Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Survivor Exile Island - Episodes 8 and 9

Welcome back gang!

Well I didn't have time for last weeks reality show summaries, so I will now give you a double feature for Survivor.

Epsiode 8

Episode 8 opens up with the previouslies and the credits as always. Now the tribes have been merged, at least in the technical legal sense, into Gitanos. This means the usual pattern must be altered as we can't go to the losing tribe first.

You may recall that Nick was voted out in Epsiode 7, and we open this episode with La Mina down 6-3 to Casya. Wait, didn't I just say the tribe merge had occured, well yet is has, but the two tribes are definitely playing the "two tribes living in one camp" style.

We go to the post tribal council reaction, and there really isn't much comment on Nick's departure, instead the focus is on Austin, You see, Austin played the "Act Weak" strategy at last weeks immunity challenge so as not to look like an immunity threat. That would have been an acceptable strategy if Austiin had not opened his mouth at tribal council and proclaimed what he had done. I think part of a secret strategy is keeping it secret.

But's lets look at it, Austin has nothing to gain, if he got voted out last week, he would not have made jury, and thus no one left would really care what his strategy was, if he didn't get voted out last week (which is what happened) he doesn't gain anything. In fact since he is left in the game it might come back to bite him that he revealed. And you may recall he revealed this before last week's vote, so in addition to their being nothing to gain, he could have very well wrote his own eviction notice with that move. He explained that he thought he WAS going last week, and he thought he didn't want the other players to remember him as a weekling, and to appreciate his straqgety making skills. Fine, you want that you keep it a secret and let them find out as they watch the show.

Therefore the first tribe life segment is of Casaya discussing Austin and using names like "slimeball" and "untrustworthy". Yep, bad move indeed, In other news, Austin and Terry are talking about how "all we need to do is get 2 of them to switch sides and we can retake control" Now I realize they are madly grapsing for straws or a strategy that may keep La Mina in the game a bit longer, and honestly I don't know how I would try to turn the tables either against a very tight knit Casaya. Wow, a few weeks back who would have though the words Casaya and tight-knit would go together. Guys, you could not get 1 Casays to flop last week, now this time you sound optimistic about getting 2, I realize this is last call desperation strategy, but I don't give it good odds.

We then cut to the reward challenge.

Reward Challenge #7 (there was no reward in Epsiode 7)
Prize: Breakfast in Bed, and send two losers to Exile Island

Okay, the reward as described by Jeff was both true and misleading. He inidcated the winning tribe would be taken away from camp where they would have a bed and they would have breakfast. At first I thought they were taking them to a bed and breakfast for an overnight stay. Survivor has given this type of reward before, so it seemed reasonable.

The challenge:

The group would be randomly divided into three tribes of three. Each tribe gets a boat and bin of coconuts. The bin of coconuts is located a ways up on the beach. At jeff's go you move the cocounts by hand from you bin to the boats. Here is where things get interesting, you may deposit the coconuts into any boat you like. The more cocnuts that wind up in a team's boat, the harder the remainer of the challenge will be, so you want to unload your coconuts in the other tribes boats. There is an incentive to play fast as you are allowed to continue into the second phase of the challenge as soon as you have moved all your coconuts from your bin into the boats, just don't drop on on the beach as you will have to pick it up. Once you have moved the coconuts, the three tribe members get into the boat, and row the boat to a station teathered out in the water. At the station they will retreive a tribe flag and a fishing net. Place both in the boat, and row back to shore. Once back at shore, they have to load the cocnuts into the fishing net, and place the net, coconuts, and flag into their bin. First trobe to finish gets reward.

The teams are
1: Shane/Terry/Austin
2: Sally/Bruce/Aras
3: Ciri/Danielle/Courtney

