Another season of Survivor is over and the winner of Survivor: Blood vs. Water has been announced! But were they the best player? Did any other players deserve to make it further than they did? Who was completely underrated and who was completely overrated? Join Ben and Jarryd as they sit down and give each contestant a grade in the official Survivor Oz – Survivor: Blood vs. Water Report Card! We guarantee you that some contestants parents will be glad to see their reports whilst others will be hiding them on their way home!
(CONTAINS SPOILERS – If you haven’t seen the finale of Survivor: Blood vs. Water and don’t wish to know the final result, do not click below!)
Eliminated Day Four
BEN’S GRADE: C
JARRYD’S GRADE: C-
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Rupert technically didn’t do anything wrong this season, although some would argue him swapping places with his wife was ‘wrong’ strategically. You always knew if anybody was going to swap with their loved one it was Rupert, and given Laura was so quick to be given the flick, Rupert was straight to RI and battling for survival. Difference being Rupert isn’t the same Rupert he was back in Pearl Islands and he came up against two strong competitive females who wanted it more. Always destined to be an early boot, and it was a shame to see him be the first boot.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Whilst I haven’t been a Rupert fan since All-Stars, even I feel for him as to how this season played out. I think it was pretty obvious that Laura B. was going to get the boot in the ‘first impressions’ vote, or if not then, very early on in the game. Regardless of when Laura B. got the boot, Rupert was ALWAYS going to switch with her; no mattered what the circumstances. It was always going to be tough for Rupert a fourth time around and finding himself on Redemption Island early, going up against Candice, (a good challenge performance), didn’t help. However, to lose to Marissa was pretty poor by Rupert’s standards. Whilst I don’t want to take anything away from Marissa, it was only her second ever challenge on Survivor and it was probably Rupert’s fortieth. I think Rupert was always going to have a better chance to win the game over Laura, so whilst switching was an honourable thing to do, it was also fairly silly; keep in mind, nobody else switched all season long. I hope this is Rupert’s last time playing because I’d hate for him to return again and further tarnish his legacy. For his sake, I hope his Survivor journey is very much complete.
Quit Day Seven
BEN’S GRADE: F
JARRYD’S GRADE: F
BEN’S THOUGHTS: You know I’m a Colton fan and a Colton defender, so it hurts that I have to give him the lowest grade this season. Do I have a choice though? The guy quit, and I can’t by any means give somebody who quits a mark higher than anybody who didn’t quit. I’m not going to type out reasons behind his quit and why I feel he doesn’t deserve the hate he gets, so I’ll just leave it at this and move on to the next person.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: There’s no doubting the fact that Colton is a polarising character; you either love or hate him. What Colton did this season was downright disappointing, anybody who quits the game is always going to leave people questioning why, but the way Colton went about quitting didn’t sit right with me. Colton’s strategy in both his seasons was to play hard, so sitting around and waiting to play the game would be difficult. However, Survivor is all about adapting to the situation. I feel that he felt quitting was the easy way out and no matter what case anyone tries to make against him, I’m not going to change my mind that him quitting this season was foolish. If he had quit much later in the season to give Caleb a better chance at winning, I would have understood it more, but quitting a week in, when the game has hardly started and when he had no idea about Caleb’s position is just silly. I don’t doubt that he deserved a second shot at playing after his performance on One World, but surely, someone along the line should have picked up that Colton wasn’t ready to return. It’s sad to see all the flack he copped for making the move he made and I don’t think it’s fair that people are attacking him personally. Nevertheless, when it comes down to it, Survivor is a television show and people are going to want to voice their opinion about their favourite show and their favourite or least favourite “characters”.
