Caryn Groedel becomes the sixteenth contestant to exit 'Survivor: Palau'
By Reality TV World staff, 05/13/2005
With her last-minute scrambling failing to sway any of her fellow remaining castaways, Caryn Groedel, a 46-year-old civil rights attorney from Solon, OH, was voted out of Survivor: Palau during Thursday night's CBS broadcast, making her the sixteenth contestant to exit the competition
Returning to camp, Jennifer Lyon, Gregg's Survivor girlfriend, reacted surprisingly calmly to the betrayal -- perhaps recognizing that given that Gregg, Katie, and herself had planned to do the same thing to Tom and Ian once Caryn was voted off (and revealed those loyalties during the previous episode's Reward Challenge and subsequent excursion), any such protests to the betrayal would come off as hypocritical. "Jen's a smooth operator... she handled it surprisingly well," Ian remarked after the group returned to camp. "I know she's fuming on the inside... [but] she's smooth."
Despite having defeated the Gregg/Jennifer/Katie threat, Tom and Ian still worried that the three remaining women would ally and pick them off. "The only thing I'm worried about right now is the three girls turning on Tom and I, if we can avoid that in the next 24 hours, we're money," confessed Ian
On Day 34, the castaways kicked their strategizing into high gear. Explaining his distrust for Katie, Tom told Caryn that his new plan was that together with Ian, he and she would be the game's final three contestants. He also cautioned her against allying with the other two women, explaining that "it's not a good deal... you're just going to be the third one out." After the conversation, Caryn remained unsure of the sincerity of Tom's intentions. "I don't know if I'm being played, I'm just not sure right now," Caryn confessed. "He seems believable, but I dunno... this could be part of the planning and plotting in the last six days."
Taking advantage of Caryn's absence from the camp's shelter, Katie suggested to Ian and Jennifer that Caryn had to go next, causing Jennifer to instead lobby for Ian to team with the two women and vote off Tom, whom she described as Ian's "biggest competition." Despite Jennifer's aggressive sales pitch, Ian didn't appear to be biting, explaining that he'd rather oust Caryn as he didn't want to go back on his word to Tom -- a comment that appeared to frustrate a silent Katie.
After retrieving the day's tree mail that described the upcoming Reward Challenge, Tom and Ian strategized over what they should do should one of them win the challenge and have the opportunity to take an additional guest. Explaining that they shouldn't give the three women any alone time that would allow them to conspire against the men, Tom suggested that should either himself or Ian win the challenge, they should take one of the women. Unfortunately, the two men appeared unable to agree as to which woman they should take, with Tom suggesting Caryn and Ian suggesting Katie and repeating his intention to still have Katie form the third member of their Final 3 group.
Once the castaways assembled for the Reward Challenge, Survivor host Jeff Probst revealed its reward -- a brand new 2005 Chevrolet Corvette and an overnight visit to a remote mansion. A primarily physical task, the challenge required the castaways to navigate bamboo rafts across the lagoon and collect bags containing five mileage markers. After retrieving all the markers, the castaways had to place the mileage indicators under a sign marker designating the distance from Palau to various big cities. Despite the women's best efforts, the challenge quickly turned into a two-man competition between Ian and Tom. The men remained nearly tied until they returned with their fourth bags, during which Tom attempted to throw his bag into the collection box and missed, allowing Ian to pull away and win the competition.
Having won the challenge, Jeff allowed Ian to select a guest to accompany him on the feast and overnight excursion. For reasons not made very clear to home viewers, despite their previous conversation, Ian selected Tom. With Katie audibly anticipating her selection as his guest, Ian told Jeff that although he had previously told Katie that he'd take her if he won, he had also "shook hands... and made a promise" that if there was a car involved, he'd take Tom. The surprise decision appeared to disappoint not only Katie but Tom as well, with both Katie and Tom initially reacting with facial expressions that appeared to show their dissatisfaction with Ian's decision.
After driving off to their hilltop mansion getaway, Tom didn't appear to confront Ian about his surprising decision, alluding to the possibility that perhaps the decision wasn't a surprise to him -- or that after thinking about it, he decided to just be grateful for Ian's generosity. Instead, Tom supported Ian's explanation that his decision to not take Katie was justified due to Katie "turning her back" on him in the competition's previous alliance-exposing Reward Challenge, during which Katie contributed to Ian's elimination by choosing to cut Ian's wok rather than that of Gregg. "What we have to do is bring [Katie] back into the fold and convince her that we're all going to play this thing till the end," Tom explained to Ian.
Meanwhile, back at camp, Katie fumed over Ian's decision -- causing her to spill the details of her Final 2 alliance with Ian to Caryn and confirm Caryn's comment that Katie also had a Final 3 alliance with Tom. Demonstrating that she had apparently truly adopted an Amber Brkich-like strategy and had just been mindlessly following Gregg's lead throughout the game, Jennifer confessed that she had been completely unaware of any of the game's increasingly obvious (especially in light of Gregg's prior day's ousting) suballiances.
