Monty Brinton/CBS
Steve Helling
December 17, 2014 10:30 PM

Although Survivor: San Juan Del Sur was an uneven entry in the long-running reality show, the season finale had its share of blindsides and backstabbing – and, ultimately, a satisfying winner.

At the beginning of the final episode, it looked as though former Miss Michigan USA Jaclyn Schulz would be the next to go – and she would have been, had perennial CBS reality star Natalie Anderson not saved her with her immunity idol.

After Schulz won the final immunity challenge, the tribe voted out likable Louisiana firefighter Keith Nale, leaving an all-female final 3. At the final tribal council, Schulz, Anderson and Texas cheerleading coach Missy Payne answered the pointed questions of the jury.

Earlier this week, host Jeff Probst told PEOPLE that all the finalists had a shot at winning the title – although he acknowledged that Payne had the hardest hill to climb.

In the end, Anderson, a crossfit coach from New Jersey, walked away with the $1 million prize. She received five jury votes. Schulz received two. Payne got a single vote.

The win was especially sweet for Anderson, whose sister, Nadiya, was the first contestant voted out of the season.

Hearing the news of her victory, Anderson jumped out of her seat and hugged her fellow competitors before running out into the audience to embrace her sister.

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