December 16, 2013 2:21am PT by Parvati Shallow
Parvati Shallow Gives Her Take on 'Survivor: Blood vs. Water's' Finale, Winner
Our season finale culminated in a live reunion show full of tears, lots of love and a surprise breast augmentation. I was sitting in the back of the packed house taking it in from a journalist’s perspective and loving every minute of it. Our final three were sitting together awaiting the final verdict.
Everyone in the audience and everyone on stage holds their breath. Vote one, Monica. Vote two, vote three, vote four, vote five: Tyson. As he realizes it’s him, the waterworks begin to flow.
And the winner of Survivor: Blood vs. Water is… Tyson "the Coconut Bandit" Apostle!!
I am so happy for this man. He played a solid game, made moves when he needed to, never premature, and deserved this win. Monica and Gervase couldn’t come close to touching Tyson’s level of game play this season and I am glad the jury awarded Tyson the title and the benefits that come with it. Well played, my friend.
This season provided some outrageous moments of strategy and game making decisions. Now that we know the outcome, let’s take a look back at a few of the standout moments from the final episode.
Game faces set, Hayden, Laura and Tina roll into Redemption Arena for the last time, ready to stomp each other in hopes of getting back into the game. Laura wants this. She’s crushed her competition every time and is the clear front runner. Hayden has yet to win a challenge, stays true to form as he becomes the first man to drop out. As more time elapses, Laura feels the nerves more and begins bargaining with Tina to “let her have it.” Not having it at all, Tina tells Laura to eff-off in no uncertain terms. Laura drops, making our tiny warrior mama, Tina, the victor and sending her back into the game with a clue to the hidden immunity idol.
In tears, Laura talks about feeling like a failure because she didn't “finish strong.” Jeff puts on his best Oprah hat and breaks it down for her, telling her that one may argue putting in your best effort every time, despite the outcome, is the most powerful lesson a mother can teach a child.” Ciera chimes in from the galley, “Mom, you have taught me how to be a better friend, a better woman and a mother.” With that, Laura is released from the game and from any shame she may be feeling for her final performance.
Tina returns to the game, with one option: join Ciera and work Monica desperately to try to get her to flip. While Monica has been torn back and forth between sides for a while now, she talks a big talk about playing ‘Monica’s game’ now. If I know anything, it’s the toll indecision can take on a person’s body, mind and spirit. In the game of Survivor, better to pick a side and stick than to go on running around in circles in your mind about changing sides. Being indecisive wastes valuable energy. Tyson is so strong because he made a commitment to himself and to his allies. He’s inspired by something bigger than himself (Rachel) and he’s determined to make it to the end of the game with the people he started with. This strategy saves him from being manipulated by any of the desperate pleas from contestants on the bottom. It also keeps him sane and in a place where he can keep his cool, take some risks and stay centered. It also makes him a huge threat in the finals. Maybe Monica would be better off joining Ciera and Tina.
When Tyson wins the immunity challenge, Monica doesn't have much room to play. She rejoins her allies and Tyson, safe behind the immunity necklace, allows Gervase and Monica to decide the vote. Gervase campaigns hard for Ciera, saying she hasn't made any enemies and is a single mother. I agree, Ciera is a huge threat and should not be taken to the final three. Monica argues that Tina is a bigger threat and states that she is sick of being bullied by Tina and wants to vote her. Brutality ensues. We’ve seen Gervase have a hard time containing his emotional outbursts and now he tries to physically dominate Monica into voting his way. Unbelievable, Gerv. You are seriously not going to have a leg to stand on in the finals. Once you get there, you will have outbursted your way out of receiving any votes. I feel for Monica. She is trying to take a stand but can’t seem to convince anyone to go her way.
At tribal council, this may be Monica’s moment to make a move. She doesn’t. Gervase overrules and Ciera is sent packing. I’m sad to see her go. When push came to shove, she rose to the occasion. She made the season unpredictable and was a pleasure to watch. I hope she returns for round two. I think this girl has winner written on her forehead.
On her own now, Tina has her work cut out for her. As I see it, if she wins this final immunity challenge, she wins the game. The challenge is a fabulous obstacle course, complete with massive waterslides, ropes courses and, of course, a puzzle. Everyone wants this win and the power that comes with it. Monica gets an early lead and asserts herself as she hip checks Gervase when he tries to pass her. Get it girl! Tyson, Monica, and Gervase are already working on their puzzles by the time Tina gets up to the platform. Sadly, this little momma isn’t going to get the job done this time. Tyson pulls out another challenge win and, in doing so, cements himself and his alliance in the final three. He’s played a flawless game and now has the win in the bag.
Tina’s only play is to try to get Monica to vote with her and force a tie. Once tied, Tina is absolutely sure she can win in a fire making challenge against Gervase. Monica’s in a sticky spot. She may like Tina more than Gervase, but does she want to sit next to her in the final three? I think not. After a brief back and forth, Tina is voted out leaving our trio of veterans in the final three.
They all played their hearts out, but in the end, there can only be one sole Survivor. After Tyson’s teary eyed jury speech, he clearly has this win in the bag. I’m so impressed by this man. He really has grown up on the show and it’s fun to watch him show a softer side. Rachel is a gorgeous woman and now they can trot off into the sunset with a fresh million bucks and a well deserved win.
Thanks again for a fantastic season! Keep the comments coming. Tweet me @parvatishallow
Our interviews from the red carpet are up at CBS.com/survivoraftershow. Check ‘em out and let me know what you thought of the show! Tweet me @parvatishallow with questions and comments.