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Surviving Exile Island, Episode 1: Leafophobiaby David Bloomberg -- 02/03/2006
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Over a month has passed since Danni became the eleventh Survivor winner. In the meantime, a different type of jury sent the first Survivor winner to jail (at least for the time being) for tax evasion. But now it’s time for the next edition of the show, time to meet 16 new players, see new twists, root for new heroes, and root against new enemies. It’s also time for me to limber up my typing fingers. Yes, it’s time for Survivor: Panama – Exile Island!
We begin on an island off the coast of Panama that has a gigantic skull sitting on it. This, of course, would be Exile Island, and host Jeff Probst tells us that each week at least one contestant will be banished there, separated from their tribe, not knowing what’s going on at camp, and forced to survive on their own. There is a silver lining, though – there is an immunity idol hidden on the island.
The 16 contestants will begin in four tribes of four – by gender and age. They will have to fight the elements and each other to survive. “39 days, 16 people, one Survivor!”
Probst welcomes the 16 players and asks Cirie what she thinks about the way they’ve been divided. Cirie is no dummy – she says it looks like they’ve been split younger and older. Shane agrees, adding gender to the mix too and noting that he doesn’t think it’s ever been done that way before. Give that man a cee-gar, Probst confirms: Older men (according to the opening credits, that’s La Mina: Dan, Shane, Bruce, Terry) vs. younger men (Viveros: Austin, Bobby, Nick, Aras ) vs. older women (Casaya: Ruth-Marie, Cirie, Melinda, Tina) vs. younger women (Bayonetta: Sally, Danielle, Courtney, Misty).
Cirie says she thought she was a younger woman! (I agree, Cirie, but then I think I’m older than you are, so I’m a bit biased too.) Austin tells us he would have preferred to have some women on his team because he can’t help but flirt with any female. Guess he’ll have to practice on the men.
Bobby declares himself as the charter member and president of the “young beefcake” group. He names the other tribes “Love Boat” for the older men, “Golden Girls” for the older women, and “Spice Girls” for the younger women. Does he think he’s a recapper or something? We’re the ones who are supposed to give nicknames!
Probst tells the players a bit about Exile Island, which he’s already told us so I won’t bother repeating it. There is one surprise, though: It’s time for their first reward challenge right now. Danielle tells us she is pumped because she’s an athlete and that’s her thing.
Each tribe chooses one person to run for them to the other end of the island. There they will find a pile of skulls. They have to grab a skull and smash it, then they’ll find a tightly wound ball of fabric inside that unwraps to have either an amulet or a stone. They want the amulet, and once they find it, they can run back to the finish. First three tribe members back win flint for fire. The lose tribe also has to immediately choose a person to stay behind on Exile Island.
Since they don’t know each other very well, Probst gives them a couple minutes to talk and figure out who will run. Ruth-Marie will run for the older women, Terry for the older men, Danielle for the younger women, and Austin for the younger guys.
And they’re off! Austin falls immediately but gets right back up and ends up getting to the skull pile at the same time as Terry, with the women a few paces behind. Skull smashing begins. Smash, unwrap, repeat. Terry is the first to find an amulet, and he takes off back across the island. His tribemates are pumped!
Austin is next to find an amulet. Ruth-Marie is really smashing those skulls – nobody wants to get her mad! Wait, somebody’s coming, but we can’t see who. Obviously, the producers have taken a hint in production from The Amazing Race, because it’s just like a Pit Stop. Who will it be? It’s… Ruth-Marie!
Finally, Danielle, who had been talking about how she was looking forward to a physical challenge, comes back to her tribe (it’s really not her fault – it was mostly luck). Probst hands out flint to those who get it and then tells them to give him a name of who is staying behind. Danielle volunteers, since she lost the challenge. The other girls say no, she shouldn’t have to, and ask Probst if they can do rock/paper/scissors – Probst doesn’t care how they come up with a choice.
Misty tells us she really didn’t want to start off on Exile Island. But guess what? She loses rock/paper/scissors. Probst tells her she will stay until the first immunity challenge. At that point, she’ll return and she will compete. He also shares the secret of the immunity idol being hidden somewhere on the island – they’ll be given clues along the way. Anybody who finds it can share this information or not. They can use it any time up through the final four – but once they’re down to three people, it’s useless. The best part is that unlike last season, they can hold on to the idol until after the votes have been revealed! So if the person holding the idol had the most votes cast against him/her, the idol would nullify those votes and the person with the next most would go home.1 2 3 4 Next-->
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