'Survivor 2013: Blood Vs. Water' – And The Winner Is… Tyson!

December 16th, 2013 4:11pm EST

Tyson Apolstol was crowned Sole Survivor Previously on … Survivor. Blood vs. Water began with 12 couples, who were quickly split up and turned into competitors. Last week, Ciera and Hayden tried but failed to get Monica’s support, and it was Hayden’s turn to go to Redemption Island.
This week, the final Redemption Island duel/truel pits Tina and Laura against Hayden, who thinks his chances are good against “a couple of grandmas.” Unfortunately, the challenge involves balancing a ceramic vase on a board, using only one foot, traditionally an easier task for women than men. The winner will rejoin the tribe, but the two losers are out of the game.
Laura is the first to falter, but makes an incredible save. While the others watch Laura, Hayden wipes a little sweat from his eyes, and drops his vase. Hayden is out of the trial, and will be the 5th juror. Laura begs Tina to let her win, so that she can help Ciera. But both women are determined to make it back into the game; neither will give in.
As time passes, pain begins to set in. Tina struggles, but it’s Laura who finally loses her balance, causing the vase to fall. Laura will be the 6th juror. Tina is ecstatic that she has won, but apologizes to Laura, who wanted so desperately to get back and join Ciera.
Laura is devastated at losing. She feels that she did not finish strong, and that she disappointed her daughter. But Ciera is complimentary, saying “You showed me how to be a better friend, and a better woman and a better mom more than anything. And I love you so much.” It’s a Hallmark moment when Laura replies, “How can you walk away saying you lost after that?”
Now that Tina’s back in the game, she wastes no time connecting with Ciera, and they both resume the search for the idol. But of course, Tyson’s already found it, so they come up empty. They next go to work on Monica, hoping to convince her to join them in an all woman/all mother alliance. Tina chooses a negative stance, telling Monica that the jurors are against her, while Ciera appeals to Monica’s ego. Monica, however, doesn’t know if she buys either woman’s arguments.
The tribe members arrive at their challenge. They’ll need to pull on a rope, retrieving ten wooden blocks, which they will have to arrange on a table, all the while balancing the table, until all of the blocks are gathered and upright on the table. Winner takes immunity, while the other four will be up for elimination.
The women take an early lead, but as time goes by, Tyson and Gervase crawl ahead. Tyson maintains a steady lead, finally winning immunity and a spot in the Final Four!
Jeff says that he imagines the other four will have a very interesting afternoon. Tyson interviews that he never believed he’d be in this position, and now has to make a decision on whom he’ll be bringing to the end. He and Gervase strategize; do they eliminate Ciera or Tina?
He decides to let Monica and Gervase decide. Monica says that Tina is the most dangerous to have beside them at the end, since she has the most friends on the jury. She also feels she’s been bullied by Tina. Gervase disagrees, saying that Ciera is more dangerous, as she’s devious, and even voted out her own mother.
Monica feels that Gervase himself has turned into a bully, and should be careful how he speaks to her. She tells Ciera and Tina that Tyson already has the hidden immunity idol, but she can’t see him giving it to Gervase. Monica decides that however she votes, it’ll be a vote for Monica, and what’s best for her.
At Tribal Council, Aras, Vytas, Caleb, Katie, Hayden and Laura file in. Jeff immediately notes that Tina has aligned with Ciera, and asks Monica how she feels being a deciding vote. Monica admits that it’s been crazy, with both sides salivating over her vote.
Ciera goes on the attack, again saying that Tyson’s called Monica his little lapdog since the beginning. Tyson denies ever saying such a thing. Monica tells Jeff that she’s breaking down from the stress of the last few days, but tonight, she’s doing what’s best for Monica, and no one else.
The tribe members vote. Jeff says that tonight is the last night that the hidden immunity idol can be played. Gervase looks to Tyson, and Tyson hands the idol to Gervase.
So, the two votes for Gervase do not count, but the two for Ciera do, and she becomes the 16th person voted out of Survivor: Blood vs. Water, and the 7th jury member.
Ciera’s exit interview: “I had plans I put into motion, and it didn’t work out. But I know I’ve accomplished so much more than I ever thought I would, I thought I would go Day One, I thought my mom would be here way past me, and I beat her. I’m leaving with just so much confidence and strength, and I’m so happy with the way I went out, fighting, and I feel like I did all that I could do.”
Back at Kasama, Tina tells the others that she was shocked at the vote. Monica tries to be sassy, but admits that she felt it was time to control her destiny. Her only hope now is to win the next Immunity Challenge.
Tina’s proud to see Day 38 in the game, but she is also convinced that the only way she’ll get through the day is to win the challenge. So both women are prepared to give it everything they’ve got.
Tyson’s also worried. Before, he had an immunity idol, but now he’s going into the challenge as much in danger as any other player.
