Parvati Shallow Breaks Down 'Survivor: Worlds Apart' Finale: Did the Right Person Win?

 The season 30 theme was white collar vs. blue collar vs. no collar.
From left: Mike Holloway, Carolyn Rivera and Will Sims

Parvati Shallow is a Survivor champ and three-time competitor on the show. The OG Miss Survivor and Survivor Hall of Famer now covers health and wellness for CBS News in New York City. Find her on Twitter @parvatishallow.

I hate to say this, but Mike’s odds of getting any further in the game are so low right now he may as well vote himself out and go get a burger. 

PSYCHE! You guys know I would never endorse giving up when the odds are stacked against you. Even in Mike’s circumstance — he’s got no friends, but he still has his willpower and competitive edge.

If only Mike’s mom could show up and give him some much needed love and support. I think he may be able to pull off a miracle here.

What’s that? His mom is here?? This is great! 

Not only is Mike’s mom here, but Carolyn’s hubby, Will’s wife, Rodney’s dad and Sierra’s dad have all flown out to support their loved ones. This is sweet. If I liked more of these people, I would probably be crying my eyeballs out. 

But, right now the only person I’m pulling for is Mike. And, thankfully, he wins the reward challenge. His reward: Mom comes back to camp and spends the night and he gets an advantage in the challenge. This is big time. Spending precious moments with someone that you love and trust this deep into the game is priceless. It gives players a chance to let their guard down and remember who they are and what they came for. 

Mike’s mom gives him some sweet southern support and the next day they check out their advantage. He gets to practice the immunity challenge before everyone else with his mom as his guide. This is fantastic. Blindfold challenges are frustrating and time consuming, and since everyone else is against him, Mike needs all the help he can get. 

Unfortunately, Mike’s mom has some challenges of her own leading her son through the maze. In the end, their time runs out, Mike is frustrated and scared and his momma feels like she let her son down. This is bad. 

We need Mike to win this immunity challenge to keep the game interesting. In no way do I see a scenario without Mike in the final three that is fun to watch. It will truly be terrible. 

As the tribe heads into the immunity challenge, I’m worried about Mike. Normally, he goes in with confidence, knowing he’s got this. This time, he looks concerned and I’m afraid his confidence may be shaken. 

Here we go… 

Oh. My. Word. 

Mike wins! How does he keep doing this?? Since Mike is on such a tear, it begs the question: What if Joe was still there? Would Mike have stood a chance at making it this far? Did the strategy of voting out all the threats make this possible for Mike? He’s going to make it all the way to the end. No one can touch him. 

Rodney should have thought things through a little more before he discounted Mike. And let this be a lesson to all other future Survivor competitors — Do NOT vote out all the good players because you’re scared. Keep some challenge dominators in the game and make alliances with them. Come on, people! I’m looking out for your best interests here, and I also want this game to be fun to watch. Please don’t make us suffer through a final 5 of irritating, poor challenge-performers. We want action!


Ok, I’m off my soapbox and back in the game. 

Moving right along to tribal council where one person — whoever Mike wants — is going home tonight. The unlucky lady is Sierra. OK, that’s fine with me, but why not vote out Mama C? She’s the biggest threat to take jury votes away from Mike. This choice defies logic and reason.

Let’s move right along to the most epic slip’n slide contraption in the world. This is badass. Kirhoffer and the crew again have pulled off a dazzling final challenge. Again, Mike has to outperform everyone left in the game in order to save himself from a tragic end. 

Naturally, he does. When the challenge is over and Mike has triumphed, Will breaks down. Will has completely exhausted himself to the point of actually being sweet and showing his heart. He says how proud he is of Mike and lovingly puts the immunity necklace around Mike’s neck. This is a cute moment where we finally get to see a little personality out of Will. 

Which makes me think, Will is definitely making it into the final three. 

But that’s just my hunch. Only tonight’s tribal council will tell. Or, wait, actually, Mike will tell us. 

Once the troops return to the beach after the final immunity challenge, Mike walks down to the river. Carolyn follows close behind. She wants to stay so bad she can taste it, but she’s still the biggest threat to win the game. Mike would have to be either really foolish or really confident to take her to the end. 

She begins to plead her case, but doesn’t get far before Mike stops her. He says he doesn’t want her to go tonight. He wants to see a fire-making challenge between Carolyn and Rodney. Mike wants Carolyn to beat Rodney on her own merit. 

This is wild.

What is Mike doing? Is he crazy? Does he love the game so much that he wants other people to experience the intense highs and lows of facing fears and proving themselves worthy? I like Mike’s attitude more and more. He’s brash and fearless. 

Mama C doesn’t really have a choice here. Rodney and Will are definitely voting for her. All she can do is trust Mike and start practicing her fire-making skills. 

And practice is just what she needs. Carolyn is not good at making fire. This does not bode well for her chances to make the final three. But I’m not sure that Rodney’s any good at fire-making either... 

Let’s find out. 

At tribal council, Mike’s dreams come true and Carolyn and Rodney face off in a final duel: a fire-making challenge. 

Carolyn’s had time to practice and Rodney is caught off guard. This will be interesting. Jeff sets them all up with their coconut husk, tinder and flint — and off they go! 

It doesn’t take long for Carolyn to break her flint and Rodney to follow suit. About an hour later, Rodney’s got a spark and a small flame. His flame starts growing. NOooooo!

Then a few seconds later, Carolyn’s got a flame. She begins to build her teepee. Is she too late? Rodney’s flame is growing pretty big and nearly reaching up to the rope. Carolyn’s fire is growing gradually, but steadily. This is a classic case of the tortoise and the hare. 

And, we all know how that story ends. 

With Carolyn winning a seat in the final three!

This is perfect. I couldn’t be happier. We actually have a final three that doesn’t have a clear-cut winner. Mike is a strong performer and Carolyn was great at developing relationships. Who will win!?

I love, love, love this ending. 

But it’s not over. Now, we get to hear the jury rip everyone apart. Dan looks incredibly bitter, and I hope he can get over his ego and vote for Mike. He deserves the win. 

To his credit, Mike apologizes to Dan after Dan makes an annoying speech about being betrayed by Mike. It seems like maybe that was enough to turn Dan into a Mike fan, but we’ll have to wait and see. I’m kind of dying about this one. I’m so invested in Mike winning now that I want to jump through my screen and teleport back in time to ponderosa and make everyone vote for Mike. 

But clearly I cannot do that and we will all just have to pray that these people get it right tonight…

And they do!!!!

Congrats to Mike Holloway for taking home the most votes, the title of Sole Survivor, a million dollar check and a mouth kiss from his sweet southern momma!

Runner-up Carolyn didn’t look too happy with the results, but she still has hope to be chosen for Survivor Second Chances.

As the live show continues, the Second Chances hopefuls anxiously await their fate. Their bags are packed and as soon as the results of the fan votes are revealed, each contestant will board a Survivor Second Chances bus bound for the next location.

Holy crap. This is stressful.

Of course, Jeff just makes it all worse by going row-by-row and giving people a yes or a no. Though I am excited to see which of my friends are going back, I find this the most horrible thing to watch.

As Jeff cruised through each row simultaneously crushing hopes and making dreams come true, we have our cast.

I’m delighted.

What do you guys think? Did your favorites make the cut?

Thanks for joining me each week. I’ll see you next season!