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Survivor Tocantins Week 3 - Mamma Said...

Survivor Tocantins Week 3 - Mamma Said...

Well the 'scheduled publication' facility didn't work, so here's your first glimpse at this week's review.

So far the Survivor voters seem determined to reduce the average boob size on Survivor as quickly as possible. Who does that bode ill for this week? Taj? Sydney? Let's see...

Hmmm. Tastes like chicken.

Night 6

Timbira returns from tribal council and the backbiting begins. Erinn tries to spin her involvement with Candace as having been checking her out (before throwing her to the wolves). The tribe is not having it. Sierra says Erinn will have to live with her choices. Privately, Coach gets on his high horse and declares himself "offended" at the insult to the intelligence of himself and his teammates that she would try to spin such a tale. In fairness, Erinn voted against Candace, too, so where does everybody get off getting so offended?

Day 7

At Timbira, Erinn and Sierra shiver in the early morning cold and wonder why they're doing this. Oh, yeah, a million dollars. Erinn knows she's on the bubble for having consorted with Candace, and vows to make herself valuable to her tribe. She seems to think her competition is Sierra and Debbie, as if they were giving out separate men's and women's prizes. Maybe there's a little truth to the concept in the early stages. The men always think the idea is "get rid of the weak people" - i.e. the women. Funny how the women win more often than the men. Maybe the men need to rethink.

Around the morning cook fire, Jerry says that he'll just have a little rice today, no beans. Debbie says beans is all they've got, and Jerry says he might pass. Debbie points out he didn't eat last night, either, and Jerry says the beans may be giving him stomach pains. Everybody else tucks in to a hearty bean breakfast as Jerry shares he's not feeling too hot the last couple of days. Somebody must have cooked up a little rice, because Jerry's eating a little off a gourd hull. Privately, he shares he has to act like he's OK even while being miserable, and hopes to be really OK in 'another day or so'. We seem him lying on mats of fronds as Erinn inquires about his health. "Momma said they'll be days like this."


Over at Jalapao. The tribe is attempting to use their net. JT thinks it's a casting net, but the rest think it's too big for a one person cast and they try group casting, which works about as well as you'd imagine. They also think the proper use of the net is to catch minnows to use as bait for their lines and poles.

JT shares that Brazilian waters are not like Alabama waters, but they'll 'get it under control.' Trying his luck with a pole, he catches a big-mouth looking fish about eight inches long. Stephen is proud of his 'first-ever' fish, that doesn't look any bigger than the minnow that baited it. JT gets another big one. They toast the fish on sticks, divide them up and dig in. It doesn't taste like fish - "It tastes like victory," Joe shares.


The tribes eye each other as they gather for the challenge. Joe gives a knowing nod at seeing it was Candace that Timbira voted out.

The challenge: A blindfold maze run. Tied together in teams of two, they must negotiate a maze by called instructions from one team member to find a bucket, then get to a tower with a shower head where they fill the bucket with water, then come back to the start and pour it into their team's pot until it's weight tips up a flag. Once that's done, back to the course to another tower with corn, back and fill another pot to tip up another flag. First one with both flags up wins.

The reward, a tarp, umbrella, blankets, pillows, chairs and a hammock. And the right to choose an exile from the other tribe.

Joe's calling for Jalapao, with teams of Spencer-Stephen, Taj-Sandy, and Sydney-JT.

Debbie's calling for Timbira, with teams of Tyson-Coach, Sierra-Erinn, and Jerry-Brendan.

There's a mad scramble after buckets with most teams eventually getting one, then heading for the water towers. Somehow Jerry-Brendan get left out of this and are still searching when first Spencer-Stephen, and then Taj-Sandy have already emptied their buckets back at the starting line. Finally they get their bucket and everybody on Timbira is lined up at the water tower as Sydney-JT empty a third bucket into Jalapao's pot.

Somebody at Timbira (I think it was Coach) apparently has had the bright idea for everybody to wait until all three buckets are filled and come back in a six person conga-line with Tyson in the lead. It's slow. Timbira dumps their first bucket just as Stephen-Spencer get back with Jalapao's fourth and raise their first flag, and it's on to corn.

Jalapao's three buckets are not enough to raise their flag and the whole conga-line heads back to get more water. JT and Sydney dump a bucket of corn for Jalapao, as Sierra (thinking as usual) screams back to Sydney to ask if they need all three buckets of water. Debbie screams back that she can't tell, so the whole group heads back with water. Slowly.

Jalapao dumps their third bucket of corn and that's it, Jalapao wins! Debbie looks strained. Coach lets out a couple of short primal screams of frustration that all his coachy magnificence keeps losing. Jalapao is all high fives and hugs.

