Falling victim to a desperation alliance comprised of three castaways who felt they had nothing left to lose by chancing a tie vote that would result in a random draw elimination, Gregg Carey was voted out of Survivor: Palau during Thursday night's CBS broadcast, making Gregg the fifteenth castaway to exit the competition

Survivor: Palau's twelfth episode began with the six remaining castaways returning from the Night 30 Tribal Council in which Survivor superwoman Stephenie LaGrossa finally saw her torch extinguished.

As Day 31 began, 41-year-old Sayville, NY firefighter Tom Westman admitted that he felt lucky to have survived the previous evening's vote. Despite recognizing that his physical strength would soon make him a target, Tom still appeared to remain loyal to his fellow "Final 5" castaways. Having completed his goal of ensuring that Caryn Groedel (a 46-year-old v, OH civil rights attorney who was the competition's sole remaining non-"Final 5" castaway) assisted him in making sure that Stephenie was voted out at the previous evening's Tribal Council, Tom made it clear to Caryn that given his own precarious position in the game, he could no longer "look out for her."

"I can't step out from five to side with one right now... what you've got to do is pull your own salvation," Tom explained as the two retrieved the day's tree mail. "I am definitely the most vulnerable of the six remaining, no question about it," Caryn confessed to the cameras.

After gathered for the episode's Reward Challenge, the castaways discovered that the challenge would be trivia game similar to the Survivor: Marquesas "coconut chop" challenge that exposed the game's "alliance pecking order" and has since just about become a Survivor late game staple. Each castaway was assigned a fire wok suspended over water, and each time a castaway answered a question correctly, they would be allowed to lower an opponent's wok, with the third drop resulting in the wok falling into the water and extinguishing. The last person to have their wok still burning would win a night on a luxury yacht, complete with a shower and feast.

With Caryn quickly eliminated in the challenge's first round, Koror's pecking immediately began coming into focus. Tom went out second, followed by Ian Rosenberger, leaving only Katie Gallagher and the "lovebirds" couple of Gregg and Jennifer Lyon competing in the competition. After being denied Jennifer's "permission" to drop her wok a level, Gregg dropped Katie's wok, a decision that would result in Katie's elimination when Jennifer dropped her wok the following round. With only Gregg and Jennifer left, Gregg was forced to drop Jennifer's wok when he correctly answered the next two questions, eliminating Jennifer and handing Gregg the reward victory. Allowed to select two other castaways to join him, Gregg selected Jennifer and Katie.

Back at camp, Ian began expressing his concerns about how the challenge had unfolded, sensing that in choosing to drop Ian's wok rather than Gregg's, Katie had made it clear that she was unlikely to remain loyal to an endgame sub-alliance that he believed the twosome had established. Gathering Tom and Caryn, he explained that he felt that he and Tom had "lost control of the game" and were "no longer making the decisions," with Gregg and Jennifer having now seized the game's decisionmaking roles.

With Ian telling Tom that he felt strongly that Katie had chosen to ally with Gregg and Jennifer and target him, Tom finally decided to believe Caryn's previous warning that Kathy had been conspiring against him. "Caryn had warned me that Katie was looking to get rid of me but I still wasn't willing to take her word over Katie's at that point," Tom confessed to the cameras. "Now Ian says Katie has now become 'The Shady Lady Katie' looking to dump us and go into the final with Gregg and Jen."

Deciding to believe Ian's instincts, Tom suggested that the threesome target Gregg at the next Tribal Council. Sensing that she might have new life in the game, Caryn was hopeful. "Those five had an alliance, and lucky for me, that alliance is breaking down now." she said in confessional. "I'm not sure exactly what's going to happen, [but] the only thing I can do is stay close to Tom and Ian."

Later in the day, Tom and Ian further discussed their plan, strategizing that if they teamed with Caryn and voted for Gregg at the next Tribal Council, a 3-3 tie would result. Ian was confident that they would then succeed in voting out Gregg, stating that it would be "very easy" to break the tie because Kathy would "be forced" to change her vote in order to avoid having to participate in the show's purple rock tiebreaker.

Should Katie refuse to change her vote, Gregg and Caryn would be safe from elimination and Tom, Ian, Katie, and Jennifer would have to randomly draw a rock from a bag, with the person who drew the purple rock being eliminated from the game. While acknowledging that they were taking a "calculated risk" that Katie would value her own survival over remaining loyal to Gregg, the duo felt it was a risk that they were willing to take, because "otherwise we're not getting there anyways." "Desperate times call for desperate measures," quipped Tom.

Explaining that they were undertaking a "delicate operation" that would require "the utmost care" in keeping their plan secret from Gregg, Ian joked that "this is kind of like taking a bag of potato chips from a fat man... you can do it, but you better do it quick otherwise he'll turn around and sit on you." Talking with Caryn, the two explained that she had to continue to act like she was about to be sent home. "I'm psyched, I'm totally psyched, this is really working out well, I think we can really pull this off, I really do, because you know what, I'm a very good actress... very, very good," an upbeat Caryn gushed during confessional.
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Out on the yacht, Gregg, Jennifer, and Katie were enjoying their luxury -- only to be surprised by visits from their loved ones. Taking advantage of their time away from camp, the threesome later discussed their plans to boot Tom and Ian once Caryn was gone. While acknowledging that she was going to be doing "sneaky stuff," Katie agreed to "jump ship" to Gregg and Jennifer, explaining that her strategy was to "stick with those people who make the decisions until those people no longer have any power... and then jump to the next person that makes the decision."

Once the threesome returned to camp and said their goodbyes to their loved one, the tribe retrieved their Day 33 tree mail and assembled for the Immunity Challenge. A combination of the game's previous challenges, the Immunity Challenge would feature five recycled challenge rounds that would each eliminate one of the castaways, with the final two remaining castaways competing in a repeat of the target shooting challenge featured in Survivor: Palau's sixth episode.

After four rounds, only Tom and Ian remained in the challenge. Ian dominated the final marksmanship round, quickly hitting all three of his targets and winning individual immunity for himself. "That darn gun... that is my Achilles' heel," Tom later lamented.

Returning to camp after the challenge, Caryn did a great job convincing everyone that she felt she was going home that evening. "You can tell about her... she's just out of commission today," Gregg remarked about Caryn. "That's what happens when you know you're done," he added. "Caryn is winning an Academy Award," Ian gushed in confessional.

Calling Katie aside immediately before they left for Tribal Council session, Ian told Katie that he, Tom, and Caryn would be targeting Gregg at the upcoming vote, forcing Katie to either chance pulling the purple rock or preemptively agree to join with them and oust Gregg in a 4-2 vote. While Katie was shocked and complained that she felt it was "really unfair" for Ian to "come in and say this is what we're doing, this is what the plan is," she ultimately decided to avoid taking a chance on a tie, causing Gregg to be eliminated from the game in a Tribal Council 4-2 vote.