An outstanding season of Survivor comes to a close not with a bang, but with a whimper. We were teased that big moves could be coming at all times – none came. We were informed of a brutal Final Tribal in published reports – and it was tame and borderline annoying. And the man who deserved the win, who received the hero edit despite claims by others of his villainy, earned the win in the end. Survivor is on a roll now with four consecutive deserving winners (Kim, Denise, Cochran and now Tyson) and five of six (Boston Rob) with an argument to be made about Sophie vs. Coach as the sixth.
Yes. Tyson is Survivor champion. The man who voted himself out of Season 20 has come back to win Season 27. And he deserved it more than anyone else. Hands down. Think about it – if he lost the Final Four immunity and got booted, whom would you have voted for? Gervase, Monica or Tina? And if any of them had actually own would it have felt satisfying? No. All played decent to solid games but none were Sole Survivor worthy. Only Ciera would have been a worthy winner and I still would have voted Tyson over her.
Tyson had the idols. He owned the strategy. He won the last two immunities. And he aced the Final Tribal Council. While Gervase could only cling to his “I haven’t played in 13 years argument” and Monica had to claim her no big moves as being a big move, Tyson owned his moves and played on the jury’s hearts at the same time. By saying that he only came on the show so Rachel could play and after she wouldn’t let him Rupert his way out of the game, he vowed to make it count by winning. Gold. He made his one apology for his jerk comments to Katie’s face after she Paschaled her way out of the game. And he was the only one to answer Aras’ good question correctly. When the three we’re asked who the would vote for in a Final Two of the others, the other two said Tyson and made good arguments for doing so. Tyson said Monica because he read the room correctly and judged that Gervase may have been a bigger threat.
Was the jury brutal to Monica? No. We’re they puzzling? Heck yeah. Why did they keep asking the same questions over and over again – who is Monica? It was as if they wanted some dark secret to be revealed like this was some movie script. Did they want to find out that she shared needles with Vytas in a previous life? It was bizarre. Monica exasperatedly asked if they have never met a nice person before. Now I am wary of people who think that way about themselves – but point is valid. Monica seems like she is an open book – they just wanted to read something else. I think she is one of many women who have ignored themselves for most of their lives in order to nurture a family. She is my age and I get that. She came on the show to share it with Brad but also to prove something to herself. That’s it. If the jury didn’t respect her game then fine, say that. Don’t keep picking at her frayed emotions just to make her cry. It was unbecoming of them.
I respect Monica’s game. She flipped on Aras/Tina when a better deal came and got herself embedded in the leadership of that Unloved Alliance. She chose to go to the end with the boys because she thought she could best them more than beat the others. She was probably right. Personally, I felt she played the third best game of them all and would have been pleased if she beat Gervase and Tina. Not totally satisfied, but pleased.
Now if she would just quit talking about herself in third person then we can really get along.
So. The Finale. I guess we start with the Truel. As soon as I saw the balance challenge – the same one with vases that enabled Andrea to defeat the guys during Season 22 and re-enter the game – I predicted that Tina would win. Her slight frame seemed to be better equipped for this. Hayden struggled perhaps due to sweat dripping in his eyes and was out first. Laura flailed her arms comically throughout the challenge, barely holding on several times. Tina even wobbled badly at one point – but in the end Laura lost it. I must admit, she did a lot better than I expected. Her physical game is probably as good as almost any other woman to play. However, socially she appears to need work.
In fact, with Laura and Tina each getting voted out twice, it may be time to update the list of Survivors Snuffed Three Times. Each of them has now done just that. Andrea, Jerri, Cirie and Candice too. Ozzy holds the record for four torch snuffs. Rupert would have joined him but he was never actually voted out this season.
Ciera was hoping for a solid two with her mom to sway Monica. It was telling that this young woman who never played before felt that she couldn’t trust a three-time veteran, former winner to talk to Monica properly to sway her. I will give Ciera credit – she went ALL OUT to convince Monica over several days to flip. As Probst said during the horrible reunion show – Ciera showed how you play this game. Do whatever it takes to win. Vote out your mom. Draw rocks. Whatever. I want to see her back. She is very Cirie-like to me. Not a physical threat but a serious strategic and social threat.