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Survivor Fodder

Survivor Tocantins Week 5 - You Might Want That Tooth

Survivor Tocantins Week 5 - You Might Want that Tooth


Make me drop this and you die!

Day 13

At Jalapao, Stephen scratches Taj's back literally before they both do a bit of mutual figurative back scratching and agree to go get some water, yeah, that's it, water, together. Their trip takes them by the tree mail figure, where, after a bit of searching, Taj finds the idol tucked away in the butt-crack, just like Brenden did at Timbira. Taj delegates Stephen to keep the idol in his pocket, rather than hide it like Brendan did, thinking no one will suspect he has it, whereas with all her trips to Exile Island, they might suspect her.

Over at Timbira, Brendan stirs from the shelter and begins making fire, smartly trying to coax some embers to life rather than expend more of their limited starter flint kit. Others make their way to the river to bring back water, but Sierra hangs back to 'help' Brendan. It's the first chance she's had to talk to him alone since her exile and she wonders why he never discusses the alliance with her, leaving Taj to break the news at Exile Island. She accepts his explanation that he simple couldn't get alone with her, and later privately shares her happiness with the situation and predicts the four allies will "rule the game." As always, predictions like that make us nervous.


The teams meet for the challenge - all even now. The challenge is a game of human tops. In each round each team will supply a puller and a spinner. The spinner sits on a rotating platform which the puller runs to from about thirty yards away, grabs a rope that is wound about the lower part of the platform and runs back to the start, spinning the sitter. The rope is just long enough to put the puller back over the start/finish line. Once the puller crosses the line, the dizzy spinner gets off the top and tries to follow, but must walk a low rail for about twenty-five of the yards to the finish - fall off and go back to the start and try again. First to win three rounds wins reward.

The reward: a trip to the [Product Placement] Café, with coffee, pastries, juice, and real toilets with plenty of soft, squeezable [Product Placement] to use there. Plus the usual right to exile somebody.

1: Joe spins Taj _vs_Brendan spins Tyson
In past Survivor challenges involving balance, the women have far outperformed the men, so Jalapao may be taking a chance here. If so it pays off. Taj is very disoriented when she gets up from her spin and can barely find the start of the rail, then stands there trying to recover enough to step on. Tyson works slowly but dashes the last five yards and wins fir Timbira who lead 1-0.

2: Stephen spins Spencer_vs_Coach spins Erinn
Erinn is wearing her glasses - for better balance? Spencer falls on his rail and starts over, but then so does Erinn, and Jalapao wins and ties the match, 1-1.

3: Joe spins JT_vs_Brendan spins Sierra
Again, JT falls first, but Sierra does also, and JT fairly sprints down the rail the second time to put Jalapao ahead 2-1.

4: Stephen spins Sydney_vs_Coach spins Debbie
The pullers seem to get faster every round. I don't know if Debbie's arms are still tired from the weight competition three days ago, or Coach just spins her that fast, but she's nearly slung off the platform - hanging on for dear life at full arm extension instead of hugging the axle as everyone else has. I don't know if being further from the spin axis helps or hurts, but Debbie reaches the rail at about the same time as Sydney, and tries to be the tortoise to Sydney's hare. She's going very slow in a deliberate effort not to fall off. As Sydney mounts her rail somebody yells to her to 'use her ballerina skills' which I don't think we've heard anything about previously, but if she indeed has some ballet training, it should really help in this. Sydney moves much faster but falls off midway, returns to the start and moves fast again, this time without falling and beats Debbie handily, and Jalapao wins the reward.

Jalapao again picks Brendan for Exile Island, and as he looks over Jalapao for a fellow victim, Taj make a show of hiding behind a tribe mate. Brendan picks Stephen, and Taj cries out "I love you", which was probably not acting, but whether it was or wasn't did a pretty good job of concealing her delight from her teammates at how things worked out and made it look like she was tired of being thrown in that Briar Patch Exile Island.

