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Season 5: Episode 13 - THE VERDICT IS IN: BRIAN HEIDIK IS THE SOLE SURVIVOR
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

After 39 days on a physical and mental roller coaster, Brian Heidik, the 34-year-old used car salesman from Quartz Hill, California, won a majority of the Jury's votes, earning him the title of SOLE SURVIVOR and giving him the million-dollar prize. After a tension-packed deliberation process where the Jury questioned, and sometimes grilled, the remaining two, the verdict was finally reached in a tight 4-3 vote in favor of Brian, who outwitted, outplayed and outlasted all the rest to win SURVIVOR: THAILAND.

THE GAME INTENSIFIES
Returning to camp after Tribal Council, where Ted Rogers was voted out of the tribe, the Final Four Survivors wearily recapped the night's event. "The last Tribal Council was a bit harder because it was the beginning of the realization that each one of us was going to have to go," explained Jan Gentry, the 53-year-old schoolteacher from Tampa, Florida.

Anticipating the difficult choices they would have to make during the final three days on the island, Helen Glover, the 47-year-old Navy swim instructor from Middletown, Rhode Island, revealed, "At this level of the game it becomes cutthroat. I expect the next couple of days to be very stressful."

On the morning of day 37, the Final Four members of Chuay Jai received a flower kit along with Tree Mail instructing them to design twelve floating krathongs in honor of the Survivors whom they had previously voted off the island. They would later release the krathongs into the sea as an offering to the Thai culture.

They settled in to construct the krathongs, giving each special meaning to reflect the individuals with whom they had shared their experience. Patting himself on the back, Brian Heidik bared his true feelings, "When I was making those reefs I was thinking, 'you've come along way baby.' I have had to make some tough decisions, but I would rather be in my position than looking at one of those reefs and seeing my name on there."

IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: TRY AGAIN
After receiving another Tree Mail, the tribe met host Jeff Probst at the Immunity Challenge, where he explained the rules. The Survivors would have to compete in an obstacle course that used elements of past Challenges. First, they would have to dig deep into the sand to retrieve a wicker ball and race over a bamboo balance beam. Next, they would have to push the wicker ball through a fishnet and place the ball on a pedestal. The next stage consisted of solving a puzzle, which would release a knife. They were then to take the knife and cut a rope that released a bag of material that would help them negotiate their next task of retrieving a key from inside a jail cell. The final stage was a surprise Thai delicacy, and the first person to consume it would win Immunity, thus ensuring themselves a spot in the Final Three.

As the race began, Clay Jordan took an early lead, with Brian struggling to find the wicker ball buried beneath the sand. However, Brian regained his composure and battled back. While Helen and Jan found trouble on the balance beam, Clay became stuck on the puzzle, unable to release his knife. Brian steadily flew past him, and was first to arrive at the final stage, where he quickly devoured the massive tarantula to take home the Immunity necklace. ( Action at the Immunity Challenge )

INTIMIDATING CIRCUMSTANCES

Having won Immunity and securing an agreement with Clay, Brian approached Jan in hopes of swaying her vote towards Helen. "It is time to make a decision, and it's Helen's time to go." Hovering above Jan, Clay Jordan chimed, "Is that a deal, Jan?" ( Brian on his competition )

Floating the krathong AND THEN THERE WERE THREE

On night 37, after being blindsided by her fellow tribe members, a stunned Helen Glover was voted out of the tribe in a 3-1 vote. Helen became the sixth member of the Jury and would return to observe Tribal Council to help decide who would win the million-dollar prize. After leaving Tribal Council, a still-stunned Helen stated, "That was a shock, especially when I asked Brian if I was coming back tonight, and I was given an emphatic yes. So, I guess of the three knives in my back, that's the one that smarts the most." ( Helen's Final Words )

A RITE OF PASSAGE
On the morning of day 38, host Jeff Probst arrived at the Chuay Jai beach towing a gold canoe and carrying instructions for the tribe's final rite of passage. Paddling the canoe, the Final Three Survivors headed out on their journey. As they entered a narrow canal, following an ancient Thai tradition, the Survivors began releasing the Krathongs as an offering to the land they had called home for the last 38 days. As the personalized floats were released into the sea, Brian, Clay and Jan reflected back on their tribemates with whom they had shared memorable experiences. The tribe's nostalgic mood quickly turned competitive as they reached the end of their journey deep inside a candle lit cave, where they met host Jeff Probst for the final Immunity Challenge.

IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: SLIP THROUGH YOUR FINGERS
Situated in the deepest, darkest portion of the cave, the Survivors had to compete in a physical and mental endurance Challenge. First, the Survivors wedged three large coins between their fingers on both hands. Next, they positioned themselves in frames constructed to hold them in an uncomfortable traditional Thai stance called a Kahn.

