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Survivor Fodder

Survivor Tocantins Week 8 - Blindsided

Survivor Tocantins Week 8 - "Blindsided!"

Debra-Beebee.JPGI knew I should'a brought a swimsuit.


We see the merge and the alliances sliding; Taj worrying that Brendan hasn't made contact; Joe's evacuation; and no Tribal Council. Again we hear Tyson say that Brendan was saved for three days by Joe's medical elimination.

Night 21

The tribe sits glumly around the campfire contemplating the Tribal Council that wasn't, and all the plotting and planning gone for naught. Coach breaks the mood by telling a campfire story - the story of one of his kayaking adventures on the Amazon, being held captive and beaten by an Indian tribe, escaping and paddling so hard to get away that his hands bled. The night vision eyes of the listeners add to the eeriness of the story.

Later, Debbie expresses her doubts about the story. Brendan shares that stories like that make Coach either the second coming of Jacques Cousteau or the 'biggest fraud in the world', and it's clear which Brendan thinks is the case.

Day 22

Dawn over the Rio Novo brings us Coach doing his yoga thing at the water's edge and the tribe watching from up the bank and commenting drolly. After Coach rejoins the tribe around the fire, Brendan asks about his exercises and Coach says they're Chong Ron, taught in ancient Himalayan temples and passed on only orally by the monks. Sierra disrespects Coach's yoga, muttering in his hearing that he 'looked ridiculous'. Coach says he doesn't care what anybody else thinks. Of course he does his exercises in full view of the tribe.

Later Coach shares his philosophy that to defeat an enemy you have to first cut off the dragon's head, which is Brendan, his immediate target. Indulging his penchant for metaphor, he likens disrespectful Sierra to something pushed out of the dragon's bowels. Of course other people's opinion of his yoga are of no concern to him. Right.

Erinn takes JT a-fishin' (which everybody seems to have noticed is the way to JT's heart) and cautiously feels him out on his alliances (not a euphemism.) She tells him she hasn't made any alliances and feels more comfortable with his tribe than her own.

Erinn shares privately that she's suddenly got lots of options after the merge.

JT also shares that he's feeling better, despite former Jalapaos being outnumbered six to three.


The survivors will be divided by lot into three teams, the red, white, and black teams. Each team has eight tiles about a foot square set in horizontal frames at various distances from a throwing line. Team members will take turns in groups of three (one from each tribe) throwing metal balls and trying to break the opponents' tiles. Last tribe with tiles left wins the reward, a white water raft trip down the Rio Novo, with a picnic lunch that includes chicken, brownies and sandwiches personally made by Benry. [Oops, wrong show.]

Black team: Debbie, Brendan, and JT.
Red Team: Tyson, Taj, and Coach.
White team: Stephen, Sierra, and Erinn.

Round 1: Coach and Stephen both line up to throw at black tiles, drawing a cry of protest from JT. They both break a tile and Debbie breaks a red.

Round 2: Sierra breaks a red, Brendan breaks a white, but Tyson misses throwing at black.

The producers skip over the slow process of elimination to the latter rounds: black has two tiles left at the far end, red has one, and white has two,.

Next round: Stephen and Coach both shoot at black, Coach connecting, while Debbie misses at white.

Next: Erinn breaks a red, putting them out of the game, while JT and Taj both miss at whites.

Next: Stephen misses at putting black away, as Brendan breaks a white leaving each team with one left.

Next: Erinn misses at black, JT misses white.

Next: Stephen misses black. Brendan chips the white tile but not enough to drop it out of its frame and the game continues.

Next: Now Erinn chips the black tile, but again not enough to drop it from its frame. JT misses the white.

Next: Stephen misses black, Debbie misses white (those farthest frames are a hard throw.)

Next: Sierra misses the black, Brendan puts the white tile away and BLACK WINS! Brendan, JT, and Debra get the reward.

They also get the right to send one of the losers to a solitary exile, and they choose Stephen. As Stephen picks up his gear and a map from Jeff, Coach exhorts him to "Be the Wizard!"

Coach says he's pissed at losing, since he's been itching to get out on that river in some sort of water craft since he got here. Tyson shares privately that he's confident that JT and Sierra can resist any overtures from Brendan, so he's happy with the group that got to go.


Stephen gets a totally useless clue that's just short of "follow this string" in how explicitly it locates the hidden immunity idol, which is already gone, of course.

The highlight of exile for Stephen is getting to start a fire away from any kibitzers. He's the first solitary exile of the game. It take him a couple of hours to start it, which drives my old scout sensibility crazy since these people are given magnesium start sticks, not having to deal with the old fashioned flint and steel, but for city boy Stephen it's a moral victory - his first ever fire. Plus he's no fool and knows that fire-starting seems to be the preferred tie-breaker in Survivor these days.


After an exciting run down some fun-and-not-too-tough rapids JT shares how he's always wanted to do this and felt "just like a kid." Brendan shares what a blast it was watching JT have so much fun.

They come to a sand bar with the promised food and dig in. As they lounge around, Brendan shares privately that he really likes JT and wants to see him get to the finals, even though he realizes that in a JT-Brendan final two JT would win. And he's OK with that.

Brendan sounds JT out on the idea of going to the F-2 together and JT seems down with that.

Day 21

Brendan shares that he stayed up all night trying to figure out how to get JT to the finals and now he has a plan. He discusses it with Sierra. He wants to knock of Tyson, then Coach , then Erinn. Sierra likes the plan. Brendan says "I know how to do it."

Now Brendan belatedly seeks out Taj for a discussion. He proposes bringing JT into the exiles alliance to 'save' him, who he says Coach is targeting. Taj says "I love him [JT] to death and don't want to lose him." Brendan agrees,


Stephen returns from exile as the survivors come to the immunity challenge site. Each will be individually clipped to a rope that is threaded though a series of three obstacles - wooden frames about three feet high. The rope goes over, under, and through the individual beams of these frames. To run the course they will have to do the same, leading the ring tied to their waists along the rope though he maze. First three to finish go on to a bigger maze, three frames high, and the winner of that one is immune.

At "go!" they're off, throwing themselves around on the frames. Tyson is very active, hopping over the horizontal members and quickly crawling under when needed. Each competitor has his or her own course, so there's no interference between them. Shorter survivors, such as Debbie, seem to have some disadvantage here. Taj and Stephen also struggle.

JT finishes first, Tyson second, and the remaining spot is a close race between Brendan and Sierra, which Brendan finally wins. The other competitors aren't close. Even Coach is far back, although it may be the brittleness of his older body that holds him back from throwing himself around the way the winners did.

On to the final round. The competitors can no longer throw themselves over the horizontals to fall to the ground the way they did on first set - it's too far, and the rope may not go all the way to the ground, having three levels to thread through - they have to clamber around jungle-gym style The camera focuses too closely to the contestants to get any clear idea who is leading, so we only have Jeff's call-outs to go by. JT takes an early lead but falters, and Brendan and Tyson swap the lead back and forth. In the end it's another win for TYSON!

Coach shares that it's an OK result - just so Brendan didn't win immunity. The plan, he says, is to hit Brendan with four votes and another three for Sierra, just in case Brendan plays his immunity idol - that way one or the other goes home.

1) It's nice to see someone planning to flush an idol early instead of waiting until it's too late.

2) It's excellent to see a backup plan in case the idol is played - when you wait too long, you lose this option

3) But notice the plan assumes seven of the nine available votes - can he really be confident of having this many? That means Erinn ("the cancer on the tribe") votes with him? I know we saw them making nicer last week, but can he count on her?

4) Notice that once again the tribe with the majority at the merge immediately begins internecine warfare instead of whittling down the minority tribe first. It's amazing how often this happens. Of course Joe's DQ last week gave them a six to three majority, but still...

Back to camp:

The tribe returns to camp - let the lobbying begin! Everyone congratulates Tyson on his second win in a row. Careful, Tyson, some of those pats on the back may be placing targets there. Stephen shares his pride in finally actually starting a fire, and gets a hug from Tyson.

Taj, JT, Debbie, Tyson, and Stephen talk in a group. Tyson assumes everyone is in with the plan, says they still plan a 4-3 vote, and assigns who votes for who.

Brendan says it's time for the "Exile Alliance" to come out of hibernation and, adding JT, vote out Coach.

JT and Stephen discuss Brendan's offer to JT. Stephen wonders why Brendan would want to take JT to the finals.