[Product Placement] Café

The camera pans in on a tray of [Product Placement] which the hungry survivors ignore, at least for now, for the edible goodies - stacks and stacks of a variety of pastries, pots of hot coffee, carafes of fresh juice, even fresh water seems special. Of course after all this gorging on empty stomachs, they'd probably need some of that [Product Placement], too. Fortunately Survivor doesn't show us this.

Taj voices her happiness, which I'm pretty sure is genuine, at not getting picked and getting to share the reward and some time with her friends. Privately, Joe says he thinks Taj has been hurt by spending so much time away from the tribe. The tribe oohs and ahhs over the foodstuffs. JT finds a mystery box that turns out to be filled with letters from home for the castaways. The tribe cries tears of joy over this unexpected bonus.


Timbira eat their rice and imagine sumptuous pastries. They discuss exile. Debbie, bless her heart, sympathizes with 'poor Brendan' having to go again, and thinks he was nice not to pick Taj again. Several members voice some suspicion that Brendan is getting a little too close to the other tribe. Coach privately shares he's worried that Brendan is plotting something and could be in charge if the tribes merge, leaving him, Coach, on the outside.

Later Coach points out a shift in the wind and says it usually indicates rain. He doesn't think it will rain this time, though, because the clouds seem to be breaking up in the direction the rain would come from.


Timbira huddles under their shelter in a driving rain. Later, privately , Erinn shares she has her doubts that Coach is the big outdoorsman he claims to be, and wouldn't be surprised if, after the game, he revealed he's 'never been outside Nebraska'.


Brendan shows Stephen the ropes on Exile Island. We don't see any jars opened - wonder if they even bothered to set out clues? They gather wood, build a fire, and discuss the alliance. Brendan wonders if Taj has found the idol yet, and Stephen reveals they got it this morning. We never learn if Brendan has shared his with Sierra. Later, Stephen privately shares that he feels 'positive but wary' about Brendan. He's not known him long enough to be sure he can completely trust him,

Day 14

Sydney and Spencer laze around the hammocks. Sydney shares her dream from last night about her boyfriend Kelly, and asks Spencer about his girlfriends. Guess Sydney's gaydar needs a tune up. Spencer says he's still playing the field, without revealing it's left field he's playing. Later he privately shares that he's not told his tribesmates he's gay because they might use that as an excuse to vote him off, especially that JT guy who he suspects is too much of a good ole boy to be tolerant of gays.

Speaking of whom, JT calls out that there's tree mail. It reads:

Connecting with your tribe will keep you alive,
Battling with the others is part of the game,
The meek and the slow will lose one more,
The aggressive protect their claim.

Along with the mail comes a net mounted on a stick.


Brendan and Spencer come back from exile.

The challenge is a pitch and catch game. Two pitchers from each team will alternate sending a ball into the air with a big rubber-band slingshot. Down range the four remaining team members are paired with an opponent at a various start positions. When the balls are launched, all will scramble to catch, or keep the opponent from catching, the balls. The catchers are standing in knee deep water, with gravel bars. Any ball caught scores a point for the catcher's team, regardless of who launched it, so you can steal the opponent's ball as well. First to 5 wins.

The two teams launch simultaneously, even though the editing sometimes makes it appear sequential.

Jalapao will have Sydney and Stephen launching, Timbira will have Erinn and Debbie. The catcher/defender opponent pairs are Joe and Coach, Spencer and Tyson, JT and Sierra, and Taj and Brendan. Interesting the two women on the rough catcher side were paired against men, not each other. I'm thinking after that water basketball game, Sierra wanted nothing to do with Taj.

1: Sydney and Erinn launch, with Erinn going short and Sydney long. Brendan just misses the short ball, but JT snags the long one and it's 1-0 Jalapao.

2: Stephen and Debbie launch. JT snags another one as Joe dives on a gravel bar and the ball goes in and out of his net. Jalapao just misses a double, but still goes up 2-0. Joe tells Coach he hurt his knee on that dive.

