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Survivor: Exile Island, Episode 5: The Magical Fruitby Betsy Wasser -- 03/08/2006
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Once again, this was a very interesting episode of Survivor, especially the tribal council. As David Bloomberg pointed out in out his recap, it’s not often that we see tribal council votes for four people. The tribe was absolutely divided as to whether they should vote off Bobby or Bruce. Plus we saw Shane in what might have been his first smart strategic move. He promised Bobby he wouldn’t vote for him, but he didn’t want to screw over his alliance, so he tossed a random vote to Aras. I think Aras is a smart guy and will see that vote for what it is. And if Shane ever makes it in front of a jury (and if I were on Survivor, I’d want either him or Courtney at my side at the end so I’d look so great in comparison), he can say he never broke his word.
In the midst of all of this strategizing, two players turned in especially strong performances. They are the winners of this week’s Most Valuable Player awards. Let’s look at how they did.
We didn’t see a lot of La Mina this week. Thankfully, we especially didn’t see a lot of Austin and Nick being sick from the beans they got at the reward challenge. Some things are best left up to the imagination. Their bodies must not have been used to having so much food. I think both teams were really having a hard time, food-wise, which is why everyone got to eat. I also think that between beans and rice, beans were the better choice. At least they got some protein.
Things may have been tough at La Mina camp, but they were positively rosy for their MVP Terry on Exile Island. He didn’t have to spend any time looking for the idol, since it’s safely tucked away somewhere for him when he needs it. He actually made a nice little life for himself, with plenty of snails and coconut and a roaring fire. It was great that he was able to use that time to eat and rest up for the challenge so he’d be strong. It showed at the immunity challenge, where once again, he was a good contributor to the team. Life is really pretty good for Terry right now. His tribe appreciates him. His alliance with Dan in particular is rock-solid, so he doesn’t have to worry too much about people plotting against him while he’s gone. He does a great job at challenges. And then he has a little getaway to step away from the game and the politics. I still think he could be in trouble when the tribes merge, but for now, Dan’s got an MVP trophy and is enjoying life.
As we’ve seen every week, things are difficult over at Casaya. There are a lot of strong personalities there, to put it kindly, and people are not getting along. Voting is controlled, more or less, by the alliance of Aras, Shane, Courtney, and Danielle. We learned in David Bloomberg’s interview with Bobby that Courtney and Danielle don’t have much time for people outside of their alliance. Courtney, in fact, seems so comfortable in her position that she was willing to do something as inconsiderate as doing yoga in Bruce’s rock garden. Shane’s obnoxiousness goes without saying. But the one of the four who seems to have a clue is Aras, and that’s why he gets an honorable mention this week.
Aras was frustrated when Bruce opted to use his time to build that now-infamous rock garden. I can see where he was coming from. The tribe was doing the best they could to survive, and beauty really seems to take a backseat to food, water, and shelter. He blew up at Bruce when Bruce refused to get firewood, but almost immediately regretted his reaction. He immediately found Bruce and apologized. Aras could have taken the perspective that he was safe in his majority alliance, but he didn’t. He was smart enough to not make an enemy.
I also thought that Aras’s logic of voting out Bruce instead of Bobby was solid. Bruce is strong in challenges, but Bobby is arguably stronger. Which one of them might flip after a merge? Really, either one of them could, so I don’t really think it’s a question of loyalty at this point. Since the Casaya Four have made it so incredibly obvious that they are a group, anyone on the outside of that alliance would be really smart to offer their votes to La Mina. So, with those lousy circumstances in place, they might as well hang on to the stronger of the two in hopes of having numbers at the merge. The tribe ultimately didn’t listen to Aras, but I think his reasoning was sound. Some smart play for Aras lands him an honorable mention this week.
The MVP this week for Casaya is, once again, Cirie. Remember when Melinda was voted out? The rest of the tribe made it very clear to Cirie that she’d be the next to go. Then when Casaya lost immunity and knew they’d be going, her name never even came up! Not only that, but when the alliance was debating who to vote out, Cirie was right there with them. She has somehow put herself into the group, and it’s impressive.
A few minutes later, it got more impressive. Cirie snuck her way deeper into the group and actually managed to change the vote from Bruce back to Bobby. She approached Danielle, then before you knew it, had pulled in enough votes to turn the tide. Cirie’s argument to the group was that Bobby would be disloyal at the merge, and again, I don’t think it’s more true for him than it would be for Bruce or for Cirie herself (although Bobby did admit it). But I think even more so for Cirie, you have to look at what happen at another pre-merge tribal council. If you’re choosing between Cirie and Bobby to keep, you keep Bobby because he’s stronger. Cirie wouldn’t have much of a chance. But try to choose between Cirie and Bruce… well, she’s got a better shot at surviving that one.
If the game of Survivor were all about surviving in the wild, Cirie wouldn’t last a day. But the ability to make a fire or the confidence that if there’s a bug under a leaf that you can handle it is are pretty small aspects of the game. What it’s all about is surviving the other players, the social aspect of things. On that note, Cirie is a total power player. Best of all, no one seems to know it. She’s got a much better shot going forward than Terry does. I for one am enjoying the ride. I’m especially intrigued to see if the can push things further next week by voting out Shane!
That’s it for this week’s MVP awards. Congratulations to Aras for his first honorable mention, and an even bigger congratulations to Terry and Cirie, who continue to make the absolute beest of their given situations. See you next week!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with MVP nominations and feedback at Betsywasser@Gmail.com.
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