Eliminated Day Seven
BEN’S GRADE: D
JARRYD’S GRADE: C
BEN’S THOUGHTS: If there was somebody who you forget was even on this season, it is Rachel. Kind of funny given that it is her partner who went on to win the season. She didn’t have a lot going for her, and the dominant Brad/John/Vytas group early on didn’t give her a chance to really make her mark, despite her attempts to work with them. In the end her being with Tyson was the reason she went as the early Tadhana plan was to weaken the other tribe by taking out their respective partners. This meant Rachel was barely seen and will be barely remembered.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Rachel did nothing wrong to get voted out, she was just viewed as one of the weaker members of the tribe, as well as being connected to Tyson. I never gave Rachel much hope this season and I feel that she was only playing because Tyson wanted to play again. She wasn’t a bad player, nor did she really deserve to go home, it’s just how the cards fell. Had Laura B. not been voted out and the women had held the majority after the first impressions vote, things could have been very different for her. During her time in the game, she didn’t do anything to suggest that she would have been a major player but she also didn’t do anything that could classify her as a ‘bad player’. I think she finished around about where she deserved to finish this season in terms of what we saw of her.
Eliminated Day Nine
BEN’S GRADE: C
JARRYD’S GRADE: C-
BEN’S THOUGHTS: I’m bias to the point I had money riding on her, but outside of that fact I think she showed fight and could’ve been a huge character had she lasted longer. Her downfall was her uncle’s big mouth, so again she was a victim of other people’s actions rather than her own. Maybe could’ve shown more fight to try and get Katie gone, but not enough was shown of her to really get a true sense of anything more than a C. Having said that, ‘f**k you Brad Culpepper’ will go down as probably THE quote of the season.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Never speak your opinion openly, in front of everyone, on Survivor. Despite Marissa seemingly getting booted due to Gervase’s behaviour after the first Immunity Challenge, speaking out during the “welcoming party” wasn’t a good move; it instantly put her on people’s radar. Like Rachel, I never thought Marissa would be a big player this season and contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t just because she’s female. Being young, I didn’t think she’d be able to relate to the older castaways. Add in the fact she has little experience outdoors and didn’t look like she’d impress physically and it’s hard not to rate her poorly. Marissa did surprise me in terms of her personality. Whilst I wasn’t her number one fan, I wasn’t rooting against her, she was a likeable underdog. Whilst her boot seemed extremely unfair, I think there was definitely a bit more going on behind the scenes that we didn’t see… because voting someone out because their loved one was cheering isn’t a good excuse. I think a reason behind her boot would have definitely been because she liked to express her opinion, which would become grating. Like Rachel, she could have benefitted if the women had held the numbers over the men after the first impressions vote, which could have meant we were robbed of a fiery, entertaining character, (similar to NaOnka, Nicaragua), this season.
Eliminated Day Eleven
BEN’S GRADE: C+
JARRYD’S GRADE: C+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: You all thought I would give Candice an F right? Well that wasn’t going to happen. Candice made the most out of what she had, but everything went against her. She was voted out, struggled on RI and then was eliminated after a mini run. Outside of that she did nothing to endear herself to the game anymore than she did the first two times around, and will go down as one of the biggest mysteries as to why she even returned for a second time, let alone a third.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I don’t care what anyone thinks, I’m not joining the “Candice is useless club”. Whilst Candice is by no means my favourite Survivor ever, I don’t think all the hate she receives is warranted. Candice previously played in two “high profile” seasons where someone who’s strategy is to stay under the radar isn’t going to get a big edit; specially when your playing with ego driven people like Ozzy and Russell. Whilst Candice wasn’t the most obvious choice to return a third time, she was obviously very impressive “off screen” which must have been left on the editing room floor. Coming back as a late inclusion this season put Candice straight on the back foot and I have no doubt about it that arriving late and not being a active member of the “Survivor family”, definitely cost Candice this season. Voting her out during the first impressions vote out wasn’t the smartest move for Galang; imagine if they’d kept Candice instead of Colton! I feel that if Candice had of been given a fair run this season, she would have found herself sitting on the Jury once again. Like her previous seasons, she proved she was capable in challenges, winning several Redemption Island Duels. For me, watching Candice go early, was as disappointing as seeing Rupert go early; it dints their Survivor reputation.