3: Sydney and Erinn launch, and Brendan makes a catch while JT just misses one, and Timbira has narrowed Jalapao's lead to 2-1

4: Stephen and Debbie launch again. Brendan snags another and I can't even see where the other went. Tied, 2-2

5: Sydney and Erinn launch, and JT makes a diving catch to make the score 3-2 Jalapao, but as he gets up he feels in his mouth and pulls out a tooth. He says something about it and other team members alert Probst that JT's lost a tooth. As Probst reacts to that, JT tosses the tooth away in the water, which boggles Probst's mind. JT says "Well it was only half a tooth," and I suspect it might not be the first one he's lost. I'm sure the bars around Samson, Alabama may be littered with them. Probst wades out in the water and directs everyone to find the tooth, saying "You might want that tooth." Wonder of wonders somebody does find it, and Jeff says he'll hold it for JT, and the competition resumes, broken tooth and all. As someone who's broken a tooth, let me tell you it hurts more than losing one outright, and props to JT. Jeff says it's another Survivor first for JT - scoring a point while losing a tooth.

6: Stephen and Debbie launch. Somebody catches and makes it makes it 4-2 Jalapao.

7: Sydney and Erinn launch and Tyson, who's being guarded not at all by Spencer, stretches out and narrows the Jalapao lead to 4-3.

8: Stephen and Debbie launch. As Tyson snags another, Joe knocks it back out of Tyson's net a split second after the catch - does it count? It does. Score tied 4-4. Joe and JT both start offering 'guarding Tyson' suggestions to Spencer. Sierra meanwhile, is hanging on JT's neck and grabbing his hand - anything to prevent a winning score. She's even hanging on after the ball's not in the air any longer.

9: Erinn launches short, Sydney long. Taj is taking a lesson from Sierra and hanging on Brendan's neck. Tyson stretches out that long body and snags the high ball. JT breaks free from Sierra and dives for the short one, but it's in and out of his net and Timbira wins immunity.

Jeff gives JT his half-a-tooth back. We never learn if Survivor provided any dental services. Privately, JT shares he gave it his all, even his tooth, and he's mad about losing. He hates to send anybody home, he says, but it should be someone who didn't try as hard as the others, and by that he means Spencer.

Day 14

Jalapao: As tribe members cool off in the river, Taj shares she's hot in more ways that one - hot in temperature and hot as in mad about losing. I'm sure Eddie George could think of a third way. Joe has a scab on his knee from his fall. Taj thinks Spencer was the least effective one out there today.

Privately, Spencer shares that he's a competitive person and hates to lose.

Taj, Joe, JT, and Stephen share a pool and talk about the day. Taj seems close to blowing up, but it's not the melt down that last week's previews seems to make it - she's just steamed. Joe and JT voice some dissatisfaction with Spencer's performance, even as Spencer walks up to joins them. JT and Spencer speak frankly, and JT tells him it's between him and Taj.


Peachy questions the tribe, and we hear:

Spencer: My performance today was pretty pathetic.

Taj: We feel bad about losing anyone. All the easy vote-offs are gone already. We almost blew up today.

Joe: Nobody likes to have fingers pointed at them.

Taj: I was hot!

Spencer: I felt all the same things.

Taj: I can't do anything about all the exiles, except try to work harder when I get back.

Joe: She (Taj) could have the idol. I haven't heard her say she doesn't.

Taj: Do you want me to say it?

Joe: Yes

Taj: I do not have the idol.

Joe: I believe her.

Time to vote:

Joe votes.

Spencer votes for Taj. "I'm sure it's either you or me tonight."

Stephen votes.

Taj votes for Spencer.

Sydney votes. "You played a hell of a game - I'm sorry it came down to this." But we don't see who for, and the camera focuses on both Taj and Spencer.

JT votes.

Jeff goes off to count. When he comes back he asks if anyone wants to play the hidden immunity idol. Taj doesn't play it.

First vote is for Spencer.

Second vote is for Taj. Spencer - 1, Taj - 1.

Third vote is for Spencer. Spencer - 2, Taj - 1.

Fourth vote is for Spencer. Spencer - 3, Taj - 1.

Fifth vote is for Spencer and that's it, the youngest Survivor ever is out.

Spencer smiles ruefully as he stands to have his torch snuffed. He turns and gives the tribe a little wave and the tribe waves back.


(The annual March Madness is upon us, and the next episode of Survivor will be on Wednesday, March 15.)

Coach appears to be directing an orchestra or a choir with a feather. Survivor glee club, anyone? Stephen gives Taj a comforting hug. Coach gives Sierra a comforting hug. Tyson is apparently channeling Richard Hatch, walking down a path covered only by blurage as Debbie covers her eyes. Coach winds up his conducting with a flourish. Erinn privately shares "Who is this jackass?"

Over the credits we see the vote was unanimous, 5-1, against Spencer. He shares pride in getting as far as he did and speaks no ill of his tribe.

Is this season becoming Survivor - Nice Guys? Not one closing rant yet.


Status at End:

Timbira tribe (6) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (0) Immunity (2)
Brendan has the hidden immunity idol and an alliance with Sierra and two members of Jalapao.

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 (5) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (3) Immunity (1)
Taj has the hidden immunity idol, and an alliance with Stephen and two members of Timbira.

James "JT" Thomas, Jr_______24..Samson AL
Joe Dowdle_(1)____________26..Austin TX
Stephen Fishbach____________29..New York City NY
Sydney Wheeler_(1)_________24..Raleigh NC
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George_(1)_37..Nashville TN

x-Spencer Duhm 19 Lakeland FL voted out week 5
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 a week from next Wednesday!

= Cecil =

Posted by Cecil on March 12, 2009 11:39 AM
Permalink |

Sit ‘n Spin! I was thinking - wouldn’t it be a good strategy to walk at a more moderate pace with the pull rope (and not full-out sprint)? You would lose some time up front, but your spinner would be far less dizzy.

Coach’s career as a meteorologist is questionable. I very much enjoyed the driving rain, followed by his hangdog look, followed by Erinn’s commentary, “Coach is a jackass.” Hee!

I was also curious about the missing clue jars at Exile (or why they were not shown).

While the edit on Taj’s meltdown made it seem much worse than it actually was, she still made an enemy in Joe. I think she and Stephen need to pull someone else in, to protect themselves until the merge.

I’m enjoying this season so far.

1. Posted by: Clementine at March 13, 2009 4:41 AM

I'm guessing they edited out a lot of standing and waitiung for the spinee's head to clear before they ever start on the balance beams. There was just a hint of it in the first roun with Taj.

I was also wondering in the last round with Debbie just what the rules provided if the spinnee is throwwn from the platform before the spinner crosses the line - do they have to rewind and start over? It nearly happened.

Ordinarily the big physical guys get gentle edits and lots of featured time.

I'm wondering if coach is getting the reverse - he appears much more human and less arrogant in some of the unshown clips available on the website.

2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at March 13, 2009 9:32 AM

Thought is was a bit amusing how Spencer was stereotyping JT as a good ol' boy who would look down on gay people in the same manner that he didn't want to be stereotyped as a gay man.
It seemed strange to hear someone concerned about being openly gay. We've had several openly gay contestants in past years. I don't recall anyone being shunned or voted out because of their orientation. In fact some of the most interesting/fun to watch contestants were ones who were open about their sexuality. Seem to remember a certain openly gay fella winning the whole thing in the first season. Just had to question Spencer's thinking there. Maybe he hasn't watched a lot of Survivor in the past. Not that it mattered, he got voted off despite hiding his orientation.

Definitely looking forward to Coach getting voted out eventually. I can't believe anyone puts up with him. He keeps blowing his own horn about his outdoor experience but he really doesn't seem any better off than anyone else on the tribe. He's the love to hate type character this season and is single handedly keeping this from devvolving completely into Survivor:Nioe guys.

JT has been fun to watch in challenges especially the strength challenge and this weak sacrificing his body making those catches.

Lastly--missing Sandy--she added a real screwball element that made this season fun.

Overall its been a fun season so far.

3. Posted by: Crispy Seaplanes at March 13, 2009 11:07 AM

Funny thing is, Spencer billed himself as just about the biggest Survivor fan ever, and should have reaized that sexual orientation wasn't a big deal there. It may be that it's a lack of grown-up experience in the real world that caused this miscalculation - he is only nineteen.

