As what I have been saying as of late, it has been one of the craziest seasons of Survivor. Yes, the addition of this plot-twist of having a loved one in the mix for this kind of social game made this season an emotion-packed one, but on top of that, the constant push-and-pull of castaways between the majority and minority alliances made this season one hell of a crazy one! And now that we are at the final stretch of this wild ride, we are now down with just four castaways left — Monica, the Supermom who absurdly wants to play the ‘Monica game’ with no moves to support it, Gervase, the Original Castaway way back from season one with the irritating, taunting behavior, Tyson, the determined three-time returnee who has become one of the most beloved Villains in Survivor, and Ciera, the underdog newbie and the breakout Survivor star this season. I can bet that this is Tyson’s game to lose.
Night 35 and the Kasama tribe returns from the last tribal council where Hayden was voted out (Poor Hayden). Ciera feels bad that the plan of convincing Monica to do something did not work the way she wanted it, that is because she should have made a bold move two weeks back when Caleb was still around. Ciera then hopes that her mom Laura will return from Redemption so that they could regroup. Meanwhile, Tyson wants to keep Gervase and Monica by his side and in order to do that, he shows his hidden immunity idol to them. Monica admits that she does not want to be called a lap dog and promises that her plan in the game would include being open to the plans of others. Define lap dog.
At the Redemption camp, Tina and Laura are both disappointed as Hayden arrives. The moms expected to see anyone from the majority alliance of Tyson-Gervase-Monica would show up instead of Hayden. Laura is delighted when she finds out that Ciera won the last immunity challenge. Hayden feels that his chances of returning in the game are good because he will get to compete with two grandmas. Well, just based on the previous redemption challenges, Laura has been killing it, so don’t count the two grandmas just yet, Hayden.
FINAL REDEMPTION DUEL
Jeff Probst explains the mechanics of the final duel. One must place one foot at the end of a balancing board. At the end of the balancing board is a ceramic vase. When the vase falls, they are out for good. The last person standing returns to the game while the other two will become the fifth and sixth members of the jury. With a couple of wobbling instances, Laura keeps her balance tight for the first few minutes. After 15 minutes, while wiping off his sweat on his eyes, Hayden loses his balance and drops his vase.
Hayden Moss, Kat’s boyfriend is FOURTEENTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, becomes the FIFTH member of the jury.
Aside from Ciera, I think Hayden is also one of the stars of this season. It all comes back to the wasted opportunity to make the big move two episodes back. Had they done the plan successfully, Hayden might be in the final three.
Moving on, Laura starts to wobble again and while this is happening, she starts to plead to Tina to give the victory to her so that she could come back and be reunited with her daughter. Laura just could not hold her balance any longer as her vase drops to her demise.
Laura Morett from Survivor: Samoa is the FIFTEENTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, becomes the SIXTH member of the jury.
And the Queen of Redemption is gone for good! Laura has been killing every Redemption challenge served to her, unfortunately she was not successful with the final and the most important duel of all. As they say, if it’s not for you, it’s not for you. Before Hayden and Laura leave the arena, Hayden admits that Survivor has taught him to appreciate his loved ones. On the other hand, Laura feels like a failure for losing the duel. Ciera then consoles her mom and tells her that she is so proud of her. And with that, Redemption Island is no more and…
TINA RETURNS TO THE GAME! She also gets the clue to the hidden immunity idol that she decidedly keep to herself. Back at camp, everybody congratulates Tina for returning to the game. Meanwhile, Ciera feels disappointed that her mom was able to return. Tina is ecstatic that she is back and plans to either find the hidden immunity idol, or convince Monica to make a bold move and join an all-girl alliance with her and Ciera. Tina then shares the clue with Ciera and together they look for it. Ciera is amazed at Tina that for a 50+ year woman, it’s cool to watch her be this physically strong and determined. They aren’t able to search for the idol, making them realized that Tyson might have already found it. Their next option now is the Monica-card. Later, Tina tells Monica that the jury is mad at her for not being loyal. Thinking that giving Monica a threatening, negative vibe is not the best way to woo someone, Ciera tries to encourage Monica to work with them and to make a huge move against the villains may cause Monica a huge chance at winning the whole thing. I 100% agree.
They must pull a rope that is connected to a table. While holding on to the rope, they must collect wooden blocks. They will bring back the blocks one by one and place them on the table. The thing is that, the table is unbalanced and they must prevent the blocks from dropping or falling. If a block falls, they must go back and reset the whole thing. This challenge is very VERY tricky that I don’t think I have the patience of accomplishing it! The first castaway to get ten blocks that are arranged properly on the table wins immunity. Placing the first block may seem like a breeze, but as soon as they start retrieving the second block, Gervase and Tyson don’t keep their tables balanced, making the blocks wobble and fall that they have to go back to set it upright again before bringing back a second block. The ladies are doing a great job so far with their fourth block, but as soon as Monica tries to reach for the fifth block, her table moves and her four blocks fall so she has to reset it. Same goes with Ciera’s and Tina’s. This gives Tyson an opportunity to catch up. And he does! Tyson wins immunity!
