In the finale of “Survivor: Worlds Apart” on Wednesday, 39 days in San Juan Del Sur came down to one tribal council. After all the backstabbing and blindsides, the jury was tasked with picking one castaway to award a million dollar prize and the title of “Sole Survivor.” Who would it be?

Here’s how it all went down in the Season 30 finale of “Survivor”:


After Tribal Council, Mike was surprised to see that, despite the attempt of Carolyn's alliance to vote her out -- foiled only by her hidden immunity idol -- Carolyn was still working with Rodney, Will and Sierra. However, since Carolyn still believed Mike was the biggest threat to win the game, she believed she still had to work with them.


In the episode’s reward challenge, the castaways had to carry tiles across an obstacle course using only a machete. Then, they had to use those tiles to solve a puzzle to reveal a code to open a box. There was a lot at stake too, because the reward was a day with a loved one from home. The tribe got to say hello to their special someone first: Carolyn to her husband, Will to his wife, Mike to his mother and Rodney and Sierra to their fathers. As if that was not enough, the winner would get an advantage in the next immunity challenge!

Wiping away the tears after their emotional rendezvous, the castaways set upon winning the challenge. Not surprisingly, Mike got off to a big head start, reaching the puzzle portion of the course well before any other player. Though Sierra eventually made it close, Mike won and got to bring his mom back to camp with him for the day.

Mike’s Mother’s Day

Back at camp, getting to spend the day with mom recharged Mike. He confessed to spending much of the game on the outs from the rest of the tribe and his mother did her best to give him some extra strength.

Later, his mother got the chance to put her son in a great position for the next immunity challenge. The next challenge would be a maze and Mike’s advantage was a half hour to go through it blindfolded with his mother as a guide. However, she was disappointed when she failed to solve the maze for Mike during their allotted time, crying while telling the cameras that she had let her son down.

Immunity Challenge

The next day, all five castaways got their shot at the maze. The players had to gather four medallions -- one in each corner -- before getting back to the center. Apparently, Mike’s extra time paid off at least a little bit, as he quickly gathered all four medallions before any other castaway found their third. Even the other four working together could not stop Mike from winning yet another immunity challenge.

Tribal Council

With Mike once again wearing the immunity idol, Carolyn and Sierra were forced to go to Mike for help now that the alliance of four had to turn on each other. Carolyn and Sierra wanted Mike to vote with them for Rodney, promising him that he, Carolyn and Sierra would comprise the final three. However, Rodney came to Mike with the same deal, offering a final three of himself, Mike, and Will. So, Mike was in a new position, acting as the swing vote deciding which pair he trusted. When the time to vote came, Mike chose Rodney -- who swore his loyalty on his late sister’s soul -- and Will, as Sierra became the 14th person voted out of “Survivor: Worlds Apart.”

Immunity Challenge 2.0

In the final immunity challenge of the game, the four remaining castaways had to race up a tower, retrieve three keys, descend the tower via a giant slide and unlock three bags of puzzle pieces in an obstacle course. Oh, and then they had to solve the puzzle! The early lead went to, you guessed it, Mike, who sprinted ahead to get his keys first. Fatigue took its toll on every player, but Mike kept on moving. Everyone still had a shot when it came down to the puzzle, but Mike’s lead paid off as he won his record-tying fifth immunity necklace, guaranteeing himself a place in the final three. Will was emotional after the challenge, proud of everybody’s effort, and the inevitability of Mike’s spot in the final three seemed to allow the tribe to put the game -- and their grudges -- on pause for a moment as they all shared a loving embrace.

Tribal Council 2.0

Mike had an unusual plan for the second tribal council of the episode. Knowing Rodney and Will would be voting for Carolyn, he hoped to vote with Carolyn for Rodney and force a fire-making challenge between Carolyn and Rodney to decide who would stay in the game. And that’s exactly how it went down! Carolyn had gotten the opportunity to practice thanks to a heads up from Mike about his plan, but she had not had much luck getting a fire started at camp. She did not fare much better in the big moment either, as the challenge lasted nearly an hour -- somehow two potential “Survivor” finalists could not make a fire even with flint!

Toward the end of the rather embarrassing challenge, both got a fire going at the same time, and it came down to who could get theirs big enough to burn the rope above their fire first. Carolyn beat Rodney by seconds and joined Mike and Will in the final three, as Rodney became the 15th person voted out.

On a side note, Shirin’s outburst during the fire making challenge of “Carolyn has a flame going too” might have been the first time a jury member audibly spoke.

Final Tribal Council

After one more day on the San Juan Del Sur beach, it was time for Mike, Will and Carolyn to face the jury in the final tribal council. The three finalists would have to convince the jury to vote for them to win the million-dollar prize.

Each jury member got their chance to address the three finalists and there were some tense moments, as Mike’s enemies pulled no punches. Tyler accused Mike of having no social game, to which Mike provided not much of a response. Then, Dan called Mike out for his auction betrayal, leading to a tearful apology from the Texas native. However, Jenn stood up for Mike, speaking to the jury directly and urging them not to vote based on petty grudges. Meanwhile, Shirin got emotional and thanked Mike for protecting her during her fight with Will, yet claimed that as a fan of the game she had to vote for Carolyn. As the time to vote came, it appeared that the jury was weighing Carolyn’s stealthy strategic game against Mike’s impressive, if socially clumsy, tenacity. When the final votes were tallied, Mike Holloway won “Survivor: Worlds Apart,” nabbing all but two of the jury’s votes.

What did you think of Mike winning “Survivor” Season 30? Tweet your thoughts to @Ja9GarofaloTV