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Survivor Tocantins Week 11 - I Think Somebody Will Be Surprised

Survivor Tocantins Week 11 - "I Think Somebody Will Be Surprised"


Tattoo Translation: "This schmuck thinks I'm tattooing a wise ancient Chinese saying on his arm."


We know for sure tonight is the always-reliable-tearjerker 'news from home' episode. Tears and then some. The snippets I get from the paper say a survivor is forced to choose between personal comfort and the good of the tribe. Sounds like the "you can open your letter/email/video or let the rest of the tribe open theirs" choice.

Another says the immunity challenge is tricky and a combination of brains and brawn. Who should have a leg up in that?

Six survivors left - imagine yourself in the position of each - what would each person's optimum strategy be from here on out? Remember they don't know if it'll be F-2 or F-3.

My guesses:

Coach - Take a deep breath. Talk to Erinn. Be apologetic. Convince her rationally she's fourth among the other three, try to get her to side with you and Debbie, thus making her F-3 in your group. Then try to maneuver the vote to win the tie-breaker - likely fire building - and your group votes for Taj as the least likely fire builder. Then you can knock off the other two. Problem - not knowing Taj has the idol.

Debbie - same as Coach, but still try to make Coach the one the other group votes for. However, if Erinn asks you to do the below, jump at it.

Erinn - The most complicated. Staying with the alliance tends to get you voted out at F-4. Possibility: recruit Debbie and Taj for a blind-side ladies' alliance, join Stephen and JT in voting for Coach. Then roll out the men in succeeding weeks. Another possibility - stay with the alliance and try like Hell to win immunity at F-4.

Taj - Stay with the alliance, but keep your ears open for need to use that idol.

Stephen - Maintain the alliance, alert for defections. If an unfortunate immunity win by the wrong person occurs in the next two tribal councils, decide on who to dump, maybe JT since he's tough competition at F-3 or F-2.

JT - Maintain the alliance, stay alert for blindsides.

So, on to the show and let's see if I'm close.


Somehow Peachy's narration manages to characterize last week's vote as "Coach got his way." "Uh, what?" to quite Hugo Reyes.

Forza - Night 30

Coach congratulates everyone on surviving to the F-6. Then in a conversation with Debbie, he manages to work himself up into a dudgeon over Taj and Erinn not voting with the group against Sierra. And, in his Coachy way, he casts them as villains and begins calling them names, Debbie, who seems to be attuned a bit more into just what's going on, tries to calm him down.

No Survivor titles tonight. Trouble cramming everything into this episode?.

Forza - Day 31

JT starts the fire again. If there's a tie-breaker in the works, who's got a leg up?

Debbie interviews that she's ready to shout "Geronimo" and bail out of the Coach bomber. She immediately starts to sound JT out on the subject. JT is impressed with her strategizing but immediately starts to worry that such a self-awareness represents a threat and goes to talk it over with Stephen. Debbie sees them and interrupts "Talking about me?" and says she's bailing. Stephen later interviews that Debbie's making him nervous, too.


It's the Survivor Auction! Five hundred smackers per player, no pooling money or sharing food. Raises in $20 increments.

First item - a big bowl of French fries.

Taj bids $40
Debbie bids $50, then $70, apparently too French fry deprived to do math in her head right now. Jeff accepts a bid of $60
Coach - $80
JT - $100
Debbie - $120 and takes it

2) Chicken parmesan with garlic bread and a glass of red wine

Coach - $100
Stephen - $120
Coach - $200
JT - $300
Coach - $320, taking it and enjoying it thoroughly in the strands

3) (a covered item)

Stephen - $100
JT - $120
Stephen - $140
JT - $160, winning what turns out to be a big bowl of nachos with cheese and guacamole. JT comments it's not fillet mignon but he'll take it.

4) (another covered item)

Stephen bids $20
JT - $40
Stephen - $60
JT - $80
Stephen - $100 - JT comments he'll let it go for Stephen, and wishes Stephen some chocolate cake as he goes up to claim his prize, Jeff tells him it's a Brazilian delicacy (uh-oh, goes everybody). It turns out to be a bowl of chicken hearts. Stephen says he's delighted to have it. I would be, but Stephen's a city boy who's never had chicken hearts before. They're good and good for you - honest.

5) Jeff announces the fifth item is also the last. And it's not food. It's a Samsung Instinct, which is apparently a video phone that can also store videos and it's loaded with messages from the loved ones of each survivor. Only the winning bidder gets to see their message. And you can give money to another person on this one item.

