Wade on Birmingham

Alabama on ‘Survivor’: The last of the Timbirans


‘Survivor: Tocantins,’ episode 13 recap


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Wade on Birmingham - Survivor Tocantins

More than a month in the wilds of Brazil, our fearless five players — Coach, J.T., Taj, Stephen and Erinn — are so very close to the end. “Survivor: Tocantins” still has a few surprises 33 days in:

  • Jalapao, once outnumbered, has outlasted Timbira since the merge.
  • Coach is still here?!
  • Taj and Stephen managed to dump their cross-tribal alliance and stay relatively clean.
  • J.T. and Stephen have run the show, and no one seems to mind.

So what’s left? Well, after the ouster of Auburn’s Debra Beebe during the previous episode, it’s up to James Thomas Jr. of Mobile to push through to the Final Four.

Can Coach survive on his own? Will Erinn talk her way out of the Final Four? Will the Hidden Immunity Idol ever make an appearance at Tribal Council? Find out, after the jump …

James Thomas Jr. - Survivor Tocantins

Despite all their rage, they are still just …:
The amazing race; J.T. swings and connects.

Reward Challenge: This season, the producers should simply call it the “Excuse to Let J.T. Pig Out Challenge.”

Something along the lines of contestants compete with J.T. by running (or hopping, with feet shackled together) through a giant maze shaped like the word “SURVIVOR.” The eventual losers and J.T. then race to lash together a long pole to hook a rope with a sandbag. Then, they watch as J.T. swings the sandbag to knock down three targets to raise a flag.

The J.T. wins an overnight luxury trip to the governor’s mansion, plus picks a non-J.T. to visit Exile Island.

Coach keeps it close, but continues to lose out on rewards. J.T. wins reward, along with a companion of his choice. He selects his BFF Stephen.

Coach, Erinn, Taj - Survivor Tocantins

Love is a battlefield: Coach says, ‘Hit me with your best shot.’
Erinn, left, and Taj seem ready to deliver the knockout punch.

The worrier alliance: Coach, who has seemingly spent the past month talking up his dragon slayer street cred and near-death exploits around the world, is scared of Exile Island. Or as we like to call it, Exile Pile of Sand.

After J.T. selects Coach to go (only he and J.T. haven’t made the fateful trip), he declares he’ll take the “monastic approach”: no food, no fire, just spiritual mumbo-jumbo. Erinn calls him out immediately, calling it the “martyr approach.”

Is that any way to talk about our lord and savior? Coach is dying for our sins!!

He does mention his many ailments, including a ruptured disc, another one about to slip and his (unseen-to-date) asthma attacks. But he seems to brush aside Erinn’s snark with, “Hit me with your best shot, Pat Benatar.”

Thanks, Goldmember. (“And that’s the way, uh huh, uh huh, I like it. KC and the Sunshine Band.”)

Coach - Survivor Tocantins

Coach, renegade angel: The warrior tours Exile Island.

At Exile, he takes a large branch to use as a cane, and he enjoys his spiritual retreat, narrating his adventure in the third person. George is getting upset!

James Thomas Jr. and Stephen - Survivor Tocantins

Sausagefest 2K9: Stephen, left, and J.T. celebrate in style.

Couple’s getaway: J.T. and Stephen fly in their private plane to the governor’s mansion, a romantic spot with great view, high-class amenities, the perfect lovers’ vacation destination.

Once there, they shower (separately) but not before being shocked by their own reflections in the mirror.

For the big meal, they enjoy a churrasco, an endless parade of grilled meats on skewers. Stephen observes, “We’re having a meat festival!”

Really, we can’t top that.

Taj - Survivor Tocantins

Two feet away: Taj stands tall in the Immunity Challenge.

Immunity Challenge: Coach comes back, a little worse for wear, though Taj doesn’t seem to buy it. He says Exile was “frickin’ awesome” as a test for himself, which we’re sure he aced.

