Nick Stanbury made the merge but not the jury.
'Survivor' fans desperate for a fix tuned into last night's new episode to hear a familiar sound ringing throughout the jungles of Panama. Pagong. Pagong. Pagong.
The La Mina and Casaya tribes merged and with the numbers strongly on Casaya's side, La Mina is about to suffer the fate of so many 'Survivor' tribes before them who entered the merger without the votes needed to dominate Tribal Council. As the vote last night illustrated, nobody in the Casaya Alliance bought into La Mina's desperate pleas to jump ship and the game has once again entered that one predictable 'Pagonging' phase fans just loathe. La Mina is as good as dead unless the volatile Casaya Alliance finally implodes and that is not likely to happen any time soon.
With Terry Deitz winning the first Individual Immunity Challenge and Nick Stanbury becoming the first Pagonging victim by default, one thing is abundantly clear. This portion of the 'Survivor' game, the only weak link in the game's construction, is in dire need of tinkering for future editions and the Exile Island gimmick alone will not do the trick. Whether it be an entire season of Individual Immunity Challenges, the option of adding more tribes or some other such twist, the persistent Pagonging must end somehow, some way.
The Survivors at the start of the broadcast were:
La Mina Tribe
1. Sally Schumann.
2. Terry Deitz.
3. Austin Carty.
4. Nick Stanbury.
1. Courtney Marit.
2. Danielle DiLorenzo.
3. Aras Baskauskas.
4. Cirie Fields.
5. Bruce Kanegai.
6. Shane Powers.
Casaya Tribal Happenings (Night 15)
The camp is soggy and so are the members of Camp Chaos. As the psychopaths cuddle in the shelter, Courtney gropes for some of the blanket the others are hording. Surprisingly, nobody is willing to accommodate her.
Courtney to a stubborn Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian) as she rolls over alone: I am just cold, dude.
Casaya Tribal Happenings (Day 16)
Courtney complains to anyone who will listen that she was freezing to death last night. She now has the blanket all to herself. Courtney to Shane: Everything I own is soaked. In response, Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian) stares blankly at her.
Courtney moves on to complain to Danielle. Danielle just nods.
Courtney: I just cannot trust Shane. It is goodbye for him.
Obi-Wan Aras and Shane watch with interest as Bruce tidies his rock garden. He apparently does so each and every morning.
Sensei Bruce: I am the odd man out. I have to just make it to the merge and then maybe the game will change.
Exile Island Happenings (Day 16)
Sally Longstocking: It doesn't hurt me to be here at all. Sally is shown digging here and there. She is not sure if Terry has found the Hidden Immunity Idol or not. She hopes not. Sally: Maybe I will get lucky.
La Mina Tribal Happenings (Day 16)
Austin cannot wait until the merger. It will be a true test of how far he can make it in the game.
Tree mail tells La Mina to search around on the beach for something that doesn't fit in.
Austin: Like Marvin Gaye once said: Let's get it on!
La Mina finds a canoe with a crate in it and a message. The note instructs them to not open the crate but to pack up their belongings and head to the Casaya Camp. The Boy's Club Alliance begins gathering their things together and will bring the tarp on their shelter along with them.
Tom V2: We have to get someone to switch over to our side or we will be picked off one by one. He will work on Bruce and Shane. The Hidden Immunity Idol is his ace in the hole.
Austin: It is time to duck and weave like Sugar Ray.
The Boy's Club Alliance paddles off for Casaya.
Casaya Tribal Happenings (Day 16)
The Casaya Crazies are lounging around like lazy lima beans and eating rice. La Mina's canoe is spotted in the distance. Everyone starts gobbling up the rice.
Obi-Wan Aras: We are chowing down the rice as we are heathens and we don't want to share.
Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian) calls a group meeting to make sure all of the Crazies are on the same page. Shane: If we stick together, we will be the top six.
Obi-Wan Aras: We are going to vote them off one by one.
The Casaya Crazies welcome The Boy's Club as they come ashore, Sensei Bruce more than the others.
Sensei Bruce: It was a pleasure to be with them again. I sense something wonderful happening.
Soon, another boat arrives carrying Sally Longstocking. Bruce greets her with a big hug.
