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Survivor Tocantins Week 13 - Finale Part 2

Survivor Tocantins Week 13 - "Finale Part 2"

3-finale.JPG ♫ High ho, high ho ♫ ♪ !












Previouslies

Stephen and JT blindsided Taj and kept Erinn in the final three.

Forza - Night 37

The final three return to camp. JT interviews that voting for Taj was hard, but he and Stephen had to make a decision based on getting through the next challenge, where they figured Taj would be the harder one to beat.

Erinn, still coming down off a nervous high, chatters a lot around the campfire, about the vote and Taj's reactions to it.

JT interviews that he's already suffering for his sins - having to endure the most annoying person in the world - Erinn the chatterer.

Stephen feels their victory is tainted by having to betray Taj, and he's annoyed at the chattering, too.

Erinn chatters on, oblivious, about the awesomeness of the three of them, not apparently aware that JT and Stephen are both feeling a bit down.


Forza - Day 38

As JT leaves the campfire area, Stephen and Erinn discuss taking each other to the final if they win immunity. They each say they'll take the other. Stephen says that - even if it come down to the two of them - he's not dropping out, he trusts her, he says, but he trusts himself more.

Erinn later interviews that she will indeed take Stephen, should she win the final immunity.

Stephen shares that he almost dreads the possibility of winning the final immunity, because of the decision he'd have to make - take Erinn with a greater probability of winning, or JT, the person he's bonded with and trusted throughout the game.

Later Stephen says "Yeah" to JT's question "We're solid, 100 percent, right?" JT says Stephen has his word and his life.

JT interviews that he's in a good spot but still worried. He knows Erinn would take Stephen, but hopes Stephen would take him. They exchange reassurances again.

Now it's time for the 'memory walk,' the most pointless, maudlin part of the survivor experience. Maybe I'd feel different if I was there, but pining over them memory of people who are not, after all, dead but just sitting in a luxury camp a few miles away seems ridiculous to me. Nevertheless, I'll record what they say about each vanquished competitor. At each station along the walk there's a little statuette of the fallen for them to collect and burn at the end. At the end - the final immunity challenge.

The walk is quite scenic, along hillsides and cliffs overlooking the Rio Novo. The torches and idols are arranged in order of boot-out, so the first they come to is Carolina. Remember Carolina? If not, click HERE

Carolina - "So much trouble in such a little body." -JT

Candace - "I may have been her only friend in this game, but gosh darn it, I liked her a lot." -Erinn

Jerry - "If you could pick your own dad, you would totally pick Jerry to be your dad." -Erinn

Sandy - "She was an ace of a woman. She was definitely a bit crazy." JT

Spencer - "He was a super fan, and a very strong strategist." Stephen

Sydney - "What a beautiful girl. That was one of the first hard votes we had to make." -JT

Joe - "Captain America, the most decent guy out here." -Stephen

Brendan - "He was a good player, a good athlete, too." -JT

Tyson - "Funny guy, a really kind and really sincere guy, and taking him out was like the turning point in the game for us." -Stephen

Sierra - "Sweet Sierra, she was surprisingly honest and just a really sweet girl." -Stephen

Debbie - "Debbie was easily the person I was closest to." -Erinn "She was a super strong player, always up in the top in the immunity challenges, really strategic, she was one of the biggest threats in the game." -Stephen "Sorry you had to go, Debbie" -JT

Coach - "My most satisfying blindside to date" -Erinn "Probably one of the most honest I know and definitely, definitely set out to change the game." -JT "He did change the game, in a way. He got final five with never telling a lie and being purely honest. And what a great story teller, too." -Stephen

Taj - "That was without a doubt the hardest vote, so far, in this game. Incredibly strong woman, very fierce in competitions, loving" -Stephen "And fun." -Erinn "Taj will be a friend of mine for the rest of my life." -JT

The fire danger must be up in the Tocantins, because in the place of the blazing pyres of past Survivors, the small idols are burned in what is little more than a trash barrel. A nicely formed and artistic trash barrel, admittedly, but it's still a cylinder with holes in it, the wooden statuettes thrown in higgledy piggledy.


IMMUNITY CHALLENGE

The challenge is right on the banks of the swiftly flowing Rio Novo. As the Survivors march in for the final immunity challenge, we can see tall wire structures in the background. Jeff takes JT's immunity necklace back and explains the challenge will require concentration and coordination. [Not an endurance challenge, then?]