Eliminated Day Fourteen
BEN’S GRADE: B-
JARRYD’S GRADE: D+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Don’t get me wrong, Brad played hard and fast and shot himself in the foot. He was open for a big move against him and it happened. He was never going to win but he sure as hell made an impact on the game. A big character who is far more game savvy than people give him credit for, he would’ve made a great villain on an all newbie’s season or even on this season had Tadhana been more successful. Would’ve loved to have seen him work with Monica deep into the game. Wouldn’t surprise me if we saw him on another season
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Brad certainly delivered in his fourteen days in the game; more of a character than a “real player” of the game. Pre-game, I rated Brad highly, he seemed to want to play the game hard and would take no prisoners along the way. Whilst he partially delivered on this, he failed miserably in terms of his strategic and social skills. Sure, he made a successful early alliance but that lasted hardly a week before they turned against each other and all bets were off. He alienated the girls, which was a dumb decision, because it instantly forced them against him. His “locker room mentality” for the men’s alliance was probably largely why Caleb switched to take him out. Personally, I expected more from Brad when it came to controlling people; I thought he’d be right up there in their face, telling people that if they slit his throat they’d be dead. What we saw instead was a softer side of Brad that made him vulnerable. He impressed in challenges and copped a truckload of abuse at Redemption but when it came down to it, I don’t think Brad played well this season. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw him again but I don’t think he’d ever have much chance of winning the game. I liked Brad, and I had up and down moments with him this season but he was definitely a huge reason why this season was so successful.
Eliminated Day Seventeen
BEN’S GRADE: C+
JARRYD’S GRADE: D
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Kat was surprisingly invisible this season and seemed lost without someone like Kim to help her out in the game. I’m a big Kat fan and it was disappointing to see that, as I thought we missed seeing a lot of her personality out there. When we did see her, there was nothing much to show and she never found herself in a good position in the game. Eventually it was her One World ‘friend’ Monica that saw her torch snuffed, and she found her way to Redemption Island hoping that Hayden would still love her. And then we had that comment at the reunion about her boobs. Moving on…
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Out of the six women in Kim’s majority alliance in One World, Kat was the one I’d least wanted to see again. I feel Kat either undersells herself and plays the innocent, silly girl card or legitimately isn’t that switched on. Common sense is a major factor in Survivor and I don’t think Kat has enough common sense in order to play a great game. In One World, she was carried along. Yes, she won a few challenges along the way, but overall, she wasn’t convincing. This season was similar. She was wasn’t regarded highly by the tribe in challenges, sitting several out, she didn’t find herself in a solid alliance at any point and was cast aside by her tribe in favour for Vytas, who was a massive threat to win. Kat’s actions at Tribal Council in her boot episode and then again at the following Redemption Island Duel were painful to watch, made me think her Jury speech in One World was for show and made her out as a begging, naive, schoolgirl pleading with her friends to let her play with them at lunchtime; whilst also being similar to the way she pleaded with Kim to trust her in her blindside in One World. Being “top heavy” at the Reunion… please Kat, we don’t care!
Eliminated Day Nineteen
BEN’S GRADE: B
JARRYD’S GRADE: B-
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Going into this season I thought John would make it all the way to the end. He seemed like the type of guy who would be quiet, get things done when needed and be social enough to remain in the power alliances. He did do that for some portions of the game and impressed me with his fight, particularly on Redemption Island. He wasn’t expecting to come up against the dominant Laura M though, and that would be his downfall. Not the most exciting character this season, but definitely impressed me amongst the newbie’s. Would be interesting to see him back on a season without Candice.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I didn’t mind John. I think if he’d been on a regular seasons and was just ‘John’ not ‘Candice’s husband’ he would have definitely made the Merge and been thought of as a big threat to win the game. Whilst that didn’t happen this season, John showed enough to suggest that he had what it takes to play the game. Physically, he was one of the more impressive players this season. Strategically, he was okay, he shouldn’t have been so quick to jump into Brad’s pocket and he should have developed a bond with the women. Socially he seemed capable but once again, needed to keep the women on his side. His decision not to switch with Candice was a good one, it wouldn’t have changed their fortunes in the game. He impressed me on Redemption Island and I was hoping that he would return because he would have been a handy person to rely on post-merge. His biggest downfall was obviously hiding/keeping the Idol clue to himself and just Brad. We saw later in the season how much a target it put on you and had he been given the clue after a few Duels where the practice of destroying them had been developed, he wouldn’t have made that mistake.
