Survivor Worlds Apart - Episode 12 Recap
Holding On For Dear Life
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Sherpa
May 10, 2015

Obviously ashamed of the tops of his ears

Hello good people and welcome back to the BOP Survivor Worlds Apart recap! I'm Jim Van Nest and I'm back from vacation and ready to finish up strong on this 30th season of Survivor. Unfortunately, the show doesn't seem to be as concerned with finishing up strong as I do. Over the last few weeks, we've watched this season's most likable players leave 1 by 1 until we're left with a bunch of undesirables...and Mike.

I was in Orlando for a conference last week, so I wasn't able to recap the fall of Shirin. Mixed in with Shirin's inevitable ouster was a masterful idol play by Season 30's Obi-wan, Mike. (Get us Obi-wan Holloway, you're our only hope.) He took a page from Malcolm's book by using immunity and an idol to force the power alliance to turn on itself. But where Malcolm went wrong, Mike went right. It was all a bluff and he kept his idol. Malcolm's "Three Amigos" play to dump The Specialist was a top 10 Tribal Council moment, as far as TV goes. But as far as game play went, it did nothing to save those guys from eventual elimination. Mike took out his idol, but pocketed it and let the chips fall. For those of us rooting for the underdogs, it was a bummer to see the 4 votes sending Shirin home. But for those watching for strategy, Mike played a high stakes game of chicken with the alliance and they blinked, by casting 2 votes for Dan. So even as the alliance applauded the successful boot of Shirin, Mike's final words of the episode were left ringing in everyone's ears, "Dan still got two votes."

The key now, as it often is, is to see how Mike plays it moving forward. Oftentimes, people make these fantastic moves (think Cochran version 1.0) and then have absolutely nothing on tap to follow it up. I think Mike might just be the guy to have what it takes to follow up his amazing idol play and parlay it into a deep deep run into this game. And if Mike makes the final Tribal, he already has 4 votes waiting for him in Hali, Joe, Jenn and Shirin. Since I didn't get to say anything last week, if you can bear with me for a second to eulogize Shirin, I'd appreciate it: she tried to make the argument that she was no threat in the game as a reason to keep her. I'd like to point out the same thing about her that I did about Mike. She had every No Collar vote on the just locked up. That actually DOES make her a threat. So, booting her instead of turning on their own was not the horrible strategy that it might have seemed on the surface.

One last thing...I absolutely hate, Hate, HATE that Tyler went through Dan's bag looking for the advantage. Look, I don't like Dan at all as a player and leaving that thing in his bag was pretty dumb, especially for a guy who's been trying to get onto the show since the Outback. But that doesn't, in my opinion, make it right for the other players to be able to go through his personal stuff. I desperately wish Survivor would change the rules to no longer allow people to search other players' belongings. To be on this show, you're giving up pretty much any and all privacy you ever had and I'm ok with that. You should be able to live your life out there without having to worry about some piece of shit rooting through your stuff. That's pretty low in my book. There is no rule and everyone knows this, so leaving that box in his bag was a mistake of epic proportion...I just think this rule should be tweaked. Ok, enough of last week, let's turn to this week. Previews showed Rodney melting down on his birthday and Dan trying to figure out who voted for him. Let's see if either guy gets any satisfaction this week.

We begin this week's episode at camp right after Tribal. Quick behind the scenes thing, for anyone who doesn't know, the players are not allowed to speak once Tribal ends, until they get back to camp. Actually, this goes for challenges as well. That's why we'll see the people get back to camp and then congratulate the challenge winner, or start the fight after Tribal. This is to all be caught on camera so we certainly can't have the post-tribal blowup on the ride back to camp, know what I mean? Anyway, the discussion is about who voted for Dan and Tyler. Carolyn thinks Dan switched his vote, but as we know, he didn't. He voted Shirin. Now the scrambling begins and Mike is loving it. He's absolutely pumped to see what happens knowing that he can't get voted out next. We see the group trying to hash things out and Tyler saying that he had no choice but to change his vote. Dan is pissed saying that he certainly had a choice and it was to vote for Shirin. Tyler tries to explain, though I'm not sure why. For all his Survivor fandom, Dan is bad at Survivor. Period. Anyway, Tyler tries to explain that bluffing or not, since HIS name was the one thrown around to get votes, he absolutely had to change his vote. If he, as Keith would say, "Sticks to the plan" and votes Shirin and Mike decides to actually use his idol, Tyler goes home. Game over do not pass Go, so not collect $1 million. This is apparent to anyone with any kind of Survivor strategy in their head, but Dan just doesn't seem to get it. Once we finally get that smoothed over, Will comes to Dan to let him know that he was the other "Dan" vote. He tries to explain it saying that he thought everyone would vote Tyler and he wanted to split it or something. I mean, that probably is what he thought, but it makes NO sense at all to me. It does; however, seem to make sense to Dan, so that's the level of Survivor game we're talking here. Dan tells us that he's not happy about getting those 2 votes. He also says that Mike is still public enemy #1, but that Mike has 1 more vote before they can get him. They he swears up and down to Will that they're not going anywhere. Now THAT, I believe. I mean, are there 2 better goats out there right now? Hell, let's go back several seasons and tell me when there have been such amazing goats to take to the end as Will and Dan? Who on the jury right now would vote for either of these mo-mos? That's right. No one.