Last person standing with all their coins in their hands would win Immunity. With the temperature above one hundred degrees, the game began as each Castaway concentrated on blocking out the pain. As their legs began to ache, Jan Gentry and Clay Jordan couldn't endure, and they both let the money literally slip through their fingers. Brian won the Immunity Necklace for the third time in a row, guaranteeing him a spot in the Final Two. ( Action at Immunity Challenge )

THE FINAL TWO: JAN GENTRY VOTED OUT

On night 38, after Brian Heidik cast the only vote at Tribal Council, Jan Gentry, the 53-year-old schoolteacher from Tampa, Florida, was voted out of the tribe. Jan became the seventh and final member of the Jury, which would return on night 39 to cast their votes for who would be the SOLE SURVIVOR. After having her torch extinguished, Jan gave her final words, "My experience on SURVIVOR has been totally surreal. I didn't know I could ever be here 38 days in a bat cave with rats and snakes." ( Jan's Final Words )

THE FINAL NIGHT AT CAMP
Back at camp on night 38, Brian and Clay shook hands and congratulated each other. A relieved and thankful Clay Jordan expressed his gratitude: "A million dollars is a lot of money, and it can make a man change his mind. When I saw the vote, it said Jan, and I was a happy man."

Later, the two ceremoniously set fire to the boat that had been such a thorn in the tribe's side. "The burning of the boat was like a cleansing of the soul. I wanted to get rid of any bad energy. It's over; it's actually over," Brian explained.

NEVER LOOK BACK
On day 39, as Brian and Clay packed their belongings and headed out of camp, never to return, they reflected on their memorable time spent on the island. "We suffered a lot out here, but looking back on it, wow! What a memorable event," exclaimed Clay.

As the two men began their trek to Tribal Council, Brian Heidik explained, "We both had fun and we both brought meaning to this, and we are now sitting in the winner's circle. You can't get any higher in this game, and it's now up to the Jury to decide our fate." ( Brian & Clay on being the Final Two )

A worried Jan However, before the votes were cast, Brian and Clay had to face the seven Jury members whom they had known and helped vote out. Both made statements about why they deserved the title of SOLE SURVIVOR. Soon after, they endured a difficult cross-examination from the Jury, starting with Erin Collins, who asked them a very unsettling question: "Why did the person sitting next to you not deserve the million dollars?" Brian boldly stated that Clay had not put forth the effort he could have, and Clay responded that Brian thought he was the head of camp, and just assumed that everyone should come to him as the leader.

Ken Stafford asked Brian why the tribe decided Ted Rogers had to go. Brian responded that there was a feeling that Ted simply did not fit in with the group.

Penny Ramsey then confronted Brian and Clay about whether they had bothered to get to know her personally at all. She started with Brian, asking him if he knew where she had grown up. Brian answered "Beaumont. Somewhere. Beaumont, Texas." "That would be Jan," replied an unimpressed Penny. After another failed answer from Brian, she turned the question to Clay, who surprised her by listing several accurate details about her personal life, which satisfied Penny.

Ted Rogers' tone was severe as he stated emphatically, "Brian, you truly are a great used car salesman. You sold me your friendship, your openness to cultural diversity. But most of all you sold me your word, and all to find out that each one of those qualities were lemons." Soon, Ted turned to Clay, asking, "Clay, you are telling me behind my back that you never made any racist comment about me?" After hearing Clay refute the charges, Ted sat down.

The last statements came from Helen, who still harbored feelings of betrayal. She told Clay that she totally expected his behavior, but then turned to her former ally, Brian, and pointedly told him, "You are the epitome of the trashy used car salesman. You duped me, you made a fool of me, you strung me along."

Final Two After vocalizing her anger, Helen asked Brian why he hadn't told her that she was next to go, as they had had an understanding that in the event one of them was to go, at the very least that person would be told ahead of time. Brian then explained that he had heard from Jan that Helen and Ted had targeted him, and felt that she had betrayed him first. He explained that he had felt hurt and betrayed as well, and admitted he had made a mistake. "It's a little late now," said a shaken Helen.

After the Jury's questions, the tense moment had arrived when the votes were cast. Each of the seven Jury members voted, while Clay and Brian looked on.

Brian & Clay have a snackJeff Probst then went to retrieve the votes. One by one he revealed the count, which came to a tense 3-3 tie. The tie was broken, however, when the seventh and final vote read Brian. In the very end, Brian Heidik, the 34-year-old used car salesman from Quartz Hill, California, outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the rest and took home the million-dollar prize and the title of SOLE SURVIVOR.