Season 12: Episode 7 - TWO TRIBES BECOME ONE: Gitanos Pick Nick To Go
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

In the first Tribal Council since the merge, Nick Stanbury, the 25-year-old financial salesman from Tempe, Arizona, is voted out 6-4. The vote is cast strictly down alliance lines as the majority Casaya Six alliance oust Nick, citing his physical attributes in the Challenges as a threat. With no Final Words for his tribe, Nick speaks instead to a generation, "I urge us all, please: be hungry, be foolish, block out the noise, find yourselves, be who you potentially are and be true to your dreams and what you truly want to do. If we all maximize that personal freedom, then we'll change the world."

As night falls on Casaya, the tribe takes refuge from the elements under their shelter. The cool night air, coupled with fresh rains, force Casaya to huddle together cozily as they sleep. Courtney, sleeping at the very end of the shelter, is left exposed and suffers miserably throughout the night. "Last night was the worst night I ever had," she laments the next morning. "I literally did not know what do with myself. Everyone was cuddled and dry, and I'm wet and alone in like a little ball."

In contrast to Courtney, Sally revels in her good fortune on Exile Island. Knowing full well that her Exile saved her from certain departure at Tribal Council, Sally is chipper: "Exile Island for me is my saving grace." Energized by the fateful turn of events, Sally spends her time searching in vain for the coveted hidden Immunity Idol.

Waking up the morning after a tough Tribal Council that saw Dan go home, La Mina is hopeful as they read a Tree Mail informing them that they'll find something unusual on their back beach. As Terry, Austin and Nick venture to their back beach, they can't help hoping that they will find food. Instead, they find a small black boat filled with firewood and two sealed packages. More importantly, there is a map to Casaya beach and a scroll notifying La Mina that the two tribes are about to become one. As La Mina packs up for their journey, Terry, focused on tribal numbers, cautiously intones, "We're down six-four. The merge could be disastrous for us. If we don't get somebody to switch over right away, we'll just get picked off." Bidding their last goodbyes to La Mina, the men paddle out to sea en route to their new home, Casaya.

Casaya is feasting on rice when they spot La Mina's boat approaching their beach. The Casayas huddle up, vowing to stay together to the end as they selfishly devour every last grain of rice before La Mina's arrival. Aras honestly admits, "We knew they were hungry, and all of us just chowed the rice, 'cause all of us are heathens and didn't want to share." When La Mina's boat lands, Nick, happy to see new faces, is elated: "They're standing there waiting for us with open arms. They just welcomed us to their home." After Sally arrives from Exile Island, the tribe opens up the crates revealing new tribal buffs and a bounty of food and drinks. As the newly merged tribe eats their fill, Terry remains skeptical, noting later, "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."

With the merge doubling its population, the new tribe wastes no time erecting a shelter large enough to accommodate the growth. Capitalizing on the tarp brought from La Mina, Terry and Bruce skillfully lash together a shelter big enough for the entire tribe to sleep in. As they work, Terry seizes the opportunity to lobby Bruce to join the La Mina side, assuring him, "If you come over, then we will go to the final five." Shane, seeing the potential for Bruce to flip, has devised a strategy with Aras to keep him in the fold. Shane explains, "Aras' and my strategy with Bruce is to make him feel like our leader so he won't go away." In the middle of it all is Bruce, who clearly recognizes the value of playing both sides. "I'm the swing vote for both sides," he acknowledges. "It's such a wonderful feeling to be in this power position, because I know I'm going to go a lot further, guaranteed."

As the work continues on the shelter, so too does the work of trying to swing Bruce over to the La Mina alliance. But instead, it's a swing of the machete that catches Bruce when Nick, using the blade to cut a rope, makes a terrible miscalculation and slices Bruce's face, chipping his tooth. "It was just a sickening sound," Nick recalls. "Initially, I thought, 'I'm gone! I just hit Bruce in the face. I'm out of here!'" Shane is also concerned. "I mean, I panicked at first," he remembers. "I'm panicking about numbers for a second, for sure!" In spite of the wound, Bruce soldiers on: "Psychologically, I want to outwork them, outperform them, and when it comes to competition, I want to beat them all."

With Casaya and La Mina merged, the tribe selects a new name: Gitanos (Spanish for Gypsies). But although the tribe now lives under one banner, allegiances still fall along former tribal lines. Down in numbers, the La Mina alliance is eager to attract a defector from Casaya. In a brief conversation with Aras, Nick and Austin are given little information other than that Terry is Casaya's number-one target. While the young men talk tentatively, Terry plots his own coup, desperately reaching out to Shane and Cirie. Cirie is unmoved by Terry's pitch and reveals, "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?" While Terry lacks the numbers, he does have one trick up his sleeve, noting, "Even if we get one person and it's five on five, it might be time to pull out the hidden Immunity Idol."

When the Gitanos show up for the Immunity Challenge, they are greeted by host Jeff Probst, who explains the object. Each tribe member will have to hang upside down with arms and legs wrapped around a pole. They must hang there for as long as they can. Whoever falls off of the pole will be eliminated. The last castaway hanging wins Immunity. Hanging from the pole, the Survivors settle in for a grueling Challenge. Fatigue quickly sets in, and one by one, the Gitanos drop from the pole. With the coveted individual Immunity on the line, it comes down to two former La Mina mates: Nick and Terry. But the pressure and stress is too much for Nick, and he relinquishes his grip, handing Terry the first individual Immunity.

As Tribal Council looms, it's clear that Nick and Austin are on the chopping block. With Terry winning Immunity, it seems a forgone conclusion that one of them will be voted off. Desperate to stay, Nick cites a desire to make the Jury: "Whoever gets voted out tonight's not part of the Jury. That's why I've been holding out for so long. It's one of my goals, to make the Jury." Austin is so sure that he's leaving that he says his goodbyes, giving Bruce a hug. Austin laments, "We're going to Tribal Council tonight, and I'd be lying if I said I thought that there's anything that could save me."

As Nick and Austin's fate hangs in the balance, the Casaya alliance calls a very public meeting to decide their Tribal Council vote, ruffling the feathers of the rest of the tribe. Shane is indignant. "I don't care what they think," he declares. "If they have a problem with it, okay. They can have as a big a problem with it as they want. They're still going. One at a time!"

At Tribal Council, the Casaya Six's collective voice was heard when they voted out Nick in a six-four decision making him the seventh castaway voted out of SURVIVOR: PANAMA--EXILE ISLAND.