Quick Note: Be sure to come back Monday and throughout the week for interviews with the winner of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” and the rest of the final seven. Follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news.
Last Week: Katie lost to her mother, Monica almost left her alliance for another, and Ciera said “farewell” to her Big Brother.
39 Days (well…technically 39.5), 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog
Let’s take a look at the tribe as it currently stands…
The Kasama Tribe (wearing purple)
Ciera – Cosmetology Student, 24
Gervase – Cigar Lounge Owner, 43
Monica – Homemaker, 42
Tyson – Store Manager, 34
Another Quick Note: I interviewed Tyson after “Survivor: Tocantins” and he told me if he had won the money he would, “Get a Ferrari and dip it in gold.” If he wins, I’m going to hold him to that.
Tonight’s super-sized episode kicks off after Wednesday’s wild Tribal. Ciera is in good spirits because she knows whoever returns from Tribal will be in her corner.
Later, Tyson smartly brings Monica into the fold permanently by offering her the idol. She seems to turn it down. Her thinking being that she can go to the final three with either side. Yeah, that’s all well and good, but I don’t think she can beat either side.
Meanwhile at Redemption Island, the Mom Squad is not thrilled to see their buddy Hayden. However, Laura is giddy when she learns that challenge prowess seems to run in the Morett genes.
Redemption Island Time: The players will stand with one foot on a teeter totter board. On the other end is a vase. Last person standing with an intact vase will return to the game. They’ll also receive an idol clue.
Note: This is the same challenge that Power Rankings fave Andrea Boehlke used to get back into the original Redemption Island.
Not much to describe here except for a bit of teeterin’ and a fair amount of totterin’. Laura has some trouble early on, but she manages to keep it together.
Fifteen minutes later, Hayden is the first one to go.
Laura begs Tina to give up, but Tina won’t hear of it. Laura wavers, but Tina seems rock solid.
Thirty minutes in, Laura wobbles, wavers…and eventually drops. Tina will return to the game. Didn’t see that one coming.
Probst asks Hayden how “Big Brother” differs from “Survivor.” He says that it makes him appreciate his life and his pre-merge girlfriend. (OK, he didn’t say “pre-merge.”)
Laura doesn’t feel like a success at this time, but she might later. Probst gives her credit for finishing strong. She did “dig deep.”
Ciera reassures her that she was amazing. And then the waterworks start. Meanwhile in Delaware, the DVR pauses as water starts to randomly pour out of my eyes.
Tina, to nobody’s surprise, decides to hold onto the idol clue.
Back at camp, Tina and Ciera rush off to look for the idol. Next thing you know, Tina’s up the Tyson tree. If my mom scaled a tree like that I’d have a heart attack.
Later on, Tina tells Monica that all of the jurors are pissed at her. Ciera disagrees with this course of action and tells Monica that they think she’s a great competitor, she just needs to prove that she’s not a lapdog.
Immunity Challenge Time: Players will pull on a rope that levels a table. They’ll then go out to get wooden blocks and then return to place them on the table. If the rope slackens, their blocks will fall and they’ll have to return to set them back up. First person to get all the blocks on the table will win immunity.
Wow, this is tough, the blocks are falling like crazy.
Monica, Ciera, and Tina have a slight lead. Tyson is right behind them.
Tyson eventually pulls ahead and grabs the lead. Gervase and Monica are slightly behind him, but it’s too late. Tyson wins immunity.
Awesome challenge. It was original, it was tense, and anyone could have won. Good job, Mr. Kirhoffer.
As Tyson receives the immunity necklace, he kneels like he’s being knighted. Although, it was more like in “Caramoan” when Probst gave Brandon Hantz a neckrub.
Politicking around camp involves Gervase wanting to get rid of Ciera and Monica wanting to get rid of Tina. Monica wants to oust Tina because she hasn’t upset anyone on the jury. Gervase’s argument is that Ciera has made a big move.
For some reason, this argument gets really heated with Gervase kinda getting intense. Way to add some credence to Ciera’s lapdog theory there, Gerv.
