And here we are.
All has been said and done, and as I never saw the point of recapping an episode, there is never much left to say in my last post of the season.
So let’s see what there is left to be said.
Well, first of all, congrats to Tyson Apostol !
If you’ve read this blog for a while, you may know that I have been a fan of Tyson since Tocantins, some people even say that I have a man crush on him, which is actually not too far from the truth.
However while I’ve been a fan of the character, or even the man himself, I always admitted that he wasn’t the best player out there. What was a bit infuriating was that he could be that amazing player, but he wasn’t focused enough, and that cost him the game twice already. I was actually very surprised (but ecstatic) that he was cast a third time, and didn’t really know what to expect from him this time around. Would he play to win this time? Or will he just goof off, being awesome until he gets blindsided? The thing is that he needed the proper motivation, and it got it when Rachel was voted out (indirectly) because of him).
And there we have it, a Tyson who really played the game the way it is supposed to be played, and in the end we get a great winner for one of the best seasons ever. Because, don’t let that fool you, Tyson is now up there with the great winners of Survivor, the ones that dominated their season, not the ones who won by luck or by default.
And why was it one of the best seasons ever? Let me tell you why. It wasn’t because of the Blood Vs Water twist, even if it brought new layers to the game. It was definitely not because of Redemption Island. Even if it was interesting premerge and brought us some very interesting moments, it was useless and possibly detrimental postmerge (can you imagine if Tina had won this season?). No, it was because of casting (and a bit of luck). There was no troll this season (ok, there were Colton and possibly Rupert, but luckily they were out early), there were no one who was there just to be on TV and try to become famous or something along those lines. Almost no one was there “for the experience” (ok, maybe Katie, Laura B. and Rachel, maybe). And among the people who were there to play the game, no one was there “to make the merge” or “to go as far as possible”, everyone wanted to win and played to win.
This is what makes a great season of Survivor.
A few words on some other players:
Gervase Peterson really impressed me. I also think he played a very strong game, and I didn’t think he could adapt to this new way of playing, because even if he had the experience of surviving on the island for a month or so, in terms of game play, he hadn’t much more of an advantage compared to the loved ones, he was literally playing a game he hadn’t played before. So yeah, kudos to him for that. Honestly, his only real mistake was to go to the end with Tyson, he should have gotten rid of him when he could have, the way he did with Aras, but once he got to the end with Tyson, he had no chance to sell his strategy as a vote-worthy one compared to Tyson’s.
Monica Culpepper. Do I respect her game? Mmmm… No. I don’t disrespect it either, don’t get me wrong. I’m not too sure why the jury was so harsh on her though. Maybe because she didn’t take control of the game despite the fact she repeated that she will do so over and over again and she passed every single opportunity she had. Maybe unconsciously, she wasn’t playing to win either. There was something else. Her quite touching meltdown during final showed us who she was: a desperate housewife. She was the cheerleader (was she a cheerleader at UF? No idea, that’s an image) who married her college sweetheart who became an NFL player. She became rich and a perfect housewife, she had everything she ever dreamt of (money, a somewhat famous husband, beautiful children) until she realized that she was kinda empty. Her whole life was built around others and she now defined herself only in relation to other people (wife, mother, etc), she couldn’t – nor could other people do – tell who she really was, as an individual. That’s what she was out there to prove, that she is also Monica, not just Brad’s wife and her kids’ mother. Quite touching in my opinion, because so many women are in her situation. They think they’re happy and that they have a good life, but they kinda have lost their own identity in the life that they have built. Monica tried to get out of that and find herself. Did she succeed? Who knows? I hope she did.
OK, enough cheap psychology and let’s mention a few things about some other players (not everyone I’m afraid).
Ciera Eastin: the breakout character of the season. The obvious early boot who took matters into her own hands. Sure she kinda messed up and didn’t succeed much, but she made the biggest moves of the season and she played to win and tried to do so. We’ll definitely see her again.
Another player we will most likely see play again is Vytas Baskauskas. Another great breakthrough character who could have gone far (I believe that Ciera and him could have easily win had they played in an all newbie season). I’m just a bit disappointed that he refused to vote for Tyson in the end. With great players came a great jury, not the usual group of angry bitter people (ok, it’s not always the case, we’ve been lucky with pretty good juries since season 24), and he was the only one who kinda voted stupidly.
Tina Wesson‘s return was also very interesting. Quite often she reminded us why she won Survivor in the past, but at other time she made some social blunders that I wouldn’t have expected from her (telling Monica she was 5th in her alliance, telling Tyson he wouldn’t get votes after Aras’ blindside and so on). All in all, I was glad to see her again though.
OK, I’m sure I could type a few lines about everyone else (glad to see Aras again, Hayden had some great moves), but it’s a wrap for Blood Vs Water. If I had to rank it, I’m sure it’s in the top five of the best seasons of Survivor.
Now let’s get ready for Season 8 – Cagayan. The twist could be interesting (or disastrous, but isn’t it what many people feared before this season). I’ll talk about my first thoughts in a few weeks (stay tuned by subscribing to the blog or following me on the usual social networks).