Survivor Worlds Apart - Episode 14 Recap - Part 2
It's a Fickle, Fickle Game
May 28, 2015

I could use a few more of these.

Hello, good people. Are you ready for an explosive Survivor finale? I sure hope so, because it's time to put a bow on Survivor: Worlds Apart. When last we hung out, Sierra was sent packing at the Final 5. This leaves Mike, Rodney, Will and Carolyn to fight it out for the title of Sole Survivor. Two of these people deserve to win the game, one could make an argument and the other is Will.

When we come back from the Sierra ouster, Day 38 is upon us and the final immunity challenge is set up and waiting The last challenge of Survivor Worlds Apart is a rough one. They'll start by untying knots to open a gate. Once through, they'll have to climb a staircase of about 65 steps (my best count from a paused DVR screen) and collect a key. They'll slide down a huge water slide where they'll have to take their key into a multi-level obstacle course. In the course will be locks to unlock. These hold puzzle pieces. They'll get their bag of pieces through the maze and put it on the table and then head back up again. They will do this three times in all and then use their pieces to stack on top of each other to form a lighthouse. First person to build their lighthouse wins immunity and guarantees himself a spot in the final tribal council. Let's draw for spots and get going!

Not a shock at all, but Mike is the first one through the gate, up the stairs and down the slide. Carolyn and Will are right behind, with Rodney lagging a bit on the knots. To his credit, Rodney makes up a bunch of time on the steps and is right with Carolyn and Will. Mike, though, is on the stairs again while they're all getting their first bag. By the time they get to the top of the steps, Rodney is comfortably in second place trailing Mike by a decent margin. By the time he hits the stairs for the third time, even Mike is dragging.

Rodney actually takes the stairs pretty well, but Mike is on his way down the slide before Rodney gets to the top. Will has fallen out of the challenge. Mike places his first piece while Rod and Carolyn open their bags. Carolyn actually ties Mike with two pieces, while Will has finally gotten to the puzzle and Rodney is baffled by it. Mike continues to place pieces, but so does Carolyn. Around the fifth piece, though, Mike pulls away and captures his fifth immunity challenge to lock up his spot at the Final Tribal Council.

And in a first, as the challenge ends, Rodney has some words for Will, telling him how well he did. Will echoes it by saying that it's important for people to know that you may fail but as long as you give it your all, that's what counts. Mike comes over, puts an arm around both guys and calls in Carolyn and they have a huge final four hug. And then Will asks Jeff if he can put the necklace on Mike. Honestly, this was a genuine moment that you don't see much of on this show. These four people left it all on the challenge field and there was nothing but a circle of respect for all of them. This exhausted and this far into the game, they could do nothing other than support each other and congratulate each other on jobs well done. It was actually a touching moment in what has been a pretty ugly season.

As we head to break, Mike tells us that he can finally breathe a little easier, but there's still quite a bit left to do. Oh yeah, what do you do when you win the immunity necklace? That's right, 'Merica - we do the Happy Dance!

We get back to camp and Mike tells us how he's happy about the final three, but he feels like he still has a million dollar decision ahead of him and that's who to take with him to the finals. He heads down to the water, as does Carolyn, which leaves Rod and Will to chat. Rodney's pretty convinced that Mike is with them. He told them about the Sierra vote and they've been blue since day one. Will tells us they're voting for Carolyn and if Mike's smart, he won't bring someone nicknamed "mama" to the final tribal.

We finally catch up with Mike and Carolyn, and Mike tells her that he has no plan to write her name down tonight and that he meant it when he told her final three. He says that all the blue collars turned their back on him. He tells her that it might be a million dollar mistake, but his gut is telling him to take Carolyn to the finals. He pretty much feels like Will and Rodney are unbreakable at this point, so his plan is for him and Carolyn to vote Rodney and force the tie. The tie breaker is a fire building challenge. So, he tells Carolyn that he has faith in her, but she probably ought to spend the rest of the day, stealthily practicing fire building. She's not thrilled about this, but she really doesn't have much of a choice. The alternative is Mike joining the other guys and dumping her outright.

