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Survivor Tocantins - Week 6 - Gettin' Strange Around Here

Survivor Tocantins Week 6 - Gettin' Strange Around Here

Tyson-Apostol.JPG Which way's the runway?

Dear readers: Forgive me if the recap's a little short this week. Your reviewer is feeling a touch of a flu virus that's been being passed around the office here lately. Also see the announcement below my signature about changes in process at TV Fodder

Night 15

Jalapao creeps back to camp after voting off Spencer. JT shares he doesn't feel too bad about it, given that they had to vote someone off.

Day 16

At Jalapao, Joe reassures Sydney that she's safe the next time they go to tribal, but Sydney worries anyway.

Over at Timbira, there's a great bean controversy. The rest of the gang wants to eat, but Coach insists the beans need to cook a bit longer to get softer and better tasting. The rest grumble but go along, but as a rain storm comes up, no one wants to stand by the fire and stir the pot. [Why does no one consider building a fire shelter, anyway?] The predictable result? Two inches of burned beans in the pot and a lot of resentment against Coach. Brendan shares that it's one of five or six instances of Coach insisting on his way to the tribe's detriment - and an example of Coach's inflexible behavior. But that's OK with Brendan, because inflexible behavior is predictable behavior - an advantage to a thinking player like Brendan.

Back at Jalapao, Stephen and Taj strategize. Taj wants to tell JT about having the idol, Stephen not so much. Taj proposes compromises, such as telling JT about the clues she's gotten and asking his help in finding the idol. I'm wondering what that could do, since if she gives him the true clues, he goes right to the tree mail idol and finds it gone, but if she gives him false clues how does that help?


Timbira sees that Spencer's gone from Jalapao. Erinn seems shocked that he's the one they'd get rid of.

The challenge each team has two frames through which they will relay-throw ceramic pigs from team member to member. Each tribe will have five minutes and some wooden poles and ropes to build obstacles in the other team's frames. Most pigs to the finish without breaking or being dropped wins a trip to a barbecue picnic at a beautiful waterfall.

Timbira must sit out one player and they choose Erinn.

The five minute construction phase begins and both teams begin lashing poles in the frames. When the time is up, I'm thinking Timbira wins hands down, because they really seem to have built a much more effective barricade, very regular with few holes, whereas Jalapao's barricade seems to be just a random collection of poles with bigger gaps.

As the throwing phase begins, it looks like that prediction will bear out, as Timbira leaps out to an early 5-2 lead. However, the critical throw-catch for Jalapao seems to be JT to Sydney - and JT finally perfects a mean low and fast pitch that generally can get through the Timbira barricade, and Sydney does no mean job as a shortstop catching the low fast ones. Timbira begins to lose their rhythm and Jalapao actually takes a 12-11 lead with a minute to go. Timbira catches up at 13 all and thirty seconds to go, and both teams have trouble getting another pig through the barriers, but finally Timbira succeeds just as time runs out and wins.

Timbira picks Joe to go to Exile Island, and Joe chooses Erinn to go with him, apparently on a "who's the most attractive woman on the other tribe basis". I'm sure Erinn appreciates the compliment even as she misses the barbecue.


Immediately it's apparent the producers are Yankees, as there is absolutely no barbecue in sight - just burgers on a grill. The Survivors don't mind, however as they dig in to the tasty food, Debbie even stating "There could not be another meal that would make me happier." I guess somebody from Auburn could say that - Debbie should visit the Dreamland in Tuscaloosa sometime and learn what real barbecue is. (or any place in North Carolina - east or west style.)

After the meal, the team enjoys a swim in the crystal clear waters below the waterfalls, and Coach is happy that if anyone had to miss the food and fun, it was that 'cancer' Erinn.


Erinn gets the jug with the clue and walks off to read it in private. She and Joe seems to get along well, and she eventually realizes, as all exiles have, that since the idol is in camp and there must be two of them, there's no point in not sharing with the other exile.

