With Coach’s departure from “Survivor: Tocantins”, a large part of the drama of this season has left as well. The one thing I’m wondering about as I begin to watch the final episode is whether or not Stephen and JT will be able to keep it together for two more tribal councils. With the split vote from earlier this week, perhaps there began a fracture that might sunder their alliance apart. With no real villains left, who will their alliance identify as a threat? Erinn’s an easy target, but bolder moves at this point might be game-winning moves as well. One thing I know that we are all looking forward to is Coach’s turn to speak when the decision is given to the jury. How many poets, world leaders, Native American shaman, pygmy witch doctors, and Buddhist monks can he quote in one question? The answer is none, I’m sure that by the time he’s done quoting them, he’ll have taken all the attributes for himself.
Oh, the tangled web we weave… The friction between JT and Steve isn’t as bad as I had thought it might be, but it certainly is present. JT thinks Steve won himself some jury votes by eliminating an unpopular player, while Steve thinks that JT came off as the loyal ally, whereas he himself looked like a back stabber. I think Steve might have a point there.
Steve and Taj are flirting with the idea of getting rid of JT should he lose immunity as Erinn and JT check tree mail to learn of the next immunity challenge. Contestants will race through a spider-shaped maze to collect puzzle pieces which can be solved for the win. As usual, JT takes an early lead, is the first to start solving his puzzle, and, despite a very good showing by Erinn, wins immunity.
Popularity contested. Erinn’s departure seems like a sure thing, but that doesn’t stop her from chatting Stephen and JT up about her future, citing Taj’s popularity with the jury on a personal level. Steve and JT look to hang tight with each other, deciding that they will vote together; regardless of for whom they vote.
Coach returns to tribal, carrying his big stick. Sigh, if only he spoke softly. Not that it matters much, as jury members are ordered to keep silent at tribal. Not so for Erinn and Taj, however, as Jeff probes them about the fact that Erinn is the last member of Timbira to remain in the game, and that Jalapao managed to go into the merge with only three members, and proceed to eliminate nearly all of the opposing tribe. In the end, it looks like JT and Steve viewed Taj’s popularity as the greatest threat, and vote her off. She departs with a smile on her face, but not for JT or Steve.
Juggling strategies. Post-Taj depression sets in after tribal council as the final three ponder their chances. Erinn and Steve bond over the fact that they are vulnerable in comparison to JT in a F2 situation. Erinn seems as certain to take Steve with her as JT does, but who would Steve take? Will he stay loyal to his alliance, or will he chose who may perhaps be a less popular player? Honestly, I think that Steve winning immunity may be the worst thing that could happen to him. Either choice hurts his chances, either he's betrayed JT, or he's sitting next to him, and not as popular in comparison (although that might be speculation on my part.) He’s better off hoping Erinn wins and letting her take him into the F2. If the final challenge comes down to the two of them, look for Steve to step aside for Erinn. Our three heroes wend their way down memory lane, and we get a final look at out dear, departed survivors. The final challenge is about to begin.
In a novel, new challenge, the F3 must keep balls continually moving down a system of slides without letting any of the balls drop. Erinn drops out before long, and Steve and JT are soon managing four balls at the same time. Steve’s concentration fails him first, and JT wins final immunity. What will Erinn say to try and sway the super-loyal JT to her way of thinking?
An alliance comes to fruition. Stephen is relieved to be freed of the decision of who to take to F2, and JT is burdened by it. JT and Steve have one of the strongest alliances that I’ve ever seen in this game, but Erinn is there to put the right poison into JT’s ear, claiming that the Timbira tribe resent her for making it so far, that Steve would have taken her had he won immunity, and pumping up Steve’s oratory skills in a final vote where eloquence is a factor.
Steve and JT hold palaver over JT’s decision, but JT’s shoulders do not seem lightened by their talk. Honestly, I don’t know what I’d do in his place. Either way, he’s favored, but if he takes Erinn, he will look like a traitor. Should he take Stephen instead, he’ll be going up against someone who could argue votes away from him. As the jury files in for the penultimate tribal council, Taj looks very pissed, and JT and Steve notice it. Maybe this will work in Steve’s favor, as Taj looks like she’d vote for Erinn in a heartbeat.
Jeff explores the pros and cons to all sides of JT’s decision. All three survivors look nervous. JT casts his vote, and in doing so, chooses Steve to sit beside him in the final two.
Day 39-Mission Accomplished! Steve and JT spend their final day at the Forza camp, and they enjoy their much anticipated final breakfast together. Honestly, as fun as back-stabbing and blind-siding is, it’s heart warming to see two friends stay true to each other and make it as far as an alliance can take you in this game.
JT and Steve walk into the final tribal council for “Survivor:Tocantins” and Jeff begins the proceedings. In his opening statement, Steve asks the jury to focus on how far he’s come as a kid from the city to survive camping outside for 39 days, while JT stresses how hard he worked both at camp and in challenges, and how well he competed against each juror.
Brendan is first to question the pair, and he asks Steve if how far you’ve come personally is really a very good reason to win the game. He doesn’t seem impressed by Steve’s argument, and neither is JT. Looks like Brendan will be voting for JT. Erinn presses Steve on the many al
liances he formed, and how most of the people who were in his alliances ended up being voted out, Steve makes no apologies for the way he played. Not sure for whom she’s going to vote. Deb asks JT if his apparent honesty was a façade or truly his personality, and then asks Steve if he would have taken JT with him to the final two. Steve says he would have taken Erinn. Her vote seems up for grabs as well.
Here we go, Coach is opening his mouth. He asks both men who thinks they played the most honest and noble game. I think Steve’s vote against Coach at tribal will hurt him here. Frankly, I’m a little disappointed that Coach didn’t go off into the nether reaches of metaphysics in his moment on center stage. Is he losing his edge? Sierra questions JT as to why he claimed he was taking strong competitors with him to the end, when Steve, whom she considered a weak competitor, was sitting with him in the final two. JT’s response that he did believe in Stephen’s strength doesn’t seem to satisfy her, and she appears to be voting for Steve.
Tyson, asks JT if he could have made it as far without Steve. JT says that he could have, and Steve is hurt by these comments. I’m not sure which way he’s going to go. Finally, Taj steps up and lets out all her wounded feelings, asking for an explanation. Steve makes an effort to make it look like JT had been gunning for Taj for a long time. And finally, we see the wedge driven between Steve and JT. JT is clearly hurt by what Steve has said, both about Taj, and taking Erinn to the final two. Steve, for his part, feels like JT has been making digs at him all night long. Kind of a boring final tribal council, I think, but it was kind of interesting to see Steve and JT fall out a bit at the end. In my mind, I think that JT charisma carried him past Steve’s rhetoric tonight. My money’s on him for the win.
For the last time this season, votes are cast, and we flash forward to New York City, where Jeff carries the urn containing them on stage. The assembled final two and jury of seven, await the tally. Again, JT jumps out to his early lead, and never looks back-he is your unanimous winner.
Well, I’d really have been happy with either man winning. As I wrote earlier in my recap, it was really good to see two people form a bond that lasted the entire game, weathering all of its rigors, temptations and threats. Taking the million dollars out of the equation, a win for JT is a win for Stephen, and vice versa. Just make sure you pay those taxes, buddy. See you all next season!!