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Survivor Tocantins Week 13 - Finale Part 3 - The Winner

Survivor Tocantins Week 13 - "Finale Part 3 - The Winner"



Somebody's on the wrong course!


JT kept his promise and is talking Stephen to the final tribal council.

Forza - Day 39

And now there are two. The two friends wake to start a new day. JT interviews "I feel great, the sun's coming up, it's a beautiful morning, it's day 39. Still here!"

They take a hike to the tree mail and find the makings of a fine breakfast. They take their time, cook every item, and toast each other with champagne from fluted glasses, sitting in real chairs under an umbrella.

"Tastes like victory," Stephen says. he asks JT what his first impression of Stephen was.

"You looked like you were really strong, but unathletic. I thought you were really religions, and I was going to have to watch my mouth around you." He says he's changed for the better and learned not to judge a book by its cover.

Stephen says of JT, "I thought you were a charmer. I thought you were a charming, gregarious, slick kind of guy." Privately, he shares his first impression of JT was that they were not going to get along, but he was totally wrong about JT. He says despite their different backgrounds their minds were totally in synch.

Reminiscences behind, the guys set off for the final showdown. No 'burning the camp' scenes here, so I think my speculation about the Tocantins fire danger levels in the last epistle were on target.

They take a last look back at camp and clasp hands.

JT interviews that he has to leave friendship behind now and concentrate on winning a million dollars.

Stephen interviews that he's not conceding anything - he'll tell his own story at tribal council and try to win.


The jury walks in and Erinn is looking stunning in long straight clean black hair and she's lost the dorky glasses.

Jeff congratulates Stephen and JT, describes the rules, then asks Stephen to make his opening statement.

Stephen: It's going to be hard decision for you [the jury] make. If the criteria was 'best woodsman' or most charming Southern drawl the contest would be over. JT and I shared a brain and worked well together, but I want to describe what we're taking out of the game. I had never even been camping in my life, but now I'm a lot more skilled and confident. I owe a lot of that to all of you, and a testament to our shared struggles. I hope you'll vote for me.

JT: It's going to be hard to follow that. I'm not a Yale grad or English major like my buddy Stephen here. I'm the first person in my family to graduate from college. I'm not looking for a pity vote - I worked very hard to get where I'm at, to provide for everybody, and usually the guy that does that is an early vote-out, and to do that and not ever get a single vote is a huge accomplishment. It was very hard voting any of you guys out - the way we picked was the people who we thought were going to vote us out. If we hadn't, you'd be over here and I'd be over there. I do stick to my word, I could have brought Erinn who I thought I could have beat easier (no offense) but I brought my friend Stephen who everybody loves and I do, too. So do I feel like he's outwitted, outplayed, and outlasted me? I don't think so, but that's in you guys hands now.

Brendan gets the first call to question the finalists. He congratulates both guys and questions Stephen about his concentration on his growth in the game. He says in most games it's not who tries hardest but who get that results that wins.

Stephen replies that Survivor might be the exception, that he came into the game with few skills but is leaving with many, and that might be part of "outwit".

Ask to comment on the same issue, JT says growth is irrelevant, at a football game you don't score more for the fact that catching the pass is harder for you. He says he feels like he outplayed Stephen, who hid in the shadows on some of the challenges and had to be coaxed to perform.

Stephen rebuts that hiding in the shadows can be a legitimate strategy as they all know.

JT rebuts that the guy with his neck on the line should earn more points than the guy flying under the radar.


Erinn: Erinn tells Stephen she's seen him in three different alliances, the Jalapao 3, the exile alliance, and the warrior alliance. Most of those people are on the jury now so why should they vote for him?

Stephen says the game is dynamic, and you have to stay flexible and he did that, playing aggressively, which he hope will win their vote.

Erinn asks JT if he was 'taking the strength' to the end, why Stephen? JT says Stephen has been the best and most honest with him, and that's what he told Coach after the merge.


Debbie: She says she still hasn't decided and her vote's up for grabs based on their answers to her and others' questions tonight. She says she was drawn at first to JT's honesty, but later was not so sure about her initial judgment, which is the real JT?

JT says his mother told him to not believe what everybody says, and he notes Debbie, herself, worked to vote Coach out without telling him. He says he did what he had to do to get to the spot he's in.

Debbie asks Stephen if he would have taken JT if he'd won the final immunity.

Stephen says he honestly doesn't know and he's glad he didn't have to make that decision.

Debbie cuts him off and says 'not good', decide now. She needs him to help her make up her mind and she thinks she already knows the answer. [Erinn smiles slyly on the side.]