Each of those wire structures is a ball-dropping structure. The balls are dropped in a chute, then whirl around on wire tracks like a demented Rube Goldberg contraption. There's a mechanical switch in the track that will send the ball alternately down one of two ramps to an exit, where the contestant must catch it and then place it back in the entry chute. The next time it will come down the other exit. The exits are about three feet apart, and about a foot off the wooden platform where the contestant stands. The entry chute is about four feet above the platform. If a ball drops to the ground, the contestant is out.

Every few minutes, another ball will be added, meaning that two at a time will be racing around the tracks, then three, and so on. Just to make it interesting, the contestants will have one hand tied behind their backs.

All the contestants are right handed. JT and Erinn elect to stand, and bend way over to retrieve their balls. Stephen chooses to kneel, placing his exit chutes at about waist height, but having to reach over his head to put the balls in the chute.

JT's balls, structure, and the platform on which the structure stands are red, Stephen's green, and Erinn's black. I wonder if the color gives one contestant a subtle advantage, red being presumably more visible than green, which in turn should be more visible than black. And if it makes a difference, the platforms are side by side in a line, and JT gets the middle platform, making it easier for him to keep an eye on both opponents, not that anybody appears to be sparing much attention for their opponents, all concentrating on their own ball.

For myself, if I was doing this, it's be calling out reminders to myself, 'next one's right', 'next one's left'. None of these contestants does. After a few minutes, Jeff has them add a second ball to the device. Now two are whirring about the apparatus, and balls have to be caught twice as often. Spacing can be important, placing the ball in when the other ball is half way (by time, not by distance) to give the easiest movement between catch sites.

Stephen steals a look to his right at JT as Jeff calls for them to add a third ball to the mix, further complicating matters. Shortly thereafter Erinn bobbles a ball, but recovers and drops it back in the channel. Jeff chatters about the difficulty, and the editing makes it look like this may have rattled Erinn, for she drops a ball as he is speaking and is out of the contest.

Stephen steals another glance at JT as the action continues. Stephen has to lean left and right to catch his balls, but keeps his back straight. JT has to bend deeply for his catches. He adopts a wide stance where he can catch from either exit chute without moving his feet, just shifting his weight a little. Stephen bobbles a ball which makes it late getting back into the chute, thus messing with his spacing. He bobbles the next one on the other side even more badly, but still saves it. It looks like his kneeling stance causes him to have to turn his hand slightly when leaning to the left, making the catch just a little more difficult on that side.

They add a fourth ball and the tempo picks up even higher. Stephen looks like he's shifted left a little to make it easier to catch on the left chute and now he bobbles one on the right. JT is moving left and right enough that his hand is at the same angle on either side. A ball on the right bounces off Stephen's hand and back up the exit chute a little way. He has to reach in to retrieve it and this delays him just enough that he can't get his hand back to the left in time. He drops the ball and JT wins his third straight immunity!

JT punches the air with his free hand and receives congratulations and one-armed hugs from Erinn and Stephen. Now he has one afternoon to decide who he'll take with him to the jury vote. Penultimate tribal council coming up tonight.

JT interviews that he's promised Stephen to take him but promises aren't always worth much in this game. He's got a big decision ahead, he says.


Back at Forza - Day 38

Stephen interviews that he felt an enormous weight lifted off his shoulders when JT won, since now Stephen doesn't have to make the big decision - take my buddy or the annoying chatterbox?

Erinn (the hairdresser) tells Stephen that if he goes first, he should leave his beard alone and she'll help him fix it up later. [My wife was formerly a hairdresser, and I can testify they are constitutionally unable to look at a head of hair without thinking about how they'd make it better.]

JT and Erinn chat around the campfire. Erinn asks him how he's feeling. He says he's got a big decision to make, and asks her if she thinks Timbira [right now five of the six jury members] would vote for her. Of course she says 'no', reasoning that they resent her outlasting them. She thinks she might get Taj's vote - Taj being pissed at Stephen and JT for blindsiding her. [Exactly what Taj said after the last tribal council.]

Erinn says "There's been a lot of talk about how it would be suicide to go up against you." He asks if that's what Stephen says, and she replies "Yeah."

JT says "Stephen would have took you, wouldn't he?" Erinn agrees he probably would have. JT asks "Did he ever tell you for sure?" and Erinn nods and says "Yeah."

