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?
Put your thinking caps on. Break out the pie charts and graphs. It’s here. The semi-annual rite of passage that brings all of mankind together in perfect harmony. Survivor is no longer a passing phase like torn Levis or law school. It’s in a league of its own. One that provides hours of speculation, sleuthing and trickery.
I bring you the “Exile Files”- a one stop potpourri of strategy, team dynamics and just plain guessing. I raise my royal scepter (that would be my remote) to the Survivor Gods and ask for guidance as I attempt to figure this game out.
Same Game, New Rules
There comes a time when the holes in your favorite underwear are just too big to keep on wearing. The same goes with Survivor. Instead of two tribes, Burnett and company throw us for an enjoyable loop with four tribes of four: older men, older women, younger men and younger women.
Along with the four main tribal camps, there is also Exile Island. This is the island where one losing tribe member will be sent to throughout the competition. We all remember Janu getting freaky on her exile expedition. This time should prove no different. In addition to surviving alone on this island with only skanky water and a machete, exiled tribal members will have a chance to search for an individual immunity idol.
Seems the hidden individual immunity idol that was put into play last season was good enough for a second go around. This time, however, whomever finds the immunity idol does not have to reveal it until after the votes are read at Tribal Council.
What does this do to how the game is played? For one thing, it will eliminate any knee jerk reactions at TC. No need to put yourself in the spotlight if your name was never on any ballots for ousting.
Here’s another thought, and one that I would love to see play out. When the teams merge for spots on the jury, and immunity is now individual, immunity winners are given the option to hand over their immunity necklace to another player at TC.
In this scenario, a player who has the individual idol as well as the necklace can turn over the necklace to another member in his/ her alliance if need be. If said dual winner is the one who is on the chopping block, but acts aloof and hands the necklace over to another tribe member, the rest of the tribe will vote him/ her out (unaware of the little surprise awaiting in their shorts).
When the votes are read and the tribe are giving the secret eye winks or sly high five’s, the individual idol holder can pull out the idol and stick it to the tribe. This will be forever known as the ‘booyah’ heard around the world and an automatic shift in the game.
We still don’t know what the individual idol looks like or how big it is. How will the finder keep it hidden for an extended period of time? This might give new meaning to “is that an immunity idol in your pocket or are you just happy to see me.”
With the bureaucratic necessities over with, lets get down to the tribes and who stands a chance of making it…
Casaya- Older Women
It was refreshing to see such a shake up so early on. I would imagine that most had Cirie leaving early. Tina seemed a clear choice to make it a few more days, if not onto the jury.
After digesting what had transpired, I lean more to it being a brilliant (albeit risky) move. Shelter had been established, fire was practically handed to them on a silver platter and any of the remaining three can have the same luck of finding fish out of water.
As far as challenges go and with four teams competing, all the ladies have to do is not finish last. I know, not such an easy thing to say considering they finished last on the first challenge. However, challenges vary from pure physical to mental and a little in between. It only takes one mistake from another team to vault the ladies from fourth to third.
How do group dynamics change with Tina gone? I see Cirie becoming the leader by virue of being the mouthiest. Ruth Marie will have the underlying power. As Ruth Marie smartly put it, she has no problems letting another tribe mate take the lead for a little bit.
Melinda is a follower. Her best bet is to latch on to Ruth Marie. Should the three make it to a big merge, Cirie will be the first to go out of this group. Or rather, Cirie will be the next to go from Casaya regardless. I hold no ill feelings towards her. It’s the Survivor Rule of Law. No one with Cirie’s personality traits make it to the merge.
Who makes it to the last merge: Ruth Marie.
La Mina- Older Men
NASA, Schmassa. Shane is the key to the short term success of La Mina. And as we all know, short term success is key leading up to the merge and then on to victory.
Why Shane? Simple. Shane is this season’s version of Lex (from Africa). He won’t make it to the final two, but will be an integral part of how the two finalists get there. Shane is savvy, aggressive and in your face. He’s no Einstein but in this game street smarts win the day. He’ll be a big part in the ousting of Bruce. Dan and Terry won’t want to make waves this early in the game regardless if they dislike Shane’s game. This leaves Shane jostling for position. Like a street con who can talk the pants off a nudist, Shane will find a way to align with the younger folk when the merge arrives. Because of that, he will piss too many people off and end up on the jury as a bitter and jealous player. (Note: let’s hope for a pack of Pall Mall’s to be up for bid at the auction)
Despite the usual trickery Burnett likes to throw in there, Bruce is as good as gone should La Mina make it to TC before the merge. Rule number one in the Surviving the First Days of Survivor handbook is never act like dictator.
Daffy DuckBruce is well on his way digging his grave. This works well for Shane since it will be either he or Bruce going home first among the tribe.
Lastly we have Dan and Terry. Dan was smart to forge an alliance early on. Both possess the interesting traits of successful Survivor winners/ jury members. Terry has a commanding leadership presence without being too overbearing. Dan is the harmless father figure type who will be the shoulder for the young waif-like girls to cry on. He is Pascal part deux. Although, this time it won’t be the purple rock. It’ll be sunburn.
Who makes it to the last merge: Dan, Terry and Shane.
Viveros- Younger Men
Oy vey! I haven’t seen such a discombobulated mess since the casting for Punch, Drunk, Love was announced. Strip away their diamond hard pecs, chiseled abs and trendy whispy hair and we have a tribe that resembles a pledge meeting at the I Tappa Kegga frat house.
Look for Austin to pursue some hot sweaty love with one of the younger gals. With his teen dreamy looks and ‘aw shucks’ persona, he’s a shoe-in to snag one very susceptible princess who would rather be held than win a million smackers.
I see Nick and Bobby aligning sometime soon. They both have a laid back vibe and would rather watch the other two make jackasses out themselves than be a part of it. Aras will play the sweet guy routine, offering up yoga lessons in return for an alliance. There’s no threat with this lad.
Yes, this team won the first immunity challenge. For that they get a little applause. But what happens at camp will play out at TC when they do have to face it. Eventually one of the four will get fed up with the party-boy antics and complain of the lack of sharing the workload.
Who makes it to the last merge: Nick and Bobby.
Bayoneta- Younger Women
It would only be fitting for me to be wishy-washy over this team. Despite a glimpse of strength and teamwork at the IC, this team is a mess at camp. There was no sense of urgency, just a lot of hemming and hawing. There’s a difference between stepping up and aligning each other in a common direction versus being a know-it-all. The girls haven’t figured that out yet.
I fear Courtney will be the first to go from Bayoneta. She’s not plastic, plays with fire and wears dreads. It’s a trifecta of doom. And as we all know, the barbies always gang up on the non-conformists.
Burnett is still spot-on with his casting. He’s assembled enough eye candy to advance at least two of them to the final merge. He even managed to find a hot missile engineer. Nobody but Burnett can do that! Sexist, perhaps. Reality…sadly, yes.
Who will make it to the final merge (by mostly sheer luck): Sally, Danielle and Misty.
It’s a long game. It will be interesting to see how the tribe mates interact with each other and with the other’s. I would suspect that given the dynamics of this game are noticeably different this time around that we can count on one, maybe two merges before the final merge at the end. If this should be the case, it will be the small merges that will have everlasting effects on the final pecking order.
Don’t bet the house on my predictions. However, if you do and win big, please send my royalty notice via email at: email@example.com