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Survivor Fodder

Survivor Tocantins Week 9 - Outfoxed by an Idiot

Survivor Tocantins Week 9 - "Outfoxed by an Idiot"

I'm not coming down until somebody squashes that tarantula.


We see the Coach-Tyson alliance pull in all the former Jalapao and blindside Brendan. And we see Sierra realizing she's up Sierra Hotel India Tango Creek.

Night 24

A glum Sierra acknowledges she's next, and sums it up "Tonight sucked." She tries to engage Coach in a little conversation, humbly but snippily (a difficult parlay) telling Erinn to bug off. Of course as usual, she gets more of a lecture from Coach. He tells her 'every decision you made was bad,' 'you chose the wrong person to go against, the one person who never lies,' 'you pitted yourself against me and you deserve to go next.' [Pleasant dreams.]

[The credits roll. The credits are now including the jury members, so they won't grow any shorter, just move people from one side to the other as they're voted off. There's a shot in the credits of Debbie making an Ozzie-class dive into the water, so I'm thinking somewhere up the line there's going to be a swimming challenge and Debbie's going to do well. Plus as long as there's no swimming challenge, I'm pretty sure Debbie's not going home that week.]

Forza - Day 25

Coach is wading further out into the water - knee deep - for his morning exercises. This is becoming the standard opening to the show. If he lasts long enough, will we see him doing Chong Ran underwater? While
wrestling crocodiles?

Meditation finished, he shares a little crowing, saying he's beaten an opponent that was younger, faster and - maybe - stronger than himself. He throws that "maybe" in there because, he says, he can bench press three hundred pounds. Guess that doesn't translate into holding weighted bars on his neck, since the tribe elected to make him weight-hanger instead of weight-holder in that challenge a few weeks ago. "Victory is mine," he concludes. If past edits mean anything he's going home this week.

JT shares that he and Stephen are in a good position, better than he could have imagined a few weeks ago.

Sierra shares: 'I was on top of the world yesterday, now I'm at the bottom of the heap." If she'd put "I thought" in front of that sentence it would be accurate.

Tyson shares a scoff, saying Sierra's not that cool and he supposes her parents love her but doubts if her boyfriend is that cool, either. He tells her directly that she's the next to go and there's nothing she can do about it.


The Survivors will be divided into two team of four. Two at a time will race down a track and untie and bring back one of four big plywood boards with seven holes in it. The boards have two legs at top and bottom with a pattern cut across the middle so that they will fit on only one of four bases near the start. But even on the right base, there's four ways to place it, with either end up and either side to left-right. So that's 4 x 4 x 4 x 4 ways to set up the boards, a total of 256 combinations. When placed in the correct configuration, the holes in the boards will line up allowing the teams to peek though them at a grid of vowels. They'll take blocks with these and combine them with seven blocks with consonants, plus two punctuation marks to create a four-word winning phrase.

Winners gets a trip to a village to participate in a feast and a dance, and the right to send one loser to Exile Island.

The teams, chosen by lot, are:

Red - JT, Erinn, Debbie, Tyson
Black - Coach, Stephen, Sierra, Taj

I'm sure it's killing Coach that he's stuck on a team with no warriors - one city clicker and two girls.

GO! - and JT sprints out to a lead with teammate Erinn trailing, while Coach and Stephen set off at pretty much a fast walk. Red gets the first board back.

Taj and Sierra manage to take the lead back from Debbie and Tyson in the second round, Taj sticking her head though one of the larger holes to carry the board on her shoulders. Jeff cautions her that this tactic could be dangerous.

The red team leads at the end of the next two rounds and begins turning boards over and around seeking a configuration where all the holes line up.

The red team quickly sorts out their board puzzle and determines the vowels are A, A, E, E, O, O, and U

The consonants are F, N, S, T, V, W, and Y

The punctuations are a period and an apostrophe.

If you didn't see the show, I'll wait while you work it out.

Hum tee tum.

Got it? Right "YOU'VE WON A FEAST"

Red won it almost that fast, once principal Debbie guessed that one of the words was "feast". Black was still fiddling with their boards, never even getting a chance to solve the puzzle.

JT shares that with Brendan leaving with his idol last week, it's possible there's a new one on Exile Island, and he wants Stephen to get it. So at his suggestion his teammates go along and send Stephen once more to Exile Island.

Jeff snarks to Coach about how with all his experience comes to naught again, with Coach missing another reward. Coach, who can't let anyone have the last word on anything, comes back that his Amazon experience didn't include setting up boards. Breaking tiles throwing steel balls underhanded, yes, but no board setting-up. When do we have the "getting captured and tied up and almost eaten and paddling until your hands bleed" competition?


