On Day 17, a boat was sent to Chan Loh beach. A note was passed to Chan Loh's members, instructing them to gather their supplies in preparation of the merge. The boat then ferried them over to Gondol beach where a feast was served in celebration of the merge.
The tribe was divided down original tribal lines, with Brains and Brawn (with Julia Sokolowski) both vying for Michele Fitzgerald, Nick Maiorano, and Tai Trang's votes. Debbie Wanner put up an aggressive approach for the votes, and rubbed the potential allies, as well as her own alliance the wrong way. At the first individual Immunity Challenge, Nick won and protected himself from elimination. He and Michele then discussed the pros and cons of siding with either faction. The three Beauties decided to join Brawn in blindsiding Aubry Bracco at the upcoming Tribal Council. However, Jeff Probst paid Dara a visit with Dr. Rupert. The tribe was given a medical checkup following multiple reports of injury at the site of the Immunity Challenge. Tai, Scot Pollard, and Aubry were given the all-clear, but Neal Gottlieb was put up for further medical scrutiny. While a growth on his back was deemed to be little more than an off-putting sight, an infection on his knee sounded the alarm. The potentially crippling infection forced the medical team to pull Neal from the game. Neal became the first juror of the season. By virtue of the evacuation, Tribal Council was cancelled for the day.
The Women Align
The Brains reel from the shock of losing one of their own, which effectively puts them in the minority against the Beauty and Brawn supermajority. The first post-merge Reward Challenge is conducted. The team of Debbie, Julia, Nick, Scot, and Tai emerge victorious and win for themselves ice-cream delivered to them at camp. While the fivesome enjoy and bond over their reward considerately so as to not offend the losers, Kyle Jason notices the quietness and "allows" them to enjoy the ice-cream as loudly as possible. Michele states that Jason's assertive nature may prove to be his detriment, and slightly dislodges her trust in his alliance. Additionally, after three girls and Tai head out to sea to row for leisure, Nick becomes paranoid of an all girl's alliance forming and confronts Julia. Cydney Gillon is offended by Nick's unbased accusations, and calls him out in front of the men.
At the Immunity Challenge, members of the supposedly tight alliance of seven drop out in order to feast on fast food served by Jeff. In the end, after a grueling forty minutes, Tai wins immunity over Cydney. While Nick tries to pull Aubry in to the split vote, Cydney has different ideas. She pulls aside Aubry and Debbie, and Julia and Michele in separate discussions. The girls join her alliance, though Julia and Michele do so in trepidation. At the first post-merge Tribal Council, Tai spills the beans on the existence of a super idol which can be played after the votes have been read under certain provisions, alarming Jason and Scot. The pot is further stirred when the women band together, and, with Joe del Campo's vote, blindside Nick. The tribe is thoroughly unsettled as tension fills.
In an attempt to make life miserable for the women, Jason and Scot hatch a plan to hide the camp ax and machete from the tribe. Unfazed by the sabotage, the women and Joe recover and find another way to go about their daily living. Scot is irked by the lack of impact caused by the sabotage, and proceeds to extinguish the campfire with the camp's canteen water. Determined to spite the men, the group manages to rekindle the fire.
At the Reward Challenge, the animosity within the tribe reaches an all-time high as the teams divide by gender, with Julia flipping from the women to join the three men after Joe had sat out. The men and Julia win Chinese takeout. Aubry finds Julia's lack of allegiance disturbing, and begins campaigning against her. However, Debbie is insistent that Julia's flip at the challenge made zero impact to the elements of the game, which upsets Aubry.
The Immunity Challenge, Backed Up, saw a close fight for immunity with the lead switching between multiple castaways at different points of the challenge. Ultimately, Julia tipped her blocks and sounded the gong first, winning herself three more days in the game. With her plan thoroughly thwarted, Aubry considered other options. Worried that Debbie might continue leaking information to Julia and inadvertently to the men, Aubry considered her a loose cannon and conveyed her opinions to Cydney, who agreed. They took the plan to Michele, who was also up for blindsiding Debbie. However, Joe was adamant about staying loyal to the alliance and refused to vote against her. This threw a spanner in the works, and the threesome had to approach double agent Julia for her vote. Julia was satisfied by the offer, and the four finalized the plan.
