Season 12: Episode 13 - TRIAL BY FIRE: Cirie and Danielle Tied
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

On night 36, Cirie Fields, the 35-year-old nurse and mother of two from Walterboro, South Carolina faces off against Danielle DiLorenzo, the 24-year-old medical sales representative from Boston, Massachusetts in a fire-making tie-breaker Challenge. Both Cirie and Danielle anticipated this outcome and prepared by practicing their fire-making skills before trekking to Tribal Council. The winner, who will be revealed Sunday night, will be propelled into the Final Three, while the loser will become the 13th person ousted from the game and will join the Jury.

As the tribe returns from Tribal Council, conflict among the newly minted Final Four arises the moment they reach camp as Terry trips over a torch that Cirie inadvertently places in his path. Furious at Cirie, Terry compares the act to something his kids would do, raising Cirie's ire in return. Cirie's faithful ally, Aras, chirps up in her defense, making Terry--yet again--the odd man out. Unwelcome in the tribe, Terry calls it a night, while Aras, Cirie and Danielle continue to fret around the fire. Outcast Terry laments, "I didn't come here to make friends with 24-year-olds. They haven't made it easy for me. The target's been on my back. I've been the underdog the whole time." He adds, "If nobody talks to me for the next five days, I could give a %&#@. I'm winning the million dollars, and that's all."

The Final Four convene with host Jeff Probst, who explains the Reward Challenge. The castaways will each be attached to ropes by one of two carabiners. Using the two carabiners, they will clip and unclasp from one rope to another as they navigate their way around each other along a main thoroughfare that leads to six stations: poles, hermit crabs, rocks, iguanas, shells and fish. Each time they get to a station they must count the number of items, race back to the start, and find the answer tile with the same number on it. Once they've been to all six stations, they will have six numbers. They will then place those six numbers into an answer grid. Using the combination, the two numbers in each column will open the locks. If the lock doesn't open, it means they've counted wrong and they can go back and correct their mistakes. Once they've opened all three locks, their tribe flag will drop. The first person to lower their tribe flag wins the Reward: a luxury yacht tour of the Panama Canal.

The game gets underway with the Survivors racing out to their stations. After several rounds, Cirie, Aras and Terry are neck and neck, while Danielle seems to be playing more of a defensive game. Just as it looks like Aras is going to break ahead of the pack, Terry makes up the difference and eventually overtakes Aras for the lead. With one combination tile to be placed, Terry and Aras meet head to head on the course, pushing and butting heads for position. In spite of having seen all six stations, both Aras and Terry are unable to open the locks. When Aras heads back out to the course, he takes multiple looks at the six stations, to the chagrin of Terry, who believes you must return to the locks after each station. On the fly, Jeff Probst overrules Terry's objection as Aras and Terry exchange verbal jabs at each other on the course. With information gathered on his follow-up trip to the stations, Aras puts together the right combination and is able to open all his locks, lowering his flag and winning the Reward. With the power to choose, Aras asks Cirie to join him on the Reward and assigns a stint on Exile Island for Danielle and Terry.

Arriving at their yacht Reward, Cirie and Aras are in awe of the vessel that will carry them on their journey through the Panama Canal. As the ship departs, Aras and Cirie raise glasses of champagne to toast their good fortune. The conversation eventually turns to Terry, with Aras recounting their altercation in the Reward Challenge. Cirie is amused, giggling hysterically as Aras mocks Terry. Aras intones, "It was huge to beat Terry at the Reward Challenge. But for me, what I try to practice is love and compassion, and I haven't practiced love and compassion with Terry recently. It's been ego. It's been all my ego."

Out on Exile Island, castaways Danielle and Terry are also rehashing the Challenge. Terry is bothered by Aras' combative comments during the Challenge. It doesn't take long before Danielle and Terry's conversation turns to talk of eliminating Aras. With Aras choosing Cirie to join him on the Reward and Terry revealing the hidden Immunity Idol to Danielle, Danielle feels it's time to align with Terry. She confides, "It's the right time to align myself with Terry. It's gotten to the point where it's like, I'm going to try to use him. I don't care about being his friend. I'm not here to make friends. I'm here to win the million dollars."

Returning to Gitanos Island from their Reward, Cirie and Aras have the camp all to themselves. Aras, having overeaten on the Reward, chooses to relax in the shelter and let his food digest, while Cirie has other plans. Picking up the flint and the machete, Cirie determines to do something she hasn't done yet: make fire. With a leaf full of magnesium shavings and dried coconut husks, she strikes the flint, igniting the magnesium and starting a fire. Aras awakes to the sound of a giddy Cirie squealing with glee. Aras is proud of his friend, beaming, "Wow! I'm impressed! Cirie made a fire. That's awesome. Day one out here, Cirie would not have known what to do. Now she's come full circle."

Aras and Cirie are reunited with Danielle and Terry as they convene once again with Jeff Probst, who explains the rules of the Immunity Challenge. For today's Challenge each Survivor will work to solve three puzzles. Using a set of coordinates, each castaway will cross two ropes. Where the ropes intersect, a bag of puzzle pieces is buried in the sand. They must dig up the pieces, then race back to their respective answer boards to complete their puzzle. The puzzle will reveal the next set of coordinates. The first person to solve all three puzzles wins Immunity.

Racing down the beach, the Survivors dive into the sand to dig for their first bag of puzzle pieces. Aras comes up with his bag first, then flies through the puzzle to get his second set of coordinates. Terry is next to complete his puzzle, but Aras is already returning to the answer board with his second set of puzzle pieces. While Aras finishes his second puzzle, Terry is just starting to work on his second one, Danielle is digging for her second bag of puzzle pieces and Cirie is just finishing her first puzzle. Aras finds his last bag of pieces while Terry scrambles to complete his second puzzle. Terry finishes his second puzzle, but Aras is already working on his last one. Terry returns with his third bag of puzzle pieces and quickly closes the gap between himself and Aras. But Aras puts in the last piece of the puzzle so that it reads "SAFE FROM THE VOTE" and wins him Immunity.

After the Immunity Challenge, the pre-Tribal shuffle gets underway in no time. Because all assume that Cirie and Aras will be voting for Danielle, and Terry and Danielle will be voting for Cirie, Danielle and Cirie prepare for a tie at Tribal Council. Assuming that a tie will be decided by fire, Cirie prepares for the worst with Aras giving her lessons in making fire. On the other side of the island, the exact same scenario is playing out with Terry coaching Danielle with the flint. While Terry is coaching Danielle, Danielle is lobbying Terry, hoping he will give up his hidden Immunity Idol to save her. While Terry doesn't appear to be budging, Danielle is resolute: "This hidden Immunity Idol, tonight's the last night it can be used, so I'm going to work Terry. I'm going to work him until we go to Tribal Council to try to give me that Hidden Immunity Idol, and we'll see what happens."

At Tribal Council, it is indeed a tie, and Cirie and Danielle get set to square off in a fire-building tiebreaker Challenge. They will each have a fire-starter kit and a small fire pit. Cirie and Danielle will have to build a fire tall enough to burn through a rope that will raise a flag. The first person to raise their flag will continue to have life in the game. The loser will become the thirteenth castaway voted out SURVIVOR: PANAMA--EXILE ISLAND. On Sunday, May 14 at 8PM ET/PT, we'll find out who makes the Final Three and who wins $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.