Season 12: Episode 5 - TRIBE BITES DOG: Casaya bounces Bobby
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

As SURVIVOR: PANAMA--EXILE ISLAND steams ahead, Casaya's winning streak is brought to an end as they vote out the controversial Bobby Mason (AKA Bob Dog) , the 32-year-old attorney from Los Angeles, California. Bobby's unpopularity with the tribe's women, along with the tribe's perception that he might flop after the merge, seals his fate in an erratic 3-2-1-1 split decision. In the end, a shocked and stunned Bobby can't help but utter a few choice words for his former tribemates: "People in Casaya were bonded together out of weakness, out of desperation. Courtney, Danielle, and Shane--spineless little twerps all of them--just being around them made me want to throw up."

UNDERDOG / TOP DOG In the wake of a shocking Tribal Council decision that sent Ruth Marie home, La Mina's male alliance has systematically reduced their female population one by one, leaving Sally the lone female tribe member. Sally, recognizing her position in the game, beams, "Coming in here and feeling kind of like the underdog and the outsider right off the bat and the fact that the four men who have a very tight alliance made a decision that I was valuable enough to have around felt pretty darn good."

With a Reward Challenge looming, Casaya's main concern is hydration. Struggling to get a fire going to boil water, Aras is dismayed to see Bruce constructing a Zen rock garden on the beach while the rest of the tribe busies themselves with camp chores. When Aras confronts Bruce about his seemingly skewed priorities, Bruce admonishes Aras for making a "childish comment." Fed up, Aras laments "I'm the youngest person on this tribe, and sometimes I feel like I'm the oldest one in this tribe. And maybe I need a little break, a little calmness. To be perfectly honest, I kinda want to go to Exile Island."

The two tribes convene with host Jeff Probst, who immediately explains the rules of the Challenge. Each tribe will designate a retriever to transport rice, beans and fish from a boat to the shore. The retriever must race out, retrieve one item and bring it back to shore, then toss the item to their tribemates, who will be lined up. The item will be tossed from one person to the next until it reaches the last person, who will toss it into the appropriate bin. Once the item is in the bin, the retriever must go out and get another item. The first two items will be a bag of rice and a bag of beans. Thereafter, the items will be fish. Once a fish gets to the end of the line, the last person must chop off its head and the tail before throwing the body into the bin. The first tribe to eight wins the Reward: the entire bounty of rice, beans and fish, while the losing tribe will be able to choose one bag of beans or one bag of rice to take back to camp.

On Jeff's go, Austin and Aras splash out towards the boats to retrieve their first items. Casaya takes an early lead after the rice and beans until Bobby mishandles a slippery fish, allowing La Mina a slight advantage. La Mina is able to widen the gap as Terry efficiently chops the heads and tails from the fish while Bruce clumsily flounders with the cleaver. La Mina enjoys a one-fish advantage until Casaya slips ahead when Sally repeatedly fails to catch a slimy fish tossed by Dan. Casaya holds onto a slight lead as the two tribes each toss their last fish down the line. Bobby, who has switched with Bruce at the chopping block, proves to be the deciding factor as he severs the fish's head and tail with precision, winning the Reward for Casaya. Adding salt to La Mina's wound, Casaya sends the downtrodden tribe's leader, Terry, to Exile Island.

Casaya returns triumphant to their beach with the spoils of their victory: glorious food. With nearly one hundred pounds of fish, beans, rice and wine in tow, the tribe is eager to begin their feast. But the Panamanian rain has other plans, soaking their camp, making it impossible to start a fire and cook the fish. Hungry and afraid their fresh fish will perish, Casaya resolves to eat the fish raw. Admitting she's never eaten sushi, Cirie is skeptical. "Eww! I've never eaten raw fish. I hope I don't wake up in the morning with some kind of sickness or something, but they say it's okay."

Though defeated in the Reward Challenge, La Mina is thrilled to have food, even though it is just a meager bag of beans. Tattered, tired and hungry, the tribe wastes little time in preparing a long-overdue meal. As if it were a race, Austin is the first to finish his ration, hastily diving into the kettle for another scoop of beans. Almost as soon as they finish eating, Austin and Nick are struck by severe stomach pains. Hoping their gastro-intestinal deluge will pass, they lie in the shelter waiting for relief. But as night falls their symptoms worsen, sending Nick and Austin staggering into the darkness with bouts of illness. Austin wails, "Oh god, I've gotta go again. This sucks!"

While most of Casaya sleeps, Bruce and Bobby are having a nightcap. Claiming they've been left with no room in the shelter, Bruce and Bobby steal away to the outhouse to drink the last bottle of wine. Flying high on libations, the two make a pact. Sealing the deal, Bruce solemnly swears, "I will never vote you out. Ever."

The next morning, the tribe wakes to find the two bosom buddies asleep in the outhouse with the empty bottle of wine at their feet. Cirie laments, "I would have to be dead and someone would have to literally pour it down my throat for me to drink the last bottle of wine that we as a tribe won." When Courtney confronts Bobby, he's indignant, "Courtney definitely had a right to be upset. I just don't need to hear it. Like I really don't care what she thinks. She's probably one of the two most annoying people in the history of the world."

Returning to Exile Island for the second time, Terry sets to work, focused on surviving this visit to the dreaded isle. With the once-hidden Immunity Idol securely in his possession, Terry uses his time to hydrate and nourish himself. After a day of gathering snails and coconuts and building a fire, Terry's thoughts turn his tribe, "I am really concerned about my tribemates. My worst fear for La Mina right now is they're not properly feeding themselves and keeping hydrated. That's my worst fear."

The two tribes meet Jeff Probst, and Terry returns from Exile to join La Mina for the Immunity Challenge. Each tribe must send three members to paddle out to collect skulls from four coffins sitting on the ocean floor. Each time a coffin is found, someone must dive under water, open the coffin and find a skull puzzle piece. They'll then untie the puzzle piece and bring it back to the boat. Once all four skull puzzle pieces have been collected, they will return them to shore. The two remaining tribe members use those four puzzle pieces to build a skull pyramid. The first tribe to build their skull pyramid and place their gold skull on top wins Immunity.

With Immunity at stake, the Challenge begins when Terry and Danielle, each spotting their first coffin, dive into the water simultaneously. La Mina gets the early lead when Terry comes up with the first skull puzzle piece, while Danielle only comes up for air. Terry displays superior diving skills, liberating puzzle pieces one by one from the watery graves below. As Casaya struggles to collect their puzzle pieces, La Mina appears to be running away with Challenge when they arrive on shore with all four pieces. But Sally and Austin struggle to put the puzzle together, allowing Casaya to close the gap. It comes down to a battle of wits, but La Mina's extra time with the puzzle proves to be the deciding factor when Sally hoists the golden skull atop their pyramid, winning Immunity for La Mina.

As the losing Casaya tribe returns to camp, the lobbying about who will go home heats up. With the alliance of four calling the shots in camp, Bobby is initially slated to go home. When Aras questions that decision, citing Bruce's erratic behavior, the consensus shifts, and it looks like Bruce will be the fifth castaway voted out. Shane laments the decision to keep Bobby. "Bobby came from the young guys' camp to begin with. If we get to the merge and Austin and Nick are still around, I've always been worried about Bobby joining back up with them." In spite of his reservations, Shane agrees to vote for Bruce. But a twist comes yet again when Danielle lobbies the ladies to switch their vote back to Bobby. The flip-flopping is too much for the mercurial Shane, who moans, "Everyone's out of their mind."

In the end, Tribal Council was as dysfunctional as Casaya's pre-tribal scheming. But the will of the ladies is felt when Bobby is voted out in a 3-2-1-1 split decision.