Jeff asks Jalapao who they want to send to Exile Island. Taj announces their choice is Brendan. And Brendan again chooses Taj to accompany him. Jeff asks Spencer if the same two people going to Exile Island bother him. Spencer says no, it's just evidence the two tribes are employing the same strategy.

Digression: It's true the tribes are probably employing an optimal strategy to each send the same two people - that way they keep the knowledge of the idol in the other tribe to the minimum number of people.

It begs the question though, why did Jalapao send Brendan in the first place? It would seem to be the optimum to send the weaker opponent tribe members to Exile Island, on the theory that either (1) the idol knowledge will be lost to the other tribe if that person is voted out, or (2) possession of the idol might allow a weaker member to hang around, causing a stronger opponent to be booted.

Now Timbira might think Taj is a weaker member (hard to justify after that rasslin' match last week, though) but I don't see any conceivable way Brendan could be considered among the weaker members of Timbira. It's a puzzlement.

On the long trek back empty handed Coach shares that 'We have to turn it around. Winners find a way to win." Wonder if he wants everyone to give "110%"? Arriving in camp, the tribe attempt to buck each other up. Sierra begins a sentence "If we give in now..." but Coach interrupts "Give in? We're not giving in!" Coach shares that they were totally embarrassed. Debbie says she let everybody down. Coach grimaces a lot whenever the women speak. Coach tries to give everybody a pep talk and encouraged them not to go off in groups and backbite other people's performances.

So Coach and Tyson go off and spit in the river and backbite other people's performances. Especially Sierra's. Coach still wants to knock Erinn off next. Coach has magnanimously appointed Tyson "assistant Coach". Tyson embraces the designation, and shares a very funny riff on the possibility of working his way up to co-coach.


In the meantime, Jalapao is busy patting themselves on the back as they distribute their newly won swag across the camp. The tarp to reinforce their shelter roof is especially welcome as thunder crashes in the distance and they know they will be sleeping dry while Timbira suffers. Shades of Shadenfreude.

In their drippy shelter Erinn laments (with a grin) that those so-and-so's from Jalapao not only took her (prospective) pillows and blankets from them, but took her "other blanket and sent him to exile" - Brendan. Coach, ever finding the silver lining, says Jalapao is much dirtier than Timbira, and probably need the stuff more than they do. Jerry just looks grim - toughing it out. Coach, who's getting a lot of airtime, shares he doesn't care about comfort - just winning the game.


The aforesaid 'blanket' and Taj trudge to the now familiar urn depot and take one each. This time Taj get the clue, She opens it in private - the sheet contains last week's clue, and also this:

2. You must search around,
You can and you should,
The item desired,
Is surrounded by wood.

She immediately shares this with Brendan. Brendan thinks, privately, that the area "surrounded by wood" might be the shelter or the tree mail area.

Later, the two plot their next move. Brendan is thinking coming to Exile Island too repeatedly will look suspicious, and wonders who they might maneuver into sharing clues and alliances with in their respective tribes, for fear they'll be busted if the next person at Exile Island returns and reports that the idol is in camp, which Taj and Brendan have never told their tribemates. Taj thinks she could trust Stephen, and Brendan thinks Sierra would make an ally. They talk of having a secret four-person alliance all ready for a future merge time. Later Brendan talks about 'not eating for two day' at exile, but they're clearly eating something in this scene.

Day 9

Jalapao: The camera pans over their chairs and sun umbrella as the weary Survivors wake and stretch from under their new blankets. JT says it's the "first night I didn't get cold at all." They're off the ground, on a platform within their shelter. Stephen brags on the luxury of it all. JT figure now's the time to really knock out Timbira, who must be miserable.


The two tribes trudge into the challenge grounds, joined shortly by the exiles. There are two towers (red and black, naturally) about twelve feet high. About fifty yards away are six red and six black crates, about four feet square and looking like giant children's blocks. The crates must be muscled back to the towers by teams of two at time, then stacked in a layer ff three, then two, then one to make a giant staircase for the tribe to clamber atop the tower. Just to make it interesting, the blocks have writing on the sides, and when properly stacked will form the tribe's name diagonally up the pile.

My digital cable begins getting little wonky here, so I apologize if I miss something. First pair of block tumblers: JT-Taj vs. Brendan-Debbie. Brendan leads the sprint to the blocks, but JT-Taj get theirs back first, giving Stephen and Sydney a head start on leg two, Sierra and Tyson starting later for Timbira. The formerly-sick model appears to outrun the professional bicycle racer - but maybe he's pacing himself. Tyson and Sierra erase Jalapao's lead as Sydney apparently outmuscles Stephen on the Jalapao side, leading to uneven progress with the block. Coach and hairdresser Erinn now jump off with a lead.

