Austin Carty becomes the eighth castaway to exit 'Survivor: Panama'
By Reality TV World staff, 04/07/2006
The second victim of the game's predictable post-merge "pagonging" that even the introduction of a hidden Immunity Idol has thus far proven unable to disrupt, Austin Carty, a 24-year-old aspiring actor and author from High Point, NC, became the eighth Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island castaway to be eliminated from the game.
Last night's CBS broadcast of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island's eighth episode began with the newly merged Gitanos tribe having returned from the Night 18 Tribal Council session in which the predictable post-merge "pagonging" started, resulting in former La Mina member Nick Stanbury being voted out of the competition.
The next day, Austin -- who had been expecting that he and not Nick would have been the first target of the six former Casaya members -- regretted having revealed, just prior to the prior night's Tribal Council vote, that he had intentionally thrown the Day 18 Immunity Challenge in what he believed to have been a failed attempt to make the Casaya members believe he wasn't a physical threat. "When it looked like it wasn't working and I was going home, I at least wanted everyone to know 'Hey I could have hung a little bit longer guys,'" he explained in confessional. "[But] now in retrospect that was so stupid to let them know my plan because now I'm afraid that people are questioning whether they really trust me."
Unfortunately for Austin, that was exactly the conclusion that at least some of the former Casaya members reached. "Austin is slimeball... he's going to try and work everybody," Casaya alliance member Aras Baskauskas vented to his allies. "I can't trust him, that's for sure," added ally Courtney Marit.
Meanwhile, undeterred by his previous failure to woo any of the Casaya alliance's members over to his own outnumbered alliance, former La Mina leader Terry Dietz continued his attempts to find a crack in the six-person group. "Today is a new day and new numbers are rolling through my head... if I can draw two of those people over on our side, the tables could turn," Terry explained. "We'll see what happens, there's always hope."
Later that day, the castaways competed in the episode's Reward Challenge. Dubbed "Rock The Boat," the challenge divided the contestants into three randomly determined teams of three and required each team to race to load 100 coconuts from a beach-side bin and into the boats of either of the two other teams. After dumping the coconuts into the boats of either of their competitors, the team would paddle their own boat off shore and retrieve a tribal flag and fishing net. Then, once back on shore, the teams had to use the net to unload all the coconuts that the other tribes had loaded into their own boat and dump them back into the same bin that had originally held the coconuts they had loaded onto the other tribes' boats. The first team to complete the challenge would receive "breakfast in bed" and the opportunity to determine which of their competitors would be banished to Exile Island.
As the challenge started, Aras quickly determined that in order for his own team of himself, Bruce Kanegai, and Sally Schumann to have a chance to win, his team and the all-female team comprised of Courtney, Danielle DiLorenzo, and Cirie Fields would have to both conspire against the all-male team of Terry, Austin, and Shane Powers. Sure enough, the plan worked, and although the women's team quickly became a non-factor in the race, having to transport the majority of both other teams' coconuts slowed Terry's team down enough for Aras' team to win the challenge for themselves. Having won the challenge, Aras -- appearing to make the team's decision singlehandedly -- announced that the team would be sending Austin and Danielle off to Exile Island.
The next morning, a production boat took Aras, Bruce, and Sally to their reward: a canopy bed mounted in the middle of a desolate sandbar. Although an ongoing morning downpour had left the bed soaked, the castaways quickly forgot about the situation once their food arrived. "All of a sudden this tray is set down and I am not kidding you, it went from this cold, miserable moment to the most incredible day ever," Sally gushed as she later recalled the experience.
Meanwhile, Terry attempted to use the fact that only he, Cirie, Courtney, and Shane were left at the Gitanos camp to ferret out the inner pecking order of the Casaya alliance. "My strategy is to try to coax out of those guys who they think is going to be in the Final Four, and with that, it puts two of their players kinda out there," Terry explained.
Although initially tight lipped, Shane eventually disclosed that he foresaw the Final Four being himself, Aras, Cirie, and Courtney -- new information on which Terry hoped to capitalize. "Two of their players, Danielle and Bruce, are the next on the pecking order and if I can get those guys over to our side this will totally swing the game," explained Terry.
In the meantime, Austin and Danielle were miserable on Exile Island. Unable to start a fire since it had been raining since their arrival, the pair was forced to huddle under a tree for warmth. "Being on Exile Island under the torrential rains forced me to go into the quickest bonding experience I've ever been through. Luckily, Danielle and I got along great," explained Austin.
As a result of their Exile Island experience, Danielle began to eye Austin as a potential future ally. "Out of all the people that I had to get stuck on the island with, I'm glad it was Austin," she later confessed. "I know him a little bit more personally and I have a little bit more trust built up with him, [so] god forbid something did change then ya, I am thinking logically [that] Austin would be a backup plan."
On Day 21, Terry surprised Sally by revealing that he had found Survivor: Panama's hidden Immunity Idol during his own stay on Exile Island. The news shocked Sally, and gave her hope that although she and Terry weren't finding "any chinks in Casaya's armor," the former La Mina members had one more card left to play. "I love it, the whole game changes," she gushed. "That's a huge ace in the hole and I'm so excited for the next Immunity Challenge because if Terry wins he could slip either Austin or I the Idol and I'm pumped, I'm absolutely thrilled!"
Later that day, Austin and Danielle rejoined the other castaways at the Immunity Challenge. A four-stage obstacle course, the competition required the contestants to A) dig themselves under a wooden fence, B) complete a brain teaser and navigate a three-dimensional net maze, C) use two wooden planks to cross a rope bridge, and D) race through a series of vertical and horizontal tunnels and towers. Six castaways would survive the first round, with three surviving the second round and only the last two contestants competing in the final round. The first person to finish the final round would win individual immunity.
Once the challenge began, Aras quickly became the first castaway to pull himself under the fence, however he also quickly got stuck, allowing Sally, Danielle, Courtney, Terry, Shane and Austin to all dig themselves under the fence while he attempted to enlarge his hole. Although he'd just barely made it past the first phase, Austin was the first to finish the second phase, followed by Sally and Terry. However Austin's luck didn't hold during the third phase, resulting in a final round showdown between Terry and Sally. Although the final race remained surprisingly close, Terry managed to pull into a slight lead, resulting in the former fighter pilot winning his second straight individual Immunity Challenge.
After the castaways returned to camp, Terry decided to make one last attempt to break the Casaya alliance by informing Bruce and Danielle of their place in Shane's pecking order and attempting to convince them to switch sides. Feeling he was the most honorable player in the game, Bruce agreed to be part of Terry's plan -- but only if Danielle also agreed to switch alliances. Armed with Bruce's conditional commitment, Terry decided to make Danielle an offer he thought she couldn't refuse: a promise to give her the hidden Immunity Idol.
Like Sally before him, Terry's disclosure that he'd found the idol shocked Austin. "Have I ever told you how big a stud you are?" a shocked Austin told Terry. "Isn't he just sick," a gleeful Sally joked. However despite the appeal of Terry's offer, Danielle remained non-committal. "It's tempting, I don't know if I trust Aras... I could actually transform this game into a whole new thing," Danielle confessed to the cameras.
Meanwhile, uncertain as to whether Terry had managed to find the idol but worried that if he had, he might give it to Austin in a desperate attempt to have the Casaya castaway who would receive the second-most Tribal Council votes sent home, Aras and Shane (knowing one of them would be Terry's top Tribal Council target) attempted to convince their fellow Casaya members to instead vote off Sally, "the safe vote." Courtney disagreed with the idea that even if he had it, Terry would ever sacrifice the hidden Immunity Idol to save Austin, setting off yet another disagreement among the fragile Casaya alliance.
"Basically we're playing a shell game -- where is the ball, under which shell -- and Casaya is divided on the vote, so I absolutely feel at risk and I'm crossing my fingers and hoping I don't get a whammy," Aras explained.
Sensing the Casaya alliance's disharmony, Austin suggested that should Danielle fail to commit to changing alliances, Terry should give the hidden idol to either Sally or himself before that tribe left for Tribal Council. But although he had been willing to give the idol to Danielle if he felt it would ensure he and his two remaining La Mina allies would make it to Survivor: Panama's Final Four, Terry didn't appear willing to sacrifice it just to keep both Sally and Austin around for three more days. "We'll see what happens," Terry remarked to Austin.
In the end, Courtney and the other Casaya women forced the group to vote for Austin, resulting in the 24-year-old receiving six votes at the Tribal Council. And although Aras had claimed that Courtney hadn't "displayed one bit of intelligence" since the game began, she did prove correct in her belief that Terry wouldn't give up his hidden Immunity Idol to save Austin, resulting in Aras surviving the Tribal Council session despite being the target of La Mina's three votes.