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Survivor: Exile Island - The Casaya Zoneby Ken Kellam III -- 03/07/2006
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Picture if you will, a tribe that seems to win despite themselves. They are unified in name only. But in reality, they’re like cats who can’t stand each other, but find themselves forced to share the same cage. Alas, their bickering and contentious ways, while not the reason they lost the last immunity challenge, nevertheless brought their tribal disharmony even more to light.
In reality, Casaya should be called La Mina, because La Mina means “The Mine,” and Casaya has been threatening to explode, and implode since becoming a tribe. Like a miner trying to avoid toxic fumes, Casaya’s members have been trying to avoid each other’s toxic attitudes, with only limited success.
The first piece of evidence in this bizarre cornucopia of venom: Shane Powers, who thought the island would be a good place to go through detox. But from the get-go, Shane has spewed a poison perhaps more lethal than nicotine. That poison is called crankiness, and he has hurled it, at various times, at Danielle, Bobby, and at one point, his entire tribe, over what? A stump. Yes, a stump.
To Shane’s credit, he laid low in the latest episode, at least until after Casaya finally lost an immunity challenge. At tribal council, he summed up his tribe the best, saying they were the “dysfunctional functional” tribe, and that while they stepped up in challenges, they could really be tiring.
In a stroke of irony that could only happen in the Casaya Zone, Shane has no clue that he is one of the most tiring things about his tribe, at least from a viewer’s point of view. His screaming over a stump, calling out his own alliance mates, and previous flip-flopping between wanting to stay or leave, have easily made him one of the most annoying people in the tribe.
In the last episode, Shane made Bobby, whom he wanted to dispatch to a place known as “Loser Lodge,” swear on his son’s name. That’s SHANE’S son, by the way, a child Bobby has never met. Apparently Shane never watched Twila swear on HER son’s name, and then go back on it for strategy purposes, which her son actually applauded. That may as well have happened in the Casaya Zone.
But appropriately, in the craziness known as the Casaya Zone, several people seemed ready to step up and overtake Shane as the most annoying person in the tribe. First, there’s the now-departed Bobby, who last week, against the wishes of his tribemates, dropped his drawers and took care of his business in the tribal outhouse. Only in the Casaya Zone could using an outhouse as an outhouse alienate so many.
During the latest reward challenge, Bobby showed great skills in chopping the heads off fish, which is ironically what the women of Casaya did to him tribal council.
One of Bobby’s biggest mistakes, obviously, was teaming up with Bruce to polish off the bottle of wine, which was meant for the whole tribe. His explanation that he didn’t know it was okay was, at best, clueless, and at worst, self-serving. Did he miss the first episode of Africa, when Clarence got in trouble with his tribe over stealing beans AND cherries? The game of Survivor does not look favorably on those who steal food and drink, even in the Casaya Zone.
Let’s address his claim that his “reserved” spot in the tribal shelter was taken. Did his spot have his name on it? Did he tell anyone else in the tribe he’d reserved this spot? Or was he in such a snit over losing his perceived spot that he’d rather sleep in the outhouse with Bruce? Maybe this was just his way of justifying consumption of the wine. Not just a drop or two, but with Bruce’s help, the whole bottle.
Speaking of Bruce, his behavior hasn’t exactly been conducive to tribal harmony. There’s nothing wrong with building a rock garden, but was it the smartest thing to do when the others were trying to make fire? And in this tribe, chances are, none of the may understand the significance of a Zen garden anyway.
When Aras snapped at Bruce regarding the garden, honestly, I could see where he was coming from, even if he later admitted he shouldn’t have done it. Afterwards, when Aras tried to talk to Bruce calmly, Bruce said Aras attacked his character by saying the garden was nothing. But did Aras actually say that? Or even imply it? It’s my view that Bruce himself was guilty of overreacting, and calling Aras’ remark childish didn’t help matters either.
Yes, he stated he was not calling Aras himself childish, but using that work in relation to a tribemate probably wasn’t the best idea in the first place. In fact, I think a case can be made that some of Bruce’s behavior was a bit childish, not to mention defensive.
Later, there was his disdain for Courtney using his garden to do her yoga. Did it occur to Bruce that maybe Courtney didn’t mean any disrespect, but rather, was attracted by the beauty of the garden? Did he expect all the others to stay away from his garden? At least someone noticed it was there.
Think about this: Bruce is an art teacher, and hence, is obviously the creative type. Courtney is a flamedancer, and dancing is also a form of creativity. Maybe being the creative type herself, she appreciated his handiwork. It would’ve been helpful if Burnett and company had asked her about this in confessional. Then again, maybe they did, but we didn’t see it.
What about Bruce justifying drinking the wine by saying the others weren’t thinking of anybody but themselves? Just who was he thinking of when he and Bobby polished off the whole bottle? And exactly who was Bruce thinking of when he built the garden? His tribemates were trying to build fire, which would benefit the whole tribe, while I’m not sure who the garden benefited, besides Bruce.
Then came tribal council, Casaya’s first in over a week (nine days, to be exact). Only in the Casaya Zone could tribal votes be split four different ways. Only in the Casaya Zone could someone be ousted without even receiving the majority of votes (when was the last time THAT happened?).
And how Casaya Zone-ish was it that out of the four people receiving votes, none of them were Shane or Cirie? Shane probably didn’t receive any due to his skill in challenges, but that may change, judging from next week’s previews.
As for Cirie, she was the next to go, wasn’t she? But even Shane, who TOLD her she was next a few episodes back, didn’t vote for her. In fact, the original alliance of Danielle, Courtney, Shane and Aras, which seemed like it could only happen in the Casaya Zone, went three different ways. In yet another weird twist, Shane voted for Aras, one of his alleged alliance members.
Meanwhile, Cirie, who at the beginning of the game looked to be an easy out due to her fear of leaves and seeming dislike of the outdoors, is the last remaining member of the original tribe of older women. In addition, she has emerged as one of the more likable members of Casaya and may not be leaving any time soon. Where else could all of this take place but in the Casaya Zone?
Picture if you will, a game where the women were the first four gone, but in one tribe, the women, despite being outnumbered, took control of tribal council, and ousted one of the men with no help, vote-wise, from the other men. Such a bizarre occurrence could only happen in the Casaya Zone.
Ken can be reached with any comments, criticisms, or money orders at YourNextOfKen@aol.com .
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