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Survivor: Exile Island, Episode 8 MVP – Nice Tryby Betsy Wasser -- 04/12/2006
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Every week on Survivor, the intensity increases. Players become more and more aware of their positions in the tribe. The smarter ones try to do something to protect themselves and to do something to improve their standing. This week, both Aras and Terry made valiant attempts to stay in the game for as long as possible. They thought ahead and tried to position themselves well.
Neither man is this week’s MVP.
Why? Well, because neither of them had plans that actually worked. A good idea will only get you so far. You have to convince someone else to go along with it, and Aras and Terry didn’t have much luck on that front.
Let’s look at Aras first. Aras made a very smart move in the reward challenge. He convinced Danielle, Courtney, and Cirie to team up with his group against the stronger team of Shane, Terry, and Austin. With both teams loading up the all-male team with coconuts, the strongest team was handicapped and Aras’s team had a big advantage. That was smart- and it worked. As Cirie pointed out in tribal council, not only did it keep Shane, Terry, and Austin from winning, it also helped Aras’s team win. It also gave him the opportunity to choose who’d go to Exile Island. I think he chose well in this case, too. He got Austin out of the way and prevented him from trying to turn the vote. And of Danielle, Courtney, and Cirie, I think he chose the woman least likely to flip.
As good as Aras’s moves in the reward challenge were, they really were minor. He got a breakfast out of it, which was nice, and he kept the status quo of the game. But he did not do anything to protect himself or to advance his position. He tried to do that when the discussion of who to vote out came up.
Terry had immunity, so the former Casayas had to choose between Austin and Sally. Austin may have seemed the logical choice, since he’s a strong young guy. In fact, Austin’s mistake of admitting that he tanked the last immunity challenge on purpose showed that he’s even stronger than they thought. But Aras didn’t want to vote out Austin- he preferred Sally. Aras’s theory was that if Terry had the hidden immunity idol and wanted to give it to a fellow La Mina, he’d more likely give it to Austin, knowing that Austin was the most likely Casaya target. If Austin did have the idol, then Aras himself would be most likely to go. Vote out Sally and Aras would be at no risk.
It was a smart plan that made a lot of sense. If Terry did want to protect a fellow La Mina, he probably would have picked Austin. Although Sally is no slouch when it comes to challenges, a young man has a much bigger target on his back than a young woman. Better to eliminate Sally, force the La Minas to use the idol, and protect Aras, right?
Sure. Except the rest of Casaya didn’t go along with the idea. Aras did his best to sell it, but it didn’t happen.
Terry also tried his hand at strategizing. After the previous week’s strategic debacle, Terry finally figured out that there were more effective uses of that idol than just keeping it in case of a rainy day. He talked to Shane, and Shane, fool that he is, actually told him the final four for Casaya. Okay, maybe Shane was lying, but Terry could tell Danielle and Bruce in good conscience that they were not part of the final four. If those two players were feeling at all insecure, they might be willing to turn.
He hit Bruce first, knowing that Bruce was the biggest outsider on the tribe. He said that if he could get Danielle to flip, Bruce should join them. Bruce seemed to be seriously considering the offer. As for Danielle, he knew he’d have to come up with a better offer, and he certainly did. Austin, who had just bonded with her at Exile Island, started the conversation. The two men offered her the immunity idol if she’d join them. Finally, Terry had a real bargaining chip, something of value that he was willing to hand over. It was surely a tempting offer for Danielle.
The trouble was, Danielle and Bruce both turned Terry down. Now he only has one other La Mina on his side. Worse still, now Danielle can tell the rest of her tribe that Terry has the idol, settling that issue once and for all. Terry and Sally are now in serious trouble.
The one player this week who did have strategy that worked was Courtney. Aras thought she was short-sighted and stupid for not seeing his point about getting rid of Sally. Courtney didn’t see it that way. She didn’t think Terry had the idol, and she was wrong about that. But it was a risk she was willing to take. She wanted to take out Austin, the strongest player available to get rid of. If he had the hidden idol and Aras got voted out, it would be no skin off Courtney’s back. She needed to get rid of him eventually anyway, and if it was at that tribal council, she and the other Casayas would still have the numbers on their side, plus that hidden idol would be out of the picture. Courtney’s plan was the one that would work best for Courtney, and she managed to convince the rest of the tribe to go along with it. Her plan worked, and for that reason, Courtney is this week’s MVP.
Enjoy your MVP status, Courtney. I’ll be watching the next episode with great interest to see what the fallout will be now that everyone knows Terry has the idol. See you then!
Betsy Wasser is the Associate Editor of Reality News Online. She can be reached with comments and MVP nominations at Betsywasser@Gmail.com.
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