Later on, Monica approaches Tina and Ciera with the idea of getting rid of Gervase. She won’t say she’s on board though, which makes me think this isn’t happening.
That night at Tribal Council…Hayden has a mustache! REPEAT! Hayden has a mustache!
Monica feels like she in the middle of the two alliances. She thinks the women were honest with her and said they could take out the villains.
Gervase doesn’t know why they think he’s a villain because they’ve both played the game and he kept his word to his alliance.
Ciera says that the guys have been calling Monica an easy vote and a lapdog.
Tyson says he’s never called Monica a lapdog, but he has said that she’s in his alliance.
Monica feels bad because everyone is digging (“dig deep!”) into her. But, tonight will be her big strategic move because it’s good for Monica. You know she means business because she referred to herself in the third person.
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
J-Pro tallies and returns. He asks if anyone would like to play and idol and…we’ve got a commercial. Curse you, Probst!
Alright, we’re back. Tyson hands the idol to Gervase and he plays it. Honestly, good for them. Monica was being too wishy-washy.
We’ve got two votes for Gervase, one vote for Ciera, and the seventh member of the jury is…Ciera.
The votes are shown, and we learn that Monica did, in fact, vote for Ciera.
Back at camp, Monica is annoyed that Tyson and Gervase didn’t trust her. Dude, you approached Tina and Ciera about getting rid of Gervase. Solid alliances don’t do that.
The next morning, Tina lets us know that winning the challenge is her only way to get to the end. Yup, unless Colby somehow wins.
Immunity Challenge Time: Players will race through a series of obstacles gathering bags of puzzle pieces. They’ll carry them to the top of a tower, then use a water slide to go get more. They’ll use the puzzle pieces to get a combination. They’ll use the combination to raise their flag. First person to raise their flag gets immunity and a guaranteed spot at the final Tribal Council.
The challenge starts off and there are so many weird obstacles that it’s hard to follow.
Gervase and Monica are in the lead, but Tyson isn’t too far behind them. It eventually even ups with Tina way out of it.
Tyson, Gervase, and Monica seem to all start their puzzles at the same time. Tina eventually joins them.
Tyson finishes his puzzle first. He has to count the puzzle pieces, the stairs, and the letters. Tyson smartly goes down the slide so he can count the stairs on the way back up. He puts in the code and wins immunity.
He’s gotta be a lock to take this whole thing right? He pulled rocks, he played idols, he won challenges. The others will pick him over hot-head Gervase and emotionally…awkward Monica.
Back at camp, Gervase isn’t happy that Monica checked him while they were doing the challenge. He’s annoyed because they had the same goal, defeating Tina.
Later on, Monica tells Tina that she’s annoyed that the Bandits didn’t tell her that they were going to play the idol. Tina wants Monica to vote for a tie so that it’ll come down to a fire tie-breaker. Yeah…but Monica can’t beat Tina…or anyone else at this point.
Tina also says that she thinks more people like Gervase than Tyson. Really? Are we watching the same show?
That night at Tribal Council…Hayden’s glorious ‘stache is gone. Sad…
Monica doesn’t feel bad for checking Gervase because he talks smack.
Gervase says he was surprised because they were kind of on the same team.
Monica says she’s here to win and she realizes that she’s still kind of a swing vote. She then tells everyone about her conversation with Tina.
Gah…don’t say things like that before the vote! What if Gervase and Tyson change their minds? You vote for Tina, Tina votes for Gervase, and the boys vote for you?
Monica is kind of bad at “Survivor.”
Voting Time: No votes are shown.
Probsty tallies, then returns. We’ve got two votes for Tina, one vote for Gervase, and the eighth and final member of the jury is…Tina.
Fun Fact: There have been three seasons where an even numbers of newbies and returnees squared off. Of those three seasons, seven of the eight finalists were returnees.
The next morning, the final three is greeted by the Day 39 feast.
Tyson says he can’t believe that he made it. Gervase says that he has come full circle as an original player who came back to play a totally different game and get to the end. Monica refers to herself in the third person, then cries.
That night at Tribal Council, Gervase says that he meshed new-school and old-school “Survivor” to get to the end. He says Aras wouldn’t have been blindsided without him.