Eliminated Day Nineteen
BEN’S GRADE: B-
JARRYD’S GRADE: D
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Who would’ve ever thought that Laura Boneham would miss out on making the Jury by one position? She was the sure fire bet to be first boot and looked likely to be on that path, but a romantic sacrifice from her husband helped her out. She didn’t exactly light up the game strategically but when she was in the game she kept her head down and kept close to the people that mattered. She did however learn that you need to keep your mouth shut, as that can cost you a spot in the game. Was going to give her a C+ but gets a grade up for her fight, bravery and punching well above her weight. She is also a challenge goddess. Enough said. Except BRING HER BACK!
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Should have gone home Day Four. Laura didn’t do anything this season to impress me or make me want to like her. Realistically, she probably should have gone home on Day Four or Seven, as the only reason she lasted as long as she did was because Rupert bought her a few weeks in the game and she luckily didn’t have to attend to many Tribal’s. Her effort in challenges couldn’t be questioned, but her social and strategic game were fairly terrible. She never found her place in the game, (which showed because she never found a solid alliance), she made others uncomfortable and everyone, (even me), would have liked Rupert to be in the game instead of her. In saying all that, she was always going to struggle in this season due to Rupert’s popularity so to make it as far as she did was a shock. Regardless of the twist, I don’t think there was any situation that would have seen Laura B. threaten this season. She seemed like a nice lady, just didn’t get out of that ‘old school’ game style of being a provider/asset to the tribe… oh and then there was that little incident when she stupidly spoke on behalf of the tribe.
Eliminated Day Twenty-Five
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: B+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Many people predicted Aras would win his second game and he enjoyed the most weeks at number one on our power rankings. He started off so well and it looked so good for the first part of the game. He however wasn’t expecting his buddy Gervase to become closer with Tyson, and that’s what lead to his downfall. I don’t think Aras did anything wrong, he just wasn’t on the right side of luck or numbers on his second go around. Surprisingly didn’t last on Redemption Island which was there for him to dominate, but he left the game in the most gracious and humble manner I have ever seen in the history of the show. That gives him the plus next to his B.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Aras played well again this season, he just lacked awareness that the people he trusted were plotting against him. You can’t deny that Aras is a very likable person which costs you dearly in a game like Survivor. He created another good alliance but unlike his Panama alliance, his alliance this season did what any good players should do and took out one of the more obvious choices of a winner. As well as strategically being good again, physically, (except on Redemption Island), and socially he had the components to go right to the end; which just goes to show it’s a lot easier to manipulate new players over returning players. I think playing with Vytas hurt both of their chances this season because they were both massive threats. Had Aras returned with his girlfriend, (now fiancée), or another loved one that didn’t have the presence that Vytas had, (similar to someone like Marissa or Rachel), I think he would have gone a lot further this season because others wouldn’t have been as worried about his loved one, (who presumably would have gone early like the girls I mentioned before), which could have seen him go onto play a game like Tyson. I won’t think of him any less after this season and I have no problem with him returning once again. His key mistake this season… putting so much limelight on his relationship with his brother. Anyone in game who couldn’t work out they were going to align don’t have much between their ears.
Eliminated Day Twenty-Seven
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: B+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: My pre-game tip to win, Vytas showed some great patches of play early on and had things gone his way he could’ve easily added to the Baskauskas winners tally. Seemed more hungry for the win than his brother, Vytas obviously came out to prove a point and redeem himself after a troubled life and this endeared himself to the audience. Had Tadhana gained control, I could’ve seen him and John running things and dragging Brad along for the ride, but it never played out that way. I can almost guarantee we will see him play again.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Much like his brother, Vytas impressed this season; so much so that he probably granted himself a return gig. For me, Vytas was like Aras’ “evil step brother” in a sense. Whilst Aras seems like the lovely, nice guy who wouldn’t dream of saying something bad about anyone, I felt Vytas was the opposite; he had an interesting, shady past, spoke smack about people behind their back and sucked up to their face and was ready to do whatever to win. Personally, I think the strongest aspect of Vytas’ game was his social game. A lot of people trusted him and even liked him enough to keep him, (even though he was massive threat to win challenges and the game), over a naive Kat and a disposable Laura B. Strategically, I think he just beats out Aras this season primarily because he fought for his place in the game in several compelling Tribal Council’s which he shined in. One of the enjoyable storylines this season was Vytas’ battle with Aras in challenges were I don’t think there was anything between them; a competition between them would have definitely gone to “game seven”. I have no doubt that if it works out, Vytas will return, which I’m not going to complain about.
