Survivor: Tocantins
The Poison Apple Needs to Go
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
February 19, 2009

We stand by our idea of giving the hot people immunity until Day 21.

Previously on Survivor, we learned the following: a single step, or the distance covered in a step. We are, however, unsure if Sandy ever learned this.

Also, a bunch of people we'd never seen before were dropped off in a place we'd never heard of. Two of them were immediately voted off, except it turned out that they weren't. Instead, they got helicopter escorts to camp. One of them worked hard to gain her tribe's trust, while the other selfishly tried to find an immunity idol. The latter seemed screwed right up until she acquitted herself well in an immunity challenge. At this point, Survivor had its first sandbagging of the season, which unfortunately led to the hottest woman this season getting the surprise boot. The best-looking contestants really ought to get immunity to the merge, we think.

Also, we found out that Coach is from Knoxville, but we do not claim him. Instead, we take delight in the fact that he was fired from his soccer gig this week. We particularly love that he's saying he was fired because he'd "gone Hollywood".

The hours after tribal council see Sandy gleefully celebrating her unexpected stay of execution. She combines modesty and schadenfreude in stating that it wasn't that she didn't anything well, but that Carolina employed bad strategy. Honestly, it wasn't even strategy that undid Carolina. It was just her overbearing personality. In reviewing last week's episode, we noticed that the editors went out of their way to show that she wasn't a bad person, just a leader who could not rally her troops. Almost immediately after Sandy states that she thinks she's in it for the long haul now, a couple of her other tribe members state that she's clearly the next target.

It's Day Four at Jalapao, aka the loser tribe. They decide they need protein, and how will they get that? By busting up a mound of termites and chowing down. When these idiots return to the mainland and bring the plague with them, we won't hesitate to break out the machetes and start with the decapitation. Even though he's not on this tribe, we're going to start with Coach just to be safe.

Seeking to avoid a similar fate to apparently doomed Sandy, the other tribe's Sierra enlists some help in order to search for the immunity idol. She forms an alliance with Brendan and they start seeking clues. To their credit, they know what a pace is. After finding the first clue, the two of them dig a pretty big hole as they search for the idol, right as the production staff cuts back to camp and Debra expresses concern about their prolonged absence. She heads down to the beach and immediately notices a giant hole. Sierra impresses us by thinking quickly on her feet, explaining their actions as an attempt to build a bonfire pit for later that evening. Debra totally buys it and tells their tribemates how great they are. Everyone seems intrigued except for Candace, who bluntly states that she will not be attending. And with that bitchy dismissal, Sierra and Brendan appear to be in the clear with the standing excuse to search the beach as much as they want. We wanted to make a Bonfire of the Vanities joke, but we didn't think anyone would remember it by now.

The other big news for this tribe is the alpha male and alpha female, bitchy Candace and creepy Coach have sparks fly over cooking tendencies, of all things. The actual subject matter doesn't really matter, though. The subtext of the fight is twofold. The first is dominion, as each one wants to build the tribe in his/her own image. The other is that there's a thin line between love and hate. Their abrasive behavior indicates either genuine dislike or significant sexual chemistry. We hope it's dislike, as we're pretty sure their firstborn would bear the number of the beast.

Remember Gary Hogeboom on Survivor a few seasons ago? Remember how Gary Hogeboom fought so hard to make sure that no one knew he was a wealthy former professional athlete? Taj decides to go a totally different way with it. In case you haven't read her biography, Tamara "Taj" Johnson was a member of Michael Jordan's favorite band, SWV (aka Sisters With Voices). Her band has sold 15 million albums and was nominated for a Grammy. Johnson married an athlete named Eddie George. You may know him as the guy who won a Heisman Trophy at Ohio State as well as a four-time Pro Bowl player in the NFL. He's a member of the elite 10,000 yard rushing club and a potential Hall of Famer. Gary Hogeboom would hide this sort of information.

While sitting around camp, Taj says, "Hey! I'm married to Eddie George!" It's a bit more involved than that, but not much more. As a couple of the boys in the tribe inquire about her husband's profession, she calmly states that he is a football analyst for college as well as the pros. Already knowing his name is Eddie, they ask her what his last name is. She calmly responds, "George." This blows three of the four boys' minds. As Stephen looks on in confusion, later confessing he has no idea what an "Eddie George" is, Joe grows more and more confused by what Taj is saying. He keeps waiting for her to say, "Psych" or something like that, but she never does. The three guys who know who Eddie George is suddenly realize they're in the presence of a very wealthy woman. And they don't even know about SWV yet. This makes for absolutely fantastic television, but her handling of this makes us think she doesn't care about winning Survivor. We know that Gary Hogeboom is screaming at the television right now.

It's Probst time! And he's here to announce that today's challenge will be a combination of reward (fishing equipment) and immunity. The winning tribe also gets to send someone from the other team to Exile Island. Apparently, there will be some sort of Exile Island twist as well. We won't learn what that is until after the challenge is over.

