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Survivor: Exile Island – Advice for the Remaining Sixby Jeffrey Clinard -- 04/26/2006
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Lots of interesting things happened on the political end of Survivor, though none of the ramifications of the events were put to the ultimate test of Tribal Council. This, of course, was due to the unfortunate medical evacuation of Bruce. I was very sad to see him leave in that manner. I don't think his position in the game was good, but several seasons have seen outsiders suddenly gain a toehold and then go on to win the game. Bruce never had the chance to see if he could do the same, though his health is certainly more important than the million-dollar prize.
The challenge was a variant of the famous coconut chopping challenge from Survivor: Marquesas, though it was also mixed with a variant of the pick a Survivor immunity challenge from the Survivor: The Amazon. As usual, it showed a clear pecking order, though it had the added benefit of serving to insult several players, most notably Courtney. Indeed, this may have been the nastiest version of the game yet, with Shane getting visibly upset when his torch ropes were cut (plus the information that he only thought he was running the game), and Courtney taking personal offense to being the right answer for some of the nastier questions.
As Aras said, the challenge was designed to splinter the tribe, not that anybody really listened t him, except Terry who had a vested interest in seeing the Casaya alliance splinter and took great amusement in how it played out. Aras also showed a great understanding of the challenge when he threw it at the end. There is no way he really believes Terry is the least likely person to survive on their own. He just didn't want to win the challenge and start making political decisions as to who goes to Exile Island and who would join him in the reward. He ended up getting all of the benefits, while Cirie had to pay for them.
A well-liked player usually wins this challenge, and this time it was no exception. Cirie, who has mostly been nice, won the challenge with two cuts remaining on her torch. She then had the responsibility of sending somebody to Exile Island, then picking two people to join her on her reward. Naturally she sent Terry to Exile Island (a good way to keep him from trying to plot or cut deals), then picked Aras and Danielle to go with her to the resort. Shane was obviously not pleased with that decision, but it was probably a good one, even if Danielle wasn't part of the final four plan. When a tribe is split up, it's always wise to keep the outsiders in different places to prevent them from plotting together. Taking Shane and leaving Bruce, Courtney, and Danielle together would have been a bad idea, as the two outsiders (Bruce and Danielle) could have worked on Courtney politically during the separation. As it stood, the three outsiders were all in different locations.
There is one other political aspect to Bruce's departure from the game. Essentially, it bought Terry yet another week in the game. There is no way of knowing what kind of immunity challenge would have taken place or who would have won it. Maybe it would have been Terry. Maybe not. But in any case, his hidden immunity idol remains his, and will insure he makes it to the final five at the very least.
There does seem to be a core group of Casaya players of four who can control the game, though it's also clear that some players are just being told what they want to hear in order to use their votes, and then they will be discarded when their votes are no longer necessary. What should each player be doing to make it to the end? It's advice for the remaining six.
Terry: You need to use what the reward challenge showed about the pecking order of the tribe, and, in particular, Shane's open comments about Cirie taking Danielle instead of him to the reward spa. My best guess is that Danielle is really on the outside of the Casaya alliance, so try bargaining with her. Show her the immunity idol, and if you aren't wearing immunity, point out that you and she can control who goes home if you vote together. A 4-2 vote, properly used, can be used to hit the glue of the Casaya alliance, which is probably Aras. Also, tone down the arrogance and snide remarks. Yes, it is you against all of them, but if you beat them all through immunity you'll still need their votes on the jury.
Aras: If Terry isn't wearing immunity, you probably need it. He's shown that you are his target, and you'll have a big decision to make if somebody other than yourself or Terry wins immunity. You'll need to try to direct a 3-2-1 vote, with Terry's vote going against you and two of the Casaya votes going against somebody else (such as Danielle). This will require some work on Danielle, convincing her that she's in and Shane's out of the core group, and getting Shane in on the plan to go after Danielle as a backup plan. However, you are still in some danger as the others might not care if you get voted out via hidden immunity. If you get that feeling, you need to bargain with Terry.
Shane: Get your emotions under control, and take to heart the bit about how you are the one who thinks he is in control of the game. There is a big difference between thinking you are in control and actually being in control. You reacted very badly to the challenge and Cirie's choices, and if there is any upside, it means people might think you'd be better to take to the finals over Courtney because you don't play well with others. You need to vote with your alliance, but be prepared to lose one of your core members if Terry plays hidden immunity. It won't matter after the vote; your core four will only need three votes to control the tribe after the next elimination.
Courtney: You need to take the answers from the reward challenge fairly seriously, as the rest of the tribe was trying to tell you something. Getting angry won't help (and will probably prove their point), but you should resolve to try to be nicer and more respectful of the others. As it stands, you probably aren't in any danger (and may be considered juicy jury bait), but you'll need to start plotting to figure out which of the others you can beat against a jury. Shane seems the most likely to be that person, though Terry might be a dark horse possibility if his arrogance has annoyed the Casayans enough.
Cirie: Nice job winning the reward challenge and properly distributing people among the three locations. You minimized the chance any of them could plot against your core group, but have set up a possibility where you can deal with Danielle to get rid of Aras or Shane if needed. You did hurt a few feelings (mostly Shane's) during the episode, but it does give you some ammunition if you make it to the finals as to how you were playing the game and making your own decisions. For now you are safe, and your biggest problem is that you aren't a good jury opponent.
Danielle: It's crunch time for you. You have to start considering if you are part of the core alliance or not. Essentially, it means finding out if Courtney and Cirie are with Shane and Aras, or are with you and playing them. Cirie did take you on the reward, though that might have been part of a trap to make you feel secure. However, you need to seriously consider your position as reflected by the challenge. If you aren't part of the final four plans, perhaps you should bargain with Terry and see what crack you can forge if his hidden immunity idol comes into play.
Bruce: What went wrong? Complete blockage of your bladder and colon. Nothing, not even a hidden immunity idol can save you from that kind of exit from the game.
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Jeffrey Clinard has been writing about Survivor since the second series, and has published over 100 articles about the show and given advice to nearly 150 different Survivors on Reality News Online. He can be reached at email@example.com.
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