It's the evening of Day 29 and the night-cam follows them back to camp after Tribal and there are a lot of accusations about who wrote down Dan's name. Mike warned him he was on the bottom but Dan's a little stubborn and now he's starting to get a little postal. Afterwards the Top Six go off on their own for a little powwow and Mike finds it pretty funny as they start to scramble.
While they're all sitting around the campfire Will goes over to Dan and admits that both he and Tyler wrote Dan's name down, but Will did so because he thought everyone else was writing down Tyler and he wanted to split the vote. It's a little lame for an olive branch but Dan accepts it and the situation is diffused. Dan appreciates that Will came to him and that keeps Will off of Dan's target list. Tyler, not so much.
Day 30 opens and everyone goes over to wish Rodney a Happy Birthday. Carolyn returns with Tree Mail; "For an opportunity to nourish your soul, just race through a few little romps, you also may be feeding your belly, it's you who can dominate the stomps." Both Carolyn and Will assure Rodney that they're taking him on the Reward Challenge and he hopes they do but he figures the chance of that happening are 0.000% based on the amount of faith he has on his tribemates.
They march on to the Reward Challenge and there are two courses set up, one Red and one Blue, with a post, a hanging bag, a net, a ramp and a wall as Jeff welcomes them in. Another schoolyard pick will create two teams of three which will unspool ribbons from the post to release a key, then they'll build a ladder, climb the ladder and use the key to release a bag of balls, then make their way across the net to the ramp which is actually a catapult which will launch the balls up the wall towards five nets. The first team to get one ball in each of the five targets wins reward. This reward makes them Survivor goodwill ambassadors delivering school supplies, toys, bikes, sports equipment and an afternoon BBQ to a children's orphanage.
Only six people are playing for this reward and the seventh has no chance of going to the orphanage. The Red team is Mike, Sierra and Carolyn against the Blue Team of Dan, Tyler and Rodney. Will is the odd man out this time. Sorry about that Will. Red takes a slight lead as they release their key and move on to the ladder challenge, building from the bottom to the top and again Red races through it. Mike climbs the ladder to release their bag and he's done as Blue finishes their ladder and Rodney goes for the bag.
Once again Mike uses his body to help both women into the net to get them across while Tyler and Rodney try to squeeze Dan through the net opening. Red is still in the lead as they get in position to launch their balls just as Blue exits the net, but Rodney forgot the balls behind. Rodney has to race back, grab the balls and go through the net again, giving the Red team an even greater advantage. Rodney's starting to panic as he tosses Tyler the bag of balls through the net while Mike starts launching.
Mike's had a little time to figure out the catapult and scores for Red. Not to be outdone, Dan gets a quick shot away and scores for Blue. Two for blue. Two for Red. Three for Blue. Four for Blue when Mike misses. Then it's three for Red and Sierra wants in but, as usual, Mike won't give her a shot. I can understand that as he's already figured it out and there's no time for a change. Dan fires his last shot and . . . it bounces over the net. Four for Red. It's Mike versus Dan and with one shot left . . . and Red wins reward.
Rodney continues to be shut out from rewards and Jeff asks him if he's hoping one of the Red Team would switch places with him. Rodney says it's up to them and then Mike says that he understands it's his birthday but this is a once in a lifetime opportunity and he needs food too. Carolyn also bows out of that offer and Rodney just shakes his head and says "that's pretty sad" which Sierra interprets as he's upset because if it had been an individual challenge they would have taken Rodney along but as it's a team challenge none of them wants to step out of the team. Rodney goes on that it's his damn birthday, that's all. Suck it up princess.
Mike, Carolyn and Sierra hop in the back of the truck and head off to the orphanage. Those kids were overjoyed to see all those supplies and bikes and Mike said he loves being around kids because he's just a big kid. That's a pretty fair self assessment. These kids look to range from about 8 - 15 and the adults are really enjoying their time away from 'Merica.
They settle down to share a BBQ meal with the kids and get a chance to talk a little more relaxed amongst themselves. Mike points out that this may be a special day for Rodney but this is a special occasion for them and both Carolyn and Sierra agree. He admits that he couldn't imagine sharing this with anyone else from the tribe and it's given Carolyn a chance to see Mike in a different light. She's starting to think it may be time to join forces and that would definitely be good for Mike.
