Survivor Winners at War: Tyson Apostol is episode 9’s MVP

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2020 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved /

Tyson came back from the Edge of Extinction with nothing but a big target, but the last remaining old-schooler is gaining traction in the Survivor: Winners at War post-merge game.

Coming into this landmark Survivor season there were a few big name players that we all knew were going to have a tough time due to their reputation. Tyson was one of them, and we saw fairly early how he was marked as an untrustworthy threat. He’s now back in action thanks to a clutch challenge victory and the wonders of peanut butter! We didn’t see too much of Tyson during the merge episode, but the next vote proved that he hasn’t lost his mojo.

Following the Immunity Challenge, all out paranoia began to creep into camp. It basically started when Nick spouted a lie about Sophie trying to get Tyson out. Instead of blowing up, Tyson calmly handled the situation by staying cool and letting other tribe members lead the conversation in who they want to go after.

When Adam put out Sarah’s name, Tyson rolled with it instead of trying to seek Sophie’s blood. Tyson’s strong composure is in stark contrast to how other players dealt with their names being thrown out. Nick, Adam, Sarah, and Ben were visibly shaken by the thought of their name being on the chopping block, while Tyson proved that he’s the more composed veteran of the group.

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Staying calm despite the craziness enabled others to feel comfortable in talking with Tyson. After Kim found out about the plan to vote out Sarah, she went straight to Tyson about it. Hearing her out, Tyson agreed that Sarah shouldn’t be the target. Instead, he reasoned that because Adam was so successful at convincing the guys that Sarah has to go, Adam is too dangerous to keep around.

That brilliant line of logic was enough to convince the entire cast to agree to vote off Adam, while throwing two votes on Nick in case of an idol. The best part about this vote is it serves two purposes. Tyson has been clamoring for the big threats to work together and take out the “hyenas” of the season. Did Tyson really think Adam was the most dangerous player at the point in time? Or did he use that as a reason to have one less “lower profile” player out of the game?

We also saw how Tyson adapted his gameplay. In Blood vs. Water, he was running the show and maintained full control over the game in nearly every vote. This group of castaways are not as gullible to align with him and let Tyson pick the boot order. Instead of trying to mold the game to how he played in previous seasons, Tyson adapted his own gameplay to keep up with the fast pace. That adjustment allowed him to stay on top of this constantly shifting vote, while still influencing who went home.

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There was that wonderful moment at Tribal Council when all of the players are running around and whispering to each other, while Tyson is just sitting calmly, giving the jury a big smile. The complete chaos of this vote allowed Tyson to slip under the radar despite his immense threat level. We will have to see how long he can keep it up for, but the fact that this four-time legend was still able to subtly control a post-merge vote in an all winners season is pretty impressive.