Back in camp, Taj and Stephen realize that Joe's coming back knowing exactly where the idol's hiding place is, and thinking maybe they should do something about that. (If Brendan and Sierra realize the same thing over at Timbira, we never see it.) Taj retrieves the idol from Stephen's (unoccupied) pants (with or without Stephen's permission?) in order (she says) to get a good look at it before making a fake to place back in the tree mail location.

She makes a creditable fake, and then things get a little confusing to me.

JT, looking for an empty bag to use for a creel when he goes fishing, finds an idol in the bag he picks up. I think it's the real one, but I'm not sure why either the real or the fake one would be in the place he finds it. He tells Stephen about finding it, and assumes it's Taj's. I'm confused because I never got a good look at the completed fake, but surely Taj would have taken the fake to the hidey hole.

Later Taj tells JT about having the idol and he admits he's already seen it. Privately, JT shares that Taj promised him she'd let him use the idol if it appeared he was in jeopardy.


Joe and Erinn come back from exile. We don't see, but have to assume that Erinn got the instruction about defecting. As estranged as she seems to be from her tribe, I wonder if she considered it and why she didn't choose to do so.

The challenge is a puzzle challenge. The pieces are contained in three sacks on three target towers. The towers are hollow and filled with sand. There's a hole in the tower covered by a flat ceramic plate. One team member (who may be changed) shoots at the plate with a slingshot. When broken the sand is releases and flows out, lifting a cover off the next plate on the next tower and releasing a bag with puzzle pieces to swing down and be retrieved by the shooter. After all three bags are retrieved, two tribe members will use them to complete the puzzle.

Jalapao chooses JT as initial shooter and Stephen and Joe as solvers. Timbira sits out Debbie, and chooses Tyson as first shooter and Brendan and Erinn as solvers.

The shooting portion of the competition proceeds evenly though the first two broken plates. However, when JT breaks the second plate it just barely breaks on one corner, and while the puzzle pieces swing down, the sand doesn't all drain out leaving his third plate only barely revealed - a small target. Tyson, with a completely revealed third plate, quickly breaks it and turns his puzzle pieces over to Brendan and Erinn, giving them a big lead.

Joe offers to take over slingshotting, but JT waves him off. Tyson , running past with Timbira's last puzzle bag offers to come over and do it for them. (har)

The pieces are six coiled snakes in different shapes. Instead of a constant set of holes to fit them into, the 'holes' are formed by rotating twelve 'corner pieces' in a four by three grid into any of four orientations, and fitting the snake-pieces between four of them. They have two in place before JT finally delivers Jalapao's bag to Stephen and Joe. Jalapao can't overcome the big lead and Timbira wins.

Back at a gloomy Jalapao camp, Joe tells his mates Erinn got the clue and wouldn't share it. But soon he says he'll go get some 'water' and takes off like a shot for the tree mail area, to Taj's stifled amusement. He finds the fake. And share's he can use it to protect Sydney if need be.

Back at camp, Joe tries to convince JT and Stephen to vote for Taj. They talk about being down 6-4 for the assumed next-week merge, and how they'll need some help from someone on the Timbira side and Taj seems to have made some connections there. Joe is worried.


Peachy questions the tribe, throwing hypothetical "If you merge soon" scenarios to everyone, generating considerable paranoia and each tribe member tries to stress why they'd be the best positioned to help their mates in such scenarios, like a bunch of lawyers arguing different conclusions from the same set of facts.

Time to vote:

Joe votes for Taj, saying something in unintelligible Texan.

Sydney votes.

Taj votes for Sydney, saying nothing.

Stephen votes.

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. Neither does Joe (or Sydney) play Joe's fake.

First vote is for Sydney.

Second vote is for Taj. 1-1

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

Fourth vote is for Sydney and it's tied, 2-2.

Fifth vote is for Sydney, and that's it, "the most beautiful Survivor ever" is history. Sydney gives a weak smile and a wave after her torch is snuffed. Both Joe and JT place a (comforting?) hand on Taj's shoulder.


It's a merge, all right. Everyone for himself time. Let the scheming begin. Brendan wants to pick off the former Jalapaos one by one. [And how rarely that happens - as soon as the majority in a merge have what they think is a comfortable lead, the knives usually come out for the teammates they'd rather do without.] JT shares "We're sitting ducks."