This challenge is particularly brutal. When the teams arrive, it is lightly raining. By the time the game begins, it's a monsoon - and it looks a little bit cold, too. What the challenge amounts to is basically a game of full-contact tackle basketball. Teams are trying to score baskets, but opponents can use any means necessary to prevent points from being scored. Candace scores first, moments after viciously tackling Sydney into the water, then trying to drown her. Candace does not lack for killer instinct.

Midway through Round 2, Sandy gets confused about what game they're playing, and starts ripping of Erinn's bikini top. She then catcalls over to the folks watching from the sidelines. We're guessing Sandy has worked a bachelor party or two in her day. Tyson scores and gives his team a seemingly insurmountable 2-0 lead. Erinn then spends the next ten minutes adjusting her bikini.

Taj gets personal this round, gaining revenge for the earlier treatment of Sydney when she hurls Candace into the water. Clearly, Taj has learned a few things about running with the ball from her husband. It's also clear that she's never dated a basketball player, because she can't get the ball anywhere near the goal. After a series of misses, Sydney gets an offensive rebound and socres her team's first point.

Round four sees Probst berate coach for his lack of effort and dying stamina. Other than that, round four is relatively uneventful until JT scores and ties the game at two points apiece. The next team to score a basket will win. Both teams have their opportunities to win, but Tyson and Sierra both shoot air balls. Sydney just misses, but Stephen finally realizes that he outweighs Sierra by around 100%, discarding her and making the winning basket for Jalapao. He may not know who Eddie George is, but Eddie is proud of him nonetheless.

The winning team chooses to send Brendan to Exile Island, and the surprise twist is that he gets to choose someone from Jalapao to accompany him. He chooses Taj, who we presume cannot wait to tell him all the reasons why winning the million dollars would be no big deal for her.

We cut to Jalapao, where JT and Stephen are playing the "getting to know you" game. The two men seem to have a fundamental disagreement about their relationship, but otherwise, they're getting along swimmingly. Stephen professes to be smitten by the genteel country boy leading the tribe, while JT is infinitely amused by his counterpart's city folk ways. Think Green Acres as imagined by Alan Ball.

On Exile Island, we sincerely hope that Brendan does not try to make his move on Taj. Ray Lewis never had much luck against Eddie George. We don't like Brendan's chances in similar circumstances. There are two urns sitting at their temporary camp, and they're instructed to choose one for each of them. Taj's urn contains nothing, but Brendan's has a few notes that he instructed to read in private. He goes off on his own for a moment and learns that an immunity idol may be hidden on "tribal grounds" and also that if he is so inclined, he can choose to join the other tribe. This would come in handy for someone who hated their tribe or who thought they might be at risk to be voted out, but Brendan feels quite safe and sees no reason to swap.

Brendan seems to want to go off alone to find the idol, but Taj isn't terribly thrilled at being left alone. She joins him - ostensibly to help in the search - but it seems pretty clear that she just wants to uncover some information and then see if she can find the idol herself. In the end, none of this matters, as Taj intelligently deduces that "tribal grounds" probably means their respective camp sites.

Posted without comment: "I feel like I'm dealing with one of those like church women at my church that go every Sunday and wear these hats but they ain't on the up and up." -- Candace

So remember earlier, when we were trying to decide whether the feelings between Candace and Coach derive from love or hate? Yeah, about that. It's totally hate. Both of them are trying to rally troops to their side in voting each other out. Candace spouts of the quote above in referencing Coach's lack of effort in the immunity challenge, while he discusses her venomous nature with some tribe mates. Whoever loses, we win. But Candace sure does look better in a bra.

It's time to play It's Anybody But...Anybody. The show spends ten minutes showing negotiation after negotiation between the various people from the loser tribe. Sierra had seemed like the most likely choice, and we still suspect that she is the favorite (or not favorite). Given the way that Coach and Candace have divided the team, however, two or three votes could sink pretty much anybody. We're about to find out who's running the show at Timbira.

The surprise of Tribal Council comes when Erinn gets overly defensive while Jerry is talking. As he discusses the genesis of relationships, Erinn perks up and cuts him off. Probst immediately picks up on this overreaction and asks her what button of hers has been pressed. She is non-committal in her response, but our suspicion is confirmed almost immediately. Erinn has sold out Candace, someone we had considered her only ally in the game, in order to curry the favor of the rest of the group. The conclusion to be drawn is that Coach is in power, but we believe that Tyson and Debra are letting Coach think he's in charge for the time being, but will assuredly shiv him later. What matters for tonight is that Candace votes for Sierra, but is surprised to discover that poorly spelled variations of her own name are contained on the remainder of the ballots. The most shocking is the fact that Erinn has sold her out. This creates a lot of intrigue for the next couple of episodes.

Of course, what really matters here is that Taj is married to Tennessee Titans legend Eddie George.