Survivor: Tocantins – Finale
The two-hour finale for Survivor: Tocantins began with a walk down memory lane with video clips involving the members of the jury and the four finalists remaining. The original Jalapao tribe had J.T., Stephen, and Taj representing it, while Erinn was the sole Timbira tribe member left.
After the merge, it seemed a simple thing for the 6 Timbira tribesmen to vote out the 3 Jalapao, but the ploy of divide and conquer came into play. J.T. and Stephen were already best buddies, or as Stephen put it, they "shared a brain." Taj was loyal and steadfast in supporting her boys, as well.
Timbira was another matter. Coach and Brendan never got along, and that prompted Brendan to begin making alliances with members of Jalapao on Exile Island. After the merge, Erinn, who never really fit in with her tribe, switched allegiance and began voting with Jalapao. A series of devastating blindsides followed almost every week until the Timbira members were picked off, one by one.
Erinn was frank in saying that she was there for the money. Stephen, a non-physical threat, considered himself David against Goliath. Taj's theory was to be nice to everyone and stay under the radar. J.T. assumed leadership right from the beginning, but his easy manner kept him from offending others. The hee-haw country boy bit served him well.
With Coach's exit, J.T, Stephen, Taj, and Erinn remained. J.T. began worrying about how the jury would vote, and Stephen commented that J.T. had not voted for Coach in the last Tribal Council for strategic reasons. Stephen was thinking ahead to whom he could most easily beat at the end.
Day 37: J.T. and Erin went for a walk to fetch tree mail. In the tree mail basket were a huge plastic spider and a scroll. Meanwhile, Stephen and Taj had a chat, and neither one felt comfortable turning on J.T.
The immunity challenge consisted of a huge obstacle course set up in the shape of a giant tarantula. Survivors had to race through the course to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces from three stations and return to assemble a web-shaped puzzle. The first person to complete the puzzle won a one-in-three chance to compete for the million dollars.
At one point during the race, J.T. and Taj met in one of the heavy wire spider legs, and J.T. had to climb over Taj. He lapped the others and was the first contestant to gather all three bags and begin working on his puzzle. Stephen and Erin took more time. The spider legs were rough on their skin, so it was not an easy challenge. Stephen was the next one back, followed by Taj, and finally Erinn. The puzzle was difficult, but Erinn, who was always a whiz at puzzles, passed Stephen and Taj and caught up with J.T.
J.T. put in his final piece a whisker ahead of Erinn and won the immunity challenge again. Erinn was very aware that she was on precarious ground.
Erinn sat in the river with the two men. She made her pitch by stressing how likeable Taj was and how she could easily win votes from the jury. J.T. was aware of what Erinn was doing, but he and Stephen thought they could beat Erinn at the final. When he was alone, Stephen mused that he was torn on strategic, moral, and personal grounds. J.T., too, was torn between taking Erinn, who would be much easier to beat, to the final two, or his best friend, Stephen.
At tribal council, Jeff seated the jury and then talked about the odds at the time the tribes had merged. Erinn patted herself on the back for voting with Jalapao right from the beginning, but she realized that she was outnumbered at that moment. Stephen got a bit off track in his ramblings, so Jeff brought him back to reality by reminding him that he had no choice but to vote for one of the women, because J.T. had immunity.
Jeff called for the votes, and then tallied them. The votes were:
Taj - 3
Tamara Johnson-George, known as "Taj," was the 13th person voted off Survivor: Tocantins. The final three consisted of J.T., Erinn, and Stephen.
After the council, J.T. said his decision was based on who would be easier to defeat at the final immunity challenge, so they had voted off the stronger player. He was already regretting keeping Erinn, however, as she prattled on and on and never shut up. Stephen was missing Taj, as well.
Day 38: Erinn decided to take Stephen with her to the final two, if she got that opportunity by winning immunity. Stephen said the same to her, and Erinn again reinforced that the two men did not want to go up against each other with the jury.
Stephen privately promised J.T. that the two of them were solid, and they shook hands. J.T. was worried, however, and said, "You never know." He promised Stephen that one of them would win the million dollars, and his buddy agreed. J.T. was determined to win immunity again.
Tree mail brought the map of "fallen comrades," and the trio began a picturesque hike to the highlands where they collected symbols from all the former contestants from this round of Survivor. They were, in order:
Carolina - the first voted out
Candace - Erinn's only real friend in the group
Jerry - the Army reservist who became ill
Sandy - who overcame a bad first impression
Spencer - the teen who was the youngest contestant ever on the show
Sidney - who relied too much on others
Joe - "Captain America" who injured his knee and left by helicopter
Brendan - victim of the Dragonslayer
Tyson - overconfident and basically wacky
Sierra - sweet and honest, but dependent on others
Debbie - one of the guys' biggest threats
Coach - who changed the game and became the "Dragonslayer"
Taj - the hardest to vote off in the entire game
The immunity challenge required concentration and coordination. Contestants placed balls in a maze-like chute and had to catch the balls and restart them without dropping any. They began with one ball, and periodically Jeff ordered them to add another ball. The last person with a ball in play won immunity and was guaranteed a spot in the final two.
