‘Survivor: Tocantins’ Finale Recap: Bro Before Dough?

Previously on ‘Survivor’: The mighty Dragon Slayer was slain, but not without controversy. The original Jalapao bro-mance of Stephen and JT split their vote. Was this a minor domestic squabble or the beginning of a tragic divorce?

This Week: The Final Four gets whittled down to one as somebody walks out with the million dollar prize.

39 Days, 16 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Here’s the tribe as it currently stands.

Forza (wearing green)

•    Erinn – 26 – Hairstylist
•    JT (The Warrior) – 24 – Cattle Rancher
•    Taj – 37 – Former Pop Star
•    Stephen (The Wizard) – 29 – Corporate Consultant

Fun Fact: I’m bringing you this report live from the lovely Ed Sullivan Theater in New York City. And judging by the crowd’s reactions, JT and Taj are overwhelming favorites.

Another Fun Fact: Eddie George is wearing a Team Taj shirt. I’m not saying I invented that phrase, but I’ve been using it for quite some time.

Yet Another Fun Fact: Cirie from “Survivor: Panama – Exile Island“ did a version of “Rapper’s Delight.”

Yup…that was worth the two-hour drive up from Philadelphia.

Back from Tribal Council and JT and Stephen are having a bit of a tiff over this evening’s vote. JT explains that he had promised never to vote for Coach. Stephen is understandably upset as this makes him look like a jerk in Coach’s eyes.

The next morning, Stephen and Taj discuss the possibility of voting out JT. Really? Thirty seven days into this mess and you’re now realizing that JT might be a threat? How many immunities does the guy have to win? However, both say they’re too emotionally invested in the guy to ever vote him out.

Tree mail arrives in the shape of a huge spider. As someone who is freaked out by spiders, I don’t like where this is headed.

Immunity Challenge Time: OK…whew. Fortunately, it’s a big spider jungle gym. I’m not afraid of spider jungle gyms, so we may proceed. The players will need to climb to four different sections to retrieve four different bags of puzzle pieces. Once they have them all, they’ll have to complete a spider web-shaped puzzle. I’m not afraid of spider web-shaped puzzles either. The first person to complete their puzzle will win immunity.

JT dominates the puzzle piece retrieving portion of the challenge, but struggles putting the puzzle together. Erinn is last to get all her pieces, but starts tearing through the puzzle. Unfortunately for her, JT’s lead was too great to overcome, and he wins immunity for the 100th time.

Meanwhile at the Ed Sullivan Theater, the crowd breaths a sigh of relief because nobody can stand Erinn. Well, her parents are here, they probably dig her.

Back at camp, and Erinn doesn’t want to scramble for votes, she just wants to make her case. And it’s a good one, as she knows that Taj would be tough to beat in the final two.

At the first Tribal Council, Coach shows up with his Slayer Staff® which is seven kinds of super cool. (Slayer Staff is a registered trademark of Dragon Slayer Inc.)

J-Pro asks Taj if she thinks Erinn would get votes from the strongly Timbiran jury. Taj smartly lies and says that she thinks she would.

Later, Stephen hems and haws a bit over who he’s going to vote for. Probst calls him out on this much to the delight of the folks at the Ed Sullivan Theater.

Chat Live With the Final Four!

Voting Time: Erinn votes for Taj, Taj votes for Erinn, and the rest of the votes are double secret.

One vote for Taj, a vote for Erinn, a second vote for Taj, and the sixth member of the jury is…Taj.

Meanwhile at the Ed Sullivan Theater the crowd is shocked. As in, an audible gasp. Team Taj is dead. Long live Team Taj.

During her farewell speech, Taj lets us know that if Erinn gets to the finals she’ll have her vote.

Back at camp, Erinn is telling us how every vote has gone the way “they” expected. Isn’t that cute? She thinks she’s part of the clique. JT and Stephen are already regretting this vote as they have to listen to Erinn prattle on for another day.

Later, Erinn tells Stephen that she’ll take him to the final two. Stephen knows he should take Erinn, but it’ll be a tough decision. JT says he would definitely take Stephen to the end.

Afterwards, they participate in the time-killing march of fallen comrades. You’ll be interested to know that Brendan, Jerry, Tyson, and Taj all got big reactions from those in attendance, but nobody’s reaction was as loud as Coach’s.

Immunity Challenge Time: The players will have to put a billiards-sized ball in a chute. The ball will roll around a twisting erector set pipeline then come out the bottom. The player will have to catch the ball, then place it back in the top. Eventually more balls will be added. If you drop a ball you’re out. And, the players will have one hand tied behind their back. The last player to drop a ball wins immunity.

And no, despite how much the person seated next to me wants me to, I’m not going to make a “handling balls” joke.

And seriously, between the spider jungle gym and the billiard ball erector set, I’m waiting for the kickball challenge.

There’s not a lot to describe in this, Erinn was the first one out, followed by Stephen. JT wins immunity for the 101st time.

Back at camp, Erinn plays the two cards she has left. She explains that the jury hates her (which they do) and that Stephen was willing to take her to the finals (which he was).

JT seems genuinely confused as taking Erinn would be a definite win, but he makes a good point that taking Stephen would make him look good in the eyes of the jury.

We arrive at the second Tribal Council, and Taj looks furious.

Stephen smartly sells he and JT as BFFs. Now, if JT doesn’t pick him, he’ll look like a jerk. Stephen also mentions how he and JT have been discussing being together for the “39th day” breakfast together for a long time. Probst promptly weighs the benefits of a single breakfast vs. a million dollars.

JT obviously values the company with which he shares his omelets over money as he chooses Stephen to come to the finals with him. Coach is downright giddy to see Erinn get the boot.

The next morning, JT and Stephen are greeted with the breakfast they had been looking forward to for so long. Afterwards, they share their feelings and memories of each other.

Seriously.

That night at the final Tribal Council, Stephen makes a particularly weak opening statement. He claims that he and JT worked together on everything but since it was harder for him to survive in the wild and he’s grown the most, he deserves the money more.

JT follows up by saying he made a lot of friends and that it was difficult to vote all of them out.

Quick Aside: I never understand the “It’s hard to vote you out” strategy. More than anything, the jury wants you to atone for your sins. If you lied, say you lied. If you screwed someone over, admit you screwed someone over.

Brendan is up first, and he tears Stephen apart, asking in which sport does it matter who has grown the most.

Next, Erinn calls out Stephen for being a part of three alliances and stabbing all of them in the back.

Deb then asks JT if he’s been honest or not. JT lets us know that his mother had given him permission to lie.

That might be the best excuse I’ve ever heard. Well done.

She then asks Stephen who he’d have taken to the final two. Stephen again hems and haws, but eventually admits that he would have taken Erinn.

JT looks devastated. Bro-tastrophe.

Coach is up next, he sets the stage calling it the Wizard vs. the Warrior. Coach thinks JT has been totally honest with him, but then in an odd bit, Stephen says that JT was kind of a weasel for not voting for Coach.

Stephen is not coming off well at all.

Sierra then accuses JT of not taking the strongest players because Stephen is weak.

In response to Tyson’s question, JT claims he could have gotten to the final two without Stephen. Stephen is hurt by this and the two start to bicker.

Finally, Taj breaks my heart when she asks JT why he couldn’t vote for Coach, but could vote for her. That’s actually an excellent point.

Stephen then completely throws JT under the bus saying it was JT’s idea to vote out Taj and that JT had wanted to vote her out several times before.

This has just gotten ugly between JT and Stephen, and I think Stephen is coming off like a jerk.

The jury goes off to vote, and oddly they don’t show us any of the votes. I wonder if this means that JT swept the vote and they didn’t have any Stephen votes to show.

They then cut live to the Ed Sullivan Theater and the warm-up guy is telling us to clap. Coach takes the stage doing his best Steven Seagal impersonation while Tyson is doing his best Owen Wilson impersonation. I think I smell a “Shanghai Noon” sequel!

Meanwhile, the “Survivor” house band is playing the Tribal Council music live. I can’t emphasize how cool that is. I wonder if they do weddings. Imagine the suspenseful sounds of the Tribal Council music playing while a judge says, “Do you Trish Stratus take Gordon Holmes to be you lawfully wedded husband?”

Oh yeah, the vote. The first one is for JT, a second for JT, a third for JT, and the final vote is for the winner of “Survivor: Tocantins”…JT!

Wow, it was a sweep. Stephen looks devastated and for some reason Sierra is crying.

Verdict: I don’t think anyone can debate JT’s victory. He’s probably the most dominating player since Tom Westman from “Survivor: Palau.” I don’t think Stephen could come up with a convincing argument to vote against him. If they were making all the decisions together, what was Stephen doing besides waiting for JT to win immunity?

Oh, and if you were keeping track of the “Survivor” Power Rankings Challenge, Charlie won by a final score of eleventy billion to negative four. Congratulations, Mr. Herschel.

Where Does This Season Rank? I think it’ll largely be forgettable. People will remember Coach and JT and maybe Stephen, but overall it was good gameplay without any shocking twists.

What Do You Think? Should JT have won? Do you feel bad for Taj? Where does this season rank? What are some of your ideas for “Survivor: Samoa?”

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