Now that he has both Immunity and the hidden immunity in his hands, Tyson feels safer than ever. He then discuss with Gervase and Monica on who should be voted out next. Gervase suggests to vote out Ciera because Ciera has made bigger moves in the game and has a real shot at winning. In contrast, Monica suggests to vote out Tina because Tina does not have any enemies in the jury. Tina’s THAT likable I should say! Tyson does not want to be the one deciding that he asks Gervase and Monica to come up with a solid plan that he would just follow. Monica then tells Gervase that voting Tina now is the best way to go because Tina has a lot of friends in the jury, and she tends to bully her at times. Gervase insists that they should vote out Ciera instead and then he scolds Monica for putting her heart first rather than making a smart strategy. Monica feels she is being bullied by Gervase that she feels like this is the best time to make a bold move! Monica has been always like that, making plans and ending the day with just plans. Later, Monica approaches Tina and Ciera and asks them to vote out Gervase tonight. Now we’re talking. Tina is still worried that Tyson might have the hidden immunity idol and use it to protect Gervase. Monica thinks that Tyson would not expect that Gervase is actually in trouble. So now it’s in Monica’s hands! Monica admits, “Tonight, it’s my call. I’m going to say who goes home and I’m going to make my choice based on what’s best for me.” C’mon Monica make it happen!
Monica reveals that Ciera and Tina both encouraged her to make a move and get rid of the villains. Tyson and Gervase don’t consider themselves as the villains. Tyson then reiterates to Monica that he did not call her as a lap dog, rather someone he can count on. Monica admits that the game is taking its toll on her emotionally and vows to play the game the way that is best for her. After the vote, Jeff asks if anyone would like to play the hidden immunity idol. Tyson uses his idol to Gervase. Ciera receives two votes while Gervase receives two.
Ciera Eastin, Laura’s daughter, is the SIXTEENTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, becomes the SEVENTH member of the jury.
Aww. In all things considered, I think Ciera did an AMAZING job! She is definitely the breakout star of Blood Vs. Water! From voting off her own mother to better herself in the game, sticking to her guts and join an alliance of veterans, to attempting (with Hayden, my other favorite) the biggest move of the season after realizing that she is in the wrong side of the bed that ended up in drawing rocks (the second one in history), I would have never thought that I would root for her from the get-go, but now she has become one of my favorite castaways this season!
Anyway at Ciera’s confessional after the vote, the votes reveal that Monica ALSO voted for Ciera. That means, she stuck with her old alliance and did not make a big move. Pfft.
The final four head back to their camp. Tina is a bit shocked that she was saved. Monica feels like she was blindsided because as part of the alliance, she was not informed about the plan of using the hidden immunity idol to be used by Gervase. On day 38, Tina sits on a hill overlooking the rising sun in the horizon. She feels like she really needs to win the final immunity challenge in order to move forward to the finals. Same goes with Tyson, who is now hidden immunity idol-free. And then the scene shifts to the Final Immunity Challenge. WAIT, where’s the traditional Fallen Comrades march?
FINAL IMMUNITY CHALLENGE
They must race through a series of obstacles while collecting two bags (at a time) of puzzle pieces. Once they collected all six bags, they must use the pieces to solve a puzzle phrase. The puzzle will help them solve a combination lock. The first person to solve it and release the flag wins immunity. Monica is ahead of everyone, followed by Gervase. While they are at the staircase, Monica intentionally blocks Gervase’s way to Gervase’s shock. Tyson overtakes Gervase so now it’s between Monica and Tyson for the immunity. Tina is so trailing behind. Tyson is the first to retrieve all bags and is now working with the puzzle. Monica and Gervase follow shortly. Tina joins the other three and now they are neck-and-neck. Tyson is the first to finish his puzzle and now reads it to get the clues to solve the combination lock. He heads back down the slide and up the stairs to count the steps. Tyson wins the final immunity.
This is the first time that Tyson lasted this long in the game, 39 days to be exact. Knowing that Tina is locked in for the boot, Gervase spends time with her, probably to woo a jury vote. Monica notices this and thinks that maybe this is the right time to make a move and get rid of Gervase. Next, Monica talks with Tina and tells her about her feelings about the last tribal council where the hidden immunity idol was played without her knowing it. Tina suggests to vote out Gervase that means it will cause a tie and will force both Tina and Gervase to a fire-making challenge. Tina feels confident that she can excel well with fire-making. Monica does not mind to vote out Gervase. Would this be the big move Monica is talking about the whole season?
