Survivor Review, Season 27, Episode 14
“It’s My Night”
Airs Wednesday at 8pm (ET) on CBS
The challenge when analyzing Survivor is finding thrills when the finale reaches a predictable ending. This trend has happened frequently in recent seasons, with Malcolm’s exit from the Philippines being a rare exception. Even so, there’s still plenty to enjoy with Blood vs. Water’s conclusion. Tyson removes any doubts about a victory by taking the final two immunity challenges and choosing the right people. Underdogs like Ciera and Tina are too dangerous to face with this jury. Despite the editing focusing on Monica, she earns just one vote, and the rest go to Tyson. It’s hard to disagree with rewarding a guy who found two idols, built a solid alliance, and dodged stiff challenges from Hayden and Ciera. He’s come a long way from the goofball of the Tocantins or the guy who messed up his alliance’s game in Heroes vs. Villains. It’s a convincing finish to a remarkable season that has revitalized the show once again.
This two-hour episode barely takes a breath as it flies through three challenges and the final Tribal Council. The biggest surprise is the outcome of the final Redemption Island “duel”, which test players’ balance and leg strength. Tina has barely survived in three past contests, but it’s much different this time. When it’s clear that Laura Morett can’t win, she even asks Tina to step down for her. At that point, it’s clear that her goose is cooked. Hayden gives a determined effort but is the first to exit. Tina reminds us of the fierce determination that helped her win in Australia, and it’s great to see it again. This creates an interesting challenge for Tyson and his alliance. Tina and Ciera both have a great chance to win if they make the end. The only certainty is preventing them from grabbing immunity. The editors keep hinting that Monica will flip, but it makes little sense for her game. She would just be taking the million from Tyson and handing it to someone else, and his challenge victories remove that option.
Following Tina’s Redemption Island victory, the main question is whether she’ll see another day in this game. The other option is voting out Ciera, who has made huge moves. Once Tyson wins a tricky immunity challenge, both are in the hot seat. Monica and Gervase make opposing cases, and there are legitimate reasons to choose either option. Her reasons for taking out Tina are less strategic and involve “bullying” that we’ve barely seen. Once again, Ciera makes the case that Monica’s on the bottom, yet the chances of a flip seem nonexistent. Tyson makes it a moot point by passing his hidden immunity idol to Gervase, and Ciera faces the vote. She’ll certainly play again, especially when you consider Jeff Probst’s ringing endorsement at the reunion.
The biggest tragedy of this night is not Monica’s personal struggles; it’s the missing fallen comrades walk! Although it’s very silly, this tradition remains a personal favorite. The final immunity challenge is a grueling obstacle course that includes the water slide and a variety of familiar tasks. Despite a valiant effort at the puzzle, Tina falls short and becomes the last jury member. It’s interesting to watch Tyson regain his physical dominance at the end. Although he was injured, it raises questions of whether he was trying his hardest at challenges before this point. Entering the final Tribal Council, the chance for an upset seems low. Gervase may have made similar moves, but he’s stayed in the shadows. Tyson has carried the target and emerged at the end with a clear case of why he deserves the million.
This might be the least bitter jury in Survivor history. The only attacks come in questions to Monica about knowing her real personality. It’s clear that she’s completely drained by this point, so the tears come freely. The questions seem odd when they keep coming, but this trend probably relates to Tyson having the votes. Vytas is the lone dissenter and votes for Monica, and it’s hard to argue too strongly against it. Despite not making any “big moves”, she played a strong game and deserved to be there in the end. Tyson wisely thought she was beatable in the end, but that doesn’t lessen what she accomplished in her second appearance. There’s little arrogance from this group, which is rare for a jury. There’s usually at least one total idiot on every season, and some have several.
At the reunion, something truly amazing happens. Jeff talks to nearly all of the contestants. This says a lot about the quality of this cast. Kat rambles about her new enhancements, and Colton gets a lot of time to talk about quitting. Even so, most players come off well. Aras and Vytas even do the robot in the background while Tyson gets his winner’s check. There are some low points, though nothing comes close to last season’s train wreck. Jeff interviews a random audience member for perspective about Monica and Brad’s relationship. Cochran and Will Arnett appear for a pre-taped commercial for The Millers, which draws a few chuckles but feels out of place. Jeff also keeps claiming that Rupert is one of the most popular players ever. He must talk to different fans “on the street” than me. It’s a solid reunion compared to recent seasons, though it still wastes time on the wrong things.
Will this remarkable season inaugurate a grand new era for Survivor? After a drop-off following Heroes vs. Villains, the show has rebounded lately and seems destined to be around for a long time. CBS has renewed it through season 30, and the ratings are surprisingly good. Despite the predictable finish, this finale still does well in closing out a thrilling installment. Next season’s tagline is “Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty”, which is silly but offers hope due to several factors. First of all, the cast won’t include any returning players. That’s a surprise given the recent trends and lack of success for the One World and Nicaragua seasons. Also, they won’t be using Redemption Island. Both choices are exciting and should lead to a much different game. No matter how well it does, the fact that such a long-running show has the potential for greatness is incredible after 27 seasons.