Survivor: Blood Vs. Water Finale Part 1
It's My Night
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analysis HOFer
December 15, 2013

Rockin' the tuxedo shirt.

Hello, good people...hope you had a fantastic weekend! Ben Willoughby appears to have made it north, but he's in the process of drinking a lot of Molson and eating a pound of back bacon, eh? (I hear that's the initiation to Canada.) So, once again, you're stuck with me to lead you through the troubled waters of the Survivor: Blood vs. Water finale.

To catch you up, in case you've forgotten what happened a mere four days ago, Tyson, Gervase and Monica are besties and can't wait to Tweet their selfies from the final Tribal Council. But wait...Ciera concocted a plan to tell Monica that Tyson and Gervase have been passing notes about her in class. Hayden and Ciera did their best to drill this lie into Monica's head, but at the end of the day, Monica saw through the nonsense and did the smart thing...she stuck with her alliance and sent Hayden over to Redemption Island to be destroyed and embarrassed by the dominating Grandmas, Tina and Laura.

So, to get you ready for tonight's episode, here's the scorecard: there are four people left in the real game and three people left on Redemption Island. There will be one Redemption Island truel to determine that, SOMEone...will return to the real game. We'll then have two immunity challenges, two vote-offs, three Tribal Councils and one final vote where someone will be crowned "Sole Survivor". We'll also have a Reunion where the "not worthy of dating" pre-merge folks (save Rupert) will be ignored so we can see what Boston Rob and Rudy are up to now. Have I missed anything? No? Good...let's start the show!

Before we can begin, we get a full season recap. Let's see if I can do it faster. Blood vs Water. Loved Ones. Separate Tribes. Rupert's a hero. Candice owns Redemption Island. "F* you, Brad Culpepper!" Wahhhhhh, I have to quit. Laura dominates Redemption Island. Tribal switch. Laura gets back in the game and we merge! Aras...gone. Vytas...gone. Tina...gone. Laura...gone again, voted out by her daughter. Monica wins. Tyson finds an idol. Monica wins. Monica wins. White rock takes out Katie. Monica is bullied without mercy. Tyson finds another idol. Hayden gone...Ciera making big moves, Tyson is charge, Gervase pissing everyone off. Sound about right? Well, then let's get to the game!

We start right after Tribal as Ciera lets everyone know that it's all part of the game. She sorta apologizes to Monica, but ultimately, it doesn't matter. Ciera is just biding time for her mom to come back and see if they can take care of business. Tyson tells us he's sticking with his trio and that he might have to use the idol to keep Monica with him. So, he tells her that if he doesn't have to use it, she can have it and give it to her kids. He confirms that Monica will be the target for a flip and he very much has to keep her close. Meanwhile, Monica tells us that she has every intention of playing both sides, with a final three berth in it for her on either side.

We come back from the credits with Hayden's arrival at Redemption Island. Laura and Tina are bummed that he's there. First off, he tells them that Ciera won immunity, and Laura is crazy happy. He tells them about how bad the last Tribals have been. He tells them that whoever gets back in, they need to find the idol and get Tyson out of there. He tells us that he's ready to get right back into the game and he's going to compete against two grandmas, so he likes his chances at Redemption Island. As they read Tree Mail and learn that this is the last truel...all three of them are very ready to get back in this game. Laura desperately wants to go in and rescue her daughter.

We get to Redemption Island and it's a very simple truel. Each player has a see saw board with a vase resting on one end. They have to put one foot on the other end of the balancing board and hold the vase up as long as possible. Last one to have a vase standing wins the truel and gets back in this game. The other two become the fifth and sixth members of the jury. And with that, the challenge begins. For the first time in a while, this challenge doesn't seem to favor any specific type of person. Small, big, light, heavy...doesn't matter. You just have to have good balance and the determination to win. Fifteen minutes in and only Laura has wavered a bit, but quickly got it under control.

At this point, Laura is hopping all over the place...she's done. But wait, she saves it and gets back under control. With sweat rolling in his eyes, Hayden has one slip and his vase hits the rocks and he is out of this game. As soon as Hayden's out, Laura actually asks Tina to let her have it. Um, really? Tina says, "No way, sister, this is a million dollar challenge." At the 30 minute mark, Tina's legs start to shake and she almost loses it. Laura, who's had several bouts of the shakes, starts to teeter again. But this time, there's not enough in her to save it and Tina wins the truel and earns her way back into the game! Not only that, but she has control of the hidden idol clue. Hayden and Laura are out of the game and head out to Poderosa, both having learned something. Hayden learned to really cherish what he has in life, family, girlfriend, etc. Laura learned that not winning doesn't mean you're a failure. Ciera tells her how proud of her she is and that she was awesome, even though she didn't finish off this last challenge.

Back at camp, everyone congratulates Tina...which makes me wonder, do they not speak between the arena and camp? Shouldn't they have already congratulated her? Anyway, Tina's thrilled...Ciera's bummed...and Monica is impressed with Tina's legs. We join Tina and Ciera as they open the clue and start looking for the idol. Ciera is amazed at how a 52-year-old woman can climb these trees and she's left on the ground like the old lady. After searching everywhere, they become resigned to the fact that Tyson must have the idol. Back at main camp, Tyson heads out to get food and Tina starts in on Monica. She tells Monica that the whole jury is pissed at her and don't respect her game. Ciera is freaked out, saying that if you want Monica to flip, you shouldn't insult her. So Ciera tames it down and really tries to pull her in by reminding her how big a move would be to take out Tyson or Gervase right now. Monica tells the camera that she's tired of being pulled and told all these horrible things and that she has a lot to think about.

