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Survivor Tocantins Week 4 - We Got To Shake It Off

Survivor Tocantins Week 4 - We Got To Shake It Off


Coach and Debbie relax around camp. Coach wonders if her middle school needs a soccer coach.

Night 9

Weary Timbira makes the trudge back from tribal council. Coach Is unhappy about the leadership dispute, and makes more cancer analogies concerning Erinn.

Day 10

Timbira huddles around the campfire in the morning chill and discusses the leadership issue. They all seem to agree they need one. To the tribe Coach says he'll gladly serve under Brendan as leader, but later privately shares he still thinks the leader should be him. As the only one with wilderness experience. Tyson shares that they established a leader 'last night at tribal' except he's still not sure if it's Brendan or Coach. Not the sharpest tack in the box, our Tyson. No clear consensus emerges.

Credits. Survivor is repeating their recent practice of showing only the 'surviving' contestants in the into. More ads near the end, I guess.

Jalapao wakes in their luxury pads. Taj says she slept well, but she doesn't sound like she slept well, an Spencer shares concern that two trips to Exile Island are wearing her down. Later, Taj takes Stephen aside and explains her deal with Brendan and invites Stephen in. He jumps in with both feet. She tells him - if they win the next challenge, they should push the tribe to select Sierra, whom Brendan will be inviting in and Sierra will in turn pick Stephen.

Timbira take in tree mail:

As time ticks away, supplies start to dwindle,
Your spirits may begin to corrode,
For a boost in morale, and improvements in camp,
You must know who can shoulder the load.

The tribe discusses who to pick for Exile Island if they win, and the consensus is to sent Taj again. Brendan shares privately that he hasn't found a way to be alone with Sierra and clue her in to the alliance yet, and now it's too late, the tribe is walking to the reward challenge. Curiously, we don't see anyone speculate about what the challenge might be, or what strategy to adopt. Maybe that's why Timbira has dropped three straight challenges.


Jalapao get to see that Jerry was voted off last night. Sydney seems to have ditched the shapeless tops and jeans she previously wore and is wearing a tight form-fitting top and a pair of shorts that leaves her midriff bare all the way down to - well pretty much all the way down. Whooo!

The challenge: each team will pick two men and one woman to stand on a platform and hold a pole on their shoulders as weighted bags are placed on them in each round. Two people from each tribe will choose which person on the other tribe get the weight in each new round - two ten pound bags. The choosers will then place the weights on the designated person of their own tribe at the start of the round. Last person standing wins reward for their tribe. The record for this challenge is 220 pounds, held by the fan favorite Rupert on Survivor - Pearl Islands.

The reward: Winners get to pick two people to 'raid' the opponents camp and carry away two items. Plus the usual Exile Island options.

Jalapao picks Texan Joe, R&B singer Taj, and cattle rancher JT to hold their poles, and model Sydney and bus driver Sandy to choose and place the weights, sitting out Stephen and Spencer. I guess Taj is the logical choice, though I might have bet on Sandy. Jalapao seems to have made close to optimum choices all around.

Timbira picks entrepreneur Brendan, principal Debbie, and bike racer Tyson to hold, and Coach and Erinn to load and choose. Sierra will sit out. Curious choices - I wonder why Coach wasn't chosen as a holder? Maybe they've noticed a certain falling short of expectations in previous challenges? Survivor never shows us much of the choosing or strategizing, and it might be more interesting than the competitions themselves.

Everyone take their place - the poles are about three inches in diameter and maybe seven feet long, with circular stops to indicate the closest in a weight bag may be hung. On the first round, Jalapao slide their bags all the way in to the stops, but Timbira leaves theirs several inches away. I'm thinking closest to the center is best for the pole holders. I guess the holders are given a bit of latitude as to how to go about it. Debbie seems to have a sweater draped over her shoulders cushioning the pole. Brendan has removed his shirt and wrapped it about the pole where it bears on his shoulders. Tyson has some extra shirt cushion as well.

On to the competition.

2 ___________________20________________________20_
The action skips ahead to:

Joe, Taj and JT all take the widest stance possible, using the entire width of their platform. Debbie, of necessity, and Brendan, by choice, take narrower stances. Tyson uses the full platform.

As the bags are placed in round 19 we see that Brendan's weight is a little lopsided - Erinn has been placing the weights on her side closer to the center than Coach has - in fact were another weight to be added, Coach would have to slide some of these already there in closer - that can't be good. However, it's a moot point - Brendan is trembling and just as the 220 pounds is added he drops his pole. As we see JT's weights added, we also see that his weights are still all in the inner ½ of the available pole. Sierra and Sandy are a little uncoordinated in placing the weights, leaving JT wobbling a bit, but he maintains his stance.

JT is trembling but holding. Tyson's knees bend, then he drops his pole, and suddenly it's Debbie against three Jalapao. But before the round ends first JT, then Joe, who hadn't even appears strained, drop their poles it's womano a womano, both at 80 pounds.

A hundred pounds bends Debbie over, but she stands. Taj, carrying a significantly smaller percentage of her body mass on the pole, stands firm.

The placers move forward with twenty more pounds, but the simple thought of it crumbles Debbie. Taj wins for Jalapao!

Taj appears to do the choosing for Jalapao, and sends Sierra to Exile Island. Sierra chooses Taj to accompany her. Wonder how Stephen, who'd been assured she would pick him feels about this? We see him grimace a bit at the choice. Brendan, however, is relieved at Sierra's choice since he hasn't had a chance to recruit her and feels Taj will do the job. Taj does her best 'Brer Fox, don't throw me in the briar patch' imitation in accepting her exile.

Jeff tells Jalapao to pick two raiders as they walk back to camp.

Coach shares he's afraid they'll lose their whole food supply and the tribe will go downhill rapidly with nothing to eat.

The Raid

Timbira get back to camp and fret over what two items Jalapao will pick. Coach says they pretty much don't have anything but the food - two bags of beans and two of rice. Erinn says 'oh we have these attractive water cans, too.' You know, if I was Timbira, I'd take every available container, including courds and coconuts, and spread the beans out equally among them and then tell Jalapao to feel free to take any two.

JT and Joe show up to do the raiding. They act gracious and Timbira is cordial in return, greeting them with hugs and handshakes. Tyson shares an inner desire to punch them, tempered by the knowledge that they're only a merge or a shake-up away from being tribe-mates. There's joking around as JT and Joe settle into the task of picking items. Debbie reminds them they could end up "over here". JT tells them "we're not going to leave you without food." Debbie explicitly, and maybe a little too obviously reminds them of their water cans, as JT and Joe inspect the food stores.

They decide to take one bag of beans and one water can, and JT makes explicit the double reasons for this - first of all not to take all Timbira's food, and secondly because of the very real possibility that they could end up in that camp and wouldn't want to be totally without food should that happen. I do wonder why they took the round can with the skinny handle instead of the twenty-gallon Jerry can, a much more efficient vehicle for transporting water.

Stephen greets the returning raiders. JT and Joe explain their choices of items. Sandy is ruthless - "Why not take all their food?" Sandy shares she'd go for the throat.

Sydney shares she's starting to get a little tired of Sandy's mannerisms, and says the rest of the tribe is, too.

Privately, Sandy shares irritation at Sydney's flirtatious ways - those short shorts she's wearing are JT's boxers, and she 'doesn't sleep in a bra at night.' We see Sydney rubbing JT's shoulders, which in all fairness, must be pretty sore from those 220 pounds. Sandy's mostly irritated that Sydney's deploying weapons she (Sandy) doesn't have, though Sandy herself is wearing a pretty skimpy bathing suit as she's telling us this, and let me say, doesn't look half bad.


Sierra and Taj choose a vase, and Taj gets the clue which is:

Every day or two,
You get mail from this place,
If you find it 'round here you'll ask,
Why the long face?

Can't get more explicit than that. We don't see if Taj ever shares this message with Sierra. They do take a long walk, and Taj sounds Sierra out and finds Brendan has let down the team, not ever talking to Sierra. Taj talks delicately around the situation for a while, but finally decides Brendan isn't pulling a fast one, just hasn't had a chance to talk to Sierra, and fills her in on the plan. Sierra is awed, and exults in the power they'll have, and she's in with both feet also.

Day 11

Timbira: Debbie wonders if there's "anything the tribe should be doing today?" The consensus answer is "goof off". Everyone decides to relax and have fun. Tyson shows off a "tribal breechcloth" look he's planning to bring back, complete with "tribal dance." Oonga, booga, oonga, booga." The tribe is amused.

Erinn, the cosmetician who thought she could connect easily with everybody, shares that she's having a difficult time connecting with this crowd, and gets a little emotional (the emotion is self-pity) about it.

Tyson show his creepy side again when he speculates that Erinn might freak out at Tribal, and "I'd like to see it. I think that would be fun."