Eliminated Day Thirty
BEN’S GRADE: B
JARRYD’S GRADE: B
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Caleb made one brilliant move that vaulted him into contention for the win, only to see a switch come and his game fall to pieces. He remained invisible for the most part, and then when it came to trying to take the game with Hayden and Katie, he faced Ciera who didn’t want to swap until a week too late. Was called out so many times as being so lovable and nice around camp, so it was a shame we never got to see too much of that. Would’ve been great to see him and Colton actually work together rather than compete against each other, but that’s something we will never get to see.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Caleb takes the award for the ‘most likeable’ person this season but unfortunately, the edit wasn’t favourable to him. What Jeff has said about Caleb dating Colton is true, I honestly can’t work out how this nice, laid back, country boy, is dating the country club, “I don’t want to get my hands dirty”, Colton. I am by no means having a go at their relationship, it’s just baffling that complete opposites like these two, do attract. Caleb got very, very unlucky on Redemption Island, falling only half a minute short of moving on, which was very symbolic of his game considering his “biggest episode” was a pre-merge episode that had little effect on the outcome of the game. His move to take out Brad was genius and won him a lot of fans but unfortunately his under the radar style of game didn’t see him live up to these expectations. He had enough awareness in the game to know what was going on and who to trust, was solid in challenges and his social game was next to none. Caleb was the all-round nice guy this season but sadly, not to many nice guy’s win Survivor in it’s current era.
Eliminated Day Thirty-Three
BEN’S GRADE: C
JARRYD’S GRADE: C
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Katie seems like an extremely nice girl and I have nothing against her at all. But what did she do? She seemed out of it for most of the game, and was very lucky to survive as long as she did. Her and Ciera looked likely to be on the bottom for the bulk of the game, but Ciera soon found a way out of the hole but Katie remained there. Could’ve been in a better position had her buddy Ciera flipped a week earlier, but in the end she created history by being the first female contestant eliminated after drawing a rock. I just hope that she doesn’t spend the rest of her life being told where to sit…
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I got the feeling from Katie that she wasn’t that thrilled to be there and only accepted the offer to appear on this season because Tina was asked back. She started off on the outs of Tadhana, had a brief period where she found herself playing with her mother in a secure position and then was on the bottom for most, if not all, of the post-merge phase of the the game. Strategically, she wasn’t that bad, she just had very little to work with. In all of her confessionals this season, she was very well-spoken so I don’t doubt her intelligence at all, just her will to play the game. Physically, she impressed in several challenges and socially she played well, but she came across as boring to me because her tone was fairly similar in every situation, regardless of whether she was talking up her chances of surviving or if she’d just won Immunity. I could see a lot of Tina’s traits in Katie and if she was to play again in fifteen to twenty years time, when she’s her mothers age, I get the feeling we’d see Tina Wesson 2.0 come out in her. She didn’t do anything deplorable this season and she will be remembered for one thing; drawing the white rock, which unluckily for her, was the low point of her game.
