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Survivor: Exile Island - Who Will Go in Episode 7?by Wesley Rice -- 03/30/2006
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Survivor begins this Thursday after a two week hiatus from new episodes (provided you don’t count the clip show). I’m excited for the new episodes to begin again, especially since my NCAA tournament bracket is in shambles, and the past two Thursdays have deprived me of seeing my favorites do well. Hopefully Cirie and Terry will change all of that this week. Between those two and Bruce, I still have three quarters of my pre-season Survivor final four.
Now given that we have taken a half month’s leave from the show, we may need a brief summary to remind us of who’s who and how they relate to each other. We’ll begin with Casaya, quite possibly the most mind-boggling tribe in recent memory. They bicker and fight with each other like grade school children. But when it’s time to compete in challenges, they’re incredibly unified and skilled. Let us examine each member of the tribe individually.
Aras: Apparent leader of a fractured alliance. Considers himself to be the only mature person on the tribe. Given that most of the others on his tribe are so screwed up, he can hardly be blamed. But he could really use a mirror on the island, so he could take a good long look at himself.
Bruce: Hya! Silly Bruce. For a teacher of so many years, he seems to have difficulty relating to the “children” on his tribe.
Cirie: The only sane one on this tribe. She started on the outside of the Nuthouse Alliance but seems savvy enough to manipulate the continual fracture of the tribe.
Courtney: Surprisingly, not the most insane person on the tribe. Still, she’s not doing herself any favors.
Danielle: In the best position of everyone on her tribe. Her only true enemy is Shane, but the majority is on her side, despite her somewhat sluggish work ethic. She also has built-in flotation devices to aid her in water challenges.
Shane: A-boogity-boogity-boogity! Insanity, thy name is Shane…
Among these Casayans the previous episode showed an apparent split of the Nuthouse Alliance as Shane asked to be released from the alliance and from swearing on his son (to the delight of outsider Cirie). The editors made it appear that Shane recovered from his exclusion during their reward challenge. But this is simply a rabbit trail. The core of Shane’s difficulties has been reestablished since he partook of his addiction to nicotine during the reward. His withdrawal symptoms will return in force, and he will be more of a disruption in camp than ever before. Shane’s antics will continue to escalate, but his Shane powers will be extinguished by his teammates’ votes. As loopy as the Nuthouse Alliance is, they won’t want to take someone like him into the merge.
La Mina faces a much more intriguing problem. They’re a fairly tight-knit group, all with a relatively intelligent grip on the dynamics of the game. However, they believe they’re on the short end of a numbers game. Let’s take a moment to look at the individuals in this interesting tribe.
Austin: Positioned well with good ties to every other member of his tribe. Austin’s in a solid place right now.
Nick: He seems to be part of the only remaining majority alliance within his tribe. But circumstances beyond his control may shorten his stay.
Sally: On the outside of the boy’s club. However, may benefit from a shift in strategy and her ties to Austin.
Terry: Leader of the tribe. Has an ace (idol) up his sleeve but foolishly disposed of his closest ally in the previous episode.
Should La Mina lose yet again, they are faced with an interesting situation. Sally seems like the obvious boot. But Terry has already lost his closest ally in Dan (even though it’s his own fault), and he will need to find a way to keep from being outnumbered by Nick and Austin. Sally provides him with that opportunity. It should be easy to convince her to side with him, since she’s in danger of being voted off otherwise. Since she still has ties with Austin, then Nick is the likely target for the next round.
Now there are ten Survivors left. A traditional merge number. So although we haven’t seen any hint of it in previews, there might be a merge in the next episode. If this is the case, there is some clear shuffling of alliances to be expected. I see it going down in this way. Upon merging, Bruce and Cirie, the outsiders of the Nuthouse Alliance, will switch sides to Terry, the boys, and Sally. They will assume that this puts them up 6 to 4. However, Sally, assuming that she’s still in a minority, will already have switched to an alliance with her old tribemates Courtney and Danielle on Casaya. This evens up the alliances to a five/five split. Terry’s alliance will likely vote for Aras, given that he’s the largest threat on Casaya. Aras’s alliance will vote for Terry for the same reasons. However, due to the fact that Terry has the hidden immunity, Terry’s votes will be dismissed, and Aras will be sent packing.
I’ve resumed the fallible but rather enjoyable “names in a blankie” approach to my daughter’s predictions. We begin with Casaya, and I shake the names out of the blankie. My daughter quickly chooses Aras, but wait—there are only five names here. Oops! I accidentally left Danielle’s name on the desk. This has obviously skewed the results. Let’s try again. With six names, I repeat the process. Lucy reaches out, and this time she chooses Shane. Ah, that’s more like it!
I then move on to La Mina. Four names drop out with three names falling directly in front of her and one fluttering far to her right. Intriguingly she retrieves the one that fell far away. Unfortunately it’s Terry. Lucy, what did I tell you about hidden immunity? Of course, she responds by drooling on Terry’s name. We try one more time with all Survivors in the event of a merge. This time she chooses Austin, and I am truly baffled by her predicting process. Oh well, at least it makes her happy.
This week’s boot picks, Shane (once again) from Casaya, Nick from La Mina, and Aras in the event of a merge. My daughter has chosen Shane, Terry, and Austin respectively. Watch with me this Thursday as I root for the remainder of my Survivor final four!
Wesley is a writer and English teacher from Tulsa, OK. Last year he won his office pool for the NCAA tournament. This year… not so much. He can be reached with questions, comments, or snide remarks at Musnud@Gmail.com.
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