JT thinks he's in a position to be the deciding factor here, depending on which way he jumps.

Brendan says he's looking forward to Tribal Council. He says he ordinarily doesn't like to mislead people, but he's feels the situation demands it here.

Brendan, Tyson and Coach have a mumbled conversation around the campfire that I can't hear clearly. At first I thought they were talking about voting and was wondering who was fooling who, but I finally decided they were discussing serving dinner. v. confusing

[I've got to say that even though I don't have a real favorite in this horse race, I'm immensely looking forward to this Tribal Council, because somebody is getting shocked here - both sides think they're pulling something on the other and I have no idea who's winning.]


In response to Peachy's leading questions we hear:

Erinn: Tyson keeps the tribe laughing.

JT: Coach tells the best stories.

Taj: Coach told us about being captured by an Amazon tribe.

Coach: I didn't spice the story up. If anything I toned the story down. Those guys wanted to eat me. I've had four or five life or death moments in my adventures - a hurricane, the Indians, a shark attack, a croc attack. I feel confident tonight and no one questions my integrity.

Tyson: How everyone will feel after Tribal Council depends on which former tribe gets voted off.

Stephen: JT, as a bigger physical threat, has a bigger target on his back than me tonight.

Coach: Seventh level of heaven. [Wot?] Vikings [Huh?] I need to surround myself with warriors. [Well, he's consistent, at least.]

Brendan: It's natural to target the strongest, after the merge.

Tyson: I assume anyone who's been to exile could have the idol.

Taj: Not me!

Erinn: Nuh unh!

Stephen: No!

Brendan: I have it.

All: xu!odjnf&^&(^!


Time to vote (but not for Tyson who has the individual immunity and is keeping it):

JT votes.

Debbie votes.

Coach votes for Brendan. "I said to defeat the opponent, you have to cut the head off the dragon. You my friend are the dragon. I am the dragon-slayer."

Sierra votes.

Tyson votes.

Taj votes.

Brendan votes for Coach.

Erinn votes.

Stephen votes, saying "This is my wizard lightning shooting you back home. Kapow!" [but we don't see for whom.]

Jeff come back with the votes and says if anybody wants to play a hidden immunity idol, now would be the time.

All eyes turn to Brendan.

Brendan takes a slug of water.

[*crickets chirp*]

First vote - Coach. Coach 1

Second vote - Coach. Coach 2

Third vote - Brendan. Coach 2, Brendan 1

Fourth vote - Brendan. Coach 2, Brendan 2

Fifth vote - Brendan. Coach 2, Brendan 3 - vague feeling of unease on Brendan's face.

Sixth vote - Sierra. Coach 2, Brendan 3, Sierra 1 - "Oh crap!," say all the Coach haters.

Seventh vote - Sierra. Coach 2, Brendan 3, Sierra 2

Eighth vote - Sierra. Coach 2, Brendan 3, Sierra 3

Ninth vote - Brendan. Coach 2, Brendan 4, Sierra 3

And our Bear Naked entrepreneur goes home.

Brendan takes it with a sigh and ambles off.

Sierra has a glum look. And should.


Sierra tells Tyson she just want to explain herself, to show she was no mastermind. Tyson rather callously tells her nobody thinks that - she's not smart enough to be a mastermind. [Hey, you've won for the moment, have a heart, guy.] We see a tearful Sierra talking to Coach. Coach tells her she's made her bed... Later he shares that it kills him to see this kid asking him to throw her a bone.


Over the credits, Brendan says he knew he was a target after the merge, but didn't expect it this soon. He has his idol in his pocket [could he have handed it to Sierra? They never tell us all the rules.] He says the idol wouldn't do her any good anyway. Still no rants at the goodbyes.

For the record, votes for:

Coach - Brendan and Sierra
Brendan - Debbie, Coach, Taj, Stephen
Sierra - JT, Tyson, Erinn

Status at End: as of week 8

Tribes merged - Forza (8)

Brendan's immunity idol went with him.
Taj has a hidden immunity idol.
Taj has revealed her idol to Sierra, Stephen, JT
Joe's fake immunity idol - location unknown.
Everybody left except Sierra was allied this week.

