The Maverick has played up his Marine status to a T, having set himself a mission of becoming the Sole Survivor of season 35 and achieving it with gusto.
From Day 1, Ben Driebergen stayed true to himself. A proud Marine from Boise, Idaho, he worked as a team, created his own unit and went forth into battle with the combination of subterfuge, preparation and personality to carry himself to the end. As such, Ben Driebergen is your Sole Survivor winner for season 35, Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers with a 5-2-1vote.
Things may have been simple in the beginning, but that doesn’t mean Ben didn’t put in the work. After going to Tribal Council in the premiere episode, he would not return until the merge, providing his strength to his tribes of Levu and Yawa to keep them safe going into the further rounds of play.
From Day 4, he solidified a strong relationship with Chrissy, with the two acting as the voices of reason in a divided Heroes camp. After they split up at a tribe swap, the two nurtured strong partnerships with members of the Hustlers team, helping them whip the votes at the merge to create a Round Table alliance of players targetting the Healers.
As the opposition started to dwindle, Ben was rightly aware by thinking that the Hero/Hustler partnership of seven wouldn’t hold strong through to the end. As such, he partnered up with Lauren, Devon and Ashley in order to take out the upper echelon of the Round Table, while acting his butt off by pretending he was blindsided. That way, he could help flush Ryan’s Immunity Idol while still target Joe, the last remaining dangerous Healer player.
Once he was discovered to be a brilliant actor and better game player, even Devon, Lauren and Ashley started to turn on him. Unfortunately for them, Ben was aware that they were acting strange around him, hence trying to work with Chrissy, Ryan and Mike. Ben knew he was targetted by all, so he laid all the cards (minus his trump card) on the table, shaking things up by letting everyone know how strong Lauren was.
As such, all players in the game targetted him, forcing Ben to play his Hidden Immunity Idol obtained after the Lauren Reward alliance was formed. Ironically, that idol sent Lauren home in a 1-0 vote, something that has never happened in the show’s history. Everyone stayed on the “Ben’s too powerful” train, so Ben had to pre-idol himself out at the next Tribal Council, making history once again.
The culmination of his game efforts came during the Survivor season 35 finale. Immediately after returning to camp, Ben knew he was the target to go home. Instead of getting comfortable, he spent all night looking for another idol, eventually finding his record-tying third in a single season. He played it against Devon, but was unsuccessful in getting him out, as Devon (then Chrissy and Ryan) voted later for Mike.
After failing the final Individual Immunity Challenge, Ben felt like all hope was lost. Fortunately for him, it seemed like he had a helpful angel on his shoulder that gave him another out; Chrissy’s Secret Advantage allowed her to take someone else to the Final Tribal Council, leaving the other two competitors to duel it out in a fire-making challenge.
Time and time again, Ben came through in the clutch, earning his appearance in the Final Tribal Council after smoking Devon out. Somehow, someway, he found his way to the end, approaching the jury with a humble approach. In Outwit, he talked about his hand in bringing everyone to the jury. In Outplay, he talked about hustling for idols, putting fate into his own hands. In Outlast, Ben talked about, as a veteran, his play brought courage and hope to other veterans suffering from PTSD.
In the end, Ben Driebergen became the winner of Survivor season 35, winning a 5-2-1 vote over Chrissy and Ryan. Congratulations once again to Ben Driebergen, your Sole Survivor winner of Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers!