Season 13: Episode 14 - MANAGING THE WIN: Yul is the Sole Survivor
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

After 39 days, 20 Survivors, four tribes divided by race, a merge and then a mutiny, the Aitu Four surged to victory, paving the way for Yul Kwon, the 31-year-old management consultant from San Mateo, California, to become Sole Survivor. The Aitu alliance bonded together and defeated incredible odds to arrive at the final four, fully intact and ready for business. They competed as hard as they could and stayed true to their small underdog tribe. They ended the game the way they played it: with integrity and loyalty to one another. Yul found the hidden Immunity Idol early in the game and hoped to use it during a game-changing moment. That moment arrived when the Aitu and Raro tribes merged, leaving Aitu at a disadvantage. Yul used the idol to turn the game on its head, and his choice ultimately won him the million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor on SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS.

Final Five
On Day 37, Adam sits under the shelter observing the tribe, commenting that he slept alone last night. Sundra reflects that each person now has to start playing an individual game, while Becky confides that it might be time to cut Ozzy loose. Then the tribe receives Treemail. The clue is a spider web, which they take as a hint that the upcoming challenge will be an obstacle course. The Aitu Four gather to pray for victory while lone Adam states his position: "It's extremely important for me to win this one. You know, it's them four against me. But it doesn't matter--I've got to go out there and put up a fight and try to win and try to stay in this game."

Reward Challenge: Compass Ropes
A pensive final five arrive at the challenge, nervously anticipating their fate. Jeff Probst explains the rules of the challenge. This time tribe members will race around a ropes course to eight different stations, collecting a bag of puzzle pieces at each station. Each time a tribe member gets a bag he or she will have to come back to their table before they can go back out on the course. Once a tribe member has all eight bags, he or she will use the puzzle pieces to construct an eight point compass rose puzzle. Once the puzzle is assembled correctly a flag will raise. "First person to raise their flag wins Immunity, a guaranteed a spot in the final four"¦ For what it's worth, in 13 seasons of Survivor, this is the most difficult puzzle we've ever had," Jeff states.
As the challenge begins, all five of the remaining Survivors take off in different directions, each ready to tackle a different obstacle. Yul is the first successful tribe member to retrieve a bag. The others each get their first bag as Yul gets his second bag. Yul remains ahead, getting his third bag as everyone else gets their second bag. He maintains a lead through half of the obstacle course, but takes a tumble off of a steep obstacle. Ozzy starts to catch up, but nearly falls on an obstacle, quickly catching himself. Ozzy then takes the lead, mastering the obstacle course stations. Ozzy retrieves his last bag first, followed by Yul, then Adam. Ozzy, Yul and Adam start solving the puzzle, followed by the Becky and then Sundra. Ozzy and Adam seem to be about even in the puzzle-solving portion of the game when Ozzy suddenly solves the puzzle and wins Immunity.

Stir It Up
With confident Ozzy holding Immunity and witty Yul in possession of the hidden Immunity Idol, Adam sees Yul as the one in control of the game. Knowing that he will be the next to go, Adam wants to stir things up on his way out. He approaches Ozzy to see if he would be willing to vote for Yul, causing him to use the Idol. Adam then suggests the same thing to Sundra, who is non-committal, but she wonders if it might increase her chances in the game. Adam confides, "I want to see if this last ditch effort with Ozzy and Sundra will work. And hopefully something will come out of it. Right now I'm still here, and who knows what's in store."

Tribal Council
Upon arrival to Tribal Council, Ozzy states that Adam is next to go, no question about it. Adam states that he is trying to draw out the Idol, but it doesn't look good.

When the tribe votes, Adam is swiftly eliminated from the game. As he departs, he delivers his final words. "Ozzy, Yul, Becky and Sundra, you guys got us good--you knocked us all out. You know, you beat us fair and square. I played the game best I could--just came up a little short. All I can say is congratulations and good luck to all of you."
The Aitu Four return to camp, squealing and rejoicing. They savor the victorious moment for the small tribe that fought its way to this point of the game. A reflective and proud Yul states, "I am so glad that the winner of Survivor is going to be from a minority community. I think it speaks volumes, that often times the strongest teams are the ones that have a diversity of perspectives and backgrounds. And the fact that we were able to bond so tightly together and really kind of succeed under very long odds is a great morality tale."

Rites of Passage
On Day 38, Ozzy wakes up early to watch the sunrise and reflect on his experience. Realizing the importance of his feat, Ozzy acknowledges that he must focus and win. Treemail arrives, informing the group that they will do the Rites of Passage ceremony together. Excited to share this moment with her friends and tribemates, Becky says, "Today's Treemail indicated that the Aitu Four are going to be able to actually go through the Rites of Passage together. It's pretty exciting because I think typically three people go through that by themselves. And for the Aitu Four to be able to remember everyone in this game, I think that's something really special for us to do." The tribemates paddle out to a beautiful hilltop location that overlooks the islands. They reflect upon the people that went through the experience of the game with them, igniting the torches of their fallen comrades on an altar.

