Exile Files is a weekly look at the political intrigue and alliance related trends occurring on the Panamanian beaches and on Exile Island. Who is wheeling? Who is dealing? And of course, who is reeling? This article is a purely subjective analysis, and we cannot be held accountable for your rankings in your office Survivor pool.
As the final approaches, this week brought us emotional family visits, some tough decisions, continued dominance and a brutal betrayal.
At some point, Casaya needed to eat their own. They did well to hold strong this far, but the longer the alliance lasts, the bonds are strengthened and the betrayal is that much more bitter. Not surprisingly, this tribe stacked with egomaniacs all believes they are part of the inner circle.
The family reward challenge was especially cruel this year. The winner had to allocate time with family members, with one receiving no time at all with a family member and a stay on Exile Island. Not an easy decision, but Terry, winning again, made the best possible decision he could. It’s tough to deny anyone a visit with their family, but was made easier for Terry for two reasons; the nature of the relationships and his relationship with Danielle and Aras. Angry with Danielle for not taking him up on an alliance, Terry quickly sent her packing to Exile Island and gave Aras, his nemesis, only a quick hug with his mother. It might have been easy to refuse Shane a reward, but much harder to deny his 14 year old son. No one can fault him for his choice and strategically, it prevented anyone from getting upset with him. They might not have liked his decision, but they can’t fault him for it.
Keep Your Friends Close…
Courtney’s oust was the first sign of things to come, ugly things to come, in the once solid Casaya. With Bruce taken out for medical reasons and Terry unable and unwilling to stop winning immunity challenges, someone had to go. Courtney wasn’t an unwise choice, but her boot wasn’t a smooth one. She, along with Shane, was completely blindsided and Shane was left reeling. He bought the story of his remaining alliance members, but not completely. Had he recognized and remembered that he was left out of the decision, Shane might have been a little more prepared for his own boot.
… But Your Enemies Closer
The unlikely duo of Aras and Cirie seemed to have formed the most solid of alliances. Cirie is a good choice for Aras, as she’s proven to be his soldier, likely out of loyalty for being carried by him. After all, it wasn’t too long ago when Aras had told Cirie point blank that she was next. Aras and Cirie, especially, keep talking about final two and an ideal partner. Neither of them have much acknowledged going to the final two with Terry. If history holds true, Terry, not a Casaya member, will be deciding who goes to the final two. What no one seems to acknowledge, is that by eliminating those that get too close to Terry, they pad the jury for him. Terry has Sally and Austin’s votes tied up, should he make it to the final two, and likely Bruce. Courtney’s antics on the jury shows that she is nursing a fierce grudge and Shane is likely to do the same. It doesn’t bode well for any of the Casaya three. They haven’t been able to win when it counted before… chances are it will be equally difficult for them when it matters most.
One Last Thing
A personal pet peeve of mine is when jury members rant and rave about betrayal when they were just about to do the same. Courtney aligned with Terry, days after swearing to Shane that it was the two of them to the end. Even a threat didn’t stop her from jumping ship at the first offer that came along. It’s easy to cry foul when your own plan didn’t pan out the way you wanted. It’s not an ideal situation, but this is a game of numbers and when the numbers start to decrease, the more vulnerable you become. If anyone thinks that a stranger, who they are competing against for a million dollars, owes them loyalty, they deserve to lose. People might think they want to be treated with respect and loyalty, but it is rare that anyone handles being told they are next on the list with grace.
1.Terry – Hidden Immunity Idol. 5 Immunity Wins. Sally. Austin. Bruce. A pissed off Courtney and Shane. You do the math.
2.Aras – Every single person on Gitanos has wanted to get Aras out at some point or another, or at least had his boot in sight. Despite not winning a single challenge, he’s still regarded as a threat.
3.Cirie – For some time, she’s been calling the shots. Until recently, everyone on Casaya found her incredibly likeable. Her betrayal is no doubt harder to swallow than Aras’s.
4.Danielle – Danielle has done well to survive this far and makes the best decisions for herself in order to stay around for another few days. Without a strong alliance partner, her luck may have run out.
I had previously thought that Terry made a mistake by not giving his Immunity Idol away and keeping some allies around. I underestimated his ability to win challenge after challenge and indirectly load the jury with those allies without betraying them. If Terry makes it to the final two, he’s likely to take it all.