When Mike gets back to camp, he engages Rodney in conversation. Meanwhile, Carolyn finds all the flint and heads off into the woods to practice. Rodney tells Mike that he could just vote Mama C and it would be real easy and they'd enjoy a guy's breakfast. Mike tells him that he's not sure what he wants to commit to right now. Rodney tells us that he knows Mike will bring him to the end, but he's trying to get Mama C's jury vote. Mike tells us that he would rather lose to Mama C than be the guy that took two goats to the end and won. We flash from Mike to Carolyn trying to make fire. So far, she's had no luck with the fire and is feeling pretty down. Mike gives her a pep talk and she tells us that while she's down a bit now, she'll be ready at Tribal.

So, we get to Tribal and do the weekly expression watch as the jury comes in and sees the necklace on Mike. Again, Shirin - super happy. Dan - looks like someone ran over his dog. Jeff starts by congratulating Mike on assuring himself a spot at the final Tribal. He then asks Will about what happened right after the challenge. Will says that they just felt so good about finishing the challenge. They wanted that moment.

Mike agrees that even though this is a competition, they're still a family. And I have to say, every time Mike speaks, it looks more and more like Dan is gonna either break down in sobs or start shooting up the place. Jeff asks Rodney if Mike was pretty much the center of all the action today. He says that he really wasn't, and that he was told Carolyn wants to write his name down tonight. Mike says that there are reasons to vote out both Carolyn and Rodney. Rodney did very little around camp, but played a really good social game. He says that Carolyn has bonds with people on the jury and could get their votes. He just hopes that at the end of the day, if you outwit, outplay and outlast everyone you'll be rewarded for it. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see two of the votes: Carolyn votes Rodney and Rodney votes Carolyn. Jeff tallies the votes and then reads them. Rodney. Carolyn. Carolyn. Rodney! He did it. Mike forced the tie. The jury loves it, Mike loves it, Carolyn loves it and you know Probst loves it. Rodney - not so much. Jeff explains that a fire making challenge will be the tie-breaker and we take a quick break before the challenge begins.

We come back from break and there are two challenge tables set up. The idea is that each person will start a fire. That fire will have to reach a piece of string. First one to burn through the string wins the challenge and remains in the game. They will each be given the same amount of materials. May the best player win.

We go minutes into the challenge, and neither of them have as much as a flame. Carolyn breaks her flint in half. "My flint broke." So, Jeff reaches into his magic pocket and provides another and the challenge is back on. When Rodney asks Jeff for a new flint, this is when Joe starts laughing to himself. And he's right. When you learn you're going to be on Survivor, the first thing you should do is learn to make a fire without matches. That's just nuts.

Anyway, two more flints and 45 minutes later, there are still no flames from either contestant. And Rodney gets a flame!! But it dies out almost immediately. At the 53 minute mark, Rodney gets a flame again. And he starts building it up. He needs wood or the husk will burn out. And shortly after, Carolyn gets a flame. Rodney starts pilling wood on his flame while Carolyn starts to build a tee pee. Rodney's flame is very high and on the rope, but it quickly dies down because it was mostly coconut husk. Carolyn's ignites the wood and her tee pee is soon blazing up to the rope. After a couple seconds, her rope catches fire and burns all the way through making Carolyn the winner!!

Rodney is pissed. You can tell he didn't want to go out this way. Of course, the Survivor fan and writer in me says, "Serves you right. You went through pre-game and 38 days of the game and not one time did you even think about starting a fire. That's what you get." Rodney takes it all in stride by insulting Mike in his final confessional.

But enough about that. Rodney's gone and Carolyn stays. I think Mike took a chance and he might have earned a vote or two by pulling this off. People may see it is allowing the best person to step up and earn their spot. They could also watch Carolyn and Rodney struggle at making a fire for an hour and decide that even the winner of the challenge doesn't deserve to win the game. Jeff gives the final speech, congratulates the final three, and they head back to camp for a peaceful night sleep and a delicious breakfast in the morning!

Day 39 dawns on 'Merica and the final three are enjoying the morning. Nothing but love at camp today and Will is so excited for the final tribal. He wants to make being away from his family for all this time worth it. He tells us that he played the only game he could play and that his moves might not be as big as you want, but they were his moves. As they collect their final three breakfast items, Carolyn tells us how happy she is to have made it to the end. She says this season was full of gamers and to get through them all, she had to have a plan B, plan C, etc. She is preparing her arguments for the jury to show them the game she played and the moves she made to get her where she is.