Joe and Sandy get started later. And can't narrow the gap.

With the seven player teams, the fourth leg features one new and one previous competitor and Brendan and Jerry are the two up for Timbira. JT and Spencer streak after them. Brendan-Jerry muscle the box in but Jerry seems near collapse. Cameron and Tyson streak out, followed quickly by Joe and Stephen. Timbira is ahead about 35 yards at the end of their fifth leg, and Tyson and Brendan run for the final block. Spencer and Taj go for Jalapao's last block.

Timbira gets their last block with a small lead, and Erinn appears to start directing the placement of blocks. They've got three up before Jalapao maneuvers their first block into position, JT apparently taking command. Despite their lead, there's confusion on the Timbira side about the latter blocks, and some standing around and arguing, while Jalapao works steadily. Now Jalapao has only one block to go, but getting that last one eight feet off the ground is difficult. Members place themselves on the already erected blocks and try to maneuver that final block into position.

Jalapao slides their last block up into place, scrambles up the staircase and Wins! before Timbira has a single person on the tower. More hugs and scream. More bitter looks at Timbira. Jerry says "I'm though. I'm finished." Privately, he shares he feels a great deal of responsibility for the loss because he couldn't give it his all. He's weak and still feels bad. He thinks he's a goner.


Back at camp, Erinn asks Jerry how he's feeling, as most of the tribe heads for the river to cool off. Debbie offers to bring Jerry some water where he reclines in the shelter. Jerry says he doesn't need any. Later he shares he thought he did pretty well on the first block, but pooped out after that. He won't quit though, his tribe will have to vote him out, he says.

The whole tribe, save Jerry, is in the water, and discussing the Jerry situation. Later, Coach says privately that Erinn had an "evil sneer" on her face as she realized Jerry would probably go instead of her. It looked like a squint in the bright sun, to me. Later Coach shares this sentiment, and his best Erinn impersonation, with Tyson. Now he calls it the "evilest look". Right now Coach still wants to "go with Erinn", but says he'll have to talk to Debbie and Sierra. Coach is awfully negative about Erinn for someone that said they shouldn't go off and backbite in small groups. Way to practice what you preach, guy. Without being a particular fan of Erinn, it still bothers me, sort of like the unfair demonizing of Jonathan Penner in Survivor-Cook islands.

Sierra shares she likes Jerry, but she's not going to be stupid. Tyson urges Jerry to "be strong" and "don't give up". In answer to Jerry's question, Tyson says nobody's been talking about voting him out.


Brendan's begins to search for the idol. And voila, he finds it, tucked under the grass skirt of the tree mail totem. It's round and carved with wooden beads, leather straps, and a note tucked into it, which we do not get to see. [Bob would have loved it.] Brendan trudges through a lava field and re-hides the idol in an isolated spot, apparently having watched enough Survivor to know not to hide it in his stuff in camp.

Back at camp, Jerry turns down Coach's offer of some beans. Privately, Erinn shares the delicate line she has to tread focusing everybody on the knowledge of Jerry's sickness without appearing to do so. Brendan asks Jerry for a fitness report, and "thumbs sideways" is the best Jerry can do,

Tyson shares some, frankly, creepy thought on how he enjoys blind-sides "I love seeing people cry when you crush their dreams." He seems to be talking about Erinn.


Peachy questions the tribe, and we hear:

Tyson: Jalapao is arrogant now, but that can change.

Erinn: She was frustrated when people didn't follow her plan in the building blocks, and she feels her idea was right, all along.

Brendan: The group communicates very well.

Jerry: The group needs a leader. He thinks it should be.... Brendan.

Coach: Doesn't agree, doesn't think Brendan is willing to step up and take the reins as, for example, did Coach - directing everybody with his eyes on the truck trip as to what to grab. (Erinn is amused by this.) Coach thinks he should be leading.

Erinn: Thinks maybe Brendan would be better.

Coach: Begs to differ. Thinks Erinn says that because of a personality clash with Coach.

Erinn: Innocently denies any such idea. Thinks Coach doesn't push his idea the way a leader would.

Coach: Says it's not about ego. He'd rather be a good assistant Coach (smirks from Tyson) than stroke his ego. He's just rationally and dispassionately registering all the reasons he, not Brendan, should be the leader.

Jerry: Tonight's vote will make the tribe better by getting rid of the weakest person.

Time to vote:

Coach votes.
Erinn votes for Jerry. "I hope you feel better".
Debbie votes.
Brendan votes.
Jerry votes for Erinn.
Tyson votes.
Sierra votes.


Jeff counts and reports:

This time he asks if anyone wants to play the idol first. Brendan doesn't.

One vote for Jerry.

A second vote for Jerry. (not the usual Survivor practice.)

