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Season 9: Episode 14 - CHRIS IS SOLE SURVIVOR
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

Thirty-nine days, eighteen Survivors, three tribes, dozens of lies, a gender war and now, one Sole Survivor: Chris Daugherty, the 34-year-old highway construction worker from South Vienna, Ohio, overcame incredible odds in order to capture the 5 to 2 Jury vote that made him the last Castaway standing and one million dollars richer. On the chopping block the very first Tribal Council for his inability to cross a balance beam, Chris persevered as the last remaining man within a tribe of women whose alliance was set to vote him out next. Dodging bullets left and right, Chris forged fresh alliances and just as quickly broke them as he deftly outwitted, outplayed and outlasted the others to claim top spot on SURVIVOR: VANUATU.

As night 36 took hold, the four remaining Alinta tribe members took stock of their situation. Angry at some of the things said about her at Tribal Council, Eliza Orlins, the 21-year-old pre-law student from Syracuse, New York, vented her frustration. Never one to back down, Twila reiterated her stance that Eliza doesn't deserve to be in the game, barking, "The only reason you're here, Eliza, is because everyone's used you up to this point."

As the Final Four converged for an Immunity Challenge, host Jeff Probst explained that they faced the first-ever SURVIVOR vertical maze. The Castaways must navigate through a huge, eight-level vertical maze to retrieve ten colored tiles, and race them back, one tile at a time, to their decoding station. Once they've retrieved all their tiles, the Survivors must return to the decoding station and untie the tiles to reveal letters for a word scramble. The first person to form the correct two-word phrase claims Immunity.

The Challenge started in a flurry as all four tribemates hurried into the massive vertical labyrinth. Twila collected her first pair as Scout Cloud Lee, the 59-year-old rancher from Stillwater, Oklahoma, fell behind. It was a close competition as each Castaway collected their letter pairs. Deadlocked at five pair each, Eliza, Twila and Chris scrambled their way back to the maze while Scout seemed to be out of the race all together. Tied at nine, Chris and Twila were both only one pair away from the puzzle that would lead one of them to victory.

With his final pair in hand, Chris ran toward his decoding station with grim purpose. He made quick work of the word puzzle, spelling out "Final Three," and shouted in celebration, "I got it! I got it! I got it!" Chris had won the crucial Immunity.

After Chris won the Immunity Challenge, he celebrated with his allies, Twila and Scout. Chris attempted to manipulate Twila into giving Eliza a hard time right before the Tribal Council. In an aside, Twila cannily remarked, "I don't want to gloat, but that's just what Chris wants me to do. The more I piss everybody off right before they leave, the more that he's there in the Final Two that he gets all the votes. I see what he's doing. He's working me."

Despite his alliance with Eliza, Chris broke his word again by writing down her name. After having avoided the axe so many times before, Eliza just couldn't keep her streak going and suffered the three votes required to eliminate her. Eliza was the fifteenth Survivor voted out of SURVIVOR: VANUATU and will be sixth member of the Jury that will decide who wins the million dollar prize.

Shortly after leaving Tribal Council, Eliza confided, "Turns out I did not have a single ally this entire game. I look for the best in people, and it's definitely going to change my outlook, and yeah, that hurts."

After an early-morning visit from Jeff Probst, the three remaining Alinta members were instructed to paddle across the way to Chief Roy Matta's resting place, where they would pay their respects to their fallen tribemates. Arriving at the appointed place, the Survivors passed by each fallen tribemate's torch, then reminisced about the 38 days they had spent on Vanuatu. Before heading to the final Immunity Challenge of SURVIVOR: VANUATU, the three remaining Alinta members each made a sacrifice at the grave of the great Vanuatu chief, Roy Matta.

As the remaining three gathered for what would be their final Immunity Challenge, Jeff Probst explained that it was a test of endurance. The Survivors must stand on two small platforms; each must hold a bow and arrow and strike a warrior pose. Whoever falls off the platform or releases the arrow to pierce a paper marker is eliminated. The last player standing wins Final Immunity and will decide who joins them to face the Jury as the Final Two.

After just a few minutes, the Castaways were all in pain but holding strong. However, after a few more minutes, Scout could not avoid piercing her paper marker and was eliminated. The battle of endurance came down to Chris and Twila, who each haggled and postured for the other's benefit. After about an hour, Twila lost her balance and pierced her marker, thus giving Chris another Immunity and entrance into the Final Two.

Allied with both Twila and Scout, Chris had to decide which one to eliminate and which one to bring with him to the Final Two. Thinking that Twila was not as well liked as Scout, Chris considered Twila a prime candidate to face the Jury with him. After witnessing Scout cheer Twila on in the Challenge, Chris wanted to know whether Twila had been deceiving him all the while. Stealing a private moment with Scout, Chris asked her if she and Twila had an ongoing alliance all the way to the Final Two. In a rare moment of Alinta honesty, Scout admitted they did not. "Twila told me the truth and I didn't believe her." A stunned Chris admitted.

Knowing the Jury would likely vote on likeability, Chris kept his Final Two alliance with Twila intact and voted off Scout. Scout was not at all surprised by the decision and stood bravely while Jeff Probst extinguished her torch. Scout was the sixteenth person voted out of SURVIVOR: VANUATU and will become the final member of the Jury that will name the Sole Survivor and million-dollar prizewinner. Shortly after the fateful decision, Scout noted, "I feel really good to have gotten this far. I wish Chris and Twila the very best."

After spending 39 days and nights on Vanuatu, Final Two Chris and Twila prepared to meet the Jury. They would each have to plead their case for why they should be Sole Survivor and win the million-dollar prize. Using every second he had, Chris never stopped playing the game as he attempted to manipulate Twila into angering the Jury. "Chris is going to sit back and let Twila put the last nail in her coffin," he smiled.

As the Final Two took a seat at Tribal Council, the Jury assembled to ask questions that would help them decide who would win the million dollars. As the Jurors made emotional statements, many angrily alluding to Chris' deception and hurtful strategy, Chris looked remorseful and apologetic.

While the questions rolled in and the answers rolled out, Chris defended his actions as part of the game, as well as stating that he often didn't know who he was going to vote for until he was in the booth. Twila once again apologized for swearing on her son's name, but stressed that she worked hard, did what she needed to do and remained true to herself.

In the end, each of the Final Two gave one last statement arguing why they deserve to win. After much deliberation, the Jury voted for Chris in a 5 to 2 decision and awarded Chris one million dollars and the title Sole Survivor.