May
14
2006

Aras Wins Survivor Panama: Exile Island

“The Final Showdown” Danielle wins the most important Immunity Challenge and goes back on her word, deciding to take Aras to the Final Two – and ultimately loses to him.

This was probably the worst final 2 scenario we could have seen on this show. Both finalists were extremely dull – especially Aras, who looked sedated at the reunion show.

Danielle – this would normally be the point to call her out for her stupidity in taking Aras over Terry, but as the impromptu straw poll showed, she would have lost to Terry as badly as she did to Aras. So what did she do wrong? Her approach to the final Immunity Council was pretty poor; all she did was recite every cliche ever made in final Tribal Council history. Her best reason for why she deserved it was because she had some stuff going on and needed the money? Poor, poor, poor.

And of all things she could have said about what she would do if she won, she was going to share her experiences with children? This is the time you go all Miss America and talk about how you will make the world better – even if you have no intentions of feeding starving children – SAY YOU WILL. Nobody cares about the adventures of a runner-up on a game show.

As much as I can’t stand Aras, he played Danielle perfectly when it came time to butter her up for the final two. Terry was too nice of a guy to threaten her, and that was his undoing. Aras had no problem making up this disaster scenario in which she automatically looses 2 votes by voting off Aras – never mind the fact that she wouldn’t have gotten Cirie’s vote anyway, and Terry was just as likely to cast a vindictive vote as Aras. Danielle was dumb, but Aras has to get credit for taking advantage of that.

Knowing that Aras had asked Danielle to let him know of her decision before Tribal Council, and assuming she honored that request, it was pretty clear going in that Terry was going home. Aras talked a lot about being nervous, but Terry had a very peeved look on his face, and Aras had a sort of smug confidence.

Terry is definitely in my top 3 favorite Survivors of all time – right up there behind Brian Heidik with Tom Westman. He was a gentleman to the end and undoubtedly the best challenge performer, and one of the most fierce competitors they’ve ever had on the show. He had the misfortune of being the strongest player on a weak tribe, and as such had no luck breaking through an impossibly tight alliance. He respected everybody, even people who didn’t respect him and were bitter because he performed so well in challenges and they just couldn’t get rid of him.

Shane’s comments at the final Tribal Council were great because they cut to the bone but were delivered in a calm manner – not angry, and not looking like he felt he was the greatest player in the history of the game and he deserved to be up there more than either Aras or Danielle – even though he did.

I thought the final Reward Challenge was pretty good, but the final Immunity Challenge was another one that was just naturally rigged to favor women, who have been proven to perform better in those types of challenges as they have a lower center of gravity and better balance. Add to the fact that Danielle was the smallest and lightest of the 3, and I don’t think there was any doubt she was going to win.

Overall the season had some great things about it – Exile Island, the Hidden Immunity Idol, and Terry’s winning streak – but although it wasn’t the worst season it was probably in the bottom half overall.

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