Wow that doesn't look balancd at all. The challenge starts and at first there are the scenes of tribes ditching nuts into the others boats, but soon we see teams 2 and 3 teamiing up with the plan being to load Team 1 (the alpha male) boat up as much as possible Therefore while Team 1 is loading some nuts into both boats, teams 2 and 3 both turn to focus on team 1's boat. I don't know if it was part of team 2's plans, but there were some lane markers on the ground, so evidentally the tribe had to rush to the end of the lane marker before turning towards a boat. The unintedned consequence is both the other two tribes had finished moving nuts and had left the shore beofre Team 3 had moved all their nuts, forcing team 3 to load up their own boat. The female team (Ciri/Danielle/and Courtney) had not left shore, I think by the time the other two teams had returned and were rendered a non issue, The alpha males (team 1) returned to shore first, but decided to move the nuts back to the bin in two trips instead of one, which would seem to indicate that they either overestimated their lead, or thought the presumeably weaker team would do the same thing. But Team 2 hauled the net full of all their nuts at one time, and were thus gaining on Team 1 unti it was noticed that Sally (who was apparently in charge of Team 2's flag) absent-mindedly left the flag back in the boat. They tried to make it suspenseful as team 1 went back to get the second load of nuts, and Sally went back to get the flag, but really there was no contest as Sally was able to return with the much lighter flag sooner than the guys with the nuts. With that Team 2 (Bruce/Aras/Sally) take reward.

Jeff tells them that they do in fact get to send two to Exile Island, but it is not a free choice, they must choose one person from each of the two losing teams. They consult and I think Aras acts as group spokesperson and chooses Austin and Danielle. From a strategy standpoint, I would have sent two Casaya members to Exile Island,for the sole purpose that you don't want to give LA Mina anymore time to find that secret idol. Yeah, we as an audience know Terry has the idol, but they don't know that yet. We know that it really doesn't matter who they send, but they dont know that. The only reason they didn't pick Shane was either becuase they are scared of revenge from a psychotic Shane who looks put out enough that he didn't win the challenge, or they want to some how stick it to La Mina. The all girl tribe was all Casaya so they had to choose on of their own there, and they apparently chose Danielle because she could hold up better. They are fixated on Exile Island bas being a bad place, a punishment. So what to they do, give Austin his frst crack at Exile Island The strategist in me says they should have sent Shane instead. The two Casaya then could have ripped that island apart on their (wild goose) hunt for the idol.

So Austin and Danielle are loaded onto the ferry to Exile Island, and the rest are sent back to camp, witht he note that the boat will come for the breakfast in bed winners, in the morning. No helpme out but I though the big attraction of breakfast in bed is not having to wake up and get out of bed to have breakfast. Let alone this precludes them getting what sounded like a night out of camp in a real bed. But, whatever, we'll go with it.

The next day at Gitanos we are treated to a montage of the winners eagerly awaiting their reward and the fact that the boat seems to be coming later in the day than they had expected. It is raining as usual. The boat finally comes to take them to their reward. They are deposited on a sandbar in the middle of nowhere, on this piece of land is an open side canopy tent, containing a king size bed. Might I remind you it is still raining. They go to the bed and find out the sheets and covers are very wet. They start to sound really bummed about this reward. They all climb into the wet bed, and are in fact served breakfast in bed. It starts with just pastries but soon moves into a full hot brekafast. After all the meal is the big part of this reward, the bed part is just campy. They could have had breakfast at a table under a ccanopy tent just as easy.

Terry uses the time to socailly chat up Shane, where Shane seems to reveal the final four, at least assuming Shane is telling the truth, Whatever, it make Terry think he has bargaining chips now, he just doesn't know how to play them. The breakfast crew return sooner than expected and its back to tribe lefe.

Let me just say the rest of the tribe life segments in this episode are all about the same. They start with Terry trying to convince those who are on the bottom of the Casaya pecking order that they should defect, this doesn't work.

He then decided to join Austin in what is seeming to become Tribe Blabbermouth, and Terry switches to revealing he has the Exile Island idol, and whats more he is willing to give it away to furher LA Mina's chances. Let me just say that is about the dumbest idea I have ever heard, I am fully convied that Terris challenge ability and that idol are the only thing keeping him in the game. La Mina is sinking faster than the titanic. The thought he would just give away such a powerful item as that is mind boggling, especially as their seems to be nothing to gain by it. It reeks of desperation, but at least it will keep the audience interested at tribal council, and it will help to unnerve Casaya into thinking they may get one of their own back doored out of the game,

Our discussion about giving away the idol is intereupted by the immunity challenge.