It's right about now that I start thinking...maybe going after Monica is not the best strategy. They've tried to get Monica to flip how many times now? And she's not doing it. The smart player would think that banging their head against that wall again is a waste of time and maybe they should try a different wall. Specifically, Gervase. Gervase is already irritated by the fact that everyone keeps giving Tyson all the credit for everything. Anytime something is said about Tyson's game, Gervase is right there, "But what about me, guys? I'm making moves too, fellas." All it would take is, "Hey Gerv, you want everyone to think that you've been running the show and not Tyson? Vote him out. That'll end the debate and who will be left to beat you?" Seems like the smart play to me...cause Monica ain't flipping.

And with that, we get to the Probst Sighting and the Final Five Immunity challenge. Each player has a unbalanced table attached to a rope. You have to pull on the rope to balance the table. The challenge is simple, line up 10 blocks on their table without them falling over. Now, the blocks are set at various distances away from the tables, meaning you have to let out a little rope to keep your table balanced. And if your blocks fall over, you have to go back and reset them. Even if you have the next block in your hand, you have to take it back and then reset. Right off the bat, Tina, Monica and Tyson jump out to a quick start. But at four blocks, Monica loses hers and at five Tina loses hers. As Gervase and Tina start to fall out of the challenge, Tyson is looking strong. But it only takes one slip and your entire table will be dumped over. Tyson is at eight blocks and is taking a very steady and slow approach. Gervase catches up and with Monica, they are both right on Tyson's heels. As Ciera, Monica and Gervase all drop their blocks, Tyson gets to the end with his 10th block and he sets is down. Tyson...wins immunity! To receive his necklace, Tyson kneels as if being knighted. And right there pretty well sums up Tyson. Despite the seriousness of the game and the situation, he just can't help himself by being the class clown. He tells us he's excited to have the idol, but he is more concerned with how this next vote goes.

Back at camp, we congratulate Tyson. Seriously, they must have a gag order for the walk back to camp. Tyson tells us he'd really like to keep the idol to give to Rachel, but that right now, the bigger issue is who to vote out tonight. The trio discuss the merits of both players. Gervase feels like Ciera is the bigger threat and that he can beat Tina at the end. Monica disagrees and says that Tina did not have a hand in voting out even one person on the jury and that she will be dangerous in a final Tribal. Tyson tells us that he's going to let Monica and Gervase figure it out and he'll vote with them. Next we see Gervase and Monica arguing over who to vote for. Monica is tired of being bullied by naturally, Gervase's move is to start bullying Monica to go with his idea. Monica is sick of the bullying and Gervase might be in the process of getting his ass kicked out. You can physically see Monica shut down while Gervase is ranting at her and for the first time, I actually think Monica might flip.

Monica approaches the girls and suggests they might have a move. With Tyson not expecting anything, he may not play the idol as he wouldn't know who to play it for. Ciera is stoked at Monica's change of heart and wants nothing more than for Tina to not say anything to mess it up. Monica tells us that she doesn't care what the girls say or what the boys think...she's going to make the best choice for her at this Tribal.

Jeff starts by asking Ciera about being an alliance of one. He asks if Tina went right to her about teaming up, which she admits to. Jeff breaks it down that Monica once again is in the middle and he wants to know where she fits. She says that the girls came to her to tell her this is a chance to make a big move and take out the villains. Oddly enough, Gervase doesn't feel like a villain. I wonder if he's felt like that since watching the episodes back, because he's been out of control for the last several Tribals. Ciera once again points out that Monica needs to make the big move and take out the bad guys. Tyson jumps in that he has never called her a lapdog and that he's only said that "I have Monica, meaning she'll vote with me."

It's at this point that Monica starts breaking down from the pressure of everyone coming at her. It's starting to take its toll on her. She tells us that tonight is her night and she's making the move that is the best for her. Not for the boys, not for the girls. Gervase is now a little scared. Considering this is the last night to use the idol, you have to think Tyson will give it to Gervase. Even though that's likely to happen, it might behoove Monica to cast that vote for Gervase. At least then, the jury would see that she made the move. She heard the arguments and actually did something about it. Even if it doesn't work, she would have made a move. And as Jeff tallies the votes, he asks if anyone wants to play a hidden immunity idol and...we go to commercial. DOH!

When we come back, Jeff asks the question again and Tyson reaches into his bag and hands the idol to Gervase and any votes cast for Gervase will not count. First vote, Gervase - will not count. Gervase - will not count. Ciera. Ciera. Fifteenth person voted out, Ciera. And since they did not show a third Gervase vote, we can only assume that Monica voted for Ciera. And as we hear Ciera's final words, we see that Monica did, in fact, stick with the boys and cast her vote for Ciera. Dumb, dumb, dumb. All the way around. To the girls for thinking that Monica would actually flip, when Gervase was a much better target. To Monica for having a chance to make a big move to give herself that one extra talking point at the final Tribal. Just dumb play all the way around.

Come back tomorrow to read Part 2 of the finale recap.