Eliminated Day Thirty-Six
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: B
BEN’S THOUGHTS: I was expecting big things from Hayden and early on I thought he was in a nice comfortable position that was going to go nicely the further he went along. It dipped away a little and I started to think things were gone for him, but then a couple of big power playing episodes really brought him out of his shell and the Hayden I wanted to see was there. Would’ve been incredible in a true power position and would’ve made for some great television, and ultimately would’ve made an amazing winner. But circumstances went against him, people didn’t flip when he needed them to and he ended up on the Jury. Could open the door though for other Big Brother contestants to play the game.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I expected a lot more than two or three big episodes from Hayden this season. I have never watched his season of Big Brother but knew that if he had won, he would be someone to keep on eye on this season. Sadly, he didn’t live up to my expectations of him, only offering something when the times were tough and he had to fight. On multiple occasions during the season, he’d give a confessional explaining the dead obvious about a situation and it left we wondering how someone so “slow” could win a game like Big Brother. He finally came to play late in the season and was very good to watch but I walked away feeling let down because we didn’t see enough of this. He worked very hard towards the back end to convince Ciera and Monica to turn against Tyson and whilst it did result in drawing rocks on one occasion, it didn’t change his future in the game. Why he didn’t come out earlier and take out the majority is beyond me, (I think he was too trusting), but he would have been a much better player if he’d done that. Hayden has a lot of features about himself and his game that could see him become a Sole Survivor, which could happen if he was to return – back it in, it’ll happen. On the whole, he eventually showed he was a strategic force, was always a threat in challenges and oozed charm, he did well to finish where he did and surprisingly managed to avoid being labelled a target because he had won Big Brother. He didn’t play poorly, he just needed to show his true colours sooner and he could have been the first “double winner”.
Eliminated Day Thirty-Six
BEN’S GRADE: B
JARRYD’S GRADE: B
BEN’S THOUGHTS: One of the standouts of the season, Laura M made Redemption Island her own. She dominated that arena and narrowly missed out on a deserving second return to the game when it mattered most which was heartbreaking to see. But she gave it her all and made a significant improvement on her finish in Samoa. Outside of Redemption Island though, there wasn’t a lot to be said about her. She tried her best to get into decent positions and then had to let her daughter call the shots before she voted her out. Her best opportunity probably was to form a couple’s alliance with Ciera, Vytas and Aras as well as Tina and Katie. It wasn’t to be though and Laura will go home to practice balancing vases for a very long time.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Laura M. was the surprise packet for me this season. After watching her in Samoa and several interviews she did, I was sick of her complaining about Russell and saying that she could beat him and this and that. It become tiresome and made her sound like someone living in the past. This season though, I was a big fan of her as she completely turned around my perception of her. She dominated Redemption Island, winning five Duels and unluckily falling one win short of returning to the game for a second time. She was probably only matched by Monica as the older women outshone the younger women in challenges to show us and Jeff that women are one hundred percent worthy of returning. Whilst she was dominate physically, she was also known as a strategic player and this cost Laura her place in the game not once, but twice this season. The portrayal of her relationship with Ciera really tugged at the heartstrings and set up a fantastic side-story this season. Unfortunately for her it wasn’t meant to be. She couldn’t work her way into a solid alliance and she lost the second most important Duel of the game. Nevertheless, she left a lasting impression on the game, one which will be remembered for future seasons.
Eliminated Day Thirty-Seven
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: A-
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Easily the best new player of the season and one of the stars, Ciera created a huge fan base out there and was many peoples fan favourite of season twenty-seven. Rewind back to episode two or three and you would have long odds of that happening, but she did what Katie couldn’t and turned her game around from being on the bottom to very nearly on the top. Won an immunity, voted her mother out and forced a rock drawing situation, she also swapped over at the wrong moment and should’ve done it a week earlier. Had she done that, we could very much be talking about Ciera the Survivor winner.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: Ciera had an interesting season. Pre-game, I didn’t give her much hope and when she struggled early in the game on the bottom of Tadhana, I thought we’d be saying goodbye. I did like her though, her story was good and I said numerous times that I could see her pulling some sort of move with Caleb. What was so great about Ciera was that she completely turned her game around. Whilst the Tribe Switch did help her cause, she managed to get herself into a good position with the power players and would have potentially found herself pleading her case to the Jury at the Final Tribal Council. Her strategy let her down late in the game as she flipped on the majority a week to late and potentially cost herself a million dollars; it’s a real shame they didn’t have a Fan Favourite this season because she probably would have taken it out. Socially she was fantastic, especially for her age. Some of her Tribal Council performances towards the end of the season were fascinating to watch because I honestly didn’t ever see her having the power or ability to be able to manipulate people, but when she did it, she did it very well… they just decided not to flip. She let herself down in challenges, (apart from the one that she won), and has a lot of good traits when it comes to playing the game. Taking out her mum was still a move a question but it made great television. Why Hayden kept telling her she needed to make a big move to win confuses me because I don’t think she needed to do any more than she did. I have no doubt she will return and I wholehearted endorse it because I believe she’s the best new, female player we’ve seen since Kim in One World.