Next, Monica says that everyone thinks that she’s a lapdog, but she made the choice to be a lapdog. Oof…that isn’t going to play well.
Quick Aside: Nobody has brought up that Monica is loaded, but that’ll probably weigh on jurors’ minds.
Finally, Tyson feels like he had a target on his chest, so he was going to have fun and have no regrets. He then breaks down when he says that seeing Rachel at Redemption Island changed his mind because she left because people thought he was a threat.
Hmm… Tyson probably won that round, but none of them knocked it out of the park.
Juror #1: Vytas gives Tyson credit for getting before he got got. Vytas then says that he promised Tyson that he wouldn’t vote for him, and he’s going to stick to that. He then says that Tyson carried Gervase. He finishes it off by saying that Monica turned on him and he doesn’t know who to vote for. Hmmm…no question from Vytas.
Juror #2: Katie asks Tyson why he told her that she was going to end up on the jury after they pulled rocks. Tyson says that’s the one thing he regrets and that his mouth worked faster than his brain. He hopes she’ll vote for who played the best game.
Juror #3: Caleb asks Gervase what his biggest move was. Gervase says it was getting rid of Aras. Everyone thinks Tyson was making the moves, but a lot of the ideas came from him. He then asks Monica to be vulnerable and tell him something from the heart. She says her whole life has been about Brad and she wants to be Sole “Survivor” for her. She then breaks down and says she’s proud of herself. Wow, that was vulnerable.
Juror #4: Ciera asks Tyson if he sees himself as a hero or a villain. Tyson says he doesn’t see himself as a villain because his moves were strategic, not personal. She then asks Gervase if he was ever going to vote out Tyson. He says he was waiting for the right moment, but that he worried he’d be the next to go. He also thinks he can beat Tyson. Well, that makes one of us.
Juror #5: Laura tells Monica that she doesn’t know who Monica really is. Monica says that she feels out of place because people think she’s a puppy dog and that she talks too much.
Juror #6: Tina wants one word from everyone that describes the core of who they are. (Hey! That’s my gimmick!) Monica says “Generous.” Gervase says, “Honorable.” Tyson says, “Fun-loving” even though he’s worried that that’s two words.
Juror #7: A mustache-less Hayden asks Tyson if he had the idol when he drew rocks. Tyson says he did and he found it in a bird nest that was right under Hayden’s nose. Hayden shows some love for Kat by responding “Touche.” Adorable.
He then tells Monica that she comes off as fake and he wonders what she thinks the jury thinks of her. She says she doesn’t know how to respond because they’re beating up on her. She pleads with them, asking if they’ve ever met a nice person before. Hmm…that could come off as arrogant.
Juror #8: Finally, Aras asks Gervase to prove that he has game awareness and tell him to vote for either Tyson or Monica. Gervase says he’d vote for Tyson because there were so many facets to his game.
He then asks Monica who made the best moves of the Bandits. Monica says Tyson because he found idols and won challenges.
Tyson then gets the same question. He goes for Monica because she kept her distance during the game. She wanted people to think she was on the bottom when she wasn’t.
Hmm…Tyson was good, Gervase was meh, and Monica’s breakdowns could go either way. I could see some people feeling sorry for her. Sorry enough to vote for her? Probably not.
Voting Time: Caleb votes for Tyson, Vytas votes for Monica, and the rest of the votes aren’t shown.
No votes for Gervase? Not shocking.
And…next thing you know we’re back in Los Angeles and someone in the audience has a glow stick. OK…
Also, Tyson is wearing a tuxedo shirt. Please give him the money so he can afford some tuxedo shorts.
Alright, we’ve got one vote for Monica, three votes for Tyson, and the winner of “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” is…Tyson!
Verdict: I remember standing on a beach with Jeff Probst at 3 a.m. in the Philippines and having him tell me the 47 ridiculous twists that were going to happen this season. I thought it was going to be a train wreck.
After seeing the first three days of shooting, I was ready to upgrade it to an entertaining train wreck.
I’m now prepared to call it the best season since “Heroes vs. Villains” and maybe in the top five seasons of all time.
Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes