In a Bed with Two Strange Men (Episode 12-8)

Terry’s offer to give Danielle the Immunity Idol wasn’t tempting enough to break up the old Casaya tribe’s group of six. Austin paid the price and became the first jury member on Survivor: Panama – Exile Island.

Gathering information from the protective Casayans wasn’t easy, but Terry got Shane to divulge his intended final four: Shane, Aras, Cirie, and Courtney. Terry even bet $20 against Shane that it would happen, just to make the piece of information that much more damaging when he told Bruce and Danielle about it later.

Scheming stopped for the Reward Challenge. Survivors were randomly divided into three teams of three. Each team loaded 100 coconuts from a bin into the opposing teams’ boats, rowed their own boat to a buoy to retrieve a flag and a net, and then dragged the coconuts from their boat back to the original bin.

Shane, Terry, and Austin seemed like an unbeatable team, prompting Aras to suggest that his team (with Bruce and Sally) combine their coconuts with those of Danielle, Courtney, and Cirie to overload the guys’ boat.

As a result, Aras’s team won. Bruce and Sally let Aras decide which member of each opposing team would be sent to Exile Island. He chose Austin and Danielle, presuming that she would handle it better, physically and emotionally, than would Cirie or Courtney.

For their reward, Bruce, Sally, and Aras were ferried away the following morning for breakfast in bed. Unfortunately, the canopy bed was out in the open and was soaked from the persistent rain.

Sally’s grumpiness over being in a cold, wet bed “with two strange men” went away as soon as breakfast arrived. Bruce marveled over the “out of this world bacon,” and they ate until they could eat no more.

As expected, the tales of their feast weren’t greeted warmly back at camp. Cirie vowed that if she didn’t win a reward soon, “I will die in Panama.”

As poorly as Cirie felt, Austin and Danielle were having an even worse time on Exile Island. They took shelter under a tree and used a wet blanket to cover their heads. Both described it as the worst two nights of their lives — despite these being their first two nights away from Shane for a while.

Austin and Danielle arrived bedraggled and exhausted for the Immunity Challenge, an obstacle course in four stages. During stage one, the first six survivors to dig under a fence and cross the finish line moved on. Sally, Danielle, Courtney, Terry, Shane, and Austin all made it to stage two.

The second part required contestants to solve a brain teaser puzzle, and then navigate though some netting. The remaining La Minans (Sally, Austin, and Terry) all qualified for round three.

The three remaining castaways had to race across a bridge made of two ropes. To help them cross, each racer had two wooden planks they could lay across the ropes. Castaways stood on one plank, placed the other plank in front of them, stood on that plank, picked up the old plank, set that plank in front, and so on. Terry and Sally crossed the bridge first, eliminating an exhausted Austin from the final round.

In the finals, Terry navigated a series of tunnels a few seconds faster than Sally, giving him his second individual immunity in a row.

At camp, Terry confided to Sally and Austin that he possessed the Immunity Idol from Exile Island. He proposed offering the idol to Danielle in exchange for her switching sides. If she switched, it would be easy to convince Bruce to switch as well.

Meanwhile, Aras suggested that his voting block cast their votes for Sally, assuming that, if Terry had the idol, he might give it to Austin. Then whomever the La Minans voted for (presumably Shane or Aras) would be going home.

Courtney argued that it was foolish not to get rid of Austin while they had the chance. When Aras refused to budge, Courtney stormed off. She, Danielle, and Cirie agreed that they wouldn’t be particularly sorry if Aras did go home.

At Tribal Council, Danielle stuck with her original tribe members, who overruled Aras and voted for Austin. After a few tense moments, Austin grabbed his torch: Terry had decided to keep the idol for himself.

While it may seem like keeping the idol wasn’t the most generous thing for Terry to do, he’s the only original La Mina member with a chance to make it to the end. Saving Austin would’ve only bought them one more week, and Terry has to suspect he won’t continue his dominance for six more immunity challenges.

Next week, Shane drops his pants to ask nurse Cirie about some chafing issues. I can only assume that Cirie is the mystery castmember who will be taken away on a boat due to a medical condition — as was promised in show previews a few weeks back. I’d get sick if Shane dropped trou in front of me, too.