Immunity Challenge: Self Destruction
When the four remaining members of the Aitutonga tribe arrive at the final Immunity Challenge, they're ready to compete. Jeff Probst explains that the tribe members will be standing on a small steel perch situated in the water. Each perch has been individually proportioned to each tribe member's foot size, making the game as fair as possible. Every 15 minutes tribe members will remove a section of the perch, making it smaller and more difficult to stand on. The last piece of the perch will be a section that is less than half the size of a postcard. The last person left standing wins Immunity. Jeff then adds that this would earn the winner a guaranteed spot in the final three and, in a twist, the final three will go to the last Tribal Council.
The four remaining competitors stand on their individual perches, looking determined. After 15 minutes, the first section of the perch is removed. With no signs of struggle, 30 minutes pass and the second section of perch is removed. After 45 minutes, the third section is removed and Becky immediately loses her footing, falling into the water below. After an hour has passed, the three remaining competitors remove the fourth section and they are left standing on a very small section of the perch. Yul stays crouched down with a low center of gravity, while Sundra struggles as she stands with one foot completely on the perch and the other foot slightly resting on the perch. Going numb from his crouching position, Yul attempts to stand up and falls into the cold water below. After two and a half hours, both Sundra and Ozzy fight to keep their balance. Eventually, Sundra loses the battle and falls into the water, leaving Ozzy with Immunity.

Fair Play
Ozzy, Yul, Becky and Sundra return to camp. Ozzy congratulates Sundra on her performance in the challenge. Safe from the impending vote, Ozzy and Yul discuss how the vote should go. Ozzy tells Yul that he thinks the fair way to proceed is to have a tiebreaker challenge. Then Yul and Becky converse under the shelter. Motivated by his close friendship with Becky, Yul offers her the idol.

Later, Ozzy tells Sundra and Becky that he feels the tiebreaker is the fair way to handle the remainder of the game. Sundra corners Yul, asking him if Becky has requested the idol from him. Yul denies it. But Yul later confides, "I've had to make so many compromises and broken so many promises. But the one thing I've always kind of stayed true to is my friendship with Becky. So to continue honoring that, I feel I might have to give her the idol. It's a tough, tough decision and I hope to God things just work out."

Tie Breaker Tribal
The Aitu Four arrive at Tribal Council stating that the vote will handled the way they have handled themselves in the game: fairly and honorably. The vote will end in a tie. Becky and Sundra must compete for a spot in the final three. Given only flint, steel, coconut husk and a small box of wood, they must build a fire big enough to burn through a rope, which will ring a bell. After thirty minutes of attempting to make fire, the jury starts to look bored, as both Sundra and Becky get nothing more than a spark. After an hour, the jury starts to yawn, Ozzy and Yul look horrified and Becky starts to sweat. Jeff announces that they will now use matches. After, many attempts and some small successes, the girls continue to fail.
After an hour and a half, an exasperated Probst comments that, "After 38 days out here, you should both know how to make fire." Then, Sundra runs out of matches and sits helplessly watching as Becky finally gets a fire big enough to burn through the rope and ring the bell. As Sundra leaves, she says, "The fact that I even made it this far has just ignited so many things in me. And I'm so proud and I gave it my all like I did everything else. And Becky, Yul, and Ozzy--one of you is going to win a million and you're takin' me out to dinner."

Final Feast
On Day 39, the final three awaken early, toast coconuts and watch the sunrise together. Ozzy summons Yul to the beach as two native women paddle up in an outrigger with a final feast. Ozzy and Yul yell for Becky, who is on a distant section of the beach. The three sit and reflect on their game play and their strategy for appealing to the jurors.

Yul states that friendships are worth more than a million dollars and his friendship with Becky is rare. Ozzy reflects, "I'm just hoping final Tribal goes really well. I'm hoping to get my point across. I've got a lot of pride and I feel like I'm representing Mexico. I've broken a lot of stereotypes. I'm a surfer up against two lawyers. Hopefully my actions, my intentions and everything I've done in this game speak for themselves. All I've got to do is hold it together one more night and finally this dream may take a step into reality."

Final Tribal
As the final three take a seat at Tribal Council, the Jury assembles to ask the questions that will help them make their decision. After the opening statements, each Jury member has an opportunity to ask the final three players some questions about their game play. Yul emphasizes his influence over the overall game, bringing the Aitu tribe to the final four as promised. Becky believes that her strategy was a social game. Ozzy tells the jury that he was the underdog through the entire game; he embraced the game and played as hard as he could to get to this point.

After the questions were complete, the Jury cast their final votes. In a stunning 5 to 4 vote, an overjoyed Yul was awarded the million dollar prize and title of Sole Survivor of SURVIVOR: COOK ISLANDS.