Stephen gulps and says "I think it would be Erinn. I hope I would have taken JT, my fear is that I would have chosen Erinn." [JT shakes his head and stares at the fire.]

Debbie says she'll listen and her vote's still uncommitted.


Coach: Coach says he's proud to see the remnants of the power alliance, the Warrior and the Wizard up there. He asks JT for examples of honesty and integrity from late in the game where it counts. JT says he couldn't always be honest, but when he promised to vote for Erinn instead of Coach he kept that promise even though he knew Coach was going home that night. He says if the three of them has been in the final three, he knew Coach would have taken him. Just as, he adds, he thought Stephen would, though he just found out otherwise [sly dig]. He risked a million dollars to keep his word to Coach and to Stephen, and he tries one hundred percent in everything he does.

Coach poses the same question to Stephen. Stephen says he voted for every single person on the jury, he never took the weasel way out [sly dig back at you]. He starts to get a little more explicit about JT but checks himself and just says he takes the moral responsibility for all his votes. And he says, he has yet to say anything negative about JT tonight, and he thinks that's a strong statement.


Sierra: She says Stephen's already addressed the questions she had for him. For JT, she asks what taking the strongest really means to him when he's sitting next to one of the weakest players she's ever seen, plus he booted Taj and kept another weak player, Erinn. [sidelong furrowed-brow glances from Erinn.]

JT says he thinks Stephen is a really strong player, he's won an individual immunity challenge and almost beat JT in the final immunity. He says of the final four, Stephen was the strongest left for him to choose. Sierra says he's lost a lot of her respect, because he's not sitting there with Tyson, or Brendan, or Debbie, all of whom she apparently considers stronger than Stephen. That she says, might be his downfall, and the reason he might not get a million dollars tonight. [So, what, she votes for the weaker Stephen?]


Tyson: Tyson asks if Stephen was an asset to JT in getting to the final. JT says he thinks Stephen did help him, He also thinks he could have made it without him but it would have been harder.

Stephen says he thinks his friendship with JT is unique, and he's sorry and hurt that JT is devaluing it like that. He says he doesn't think either would have done so well without the other.

JT ask Stephen if he thinks he'd be sitting there if someone else had one immunity.

Stephen says it's a complicated question but he thinks Erinn or Taj would have taken him. [Erinn and Taj watch expressionlessly]


Taj:Taj smiles as she says "Crushed, betrayed, extremely disappointed." Not so much that she's on the jury, just the way she got there, she says. She asks JT if it was so hard to write down Coach's name, how come it was so easy to write hers?

JT says the vote for her was the hardest vote he had to make in the game. He says he's stuck his neck out for her the whole game as she has for him - like brother and sister. It was even harder than his vote last night.

She tells Stephen she's seen things in him she didn't recognize in the last few days, especially when they used to be so tight. How come?

Stephen says JT had been talking about taking her out for a while, but he, Stephen, wanted to keep her to the final three, just to make a statement about the Jalapao 3. JT, he says, was concerned she was a tougher physical competitor that Erinn, and got nervous.

JT says Stephen's making it sound like it was JT's whole idea to take her out, and that isn't true.

Stephen says, let's air our dirty laundry. There have been other times he's had to talk JT out of voting Taj out, such as back in Jalapao when Taj had given us possession of the idol... [Stephen says "us", but my memory is that it was Stephen alone.] JT thought we could eliminate you, and...

JT breaks in to say Stephen told him "I've got the idol. She won't have it."

It starts to deteriorate into he said/he said, but Taj has had enough and waves them off.

Stephen still has to say "There were times I saved you and JT wanted to take you out."

JT scratches his beard and asks the air "Is this the same guy I brought with me?"

Stephen says "Oh, come on now, you have been slandering me all night, and this is the first time I've taken a shot at you."

"But mine have all been accurate," JT rejoinders, as Taj just sits down to watch the fireworks.

Stephen is practically speechless, but finally says "Our friendship means more to me than winning the million does."

"But you'd have brought Erinn," JT says in an amused voice.

Stephen says he never made that decision in his heart. "But you can believe me or..."

"I just feel like a fool, man."

Steven starts back "Oh come on, now..." but trails off, unwilling to go further. At last the hurt feelings subside enough no one has to get in another last word.

[This last exchange has saddened me a little. I was hoping for a little more positivism from the two, and they certainly tried, but I guess the pressure really got to be too much. As final performances from both jury and finalists go, though, I think the 'season of the nice guys' banner still stands, if a little frayed.]

