Immunity challenge. Jeff brings in the tribe and shows its members a series of horizontal posts. In this immunity challenge, you just crawl up and hang, bat-like, by your arms and knees wrapped around the post, until you can't stay up anymore. Last person to drop gets immunity. I love a cerebral challenge.
Everyone climbs up and gets situated around the poles. Ready? Go. Three minutes in, Cirie says that her arms are already hurting. Jeff reminds her not to drop onto her head. She lets her legs down first and is out.
A bit later, Jeff starts to talk about sore muscles, and Courtney -- who used to be a serious gymnast -- lets herself down to hang by her legs for a bit. It's probably not a bad idea, in terms of preventing yourself from cramping up, provided you know you can get back up. Weirdly, the next person out is Aras, who did not apparently develop quite the studliness you might expect from Yoga Dude. He lasted eleven minutes. They should have told him it was a position called the Serene Monkey; he'd have stayed there all day. Bruce drops next at twelve minutes. Sally drops shortly thereafter. Shane starts whining for a food reward, and Jeff says that nothing is coming. Knowing this, Shane then drops at thirteen minutes, followed by Danielle and Courtney.
So what do you know? That leaves Austin, Terry, and Nick. There's a shocker. Austin starts to try to tell Terry to get down, and I'm not sure what that's about at all, unless Austin is trying to raise the suspicion that Terry has the hidden idol. Otherwise, why would he ever think that Terry would give immunity to him when Terry's the presumptive target? Jeff starts to talk about how risky it is to give up immunity, and...Terry isn't going to do that, Jeff. At thirty minutes, it's very hot, and the three men are still hanging. But...there goes Austin. So now, it's Nick and Terry.
Now. Think strategy with me for a moment. Terry does not have a good chance of winning every single immunity challenge from here until the end of the game. That's seven more consecutive challenges after this one. It certainly looks likely that the members of Casaya will vote him off the first chance they get, particularly if he lets them kick off one of the other La Minans this week. Terry also does not have the protection of the hidden idol once they get to F4, so unless he won immunity there, he would be a particularly appealing vote-off target for a 3-1 Casaya group, which would know that no one on Casaya would be likely to beat Terry in a vote. In other words, if Terry solely tries to get through the game on the brute force of winning individual immunity and using the idol, he has very poor odds of making F2. It's not impossible, but it's really bad odds. Terry desperately needs to get rid of somebody from Casaya. Right now, swinging a clearly torn Bruce is not enough, because it would only end in a tie. But if Terry could get to 5-4, I think he'd have a shot -- at least a shot -- with Bruce. And Terry is in fact staring at, in all likelihood, the chance to get rid of somebody from Casaya. He knows that he's the target -- they've already sent him to Exile Island twice, and they know he's a challenge threat, and they've told Austin that Terry's their target. If he doesn't win immunity, they're going to vote for him. And if they vote for him and he produces the idol, La Mina can choose whom they vote off from Casaya. As appealing as the idea was, to me, of them to voting off Shane at first, it's clear that what they actually need to do is vote off Aras, who is the only person who seems to show any leadership without attendant insanity. You vote off Aras, and all of a sudden, that group looks like it's made up of Courtney (who has no real allies), Chiclets and Cirie (who seem to kind of like each other), and Shane (who is...Shane). That is a much, much weaker group without Aras standing over them all pretending to be the gentle leader.