Mike tells us how alone he has been for such a long time in this game. After what he got through to get here, he feels pretty confident that he can meet any challenge. He tells us that there are a lot of people that don't like him, so he's expecting a close vote. I'm just wondering if taking Carolyn over Rodney isn't going to come back and bite him the way it did Colby, all those years ago.

And right to Tribal Council we go. Jeff congratulates the players and then turns it over to the jury. No opening statements, no nothing. Just straight to the jury questions. We start with Joe. He congratulates them and tells them he has an open vote tonight. He tells them they have to earn his vote. He tells Will to man up and own his game. He tells Carolyn that she didn't build strong relationships, so she needs to show them how to she outplayed. He tells Mike that he is really impressed with the five necklaces, but what else did you do? He wants them to earn it tonight.

Up next is Hali. She asks Carolyn about how being thrown into the "mother" role was a disadvantage. Carolyn says that they're all so much younger than her, so it was easy to fall into that mother role. She just hopes they all saw the strategy she used in the game and how hard she fought in all the challenges and how that all helped her get to the end.

Rodney's up next and this is starting off to be the quickest final Tribal in history. Rod starts off by calling Will his BB, Best Buddy, and then asks him how he stayed true to himself out there. Will says that he knew he would be an underdog. He didn't have the game knowledge or challenge prowess to win, so he did what he had to do, which was build relationships. He goes on to say that while some people may not respect that as game play, it was all he had and it worked out for him as you don't get to the finals with only luck. As much of a hard time as I've given Will (deserved, of course), this is actually a pretty good answer for the type of game he played. Every season, it seems, someone ends up in the end with this kind of game. He actually did a good job explaining it and trying to take away the negativity associated with the "coattail" game.

Rodney then asks Carolyn what power moves she made to get to the end, because he's confused on what she did to get there. She brings up the Tyler vote. She says that she knew she would lose the game if she was sitting next to Tyler at the end. She says the Dan vote was also in there as everyone else voted for her. Mike was a contingency plan and when her "alliance" turned on her, she used that contingency plan and got out the last three people. Those were her power moves. Rodney, like Hali before him, had nothing for Mike.

Tyler is up next and he starts with Mike. He wants to know what Mike brought to the table in the social game. He says that all he saw was someone running around paranoid and poisoning everything he touched. Mike gives possibly the worst possible answer to this question. Instead of insisting that it's not paranoia if they're really out to get you and mentioning the conversations he overheard, instead of pointing out that he was dead on right with all of his intuitions he goes with the ole "my social game wasn't that good and I suck" answer. Bad form, Mike. Own the game you played. You played circles around everyone out there and it's okay to say that.

Tyler moves to Carolyn and talks about how he protected her for 30 days and that he's gutted by what she did to him. What can she do to redeem herself in his eyes? She says that she felt terrible about voting him out and she knows she hurt him. She says that sometimes the game of Survivor makes you do things you're not proud of, but without them, you end up on the jury.

Sierra gets up and acknowledges that we have each collar in the finals. She asks Will what traits of the others he wishes he had in his game. He goes on about Mike's work ethic, but he didn't like his approach. He liked how Carolyn took time to analyze everything before she put it in motion. No questions for other two.

Jenn steps up and lets the final three know that she has no qualms with any of them, but she wants to talk to the jury. "Half of you are the most bitter people I've ever met in my life and angry at people that played better than you. You are all SO mad at Mike for...playing." She goes on to tell them that it's about Outwit, Outplay and Outlast and Mike was the only one to do that. If they're really the fans they say they are, there's only one vote to make tonight. The end!

But wait, it's not the end. We still have Dan and Shirin to get to. This should be fun. First up is Dan. He goes all the way back to Colby to say that winning challenges doesn't guarantee that you win the game. He goes on to rip Mike as "not caring" about the jury. All he cared about was getting to the end. And he damn well better care about them tonight. And that he had to say. He goes to sit down.

