Survivor: Panama - Exile Island Recap

Starvation and Lunacy

By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower

February 24, 2006

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Previously on Survivor, we decided to run the joke, "Hey, Shane, wanna cigarette?" into the ground. Mainly, it's because we hate that guy. Another woman was voted off, and somehow, it wasn't Cerie. Also, we're down to two tribes now from the four groups in the show's beginning, which means that we could see a merge to one single unit as soon as this evening. We really don't care, as long as Shane gets eliminated tonight.

How do Survivor producers show that a Tribal Council vote was uneventful? They skip straight on ahead to the next day and don't even bother to show the remaining Survivors returning from the vote.

Whoops. Spoke to soon. Apparently, Sally is one of those passive-aggressive people who is in passive mode right now. She realizes that she is a woman without a country and knows that her best bet is going to be to fade into the background a little bit while proving that she is valuable. Honestly, this is the right attitude to take at this point. There's no sense in making enemies who will seek out easy targets.


The first surprise of the evening is that Dan offers Ruth Marie an alliance with himself, Terry, Austin and Nick. Just last episode, he was tossing her name out as the first potential person that deserved to be voted out of La Mina. Ruth Marie clutches thankfully at this opportunity for longer game life, but the strategy really makes the most sense for Terry and Dan. Not only do the two older men now have an alliance with the other guys, but they have now also hedged their bets to include an older woman in case the time comes that they might need to eliminate one of the young studs.

Over at Casaya, it is time for everyone's spirits to be lifted, for Bruce has returned from Exile Island! He even carries a staff, like a wise sage or perhaps a whale rider. He goes out shrimping with Shane and Aras, and as they walk back, they observe Courtney doing a bit of yoga. This gives Aras a chance to opine about the difference between the worker bees and the layabouts, but really what it tells us is that we can raise the threat alert level for a fight between Shane and Courtney (or really, Shane and any of the lazy slobs) to yellow. Actually, considering that she let the fire burn out while the three guys were gone and her other tribe mates were sleeping, let's raise it to orange.

A discussion ensues about the need for everyone to do his or her part. Courtney offers us a big laugh as moments after she's shown stretching as the fire goes down to ember, she insists that she's working hard all the time. We're pretty sure that we've worked as hard as Courtney simply by sitting on our couch and eating bonbons.

Who's the man in the silly Indiana Jones hat? Why, it's Jeff Probst, of course. Today's reward challenge involves seeing how many times you can say the word Charmin in a minute. No, wait. That's Probst's challenge. Actually, the contest has each teammate swimming out in the water to pick up a puzzle piece. They drag the pieces over to a frame, and once all six are inside that spot, they can start putting it together as a group. The winning tribe gets a bunch of stuff that will help them have a functional bathroom (aka Casa de Charmin), while the loser will send one of its members to Exile Island. Although La Mina breaks out to an early lead, the race ends up being very close in the end. Both teams are on the verge of solving the puzzle when Casaya emerges victorious. La Mina wisely elects to send Terry to Exile Island.

But wait. When La Mina arrives back at camp, they realize that they are a little bit lost without their bold leader. While Ruth Marie thinks that it would be smart to do a little food gathering, Austin really just wants to take a nap. He notes that he really misses Terry and yearns for the man's stern guidance. Wait until the kid learns Terry is a fighter pilot. His boy crush will expand into full on love.

Over at Casaya, the group discusses what they will do with their newly arrived bathroom. Shane, Danielle and Co. believe that they should store towels and wood in the building to keep the stuff dry. Bobby, on the other hand, thinks that the bathroom should be used as, well, a bathroom. Danielle thinks that this notion is ca-razy, and berates him (behind his back) for undermining the tribe. They're feeling okay, though, because the Casayans are thrilled that Terry is currently suffering with no food and water on Exile Island. They jubilate in the notion that he'll be weak and tired by the time the next immunity challenge arrives. They expect his demoralized state of mind to negatively impact his comrades.

Cut to Exile Island. Terry is having a Good Day. Not only is it a bright and sunny, but he is also having fun with Immunity Idol clues. Noting that the "why" from the first clue is in quotation marks, he immediately begins searching for landmarks that are are shaped like the letter "y". When he finds just such a tree, he follows the additional clues and looks under rocks that are surrounding it. He notices that the ground underneath one of them is suspiciously smooth, and starts digging. Terry has discovered the secret Immunity Idol, which is basically the equivalent of handing the strongest guy in a firefight (i.e. Resident Evil's Nemesis) a rocket launcher.

After Terry's individual victory, the scene shifts over to the Casaya tribe, where they're back to arguing about who let the fire go out and what they should do to remedy the situation. Shane asks Danielle why she has "such an aversion to working"? She takes great offense at his implication, noting that she had been the captain of a sports team. Apparently her leadership involves doing as little as possible and cooperating with no one.

Meanwhile, Courtney is doing yoga. You know, Aras is a yoga instructor and we don't see him doing this much stretching.

Really, though, Casaya doesn't need to worry much. In the absence of Super Terry, La Mina's fire is also going out. And despite Nick's best efforts, the group just really can't catch any fish. They could sure use a Rupert Boneham on their tribe. Also, the spear that Sally threw in the bottom of the ocean would probably help matters.

Probst shows up to punish the hungry with an immunity challenge. People are asked to navigate a balance beam. The catch is that they are tied to another player, so if one falls off, they both do. As an example, because he is stuck with skinny albino Dan, Terry's strength is neutralized in this challenge. The goal is to walk out to the ocean, retrieve buckets of water, and return it to a giant vat. Once enough water is accumulated, it will provide enough weight to launch a player perched on a swing up to where she can unveil the tribal flag for her team, thereby winning immunity. Once again, it is a close race, but with Terry brought down to normal with his Dan handicap, La Mina's normal advantage is gone. Casaya continues its winning streak, which is impressive considering the divisive nature of the team.

It's time to play "It's Anyone But Sally." We don't use the term "slam dunk" very often, but if anyone other than Sally is voted off here, we'll be shocked. Sally's performance at the immunity challenge was exemplary, but she was part of a two-person alliance, and 50% of it is gone. The producers still have to pretend like it's interesting, though. Terry is shown positing that Dan is the only one who really has a handshake alliance with Ruth Marie. He then points out that Ruth Marie is the weakest remaining tribe member, an assertion we don't support after having watched "the other white meat" Dan in challenges. It is a bit alarming that Ruth Marie's perceived allies view her with such nonchalance. She doesn't help herself when the subject matter is broached, either. Let's just say that there appear to be some self-esteem issues. When asked how her tribe would be negatively affected if she were gone, she says that they would not be hurt the next day. Apparently, Ruth Marie hasn't noticed that Survivor is a show of immediacy. Even so, we say with complete confidence that it will be Sally instead of Ruth Marie who will be voted out at this Tribal Council. And sure enough, the latest victim to be eliminated from Survivor is...Ruth Marie. Some experts we are. Dan stays true to his word, but the other jackals on the island feast on her like a lame zebra.

This episode lacked opportunities to give Bruce our love and to unleash our wrath on Shane. That makes us sad.



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