‘Survivor: Blood vs. Water’ analysis: When do you flip on Tyson?

Meet Tyson -We wanted to ask this question in our latest “Survivor: Blood vs. Water” analysis piece, mostly because we feel like this is the question that is being asked the most right now by the viewers of the show. Why would you keep a guy around like Tyson Apostol who is such a big threat? It’s a question that was asked of Boston Rob on “Survivor: Redemption Island,” Kim Spradlin on “Survivor: One World,” an Tom Westman back on “Survivor: Palau.” If you’ve got a big threat, you do your best to take them out.

In the end, the best thing that you can do is take them out before the finale … but you don’t want to take them out to soon. Let’s try to look at this issue from the standpoint of Ciera Eastin this past episode, who was really the person responsible for flipping and turning the game on its head. Clearly, she felt like even if she made it to the end with Hayden and Caleb, she wasn’t going to win. Those are two guys who are huge targets and jury threats, whereas out of the group of Tyson, Gervase, and Monica, we’d argue that only Tyson is a guy who could beat her at a final tribal council. (We’d mention Katie Collins, but anyone could beat her.)

Ciera may feel like Tyson and Gervase have promised her safety until final three, or she may feel like it’s easier to take out one big jury target than two late in the game. This is why, in the end, she probably made the smart move for now. But next week, the smart move then becomes getting rid of Tyson and narrowing down the likely jury threats to just Hayden, who has yet to win a single immunity challenge. So if we were her, we’d try to rope in Monica, Katie, and Hayden to make a move. Unless there’s another immunity idol that Tyson finds (which is doubtful based on the new promo), this is what she needs to do.

But will Monica go through with that? Probably not, and for a different reason: She is trying to figure out when the best time to take Tyson out for her would be. If she votes to get rid of him, this would leave her and Gervase as the only returning players in the final five. That’s not a good place to be, especially when she is such an immunity monster. Her best move, albeit a risky one, would be to try to get him out at final four. This ensures that she is never on the wrong side of the numbers, but it means that she has to find a way to win immunity. We also imagine that this is the time in which Gervase could try to join in. The only alternative is that you try to take him out at final five, but then you run the risk of a tiebreaker screwing you over in some way.

It’s all of these complicated dynamics that make this season both very good, and also very fun to watch. The reason why Tyson is also likely to win this whole thing is illustrated above: Everyone has a different time in which they’d want to take him out, and we can’t see their individual strategies leading to a compromise. So long as Gervase and Monica think conservatively, the only things that Tyson may need to do in order to ensure his position in the final three are to A) not draw a bad rock at a possible tiebreaker this coming episode and B) win the immunity challenge at the final four. If he makes it there, we don’t know how anyone really gets that many votes to win instead of him.

Do you want to read more “Survivor” scoop? For the rest of the month, we have the most-recent updates from the show to the right. Our interview with Vytas Baskauskas was delayed due to Thanksgiving, but we’ll have it late Monday afternoon.

Photo: CBS

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