JT worries that Stephen is a good talker who can make a better impression on the jury, and says Erinn would be the more logical person to take.

Erinn interviews that JT would be really noble to take Stephen, but that the vote might just be very close and she knows JT really wants and needs the money, so he just might compromise his principles and take her.

Stephen and JT get a little time together and Stephen asks JT if Erinn is pressuring him. "She pleaded her case," JT replies, "She has a very good one. And she told me you would have took her."

Stephen says "That's not true, you know that."

JT replies "I hope so."

Stephen offers to talk though things with JT, and they do talk a while.

Stephen interviews that it would make sense for JT to take Erinn, but he doesn't think JT will do it. He assures JT that he (JT) is going to win regardless of who he takes. JT is still nervous.

JT interviews that his Mom told him "JT, you're strong, you're smart. You can win this game - if anybody can do it, you can do it. Just don't do anything stupid." [Excellent words of motherly advice, that JT's mostly heeded so far.]

The tribe members pick up their torches, JT dons his immunity necklace, and they head to tribal.


TRIBAL COUNCIL

The jury comes in. All the women are looking beautiful and Stephen gives a sotto voce "wow!" at Taj's cleaned up radiance.

Jeff tells JT that his three consecutive immunity wins have definitely earned him his place.

In response to questioning from Jeff, we hear:

Erinn: I've made my best case, talking about votes, and now it's up to JT.

Stephen: JT and I go way back, share a brain, and have an enduring friendship and promises made to each other.

JT: I agree I could beat Erinn more easily and I have to make a difficult decision. If I brought Stephen I'd be bringing the best and sticking to my word. I've got to think about what Stephen would do it he'd won. [and that is?] I don't know. I'll never know. Stephen has made good relationships.

Stephen [interjecting]: There's other reasons, not least being the 39th day breakfast we've been talking about all game long. [Sierra looks incredulous in the jury box.] [Jeff disbelieves in breakfast as a motivator] There's more to a relationship than a million dollars. I'd still be friends even if he takes Erinn, but it might not be the same kind of friendship. He's made swears to me that defy all swears. Look, I've made promises that were broken in this game [Debbie points at a scowling Taj] I might be the number one blindsider, or maybe Jet [revealing a previously unheard nickname for JT] is. I'm hoping.

Erinn: Sure, I'll keep my mouth shut. [Since Stephen seems to be making such a strong case for her]

JT: I'm not 100% but I feel like I'd have a much better chance against Erinn, because her tribe mates were trying to get rid of her from day 9.

Jeff announced the rules, Erinn and Stephen can't vote for JT or themselves so their votes cancel and only JT's counts.

He doesn't even ask JT if he wants to give up the necklace. I agree there's no point in asking, but wouldn't it be hilarious if he handed it to Stephen and Stephen had to make that painful decision with no prep? Stephen's brain might just explode. But it'll never happen. If you want to avoid the bad guy image of not taking some particular person, the best time to employ that strategy is to 'lose' the final completion. It worked for Richard Hatch in season one.

We go though the process of JT actually going to the voting area and marking a ballot - wordlessly. Jeff goes and gets the vote.

He reads, fourteenth person voted out and seventh and final jury member.... Erinn!

Debbie claps silently, Coach gives a fist pump, Taj looks glum - no opportunity for a revenge vote here. Stephen's mouth hangs open. Erinn calmly has her torch snuffed and leaves without looking back.

Stephen gives JT a hug as they rise to leave, which put a smile on Debbie's and Coach's faces.

Erinn interviews she was a little surprised but deep down she knew that was what JT would do. She's proud of herself for sticking as long as she did and feels it was a life-changing experience.


Coming soon:

It's one on one for a million bucks! Final tribal Council coming up!




Status at End: as of week 13

Forza (2)

James "JT" Thomas, Jr______24_Samson AL
Stephen Fishbach_(1)_______29_New York City NY

(#) = cumulative votes against

x-Erinn Lobdell 26 Waukesha, Wilson, Voted out in semi-finale
x- Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George 37 Nashville, TN voted out week 13
x-Benjamin "Coach" Wade 37 Bolivar, MO voted out week 12
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 soon! with the final tribal council recap.

= Cecil =
~~~~~

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:

SURVIVOR TOCANTINS BIOS


Posted by Cecil on May 19, 2009 4:04 PM
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