When the preview for Survivor Blood vs. Water aired during the Caramoan finale last spring it wasn’t difficult to figure out the gist of what this season would be all about. I thought it was brilliant, but then I thought about One World. I thought the concept for One World was brilliant too when it was announced and here’s my issue with it: One camp – really interesting, totally changes the dynamic of the game, but separating men and women – not dynamic enough, while being overly dynamic at the same time. I think One World would have been much better if they had mixed gender tribes from the start. Putting all those women together was such a bad idea for that cast. Blood vs Water; however, did it right. Throwing in Redemption Island was such a smart way to mix things up in a rendition of the game that could have been an absolute failure. Separating loved ones was an obvious decision; Redemption Island was the real surprise twist that made this formula work. Given the right circumstances, I would have been happy for anyone in this season to win the money and the title, so I’m calling Blood
vs. Water a good season of Survivor. Now, let’s talk about the finale.
First off…omg… Laura with the crazy saves during the duel! Remember in Caramoan during that Immunity Challenge when they had to balance on the boxes in the water? Whats-His-Face bobbled around on that thing like a Weeble, but I think Laura’s wobbling was far more impressive. We all know who won the duel, but let me show you why Tina had this in the bag from the beginning. I direct your attention to the photo below.
See what Tina is doing there? She’s using her arms to hold up her leg, which is reducing the strain on her knee allowing her to keep the vase level and much steadier. Laura has the right idea, but instead of using her arms to her advantage, she’s displaying “jazz hands” throughout most of the challenge. Hayden… I don’t know what you were thinking, sweetie, but you put your vase on a slant! In theory, what Hayden was doing was a good idea; keeping the leg straight, locking the knee into place for more stability, but he had no anchor for his heel. Tina’s strategy in this last duel of Blood vs. Water shows that experience means everything in the game of Survivor, which is why veterans typically out-play the new players in such seasons.
So Tina is granted another shot at playing the game and play the game she did! Grandma got back to camp, pulled out her knitting needles and
went to town on a strategy sweater. Looking for the idol proved to be a bust,
but we all knew she wasn’t going to find anything. Her real move here was
talking trying to knit something comfortable for Monica to wear, but that
sweater ended up being too short in the arms and scratchy. Ciera was right on it with damage control, though, because at this point, Ciera is playing a winning end-game.
This brings us to another really difficult Immunity Challenge in Blood vs. Water and Tyson pulls off the first of two crucial Immunity wins he needs to win the game. Watch that challenge again. He was focused. All I could hear in my head during that challenge the second time I watched it was the theme to Jaws. When Jeff put the necklace on him for the first time that evening, I was pretty confident he was going to win the next one too. Tyson was zeroed in on the prize before Rachel was eliminated, but definitely, her exit from the game helped him bring his game to a fine point during these last two Immunity Challenges.
So, okay… When I write these blogs, I usually watch the episode at the same time, pausing, rewinding, captioning a picture, etc. I just have to note what Monica says before the first Tribal Council of the night to Tina and Ciera. — “I’m 100% with them. He’s [Tyson] not going to think that I’m wavering. He’s not going to play the idol for Gervase because he wouldn’t know who to play it for; me or him…Tonight’s Tribal Council; I’m gonna own it. It’s my night. It’s my strategic move…Tonight it’s my call. I’m gonna say who goes home and I’m gonna make my choice on what’s best for me.” —
Now… <sigh>… At Tribal Council, of course, it is announced that Monica is the swing vote again and she acknowledges it. Ciera throws it down at Tribal Council, again, and keeps it real. Unfortunately, Monica kept it too real, putting far too many emotions into her speech, which wasn’t even necessary since she voted out Ceira anyway! If she had played it cool and confident like Tyson during the Immunity Challenge, made him believe 100% that she was solid w/ their alliance and voted out Gervase, she could have won the game and she would have deserved it.
