For its 29th season (Wednesday, 8/7c, CBS), Survivor is reviving its Blood vs. Water theme — in which loved ones compete against each other. This time, however, all the players are new to Survivor, as opposed to in Season 27, when "Blood vs. Water" made its debut.
"Blood vs. water had such a positive response from the audience that we fell in love with the idea and decided, let's just do it again and let's twist it and not bring any returning players back, and see what that does to the dynamic," host Jeff Probst tells TVGuide.com. "And it definitely shifted it. People came in out of the gate saying, let's let loved ones dominate this game and try to get as deep as we can with as many pairs. So right from the beginning there was a new strategy."
Spencer Bledsoe may not have walked away from Survivor: Cagayan with $1 million, but instead he got something priceless during Wednesday's live reunion show: a personal letter from Jeff Probst, who told TVGuide.com ahead of the finale that he's "never been more wrong about a player than Spencer."
But Spencer hasn't been able to bring himself to open the letter yet. "I feel weird about opening it," he tells TVGuide.com. "I feel like once I open it, I've crossed some barrier and can't go back. I will. I'm waiting until I'm really depressed."
Woo Hwang may have essentially given away $1 million during the Survivor: Cagayan finale, but you'd never know it from speaking to him. The Season 28 runner-up says he's still proud of his game, and that his goal was to play with the same traits he values in his everyday life.
"I didn't walk away with the million dollars, but with all the Team Woo fans out there, all the love and support I've been getting about being an inspiration to their life, that I'm a hero to their kids, that they look at me as a role model — wow," Woo tells TVGuide.com. "And to play a game that's so grueling and [requires] lying and cheating and stealing to win a million bucks, to be portrayed as someone who people can to look up to ... deep down inside, I've won it all. I feel like a millionaire already."
In the end, Survivor: Cagayan came down to two people with completely opposing life philosophies. On the one hand was Woo Hwang, whose goal in the game was to preserve the integrity and loyalty he lives by in the non-Survivor world — even though doing so essentially cost him $1 million. On the other hand was eventual winner Tony Vlachos, who has no regrets about saying and doing anything he could — including orchestrating a record number of blindsides and betraying nearly all of his allies — in order to be the last man standing.
"When you're in a game where the stakes are so high, you have to distinguish what's a game and what's life," Tony told TVGuide.com Thursday, one day after he was crowned the winner ofSurvivor's 28th season. "What I am in the game had nothing to do with who I am in life. I did what I had to do in that type of game. If that game was about being honorable and being loyal and being truthful, that's exactly how I would play it. I played the game exactly how I needed to play it to get to the end. ... Nothing means anything on Survivor except keeping your torch lit."
In the ultimate Survivor battle to prove who's superior -- Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty -- the answer was quite surprising! So, was it the aggressive Tony, the ruthless Kass, underdog Spencer or spiritual dark horse Woo who became the sole survivor of Cagayan?
After a surprise...