Eliminated Day Thirty-Eight
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: C+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: What an incredible woman Tina is! Wins the game over a decade ago, comes back a second time, goes out first and then returns a third time, nineteen seasons later and is one position away from a potential million dollars. How many weeks did I write her off at Redemption Island? Too many to count and I’m ashamed I did so! She played a strong strategic game in patches, did great in challenges and showed some anger (as well as bad language) that I bet you never thought you would see from the first female winner in the history of the show! I’m not really a fan of four time players, but would anybody really be against seeing Tina try out again for another win?
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I couldn’t stand Tina this season and I think she played a very average game. I loved Tina previously, but I think cunning Tina was very different to the Australia and All-Stars Tina. It seemed to me that she replied heavily on her alliance with the Baskauskas’ which may or may not have already been decided on pre-game. Tina’s strength has always been her social game but I think it let her down this season. She came across as annoying on television so I can only imagine what she was like to live with. Strategically, she didn’t have enough alliances, preferring to put all her trust in Aras and Vytas instead of exploring her options; had she done this, she could have found herself in Monica’s position in Tyson and Gervase’s alliance. She’s never been fantastic in challenges so it was a surprise to see her last so long at Redemption and then go onto re-enter the game. I feel that despite finishing in fourth place this season, it isn’t a good indication of how she played or how far she deserved to go in the game. This particularly got me annoyed when she stated she was “one Tribal Council away from winning the game” because I feel if things had fallen her way and she had won, this season would have let itself down right at the end. Whilst she gave us some first’s this season, (swearing and tears), I couldn’t warm to her at all and felt that she was trying to hard at times to please people. Should we see an all winners season later down the track, I wouldn’t have an issue with her returning, however I can’t see her going very far. I do have a truck load of respect for both her and Katie for attending the Reunion and speaking openly about their family tragedy; they didn’t have to do it but that is the sort of people they are.
BEN’S GRADE: B+
JARRYD’S GRADE: A-
BEN’S THOUGHTS: My original pony turned into my season twenty-seven pony and it was a case of so close, yet so far. Gervase had the game in the bag at the midway point and I couldn’t see anyone taking it away from him. However he then had to open his mouth at Tribal Council a few weeks in a row and it was a slow slide to a zero vote finish at Final Tribal Council. By no means did he play a horrible game and I definitely think he deserves more credit for the moves with Tyson than he got. Seems slightly similar to Cochran/Dawn last season in which Dawn received the backlash and no credit. Having said that, he was never going to win and was never going to get any votes. A shame to see him wait so long to come back, only to fall short when it mattered. Something positive though: NO COW/WOMEN COMPARISONS!
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I don’t think I was the only one that was excited Gervase returned for the season. Thirteen years on and Gervase has hardly changed from the Gervase we were introduced to in Borneo! Watching Gervase this season was very similar to watching Mike Skupin on Philippines. I think they both took some time to get used to how the game had changed, were both naive about themselves and the game and both reached the end because they had played a mixture of a good game and a average game. I think Gervase played a better game from Skupin but two or three outbursts at Tribal Council cost him. Had he not done that, I think we would have been talking about Gervase’s fairy-tale return, culminating in him winning the game. Gervase played a very good game, only making a few errors along the way. He was good in challenges, he was well liked, he was heavily involved in making moves alongside Tyson. I don’t think he gave a great Final Tribal Council performance but I think he deserved to finish in second place ahead of Monica. I think every lifelong fan would have been secretly rooting for Gervase this season and I don’t blame them, he was great to watch. His voice of reason was one of his assets and even landed him a segment in our weekly recap as resident Jedi of Survivor Oz. I wouldn’t be upset if they bought him back again but I can’t see it happening.
