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Survivor: Exile Island Episode 9 MVP: Who’s Thinking?by Betsy Wasser -- 04/19/2006
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The hidden immunity idol is one of the best twists in Survivor history, as far as I’m concerned. The possibility that someone might play the idol has really shaken things up. Most of the Casayas seem anxious about it and just want it to be played already so they can stop worrying about it.
Terry, it’s becoming clear, isn’t about to do that. If he was going to use the idol strategically, the best time to do it would have been immediately after the merge. The La Minas still would have been down in numbers, but he would have had a lot more allies to work with. At this point, he is all alone. All he can do is win immunity to try to hang on to his idol for as long as possible.
”I’ll win every immunity” isn’t exactly the best strategy out there. Circumstances are completely beyond Terry’s control. He’s a strong and smart guy, that’s for sure, but plenty of other players have gone into a challenge not feeling 100% or with luck against them. I’m sure in Survivor: Africa, Ethan and Lex were confident one of them would win the final immunity challenge. They were both younger and stronger than Kim. But they had a bad day and Kim wound up with immunity. The same thing could happen to Terry. Or, maybe he’ll be faced with a challenge that doesn’t play to his strengths. This is a silly example, but if the players are faced with a yoga related challenge, Terry’s out of it and it’s a battle between Courtney and Aras.
Terry has painted himself into a corner. All he can do at this point is keep winning immunity so he can hold onto the secret idol for as long as he can. While that’s happening, he’s got to hope that somebody in the former Casaya is going to be looking for a better deal and that he can be a part of that deal. It’s not a good place to be, as he is not entirely in control of his fate.
Aras is in a sticky spot, too. Other than Terry, he is the biggest individual immunity threat, and the rest of his tribe seems perfectly fine with the idea of cutting him lose. If Terry doesn’t win immunity, Aras’s name is the one he is most likely to write down. Last week, his tribe showed that they’re not interested in helping save him. In this episode, Aras did his best to avoid being in Terry’s situation- with his head on the chopping block and few opportunities in front of him. That’s why I am awarding the Most Valuable Player award this week to Aras.
Aras is trying to work as many angles as possible. At the beginning of the episode, he really wasn’t sure if Terry had the hidden idol or not. He asked to be sent to Exile Island so he could have a chance to look for the idol. When his team lost the reward challenge, Courtney and Terry suggested Aras be the one to go. Aras spent some time looking for the idol, but then did some time thinking. Courtney was willing to send him to Exile Island because he asked for it, but why did Terry? Aras figured that if Terry did not have the idol, he wouldn’t want to risk Aras finding it. That makes sense to me- Terry certainly wouldn’t want his biggest rival to have the opportunity to get it. Aras is now able to operate under the correct assumption that Terry has the idol. Plus, as a bonus, Aras got to spend a nice little vacation on Exile Island, where he could rest, re-hydrate, and be far away from tribal politics and Shane’s naked nether regions.
Aras also gets the MVP award for being smart enough to compete in the immunity challenge instead of stuffing his face with cheeseburgers. Terry and Sally, of course had to compete because both of them desperately needed to win immunity. I’m sure Aras assumed that the two of them would be competing. So, figuring that Terry has the hidden idol, if either of them won, it could mean curtains for Aras. Therefore, he was smart to try to win- and by that same token the other former Casayas were foolish not to. In Survivor, you just never know what might happen. You might think you’re safe, only to discover that there was a plot against you all along. If you’re given a chance at immunity, you should almost always try to win it. And that almost? Applies pretty much just to Richard Hatch in the first season.
The hidden immunity idol has certainly thrown a wrench into Survivor strategy. Lots of the players are wondering about it and worrying about it, but I think that Aras is the one who is doing the most smart thinking about how it might be played. For that, Aras is this week’s Most Valuable Player. Here’s hoping that he keeps using that intelligence and realizes how quickly Courtney and friends plan to cut him loose and reacts accordingly.
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with any comments at firstname.lastname@example.org
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