Benjamin "Coach" Wade_(2)_37_Bolivar MO
Debra "Debbie" Beebe_____46_Auburn AL
Erinn Lobdell_(1)_________26_Waukesha WI
James "JT" Thomas, Jr____24_Samson AL
Sierra Reed__(4)_________23_Los Angeles CA
Stephen Fishbach________29_New York City NY
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George_(3)_37_Nashville TN
Tyson Apostol___________29_Lindon UT
(#) = cumulative votes against

x-Brendan Synnott 30 New York City NY, voted out week 8
x-Joe Dowdle 26 Austin TX, left for medical reasons week 7
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-Jerry Sims_49_Rock Hill SC voted out week 3
x-Candace Smith_31_Dayton OH voted out week 2
x-Carolina Eastwood 26..West Hollywood CA voted out week 1

See you next Thursday!

= Cecil =

Still having trouble telling the survivors apart? Check out the Survivor Bios page - updated weekly with the latest observations. Add your own opinions of the players in the comments area. Just click the highlighted name below:


Posted by Cecil on April 16, 2009 6:45 PM
Permalink |

Hey! I forgot there would be a preview post. My guess for the three unlikely survivors sharing a reward:


But here's a sure bet:
Coach will be assinine and self-centered, and Tyson will be half-naked and snarky. Ack.

Bring it on!

1. Posted by: Clementine at April 16, 2009 7:48 PM

Oh, Brendan :(

2. Posted by: Clementine at April 16, 2009 8:58 PM

Well, half right, anyway, No naked Tyson.

Have to admit Coach delivered when it counted.

3. Posted by: Cecil at April 17, 2009 2:37 AM

Ha! you forgot one of the best Coachisms (I know, so many this episode) when Brandon says it's throwing a metal ball underhand at a tile, none of us have done this before and Coach raises his hand and says "I have"! This guy is so ridiculous.

I am very sad to see Brandon go. I can only hope Tyson and Coach aren't far behind. Stephen and JT are definitely the guys running this game at this point, and I am not sorry to see that in the least!

4. Posted by: FenwayBen at April 19, 2009 11:48 AM

Really? I kinda thought Coach and Tyson (as evidenced by the vote) were TPTB in this game - which doesn't necessarily mean they can't be knocked off.

Let's not forget that Taj has an idol in her hands. I hope she finds a strategic way to play it.

Tyson will probably turn into an Ozzie-level challenge monster - at least on the athletic type challenges.

I don't think Coach is likely to win one, so he might be an earlier exit.

And I wish they'd make all the rules explicit somewhere - for challenges and the game in general. Could Brandon have tossed the idol to somene as he left?

On one of the all-stars seasons they said there were only two rules - no violence and no conspiring to share a prize - but I don't really believe it. It's apparent that "no stealing an idol" is also in there, and I wonder what else?

5. Posted by: Cecil Rose at April 20, 2009 9:58 AM

Another thing I forgot to mention was that Brendan became the first Jury member, meaning we're heading for a six (F-3) or seven (F-2) member jury.

6. Posted by: Cecil Rose at April 20, 2009 2:30 PM

Finally got around to watching it this week.
Man JT is a slippery one. He tells whoever he's with that he'll go along with them. I think that will bite him at some point as he can't maintain an allegiance to everyone.
I guess he sort of picked a side this week in going along with Coach and Tyson's plan to vote out Brendan. With Brendan on the jury now I gotta think Brendan will feel a little burned by how he tried to help JT and got no love in return.
That's one thing about Coach: he's ridiculous and his stories are unbelievable. I was ROTFLMAO when he was telling his Amazon abduction story...but he does seem to have been truthful so far when telling people he has an alliance with them.

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Howell skimmed through it, and it seemed straightforward enough. The property had transferred from Donal O’Coineen to Eric Sutherland, and O’Coineen had signed it. Or had he? Howell thought for a moment. “Would you have a record of old business licenses?” he asked. In addition to being a farmer, O’Coineen had been a well digger, Enda McCauliffe had said.“This is all completely crazy,” Bo said, keeping his hand on her neck, hold her head still. “Nobody will believe any of this, and there isn’t enough money. Houses and things cost a lot more in California than they cost here. The money would be gone in no time, it just isn’t all that much.”“I’m glad we could help you, John. Now, I want to say some things to you.”

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