The tribe digs in to a feast in a 'native village'. The villagers see a bunch of dirty smelly pigs chowing down. The survivors try to explain as how they're starving. Debbie, her schoolteacherly-motherly genes stimulated into overtime by the kids in the village, spends a lot of time with them, thoroughly enjoying herself. [By the way, I've got to say that grandmother or no, Debbie is looking go-o-o-o-d. Some survivors get scruffy, others seem to shine in the circumstances, and Debbie is one of these. I think Survivor agrees with her.]

After the bingeing, the survivors are treated to a demonstration of a dance that's also a martial art - lots of arm swinging and leg sweeps, but with no contact. They're encouraged to get up and join in.

Erinn shares this was a little much, and she ate too much after being deprived so long, and eventually returns a little of her feast to the soil from which it came with a little discreet purging over to one side.


Stephen has been thinking along the lines of there being a new idol in the game, too, and eagerly pulls out his clue, saying if there's another one he'll have two in his pocket. This is news to me, as I thought Taj got it back when she was making the fake that Joe eventually found. I guess she gave it back to him to 'hold' and I wonder just what kind of rights Stephen actually has in the idol. Whatever they are, it's all that he'll have, as the clue turns out to be 'number 7 in a series' and points right back to the place that Stephen knows full well was relieved of the idol long ago.

So Stephen gets to practice his primal screams and scaring the birds for a couple of days. I guess we can assume he's an old hand at fire now, but we don't see him make it.

Forza Day 26

Sierra works on Coach as he cooks. Coach tells her a real warrior accepts defeat when it's inevitable, even falling on his sword, accepting "death before dishonor." [Isn't that a Marine motto?]

Coach later shares that his heart goes out to Sierra, his coachly impulses are to help those who need it. But...

Sierra shares that she knows she needs to win immunity to stay alive.


Steven returns to the group, who are shivering in a cold rain. Stephen tells them "I missed you guys. I missed your body warmth."

The challenge is "Survivor shuffleboard". The board is a map of the Tocantins region. It's a relief map. That is, the ridges and buttes are raised obstacles. Each survivor will have three pucks, which they'll shove one at a time in an order determined by lot. The one at the end of round three with a puck closest to he "X" in the center of the board wins immunity.

But there's a twist. Each Survivor is given a rock, to hold or not hold out in a closed fist. Anyone with a rock in their hand is opting out of the challenge, and can eat pizza for as long as the challenge lasts.

Hands out, reveal - the opt-outers are Stephen, JT, and Coach.

Tyson - off to the side, wonders why he can't sit out and eat pizza, but instead is expected (he says) to compete and keep Sierra from winning.

The 5 competitors are assigned to shoot in order.

Round 1:

Sierra - shoots short
Debbie - short also
Taj - long
Erinn - almost as long
Tyson - puts out a block

Round 2

Debra - shoots the closest yet
Taj - bumps Tyson's round 1 blocker away
Erinn - shoots even closer than Debbie
Tyson - inserts another blocker
Sierra - hits Tyson's blocker and puts it even closer to the "X"

Round 3

Taj - shivering, shoots short. I should probably mention that the 'court' is not covered in any way, and water is pooled up on the surface, making the shooting even chancier.
Erinn - knocks Sierra's second round shot away
Tyson - leave a shot the closest yet to the "X", and close to his second shot - but both are behind the "X", which a veteran shuffle boarder would know how to use - shoot against them, knocking them away and leaving your puck closest.
Sierra - does just that and has the lead with one shooter to go
Debbie - does the same to Sierra's last shot, leaving her own puck the closest and WINS!

Jeff orders the eaters to stop, Stephen looks longingly at his unfinished piece.

Sierra shares that she now has to pray for a miracle.

Forza Day 27

Tyson kids Debra "If I'd known you were going to win, I could have had a slice."

Tyson shares "I hope Sierra cries a lot." To look at her, she's been doing a lot already - her eyes have been puffy the whole show.

Stephen starts thinking immediately, and tries to convince JT this may be their one chance to take out challenge-monster Tyson. He runs this idea by Taj and Erinn, as well, and Erinn seems receptive.

[Shots of a tarantula climbing a tree.]

JT and Stephen talk over the idea out of earshot of everyone else.

JT shares privately, that, if they do it, they won't bring Sierra in to the plot, since they have enough votes without her.

Coach and JT talk, with Coach telling JT he wants to go to the final 5 with a "warrior alliance". In addition to himself, JT, and Tyson, I'm wondering who the other two warriors are? JT says "You have my word," and shakes hands with Coach.

JT shares privately, "It will really crush Coach if I do this. I don't know what I'm going to do."


A cleaned up Brendan is introduced as the first jury member. He's kept the beard, so far.

In response to Peachy's leading questions we hear:

Sierra: Yes, I was bummed last Tribal Council, and I'm probably gone tonight.