Over the closing credits, Sydney says "I'm pissed!" but she really doesn't sound like it, as she compliments her tribesmates, gushes over how awesome an experience it was, and wishes everyone well as the season of the nice-guys continues.

We see that JT and Stephen voted for Sydney, and Joe for Taj. I'm left wondering why Taj didn't play her idol - was she that confident? Also why Sydney didn't play Joe's. Did Joe have second thoughts about sharing? Did he mistakenly think Sydney was not in trouble? Did he realize the idol was fake?

Status at End:

Timbira tribe (6) - has fire
Challenge wins: Combined (1) Reward (1) 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 (4) - 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. Taj has revealed her idol to JT as well. Joe has a fake immunity idol (made by Taj) that he thinks is real.

James "JT" Thomas, Jr_______24..Samson AL
Joe Dowdle_(1)____________26..Austin TX
Stephen Fishbach____________29..New York City NY
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George_(3)_37..Nashville TN

x-Sydney Wheeler 24..Raleigh NC, voted out week 6
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 Thursday!

= Cecil =

Special announcement: TV Fodder network bloggers will begin a new policy of posting the week's episode in advance with as much preview information as we have. This will allow readers to post comments as soon as an episode airs, or even while an episode airs and the desire is fresh. We will then fill in the review as soon as it can be completed. In my case, I will be out of town next week, so the Week 7 ep will be posted on Sunday, and filled in when I return, but I invite loyal readers to post their own reviews/recaps in the comments section until I can get back.

Posted by Cecil on April 2, 2009 1:05 PM
Permalink |

LOL on the BBQ! Yes, we "Yankees" use the terms "Bar-B-Cue" and "Cookout" interchangeably.

As for JT finding the Idol, Taj stashed it in the bag quickly instead of taking the time to find a good hiding place. It was indeed the real one. JT lets Stephen know he found it, and then Taj spills the beans once she realizes she was caught. Taj does indeed promise on camera that any of the three of them can use the Idol if they are in danger.

I still don't understand why JT didn't go back and try to rebreak the other clay tablets so more sand would come out, and he would have more of a target to aim at with the next one.

Joe is the worst liar ever! That "I need to get water" and then runs right to the treemail routine was horrible! Taj was right to laugh at him, I can't wait until he plays the fake idol. Do these people not watch the show? How many seasons has someone made a fake idol? The real one comes with instructions...

Stephen put a comforting hand on Taj, I don't think JT was sitting near enough to her.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I am a little weirded out how the tribes are dressed alike...Timbira (with the black head buffs) is all in blacks, grays, blues, and purples. Jalapao (in red buffs) are all in orange and red. After they merge will they all get new, green, clothes?

1. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 4, 2009 10:36 AM

Good point about the color schemes. My understanding is that the producers pre-selected who would be in which tribes, and advised them on what colors to wear.

If they keep the same clothes post-merge, there will be pointed visual reminders of who came from where, which may or may not complicate forming new alliances.

I wondered the same thing about why JT didn't go back and try to rebreak the second or even first tile and get the third one uncovered more. Ego, perhaps? (I can do this.)

And why didn't Joe give Sydney the fake idol if he thought it was real? Did somebody fool him about the way the vote was going and he thought it wasn't needed? Or was he persuaded that they needed Taj and decided to let her 'win' but still cast his vote out of loyalty to/sympathy for Sydney?

2. Posted by: Cecil at April 6, 2009 1:34 AM

Well we are lead to believe from JT's confession that he was still on the fence about the vote, it's possible he never let Joe know which way he was voting. Or he could have let Joe know the idol was fake, and Joe voted for Taj as revenge for her voting him over Sandy.

3. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 6, 2009 6:05 PM

I thought Stephen laying his hand on Taj's shoulder was a bit of a mistake on his part. It struck me as until now no one knew he had anything going with her. JT was let in but not on the whole scheme of the alliance with folks from the other tribe. If anyone there noticed Stephen's gesture they probably get the feeling he's had something in the works with Taj for longer than he's let on.

4. Posted by: Crispy Seaplanes at April 8, 2009 10:27 AM

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