Taj and Sierra return and join their tribes. Nobody even mentions the option to defect - we didn't even hear Taj read it. Somehow I think the producers are going to find that this "great twist" idea is a non-starter - nobody's ever going to try it - although it might be interesting to see what would happen if Erinn ever got the option. Sierra gives Brendan a big hug and whispers "thank you".

The challenge is contained in a field with patterns of paths in it, about fifty yards long, and at the other end are poles with clue-totems hanging on them - eight of them. The totems are tall, three sided wooden pieces with letters painted on them, and a pole down the center axis. One tribe member at a time will run down the paths and grab a clue and bring it back to the start. When all are retrieved, they are placed one of eight slots in a horizontal frame. When each clue is in the right slot, and turned to the right one of its three sides, the letters will form a secret phrase (Which is


Jalapao chooses Taj to sit out, as she says "I can't run."

Joe and Coach take the first leg, arriving at the puzzle pieces at about the same time. The pieces have to be untied to get them down, the fairly hefty weight of the piece makes it difficult to untie the knot. Joe finishes with about a 35 yard lead on Coach. JT and Erinn, next, and JT extends the lead a bit. Spencer and Brendan next, Brendan picks up a little bit, but Jalapao still has about a 25 yard lead.

Stephen and Tyson next, and the lead stays the same. Sandy and Sierra, and still Jalapao leads. Sydney and Debbie next, and the model has trouble with the knots, costing Jalapao their lead and giving Timbira one. Brendan and Joe again and now Timbira has the 25 yard lead. JT makes good time against Tyson on the final leg, and Timbira has maybe a five second lead as the final pieces come in.

In solving the puzzle, Brendan quickly figures out that the word across the bottom is "IMMUNITY" and that gives Timbira a huge advantage. Jalapao, for once is the team appearing confused and uncoordinated. The teams can see each other's progress. Jalapao spends a lot of time looking at Timbira's effort, Timbira hardly any looking at Jalapao. Suddenly, it's over. Timbira wins! Lots of hugs, including a hip-straddling one of Debbie on Brendan, as Timbira halts their four game losing streak. Somber looks on the Jalapao side.

Spencer shares his disappointment at not going two up on Timbira. After tomorrow the tribes will be equal again.

Day 12

Jalapao trudge back to camp and share their frustration over not being able to solve the puzzle. Somebody calls it "The curse of the bean." Sandy says they'll have to "Shake this loss off and look forward to a reward. " But first they'll have to shake somebody off.

Joe and Sydney talk. He says he's 'kinda glad'. "That we're getting rid of someone?" Sydney asks. "Not just someone...," he says. "Someone... in particular?" "Someone who rhymes with 'Andy'". Uh, oh, all bus drivers on alert!

Sandy, Taj, Stephen, and JT cool off in a pool and discuss the vote. Taj says she thinks Sandy was stronger than Sydney in the challenge. The guys think Spencer and Joe will be disappointed if Sydney goes. I'm thinking there's maybe something Spencer hasn't shared with his tribe (see the bios blog). They all agree that there's no real clear-cut choice - that there's no real slackers or pitas in camp. Sandy wisely holds her tongue and just listens.

Late Sandy shares that she hasn't a clear feeling one way or the other, but JT and Stephen have told her she'll "be here tomorrow."

JT shares it's between Sandy and Sydney, but he's not sure what he wants to do. Later he tells Stephen he's undecided still.

As the whole tribe lolls about camp, Sydney asks them all what they love about the game. Stephen: meeting all these people I never ordinarily would have met. The question turned back on her, Sydney says she "like(s) the sneakiness of it, too." Something she doesn't get to practice in real life.

Stephen shares angst over the choice, and how "getting rid of Sydney could make a lot of sense."

Sydney shares "As far as I know, the choice is Sandy K to night."


Peachy questions the tribe, and we hear:

Sandy: She believes she's recovered from the bad first impression

JT: She's kind do the mother of the tribe, and supports us.

Sandy: Others may use their body, I'm being supportive. I've seen Sandy wearing JT's boxers.

Sandy: It's too hot for the jeans I have.

Joe: Sure I see the flirting going on.

Stephen: The real big flirtation is Sydney-Joe.

Sydney: Sure I flirt a lot - with women and men. Especially Joe.

Taj: Sydney is gorgeous, men will always be affected by that, and I accept it. It's OK, and I'll make my way regardless.

Sydney: Yeah, this happens a lot in my profession as a model [Oops. I thought earlier she said she wasn't going to share that, and called herself an 'interior designer'. ]

Stephen: Sure, that could work against Sydney as easily as for her.

Sandy: A couple of people may be real upset tomorrow.