At a tumultuous Tribal Council, idols were revealed and last-minute plans were discussed. Ultimately, the three men lost Julia's vote, which went to Debbie. The super idol did not come into play, and Debbie was blindsided 4-3-2.
The morning after, Scot approaches Aubry with an offer. He states that the men will stop wreaking havoc if she decides to join them in voting Cydney out at the next Tribal Council. Aubry decides to stay true to the women, and decides to reject the offer without informing him.
At the next Reward Challenge, the castaways were given a chance to choose one out of three rewards to compete for - food in the form of a burger and beer; love in the form of letters from home; or an advantage in the form of an unrevealed Extra Vote. The challenge, aptly titled Free Will, culminated with Julia winning her letter by outlasting Joe, Michele indulging in a burger after defeating Jason and Scot, and Tai winning the Extra Vote by enduring the strain longer than Aubry and Cydney. The men rejoiced when they saw that one of their own had won, and were especially happy to know that their primary target, Cydney, had lost out on the reward and was vulnerable if she failed to win immunity.
Upon the tribe's return to camp, Tai followed his note to Tree Mail to retrieve his Extra Vote parchment. Later, Aubry meets up with Tai to discuss strategy. She attempts to pull him to the women by empathizing with him, believing that the both of them came into the game as dark horses. Tai's walls come down, and he is open to working with Aubry, who he finds to have a great personality. He finds himself in an internal conflict of whether to play strategically and to follow the men, or to play morally and to flip to the women.
The Immunity Challenge, This Much, was a brutal test of endurance and pushed the castaways to their physical limits. The women hoped for a win to open their options, but Jason won out and necessitated for more scrambling on the women alliance's behalf. While the women weigh their options, the three men believe that their bond is tight and can pull in Julia to seal Aubry's fate. Tai is upset that he did not get a say in deciding who goes, but bottles his emotions. Julia schemes with the men to put herself in a better position. Jason and Scot assure Julia that they will blindside Tai down the road to give the three of them an equal chance at winning the game. To flush the idol for the women, double agent Julia then tells the men that the girls were piling their votes on Tai, and informs him to play his idol. In a last-ditch attempt at securing the numbers, Aubry approaches Tai one last time before that night's Tribal Council. She rats Julia's duplicity to him, and plays mind games by telling him that the men were secretly scheming against him. Before leaving for the elimination ceremony, an immune Jason passes his idol to Scot and the two men are confident that Tai will remain loyal.
At Tribal Council, the proceedings are generally straightforward up until the vote, with Aubry, Scot, and Tai put on the chopping block for her strategic deviousness and physical prowess, his status as a member of the men's alliance, and to flush an idol respectively. Before the votes are read, Julia urges Tai to play his idol in order to flush it. Scot instead warns Tai against using the idol so that the super idol can be formed. Tai keeps his idol unplayed, much to Julia's dismay. The votes are tallied, and Scot is revealed to have the majority of the votes. He looks to Tai and expects him to play his idol. Confidence turns to panic and desperation when Tai hesitates. Scot's fate is sealed when Jeff snuffs his torch following a 4-2-2 vote, leading to an unprecedented blindside and casting Jason and Julia to the minority.
Jason, Julia, and Michele return to camp floored by the voting results. Jason is riled up by Tai's betrayal of the alliance and vowed to avenge himself and Scot, and Julia and Michele are disappointed to have been left out of the loop. The next day, Tai hoped to mend connections with Jason by apologizing to him, but Jason finds his apology disingenuous and dismisses it.
The Reward Challenge, The Hook, paired the castaways to compete for a helicopter tour of Koh Rong, finishing with a feast at a nearby island. By random draw, Jason was ineligible to compete for reward, and ultimately Cydney and Michele pulled off a close win over Joe and Tai. They were given the chance to choose one person to join them on the reward, and they selected Aubry. The three women were able to let bygones be bygones and Michele felt welcome into the women's alliance yet again. The trio discuss the best case scenario for them, and decide that they would use Tai for the next vote, only to blindside him later in the game to give all three an equal shot at winning a jury vote.
Back at camp, Jason and Julia are dejected to find themselves with a stubborn Joe and their nemesis Tai. Julia is confident that Michele will flip over to their duo, and Jason believes that his prior connection with Cydney can help them pull in her vote. They decide to lay low until the women return from reward. When they do, the two waste no time in strategizing with Cydney and Michele and make their case that Tai is too much of a threat to take to the end, with a Hidden Immunity Idol and a hitherto secret advantage to boot. The women weigh their options.