BEN’S GRADE: A
JARRYD’S GRADE: A
BEN’S THOUGHTS: Love her or hate her, Monica played an amazing game. She had it all against her from the very beginning, with not many people believing she was even deserving of a return. She then had to face the constant barrage of ‘Brad hate’ on a weekly basis and pull her way through that to the Merge. She did that, joined a strong alliance and remained loyal the whole way. She didn’t need to make any ‘big moves’ like Hayden and Ciera claimed, and had she held it together at the Final Tribal Council then it could’ve been a completely different outcome. Definitely no lap dog either, the woman became a challenge dominator and that alone deserves massive props. She needs to be brought back again for a third crack and I’ll be crossing my fingers in hope that it happens.
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: From about episode five, I started to dislike Monica, not because of her but because of how she was portrayed. On a personal level, I think she is one of the nicest ever people to be on the show. When it came to the game and her edit, she was annoying because she was so paranoid that at times it became grating. In saying that, I don’t dislike Monica, I dislike the edit she received. I honestly don’t think she was ever going to flip on the boys but the edit made out she would. I feel she played a great, solid game with some downfalls. She completely shocked me in challenges. I knew she would be good in them but she completely blew me away as to how strong she actually was. Whilst they weren’t the most difficult challenges, she still won them and that’s all that matters. Socially, from what we saw, she wasn’t that good. A lot of what we saw from Monica was game orientated and I would have loved to have seen a bit more about her. Yes we saw and heard about Brad and family but I would have liked to have heard a bit more from her about living in Brad’s shadow and her steering the ship for once, which I thought was a killer argument at the Final Tribal Council! Her strategy was an interesting one. Had she maintained the leadership type role that we saw from her after the Tribe Switch and if she had held it together in the Final Tribal Council, she would have gotten a lot more Jury votes and probably would have won, she didn’t, taking the role of the “information gatherer” much like Dawn last season and whilst this was successful for her, I would have liked to have seen her in the spotlight. I don’t think she was a lap dog, but I do think there were parts of her game that she was manipulated, but it wouldn’t have changed the outcome drastically. Her resilience was fantastic and it was refreshing to see an older women hold it together without breaking down in tears every five minutes! A deserving Runner Up and one hundred percent deserving for this season.
BEN’S GRADE: A+
JARRYD’S GRADE: A+
BEN’S THOUGHTS: I never would’ve thought that Tyson Apostol could not only come back for a third time and play well, but come back a third time and WIN! His first two times were average to ordinary with his personality being his real saving grace. I by no means was a Tyson fan heading into this season but he impressed the crap out of me along the way to a thoroughly deserving victory. An early injury could’ve changed things completely, but he sucked it up, kept going, kept his mouth shut when needed (take note Gervase) and turned a pretty average Final Tribal Council performance into a million dollar win with his nearest competition, Monica, crumbling next to him. It’s not the greatest win of all time and he also relied a lot on his nearest competitors making mistakes, but in the end who really cares as he walks away a millionaire as well as receiving my highest grade on the Blood vs. Water report card! Congrats Tyson!
JARRYD’S THOUGHTS: I have never been a big Tyson fan and surprised myself when I started rooting for him this season. Tyson’s first two season’s were by no means strong, so to see him dominate this season wasn’t what I was expecting. Tyson was high on my list of players that I thought would be sent home early or in the middle of the game because he was such a huge threat, but to see him, one of the biggest targets, take control of the game, solidifying numbers, find Idols and eventually win challenges was amazing. It’s early days so you can’t rate his win just yet but he played a very good game which I think will rank highly in my winners rankings in several seasons time. As usual, he was strong in challenges and his social game once again played a major role in his game. What resulted in Tyson being successful this season was without doubt his strategic game. He found himself in a good alliance early on and then managed to form a strong counter alliance and take out the key players from his former alliance. The amount of control he had over different situations and people whilst avoiding the limelight was impressive and I believe he was easily the best player this season. What I loved about Tyson this season was how hard he was fighting for victory. In the scenes when he found his second Idol you could see the relief on his face, then again at the Final Tribal Council when we heard how much Rachel meant to him; as Gervase said, you can’t fault his game. Would be a lively inclusion in an all winners season if it eventuates. Congratulations Tyson on playing a fantastic game this season!
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Remember, you can read our episode recaps and download our recap interviews with some of your favourite former contestants from during the season here!