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Survivor: Blood vs. Water – Finale – That Spot Between Brazen And Reckless

Personally, I would have voted out Tina before Ciera. Tina had strong allies on the jury – potentially even a voting bloc. Ciera did too but she also had more blood on her hands in getting to the end. Tina was a real threat to steal this win. Ciera needed a perfect storm to earn it. But the group didn’t see it that way and sent her packing first with the hopes that Tina would fail to win the last immunity. To me this was an unnecessary gamble, albeit one with slim odds to come to reality. But Tina did just win that last Truel – anything can happen.

Upon her defeat, Tina tried to weasel a 2-2 fire-making tie with Gervase but that never had a chance. If Monica was going to flip that time had long past – she had cast her fate against the boys way before Tina begged for her last chance.

And I am basically done. Honestly this was a rather uneventful finale – a shame because the season was so rich with drama, twists, good gameplay and tons of entertainment. But it was like the first and only good season of Heroes – amazing until the climax. I am pleased for Tyson, who I have said repeatedly this season was a different player this time around. If all it took was focus, then Tyson may want to get some focusing medication – if he does he may just take over the world.

This is a perfect time for me to rank the winners of Survivor – like I have done before – with our new entry. We have 27 seasons and 26 winners – I am judging on both their winning season performance and my opinions on whether they can do it again. This is purely my opinion.

1 – Sandra – Pearl Islands and Heroes vs. Villains. She goes to the top because she won this thing twice. That is a HUGE accomplishment. And one of them was an All-Stars season. She never had immunity but her Anyone But Me strategy is a proven winner. She wasn’t a mastermind – she was simply a survivor.
2 – Boston Rob – Redemption Island. Fourth time around and a humungous target on his back. And he just simply played the perfect game of Survivor. And he should have won All-Stars too.
3 – Richard – Borneo. The first. He invented the alliance system. Out of respect he gets the high ranking.
4 – Kim – One World. The other perfect game. She was the female version of Rob – owning the strategy, social game and physical skills. Rob beats her out based on his stolen All-Stars win.
5 – Brian – Thailand. A hated season, but few other seasons were so dominated by one person. The fact that the bitter jury almost gave it to Clay can’t deny Brian’s status as a Survivor force. I wish he would play again
6 – Tom. Palau. A big drop from 4 to 5 because Sandra won twice and no one could have won over Rob, Kim or Brian. For Tom, he co-dominated this season with Ian. If Ian didn’t give in to his daddy issues and beaten Tom at the Final 3, he would have crushed Katie in the vote. That said, Tom also dominated and deserves a high rank.
7 – Yul. Cook Islands. The Aitu story is still my favorite one – down 8-4 after the mutiny, they systematically picked apart the Raro majority. Again, Yul was co-dominator with Ozzy. Brains beat brawn this time. Remember that dynamic next season.
8 – Parvati. Fans vs. Favorites 1. Another co-champ. Cirie was the mastermind but Parvati was the agent of he plan. She did all the manipulating and still beat the “good girl” Amanda in the final vote. Bonus points for almost winning Heroes vs. Villains too.
9 – Todd. China. The only time that I can recall someone stealing a win because of a stellar Final Tribal argument. Todd earned it with his game play – underrated in retrospect – and blew Amanda away with his words to end the season with a win.
10 – Tyson – Blood vs. Water. It’s hard to rank it yet without some time passing, but Tyson played a very flawless game, which makes me think that one day, I’ll be bumping him up the ladder.
11 – Earl – Fiji. Another hated season with a dominant winner. He was co champ with Yau-Man as well, but had the cojones to vote out his partner and top threat when he had the chance.
12 – Cochran – Fans vs. Favorites 2. Points for most improved game in the 2.0 version (along with Parvati), he pulled the strings better than anyone could have imagined the first time around. Throw in three unexpected immunity wins and you have a solid winner.
13 – Chris – Vanuatu. Perhaps the most underrated winner. He was almost out with the first vote and then found himself deeply in the minority. He gets demerits for not being the dominant strategist and only being a physical threat when facing older and smaller women – but big points earned for being the swing vote and knowing how to use that as a weapon to shatter the majority alliance.
14 – Danni – Guatemala. See Chris. It was basically the same game. She wisely spent auction money on an immunity advantage, used it to survive and then played Steph by convincing her to turn on her alliance. That pair of moves earned her the win and, with Chris, status as two of the scrappiest winning games.
15 – Denise – Philippines. In the same vein as Chris and Danni, she was on the loser tribe, shuffled into another, and merged without numbers but continued to adapt to get along. Granted, she won because Malcolm failed to win his challenge, but she did well in her own right.
16 – Ethan – Africa. He just keeps plummeting down the list. He played a nice guy game, but in retrospect and with repeated viewing, he is looking more like someone who rode someone else’s game (Lex) and beat very inferior competition.
17 – J.T. – Tocantins. He dominated the vote, and was a physical force in his season, but he rode Stephen’s horse to the end and, like Ethan, used the nice guy reputation to charm the voters. Perhaps I am also prejudiced against him due to his horrible Heroes vs. Villains performance. Whatever, he’s falling too.
18 – Sophie – South Pacific. Yes, Coach was the driving force of this season, but Sophie’s subtle and cerebral game was better than given credit for by some. That’s what puts her near the top of the second banana winner list.
19 – Jenna – Amazon. She would be so much higher if she didn’t basically quit for a time near the end before earning late physical wins. Rob C is still one of the best games to not win and considering all of the three-timers to come back is the one I would want to see for a third time the most. Jenna was not a bad winner, but her only really good move was not taking Rob to the Final Two. She reacted to the game, she didn’t drive it, and she didn’t co-pilot it either. It is unique among winning games in that she was just in the right place at the right time.
20 – Amber – All-Stars. I don’t believe others who discount her game, but it is also not one that deserves high praise. She was yin to Rob’s yang – and still is – but make no mistake…yang won this season. Yin was a great co-pilot.
21 – Bob – Gabon. Like Jenna, he was a bit lucky, he was also subtly skilled in figuring out which way the wind was blowing. That said, he really didn’t do anything big in this season. Others did. He just benefitted from it.
22 – Aras – Exile Island. Another classic co-pilot. Cirie schemed and planned. Terry dominated the challenges. And Aras did yoga.
23 – Natalie – Samoa. A much worse version of Amber’s game. She did spearhead the big move on Erik – but let’s be honest, she won because everyone hated Russell.
24 – Tina – Australia. She won only because Colby chose not to win. No other reason at all.
25 – Fabio – Nicaragua. He was goofy. He was silly. He benefitted from two quitters and a bunch of non-entities. And he seemingly figured out at the end that he was actually on Survivor and that he could possibly win.
26 – Vescepia – Marquesas. Was there ever a worse Final Two than this season? Someone had to win. All of the players who had game got taken out before the end leaving two forgettable players for the final choice.

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