Time to vote:

Joe votes.
Stephen votes.
Sydney votes for Sandy. "It's just your time to go".
Spencer votes.
Taj votes.
Sandy votes for Sydney, without comment.
JT votes.


Jeff counts and reports:

One vote for Sandy.

A vote for Sydney. Sandy 1, Sydney 1.

Surprise! A vote for Joe. Sandy 1, Sydney 1, Joe 1.

A vote for Sandy. Sandy 2, Sydney 1, Joe 1.

Another vote for Sandy. Sandy 3, Sydney 1, Joe 1.

Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin.

Another vote for Sandy. Sandy 4, Sydney 1, Joe 1.
And that's it, all over, bye bye gramma.

Crazy fans mourn.
Eye-candy fans are relieved.

Sandy takes it well, no words. No one in the tribe looks real happy at the choice they were forced to make.


We see Taj and Stephen, Brendan and Sierra discussing their alliance. Jeff's words say the secret may not be so secret. Cameron is telling Debbie and Tyson that he thinks Brendan's trying to cultivate relations with the other tribe. Does Coach know something or is it just anti-Brendan plot? Taj seems to be having a melt-down in the middle of the river. "Everybody can kiss my ass." Joe sharing that kind of talk can get you voted off.

Over the credits, Sandy shares pride in sticking around as long as she did, especially after that bad beginning. We see everybody voted for her except her vote for Sydney, and the surprising vote for Joe by Taj. Wonder it that has something to do with their words next week?


Status at End:

Timbira tribe (6) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (0) Immunity (1)
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

x-Jerry Sims_49_Rock Hill SC voted out week 3
x-Candace Smith_31_Dayton OH voted out week 2


Jalapao Tribe (6) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (2) Immunity (1)
Taj knows the location of the hidden immunity idol.
We don't know if she's gotten it.
Idol is in camp.

James "JT" Thomas, Jr_______24..Samson AL
Joe Dowdle_(1)____________26..Austin TX
Spencer Duhm______________19..Lakeland FL
Stephen Fishbach____________29..New York City NY
Sydney Wheeler_(1)_________24..Raleigh NC
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George__37..Nashville TN

x-Sandy Burgin_53..Louisville KY voted out week 4
x-Carolina Eastwood..26..West Hollywood CA voted out week 1

(#) = votes against

See you next week!

= Cecil =

Posted by Cecil on March 5, 2009 6:49 PM
Permalink |

I was caught off guard by Taj's vote for Joe, too. Was she upset because everyone was going to go after Sydney until Joe stepped in and protected her?

I wasn't sorry to see Sandy go. Sandy, Erinn, Coach, and Tyson are the players I would least like to be stuck living in a tribe with.

1. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 7, 2009 11:13 AM

I really wanted to be a fan of Coach. But every time he opens his mouth it drives a spike into the heart of that desire.

So far I'm liking JT, Brendan, Sierra, Taj, Sydney.

2. Posted by: Cecil at March 7, 2009 11:54 PM

I thought maybe Taj was trying to stir things up with a random unidentified vote, just to make the guys paranoid. But it does look like she gets upset next week, so maybe it's personal with Joe.

I feel sorry for Brendan being stuck with Coach, Tyson and Erinn. He and JT are my favorites.

Thanks, Cecil. Good recap!

3. Posted by: Clementine at March 8, 2009 1:55 PM

From the videos on the CBS website, it would seem Taj's vote was simply from a reluctance to cast a vote fo Sandy,

4. Posted by: Cecil at March 8, 2009 8:44 PM

I can understand her not wanting to put Sandy's name down when she thought Sandy should stay (although common wisdom says always vote with the majority, even if you disagree), but she could have voted for Sydney like Sandy did. Why pick Joe unless there was some other reason?

5. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 9, 2009 12:07 AM

I'm sure mac would love to have an Amazing Race blogger. Wanna' volunteer?

6. Posted by: Cecil Rose at March 9, 2009 9:16 AM

@5 FenwayBen womdered:

>...she (Taj) could have voted for Sydney like Sandy did. Why pick Joe unless there was some other reason?

A women's solidarity thing, maybe? Questioning why it should always be women voted off first? Good question, by the way.

7. Posted by: Cecil at March 9, 2009 9:19 AM

Cecil, I'd happily blog one of the shows I follow consistently. Not sure how picking up AR midseason at this point would go over though.

8. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 9, 2009 7:37 PM

Well, mac himself missed the first two Lost episodes (Shown back to back) way back when. Drop him a note at and see what he says.

9. Posted by: Cecil at March 10, 2009 11:48 AM

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