The first victim of the game's predictable post-merge "pagonging," Nick Stanbury, a 25-year-old Tempe, Arizona resident who works in financial sales, became the seventh Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island castaway to be eliminated from the game.

Last night's CBS broadcast of Survivor: Panama -- Exile Island's seventh episode began with the La Mina tribe having returned from the Night 15 Tribal Council session in which the tribe's four man alliance, done in by the Casaya tribe's ability to prevent tribal outsider Sally Schumann from attending the session, had been forced to vote out Dan Barry, one of their own.

As Day 16 began, Casaya members continued to rub each other the wrong way, with Shane Powers' erratic behavior continuing to bother Courtney Marit and Aras Baskauskas remaining resentful of Bruce Kanegai's growing obsession with his rock garden. Meanwhile, Sally was enjoying her time alone on Exile Island, thankfully that Casaya's decision to banish her to the isolated island had saved her from certain elimination. "Exile Island for me is my saving grace, it does not hurt me one bit to be out here away from my tribe," she gushed.

Later that day, La Mina's three remaining men discovered a boat and supplies telling them it was time for the two tribes to merge. After disassembling their camp and gathering their personal belongings, the threesome began paddling off to Casaya's island.

Although excited about the merge, the men also recognized that their tribe was entering it at a 6-4 disadvantage. "We're down 6-4 -- the merge could be disastrous for us," La Mina leader Terry Dietz admitted. "If we don't get somebody to switch over right away, we'll just get picked off. We need to get over there and find out who exactly is aligned and who is not.... I'm going to hit up Bruce and see where he lies, Shane as well."

When La Mina arrived at Casaya's camp, they were surprised by how welcoming the Casaya tribe members (who unbeknownst to La Mina's members, had quickly attempted to finish chowing down their remaining rice when they saw La Mina approaching) received them. "They're standing there waiting for us with open arms, they just welcomed us to their home," remarked Nick. "I was a little surprised at how well we were welcomed -- I thought there might have been a bit of a competitive edge, but I didn't see it," Terry added.

After a production boat brought Sally back from Exile Island, the ten castaways celebrated their merge with new buffs and a feast of fresh fruit, cheese, crackers, and wine. Later, Terry took charge of leading the new tribe through the construction of a new, larger shelter -- a fact that didn't go unnoticed by Aras and Shane. "We'll let Captain America take the lead," Aras remarked. "Let Terry build it and then we'll vote him off," responded Shane.

As the castaways worked, Terry attempted to approach Bruce about allying himself with Terry's former La Mina foursome. Meanwhile, also sensing that Bruce might be the most likely ex-Casaya member to change allegiances, Aras and Shane also attempted to butter up Bruce by "making him feel like our leader."

No fool, Bruce easily saw through both sides' blatantly obvious strategies -- but still reveled his new powerbroker role. "I'm the swing vote for both sides," Bruce gushed in confessional. "It's such a wonderful feeling to be in this power position, because I know I'm going to go a lot further, guaranteed. I feel I have the best options out of all the other nine players, and they know it."

Later, Bruce found himself on the receiving end of something else -- a swing of Nick's machete. Growing careless as they attempted to tie down the new shelter's tarp during an afternoon rainstorm, Nick hit Bruce in the face with the sharp end of his machete. Luckily for Bruce, the damage appeared to be relatively minor, with Bruce suffering a chipped tooth and a cut lip but no serious injury.

"It was just a sickening sound," Nick later confessed. "Initially, I thought, 'I'm gone -- I just hit Bruce in the face with a machete. I'm out of here!'" Always one to be concerned for others, Shane immediately began to worry about how his alliance's numerical advantage might be effected if Bruce had to leave the game. "I mean, I panicked at first," Shane acknowledged shamelessly. "I'm like panicking about numbers for a second, for sure!"

The next day, the merged tribe worked on their flag and finally decided upon a name -- "Gitanos," a Spanish word for gypsies. With Terry's initial discussions with Bruce having proved noncommittal, Austin Carty, the third remaining member of La Mina's all-male alliance, attempted to mine Aras for information about Casaya's relationships, however the conversation wasn't very fruitful.

Meanwhile, Terry attempted to find new allies where ever he could, separately approaching Shane and Cirie Fields -- another of Casaya's former outsiders -- with an "opportunity to take the burden of Tribal Council of your shoulders for the next two weeks."
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Terry's approach dumbfounded both Shane and Cirie. "Obviously it's desperation, but 'Why would we want to join your tribe homey' -- we're going to ride this out and vote you off one at a time, there's no reason to flop," Shane later confessed. "It was almost laughable, it was like he's offering me something, I don't think he's in a position to offer me anything," said Cirie. "It was like a dictionary salesman, I mean I already have an encyclopedia collection over here and you're trying to sell me a dictionary?"

When later pressed by Terry, Shane admitted that he saw no reason to change alliances, leaving Terry to hope that either Cirie or Bruce would take him up on his offer.

Later that day, the castaways competed in Survivor: Panama's first individual Immunity Challenge, a simple endurance test that required each contestant to hang upside down with arms and legs wrapped around a pole. The last castaway left hanging would win immunity, Once they learned that Survivor host Jeff Probst wouldn't be tempting them with food, all the former Casaya members that remained hanging in the challenge slowly exited, leaving only Terry, Austin, and Nick competing. In the end, although they were each more than twenty years younger than the 46-year-old former Navy fighter pilot, neither Austin or Nick proved a match for Terry, who won the challenge when Nick fell after 46 minutes.

With Terry, their former #1 target, now immune from the evening's upcoming Tribal Council session, the six former Casaya members began discussing whether Austin or Nick would be the new target of their votes. Making no effort to disguise their activities, Shane called the group together for a very public "Casaya meeting" -- an action that the former La Mina didn't appreciate.

"You know, if you're going to talk to each other, then talk to each other but to all of the sudden parade off...," Terry vented to his three other former La Mina members. "Those guys couldn't have figured out a nicer way of doing what they just did?" "You can be cocky, but it's cooler if you're not," added Sally.

Shane was unapologetic. "To be honest, I don't care what they think," he bragged. "If they have a problem with it, okay. They can have as big a problem with it as they want -- they're still going one at a time."

Sure enough, all six former Casaya members remained strong at the night's Tribal Council session and although Terry, Austin, Nick ,and Sally took a jab at Shane by casting their ballots for him, Nick was voted out of Survivor: Panama in a 6-4 vote.