Immunity Challenge #8
Challenge: Obstacle course
Round 1: All 9 compete, dig yourself through the sand and under a fence, first 6 under the fence and across the line advance.
Round 2: Start at a puzzle station, at go, open the puzzle station and solve a logic puzzle. (given a 3x3 grid and 4 clues, place the 9 different colored stones into their correct places) Once you solves the puzzle, then navigate a 3D maze of sortsw, then over a sand hill. First 3 across move to round 3.
Round 3: Cross over the water on a rope bridge, the trick is that there are no rungs to the brodge/ladder. You are issued two wood boards, and therefore need skill and balance to keep moving the two boards so that you can advance. Once over the bridge, jump into a swim through another body of water, over another snadhill and across another line, First 2 advance to Round 4.
Round 4: Naviagte through a tunnel, This tunnel is small enough that you have to crawl though and includes crossovers, as well aqs sections that require you to climb up and down to other levels. First one out of the tunnel and accorss the line wins immunity,

Not much to tell here, except that Casaya did not put a lot of effort into this one, and by the end of round 2, the three to advnace to round 3 were all La Mina. Sally and Terry made it to the final round, and Terry won the final round taking his second individual immunity in a row.

Back at camp, we learn that for some reason that is not clear Aras and not Shane is the big target on the Casaya side. Overall I think Shane may have punched himself a ticket to the Final 2, I mean who wouldn't want a psychotic maniac sitting next to them during final tribal council. I also think Shane overestimates his importance of the tribe, I mean its not hard to come up with the strategy of we have numbers, we just need to stick together. Then again how many dominate alliances in Survivor have not stuck together at some point causing their downfall.

We move to Tribal Concil which was not that interesting I don't recall any really probing questions, except that Jeff got Shane to once again prfess that he is 100% certain that his Casaya team is solid and inpenetrable.

We go to the vote, come back from the vote, and Aras and Austim are our two players, and it comes to no surprise the vote was strictly along tribal lines, and Austin gets voted out. Theproducers add some suspense, and show Austin appear to reach into his backpack for something, but never fear, the outcome that was pretty much suspected since the show began, and was cemeted at the IC occured, and Austin takes the walk to Loser Lodge, and La Minda now finds itself down 6-2 to Casaya. Will the streak continue? Read on to find out what happened in Epsiode 9.

Episode 9

Previsously - well just read above. The usual previsoulies are shown then the credits.

We check in with life at camp now thatg Austin is gone. Its pretty dull around camp. Terry tried to chat up Shane and Aras who in no uncertain terms tell Terry that the future of Gitanos does not have a place for Terry. Seriosuly Terry, trying to chat your way intoturning around a 6-2 deficit. Not gonna happen. Terry vows to kick Casaya butt every chance he gets from now on. Casaya is getting leary becuase of the immunity idol offers Terry made last episode, and they even stoop to searching throuhg Terry's bag to try to find (and steal??) the idol. They decide as a grup to make sure a Casaya person gets sent to Exile Island this week so that they can try to retreive the idol, and therefore prove that Terry doesn't have it. Aras boldly volunteers for this. (Fearing he may need it once La Mina is extinct? Wanting to earn points amongst Casays for being a team player?_

With that we head rapidly into Reward Challenge #8
The Prize: Video from home, PB&J sanwhiches and ice cold milk.
(Ya know, in Big Brother, that food reward would be construed as a punishment)

The challenge: The group will be randomly divided into two tribes of 4. Each tribe memebr will designate one person to ride the swing which will be controlled by the other three members using ropes. The idea is to manuever your swing rider around so that they can retrieve IN ORDER the 15 numbers flags on the posts surrounidng their swing-set. After each flag is retrieved, it must be inserted into the flag rack along one side of their swing set. The first team to have all 15 numbered flags into their flag rack in order wins. Oh, and if you knock a flag out of the rack the tribe must stop and put it back in beofre they can continue. Recall the three rope bearers cannot touch the flags, so they have to manuever their swinger to be able to retrieve and reinsert the flag.

We learn that all 4 on the winning team will win the reward, and they will chose 1 from the losing team to send to Exile Island,

Before Jeff even explains the challenge, he gathers them into a tent they have set up like a living room with a sofa, television and all, and each person gets a sneak peek at a prtion of their video. Jeff helps by getting the players to think about and comment about their strong family relationships. Right on cure the crocodile tears start forming, Then its out do do the challenge.