Tyson: I'm pretty comfortable, even without the immunity necklace, and If I can't have it I'm glad it went to somebody I love. Of course, Debbie's not the only one I love. I love Debbie, Coach, Stephen, Taj, Erinn, JT... and Brendan. [Shameless lobbying]

Sierra: Starts some rambling explanation of her reaction to this slight...
Jeff: I don't know what you're saying.
Tyson: Nobody does.
Sierra: [Snarky words]

Tyson I haven't made much of a close bond with Sierra. She gives me no courtesy, so why should I give her any?

Sierra: It's just the way the game works.

Coach: I've always walked the path of the warrior.
Jeff: But you voted out Brendan.
Coach: Because he pitted himself against me. I will be a ravenous wolf for anyone who wants to do that.

JT: I can take his (Coach's) word to the bank.

Coach: I saw honesty and trust in JT's eyes from the very beginning and I will trust him to the end.


Time to vote (but not for Debbie, resplendent in immunity feathers):

Tyson votes for Sierra.

Taj votes.

Coach votes for Sierra. "Sierra, last week, the dragon, this week, his bride. Good night, sweet princess." [Well, at least it's a promotion from bowel movement]

Debbie votes.

Erinn votes.

Stephen votes.

Sierra votes for Tyson. "You're a jerk."

JT votes.


Jeff comes back with the votes and says if anybody wants to play a hidden immunity idol, now would be the time. Nobody does.

First vote - Sierra . Sierra 1

Second vote - Tyson. Sierra 1 - Tyson 1

Third vote - Sierra. Sierra 2 - Tyson 1

Fourth vote - Sierra. Sierra 3 - Tyson 1

Fifth vote - Tyson. Sierra 3 - Tyson 2 Uh, oh, somebody's broken the pact

Sixth vote - Tyson. Sierra 3 - Tyson 3 Looking bad

Seventh vote - Tyson. Sierra 3 - Tyson 4 Looking very bad

Eighth vote - Tyson. Sierra 3 - Tyson 5

Buh-bye, flaky and occasionally creepy cyclist.

JT and Stephen exchange grins.

Tyson seems stunned, gets his torch snuffed and gives the tribe a little smile and a wave as he goes.

Sierra seems near tears - of relief, I'm sure, not sympathy.

Brendan makes a clapping motion from the jury box.


Debbie's telling coach "You and I are sitting ducks." Coach tells Debbie their only chance is an alliance of him, her, Erinn, and (drum roll) Sierra. We see them trying to bring this about. Sierra clearly holds the power here, and is using it to twist the Warrior's balls a little. Which way will she jump? With her old Timbira teammates who tried to oust her, or the former Jalapaos?


Over the closing credits, we hear Tyson: "Sneaky bastards. Now I know how Brendan feels." He says the only thing that bothers him is that Sierra will finish higher than him. "It's weird," he says, "being outfoxed by an idiot, but I'll get over it." They beat him, he says, and that's a huge accomplishment. I can't even call this a rant, his tone is self mocking and relaxed, no real venom evident.

For the record, voting for:

Tyson: JT, Erinn, Taj, Stephen, Sierra
Sierra: Tyson, Coach, Debbie

Status at End: as of week 9

Tribes merged - Forza (7)

Brendan's immunity idol went with him.
Taj has a hidden immunity idol, but apparently Stephen is still 'holding' it and seems to consider it his to use.
Taj has revealed her idol to Sierra, Stephen, JT
Joe's fake immunity idol - location unknown.

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__(7)___________23_Los Angeles CA
Stephen Fishbach__________29_New York City NY
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George_(3)_37_Nashville TN
(#) = cumulative votes against

x-Tyson Apostol 29 Lindon, UT, voted out week 9
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 =

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Posted by Cecil on April 23, 2009 4:09 PM
Permalink |

Thanks for the recap, Cecil. I missed the show last week. "Outfoxed by an idiot" indeed. Don't care for either of them, but I'm sorry to have missed the look on Tyson's face.

Stephen is playing a good game, but I find him less than interesting. Taj looks to be flying far under the radar, or did she just get left on the editing room floor this week?

Still rooting for JT.

1. Posted by: Clementine at April 27, 2009 8:16 PM

Everybody seems to love JT. (And it's easy to see why - he seems to be a genuine nice guy.) However, he lied to Coach last week and it remains to be seen how Coach, with all his proclamations of "integrity", takes this.

It'll be interesting to sse if Coach can swallow his overweening pride and rebuild a relationship with Sierra, the Bowel Movement nee Princes, to stay alive in the game. And if Erinn, the Cancer, wil go along with this, too.

The crucial point with JT will be when even the people who like him suddenly realize - hey, if I'm in the finals with this guy I lose. Can he get though that?

2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at April 28, 2009 10:24 AM

In the reward challenge, if the boards hadn't been limited to a single base, there would have been and additionas 4! (factorial) ways to set them up, for a total of 12,624 combinations, and they might be out there yet trying to finish the challenge.

3. Posted by: Cecil Rose at April 28, 2009 10:30 AM

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