Erinn, Stephen, Taj, and JT... it's a pretty awesome Final 4, if you ask my opinion. I'm hoping for JT to win, but none of them would upset me at this point.
Post-Coach's ouster, the Final 4 at Forza camp were feeling pretty great. JT is thinking about jury votes, and Stephen is worried about his chances because he voted against Coach. Stephen is starting to think about who he can beat at the end... and I don't think there's any chance of him beating JT. How will this shake out?
I totally love that the Jalapao members managed to pick off all of the Timbira members (except Erinn, but she has no friends with the jury). Taj and Stephen discussed what they might do if JT lost immunity, and finished only with "dot, dot, dot... I don't think I could do that."
Tree mail was a giant spider. It looks weird and tricky.
And the challenge was in the form of a giant spider (made with netting). They have to race through three different stations in the spider, gathering puzzle pieces, and then solve a web shaped puzzle.
Stephen went down right off, but JT looked like he grew up on a net. He's rather like Ozzie, I think, in how comfortable he is in situations like this. JT was back with his first bag, and while everyone else was struggling to get back with their first, he was heading back with his second bag. For his third bag, JT and Taj were going in different directions through one tunnel, but instead of blocking him, Taj let him climb over her.
Stephen arrived with his third bag as JT was working on the puzzle. It was a very complicated puzzle, so there was plenty of opportunity to catch up. Erinn was a whiz at the puzzle and though she was last to arrive with all her pieces, she came very close to winning against JT. However, too little, too late. JT was awesome.
The plan coming out of the challenge was to vote out Erinn. Taj is talking a lot about how loyal the boys are to her, so it makes me wonder if that loyalty is going to be shaken. Erinn sat down with JT and Stephen and told them how likeable and friendly Taj has been. JT worried that Erinn might be right, and Taj might just win some votes. JT and Stephen didn't know what to do. JT said it didn't matter to him, as long as he was solid with Stephen. They talked to Taj and reassured her, but JT admitted in confessional that he wasn't sure what he was going to do.
Tribal Council 1
Coach entered the jury with his DragonSlayer Staff. I'm so happy he's not going to win this thing. Erinn admitted that she was pretty proud that she is the final standing Timbira. (And Sierra looks terrible in the jury! She looked totally different. Maybe she's just gained some weight, but she looked puffy and overplucked...)
Probst wondered if Erinn might get votes from the jury just because she's Timbira (even though none of them liked her). Probst wondered about Stephen's voting philosophy, and he was wishy washy about a straight answer. (Cue real life thunder and lightening).
Coach looked like he wanted to cry when Jeff mentioned his ouster. Bwah-ha-ha.
Taj said that she would be shocked if she was voted out. Erinn said she wouldn't be shocked at all.
Who will it be?
(Wouldn't it have been interesting if Taj and Erinn had gotten together and voted for Stephen? Just saying.)
Someone voted for "Tag," by which they meant Taj, but spelling didn't matter - she was gone. I can understand why they voted her out, because Erinn made a very valid point about her being tough to beat in the social game.
Taj vowed to vote for Erinn if she makes it to the final 2.
And I wonder what the conversation goes like for people with unique names or spellings... "So, uh... just wondering, Jjustynee, how do you spell your name, exactly? Not that I'm planning on writing it down anytime, but just wondering... I'm always gathering possible future baby names... I know I'm 56 and I'm not likely to have any more kids, but you know, just in case...."
So mispellings are understandable, I suppose.
JT regretted voting out Taj, because Erinn had a severe case of diarrea of the mouth, congratulating herself for managing to get rid of Taj, pretty much, and it was annoying to both him and JT.
Erinn chatted with Stephen while JT went off on a walk, and she said that she will bring Stephen to the final 2. She brought up the very valid point that JT and Stephen don't want to go up against each other. Stephen weighed his loyalty for JT against the possibility of winning against him... JT reassured him that he will bring him to the Final 2 if given the chance. Stephen agreed, but didn't seem as committed.
And it's time for the Rites of Passage, on the way to the final Immunity Challenge.
Carolina, who I was hoping would do better... Candace, who I was hoping would do better, and who was friends with Erinn, as much as anyone could... Jerry, who I was hoping to do better (notice a trend here?) .... Sandy who I wished hadn't done as well ... young Spencer, who I was hoping would do better (the trend continues).... Beautiful Sydney, who I really liked... Joe who I hardly got to know ... Brendan "the first dragon to be slain." I love his granola... Tyson and his giant ego, where the game started to turn around for Jalapao... Sierra, who got really far considering her start.... Debbie, master coat tail rider, and stronger than you'd expect... Coach, who seems to have duped the Final three into thinking that he never lied in the game... the editors had some fun putting together his clip package, his samarai hair blowing in the wind, dramatically... and finally, Taj, who was pretty awesome in the end, way better than I expected her to be.
