So instead of a scenic shot of the final four trying to look pensive while staring at a burning tower of wood, the contestants just kind of walk into the final challenge. It is a wide, sweeping challenge in which they must race through obstacles to collect bags of puzzle pieces. Once they have all six bags they solve a puzzle that will give them a clue to solve a combination lock and release their flag. Best part about it? No lame advantages, like in the last two seasons. This time, everyone has to compete on an even playing field. As it should be. As spritely as she looked up in that tree earlier, Tina basically doesn’t stand a chance in this one, and sure enough, she falls behind quickly. It doesn’t matter. Had she up near the front of the pack, Monica would have just elbowed her over the stair railing anyway. Instead, Gervase is the one the receiving end of a Culpepper shudder while trying to pass the woman on her left. (Maybe she is like a first-round draft pick, after all. Hell, if Trent Richardson is worth a first-round pick twice, then MC should be good enough for one. Maybe the Colts will trade for her as well.)
But Tyson eventually catches up to the other two, and eventually takes over and wins the final immunity. Not the most epic of final challenges, but a decent enough one, I suppose. At least they weren’t stacking coins or something. Anyhoo, Tyson celebrates, because he knows he not only just punched his ticket to the finals, but he also just punched his million dollar ticket as well by adding the final two immunity victories to his already impressive resume. Memo to Gervase: Don’t let that fool you! Your chance of winning just completely evaporated!
We then need to go through another charade of a Tribal Council where Monica tells us how in control she is while seeming to entertain offers of flipping sides. In this case, that would mean joining Tina to force a tiebreaking fire-making challenge between Tina and Gervase. But she, we, and everyone else know there is no way that is happening, and sure enough, Tina is voted unanimously.
Weird game for Tina. She shined early, but made some tactical errors along the way, like when she basically told Monica in front of her face that they were moving her to the five spot in their alliance instead of Gervase (never tell a person they are fifth in your alliance). She was lucky when Laura decided to aid her in beating Vytas, but then came up big to win the very last duel. I always liked Tina as both a person and a player. She was far from perfect here, but hopefully this outing wipes away some of the sting of being the first one voted out of Survivor: All Stars. (Obviously all of this pales in comparison to some of the off-screen tragedy Tina and daughter Katie have had to deal with lately. I can only hope this finale and reunion has offered them both a small distraction from the heavier stuff they have been dealing with lately with the loss of their son/brother.)
Now comes the time in the show when the finalists sit on mountaintops and by the water and reflect on everything they have been though to make it this far while talking about what a good shot they have of winning. Of course, we know the game is already Tyson’s, but let the people have their moment before we head to final Tribal Council. But only a moment, because man is self-satisfied reflection boring as hell.
Okay, final Tribal. We begin with opening statements. “I used the best of old school and new school Survivor,” brags Gervase. (I have no idea what that means.) Monica claims that she was not “drug along like a puppy dog on a leash by these guys to get to the end.” (If you say so!) Meanwhile, Tyson opines that he owes his success to Rachel’s ouster. He also claims he’s not such a bad guy: “Everything I did was strategic. Nothing was done out of malice.” (We’ll see what Katie has to say about that.) Here’s a quick rundown of the juror-by-juror questions/statements that follow.
NEXT: The jury takes center stage