A vote for Erinn. Jerry 2, Erinn 1.

A vote for Jerry with a sad face and "We miss you" written on it. Jerry 3, Erinn 1.

A fourth vote for Jerry and it's all over.

Jerry looks back and waves as he leaves. The tribe waves back. Sierra looks sad.


At Jalapao, Sydney turns on the charm. The Timbira tribe loses their heads. [Scenes of Tyson dancing in what appears to be a native thong and feathers.] Taj keeps her head in the game. [She's propositioning Stephen.]

Over the closing credits, Jerry says this was worse than Afghanistan, and we see that every one of his tribe members voted for him. He still hopes one of them wins the million.


Status at End:

Timbira tribe (6) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (0) Immunity (0)
Brendan has the hidden immunity idol.

Benjamin "Coach" Wade__37..Bolivar MO
Brendan Synnott________30..New York City NY
Debra "Debbie" Beebe___46..Auburn AL
Erinn Lobdell_(1)________26..Waukesha WI
Sierra Reed,_(1)________23..Los Angeles CA
Tyson Apostol__________29..Lindon UT

Jerry Sims.___49..Rock Hill SC voted out week 3
Candace Smith 31_Dayton OH voted out week 2


Jalapao Tribe (7) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (1) Immunity (1)
Taj has a very good hidden immunity idol clue.
We don't know if she's found it.
Idol is in camp

James "JT" Thomas, Jr_______24..Samson AL
Joe Dowdle________________26..Austin TX
Sandy Burgin_(1)____________53..Louisville KY
Spencer Duhm______________19..Lakeland FL
Stephen Fishbach____________29..New York City NY
Sydney Wheeler_____________24..Raleigh NC
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George__37..Nashville TN

x-Carolina Eastwood..26..West Hollywood CA voted out week 1

(#) = votes against

See you next week!

= Cecil =

Posted by Cecil on February 26, 2009 9:00 PM
Permalink |

Okay, so I am really enjoying the Taj/Brendan alliance and their plan, I am hoping they go pretty far. Was I the only one weirded out by how Sandy was all over Spencer? And then declared herself to be a sex kitten?

JT has no idea how to use a fishing net, but at least he is good with a rod and some bait!

Coach is totally ridiculous, but so is Tyson. The whole who is the leader exchange at Tribal Council was hilarious, though! In case you can't tell, I am directing you with my eyes to keep up the great reviews, Cecil!

1. Posted by: FenwayBen at February 28, 2009 11:31 AM

I wonder if he directs his soccer team the same way?

2. Posted by: Cecil at March 1, 2009 10:09 PM

Some one should tell him there is a difference between "directing" and "undressing"! LOL

3. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 2, 2009 11:29 PM

I don't know how you feel about the 'extra' videos available on the CBS website. In some cases they add insight into aspects of the game. But, like "The Lost Experience" in the "Lost" series, they occur outside the televised show, require some amount of computer power to access, and some spare time.

Some folks feel the show should be presented complete on the screen when broadcast, and anything else smacks of spoilers and elitism.

I'd be interested to know how you-all feel on the topic. I'm inclined to present here a few tidbits gleaned from the video extras.

I'll make this first one an experiment -let me know - would you like to hear more of these - in a separate blog, or just presented, as here, in comments.

For those that don't want to know anything that wasn't in the broadcast, tune out now and consider this


1. The Jalapao tibe discusses their strategy vis-a-vis picking exiles. Remember I wondered why they would pick a strong player like Brendan?

Spencer relates that their strategy was to take account of how being at exile can alienate a member from his tribe, and thus they picked someone they considered "strong" to try and weaken the Timbira tribe.

The discussion reveals that the tribe (save only Taj, who knows better) still think the idol is on Exile Island, and that there's only one idol, which they assume Brendan has - since Taj says she doesn't - and discuss how that affects their play of they merge into a tribe with Brendan.

It also puts some pressure on Taj should they discover she hasn't been truthful with them. But maybe she can impress a second exile into a conspiracy of silence to protect their knowledge.

Gramma Sandy puts in a minority comment "But what if there's two of them?" which nobody seems to notice.

2. Coach is reveled in a kinder gentler light in some of the extras, such as blaming himself in prvate dialogs for not speaking up and changing the course of some of the challenges, or in seeking plants to brew into medicinal teas to treat Jerry's stomach problems.

3. Sandy says she is snuggling with youngster Spencer, from feeling 'grandmmotherly' toward him and trying to keep him comfortable at night, a role she hopes to play with the whole tribe.

4. Steven discusses a great palm-frond controversy, as to whether they should be laid horizontallly or vertically on the sleeping platform. The winner - vertically, which evens out the discomfort.

4. Posted by: Cecil at March 4, 2009 4:53 PM

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