The final 3 put the tokens of those voted out onto what looked like a hibachi grill, and watched them burn before heading to the final immunity challenge.
Final Immunity Challenge
And it's not the traditional stand-on-a-stick challenge! It's a chute with balls going through a roller coaster, and they have to catch the ball at the bottom, and put it back in the top. And add balls, so they'll basically be juggling. Oh - and with one hand tied behind their backs. Awesome. And there was more than one exit for the balls.
Erinn was the first one out, dropping a ball. And it's between Stephen and JT. Stephen had a couple bobbles and almost dropped. They are both up to 4 balls, and it's hectic. Stephen ended up bobbling again and dropped a ball.. and the final immunity went to JT. Good for him.
So, who will he take? I don't think it matters much, since I really think he's going to win.
Back at camp, Stephen was pretty relieved not to win immunity, and not have to make the "scumbag" decision of whether to take Erinn or JT. JT is struggling with his decision. Erinn told him that she thought that Stephen would have taken her instead of JT, and that made him think a little. He wondered if Stephen would be able to talk his way into the million dollars. JT asked Stephen point blank if he would have taken Erinn, and Stephen said it wasn't true, and said that he is sure JT is going to win. JT isn't as sure, and struggled right up to the end.
Tribal Council 2
Taj was looking hotttt. Stephen even made a face at her hotness. (And Sierra was looking better at this one, too.) Erinn pitched her case, that JT would be able to win against her, and Stephen pitched his, that they had been together throughout the whole game, and it's all about loyalty.
JT still seemed unsure about Stephen in the final 2, and Stephen brought up that they promised that they would have breakfast on Day 39 on day 2, and Probst said "Because, next to the million dollars, breakfast with a friend is more important."
Probst read the one vote dramatically, and...
Stephen is in the final 2! I'm actually pleased with this outcome, because I think it is more in JT's character, and I like to see him sticking to it.
I think this is one of the best Final 2's in a long time. Tree Mail delivered their promised breakfast, with eggs, sausages, bread, pancakes... champagne. They cooked everything, didn't have to think about strategy, just had to enjoy their wonderful Survivor Grand Slam. Good for them.
Stephen noted that their champagne tasted like victory. JT said that his first impression of Stephen was that he was strong, but not really physically, and wondered if he was a bible thumper. Stephen had thought that JT was a total charmer, and a good ol' boy from the South. What they discovered, Stephen said, was that though their backgrounds were entirely different, their minds work in similar ways.
Off to Final Tribal!
Stephen's opening statement basically said that, though he and JT made most decisions together, he thought that the game was more of a struggle for him, because he'd never even been camping before.
JT put on his best awww shucks, I'm not as good a speaker as Stephen, but brought up the fact that he never got a vote during any tribal council, and the fact that he took the more challenging decision of bringing Stephen with him instead of Erinn.
And it's time for Jury Questioning.
Brendan congratulated the two of them, and asked Stephen why his growth in the game should get him the million, wondering if he should be handicapped because of his inexperience. He asked JT if he thought growth was a relevent reason to vote for someone, and he said absolutely not, because though it is something to bring home, it's not something to win the money, and said that Stephen spent a lot of time in the shadows. Stephen made a rebuttal that hiding in the shadows is a valid strategy in the game, and JT responded that he thinks the person who had his neck out there more is more deserving. I'd buy that. Point - JT, I think.
Erinn asked Stephen about his different alliances, and noted that the only one he seemed to stick with was JT, so why shouldn't she just vote for JT? Stephen said that he was maleable, and that's a good way to play the game. Erinn asked JT why he felt that Stephen was the stronger person to bring to the end, and he said he just saw Stephen as completely strong.
Debbie started by telling them that her decision is not made up. She told JT that she first saw him as a really honest guy, but came to wonder if he was really a liar. He said that he only lied when he had to. She asked Stephen if he would have brought Erinn or JT to the finals. Stephen said that he just didn't know, but she wasn't happy with that answer, and wanted honesty and clarity. He admitted that he thinks it would be Erinn, though he hoped that he would have brought JT, but feared he would have caved and taken Erinn.
Coach brought up that JT and Stephen were the last two remnants of the Power Alliance, and quoted his favorite person (himself) "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another." He asked JT if he had kept his honestly and integrity, and how he was the noble warrior, putting others ahead of himself. JT brought up the fact that he didn't vote for Coach, and said that he risked a million dollars to keep his word with Stephen. Coach asked the same question of Stephen. Stephen said he voted for every one person in the jury, and that made him more noble, and he also hasn't said anything bad about JT.
Sierra said that she's already heard enough from Stephen, but wondered why JT thinks that Stephen is so much stronger, and said that she didn't think he chose the stronger person when he voted out Taj. She said she would have rather seen him with Tyson, or Debbie, who she saw to be stronger.