The crate is opened. It contains food, drink, candy and paints to design a new flag with.
Obi-Wan Aras: I had to slap myself for pigging out on the rice.
As everyone fills their bellies and is very cordial to one another, Tom V2 is surprised they were welcomed with such openness.
Tom V2, Bruce and some others start work on a new improved shelter.
Shane: They are doing a wonderful job planning out the shelter. It will be way better than the old one. He prays that Terry doesn't have the Hidden Immunity Idol.
Aras and Shane chat. Shane: Let Captain America (Terry) take the lead. He's going home.
As Bruce and Tom V2 work on the shelter, Tom V2 offers Bruce final five. Both agree they can trust each other as they are men of their word.
Shane and Aras agree they have to keep bolstering Bruce's ego to make him think he is the respected leader of their tribe.
Whispering to Aras and Shane, Bruce says he will speak to them before he makes any kind of decision.
Sensei Bruce: I am in the best position right now and the person with the best options. It is time to outwit, outplay and outlast everyone.
As it pours with rain, Danielle and Cirie watch Bruce talk with Tom V2. Cirie: What are they talking about? I am scared of Bruce. Danielle: Me too.
In a bonehead 'Survivor' moment, Bruce is standing too close as Nick hacks at a rope with the machete. The rope cuts unexpectedly and the machete swings through to catch Sensei in the mouth.
Nick: I feel so bad. It made such a sick sound. I thought...I just hit Bruce with a machete in the face. I am gone.
As Sensei bleeds from his mouth and recognizes that a tooth has been chipped, he repeats that he will not leave the game.
Shane: Seeing Bruce like that, I started panicking and worrying about the numbers.
Sensei: I could see that Nick felt terrible about what happened. Bruce tells the others that he had a tooth come right through his lip once. He will be fine.
Merger Beach Happenings (Day 17)
Since he is an art teacher, Bruce has taken on the task of designing the tribe's flag. They have picked the name Gitanos. It means "gypsies" in Spanish. Bruce wants to do a good job and make his tribe proud.
In the jungle, Nick, Terry and Austin try to feel out Aras by asking him about his position in the tribe. Aras is vague and is not interested in sharing information with them.
Tom V2: It is gonna be harder to flip people than I thought.
Terry tries his luck with Shane. Tom V2 reveals a plan to bring Shane and Cirie into the fold. Tom V2: For two weeks, you will not have to worry about the vote. Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian): We can definitely try it.
Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian): Terry is obviously desperate. He is grasping at straws. I would do the same thing though if I were in his shoes.
Tom V2 outlines his plan to Cirie.
Cirie: I wanted to laugh. Terry is in no position to offer me anything. It is like I have a set of encyclopaedias and he wants to sell me a dictionary.
In front of the Boy's Club, Sally Longstocking and Cirie, Tom V2 asks Shane if he is in or out. Shane-O-Mac(hiavellian): I have no idea what you are talking about. I am in a good spot. I am not going to flop.
Tom V2: Shane won't jump. He will have to pressure Cirie and Bruce. The Hidden Immunity Idol remains his ace in the hole.
No frills challenge. The players must hand upside down on a pole. Last player to be holding on tight, wins.
Immunity from the Tribal Council vote.
At three minutes, Cirie is out. Yoga boy Aras is done at 11 minutes. Bruce and Sally drop at 12. Shane asks Probst if he will be offering them food to quit. Probst confirms no such incentives will be brought forth. Shane splits at 13 or 14 minutes. Danielle and Courtney are close behind. Austin tries to convince Terry to step down. He won't. Austin is out at 30 minutes. Nick survives until 46 minutes.
Gitanos Pre-Tribal Council Happenings (Day 18)
Tom V2: Having both Immunity Idols is a godsend.
Bruce congratulates Tom V2. Bruce refers to Tom V2 as one of the most honest guys in the game.
Austin: Nothing is gonna save me now.
Austin hugs Bruce. His plan is to look weak so he won't be voted off.
Nick just wants to survive the vote so he can be a part of the jury.
In front of the Boy's Club and Sally, Shane calls the Casaya Crazies over for a meeting. Nick calls the blatant move immature.