Tyler tells us that he's a little concerned at how easy the alliance was willing to flip, although he was really the one who flips. Anyway, he tells us that he voted for Dan and he plans to do it again at the next Tribal.

When we return from the credits, it's the morning of Day 30 and apparently, Mike isn't even sleeping with the rest of the tribe anymore. The rest are around the fire and Will comes over to wish Rodney a happy birthday. Aww, it's the big guy's birthday! He tells us that he's just hoping to finally win a reward for his birthday. He's been stuck on the same beach for 30 days without 1 break at all. After reading Tree Mail, they learn that today's reward will nourish the soul and the body. Rodney tells us that he's so tight with Will and Mama C that even if he doesn't win today, there's a 0.0000% chance that he won't get a reward on his birthday. This is hilarious. We all know what his means, right? Rodney ain't winning and he ain't getting a reward. #obvious

Probst sighting!! Today's challenge is a team challenge and will break the tribe into 2 teams of 3. They'll have to unspool ribbons, get a key, and use that key to release a bag of balls. Carry the balls through a new bridge/swing thing and then use those balls on a cool jumpy catapult thing to land the 5 balls in 5 different nets. Team that does this first wins reward. This week's reward is the 1 reward I would do whatever it took to win. The winners will take a truck full of school supplies, sports equipment, bikes and toys to a local orphanage. They'll they dine on an awesome barbeque. Now, there are 7 people and this is for 2 teams of 3. So they'll school yard pick and the last person will have no shot at reward. Bummer.

After the pick, the teams are Mike, Carolyn and Sierra against Rodney, Dan and Tyler. Will, not chosen by either team and will have no shot at reward. They start off and Mike's team has the plan for the ribbons. The other team is getting tangled up a bit. Mike gets the key first and they head out to build the ladder that will get them up to the bag of balls they need to unlock. Again, Mike's team blows through this and gets their balls first. The blue team misses a rung of the ladder which slows them down ever more. As the red team gets through the net swing, blue is having trouble with it. Mike gets through for red and he can start launching the balls. Blue gets through as well, but Rodney left the balls behind and has to go back to get them and go through the net swing all over again. Meanwhile, Mike is launching balls and learning how the catapult works. He finally scores the first ball for Red. Dan scores a point on his first 2 shots and blue has completely come back and taken the lead. Dan hits 2 more and is leading 4-2. Carolyn and Sierra are practically begging to take a shot at this. Mike will not leave the catapult and scores #3. Dan misses for the win and Mike ties it up. Dan misses for the win again. Mike...doesn't. And Mike, Carolyn and Sierra win reward. Can I just say, on a challenge like this where you have to get a feel for the equipment, switching out from Mike to one of the girls would have been a killer. I'm sure it was frustrating for them but there's a learning curve for something like this and when the other team is down to 1 ball that is NOT the time to work on that curve. So, kudos to Mike for sticking it out and bringing home the victory.

Now's the time for Rodney to get the reward for his birthday, right? Jeff mentions that Rodney is still shut out on rewards and he talks about it being his birthday. Of course, Jeff asks him if he's hoping one of the other 3 will swap out and let him have the reward. He says that he's not gonna pressure anyone for that, but it is an amazing reward and his birthday. With all due respect, so what? Maybe I'm a cold hearted bastard, but this is a dude I've known for less than a month...why in the blue hell would I give up a once in a lifetime opportunity (and the chance at a big meal to help me in a million dollar game) for someone I just met? Mike tells Rodney that he knows he's hurting, but he needs to get some food in him as well. And why in the hell would Mike even think about switching with the dude who's been plotting to take him out? And I'm sure there's no chance Sierra would give Rodney the reward. Carolyn also says that this is a once in a lifetime experience and she has to go on the reward. Sierra mentions that if the reward was individual, she's sure everyone would have chosen Rodney to go with them. But this was a team reward and she never actually promised him anything about switching out with him. As we head to break, Rodney is SO pissed that this group of strangers doesn't really care about his birthday and now he's gonna do something and something. Sorry, I lost interest.