Tyson asked if JT thought Stephen was an assett to get him to the finals, and JT said that he thinks he could have, but it wouldn't have been as easy. Stephen said that they were a unique pair. I expected more of Tyson.
Taj said she was crushed and betrayed, and wondered why it was so hard to put Coach's name down, when it seemed so easy to vote her out. He said it was the hardest vote he made. Taj wondered about Stephen, and how he voted her out. Stephen said that JT wanted to vote her out, because she is so strong in challenges, and he just went along with it. JT objected, and Stephen said there were times that he saved Taj when JT wanted to vote her out.
The two of them had a bit of a spat, and JT seemed really crushed that Stephen would have brought Erinn to the end. Stephen said he'd never made that decision in his heart, and said that their friendship meant more than the million.
How is it going to shake out?
And it's LIVE in NYC.
Stephen decided to keep his beard, and it's a good look for him. JT looks so different without his jungle stubble.
First vote - JT. Second vote - "The Warrior." That would be Coach's. Third vote - JT. Fourth vote, and last that counted - JT. For the second time in Survivor, it was a unanimous vote.
I'm so happy for JT. He really did amazingly.
Can I just say, I wish the reunion was longer? Never enough time.
JT broke down in tears about his win, and Probst was surprised. He said that everyone loves JT (and hates Coach). JT admitted that everyone is suprised right now, because he didn't ever let it slip how well he did - and his parents thought he had come in fourth at best. He also said it is much tougher than it looks. He also said that he was initially unsure about Stephen, but his commitment impressed him very quickly, and he said that Stephen has one of the best hearts he'd ever seen.
Stephen said that Coach's blabbering mouth and trust of JT brought all of Tyson's plans right to their ears. JT admitted that his reaction to Stephen's "betrayal," was mostly put on, trying to pull out some votes.
Brenden said that Timbira might have had too many members going into the merge, and that they were disfunctional, so it didn't work out well.
Erinn (who looks SO much better after a hair brush) said that she was just trying to get higher up.
Taj said that no one ever thought of voting off JT because he was so sweet.
And then, Probst presented JT with his broken off tooth. He said that his mom might like it, and she seemed just as sweet as her son, saying that maybe she won't have to worry about him anymore, since he won the million.
It's the montage that Probst loves - the pouring rain. If you read Probst's blog at all, you know how much he loves the rain. he he.
Replay of Taj's moment with her husband, and it was pretty awesome the second time around, too. Jeff asked her how much of a culture shock Survivor was for her, and she said it was a huge challenge, but I admire her for taking it on and doing her best. She is all scarred up, and she was sad about that, because she used to have really great skin. Her hubby was in the audience, and he's so sweet.
Probst called Tyson Delightfully Nasty. I'd agree with that. Tyson said that great men are either loved or hated, like Jesus. Ha ha. Yes, delightfully nasty.
Probst said that Sierra (who's looking kind of like Kate Hudson) was despised, for reasons he didn't understand. She said that she found herself when she got betrayed, and said "I slayed the dragon." Good for her.
Coach. Coach. Coach. Please stop calling him The Dragon Slayer, Probst. Still, fantastic montage of how much of a tool Coach was. Coach said people on the street have been pretty cool to him. He said that his friends understand his eccentric side, and called his moments on Exile Epic and Heroic. Eyes were rolled. Coach's tale of Amazonian capture was laughed at universally, but he still claims it is the complete truth. Coach refused a lie detector test from Probst, but did take one (as a blind side to Probst) from a "leading lie detector authority in Hollywood." Probst questioned the validity of the test, said he would be calling him, and he has a video tape of the lie detector test - bet that will be on YouTube.
The lie detector test said he was indeed captured by natives, but not everyone was buying it. I think it's possible that he's told himself it's all true for so long that it has become truth to him. I don't believe he's told what actually happened. He brought his coaching team with him, and the author of his book, and a lady friend, who said that they only saw Coach and not Ben Wade, and says that she slays the dragon. Nice.
Top 3 for Fan Favorite - JT, Taj, and Sierra. Awesome. JT won the fan favorite and got an extra $100,000.
Quick updates. Joe's leg is fine, Sydney's modeling and doesn't have too many scars. Spencer had a blast even though he wasn't out there long. Jerry gets ridiculed by his buddies, Candice was in a commercial, which suprised Jeff. Carolina wished she'd kept her mouth shut, but still thinks Survivor changed her life, has no regrets, and loves Jalapao. Sandy loves that she got a second chance to make a first impression.
What is Probst's necklace? Candy necklace, locket? He said it would be a mystery, to whoever won it in the Survivor Auction.
JT says he might go into a business venture with Stephen. Cool.
Where do we go next?
Samoa, straight from Treasure Island. It's beautiful. I can't wait to see it. Now, to wait until fall... *sigh*