Shane is proud of how everyone has refused to be taken in by La Mina's offers. Courtney feels Nick should leave. Cirie: Nick is like Terry number two. Danielle and Aras do not have a preference. Shane thinks Austin is the better pick but he will go along with what everyone else believes is best. As long as someone from La Mina goes, he couldn't care less.
The La Minas grumble about how the Casaya Crazies are acting. As Aras and the others return, Terry blurts out...You guys couldn't be more obvious than that.
Shane: We just wanted to communicate. I don't care what they think. They are all going home. I am worried about Bruce though. The Casaya Crazies just need to get through this vote.
Tribal Council Happenings
Courtney describes the merged tribe's name and what it means. Terry would have been happier if there was one more tribal Immunity Challenge so La Mina could have knocked Casaya down one more peg. Nick reveals La Mina's plan to exploit the fringe members of Casaya. Bruce loves and respects everyone. Nick hopes he proved to Casaya how much he wants to still be in the game. Austin lets it be known that he is trying to appear weak so he doesn't get voted off. Shane: When Probst admitted there would be no food, cigarettes or coffee coming, there was no reason to continue the Immunity Challenge. Aras: No worries except that someone may have the Hidden Immunity Idol. Courtney would be shocked if one of the Casaya Crazies flipped. Cirie would be flabbergasted.
Austin votes for Shane. He led the charge to get him voted out. Courtney picks Nick. Having to do so makes her sad.
1. Sally Schumann: Shane.
2. Terry Deitz: Shane.
3. Austin Carty: Shane.
4. Nick Stanbury: Shane.
5. Courtney Marit: Nick.
6. Danielle DiLorenzo: Nick.
7. Aras Baskauskas: Nick.
8. Cirie Fields: Nick.
9. Bruce Kanegai: Nick.
10. Shane Powers: Nick.
Tribal Council Victim: Nick Stanbury.
As he leaves, Nick throws a shirt or something to Cirie and thanks her.
"All you kids that are in their twenties and in my situation and are not sure which direction life is pulling you, you are just trying to find yourself...I urge us all, please, be hungry and foolish. Find yourself. Be who you potentially are and be true to your dreams and what you really want to do. If we all maximize that personal freedom, we will change the world." - Nick Stanbury .
On the next 'Survivor': Television.
"Terry to Sally about the idol: I have it. Sally: Shut up. Probst: The Hidden Immunity Idol begins to work its magic. The Casaya Crazies are shown worrying about the idol. Courtney: The Hidden Immunity Idol has really shaken things up. It could change the game like that. Terry to someone: I will give you the Immunity Idol."
On the next 'Survivor': Internet.
"Terry decides it is time to reveal the Idol to some castaways. How will the power of the Idol affect the game? When two tribe members are sent to Exile Island, an unexpected bond forms. With this new-found friendship affect their alliance and change the course of the game? Determine to expand their alliance, the La Mina group pressures several Casayas. Can they secretly break up the Casaya Six? At the Reward Challenge, one Survivor demonstrates clever leadership skills and forges a win with a weaker group."
Hidden Immunity Idol? Whatever. The only thing it will do in the near future is save Terry from being voted out and cause someone else from La Mina to be targeted. That person is likely to be Austin. If Terry is dumb enough to reveal to everyone that he has it, it will give the Casaya Crazies a chance to formulate a voting plan if Terry doesn't win Individual Immunity. His Immunity Challenge streak will probably begin soon, perhaps after the next episode.
Courtney is wrong about the Hidden Immunity Idol mixing up the game. As long as the Casaya Crazies stay solid and other members of La Mina are in the game, they still have the numbers no matter if Terry uses the idol or not.
The whole blanket fiasco with Courtney at the start of the episode is a clear sign where she stands as far as pecking order in the tribe. If Courtney targets Shane because of her hatred for him, she is liable to be voted out in the middle or at the end of a La Mina Pagonging. It seems that Shane, Danielle and Aras are pretty tight despite their bickering.
As you may already know, rumour has it that Bruce is the one who suffers from a medical emergency and is carted out of the game. We probably have to wait a few episodes for that to happen.
No rumour has surfaced thus far that the Hidden Immunity Idol is found and used a second time.
Nick's motivational, valedictorian speech? Strangest. Goodbye message. Ever. Now go forth and change the world. Heh. Heh.