Mike then asks Jeff if he can say something to Dan. Sure, why the hell not? He tells Dan that his one regret in the game was losing Dan's trust. He went back on his word at the auction and for that he is truly sorry. He hopes that sometime they can mend things and become friends again. So Dan, who is already sitting down again, asks if he can go back up there. Again, sure! The inmates are already running the asylum; let's drag this out some more! "That is...the most genuine thing you have said to me since the auction." And then he goes on to say if they're "man enough" they'll be able to mend those fences. For crying out loud man, you act like he slept with your wife or shot your dog. Dude tried to pull one over on you. In a game. For a million dollars. I mean, that's great...I hope they can mend fences, but stop with the melodramatic bullshit with a guy that you didn't even know 40 days ago. Maybe I need to be the bigger man.

Anyway, speaking of melodrama, on to Shirin. Shirin starts by saying that she was hoping both Will and Mike would be in the final. She says that through her argument with Will, she was taken back to a deep dark place from her childhood and that she stood up for herself finally and didn't need a protector. However, she had one anyway, in Mike. She says that she never had a parent or a good enough friend to come and save her. But Mike, Mike came running into camp to save her. She says THAT was a million dollar moment for her. She follows that up by letting everyone know that she made her first million by the time she was 25 years old and "that moment felt SO much better and meant SO much more to me."

She then drops the bomb that this doesn't mean that Mike has her vote. She goes on to tell the jury that this is all about the games each person played, so Carolyn is still in it. She goes on to compare each player to an animal from their region. Mike is the howler monkey - loud and stuff. And Mike had a hand in voting everyone onto the jury, except her. Carolyn is like the stingray - stealthy and hidden, but will jump out and get you. She, unlike Mike, was on the right side of every vote. And Will, he is the dead fish they dragged in with their nets. He did nothing because no one made him do anything. If you bite into the dead fish, like most of the tribe did, you get poisoned from within. Everyone wanted to take Will to the end, so he didn't have to do anything. She encourages them again to look at each person's game before they vote. Then she quotes Sue Hawk from Season 1. And I got nothing else to say about that. Let's get to the vote. Please.

We only see three votes. We see Jenn's vote for Mike saying that Carolyn and Will did nothing, and Mike 150,000% deserves this money and title. We see Rodney's vote for Will saying that they always kept it real and that he hopes everyone gets to see what a great person he is. We see Sierra's vote for Carolyn saying that she really feels like Mama C played the best complete game. And then there's Dan struggling to decide who to vote for. Banging his head on the table as he agonizes. Seriously, dude...the game is over. Can we just get on with it? Ya know, I wouldn't be so hard on Dan if he didn't admit at the beginning and reiterate at the end that one of his goals was to be memorable. Just stop it already and write down a name.

Eventually Dan DOES write down a name and Jeff takes the voting urn and disappears off the Tribal Council set. Then he reappears on the live stage and prepares to read the votes and crown a champion. Let's get to it. First vote is Jenn's vote for Mike. Second vote is Rodney's vote for Will. Third vote is Sierra's vote for Carolyn. Fourth vote comes up Mike. Fifth vote comes up Mike. The winner of Survivor: Worlds Apart - Mike Holloway! YES!!!

There was no one this season more deserving of winning the game than Mike. I'd have been all right with a Carolyn win because she played a VERY good game as well. I just prefer what Mike did from day one. He made one catastrophic mistake that almost cost him everything, but he persevered and came out on top. I feel compelled to mention that I did, in fact, predict Mike as the winner of this season in my three-part Season Preview. So, I'm now one for 30 in picking Survivor winners. WOO HOO!!!

I want to thank everyone for coming on this ride with me this season. I really enjoyed the season, despite not enjoying some of the people on the season. But players like Mike, Jenn, Carolyn, Tyler, Hali and Joe made this season a success in my book and I can't wait to see the mayhem caused by the 20 Second Chancers that were announced at the Live Reunion. And while we're talking about Second Chance - I have to mention here that Shane Powers got screwed. If there was anyone that should have been back for this, it was Shane. America clearly got it wrong by putting in someone like Woo over Shane. Anyway, that's all I got. Until Second Chances starts up in the fall, thanks for reading and take care everybody!

For questions, comments, complaints, I can always be reached at: @vannestjc on Twitter and at vannestjc(at)gmail(dot)com. Thanks again!