We come back from break to the people NOT crying about their birthday. They arrive at the orphanage and are swamped by kids clamoring for pens, paper, soccer balls, bikes, books and all the supplies. As I say every time I recap one of these rewards...this is the kind of experience that even a million bucks can't buy. Sierra talks to some of the girls about being a cowgirl, Mike plays soccer with the boys and Carolyn plays games with the children as well. And then it's time to eat. Carolyn tells them that the day was worth all the shit she's gonna get when she gets back to camp. Mike tells them that there is no one at camp he'd rather have shared this reward with and Carolyn is starting to see Mike in a different light. She tells us that he has a lot of power in the game and with his idol, things are gonna get shaken up at the next Tribal. Maybe now is the time to switch things up and join forces. Ya never know!

As we dissolve back to the beach, we see a VERY busy beehive and I can only assume it's a metaphor for the storm that's brewing in Rodney. After all, it's his damn birthday!!! The birthday boy is on the beach doing dishes. And whining about it. Everyone's a scumbag and he hasn't been on any rewards and whaaaaaaaa! Seriously, you want to go on a reward, dude? Win a damn challenge. You want to go on a reward, don't leave the bag of balls behind like a dumbass. You want to go on a reward, make some kind of a positive impression on people that would make them want to take you. At this point, I hope you go 38 days without a reward and then get booted at final 4, so you don't even get the final 3 feast, you crybaby. At camp, the other 3 are bracing for what is to come. Tyler thinks he might cool off, Dan doesn't think so. Rodney comes up and just starts blasting Mama C. He didn't expect Sierra or Mike to take him on reward, but Mama C talks about Survivor family and all that, he's really pissed at her. Dan tells us that he even thinks Rodney is going a little overboard here. For those of you keeping score at home - Rodney, overboard for complaining about Carolyn dissing him on reward. Will, NOT overboard for using the absolute worst time in a person's life as a method to belittle and insult her. How does your moral compass get this screwed up? And how is it that Survivor can keep getting people like this on their show?

But, out of the fire will rise the phoenix and Rodney has a brilliant plan that has come from this. He is going to act so pissed and so upset about this that he's going to say he wants out of the game and that he wants to be on the jury. Then, Mike won't play his idol and they can vote him out. That's it. That's the plan. While you're rolling that around in your head for a minute, Dan tells us that there's no way this will work. Tyler tells them that there's no way this will work. Tyler asks Rodney, "What if Mike plays his idol and votes me?" Rodney can't imagine why Mike would play his idol when Rod's acting so good. Tyler says, "Because it's Survivor." He tells us that he knows Mike is gunning for him and that Rodney's plan won't work. So, he has to come up with something else if he's to stay in the game.

We come back from break and everyone is back at camp and it is bedtime. Rodney is playing it up. He wishes today was Tribal so they could just send him home back to his real family. Not the fake family, like Mama C. She says he's just like a son to her and then she goes and does that. AND ON HIS BIRTHDAY...WHAAAAAAAAAAA!!! Mike chimes in, "Why should they give up their reward for you whenever you lost the challenge." Rodney tells them to just write his name down. Mike again pipes up saying there's no way he's writing Rodney's name now. This is every reason to keep him. Mike tells us that he ain't buying it for a second. He says, "Just cause I talk slow doesn't mean I think slow." Will tells us that Mike didn't buy it at all and they're back to square one.

We check in with Tyler and Carolyn talking about what Mike will do. She suggests that he'll either vote for Tyler or Dan at this point. So Tyler asks her about the idol. He says he hopes that she'll think about using his idol to protect him. Carolyn tells us that she likes where she is and with Mike having an idol he has to use and her having an idol, she feels like she's kind of in charge out there now. And this leads us to a....

Probst Sighting!! Today's challenge is a simple test of strength and will. Today, each person will hold onto a rope and lean backwards out over the water. Every 5 minutes, they'll inch farther down the rope, becoming more and more horizontal as they go. Last person holding onto the rope, wins immunity. This is going to be a quick one, I think. And I'll be interested to see if Mike has it in him to stay up there with Carolyn. Only a few seconds in, Rodney's struggling hard. Wanna know why? Cause he had to do dishes on his birthday. WHAAAAAAAAAAAAA!! First one out of the challenge is Will. Dan is right behind. While we wait for someone else to fall, I have to wonder if we've ever seen anyone worse in challenges than Will. I mean is there ANYthing he can do well in a challenge? Maybe they'll have a Bon Jovi sing off later in the season. Oh, sorry...while I was ranting, Sierra and Rodney both fell out of the challenge. As the final 3 have to shift down to the next knot on the rope, Mike never gets himself set and he falls out of the challenge. Dang it. I was hoping he wouldn't have to use his idol yet! Anyway, only a few seconds later Tyler falls out and Carolyn wins immunity! This challenge was tailor made for a smaller woman with some strength and she took advantage. Good on her! As we head to break, Dan says that more and more talk is coming around to his advantage, so he might need to do some work this afternoon.

