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Season 12: Episode 8 - NO STORYBOOK ENDING: Austin Written Out Of Gitanos
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

The former La Mina alliance continues to take a beating as Austin Carty, the 24-year-old author from High Point, North Carolina, is voted out in a 6-3 decision. When he admits to throwing an earlier Challenge, Austin's error in judgment sours the Casaya contingent and they vote him out, considering him a game-player, thus a threat. With his Final Words, Austin admits his dilemma: "It was very difficult for me to negotiate the line between integrity and playing the game of SURVIVOR."

About Last Night
The morning after a Tribal Council in which Nick Stanbury was voted out, the alliance of former La Mina members is down another person. Thinking that he would be the one to go, Austin revealed at Tribal that he had thrown the previous Immunity Challenge as a tactic to make the Casaya alliance believe him weak. "That was so stupid to let them know my plan," Austin laments, "because now I'm afraid people are questioning whether they really trust me." Terry, knowing that Casaya will be gunning for Austin, hopes that La Mina can pull a defector to their side. Terry admits, "I'm still a team guy. I'm still a La Mina guy versus the remaining Casaya members, and I'm hoping to turn it around a little bit."

When the tribe convenes for the Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst explains that the tribe will divide into three teams of three. Each team will have one boat and 100 coconuts. They must race to put the coconuts into the boats of the other two teams. The more coconuts in the boat, the slower it will be. Once the teams have exhausted their coconut supplies, they'll paddle out in their boats to retrieve a tribe flag and fishing net, return to shore and use the fishing net to carry all the coconuts from their boat back up the beach and into the bin. The first tribe to get all the coconuts in their bin and on their finish mat with their tribe flag wins the reward: breakfast in bed.

The three teams of three are Terry's team with Austin and Shane, Aras's team with Bruce and Sally, and Danielle's team with Courtney and Cirie.

As the tribes race up the beach for their coconuts, Terry's team is the first to get an armful, with Aras' team hot on their heels. When Terry's team makes a beeline for the women's boat, Aras wisely makes a pact with Danielle to not load up each other's boats with coconuts. Having disposed of all their coconuts, Aras' and Terry's teams paddle out to retrieve their fishing nets and tribe flags, while Danielle's team still struggles on shore to manage their coconuts. Working quickly and efficiently, Aras' team appears to be ready to take the Challenge. However, as they unload the last of their coconuts they realize they've made an error by leaving their tribe flag behind. As Sally races up the beach with the flag, Terry's team is close behind with the last of their coconuts. But Sally returns with the flag in time to win the Challenge and Reward. Faced with the decision to send not one, but two people to Exile Island, Aras, Sally and Bruce tap Danielle and Austin to be the dreaded isle's latest residents.

Breakfast in Bed

The next morning, a torrential downpour soaks the tribe as Aras, Bruce and Sally anxiously await the arrival of transportation to their Reward. Finally, a beautiful yacht appears and, after the Reward winners board the vessel, it takes them to a canopy bed sitting on a sandbar. With the rain pelting down, the Reward seems spoiled to Sally: "Aras, Bruce and I get in this boat and we're just huddled in the front, drenched. And it's this sandbar in the middle of nowhere with this beautiful canopy bed, and it's pouring rain, and I'm like, there is no way that that is our Reward. I was so frustrated." But when breakfast is served, the Reward becomes worthy to Sally. "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." After devouring their feast, the trio huddles together in bed, capping the Reward with a champagne toast.

Inside Scoop Back at Gitanos, Terry is hard at work, gathering information about the inner workings 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," he admits, "and with that, it puts two of their players kind of out there." When Shane divulges that he believes the Final Four will be himself, Aras, Cirie and Courtney, Terry sees an opportunity: "Two of their players, Danielle and Bruce, are the next on the pecking order. And if I can get those guys onto our side, it will totally swing the game."

When Aras, Bruce and Sally return from the Reward, not everyone is interested in hearing the tale of their gastronomical delight. As Aras, Sally and Bruce recount the details of their Reward, Cirie moans, "That kind of pissed me off. We're starving, eating beans, and you're going, look, we're so full."

Misery Loves Company In the unrelenting Panama rainstorm, Austin and Danielle endure the misery of Exile Island. Considering it one of the worst days yet, Austin is thankful he wasn't alone on the island. "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," declares Austin. Danielle, always thinking about strategy, considers her new friend Austin to be an ally. "Out of all the people that I could get stuck on the island with, I'm glad it was Austin," she smiles. "If something did change, Austin would be a potential backup plan."

Immunity Is Mine, Mine, All Mine! On a trip to the well, Sally speculates about Danielle's and Austin's chances of finding the Immunity Idol. When Terry admits to Sally that he's had the Idol all along, she is aghast, but gleeful. "I love it," she grins. "The whole game changes. That's a huge ace in the hole, and I'm so excited for the next Immunity Challenge, 'cause if Terry wins, he could slip either Austin or I the Idol. And I'm pumped. I'm absolutely thrilled!"

Immunity Challenge: Ups and Downs At the Immunity Challenge, an exhausted Austin and Danielle rejoin Gitanos before host Jeff Probst explains the rules. The Survivors will race through a series of obstacles in four stages. In the first stage, all nine Survivors must race to dig through the sand and pull themselves under a wooden fence. The first six to finish move on to the second round, in which they must complete a brainteaser with four written clues to guide them. After completing the brainteaser, they climb up a sand hill, through a maze and over a second sand hill. The first three to finish this phase will move on to phase three, which requires them to navigate across a rope bridge using two wooden planks. Once they've reached the end of the bridge, they must jump off the platform into the water and climb up a steep sand bank. The first to the top of the sand bank move on to the final round: a race through a series of vertical and horizontal tunnels and towers until the first person finishes, winning Immunity.

In the first stage, Aras is first through the fence, but his body gets stuck, giving Sally time to get her entire body under and through to the other side. Courtney, Terry, Danielle, Austin and Shane follow Sally, granting them passage to the second phase. Austin is first to solve the brainteaser and quickly hustles up the sand hill. Shane is the last to solve the brainteaser, but it's too late for him, Danielle and Courtney as Austin, Sally and Terry race through the maze to finish the second round. After Sally and Terry decisively defeat Austin in the third round, it comes down to a race through the tunnels. Terry gets out to a slight lead, but Sally quickly closes the gap. Terry digs down deep and finds an extra reserve of energy, surging ahead of Sally and winning Immunity.

Idol Worship With Tribal Council weighing on La Mina, Terry toils behind the scenes to get numbers before the vote. Approaching Bruce, Terry explains that Bruce is at the bottom of Casaya's pecking order, and if he joined La Mina he'd have safe passage for several more days. Bruce agrees in principal, but only if Danielle joins La Mina as well. With his ace in the hole, Terry approaches Danielle with a heavy bargaining chip: the hidden Immunity Idol. Tempted by the idol, Danielle is unsure which way she will vote. While Terry does his part to unify La Mina, the Casaya alliance is fractured when Courtney and Aras can't agree over who to vote for at Tribal. Aras thinks Sally is the safe bet if the Immunity Idol were to come in to play, while Courtney thinks that Austin's threat as a game-player is too much to risk.

At Tribal Council, the hidden Immunity Idol doesn't come in to play, and Casaya manages to pull it together and vote out Austin in a unified 6-3 vote, making him the eighth castaway voted out of SURVIVOR: PANAMA--EXILE ISLAND.