Episodes 10-12: As other Casayas sink, Cirie rises
Published: January 29, 2022
With the La Mina numbers stripped to just the always-immune Terry, the Casaya alliance is forced to start eating its own over Episodes 10-12. Bruce's medevac delays that first vote, but when it happens, it's spectacular, thanks to the strategic prowess of one Cirie Fields.
Episodes 8-9: Decimation and frustration
Published: January 22, 2022
As the La Mina stragglers get picked off in Survivor: Panama - Exile Island, there's very little going on strategically. Luckily, Cirie is still here to keep things watchable, but apart from her brief scenes, it's just a slow-motion car crash as Terry glacially contemplates, then decides against, playing his idol for his departing allies.
Episode 7: The world's worst dictionary salespeople
Published: July 15, 2021
The merge in Survivor: Panama - Exile Island brings together long-separated original tribemates, like Bruce and Shane with Terry, Aras with Austin and Nick, and Danielle and Courtney with Sally. Do any of those old connections pay off? Nope. It's just a straight Pagonging, after the La Minas feebly try to strong-arm select Casayas into flipping. And it's all downhill strategically from there.
Episodes 5-6: More than just heroes and villains
Published: June 2, 2021
As the season-long narrative of Survivor: Panama - Exile Island comes more into focus over Episodes 5-6, it's interesting that while many of the main characters are "heroic," there is nuance: Terry will vote out his closest ally; Aras regrets his alliance; Cirie finds great joy in Casaya's dysfunction. Similarly, most of the alleged villains have extenuating circumstances, and even deeply conflicted Shane finds redemption (via a cigarette).
Episodes 3-4: Everything's coming up Panama
Published: May 27, 2021
Over the Episode 3-4 span, three key events take place that set Survivor: Panama - Exile Island up for success: La Mina crumbles, Casaya wins two immunities that preserve Cirie's position in the game, and Terry finds the idol. One of these may not have been entirely by chance. (Update: never mind!)
Episodes 1-2: Succeeding despite itself
Published: May 20, 2021
Survivor: Panama - Exile Island has a colorful cast of outsized characters. But it's also the birthplace of one mostly regrettable twist (Exile Island), has some pretty grim early boot demographics, and while idols end up being a net positive, this version is so overpowered it's never played. Why does it all work? Casaya, which itself paradoxically rises to the top despite being a complete and utter mess.
Published: May 23, 2021
Way back on January 26, 2006, CBS News released a video of Jeff Probst chatting about the Survivor: Panama - Exile Island contestants and their prospects in the game. It was a roundtable discussion, featuring various members of the then-large Survivor pre-game press — Mara Reinstein (US Weekly), Paul Adler (TV Guide channel), Shawna Malcom (TV Guide), Dalton Ross (EW), and Jarett Wieselman (In Touch). The video is now gone, but here's a transcript.
Jeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes