Survivor: Tocantins Recap
They Both Went Bananas
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
May 1, 2009

Dudes. Why did you vote her off? Dudes.

Survivor fans, watch for our quiz, How Well Do You Know: Survivor: Tocantins, to be published the morning after the series finale!

Previously on Survivor, Coach and Tyson refused to walk into the end zone as if they had been there before. The two men had convinced themselves that the other player in the game who could beat them would be Brendan. Once the "dragon" had been "slain", they were certain of victory. It's pretty easy to tell that Coach and Tyson have never watched this show before. After an entire episode of gloating about the prior vote and taunting Sierra about being the next one to go, the game's real power players, JT and Stephen, sandbagged Tyson. Why do bad things happen to miserable bastards?

The suspense in tonight's episode involves Coach, Sierra and Debbie. These are the three players who currently exist outside an alliance. Well, Sierra is technically in a super-secret alliance, but loyalty in that group is lacking. Brendan barely even talked to Taj and Stephen, JT only stumbled in by accident and pretty much everyone treats Sierra as if she is something to be scraped off of their shoes. Last season, we had a particular fondness for Sugar, one of the nicest, most engaging players in recent memory. Afterward, all of her opponents stated that she had been incredibly annoying with her constant crying jags. It's entirely possible the same is true of Sierra, but we reiterate that she is pound-for-pound one of the fiercest competitors this season. She deserves much more respect from her peers than she has received thus far.

Night 27 at Forza sees several differing emotions. Sierra is giddy about the fact that she somehow survived thanks to a last minute call from the governor. JT and Stephen, fearing a crazed reaction from Coach, explain to Deb and him that they did not want the duo to feel guilty about Tyson's elimination. What they claim is that by doing it behind the backs of those players, they have been absolved of blame. Coach and Deb assure them that this was incredibly thoughtful of them and they appreciate such consideration from their teammates. What JT and Stephen are really saying is, "You're next, bitches." What Coach and Deb are really thinking is, "We're the bitches who are next."

Deb, who hasn't been much of a presence thus far this season, takes this opportunity to state terms to her "allies". When JT and Stephen assure her that they have no intention of voting her off and plan to take her to the final four, she claims to believe them. This is like telling Coach you believe every word out of his mouth. Speak of the lying devil, Deb takes this opportunity to vent to her only remaining teammate. When Coach is all you've got, the applicable zen philosophy is that you are full of emptiness. Even so, Deb proceeds to recount to Coach the status of several players in the game. To her mind, Sierra and Erinn are the next to go and "I am not going to be going out fifth". She plots to pull together all of the Timbira members, meaning she wants to work a deal with the two women they have shunned since day one. Good luck with that.

Probst sighting!

The reward challenge is one of those designed to show which members of the tribe are annoying, engaging, or, God forbid, Coach-y. Here are the questions and the majority opinion on the answers:

Who is not living up to their potential the most? Coach wins. Amusingly, Coach celebrates as if this is a good thing.

Who would squander the million dollars the quickest? Sierra is the choice here, which she doesn't like at all.

Who would never survive on their own? We really, really want this answer to be Coach, but Debbie is the winning answer.

Who would you trust with your life? This answer is JT and it appears to be unanimous. He gloats about this in a monologue, pointing out that in the game, he hasn't been the least bit trustworthy thus far. The fact that he's been pegged as a simple country boy is really working well for him.

Who is most likely to stab you in the back? Sierra is again the winning choice.

Who would you least like to see win this game? The correct answer is Sierra. Sierra is not winning Miss Congeniality this season. She's the least popular model this side of Tyra Banks.

The people who get answers right are allowed to take a whack at other totems. In the first round, this causes Erinn to somewhat arbitrarily target Sierra, Deb to take out some frustration on JT, Taj to remind Deb that she only pretends to like the woman, Coach bullies Sierra some more (yeah, that will make her want to align herself with you, Einstein) and Sierra retaliates by taking a machete to Coach. We only wish we made that statement in its most literal sense.

In round two, Deb takes a whack at Erinn (again, you want these people to be your allies), JT eliminates Sierra, and Erinn returns the favor on Deb. Round three sees Taj and Erinn take out Coach immediately, allowing him to join Sierra on the bench, where they can exchange glares. Stephen finishes off Deb, but she gets to return the favor. Proving how little strategy she is using at the moment, she instead targets Erinn for a second time. When Erinn is not feasting on the reward, I'm certain she'll be totally open to negotiating with you, Deb.

The rest of the game sees Taj target JT. Rather than return the favor, JT eliminates Erinn. Perhaps his southern accent will make her believe it when he says, "I'm sorry, baby." Note to Erinn: he is not in fact sorry. At all. She figures that and takes this opportunity to return the favor by eliminating JT. This leaves only Taj and Stephen with Stephen getting first whack (hee HEE hee) at her rope. They both get the next answer right and take a shot at one another. On the final question about who least deserves to win Survivor, Taj picks Coach, the answer that should be right, and Stephen picks Sierra, the answer that is right. Stephen wins the reward challenge. He is allowed to bring two people (he chooses Taj and JT, of course) and sends Erinn to Exile Island in order to guarantee that if a new immunity idol pops up, his alliance grabs it. Deb would be mortified to hear that he names his allies as Taj, Erinn, JT and himself. Deb, Coach and Sierra appear likely to be the next three to go.

There are two significant occurrences at the reward feast. The first is that a three-year-old child falls and hurts her head, triggering Taj's mommy mode. She cradles the girl and hugs her until she stops crying. Then, she cries during a camera confessional as she discusses how much this makes her miss her own son. Her inner turmoil does not, however, prevent her from taking a swim in a particularly nasty pond along with Stephen and JT.

These three discuss strategy and let the viewer in on the actual pecking order in the tribe these days. Coach is going to be propped along indefinitely since everyone views him as a fraud and not the least bit of a threat. Watching that tonight probably made him cry even more than Taj just did. He's the strongest, dammit. HE IS THE DRAGON SLAYER!!! They see him as the squire to the dragon slayer who gets tragically eaten midway through act two. Meanwhile, they perceive Deb as a master strategist who represents a threat. Most shocking of all to Coach, they want Sierra gone because Stephen finally gets what we've been saying all along. She is a badass competitor. She looks to be gone tonight.

Tonight's episode offers a look back at the halcyon days of 2001 when talking to the hand was all the rage. When Coach and Deb attempt to berate Sierra into allying with them once, she gets all pissy about the fact that they tried to vote her off the previous night. How incredibly selfish of her. Infuriated by such logic, Deb throws up her hand in Sierra's face and states that she is done. That's it. She's done. No more. She has had it up to her with ungrateful Sierra, who should be a lot more appreciative of her original tribe. After all, they have only tried to vote her off three times now. That's barely even a third of the time! What is it with this chick and her high and mighty attitude???

A humorous pair of conversations occurs at this point. Recognizing who the power players are, Sierra reports back to Stephen that Deb and Coach just tried to reunite the Timbira group. She hopes to curry favor with the three people in command of the game in this manner. Rather than believe her, the boys go back to Coach and ask him for his depiction of the prior conversation. He proceeds to describe a chat that may very well have happened, but it certainly wasn't shown on this broadcast. In this one, he not only rejected any such ideas of reforming the Timbira alliance but the mere thought of it turns his stomach! And he told Sierra that! Why would she lie about it? He hates liars who lie.

Probsty-poo is back! The Immunity Award challenge requires hooks to ensnare chain-linked bags. JT draws first blood, followed by Taj, Debbie and Stephen. When Coach scores, Erinn gets defensive and claims that this is happening because she hasn't eaten in three days. Apparently, you can't toss a hook straight if you haven't dined in awhile. Coach becomes the first contestant to grab his three bags, followed quickly by JT. Deb also gets her three bags, which means that she moves along to the final with Coach and JT. They must complete one of those mazes where they have to take a ball to the end without dropping it through a hole. JT is ahead, but then he loses his ball in the middle. Coach takes Immunity, and also uses this opportunity to remind us that he's the Dragon Slayer. He really took it to that ball on the maze, after all.

The final segment prior to Tribal Council shows that Deb has lost it, which has a tendency to happen to the older players this far into the game. Sierra attempts to show that Coach and Deb lied about their prior conversation, so she confronts them in front of everyone in the tribe. Coach first tries to bully her out of the conversation altogether. When that fails, he paints her as the liar and Deb joins in with a particularly useful "Yeah!"

At this point, Sierra again shows the feisty attitude that has made her the most surprisingly tough player this season. She proceeds to recite specific details of their conversation, completely catching Coach and Deb off guard. They are speechless for a moment, a telling turn of events. Eventually, Coach musters up the ability to deny it and Deb starts shouting and crying about how terribly hard this has been on her, having to deal with Sierra for a month. You know what is a great career move for a principal? Stating that they just cannot relate to much younger people for extended periods of time.

Tribal Council is heated once more. Sierra pulls no punches in describing the events that demonstrate Coach's duplicity. His head almost shoots off his body as he nods it in disgust at her words. Coach would never lie! He simply tells the truth in a way that no one else is smart enough to understand. JT almost goes into a giggle loop enjoying Coach's "explanation of events". He chooses this opportunity to further berate her, once again focusing on her age as a demonstration of her honesty. If Coach and Logic met at a party, an introduction would be required.

While we hope Deb is the one who goes home tonight, the reality is that Sierra has absolutely no friends on the show. Despite being bright, hard working, and remarkably competitive, she doesn't have any support. The fact that she made it all the way until the final seven after almost being voted off before even reaching camp should feel like a win for her. Given how feisty she is, we doubt that this is the case, though. A very strong player is voted off, 4-2, with Stephen getting a surprising vote as well.

"I think Sierra just caught Coach in a lie." -- Stephen. This is an accomplishment on the scale of finding a dolphin in water. At Sea World.