(NEW YORK) — On Sunday night’s finale of Survivor: Blood Vs. Water on CBS, Tyson Apostol, a 34-year-old professional cyclist and veteran of Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains, was declared the winner.
Tyson outplayed, outwitted, and outlasted — and, to the jury, out-debated — his final two competitors, Gervase Peterson and Monica Culpepper.
The show began with the first Redemption Island vote-off. Tina, Hayden and Lauren were in a duel, which had them holding their foot on one end of a seesaw, with a ceramic vase on the other end. If their balance wavered, they’d smash the pot.
Hayden smashed his vase first, getting eliminated from the game. Lauren fell next, leaving Tina the winner, getting her back in the game.
The immunity challenge had Gervase, Tina, Tyson, Ciera and Monica balancing a platform with a piece of rope; they had to line up colored blocks and use the rope to keep them balanced on a teetering platform, even as they walked back to fetch new blocks. Tyson won immunity.
At the first tribal council, Ciera was voted off.
The finale’s second immunity challenge had the final four — Gervase, Tina, Tyson and Monica — running an obstacle course in which they had to locate and untie bags of puzzle pieces before placing the bags on tables. Once six bags were located, the bags were dumped, revealing puzzle pieces that would give a hint to a combination lock.
Tina fell way behind the pack; the other three were already assembling their puzzles by the time Tina got all her parts. Tyson solved the puzzle first, getting the clue he needed to win immunity, and he popped the lock, landing a guaranteed spot in the final three.
At the second tribal council, Tina, the former winner of Survivor: Australia, was the second to fall, leaving Gervase, Tyson and Monica as the final three who needed to defend themselves before the jury. Monica was left in tears, feeling she was being ganged up on.
In the end, Tyson took the top prize.
During the reunion show, Tyson thanked his girlfriend Rachel for her sacrifice that kept him in the game, saying it inspired him to last to the end.
It was also revealed that last year’s winner, John Cochrane, graduated from Harvard Law, and true to his promise during the finale, said he didn’t want to practice law. Instead, Jeff Probst revealed moments after that finale that Cochrane had been given a call from the showrunner for CBS’ sitcom The Millers, who hired him as a writer.
Later, Tina, sitting with her daughter Katie, who she played against this season, shared a personal tragedy. Tina revealed her son Taylor was killed in a car accident two weeks prior to the finale. Tina told the audience not to make the fatal mistake Taylor did, and buckle up.
After Tyson was handed his check for a million bucks, Probst revealed the next Survivor will be Survivor: Cagayan — Brawn Vs. Brains Vs. Beauty. That likely means the season will take place in the Luzon island chain in the Philippines. The new season begins in February on CBS.
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