Everyone did a good job on timing the balls, and soon all three contestants had three balls in play. Erinn dropped one, leaving only the gentlemen. On the fourth ball, Stephen had a drop, and J.T. won immunity for the last time. He mused that he had a big decision to make.
Day 38: Stephen said he was glad he did not have to make J.T.'s decision. Erinn squealed to J.T. that Stephen had promised to take her to the final two if he had won. The two men talked, and J.T. called him on that statement, but Stephen denied making it. Stephen was hopeful that his friend would not betray him, but he was sure that J.T. would beat him with the jury. J.T. agonized because he knew he could beat Erinn, but he had loyalty to Stephen. He asked himself if he was willing to bet a million dollars on someone he had known for fewer than 40 days.
The survivors assembled for the next tribal council. Jeff seated the jury, which contained a miffed Taj, and Jeff reminded J.T. about his tough decision. Erinn said they had talked about the votes and how the jury would definitely choose J.T. over her. Stephen said he and J.T. had made every move together and "shared a brain."
J.T. was the only one voting, and he voted out Erinn as the 14th person to leave.
Stephen and J.T. found more tree mail, which also consisted of the makings of a huge breakfast. They cooked all the food, bacon, eggs, sausages, and more, and stuffed themselves. They referred to themselves and the "city boy and the country boy," and acknowledged that their first impressions of one another had been totally wrong.
At tribal council, the jury entered and heard J.T. and Stephen make their opening statements. Stephen went first, and he said that he and J.T. had thought alike from the beginning, but his road had been rockier because he was a city kid and had never even been camping. He cited his skill growth as a big accomplishment. J.T. reminded the jury that he had never received a vote during the whole game, and although he could not compete against Stephen's eloquence, he was physically strong and smart.
The jury began its questions with Brendan, who asked Stephen if growing in skills should win him the big bucks. Stephen thought so, but J.T. countered with the fact that he had outplayed Stephen.
Erinn talked about the three different alliances she had been in, and how all those people were sitting on the jury. She questioned why J.T. had not chosen her in the final two, and J.T. answered that it had been strictly a judgment call.
Debbie said she was undecided, so she bluntly asked Stephen if he would have chosen to take J.T. to the final two. Stephen wavered for a while, and then said no, he would have taken Erinn because she would have been the weaker competitor.
Coach referred to J.T. and Stephen as the "Warrior and the Wizard." He praised J.T.'s honesty and integrity, and it was obvious that he appreciated J.T.'s not voting him out. When Stephen spoke, he pointed out that he had never taken the "weasel way." He said he had voted for all the people sitting on the jury.
Sierra said that Stephen was a sweetheart, and she criticized J.T. for hanging with weaker players like Stephen and Erinn.
Tyson told J.T. that Stephen had been as asset in getting him to the final two, and then criticized Stephen for devaluing J.T.'s friendship.
Taj was hurt, and J.T. told how awful it was for him to write her name. She also felt betrayed and blindsided by Stephen, and that began bickering between the two finalists. They argued about who had saved Taj earlier, and the conversation got petty.
The jury voted, and Jeff took off with the ballots for New York City. The results would be announced on the reunion show.
Reunion Show: New York
Jeff counted the seven votes, although he never had to go past four. All members of the jury voted the million-dollar prize to James Thomas, Jr., known as "J.T." Jeff said that J.T. had been one of the most popular contestants of all time on the show.
Jeff also inquired about the relationship between J.T. and Stephen after the contentiousness between them on the last show. J.T. said he loved Stephen because he carried more than his load and had a good heart. He said their intellects had meshed, and admitted that there had been a bit of acting between him and Stephen in the last tribal council.
Jeff gave credit to Erinn for switching her allegiance to the Jalapao tribe, and called it a "cool move." Jeff also presented the tooth that J.T. had lost during one of the more physical challenges to J.T.'s mother.
The Sprint Player of the Year award, which paid a $100,000 prize, came down to three finalists: Taj, J.T, and Sierra. J.T. won that, as well.
Jeff had previously offered Coach a chance to take a lie detector test to verify the whopper he had told about being taken prisoner along the Amazon. Coach had declined, but he had chosen a different administrator for the test and passed with flying colors. Coach's lady friend, when asked if Coach was as "odd" in real life, said that the person she knew and loved was Ben Wade, not "Coach." She hinted that in the bedroom, she was the Dragonslayer.
Jeff, wearing what looked like the necklace presented to him on the Regis and Kelly show, announced that the next season of Survivor would take place in the fall in Samoa, and would have 18 contestants.