Jeff charges the jury to think about their million dollar decision and get ready to vote. JT holds his head in his hands, covering his face.


When we come back, Stephen is patting JT's back, I think in regret for some of the things said on both sides.

Brendan votes.

Debbie votes.

Sierra votes, whispering "Nice job."

Taj votes. "I am a woman of my word. You should try to be a man the same way."

Tyson votes.

Coach votes. We see him write "The W_" But is it Wizard, or Warrior?

Erinn votes.

Jeff goes to tally.


Now there's a terribly long wait for Stephen and JT, as everyone leave Brazil for home, and then New York, where the votes will be read.

A long time for them, but a short time for us - as we're instantly in the New York studio.

The screen cuts to Stephen and JT, sitting in the same position. Stephen has kept his beard, [trimmed by Erinn?] and looks much the same. JT, cleaned up and shaven, is practically unrecognizable. The jury is on the stage behind them.

JT enters the auditorium with vote-urn, but no cheesy montage of transporting it by helicopter, jet ski, or whatever. The audience rises and applauds.

With a few preliminary remarks, Probst starts counting.

First vote - JT

Second vote - "The Warrior" JT

Third vote - JT

Fourth vote - JT

It's unanimous, JT wins Survivor Tocantins, and get a big hug from Stephen, then mom, dad, and friends and relatives in the audience. As the group hug continues, the other seven survivors troop onto the stage.

Jeff says it's only the second unanimous vote in Survivor history. [Who was the other?] And we'll be back to answer such gripping questions as are Stephen and JT still friends, why did everybody dislike Sierra so much, and has anything Coach ever said been true?


Back again, we start with a montage of "JT moments" and JT praises, then cut to a smiling JT surrounded by the other Survivors at the fake campfire.

Jeff catches JT crying. He says he's caught it from his family. At home, he say the people in Sampson love him and he loves them. He says they're all amazed because he hasn't let any secrets slip and most folks thought he did fourth, at best. The most frequently asked question? Is it as hard as it looks? Harder, he says. Day 12, he says was his low point, he was as hungry as he'd ever been in his life and questioned what he was doing there. Stephen, he says, carried a heavy weight on the initial hike and worked harder than anyone around camp and has the best heart of anyone he knows.

Stephen says something about their intellects just clicked, and they shared a determination to work hard and never let up. Plus they were helped by Coach's relationship with JT after the merge. About saying at final tribal that he wouldn't have taken JT, he thinks it was the answer Debbie wanted, and it felt horrible.

JT says his reaction to Stephen's "betrayal" was mostly acting, trying to pull come votes out.

Jeff asks Brendan how Timbira collapsed after the merge. Brendan says they may have had too many people, making them overconfident and ready to fall prey to infighting among themselves.

Erinn agrees that the size of Timbira's majority and her feeling that she was last among them led her to defect, making any move she could to move a few days further.

Taj says no one ever really discussed dumping JT, "because he's so sweet."

Jeff has JT's tooth, which JT had told medical he didn't want, and offers it to him again. JT says it's still completely useless to him but maybe his momma would like it for a souvenir. Momma Marie accepts it from Jeff. Marie pushed JT for three years to enter the contest and says "now maybe I don't have to worry about him anymore."


We see a montage of Survivors shivering in the rains in that 'bone-dry' Tocantins region. The we see Taj getting her video and visit from home

Jeff says Taj was a big surprise to him, and people love her. He throws up a photo of her in her pop group, but, embarrassingly, misidentifies which one is Taj. She says she's not an outdoorsy girl, but got used to it and became skilled. She was eaten up by bugs and still bears some scars. And thirty days without her family was harder than people realize, she says. Jeff conducts a short interview with husband Eddie George who was impressed by his wife's new skills.

We get a montage of naked Mormon - Tyson. He compares himself to Jesus of Nazareth and Joseph Smith saying even great men can have detractors.

Jeff asks Sierra why she got so much dislike from other people? She says it was hard getting 'voted out' then coming back and trying to win trust. He felt she was honest and a good person, but that's not necessarily, she says, what wins this game. She says she learned to be independent and (tearing up a little) says in the moment they all betrayed her she found herself.


Now a montage of Coach, directing imaginary concerts and telling tales of his adventures. (as Erinn asks "Who is this jackass?") concerting, self promoting, self naming. Between Brazil and here he's finally lost the beard, and he looks pretty good. Jeff calls him colorful and controversial. Taj is rolling her eyes again. Coach says most people have been pretty supportive. He says he's put his stamp on the game. Sierra rolls eyes. Erinn hyperventilates and looks to the heavens.