We come back from break and everyone congratulates Carolyn on the big win. She's very excited about the win. But she's not sure what the right move is for this vote. Dan tells us that either he, Tyler or Mike are going home tonight. He knows Mike will play his idol, which leaves him and Tyler. Carolyn suggests a vote split. Guys vote for Mike, girls vote for Tyler. That way Mike will have 4 votes and Tyler will have 3 (assuming Mike votes Tyler again) and they're all safe when Mike plays his idol. Dan is concerned about Will because Will voted for him last time. Rodney says not to worry about it, that Will is solid. Carolyn tells us that right now, she's telling Dan that Tyler is the vote, but that getting rid of Dan and his advantage might not be a bad idea. Tyler talks to Will and both of them are thinking of voting Dan tonight. Tyler tells us that this is his only hope and that if he and Will both vote Dan that could save him when Mike plays his idol. The next thing we see is Mike talking to Carolyn expecting a 4-3 vote tonight. Four for Mike and Mike tells her that he's voting Tyler. Carolyn tells us that Mike is voting Tyler and that now might be the time to work with him. Mike tells us that he's counting on Mama C to work with him as she's his last option.

Tyler catches up with Carolyn and asks her what she's thinking for the vote tonight? She says Dan and he agrees with her on that. This plan has them flushing out Mike's idol and getting rid of Dan and his advantage. This would leave Carolyn as the only person with an advantage in the game. However, Tyler knows she has the idol and he's the only one who knows she has it. So, if he goes, NO ONE will know she has an immunity idol, so she's not 100% on what she's going to do tonight.

Jeff starts Tribal by saying that he expects that the alliance is looking to take out Mike, but that he has an idol. Mike says that 1 of the 6 will definitely be going home tonight and that he's excited about it. Jeff asks Dan about the votes he got and Dan says that he found out quickly who voted for him, but he admits that when the talk came to who was on the bottom of the alliance that a pretty clear picture was painted. He asks Tyler what happened after the challenge today and Tyler says that while he didn't exactly scramble, he certainly touched base with everyone as he knows he's on Mike's chopping block. Jeff then asks Mike if there's been any concern about Dan's advantage. Mike says that there's been a lot of talk about it and that he has NO Idea what it could be. He asks Carolyn about the advantage and she lies and says that she has no idea what it is and there is a worry that it could be another Tyler Perry idol or something. Dan says that everyone has approached him about the advantage. He also says that what the advantage is doesn't matter, that just having it makes him a target. Sierra actually speaks at Tribal Council and says pretty much nothing. Jeff asks Tyler if he'd be surprised if he's the one walking out of here tonight. Tyler hems and haws a little but finally says that he would be surprised. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Dan's vote for Mike talking about how much it breaks his heart. I still wonder what he must be thinking as he's watching the season unfold on TV. To see that Mike was dead on 100% right on everything and he was an idiot. Maybe Jeff will ask at the reunion. We see Mike's vote for Tyler sating that he's been trying to get him out of the game for a while now. Other than that, we see no votes. Jeff tallies the votes and then asks about hidden immunity idols. After a long pause, Mike jumps up and plays his idol. Any votes cast for Mike will not count. Let's read the votes. First vote: Mike. Mike. Mike. Mike. None of these count. Tyler. 12th person voted out and the 5th member of our jury...Tyler. After seeing the votes, we see that Mike, Carolyn and Sierra cast the Tyler votes, while everyone else voted for Mike.

Next time on Survivor: the majority alliance crumbles and Mike sees an opportunity. Dan tells us he knew they'd have to turn. Mike tells Dan that the alliance is gunning for him. Then he tells Carolyn and Sierra that Dan is voting for one of them, "1 Million percent!" Whatever happens, we're going to see the culmination of this season play out over the next 2 weeks as 2 Tuesdays from now the 2 hour season finale will air. Following, of course, will be the reunion.

And now for something completely different, Jeff Probst made the super-secret announcement that for the 31st season of the show, they're bringing back players that they feel deserve a second chance at the game and WE get to decide who will be on the cast. Just head over to and you can see the 16 men and 16 women that you can choose to be on the next season of Survivor. And if you tune into BOP, you'll get to see the official ballots of the BOP Survivor team: me, Ben Willoughby, David Mumpower and Kim Hollis. We may even have some guest ballots for you as well. So be sure to make BOP a daily stop for all sorts of Survivor coverage over the last 2 weeks of this season. As always, be sure to hit me up on the Tweet Box with questions/comments/complaints. Til next week, take care!