February 5 2006

Survivor Exile Island Episode 1

Here we go again folks, season 12 of Survivor. This time, the full title is Survivor Panama – Exile Island. This synopsis will be a bit different than usual because this episode was more about the twists than anything else.

First twist was that the castaways were not only seperated by gender or age, they were seperated by both! The breakdowns are:

Older Women – Casaya
Cirie, 35 – Registered Nurse
Melinda, 32 – Singer
Ruth Marie, 48 – Director of Retail Leasing
Tina, 45 – Logging Sports Promoter/Performer

Younger Women – Bayoneta
Courtney, 31 – Performance Artist
Danielle, 24 – Medical Sales Represenative
Misty, 24 – Missile Engineer
Sally, 27 – Social Worker

Older Men – La Mina
Bruce, 58 – Karate Instructor/High Scool Art Teacher
Dan, 52 – Retired Astronaut
Shane, 35 – Owner Entertainment Marketing Company
Terry, 46 – Airline Pilot/Retired Navy Fighter Pilot

Younger Men – Viveros
Aras, 24 – Yoga Instructor
Austin, 24 – Writer
Bobby, 32 – Attorney
Nick, 25 – Financial Sales

Anyone notice that a 32 year old man is considered a “Younger Man”, a 32 year old woman is considered an “Older Woman”? Real nice.

The teams were dropped off at Exile Island and explained to them the differences in the tribes. They then had the actual meaning of the island explained to them, which seemed to take everyone back in what it means to be seperated from their tribes and how it could effect their game play. They were also informed they were immediately playing in an reward challange. The officla site described the game “Skull Crush” for us:

“The four tribes each delegate one player to participate, as they must run across the island to a pile of skulls. Next, the players must smash open the skulls on rocks until they find an amulet. The first three players to return to the starting line and present the amulet win flint for fire. The losing tribe will elect one tribe member to stay on Exile Island.”

Ruth Marie, Terry, Danielle and Austin were chosen to run the challange. As the teams raced down the island, Austin fell early, but quickly recovered. The four castaways reached the skull pile and began breaking them. First back was Terry for the older men, second was Austin for the younger men and third place went to Ruth Marie for the older women, leaving Danielle of the younger women as the loser. This was a mean twist, but the younger women, who has only just met, had to choose who was staying for the night at Exile Island. After some debate, they decided to play Rock-Paper-Scissors to decide who would stay. Misty lost and was the one to stay.

The third twist was then introduced, and this may be the biggest twist in the history of the show. Hidden, somewhere, on Exile Island is an indviual immunity idol. While there you are allowed to search for it. While this is powerful in-and-of itself, this one also can be used at any time, even AFTER votes have been cast. Let’s say someone receives 3 votes and the other person 1. The evicted player can then use the idol to save themselves, and the person with the second most votes can go home. This is the biggest, most powerful twist I have ever seen in the show as it could decimate strategies. It can be used up until the final 4, it is not usable in the final 3. Misty was left with a clue about fate having chosen her to be left on the island and that it lays behind her…which says to me it is buried in, or near, the pile of skulls as those were the fate that put her there, and it’s in the past. Makes you wonder.

The next part was the usual shake-out of who’s in charge, where to put your shelter and so on. The older women got right to work, the younger women couldn’t make up their minds of where to build, the younger men built the saddest looking shelter in the history of the show and the older men were having personailty conflicts already.

Three major things I noticed with the older men was that Shane, a 3-pack-a-day smoker, was not going to fit in with the guys. Secondly was Dan and Terry deciding to “confide” in each other the first day about their true pasts. And Dan…oh Dan…don’t ever just jump in to the leadership roll you fool. Folks…this is season 12, how and why do people keep repeating the same mistakes over and over? Don’t set yourself up as the leader, don’t make alliances when you barely known the person and chill out and try to get along with everyone! These are some of the most basic aspects of the game and yet people conitune to make the same stupid mistakes time and time again. Idiots.

Time for the immunity challange, and the return of Misty to the younger women. She decided to hint to everyone that she found the idol, even though she didn’t The immunity challange “4 X 4” is explained by the official website:

“Beginning on platforms in the ocean, the tribes must race over a wall, dive into the ocean and swim to their tribe raft. The last person over the wall dives down to unclip a rope, releasing the raft. The tribe then paddles the raft towards shore. Once the tribe latches their raft to the hitching post on shore, they race to solve a brainteaser puzzle, which releases a giant ring. The tribe has the option to dig down several feet and search to uncover an answer key to solve the puzzle. Once the ring is released, the tribe attaches it to a rope that they use to throw at a grappling hook to unfurl their tribe flag. The first three tribes to raise their flags win Immunity. “

Long story short, the older women lost. They got off to a bad start by not being able to unhook their boat, and never seemed to really catch up.

Back at camp, the women had a decesion to make. It seemed like the obvious choice would be Cirie, mainly because she didn’t understand any thing about the outdoors and has a “fear” of leaves…let that one sink in for a minute. In the end though, she was able to convince Melinda and Ruth Marie that Tina was too big of a threat and it was time to say adios to Tina.

This was an extremely bad decesion on their part as they have no clue when they will stop being four tribes. For all they know, they just got rid of their biggest strength in challanges. Mark Burnett’s plan to play with their minds worked though as the women came to fear Tina’s strengths instead of embracing it.

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