Back at camp Rodney is whining because he has to wash dishes on his birthday. Grow up dude. As Carolyn says, he's celebrating his birthday on Survivor. He's feeling neglected, and angry, and a little vengeful. Dan figures they just need to let him cool off as that's just who he is. Rodney is mostly angry at Carolyn and he's starting to rant and now Rodney has come up with this big plan to pretend he's losing it and wants everyone to vote him off so Mike will feel secure and not play his HII but Dan doesn't believe that's gonna work. Rodney's just working himself up and he's beginning to scare his alliance. Tyler also doesn't believe Mike would buy this story but Rodney has once again deluded himself with his superior intelligence. Uh huh.
Here comes the nighttime storm and Rodney is still bitching and moaning. He's still sticking to his "I'm pissed and I wanna go" plan. Nobody cares and this could totally backfire, especially since Mike knows what he's doing. Carolyn and Tyler are enjoying a little blue light special time and Tyler is counting on Carolyn to make sure he stays in the game. He knows she has an HII and he's hoping that she'll share that with him when they get to Tribal to keep their alliance intact. At this point in the game that would be a terrible move on her part and it seems a bit needy on his. It also makes him a target for Carolyn to keep that secret safe.
Its time for the Immunity Challenge. Tribe members need to balance on a small perch on the edge of a floating dock while leaning back on a rope over the water. Every five minutes they'll move further back on the rope until there's only one person left. There are no more dual necklaces, they're back to just one winner.
Everybody gets into position and leans back over the water, starting on the third knot. Right from the start Rodney is struggling, both physically and emotionally, and says this is the worst birthday of his life. It's Day 32 and this challenge would have been tough on Day 1. There goes Will, followed quickly by Dan. No surprise as they're both heavier and in worse shape than the others. Carolyn's locked in and relaxed, but not so much Sierra or Rodney who both dropped with a splash. Mike looks like he's having a nap while Tyler is wincing in pain.
Their first five minutes are up and it's now tIme to move down to the next knot. Carolyn slides back easily but Mike has started to struggle, slips and . . . Splash! Mike's out of the challenge. There goes Tyler almost immediately after and Carolyn wins Individual Immunity for the second time in a row. My wife figures that's because women who've had children can handle a lot more pain. She could be right.
Back at camp everyone congratulates Carolyn on her win and it's game on. Dan is a little concerned that his name was written down at the last tribal and he figures it's either him or Tyler going home tonight. Rodney looks like someone should stick a fork in him but it's all part of his master plan. Tyler is pushing for everyone to vote for Dan to get rid of him and his advantage, which a number of their alliance knows about thanks to Tyler. Everyone assumes that Mike will play his HII to keep himself safe, but just in case they're going to throw votes his way as well. They'd be stupid not to. Time for tribal.
As the tribe marches over to their seats Jeff brings in the jury . . . Hali, Joe, Jenn and Shirin, voted out last week. Jeff points out that Mike is likely to play his idol based on the last Tribal and Mike pretends to search his pockets for it but then says it's there somewhere. Mike says he brought fireworks, Pepsi and popcorn to watch the festivities and Rodney feels he should share because he's wasting away. Tyler knows he's on Mike's chopping block, but then Mike brings up Dan's advantage that people aren't supposed to know about. Dan still believes that nobody knows what it is but he also knows that makes him a target. Jeff asks Tyler if it's time to take people you can beat, or get rid of the weaker links and Tyler admits it's time to make those choices and keep those you can beat. He also says that he'd be surprised if it was him going home tonight. Time to vote.
Everyone goes to vote and then Jeff gathers the votes and calls for the HII. Mike pauses and then jumps to his feet and gives it to Jeff. Mike's safe for tonight. Jeff reads the votes. Mike, Mike, Mike, Mike, Tyler and . . . goodbye Tyler. Surprise! He doesn't take it quite as happily as the last two when Jeff snuffs his torch. Jeff closes with the obvious point that everyone apparently wants to take the weakest players to the end before sending them back to camp. I guess that means Dan and Will are safe.
There's a big reveal on Season 31, Survivor Second Chance. Next season is up to us as it will be cast based on viewer's online votes. Well that should be interesting.
Next week the alliance turns on itself and Mike sees a way to turn it to his advantage. He's not as dumb as everybody seems to think. In his farewell speech Tyler takes it well and says it takes a lot to get ahead in this game when you're not winning those individual challenges and that he came up a little short today. A little? I'm thinking he was more than a little short, and not just today.
For those of you following my Big Brother Canada reviews, stick around because it's up next. If you can't handle the manipulative drama, remember to come back on Friday when Wayne and I once again review The Amazing Race and see who makes it to the finale on May 15th. Be right back.