Warning - Survivor Update (Avert Your Eyes)
Saturday, May 06 2006 @ 03:39 PM UTC
Contributed by: Don Winner
By Steve Rogers, 05/05/2006
For the second straight Tribal Council session, the former Casaya tribal members that had controlled who was voted out of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island since the tribal merge ended up blindsiding one of their own, resulting in Shane Powers, a 35-year-old entertainment company owner from Los Angeles, CA, becoming the twelfth castaway eliminated from the game
Thursday night's CBS broadcast of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island's twelfth episode began with the Gitanos tribe having returned from the Night 30 Tribal Council session in which the game's former Casaya members were forced to finally turn on one of their own, resulting in Courtney Marit being voted out of the competition. But while the five member Casaya alliance had turned on one of it's own, the vote hadn't gone as Shane -- who had been led to believe that his allies would be following through with his plan to send Danielle home -- had expected. Nor had it gone as Terry Dietz, the sole remaining La Mina member who thought he'd formed a new Final 4 alliance in which he and Danielle, Courtney, and Cirie Fields would be casting their votes for Aras Baskauskas, had expected.
Instead, fearing that many castaways, especially Shane, had come to see the unpopular Courtney as an ideal Final 2 partner, Cirie had secretly informed Aras of the plan to vote him out. The clandestine move essentially forced both Aras and Danielle to both agree to her suggestion that the threesome instead secretly target Courtney and send her home in a 3-2-1 non-majority vote (had either Danielle or Aras refused to go along with Cirie's plan or attempted to disclose it to anyone else, as the vote's original targets, either one could have instead easily found themselves going home.)
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With the tribe having returned to camp, Shane immediately approached both Aras and Cirie for an explanation of why Courtney had gone home instead of Danielle. Having known that Shane would be likely to pounce on them as soon as possible, Cirie and Aras had already fabricated a story that just before the tribe had left for Tribal Council, Danielle had approached Aras and Cirie with "news" that Courtney was trying to convince Danielle and Cirie to team with Terry and herself and vote for Aras. Since Shane had been far away from camp at the moment, there had been no time to inform him on the change. "Coming back from Tribal was a little bit uncomfortable, because Shane wanted to go to the Final 2 with Courtney." Cirie explained the next morning. "So to reassure Shane, Aras and I came up with a story that we couldn't tell him we decided to vote Courtney because we didn't have time."
Although the cover story seemed pretty weak, Shane appeared to believe it and, after being assured that Danielle would still be the next former Casaya member sent home, quickly began embracing the upside of Courtney's departure. "Man, it's so nice not having that moron her running her mouth," he bragged as the castaways sat around the campfire after their return from Tribal Council. "I'm just so happy that chick's gone... [it] couldn't have happened to a loopier broad."
Meanwhile, already his individual Immunity Challenge domination had allowed him to continue to remain in the competition, Terry was lamenting the collapse of what he'd thought would be his Final 3 alliance. "Last night was the fifth failure for me in trying to get numbers on my side," he explained the next morning. "Danielle and myself, we were going to take Courtney to the Final 3... we shook hands on it, we looked each other in the eyes... but I was lied to, so as far as I'm concerned, Danielle's the next one on the [alliance's] chopping block, that's fine with me, [she's] not my problem any more."
Later on Day 31, the castaways gathered for the Reward Challenge, a four-round super-challenge combined elements from several of the game's previous challenges. Shane failed to get out the first round, eliminated when Cirie was able to snag the final fourth place spot by digging out her bag before he could. However Cirie didn't make it much further, quickly falling behind during the second round mini-obstacle course that required the castaways to untie a wooden snake. Danielle followed next, getting eliminated in the three round's fish untying competition. That left Terry and much younger would-be rival Aras (can you truly term it a rivalry if one side never wins?) to face off in the final round. Needless to say, Terry once again emerged victorious, winning the challenge handily when Aras dropped his bag during the final round's tower crawl.
As the challenge's winner, Terry got to "allocate" how much time each castaway would get to spend with their loved one who emerged from the surrounding brush. Two castaways would get to go on an overnight villa trip with their loved ones, one would get to have their loved one spend a night at the Gitanos camp, and a fourth would get to exchange a brief hug with their loved one. The fifth castaway would get nothing more than the ability exchange a few words over the twenty foot distance that separated them from their loved one.
After selecting his wife Trish for the villa trip, Terry decided that Shane and his son Boston would accompany them. Then, feeling that it was more important that Cirie get to spend time with her husband H.B. than it was for either Aras or Danielle to spend time with their mothers, Terry decided that H.B. would get to spend a night at the Gitanos camp. Aras was left to exchange a brief embrace with his mother while Danielle -- who Terry still resented due to her previous day's betrayal of their alliance agreement -- was not only denied the chance to touch her mother but was banished to Exile Island.
Later that day, Danielle, having little else to focus on during her Exile Island stay, made it clear that there was no love lost between her and Terry. "Terry, he's out for me -- he's pissed off because I basically ruined his strategy plan to take Courtney to the Final 2, and you know what, I don't care," she vented .