Tina admits that in order to earn a spot in the finals, she has to either win the final immunity challenge, or team up with Monica. She lost the challenge so she has to work with Monica in order to advance. Monica admits that Tina is convincing her to vote out Gervase and force a fire-making challenge. She then tells that she is seriously considering that plan and explains that she stopped Gervase from passing her at the challenge to pay him back for talking smack about her. Gervase now feels uncomfortable.
Tina Wesson is the SEVENTEENTH person to leave Survivor: Blood Vs. Water, becomes the EIGHTH and FINAL member of the jury.
Oh Monica. She did not do anything BIG for her game! Damn it! But, come to think of it, had Tina stayed in the finals, she would have won by a mile because, majority of the jury, and every Survivor fans LOVE her. And with that, Monica does not have a shot at winning, neither does Gervase.
On day 39, the final day, the final three celebrate their victory with a traditional feast. Tyson is very happy with what he has accomplished so far. Monica all feels glad that she has stayed up until the finals without the aid of her husband Brad. Gervase feels so proud of the way he played the game that he came back for after 13 long years.
FINAL TRIBAL COUNCIL
For their opening statements, Gervase admits that he is so proud of what he has accomplished. He is also proud because he is the reason why Aras was voted out. Monica does not consider herself a lap dog as what others perceived her to be. She admits that it’s part of her plan to go to the end with Tyson and Gervase because she felt that she could beat them since they made hurtful moves. Knowing that he has a target on his back since the start, Tyson tells everyone that he just wanted to just enjoy his whole journey. But when his girlfriend Rachel was voted off intentionally just to hurt him, his plans changed and became more serious about winning. He assures everyone that every move that he made were all part of his strategy. Now here comes the jury.
Vytas still does not know who to vote for. He reminds Tyson of his last play that “If you get me out, I promise I’m not going to give you my jury vote.” Vytas then tells Tyson that he is keeping his word tonight. Oops, one less vote for Tyson. Vytas then moves on to Gervase. He comments on Gervase’s “old school” way of playing, saying that it is outdated. He tells Gervase that Tyson just carried him through the finals. Vytas then tells Monica that she did not honor their friendship.
Katie reminds Tyson of the day she left the game via drawing rocks. As she was leaving the game, Tyson pointed toward a jury seat and told her that it was hers. Such a dishonorable thing to do by an asshole, indeed. Katie then asks Tyson if this was made out of malice. Tyson apologizes to Katie and hopes that she would look past that incident when the voting time comes
Caleb asks Gervase what his best move was in the game. Gervase answers that the best move the he did was when they voted out Aras. Caleb then encourages Monica to be vulnerable and to answer by heart because up until this point Monica seems to look like a very guarded person. Monica tells everyone how hard the game has been for her.
Ciera asks Tyson whether he sees himself as a hero or a villain. Tyson answers that everything he did was pure strategy and for that reason he does not consider himself as a villain. Gervase admits that he had plans of voting out Tyson, but the best opportunity never came about.
Laura starts her turn by saying, “Monica I don’t know who you are.” Monica admits that she fought past all the negative things people have said about her that made her feel devastated. Say what, Monica?
Tina ask the three to describe themselves in one word. Monica answers, “Generous.” Gervase says that he is, honorable. Tyson answers fun loving and jokes that if that is considered a single word.
Hayden tells Monica that the jury perceives her as fake and they want to know her better. Monica fires back in a dramatic monologue: “Have you all never met a nice person? Have you all never met a person that isn’t selfish?” I kinda feel bad about Monica, but it is what it is.
Last but not the least, Aras. Personally I think Aras has the best question and the most interesting question of them all, or maybe I got so bored with this final tribal council! Anyway, Aras wants them to exclude themselves and recommend one of their two opponents that he would vote for and explain why. Gervase picks Tyson and tells that he was on top of his game at all times by being very vigilant with his surroundings. Monica ALSO pick Tyson for winning challenges and finding the hidden immunity idols without specific clues. Tyson picks Monica because she was always loyal to him and Gervase, while trying to act like she was at the bottom just to get information from others. Whoa, wait, so that was the part of their strategy?
There are no final statements and the jury votes.
Jeff Probst reads the results of the votes in front of a live audience in Los Angeles with a 7-1 almost-a-sweep decision:
Tyson Apostol wins the title of Sole Survivor and the million dollar prize for Survivor: Blood Vs. Water!
I knew it. The vote was a no-brainer. Tyson EARNED this win because he worked so damn hard for it. And to keep Gervase and Monica by his side towards the end while escaping several attempts to put down his throne? Luck also comes in handy for Tyson as he finally wins Sole Survivor.
Yeah it’s been a crazy season, but certainly not one of the memorable seasons. We had better, more memorable ones in the past. Let’s just wait for next year for the return of Survivor to the Philippines as NEW (no news yet though) SET OF CASTAWAYS, divided into Brains, Brawns, and Beauty, will battle it out to win the million dollar prize and the title of Sole Survivor in Survivor: CAGAYAN! Merry Christmas everyone!