Presenting a "Survivor Strategy 101" lecture, Katie proceeded to school the other two women in how successful players need to be able to recognize when the game's previous power brokers have begun to lose their power... and jump to the other side. Pressing the other two women to ally with her and oust the men, Katie discussed would they should do if one of the men won the upcoming Immunity Challenge. "If its Ian, we vote off Tom and if its Tom, we vote off Ian," she explained. "Ian [made a] very immature move today," Katie lectured. "This is the only time to do it, its the perfect time."
Returning to camp early in the morning of Day 35, Tom and Ian were immediately confronted by Caryn, who asked Ian whether his Final 3 alliance was with her and Tom or with her and Katie. After Ian responded that it was with her and Tom, Caryn proceeded to ask Ian why she should believe him given Katie's comments that Ian had also said that he'd be loyal to her. The question appeared to fluster Ian, causing him to tell Caryn that he "wasn't going to make a decision until tonight" and "couldn't give you an answer right now" as to whether he intended to have Caryn or Katie be the third member of the men's Final 3 alliance.
After her conversation with Ian ended, Tom asked Caryn what Katie was planning, to which Caryn replied that she wasn't going to reveal anything. Wandering away from their conversation with Caryn, Tom feared that Ian's comments had just cost them the game, telling him that "you just gave away her vote tonight... you just screwed up."
Recognizing that it was now imperative that he secure Katie's place in his Final 3 alliance with Tom, Ian attempted to talk to Katie, only to discover that she was furious with him for his Reward Challenge decision and refusing to talk with him. "It was a reward challenge for dinner -- this is like classic girl troubles back home," a shocked Ian lamented to a clearly frustrated Tom.
Finally convincing Katie to take a walk with him, Ian apologized, dropping to the ground and begging for her forgiveness during a painfully overdramatized tear-filled exchange. In the end, Katie accepted his apology, seemingly putting the future of the women's alliance in doubt.
On Day 36, Caryn still appeared to be confident that the women's alliance would succeed, avoiding Tom's questions about whether Katie had been legitimately upset about Ian's decision and who had initiated the idea of an all-women alliance. "The women are tired of the guys pulling the strings this entire game and now we're taking control," a confident Caryn proclaimed to the cameras.
Fearing that his subtle suggestions were no longer proving effective, Tom decided to change his approach, resolving to attempt to use intimidation to convince Katie to remain with the men. "If you think Katie is with us, you're crazy... the only thing left now is to threaten her back into the fold," Tom explained to Ian. "That's the only thing that will keep her loyal."
After gathering for the day's Immunity Challenge, the castaways discovered that the challenge would be a balanced task requiring both mental and physical agility. After traversing a watercourse comprised of a wobbly bridge, floating pontoons, and a rope bridge, the castaways would be able to view a memory puzzle featuring fifteen tiles with symbols. Once they'd memorized the puzzle's layout, the castaways would have to return back to the beginning of the watercourse and recreate the puzzle on a blank grid, with the first person to correctly recreate the grid winning immunity. The castaways would be able to visit their reference puzzle as many times as they wanted, and should they call Jeff over to confirm their layout and be wrong, they would also have to successfully traverse the watercourse before continuing in the competition.
Tom was the first to scramble to and from his reference puzzle, assembled his top row of five tiles before returning to the reference puzzle a second time. Jen quickly assembled all fifteen of her pieces, but seemed unsure of them, opting to return to the reference puzzle rather than call out that she was done. With Tom struggling with the bridge, Ian was the first to call out that he was done, only to have Jeff inform him that he had gotten it wrong. Tom was the next to call out that he was done, only to have Jeff also inform him that he was wrong. After revisiting his reference puzzle and making some changes, Ian called Jeff back over a second time, but was once again informed that he was incorrect. Finally, Tom revisited his reference puzzle and also called Jeff over for a second time, and after verifying that his puzzle was indeed correct, Jeff proclaimed Tom to be the challenge's winner, granting him immunity from the evening's upcoming Tribal Council vote and securing his position in the game's Final 4.
Once the tribe returned to camp, Tom and Ian still feared that the women would ally and oust Ian. During a conversation with Ian, Katie told him that she had decided that she "would not make any promises to anyone," putting his future in doubt.
At the evening's Tribal Council, Caryn appeared to decide that if she was going to exit the game, she was going to go down swinging. Launching into a lecture, Caryn described how Ian's promises to Katie conflicted with his comments that Caryn, Tom and himself would be the game's Final 3 contestants and detailed her "revelation" that Tom and Ian were running the game.
The comments opened the door to a bunch of squabbling. Tom attempted to explain that the reason Gregg was voted out of the game was because Caryn had told Tom that Katie and Gregg were planning to vote out Tom once Caryn was gone (a statement that by all accounts, was correct), only to have a desperately scrambling Caryn feign astonishment about Tom's comment and gasp that "Oh my gosh, you are such a liar!" Desperate to stir up emotions, Caryn also attempted to make an issue of Ian's last-minute notification to Katie that the threesome would be targeting Gregg at previous Tribal Council session.
In the end however, her survival attempts fell well short, with the four other castaways deciding to vote Caryn out of the competition in a 4-1 decision, making her the sixteenth contestant to be eliminated from Survivor: Palau's million dollar competition. Survivor: Palau will conclude this Sunday, with a two-hour 8-10PM ET/PT finale that will be followed by a one-hour live reunion broadcast.