For the next sequence of events its lather, rinse, repeat. Tyson wins Immunity again, Monica has a second chance to win herself some respect with the jury, but fails again to do so. Tina’s torch was snuffed and before I dive into the Final Tribal Council… NO MEMORY WALK?! Really? I’m still not sure how I feel about this one. As soon as it was gone, I missed it, but
the memory walk has been kind of a drag to sit through since Survivor Final Threes came into play, not really sure why that is for me. Really, though, it’s just a mirror of the little recap of the season we get at the beginning of the finale episode, but if I had to choose one of those two, I’d choose the Memory Walk.
So. Final Tribal Council.
The Opening Statements: Gervase made some very good
arguments in his favor; he was calm, well-spoken and projected a confident image to the jury. Monica was far too emotional and should have had more confidence in herself, regardless of what anyone else did or said. And Tyson? Talk about a Goldilocks zone! I told you Tyson would charm the jury. Did you see their smiling faces?
The tone of each of our Blood vs. Water Final Three’s opening statements stay in sync as they speak with the jury and answer their
questions. Gervase remains composed and Tyson continues to show just enough emotion making his responses sincere and Monica barely manages to put her emotions in check. I think it was Caleb’s request for her to tell him something from her heart that pushed her down the slide, and then Laura said she didn’t know who she was. Hayden tried, he really did, to pull out of Monica what the jury wanted to hear, but she was so focused on Monica at home because of Brad’s involvement in the game that she couldn’t focus on Monica playing Survivor. I don’t know why! She lasted way longer than him and won more challenges than him so I don’t know why she wasn’t totally proud of herself having made it all the way to the Final Tribal Council.
Honestly, I wanted to give Tyson a 99.9% chance of winning in my previous post, but I like making Back to the Future references and I take advantage of every opportunity to do so. There was also the off chance that Monica would make what I thought would be the right move for her end-game. As with all of these reality shows, there is a lot we don’t see because they have to edit hours of footage into 42 minute packages to engage an audience with a storyline. This is why I always give the benefit of the doubt to the players in
these reality TV competition games when it comes to their strategies. Maybe Monica was more strategic than I thought, maybe people who think she played a great game caught things I missed, but I don’t think her head was in it. She was playing with her heart not her head. As for Gervase, dude, I’m sorry, bro, but Tyson has this game in the bag from day zero.
So this Reunion Show… I’m really glad that all of our players were on the stage this season. I’m so happy that Jeff pointed out how great Hayden and Ciera were towards the end of the game. She may have bounced around like Happy Fun Ball, but Ciera was an awesome
Survivor and so was Hayden. I just wish Kat has made it a little further in the game. She was my favorite female from One World and I’m really happy that she had a chance to play Survivor again – it was really funny watching her and Colton banter back and forth in the beginning. Her time with Jeff during the Reunion Show, though, was totally awkward! That’s why I like, Kat, though, she kind of reminds me of myself.
All in all, I loved watching all of our Survivor Blood vs. Water players, there really wasn’t anyone I disliked – well, there’s Colton, but I’m neutral with him. He’s a great character for Survivor and I’m sure they will try to bring him back to play again just to see what happens. I, for one, will happily watch him self implode again because if you think about it, it’s actually kind of beautiful. He’s growing, hopefully, as a person before our very eyes and now we have a stable person around to help us better understand Colton, through the eyes of someone who loves him. This is what makes reality TV so awesome.
Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty: So I’ve seen some confirmed picks of about half a dozen of the cast members for Survivor BBB. We’ve got some more models and such, but the word is that they will all be new players. I know that will make Judd from Big Brother 15 happy! Judd would also, like me, rather see Survivor go back to the classic Final Two situation. He said I could quote him on that in this blog so…
And now, before I wrap this up, I have to share a pic I forgot to include in the previous post. I can’t believe I forgot about it! It’s from the Immunity Challenge in the episode before the finale.
See you for the next season of Survivor, everyone! Be on the look out for special blog posts until then and… Support Judd in the Reality Rally!
🙂 Be excellent to each other.