While being open about his orientation probably wouldn't have hurt him, it probably wouldn't have changed anything either. When he revealed he knew who Eddie George was I thought - aha, an athletic gay guy - stereotype buster - good. But it turned out not to be the case in this instance. Maybe Spencer should have pitched and Stephen caught, (no double entendre intended) but Stephen's not an athlete, either.

The funniest thing was Sydney, a model who should have some experience with gays in the fashion industry (another stereotype, I know, but one with some basis in truth) not detecting that Spencer was gay, and wondering why her flirtations didn't seem to work on him last week.

4. Posted by: Cecil at March 13, 2009 1:03 PM

And I finaly got time to poorfread during lunch, so it reads considerably smoother with /a/l/l/ most of the typos squeezed out.

5. Posted by: Cecil Rose at March 13, 2009 1:07 PM

Cecil, the spinners had some kind of rope handcuffs on to keep them on the top. We saw a couple of them remove them once they had gotten off.

I can understand Spencer's reluctance to share his sexuality. It's certainly not something I open with when I am meeting new people in a mixed environment...not that I am trying to hide it but I'd rather that not be the first thing someone things of when my name comes up. In the end it's impossible for us to know how tolerant JT or Joe (or even Taj or Steven) would be, but Richard Hatch did prove that being open and frank can even earn you the respect of a bigoted old Navy Seal! I think Cecil's right that it comes down to Spencer being 19 and still learning how the world works and how people react.

I wonder if Spencer didn't cut his own throat? If he had gone along with Taj, Stephen, and Sandy and voted off Sydney last week, would he still be here? Could that 4 person alliance stand? Would they see Sandy as the logical choice this week? Would Sandy fight to keep him over Taj?

6. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 14, 2009 1:15 PM

Interesting - you think that If Stephen had been wiling to vote for Sydney the Taj and Stephen would have stuck with him? Spencer was one of those shown reacting to Sandy's mannerism with a grimace. Certainly an interesting thought.

Just a reminder - I post updates to the bios blog each week on the latest observations on each person still in the game. Please drop by with your observations as well.

Still haven't heard from anyone one way or the other on whether you like updates from the clips on the CBS website not included in the show itself.


Also how do you feel about including information gleaned from other site outside the show and the CBS website - fair game for discussion or not 'fair' to the contestants, whatever that means. Would it increase or decrease your enjoyment of the show?

7. Posted by: Cecil at March 16, 2009 11:24 AM

Dear Fenway and Cecil:

ITA about Spencer still learning his way in the world.

Also, there was an interesting clip (I think on the CBS site) where Spencer claimed there was more to his ousting than was shown. He said his tribemates had all got past his performance in the challenge, and voting him off had more to do with people feeling that he was in too many secret alliances.

And speaking of which, Cecil... I have no problem at all with CBS clips or any other Survivor news/speculation. Just speaking for me, but thanks for asking! And I forgot you were updating the bio post, so thanks for the reminder.

8. Posted by: Clementine at March 16, 2009 7:01 PM

Well, taking that as a "yes" I'll mention here that Coach lost his coaching job becuase of Survivor.

Apparently the college felt he had been less than forthright about his reasons for taking a leave of absence, giving at least the impression that it was for medical reasons, when it was really to go be on Survivor.

But with the publicity gained from Survivor, Coach is on his way to Hollywood. Maybe Daniel Day Lewis needs a stand-in?

9. Posted by: Cecil at March 17, 2009 10:29 AM

I hope Coach falls on his face in Hollywood.

I've only met one contestant in their life after Survivor...Kel Gleason, who returned to the Army after his Outback adventure and contributed to something larger than his own ego, unlike so many of the other past contestants. I may enjoy watching you (and even rooting for you) on the show, doesn't mean I want to see you in a series of "celebrity" reality shows, Rob Schneider movies, or hosting talk shows (yes, I am looking at you, Elisabeth Hasselbeck!) [/rant]

Anyhow, Cecil, please include info from other sources and It saves me the trouble of hunting it all down!

10. Posted by: FenwayBen at March 18, 2009 8:19 PM

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