The teams are:
1: Terry, Bruce, Courtney, Sally
2: Aras, Shane, Ciri, Danielle

I think Courtney and Danielle were the swingers, and let me say as a ride enthusiast let me have a go at this thing, The flags were arranged to guarantee that the rider would be spinning and swinging wildly.

Both teams were doing faily well, excpet that Aras knocked one of the racked flags out of its holder, slowing down their team, then they knocked anohter flag out, which gave Terry/Bruce/Courntey and Sally a pretty easy win,

Bruce and Courtney have no trouble convinging Terry and Sally to agree to send Aras to Exile Island per tghe earlier discussions, and so Aras smugly leaves on the boat. Jeff then dismisses Shane, Ciri and Danielle saying the rest of the afternoon doesn't contain them.

We get a 15 second montage of the serving of the PB&J and milk, but get to see none of the videos. Instead we head back to Gitanos where Shane playing the role of tribe leader tries to convince the other two with hm that they gave up a rather small reward, and that it really isn't that big of a deal. Besides whats more interesting than videos from home than watching Shane deal with a medical issue in his private areas. Ciri as a nurse in real life was dratef to inform Shane that he is suffering a diaper rash from chafing in the genitle area, probably due to the fact his underclothes are wet, and he says he hasn't changed underwear since the game began. EWW! Too much information. At least it allows Ciri, and Danielle to laugh at his expense.

We soon see the winners return from camp, and immediately Danielle starts whining about not wanting to hear about how good the food was, and how full they are. Don't worry Danielle, they have a much bigger morale buster for you.

It seems that at the conclusion of the reward, Jeff gave each of the 4 winners a little something from home: their luxury item.

Remember whn all Survivor got to take one luxury item with them from the very beginning? That practice was curtailed, I think starting with Survivor 7. This is now Survivor 12,a nd it comes into play that luxury items may come into play as reward items. We learn:

Bruce - brought an artists sketchpad
Sally - brought a journal
Courtney - brought some firedancing equipment
Terry - brought an oversize American Flag.

We learn that Terry comes from a military family (no surprise there) and we learn that this particular flag was the casket flag from one of his family members. Wow, what a sentimental and irreplaceable item to bring as a luxury item. Sure you can get a memorial size flag from any good flag shop, but it still won't be THE memorial flag. I don't think I'd bring anything on Survivor that I'd be crushed if it was lost/destroyed. (Huge flood in S2, forest fire in S6 ring any bells???)

We get to see the hanging of the American Flag (there is your patriotic moment this season), and we get to see a little bit of each winner enjoying their luxury item. Did I mention that Bruce, who is an art teacher after all, is a good artist himself. Oh yeah, and we get some sour grapes from the losers, mostly if not all from Danielle. Surprise there.

Then Terry, who is my favorite survivor out there, despite of (and maybe because of) the hard road he has ahead of him. Well, Terry has just about zero game play skills. We know he is desperate to gtry to save La Mina (Why?) and of course himself. To save himself he needs to keep winning immunity challenges and keep the idol as long as he can. Why then is he showing the idol around. Saying you have the idol is one thing, showing it around, is another. I'm sure he is trying to firm up his position that he could casue a Casaya member to go home, but I don't see it working for him. Worse yet how went and showd Bruce where it was. I think this means that he and Bruce are seeing eye to eye but I hope that Terry either moved the idol to another secure location after Casaya said "No Deal!" or that Bruce really is trustworthy. Too big a chance to take with a miilion dollars ont he line I say, but it does open up another possibility that the idol could be stolen from Terry, leaving him high and dry when it comes time to play it,

Sally and Tery do to try to shop the idol around looking for people to defect to La Mina, but if it was useless when they were 2 down, its evem more uselss when they are three down, so why should they even care when they are 4 down.

Over on Exile Island, Aras is stoked, he quickly makes fire, boils water, sources food and is very pleased to be on Exile Island. Time to meditate never hurt anybody. He then gets the idol clues and gets quickly discouraged when the clues state the idol is hidden under a rock, and he learned that being like the 9th person send to Exile Island that the island has been picked over, and he can't be sure the rock is even over the idol anymore. He decides to quit looking, rationalizing his decision by saying "If Terry agrred too send me here that easily, he must know the idol is gone" I don't think thats ture, I mean since both La Mina were ont he same team, he had no choice but to send a Casaya to Exile, and therefore he didn't really care who went, knowing the idol was gone, made indifferce easier, yes, but he was still indifferent.