And so Jeff welcomes the last four players in to the final Immunity Challenge. Today they will race through a complex series of obstacles, collecting bags, two at a time, and then race down a waterslide for two more bags. Once they have all six bags, they must solve a puzzle that will give them a clue to a combination lock. Once the lock is opened, it will raise their flag.
Monica and Gervase take an early lead. Tina’s struggling from the beginning, but fights on, although she’s way behind the others. Tyson, Gervase and Monica, with six bags each, now have to solve the puzzle, as Tina looks for her fifth bag. But she quickly finds the fifth and sixth bag, and joins the others.
Monica and Tyson are neck and neck as they attempt to solve the puzzle, which contains clues that will help them find the combination to the lock. Tyson is first to finish, but now has to find the answer. Suddenly Tyson races to the waterslide and slides down, then runs back up the stairs, counting their number, and solving the code. Tyson wins final immunity!
Tyson’s ecstatic. It’s the first time he’s made it to Day 39. Now if he can just make it to the Final Three. Monica gloats over body checking Gervase in the challenge. He’s not pleased with her moves. But Gervase is still intent on voting Tina out of the game, keeping Monica as their third. He tells Monica that his strategy all along has been just to be natural, and never be nasty.
Monica admits that she’s still furious over Tyson giving Gervase the idol at the last Tribal Council. She feels betrayed, and says it’s still in the cards that she could make a game changing move tonight. Tina seizes on Monica’s anger, and asks her to vote for Gervase, since it’s the only way the two of them can stay in the game. Gervase has played a better social game, and is more likeable than Tyson to the others, so it makes sense to get rid of Gervase first. On the other hand, that leaves Monica sitting next to Tina in the Final Three.
Jeff brings in the jury, as they gather for the Final Tribal Council. He immediately asks Tina if she’s feeling under pressure, and she agrees. Jeff noticed Monica’s body check at the challenge, and calls her on the move. She again admits to having done so, and also says that she and Tina may be in agreement on outing Gervase that night. But Monica is all talk.
Jeff tallies the votes. The 16th person voted out and final member of the Jury will be Tina. She asks that the Final Three be kind to each other tomorrow. The power now shifts to the jury, and they will decide whom they think is worthy of the title of Sole Survivor.
Tina’s exit interview” “Oh my goodness. I think this is so hard for me, mainly because I know I was one Tribal Council from tying Sandra’s record of having two wins. Because I know that if they had kept me, if I’d had to build a fire against Gervase, I would have won. So, that’s kind of hard. But at the same time, Survivor never ceases to deliver the adventure of a lifetime.”
Tyson, Gervase and Monica wake up to a celebration breakfast of chilled champagne, cheeses, meat and mangos. Tyson’s been dreaming of that breakfast since Day One. Monica’s particularly elated to have made it to the end without husband Brad or a safety net. After 13 years, Gervase has come back to a game completely different from the original, but he’s made it to the end, and he believes he has a chance of convincing the jury that he deserves to win.
Surprisingly, there is no traditional tribute to “fallen companions” nor a final bonfire.
After 39 days, they join Jeff for a Tribal Council, where the jury will be allowed to ask questions of them. Gervase is first to plead his case, and he tells the jury that he feels he’s played the game the way it should be played, despite having been out for 13 years.
Monica starts by saying that the allegation that she’s been dragged along like a puppy dog has never been true. She’s always wanted to be in the Final Three with Gervase and Tyson. She feels like her strategic play gave her the best chance to win.
Tyson says that he knew from the beginning that he’d have a target on his back, but after Rachel was voted out, he felt he had to win, since he needed to make her sacrifice worthwhile. But he’s done everything based on strategy, not on malice.
Vytas is the first to speak, and he’s not happy with anyone in the Final Three. He has no idea who to vote for, as he’s angry at all of them. Katie is next, and she first targets Tyson for his malicious dig at her own final council. He hopes that she can look past his actions, and regrets the moment. Caleb speaks to Gervase, asking him what his biggest game changing move was. Gervase says that it was when he decided that they should take out Aras, as that was his idea. Caleb then asks Monica to show that she’s not the perfect person she’s always portrayed. She says the last 21 years she’s been Brad’s partner, but this game has been all about getting to the end and winning, as a badge of honor as Monica, not Brad’s wife.
Ciera asks Tyson if he sees himself as a villain or a hero. He says his every move has been strategic, and never personal. She then asks Gervase if he ever thought of getting rid of Tyson, and he answers that he did think of it at one point, but made the decision to stay, as he feels he can beat Tyson in the end.
Laura says that she just doesn’t ‘get’ Monica; who is the real Monica? Monica responds that she’s well aware of the cruel things that people have said about her but she’s struggled through because it’s her time. Tina asks each of the trio to use one word only to describe themselves. Monica says, “generous,” Gervase says, “honorable,” and Tyson says “fun-loving.”
