Wade on Birmingham

Alabama on ‘Survivor’: At first glance


‘Survivor: Tocantins,’ episode 1 recap


Wade on Birmingham - Survivor TocantinsIf it’s all about first impressions, let us revel in the diversity of the 16 contestants on the 18th edition of “Survivor.” We have at least two models, a crazy old lady, several black people, and the douchebag alpha male.

And that’s just in the first five minutes.

Let’s not forget our two Alabamians, Debra Beebe and James Thomas Jr., ready to take them down for the $1 million grand prize.

Who got good camera time on the season premiere, and who was virtually invisible? Find out, after the jump …

Sierra and Sandy - Survivor Tocantins

Single ladies: Sierra, left, and Sandy receive the unpopular vote.

You pick a place and just keep truckin’ on: While Brazil is super pretty (and extra super pretty in high-def), the opening scramble is kinda flat. Host Jeff Probst kicks the already divided tribes — Jalapao in red and Timbira in black — off the back of the truck, allowing them 60 seconds to grab supplies. Timbira somehow snatches all the food and water, which gives them a slight advantage in not starving to death in the four-hour hike to camp.

First twist: Jeff says one person from each tribe will not be making the trek. Hmm … The Jalapaos (with J.T.) vote out the “old lady.” Hey, kids, she has a name: Mrs. Crazy Old Lady. Or Sandy.

The Timbiras (with Debbie) drop the scrawny sickly chick known as Sierra the model. Just wait a minute: She may have strep throat and a 102-degree fever and weigh about a buck twenty, but that does not mean she’s a scrawny— er, forget it.

James Thomas Jr. - Survivor Tocantins

Cowboy junket: Our first up-close look at J.T.

Come fly with me: Instead, the two instant outcasts will be flying by helicopter to camp, while their tribesmates schlep the gear across the rough terrain. Sandy starts celebrating, which irritates her team that much more. We’ll be seeing more of her annoying charm later.

At their respective camps, Sandy and Sierra can either hunt for the hidden immunity idol or start setting up camp. Sandy starts hunting, while sickly Sierra builds a shelter. Jalapao isn’t too keen on finding Sandy sitting idly by (after she hides the clue in what we hope was her bra). Timbira seems only mildly excited that their outcast invalid has built them a shelter as they arrive in darkness.

Later on, Sandy finds the next clue hidden on the beach, sending her to a palm tree 10 paces away. Except, she has no idea what a pace is. Her plan is going to paces now.

Meet J.T.: Eleven minutes in, we hear from J.T. “I know I’m gonna be good at catching fish and at providing, but that’ll put me out as a threat. The biggest challenge for me will be fitting in with the people.” And when we first see him, he carried a watermelon. Carried a watermelon?

James Thomas Jr. - Survivor Tocantins

Gimme shelter: J.T. helps build the Jalapao hut.

Later, we see him helping to build the Jalapao shelter (no thanks to Crazy Old Lady) on Day 2. Meanwhile, Carolina suggests building a chair and other nonsense with the leftover lumber. This ain’t “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.”

Debra Beebe and Tyson - Survivor Tocantins

Bad moon rising: Debbie laughs off Tyson’s cheekiness.

The hidden principal: Debbie? Debbie?? She’s actually in this episode, even if never given a chance to do confessional. When she, Sierra, and Tyson the Mormon go on a water run for Timbira, Tyson saucily hits the river au naturel. Great, Richard Hatch, your legacy lives on.

The good news: People who aren’t seen early in the season tend to last a while. The bad news: More airtime for naked Mormons.

Immunity challenge: Tribes race across sandy hills to the water to drag back puzzle planks on an innertube. The planks form a staircase to the top of a platform, with a small maze to solve. Winning tribe receives flint and the immunity idol.

Jalapao races to a very early lead, but then falls even with Timbira when bringing the pieces back. Sandy and former pop star Taj re-establish the Jalapao lead by completing the staircase first, but at the maze, Timbira surges ahead for the victory. Debbie is safe for the week.

James Thomas Jr. - Survivor Tocantins

Fireside chat: J.T. weighs in at Tribal Council.

Voted out: Back at the Jalapao camp, the tribe seems torn between ditzy old bat Sandy and somewhat bossy Carolina. At Tribal Council, J.T. says the first vote to toss Sandy was purely strategic to make the tribe stronger, but he had hoped she would’ve done something, anything, by the time they arrived from the hike.

And yet, by a vote of 7-1, the younger, hotter, substantially saner and somewhat less annoying Carolina is gone. First Tribal Council: blindsided! J.T. is safe.

Caroline - Survivor Tocantins

Trivial footnote: Carolina, voted out first, 7-1.

Did the Jalapaos make the right call? Will Sandy’s antics make our heads explode soon?

[Video and photos to be added.]

“Survivor: Tocantins – The Brazilian Highlands ” airs at 7 p.m. Thursdays on CBS 42.

Previous: EXCLUSIVE: Alabamians to compete on ‘Survivor’
Next: Battle royale in a Brazilian river! (Episode 2: Work shall make you free)


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Back up for grabs … more “Survivor: Tocantins” at survivor.wadeonbirmingham.com.

5 Yips for “Alabama on ‘Survivor’: At first glance”

  1. meg4fancast
    Thursday, February 12, 2009, 10:30 pm

    haha. I think this season is going to be good. Fancast is hosting a live chat every Friday with the booted contestant- starting tomorrow at 12pm EST/ 9am PST. Should be interesting! Check it out- http://www.fancast.com/blogs/live-chat/live-chat-with-the-first-booted-survivor-tocantins-castaway/

  2. Wade
    Thursday, February 12, 2009, 10:34 pm

    Be sure to ask her if she had any idea she was about to be blindsided, landslided, booted.

  3. meg4fancast
    Thursday, February 12, 2009, 10:38 pm

    Will do! She was too pouty!

  4. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Alabama on ‘Survivor’: Work shall make you free
    Thursday, February 19, 2009, 10:24 pm

    […] One shot changes everythingSurvivor: TocantinsAlabama on ‘Survivor’: debut tonightAlabama on ‘Survivor’: At first glanceEXCLUSIVE: Alabamians to compete on […]

  5. Jen
    Friday, February 20, 2009, 6:25 pm

    I carried a watermelon.

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