JT immediately hands all his remaining money to Taj, and Debbie follows suit. So, according to Jeff, does everyone else, meaning the bidding is strictly pro forma. Taj is broken up already and just hands all her cash to Jeff. He points out that since she has all the money she only has to bid $20 and accepts that from her, returning the rest.

Erinn explains they all wanted Taj to get the phone since she's the only one with babies at home (and apparently Debbie is the only other person with children at all).

Taj cries. And cries. And cries some more as she watches husband Eddie and her kids greet her with words of love and encouragement. She's so broken up that she completely misses Eddie's last line "See you back at camp." Jeff has to point it out to her. The tear volume increases, and I'm getting a little misty-eyed, too.

Now Jeff tosses in the kicker - as it is Eddie, and only Eddie, will join her in camp. But if she chooses to go to exile, all the other Survivors will get visits from their loved ones as well. That would have been a cruel choice, except the final kicker is that Eddie will join her on Exile Island. Now it's an easy choice. She gets to give everyone else a visit, and at the same time have more privacy for her own.


The famous Eddie George (Heisman trophy winner at OSU, all-pro running back, remember?) walks out from behind a bush and gives Taj a big hug and kiss. Taj interviews "I just wanted to take him aside and do a conjugal visit." I think we can assume she got her wish. Eddie interviews that Taj seems happy and fit - and she's also dirty and smells filthy - and it's a turn on, this wildness. I like this guy.

Later, we hear Taj warning Eddie to look out for scorpions. Eddie gets a look on his face like scorpions, snakes, and other critters worry him more that blitzing linebackers. Eddie interviews he has a newfound respect for Taj, enduring thirty days out here. He gives her massages. Taj says she has no pains left.

When they finally have to part, they have a cute dialogue.

"I won't smell like this forever."

"I know. Don't let the bedbugs bite!"

"Too late!"


Back in camp, We see other tearful reunions. Debbie's visitor is her husband, Erinn's her dad, JT's his little sister Adriana, Stephen's his brother, and Coach's is --- his assistant coach. (Wonder if he knows Coach gave his position away to Tyson? Wonder if he's the head coach now, seeing as Coach was fired post-Survivor for not being honest about his reasons for needing time off - how's that for irony?)

Stephen tears up when discussing his feelings at the visit from his brother. Brother's a little tearful, too, and impressed at Stephen's survival skills.

Debbie's husband, too is amazed at her living in this place for thirty days.

JT tears up a bit too, but observes to his sister "It's a pretty river, isn't it." Adriana says she knows JT misses his family. And his cows. Heh. JT offers his sister some Jatoba root. She says it smells like stinky feet.

Erinn feeds her dad some Jatoba root, too, and seeing the look on his face tells him he doesn't have to finish it. Erinn interviews that it was great being able to just talk to someone without having to calculate the consequences.

Coach engages in some delusional talking. He says "They call me the dragon-slayer." Actually, I haven't heard anyone call him that but himself. Coach says he's "running this show." They engage in some back exercise, one with them linking arms back to back with the Assistant Coach lifting up on Coach's back. You can almost hear vertebrae pop. The AC swears "These aren't weird sexual positions, just back exercises." I like this guy, too.

As the visits draw to a close, JT shakes Debbie's husband's hand and tell him how evident Debbie's love for him is.

Forza - Day 32

Debbie's talking to JT. She's hot to plot Coach's downfall.

Coach and JT talk. Coach proposes Taj as the next vote out, but says they have to be careful of her immunity idol - so I guess he knows about it, complicating my scenarios above. JT seems to go along.

JT interviews that he's just telling Coach what he wants to hear.

Debbie, Stephen, Erinn, and JT are talking. Debbie want to vote out Coach, while letting him think Taj is the night's target.

Debbie, Stephen, and JT talk, and Debbie proposes that Erinn should be the next target after Coach. She tells them that she'd be happy to finish third and if the three of them were the final three and she had immunity, she'd let one of them have the immunity idol.

Stephen shares that Debbie's is a heady offer, but hard to believe because nobody would be content with third.

Stephen and JT share word of Debbie's offer with Erinn. JT is suspicious as well. Methinks Debbie is laying it on too thick. Erinn says "She goes" but it's unclear to me if she means "Next" or "Next after Coach".


Taj comes back from what was probably the best Exile Island ever. Coach gives back the immunity necklace.