The final seven then head to the Immunity Challenge, Running the Numbers. The challenge required the castaways to memorize as many numbers and symbols as they possibly could in order to find the correct combination to unlock a box, after which they had to form a word with the ten puzzle pieces it contained. Jason takes the early lead, but falters when he fails to translate his numbers onto his board. Julia is the first to solve her combination, and gains an edge on Michele. However, she is unable to solve her puzzle, and Michele figures the ten-letter word out first to win immunity.
Fear Enters the Game
Jason and Julia continue to scheme with Cydney and Michele. They decide to pile their votes against Tai.. Meanwhile, the majority alliance of five planned to switch the vote from physical threat Jason to strategic challenge threat Julia, who also happened to have little to no role in gunning against any of the jurors. Cydney and Michele propose to the alliance to throw Tai's name out should Jason and Julia ask for updates. Michele was saddened to hear that her closest friend and ally was on the chopping block, and strongly considered flipping in order to save her. Jason and Julia make the argument that it would be a prime opportunity to flush Tai's idol. Cydney and Michele convene and discuss their options. The decision is left open-ended as the castaways head to Tribal Council.
The two outsiders continue their plea, and throw Aubry and Tai under the bus. Ultimately, Michele makes the tough decision to vote against her friend, and the majority alliance sticks together to vote off Julia. After the vote, Jason is left firmly at the bottom of the tribe.
Tensions Run High
After Julia's elimination, Jason felt completely isolated from the rest of the tribe, believing that the majority alliance was completely against working with him. He encouraged Cydney and Michele to flip from their alliance, but this was ultimately ineffective.
The next day, Joe confronted Jason, and called him out for his dour attitude at camp. Jason had stopped working entirely, as he believed that it would not benefit him in any way.
The Reward Challenge, Weight and Sea, culminated with the team of Jason, Michele and Tai winning a trip to an animal shelter after capitalizing on their one-ball lead. At the reward, while the trio enjoyed their meal and the time spent with animals, they kept their minds in the game despite not strategizing with one another. Michele believed that Jason being overly saccharine at the reward was an attempt at earning the majority alliance's favor. Meanwhile, Tai saw Michele to be a huge social threat, and decided that he would use his Extra Vote to orchestrate her elimination.
Back at camp, tensions were running high as Joe rubbed Cydney the wrong way with his commanding nature. As Cydney did not like being bossed around, Joe persistently telling her to tend to the campfire irritated her. She confided in Aubry, who agreed with her.
Jason's Last Stand
The Immunity Challenge, Got a Hunch, tested the castaways' balance and agility. The lead switched multiple times, with Joe initially holding the lead but losing his stack after a lapse in concentration. Eventually, Jason and Cydney were the only two with any shot at immunity. Jason gained a one-up on Cydney when he placed his final block first, but after a last-minute trip-up, Cydney was able to inch her way onto the finishing tile to win immunity. Knowing he was on the bottom of the tribe, Jason returned to camp despondent with his immunity loss.
The majority alliance congregates in the water. Before Michele joins them, Tai takes the chance to throw her name on the chopping block, believing that the social threat had to be taken out before it was too late. However, Michele joined the foursome shortly after, and Tai did not have a chance to explain himself. Cydney did not appreciate Tai dictating the vote, and later spilled the beans to Michele. Meanwhile, Tai believed that Michele would be the next to go, and tried to convince Jason to vote against her. Jason's faith in Tai was long lost after the latter's long history of flips, and did not accept the offer.
Cydney finds time to discuss the vote with Aubry. She makes the case for Michele, and adamantly believed that Jason had to go. Aubry broke down in the midst of the stress, and was caught in a dilemma. She weighed her options, but did not know whether to follow her allies or to preserve Tai's trust in her.
At Tribal Council, Tai believed that Michele had always been on the outs of her alliances. Michele repeatedly retorted his arguments, stating that she had been a part of the women's alliance before he had ever joined. He began to unravel under the heated accusations. Tai used his Extra Vote, convinced that it would seal Michele's fate. However, his plan was thwarted as the other four members of the alliance stuck together and sent Jason packing in a 4-2-1 vote. Tai left Tribal Council completely blindsided by his own allies, and feared for his longevity in the game.