Hayden asks Tyson if he had the idol when they drew rocks. Tyson says that he did; he was one step ahead of him all the way. Hayden tells Monica that he loves Brad, but he doesn’t know who Monica is. She cries as she says that she feels like she’s been a target all along. Have they never met a woman who is just nice and unselfish?
Aras congratulates the players, and asks Gervase to prove his game awareness, by telling him who the jury should vote for, other than himself, based on their overall play. Gervase says Tyson, because Tyson has played the best game overall. Monica opts for Tyson as well, citing his winning of the last two immunities, along with the finding of the two immunity idols. Tyson says he’d vote for Monica, as she kept to herself, acting as though she was the bottom player, while maintaining her alliance with himself and Tyson.
Jeff thanks the jurors, saying it was a great Final Council. And it’s now time to vote. But of course, as soon as they do, Jeff grabs the urn and leaves the island, only to reappear … at the finale/reunion show in Los Angeles.
The audience is rowdy as Jeff arrives. Although Monica gets one vote, the winner is … Tyson! Tyson sobs as he hugs the others, and of course, Rachel.
Tyson says that he only got into the game so that girlfriend Rachel could have some fun, but once she was gone, he had to fight to keep in, and that kept him focused. He couldn’t let himself relax, because he was determined.
Jeff points out how difficult the game really is, and that no one who isn’t playing really understands how it works. Tyson says that no one sleeps more than a few hours at a time, as the strategy goes on day and night.
Monica is praised for her dominating physical play. With three individual immunities, she was polarizing and controversial, but was consistently respected for her strength and determination. She says that her life with Brad has been priceless, but she played to not only say thank you to her husband, but to remind her family that she’s still the gritty woman he met all those years ago. Brad says he knew that Monica was a ‘bad ass’ long before Survivor.
Jeff asks Gervase why he didn’t take a more leadership role. Gervase says that Aras was first to take on that role, followed by Tyson, and he never found the right moment to make a move.
Ciera says that the rock drawing was crazy, and that the realization that she was fourth in the alliance was what kicked her into making her two big game moves. Jeff mentions Ciera voting out her own mother, and shows a clip of Laura talking about the moment when she realized that her daughter had grown up. Laura says that it was a true role reversal, where she had to trust her daughter to have more information about the game and to understand the social interaction better than she did.
We revisit the moment when Colton quit the game at Redemption Island. Jeff says that he still roots for Colton as a person, but can’t believe that Colton has such contempt for the other players who still somehow manage to stay in the game while he quits. Colton says that he’s always felt like he needs other people to take care of him. When those weren’t there, he freaked out. He’s finally figured out that he needs to dig down deep to find that within himself.
Jeff asks Caleb what he sees in Colton that no one else sees. Caleb really doesn’t come up with a reason.
Rupert is spotlighted when the clip is shown of him changing places with his wife Laura. Rupert says he doesn’t regret the move for a second as he needed to protect and save his wife. He still feels it was the only move that he had. Laura says that she has a new perspective, and she had a great time in her 21 days on the island.
Last year’s winner, Cochran, is in the audience, and tells everyone that he’s landed a job writing for the show “The Millers,” thanks to his time on Survivor.
The sibling rivalry between Aras and Vytas is discussed. The cheap shot that Vytas tried on Aras early in the game is shown. Jeff says that he understands the rivalry, based on his own relationship with his brothers. Vytas says he feels that the brothers are tighter than they’ve even been, and they really love each other.
Hayden, with a glammed up Kat at his side, says that Survivor was harder than Big Brother, but he loved playing. Kat stammers something about their still being together, and hints that she’s a little more ‘top heavy’ since the game. (Apparently she’s had breast augmentation.)
Candice and John, both doctors, admit that the game brought out the illogical in their thinking. They found the game difficult, and especially hard with both of them being in the game.
Tina and Katie talk about the bond between mothers and daughters. The show was a great experience and a great adventure, but it did not make them any closer. Sadly, Tina’s son was tragically killed two weeks before in a car accident. Tina says that the honor and joy of playing with the other Survivors has given her comfort. Katie says that anyone who wants to donate to the family should send their donations to the Red Cross’ crusade to aid the Philippines, where the series was shot.
Tyson is given his million dollar check, and a teaser clip is played of next season’s Survivor: Cagayan: Brains vs. Brawn vs. Beauty.
Looking forward to seeing you all here again next season!

Related: Jeff Probst, Survivor: Blood vs. Water, Starpulse Exclusives, Recaps, Television, Reality, TV Networks, CBS

Photo Credits: CBS

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