The challenge is an obstacle course and a memory test. Survivors must tunnel under a log, walk a balance beam, then crawl under a rope net to reach a long rotating cylinder with ten math symbols (+ - x ÷) on raised paddles spaced along the cylinder so that only part of them are visible at a time, memorize as many as possible, race back though the course and insert them on a chalk-board where numbers are already present. Then, using these symbols, solve an equation. I think they really mean evaluate an expression, although it would be hilarious if they really did have to solve an equation. I'd love to see them all trying to remember high school algebra, especially principal Debbie, who has trouble with $20 increments. I'd have laughed my ass off if some of the symbols had been, like (∑ ∫ ≠ ± ≤ ≥ ≈ ⌐ ∩ ≡).


The survivors race out and begin hand digging in the sand to get under the log. You'd think the skinny ones would have an advantage here, but the first to try his tunnel is JT, he of the beer belly that's excited some comment on-line. (What, is he sneaking out at night to eat termites? How come everyone's getting thin except him?) JT tries going under face up, and gets stuck when he discovers that legs don't bend backwards very well. He has to dig more while stuck in the hole, but still gets though first. Taj tries to go though the same way and gets stuck the same way.

Eventually, Debbie gets through, then Coach (just as JT is returning from his first trip), then Taj, then Stephen, then Erinn (by which time JT has lapped her.) Stephen has trouble on the balance beam, repeatedly falling off and restarting. JT is back from his second trip when Stephen finally gets to the memory cylinder and takes a long time studying it. JT is already filling in symbols when Stephen starts back.

JT is trying to solve his expression. Stephen gets back and starts writing down symbols - he's gotten ten in his one and only trip but did he get them right? And can he evaluate them properly? JT and Stephen race, and Stephen says he's finished. Jeff checks and Stephen has the right answer and WINS IMMUNITY!

Congratulations from all around. The dragon-slayer is panting on hands and knees.

Jeff asks how he could memorize 10 symbols correctly in one trip? Stephen explains he assigned a number 1-4 to each symbol, +=1, etc, and then memorized two five digit numbers. Good man.

JT interviews that, when he sees the immunity necklace on Stephen's shoulder, it's just like he, JT was wearing it.

Forza - Still Day 32

Stephen interviews that after the merge, they expected to get picked off one by one, but now here they are in a dominant position, and he's proud of that,

JT and Stephen share about Debbie's machinations with Taj, and seem to say she's next.

JT interviews that the down side of booting Debbie would be having to spend three more days with Coach. Heh. It's hard to deal with Coach and his dogmatic ways, he says.

JT and Stephen hike out to get water, and pat themselves on the back. JT says "we ain't got a thing to worry about." Stephen says "Right now we've been playing an awesome game. No one wants to vote us out." "And I don't know why." JT adds. All this self-congratulation makes me nervous not so much that they said it but that Survivor showed it - the production staff thrives on irony.


The jury enters - Brendan still has his beard, Sierra looks happy and is wearing some sort of head scarf.

Jeff deals out leading questions and we hear:

Coach: Not everyone would agree with me about who's played the best game, but I recognize Stephen, who came here a boy who read books about adventure and now is a man who lives adventure. (Always good to suck up to the immune guy.) Debbie played with integrity, like me. I trust her implicitly.

Taj: Coach has played a great game. He's a warrior. [Shamelessly plugging for a jury vote here, I'd say.] A dragon slayer - that's what he calls himself.

Coach: Someone else hung that title on me.

Jeff: [Zinging a good one] "Let me guess - a chief in a small village..." [Sierra cracks up in the jury box.]

Coach: Taj has made the ultimate sacrifice. [I think he means being away from her family, but Jeff seems to think he means allowing the other Survivors to see their families and going to exile, but personally, I don't think that was much of a sacrifice at all.]

JT: [about Coach] He put his integrity on the line.

Debbie: Coach's "honesty" may be his Achilles' heel. [My quotes, not hers. They just belong there. And before you can have an Achilles' Heel, you have to be an Achilles.]

Erinn: There may be some surprises tonight.

Debbie: We're gonna have to make hard choices. I think somebody will be surprised.

Stephen: I'll keep the immunity necklace.

Jeff: Let's vote.


Time to vote (but not for Stephen, immersed in immunity):

Coach votes for Taj: "You're a beautiful soul. Lots of luck."

Erinn votes.

Taj votes.

Stephen votes.