Let Bygones be Bygones
Returning to camp from Tribal Council, Tai felt Michele's wrath after he cast his extra vote against her. The pair get into a cold war with each other, and the majority alliance decides that Tai was now on the bottom of the pecking order.
The next day, the tribe competed in 5x5 for a trip to a Survivor spa, along with a feast on location. With the exception of Joe, the tribe made quick work of the jungle portion of the challenge, wasting no time with retrieving all of their bags. However, their inaccuracy during the sandbag-tossing portion of the challenge caused them to be eliminated from the challenge. They had to wait for Joe, who at that point was the only person still eligible to compete, to return from the jungle with his final bag. Joe took advantage of the fact that he was the only person left tossing, and managed to score two lucky shots to win the rejuvenating reward. He picked his ally from day one, Aubry, to join him on a reward. Jeff burdened him with the choice of another person to join him, and Joe decided to let Aubry make the decision. She picked Cydney, and Michele felt that Aubry's choice made it clear that she was now on the bottom with Tai.
While Aubry, Cydney, and Joe are at the spa resort, Michele and Tai decide to bury the hatchet and make a finals deal with each other. They decide that Aubry was too much of a threat to take to the end, and affirm that she was their next target. The pair hoped to secure Cydney's vote.
Aubry, Cydney, and Joe enjoy their lavish reward, but Cydney is concerned when she sees Joe gorging on the beef satays. Joe then states that he was happy with his core alliance, stating that both Aubry and Cydney were worthy opponents. Aubry realizes that taking Cydney to the end would be too much of a risk if she wanted to emerge victorious, and plots a way to take her out.
When the trio returns to camp, Aubry decides to make time to do damage control with Tai. Tai gets emotional after she is able to sympathize with his style of gameplay. Cydney sees the two of them chatting much too closely, and realized that something was amiss. She consults Michele and the latter confirms that the two were still tight together, and that Michele had Tai was now with her.
Another One Bites the Dust
Later that day, Joe feels bloated. He had been having trouble defecating and urinating ever since the reward, and this concerned the tribe. He called in the medical team, and Dr. Joe Rowles decided that he was safe to continue with the game, but prescribed drugs to help him cope with the pain. Joe enjoyed temporary relief, but suffered a relapse the next day. The pain got worse, and the tribe feared the worst - a third evacuation. An emotional Dara sat together around the campfire and braced themselves for Joe's departure under a striking sunset. Joe's condition plummets and the medical team is called in again, with Jeff accompanying them.
Dr. Joe decided that keeping Joe in the game would be too much of a risk, fearing that his bladder might burst and result in kidney damage. He pulls Joe from the game, and Aubry finds herself in familiar territory, losing yet another ally to an untimely medical evacuation.
The Final Four
An Unprecedented Twist
Star of the Show
At Final Tribal Council, the jurors criticized Tai for his fickle gameplay, and favored Michele's social nature, despite her lack of major moves, to Aubry's effective strategy, which was overshadowed by her neurotic and controlling behavior. The jury of seven ultimately awarded the title of Sole Survivor to Michele, who won in a 5-2-0 vote.
- The tribe's name was suggested by Joe del Campo.
- Dara is the third merged tribe after Dangrayne and Orkun to have members who never visited Tribal Council during the pre-merge phase of the game. Michele Fitzgerald and Nick Maiorano never went to Tribal Council until Dara's first.
- Just like Dangrayne, the first castaway voted out of the tribe was a first-time Tribal Council attendee, in this case Nick.
- Dara is the third merged tribe, after Forza and Huyopa, to have its lowest-placing member be removed from the tribe by means other than being voted out, and the second, after Forza, to have their lowest-placing member be evacuated.
- Each combination of gender, original tribe, and post-switch tribe has exactly one representative in Dara, except for a female castaway from original To Tang and post-switch Gondol.
- The members of Dara wrote their names on the flag in the colors of the their original tribes: Julia Sokolowski, Michele Fitzgerald, Nick Maiorano, and Tai Trang from Gondol wrote their names in yellow; Cydney Gillon, Kyle Jason, and Scot Pollard from To Tang in red; Aubry Bracco, Debbie Wanner, Joe del Campo, and Neal Gottlieb from Chan Loh in blue.
- Out of all the tribes in Survivor history, Dara is the only tribe to experience multiple medical evacuations.