Tyson intimates to Monica that he's going to give her the Idol to do with what she wishes, because he knows with someone coming back from Redemption, he needs Monica rock solid on his side.
Hayden, Tina, and Laura compete at the final Redemption Island Truel, with the winner returning to the game. They have to put their foot on one end of a balancing board, and there's a vase on the other end. The last person whose vase is still standing wins. At the fifteen-minute mark, Laura bobbles around and somehow manages to get her balance back. Hayden keeps sweating into his eyes and when he wipes it away, he loses it and his vase breaks. Laura begs Tina to let her have it, like WTF Laura? Tina's like, “No way.” At the thirty-minute mark, Tina's legs start shaking and she almost loses it, but Laura bobbles a little too much and her vase falls. Tina will re-enter the game, and she keeps the clue for herself.
Tina and Ciera look for the Idol, obviously with no luck. So then they go to Plan B, trying to convince Monica to join with them for the final three. They head to the Immunity Challenge, which involves using a rope to make a table level, and then setting up ten blocks on it without having them fall. It sounds easy, but they have to walk backward to retrieve blocks while keeping the table level, and if any blocks fall, they have to reset it before getting another one. Everyone dumps his or her blocks multiple times except Tyson, who moves almost in slow motion and wins immunity. Honestly, if one of them had looked over and seen how he was moving, they could have done the same thing. Instead, they all tried to go quickly and kept dumping all their blocks.
Monica and Gervase argue over whether to get rid of Ciera or Tina first. Gervase bullies Monica and yells at her and it turns her off, especially after everything she heard from Ciera, so she considers voting out Gervase to show she can play her own game. At Tribal Council, Monica continues to vow to do what's best for Monica, and if nothing else, I think she lost jury votes for continually referring to herself in the third person. Tyson gives his Idol to Gervase to play. Ciera gets two votes, which sends her out. For the first time this season, we get to see the votes cast, and Monica did vote out Ciera in the end. But Monica is bothered that Tyson played his Idol, because it means her alliance doubted her. Yeah, how dare they doubt her when she was telling Tina and Ciera that she might flip.
The final Immunity Challenge requires contestants to grab puzzle pieces, race up stairs, place them on a table, and slide down a waterslide to get more. Once the puzzle is assembled, it will give them a clue to solve a combination lock and raise a flag. It's easily my favorite challenge of the season, because of the creative ways they have to retrieve the puzzle pieces, and it's always fun to watch people going down water slides. Tyson, Monica, and Gervase all get to the puzzle-solving together with Tina trailing. Tyson solves the puzzle first, finds the numbers he needs, and wins immunity before anyone else even solves the puzzle.
At Tribal Council, Monica once again revels in the attention as the person who could make a big move. I wish Tyson and Gervase would tell Monica to fuck off and take Tina to the finals. They won't, because Tina would beat both of them, but I'm a little tired of Monica's, “I have the power! Everyone bow to me!” and then she doesn't do anything but go along with Tyson yet again. Methinks someone is an attention whore. Anyway, once again, Monica does nothing interesting and votes out Tina, leaving us the final three we've known would happen since Hayden went home.
Gervase's speech basically boils down to, “I blindsided Aras. Also, I played in the first season.” Monica says that she chose to go to the finals with Tyson and Gervase because she has less blood on her hands than them. Tyson says he knew he'd be a big target, so he was playing to have fun until Rachel went to Redemption Island. He starts crying (it seems genuine) and says that when he let her go home, he realized he had to make her sacrifice worthwhile, so he started playing hard, finding Idols and trying to make moves without malice and here he is in the finals.
Jury questions: Vytas is less bitter than I thought he would be. He says he vowed not to vote for Tyson, but he can't decide whether to vote for Gervase (coattails) or Monica (betrayed him). Katie points out that Tyson mocked her when she was voted out, and he admits that was shitty. Caleb wants to know what big moves Gervase made, and Gervase claims that he was behind a lot of the moves that Tyson made. Caleb asks Monica to be vulnerable, and why would you want that? Anyway, Monica cries for a while and I'm over it.
Ciera wants to know if Tyson sees himself as the villain or a hero, and Tyson says every move he made was strategic and not personal, so he doesn't see himself as a villain. She asks if Gervase ever considered voting out Tyson. He admits that he did, but he realized he would be next to go. Laura wants to know more about Monica and I wonder why? I don't. Tina asks for one word to describe their core. Monica says generous, Gervase says honorable, and Tyson says fun-loving. Hayden wants to know if Tyson had the Idol when they drew rocks, and Tyson admits he did. Hayden somehow gets Monica to whine some more. Finally, Aras asks Gervase to tell him why he should vote for either Monica or Tyson. Gervase says Tyson had a great game. Monica also says that you have to vote for Tyson for finding two Idols and winning the last two immunities. Tyson says he would vote for Monica, because she was able to maintain their alliance and still make people think she was on the bottom in order to gather information for them.
You can tell Tyson is going to win because everyone smiles when he answers questions. They like him. They feel that he beat them instead of that they ended up in the finals by the luck of the draw. And he did play the best game, even if he can be a little prickly at times.
Probst arrives at the reunion and reads the votes. Monica got one vote from Vytas, and Tyson got the rest. A very predictable (from about the halfway point of the season on) win, but a deserved one.
As usual, the finale opens with a season-long recap and either you watched it or, you know, this very site has recaps of each and every episode available! So I'm not going to recap the recap of what I already recapped, if that's cool.
Just to remind you where we are: Ciera is left alone, while Monica, Gervase and Tyson have stayed tight, although Monica has seemed a little bit open to making a move. Hayden, Tina and Laura are on Redemption Island and one of them will be returning to the game soon. All of them would probably join with Ciera, although Tina is the one most likely to flip and make a final three deal with Tyson and Gervase, in my opinion. And Tyson still has a Hidden Immunity Idol, although the next Tribal Council is the last time it could be played.
When they all return from voting Hayden out, Ciera immediately tells everyone that she loves them and Tyson compliments her play. Ciera interviews that she tried to flip Monica and it didn't work, but she still has hope because of Redemption Island. She's hoping her mom comes back, but she also thinks that no matter who returns, that person will work with her. Yeah, that's great. So then you'll have an alliance of two people and the other side still has three. I'm all for fighting until the end, but I'm not sure why Ciera is so excited about this.
They discuss sleeping arrangements and Tyson defers to Monica. He interviews that he knows his best shot in the finals is against Monica and Gervase, and he may have to use his Idol to keep Monica on his side. Tyson tells Monica that she can trust him and Gervase one hundred percent, and then he gives her the Idol. To keep. He tells her that she can play it or give it to her kids. She refuses to take it and hands it back. Tyson interviews again that with someone coming back from Redemption and partnering with Ciera, he knows they will try to swing Monica over again. Monica interviews that if the boys see her as their lapdog, she's willing to show that she can make her own decisions, and with the returning player she will have two chances of going to the final three. So there's the first instance of Monica claiming she might just make a big move. It won't be the last.
Meanwhile, Hayden arrives at Redemption Island and gets a warm greeting from Laura and Tina. He reminds us in an interview that he's never been voted off a reality show before and it sucks. He starts out by telling everyone that Ciera won immunity, and that the Tribal Councils were crazy. He adds that someone has to break up the Tyson-Gervase-Monica triumvirate, because he doesn't want any of them to win. They all agree that whoever gets back in needs to team with Ciera and find the Idol. Aw, if that's their plan, they are in big trouble. Hayden concludes in an interview that he's going up against "two grandmas" in the truel, so he likes his chances. So he won't be winning. He just jinxed it.