
But the jury wasn't bitter. Far from it: Kim won the game decisively, missing out on only two of the nine jury votes. What was it about the blue-eyed Texan that convinced the jury to vote in her favor in spite of her ruthless gameplay?
"Let's just be honest here: the game is called 'Survivor,' " fourth-place finisher Christina Cha told MTV News at the "Survivor: One World" finale. "Who outwitted, outlasted and outplayed everyone? It was Kim. Hands down. Which is why I voted for her!"
Even special education teacher Alicia Rosa, one of Kim's closer allies throughout the game, cast her vote in the winner's favor, despite being gloriously betrayed by her days earlier.
"I do understand that it's a game. But she's an awesome person," Alicia said of why Kim deserved to win despite her own personal betrayal. "I know it's a game and people get nasty for a million dollars, but I'm not going to hold that against her. I'm super proud of her."
Kim's dominance over "One World" was so apparent to everyone, in fact, that even her final two competitors — Brooklyn-based teacher Sabrina Thompson and southern belle Chelsea Meissner — feel totally fine with the final outcome.
"Kim is a beast, and anybody who doesn't think that is a fool," said Sabrina. "I called her the Julia Roberts of the island. She's a beast in the challenges. And she has this amazing ability to look through you and tell you the sky is red, and you'll just go, 'Yes! The sky is red!' I think she's a lovable person and she has the physical game to go along with it. She's the perfect package."
"I could not be more happy or proud for Kim," added Chelsea, who was Kim's closest ally and friend throughout the game. "She definitely deserves it. She played one hell of a game. I think it ended how it should have."
Previously On MTV News' "Survivor" coverage:
» Kim Spradlin wins "One World"
» Our final "Survivor" predictions
» "Survivor One World" gets Tarzaned
» Troyzan surrenders his island
» Leif gets blown away
Did the right person win "Survivor" this season? Let us know in the comments section or hit me up on Twitter @roundhoward!