How Hard Could It Be? (Episode 12-11)

This week, Cirie caught her first fish after asking herself, “How hard could it
be?” Fishing’s easy: be patient, and be smarter than the fish. Cirie then applied the same logic to Survivor and, by the episode’s end, she had masterfully engineered Courtney’s ouster.

was obvious that Cirie was a good deal smarter than at least one of her
competitors. Shane spent the morning of day 28 pretending that a piece
of wood was a BlackBerry email device. Too bad his son never actually
received the “omg britneys mebbe prego agin! o rly? YA RLY! lol @ teh o
rly owl!” message Shane thought he was sending.

At the Reward
Challenge, castaways were split into two teams: Cirie, Aras, and Shane
vs. Terry, Danielle, and Courtney. Each individual was hooked to a
rope, which they followed into the water over and under a series of
obstacles. At the end, they each unhooked from the rope, retrieved a
bag from under the water, clipped back onto the rope, and navigated
their way back to the beach.

Halfway through the obstacle
portion, Cirie, Aras, and Shane became tangled in the rope, with no
chance of catching up. The winning team sent Aras to Exile Island, and
Cirie and Shane headed back to camp.

Terry, Danielle, and
Courtney were ready to enjoy their reward, a barbecue on a private
island, when Jeff Probst announced that they would immediately play a
second Reward Challenge. The first person to break three tiles using a
slingshot won a GMC Yukon. Of course, Terry won.

Upon reaching
the private island, the winners cruised around in Terry’s new SUV —
which he called “righteous” — before enjoying their feast. Terry
suggested to Courtney and Danielle that they team up, taking Cirie with
them to the final four and voting Aras out as soon as possible.

agreed, but Danielle wasn’t so sure she wanted to make things so easy
for Terry. The odds of one of the women beating him in the final three
challenge would be slim. And after last week’s question-answer
challenge revealed that no one likes Courtney, she, and not Danielle,
would be Terry’s obvious choice for an opponent to take to the final

Back at camp, Cirie decided to try her hand at fishing,
after her snail dinner crawled out of the cooking pot. The same woman
who said on day one that she was afraid of leaves cracked open a
snail’s shell, used it to bait a hook, and then landed the biggest fish
caught this season.

She did squeal in disgust the whole time,
and she held the fish at arms length yelling, “Is it dead yet?” and
“Somebody help me!” as she walked back to camp. But, once there, she
acted like the brave huntress she wanted the others to see her as.
Cirie and Shane waited to show her prize to the three reward winners
before eating the fish.

On the morning of the Immunity
Challenge, Danielle voiced her concerns to Terry about his final two
strategy. He said he’d agree to taking the second place finisher of the
last immunity challenge to the final vote if he won, provided she agree
to do the same. She did, and went to tell the other ladies of the new

They weren’t as thrilled as she was. Danielle explained to
Courtney that the strategy rewarded hard work, which Courtney
interpreted (correctly) to mean that she wasn’t considered a hard
worker or a tough competitor. And Cirie simply didn’t believe Terry
would honor the deal, not when he could easily beat Courtney in the
final vote. Plus, Cirie knew the new alliance would likely put her in
fourth place.

Strategy talk was put on hold for the Immunity
Challenge. Each contestant knelt on a plank suspended over water and
held onto two ropes that held the equivalent of 20% of their own body
weight. Every 15 minutes, 10% of their weight would be added to the
ropes. Once they let go of the ropes, they would fall into the water,
eliminating them from the challenge.

Shane had a poor grip on
his ropes, losing one and then the other before any additional weight
was added. Once 15 minutes elapsed and contestants had to hold up 30%
of their weight, Cirie took a dive, followed by Danielle and Aras.

and Courtney were evenly matched until 30 minutes elapsed and 10% more
weight was added, for a total of 40%. The weight began to pull Courtney
up off of her knees, and she lasted less than a minute before losing
her grip. Terry won again, saving his hidden Immunity Idol for another
day and forcing the original members of Casaya to vote out one of their

Upon returning to camp, Cirie executed one of the smartest and most complex voting strategies ever used on Survivor: she successfully convinced the members of three alliances that she was with them solidly.

First, Cirie dealt with Courtney, consenting to vote with her, Danielle, and Terry to eliminate Aras.

and Cirie then met with Aras and Shane, their original alliance, and
both agreed to vote for Danielle. Secretly, Courtney still planned to
vote for Aras. But unknown to anyone else (yet), Cirie had no
intentions of letting either Danielle or Aras go.

At this point,
Shane was sure that four votes would be cast for Danielle, while Terry
and Courtney believed that four votes would be cast for Aras.

that Shane and Terry wanted Courtney as their opponent in the final
two, Cirie was determined that Courtney must go. Cirie pulled Aras and
Danielle aside and told them that the three of them needed to vote for
Courtney, since the other three votes were split between Danielle and

Aras, Cirie’s ally from the beginning, agreed to the plan.
Mindful of Danielle’s skittish nature, Cirie convinced Danielle that
her only way to guarantee lasting another day was to vote for Courtney.
And Cirie emphasized that they could not tell anyone of their new plan,
especially Shane, unless they wanted him to lose his mind.

new alliance of three kept their game faces on, surprising Shane,
Terry, and especially Courtney at Tribal Council. By successfully
deceiving the members of two alliances, Cirie’s brilliantly engineered
scheme rivalled Rob Cesternino’s plan to boot Alex from Survivor: Amazon — to this point, the benchmark for Survivor strategy.

week, Aras and Cirie try to smooth things over with Shane. But how
stressed can Cirie be, knowing she just made it a lot harder for Shane
or Terry to win, and a lot easier for herself?