And we cut to the immunity challenge.
Immunity Challenge #9
Challenge: Its purely a game of memory and concentration. On Jeff's go, they can swim out and dive under water in the lake where there is a long underwater 'wall' upon whihc are posted 7 pictures. Once they think they have the photos memorizes, they can swim back up to shore to their answer station where they have to reconstruct the series of symbols, in order, on their puzzle station. It was not stated, but presumeed that as with past memory challenges if you mess up, you have to go take another look at the wall before you can enter a second guess.

Oh, but "Deal or No Deal!" This is "Challenge or No Challenge!" After the challenge is explained, each survivor is given both a nut and a shell. They can either elect to participate in the challenge, or, if they think they are safe from the vote, they can opt to voluntarily sit out this weeks challenge. If they choose to sit the challenge out, then they are allowed to go to a picnic table where there is a generous supply of cheeseburgers, french fries, and Cokes. Those that choose to feast can't start eating until the challenge starts, and must stop as soon as the challenge is over. (Or when the food runs out, which ever occurs first)

You elect to feast or challenge by showing either the shell (challenge) or nut (feast) when prompted, all players reval at once, ala paper-rock-scissors, and they can;t discuss it beofre deciding.

Jeff says to revel, and it is no surpise that Terry and Sally elect to partake in the immunity challenge, over at Casaya, Aras decided to take the challenge, while the rest of the Casaya lot opt to feast. Shoot Jeff could not even get the word Cheeseburger out when describing the food option when Casya had audibly stated their vote to eat.

So Jeff starts the challenge and tells the others they can start eating. The featers can see its oging to be a challenge to woof down as much food as they can before a vitor is announced. The three participants go to check the water wall and soon return. The feasters encourage them to go slow, take their time with the challenge . Aras signals to Jeff first to check his answer. But Aras has it wrong and goes back for a second look. The feasters are releived and manystart their second cheeseburger. Then Terry calls Jeff over, and of course Terry has it right, wins immunity, and Jeff orderd the feasters to drop the food.

They return to camp. More idol selling deal making is attempted but not taken seriously. The night ends with Courtney putting on a fire dancing show complete with the equipment she won at the reward challenge.

The fire dancing is a nicde seque into the Tribal Council. You can bet that Jeff took full advnatage of probing Casaya for sitting out the Immunity Challenge. Jeff hates arogance, and sitting out a challenge is a sign of arrogance. He made sure to point out that Casaya hung all their hopes on Aras, and Shane did say that after tonight they can no longer afford to sneeze at immunity challenges. Jeff's right of course, if you really want to get La Mina gone you need to smoke the idol out, the best way to do that would have been to all partake in the challenge, thus giving Casaya a 6-2 chance at winnning immunity, then splitting their 6 votes evenly amonst Terry and Sally that way they would be assured one them is going home, possibly smoking out the idol in the process.

Casaya was too greedy and short sighted to see that play, becuase they knew they had one LA Mina person open to vote for, so I guess they thought the possibility of an idol backfire was acceptable.

We then go to another vote, the players are Sally and Aras, they let us hear butno tsee votes that lead us to beleive thatmaybe Casaya is sacrifing Aras. (Never cut into your Alliance untl you HAVE to, stay strong), but the vote is once again along tribal lines, Sally is voted out, we have a dramtic puase as if to suggest the idol may have been handed over, but no, Terri held onto the idol (or someone stole it from him, we don't really know that either) and so as was prediced before this show even began, Sally was evicted.

Jeff makes a comment about how this game is now clearly "Casaya Vs. Terry" - and Jeff comments that is should be interesting now, EIther beucase Terry wins immunity next week, thus forcing Casaya to have to stat sacrificing thier, or the immunity idol comes out, whihc causes the surprize ejection of a Casaya player. Heck even if the idol was stolen, they vote Terry off next week, then have to start sacrificing their own.

Go Terry!

Oh and on the previews we see Bruce suffering, hints that it might be a medical emergency, and this one is at night, and the skies kind of match the med evac helicopter footage from the trailers early this season. They also hint that Terry is looking for Casaya to crumble, and suggests thay he didn't ahve to wait long. Also sjhows Shane saying its time to shake things up.

We'll find out next week. Stay tuned!


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