Debbie votes for Coach: "Sorry, Coach. The game is changing. You wanted to play with honesty and integrity, and it's time to go. Hope you'll forgive me."


Jeff comes back with the votes and says if anybody wants to play a hidden immunity idol, now would be the time. Taj sits on her hands.

First vote - Taj. Taj - 1

Second vote - Coach. Taj 1 - Coach 1

Third vote - Debbie. Taj 1 - Coach 1 - Debbie 1

Fourth vote - Debbie. Taj 1 - Coach 1 - Debbie 2

Fifth vote - Debbie. Taj 1 - Coach 1 - Debbie 3

Debbie's out, we only have one Cotton Stater left in the game, and the Ladies Alliance idea dies without being considered.

As Debbie leaves, she glances over her shoulder and blow a kiss at the group.


Erinn has apparently planted her foot on her mouth. We hear Stephen saying "She'll say anything" and it was "tasteless". Jeff's voice tells us "Erinn loses ground with her new allies." Erinn appears to be trying to apologize to Taj. Coach make an odd looking cane. Jeff tells us "Coach digs deep to stay in the game."


Over the closing credits, Debbie says she's a real girly-girl and amazed herself eating live fish and sleeping in the cold for thirty days. "I'm proud of myself. It must have been real hard for them to send me home tonight. Congratulations to all." Still the season of the nice guys.

For the record, voting for:

Debbie (4): Stephen, Erinn, Taj, JT

Coach (1): Debbie

Taj (1): Coach

Once again, the vote shows how out of touch Coach is with the tribe, What do you want to bet that by the time they get back to camp, it'll be a triumph for Coach - in his mind at least?

Status at End: as of week 11

Forza (5)

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 Coach apparently knows, too, so everybody must.

Joe's fake immunity idol - location unknown.

Benjamin "Coach" Wade_(3)__37_Bolivar MO
Erinn Lobdell_(1)___________26_Waukesha WI
James "JT" Thomas, Jr______24_Samson AL
Stephen Fishbach_(1)______29_New York City NY
Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George_(4)_37_Nashville TN
(#) = cumulative votes against

x-Debra "Debbie" Beebe 46 Auburn, AL, voted out week 11
x-Sierra Reed 23 Los Angeles, CA, voted out week 10
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 =

BTW, if they were going for an F-3, it was possible, with a two hour finale as is usual, that they could have the finale Sunday night. I checked my cable guide however and the finale is not on Sunday's schedule, so I presume we're headed for an F-2 next week. What's everybody's optimum strategy now?

Still having trouble telling the survivors apart? Forgotten who Carolina even was? 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 May 7, 2009 5:28 PM
Permalink |

right on ...

1. Posted by: Comment man at May 8, 2009 6:48 PM

Watched this on my plane ride home--not on a crispy plan mind you--and was so prepared to cheer out loud if Coach actually got the boot. Was very disappointed. Can't stand him any more. Is his assistant coach really the only person in the world that gives a damn enough about him to come visit. Then Coach tells him that everyone calls him the Dragonslayer? No one calls him that except Coach himself!
He is ludicrous and entertaining to a point but at this point I've had enough and look forward to his departure.

Too bad JT and Stephen couldn't be co-winners. Neither of them could have done it without the other. Neither was really taking playing the game seriously until their friendship/alliance took off.

2. Posted by: Crispy Seaplanes at May 11, 2009 11:44 AM

Just like Stephen and JT did, remember they came in to the merge down 5-3. And old Timbira just handed it to them on a platter, falling apart in internecine warfare before they'd finished stomping out their original adversaries first.

All players in seemingly hopeless positions should remember the lesson here - find the fringe members of the majority and show them how they could join you and live a while longer.

It's a possibility that repeats every week in the endgame.

Now see if Coach is smart enough go to Errin and Taj and show them how they can be guaranteed final three with him but at least one of them's going fourth if they stay with Stephen and JT. And maybe even fifth if S/JT are saving coach for a guaranteed loser int he finale.

Is he smart enough to make that move? I doubt it, but we'll see.

3. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 11, 2009 3:18 PM

Hi Cecil

Nice summary. I haven't watched in a few weeks and was surprised and pleased to see that Sierra made it that far!

Also very surprised that that group hasn't hasn't gotten rid of Coach yet. What a super annoying person. I hope he gets totally blindsided next week. I'll make a note not to miss it!

4. Posted by: berkyo at May 12, 2009 10:06 AM

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