As to the believability of his stories, Coach says it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks when you speak the truth. Jeff says he offered to give Coach a lie detector test to verify his Amazon story, but Coach refused.

Sierra pipes up "I wonder why? I already proved him a liar."

But wait! Coach says they've all been blindsided, but Jeff never has, so now it's time. He did take the lie detector test, he says, from an expert in Hollywood, and he has the sealed envelope, which he hands to Jeff. Jeff says he'll be calling the tester after the show. The audience indicates they mostly believe Coach. The question "Were you captured by natives" was answered "Yes," truthfully according to the paper.

Jeff moves on to principal Debbie, who says the reaction around school has been amazing and positive.

JT switches back to Coach, and discovers he has a special lady friend, Melinda, in the audience. Jeff asks her if the Coach we saw is the real person. She says "Unfortunately, you only saw Coach, not Ben Wade, whom I know and love," drawing a host of female 'awws' from the audience.


Viewers have been voting for the most liked survivors, who will get a hundred thousand bucks. The nominees are Sierra, Taj, and JT, and the winner - JT again.

We get brief moments with the also-rans:

Joe: The leg's fine now. Hard to go out that way.

Sydney: The modeling career's doing fine, not too many scars left from Tocantins.

Spencer: I had fun. It was a blast.

Jerry: Yes, I get a lot of ribbing from my service friends, but I thank God for getting us all back safely.

Candace: I'm getting commercials, modeling and acting work along with some consulting and even lawyering. Life is amazing.

Carolina: It sucked going first - I should have kept my mouth shut and I'm very proud of my Jalapao buddies for going all the way.

Sandy: (Who's also looking hot for a grandmother.) She says she no longer says 'you never get a second chance to make a first impression.'


Whither next? Survivor Samoa (and about time), And Jeff just said Eighteen strangers will be stranded there - will we have two 'veterans' again joining sixteen tribesmen? We'll see next fall.


Next day, on CBS Morning, JT gets a huge replica of his million dollar check. He says he'll run to the bank with it and lock it up tight. Even CBS heads this "Nice Guys Finish First". And so the season of the nice guys comes to an end...

Final Standings

Forza (1)

1- James "JT" Thomas, Jr. 24 Samson AL Winner by Unanimous Vote

2- Stephen Fishbach 29 New York City NY Second Place

3-Erinn Lobdell 26 Waukesha, Wilson, Voted out in semi-finale
4- Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George 37 Nashville, TN voted out week 13
5-Benjamin "Coach" Wade 37 Bolivar, MO voted out week 12
6-Debra "Debbie" Beebe 46 Auburn, AL, voted out week 11
7-Sierra Reed 23 Los Angeles, CA, voted out week 10
8-Tyson Apostol 29 Lindon, UT, voted out week 9
9-Brendan Synnott 30 New York City NY, voted out week 8
10-Joe Dowdle 26 Austin TX, left for medical reasons week 7
11-Sydney Wheeler 24 Raleigh NC, voted out week 6
12-Spencer Duhm 19 Lakeland FL voted out week 5
13-Sandy Burgin 53 Louisville KY voted out week 4
14-Jerry Sims_49_Rock Hill SC voted out week 3
15-Candace Smith_31_Dayton OH voted out week 2
16-Carolina Eastwood 26..West Hollywood CA voted out week 1

See you NEXT FALL!

= Cecil =

It's been a privilege sharing the Survivor excitement with you week by week. Thank you all for the many kind comments and I hope to see you back here next fall for Survivor Samoa.


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 20, 2009 6:16 PM
Permalink |

I never bought the "I'm taking Stephen even though he'd be easier to beat" logic. You want to go to the end with a person who backstabbed all the same people you did. I think Erinn would have won a lot of votes (definitely more than Stephen did--zero!), but I give JT all the credit for playing it up that he was doing the loyal thing and that Stephen would have not brought him along if the situation was reversed.

1. Posted by: FenwayBen at May 23, 2009 1:33 PM

Yeah, I think Erinn would have at least gotten Taj's vote. Still I can see why it might have appeared to JT that Stephen was the more dangerous choice.

And in seasons past we've seen conscious male-female stategies, but when it was down to three men and three women, and the women might have gained the upper hand by voting off Coach, and then sailing with a 3-2 women majority, instead Errin and Taj went along with cutting out Debbie and cut their own throats in the process.

2. Posted by: Cecil Rose at May 26, 2009 9:29 AM

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