Back at camp, H.B. was having a hard time believing just how primitive the castaways lived -- and how far Cirie, who like himself, had never even previously been camping, had adjusted to camp life. "Seeing H.B. here green, not really knowing anything, it helped me a little bit to appreciate how far I've come," the self-admitted couch potato gushed to the cameras. "It almost makes me feel like I've kind of underestimated myself for 35 years. And now it's like damn, you can do anything."
Meanwhile over at the Panamanian villa, Terry and Shane were enjoying the company of their loved ones -- and Shane was surprised to discover that Terry wasn't even the most competitive member of his family. "The thing that was really weird is that Terry's wife Trish is more competitive than Terry, so she was the one who wanted to talk about strategy," Shane explained after Trish had shifted the conversation to a discussion about Shane's endgame strategy. "What a lovely woman, but unbelievably competitive."
The next morning, Terry, Shane, and Cirie's loved ones said their goodbyes and Terry and Shane returned to Gitanos camp. As waded in from the transport boat, Terry couldn't resist reducing the conversation to a locker room level. "There wasn't any sleeping on my part," he bragged after Aras asked if the pair had enjoyed a good night's sleep. Afterward, Terry -- claiming that they had been "so clear to me" -- explained the reasoning that had led to his previous day's loved ones decisions. Aras objected to Terry's logic that spouses took priority over mothers, sparking a heated exchange between the pair.
Afterward, both Aras and Terry claimed to have gained an edge from the argument. "What he's doing is he's feeding my fire and the more he does it, the more I want to beat him," Aras boasted during confessional. "I like the fact that Aras came unglued, it showed a part of him that I haven't seen and maybe a little crack that I could take advantage of,"Terry bragged during his own confessional.
The next day, Danielle rejoined the castaways after they assembled to compete in the Immunity Challenge, a rather non-physical competition in which each castaway had to stand on top of a 20-foot pole and, using a bucket and rope, fill the bucket with water from the lagoon in which the poles had been erected. After pulling the bucket back up to them, the castaways would then attempt to pour it into a bamboo chute that had been strapped alongside the bottom of their pole. As the water filled the chute, a flag would rise out of the chute, and when the flag had risen high enough, the castaway would be able to reach down and grab it. The first castaway to grab their flag and raise it above their head would win immunity.
While Terry got off to an early lead, Danielle, Aras, and Cirie all began to close the gap until Danielle and Terry were eventually neck and neck. However managed to pull back into a small lead, with Aras just behind. In the end, Terry managed to win yet again, extending his undefeated individual Immunity Challenge victory streak to five.
Once the castaways returned to camp, Terry took a moment to reflect that given he still also possessed the hidden Immunity Idol that he'd found on Exile Island and had to be played no later than the Final 4 Tribal Council, he was now assured of making it to the final Survivor: Panama Immunity Challenge that will allow its winner to determine the competition's Final 2. "Winning the Immunity Challenge today was huge because it doesn't just win me [a spot in the Final 4], it vaults me into the Final 3," he gushed. "I have the hidden Immunity Idol [so] I don't even have to show up the next Immunity Challenge, what a relief."
Meanwhile, Shane wandered around camp confidently, secure in his belief that based on his earlier discussions with Aras and Cirie, they were still planning on following through with his plan to vote Danielle off at the evening's upcoming Tribal Council session. "I'm in a great space, I've set myself up so that I'm safe and I feel like things are going to be solid," he boasted during confessional.
Also believing that Aras and Cirie planned to follow through a plan to vote off Danielle, Terry began eying Shane as his new best Final 2 partner. "I would love to take Shane to the Final 2, not that he doesn't work, but my case speaks for itself... that I think would be a no brainer even for a heavily loyal Casaya jury," he explained to the cameras.
At the same time, Danielle and Aras firmed up their plans to follow through with a plan to, unbeknownst to Shane, team up with Cirie and send him home. "I was in an alliance with Shane, but I found out [from Cirie that] he wanted to take Courtney to the Final 2, and so that pretty much puts me off the hook, I no longer feel any obligation [to him]," Aras explained during confessional. "I have a strong bound with Aras and Cirie, Cirie especially," Danielle explained during her own confessional. "I just trust Cirie with my life."
Sure enough, Cirie ultimately proved herself worthy of Danielle's trust, deciding that although Danielle would probably be able to beat her in the Final 2 jury voting if they both made it that far, her alliance with Aras and Danielle was the strongest alliance she had, resulting in Shane -- and, once again, Terry -- being blindsided by a 3-1-1 Tribal Council vote that eliminated Shane from the game. (for reasons unclear, Terry -- perhaps hopeful that Danielle and Cirie might somehow still follow through with his own failed plan from the previous Tribal Council session -- once again cast his ballot for Aras.)
As the twelfth castaway voted out of Survivor: Panama, Shane now joins Courtney, Bruce Kanegai, Sally Schumann, and Austin Carty as the fifth member of the seven person jury that will decide which Final 2 member wins Survivor: Panama's $1,000,000 grand prize.
Survivor: Panama's special two-hour finale will air on Sunday, May 14 at 8PM ET/PT. As usual, a live reunion special will follow the finale. However in an apparent departure from every Survivor finale since the show's The Australian Outback, the finale will not begin with four castaways remaining. Instead, Survivor: Panama will air one more regular broadcast on Thursday, May 11 at 8PM. ET/PT.