Anyway …

Contestants stand between two walls, bare feet on small footholds. At the 15- and 30-minute mark, they step down to smaller footholds. Last one still up wins immunity.

At 30 minutes, Erinn falls, followed quickly by Stephen and Taj. Once again, it comes down to Coach and J.T.

J.T. asks host Jeff Probst if he has any food, like a bribe. Unbelievable! He just went on his umpteenth reward feast and he still wants more. Jeff politely demurs.

At 50 minutes, Coach’s back spasms, and he steps down. J.T. wins immunity, and Alabama is going to the Final Four.

James Thomas Jr. and Coach - Survivor Tocantins

Back to nature: Coach lies down after a back spasm,
then hobbles back to camp with J.T.’s help.

Coach lies down on the ground in pain, as the others gather around to help him up. With J.T.’s help, he limps back to the Forza camp.

Who mourns for Timbira? It’s clear that Taj, J.T. and Stephen are in control, and that Erinn or Coach will be next out. Taj and Erinn aren’t buying Coach’s sudden weakness.

Coach, on the other hand, says he’ll be the last of the Timbirans, the last of the Mohicans. Either way, Jalapao has turned the tables.

Debra Beebe - Survivor Tocantins

A matter of principal: Debbie joins the jury.

Voted out: Debbie’s back, and looking mighty fine. Unfortunately, she’s part of the silent jury for this episode.

Tribal Council brings out the best Coach to date, as he explains the wacky differences between men and women and ends with a poem. Really.

With friend and foe,
we march to the battle plain.
Some to seek success,
others to seek fame.

We play with honor,
for the love of this game.
And with armor or without
we will toil in vain.
So that someday, someone, somewhere
will remember our name.

(abcb defege, by the way)

Brendan, Tyson, Sierra, Debbie - Survivor Tocantins

Everyone’s a critic: From left, Brendan, Tyson, Sierra and
Debbie endure Coach’s rhyming scheme.

Before the vote, Jeff reminds the players that it’s the last opportunity to play the Hidden Immunity Idol. But Taj apparently doesn’t need it.

Coach and Erinn tie at 2 votes each. It’s going to be a squeaker …

Coach - Survivor Tocantins

12th out: Coach.

And like that, the dragon slayer is slain: Coach loses 3-2, becoming the fifth member of the jury.

Sunday: season finale live blog

Video: Coach’s final words

Video: Coach the day after

James Thomas Jr., Erinn, Stephen, Taj - Survivor Tocantins

Your Final Four.

Meet your Final Four …

  • J.T. the “Cowboy”: “I’m an all-around competitor in this game. It was made for me.”
  • Stephen the “City Boy”: “My story is a David-and-Goliath story.”
  • Taj the “Mom” (wow, weak): “If I have to smile to your face and stab you in the back, that’s the name of the game, I’m gonna do it.”
  • Erinn the “Wild Card”: “I came out here because I want to go home with a million bucks.”

Three Tribal Councils, two hours, one Survivor.

Has J.T. played a perfect game? Can he beat Taj, Stephen or Erinn in the end?

[Video and photos to be added.]

“Survivor: Tocantins – The Brazilian Highlands ” airs at 7 p.m. Thursdays on CBS 42, but concludes its season at 7 p.m. Sunday.

Previous: Episode 12 – Debbie does desperation
Next: The big Sunday two-hour finale, plus one-hour live reunion. Join us here for the live blog with special guest Jen Barnett! (Episode 14 – Finale live blog)

• • •

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

3 Yips for “Alabama on ‘Survivor’: The last of the Timbirans”

  1. Jen
    Saturday, May 16, 2009, 5:58 pm

    I can’t wait for the liveblog–I love this season! My question about this episode; how is coach losing both a right and left spinal disc if he only has one spine? And barely that one?

    Everyone should be looking forward to Jeff zinging Coach during the reunion and getting no response. Go JT!

  2. Wade
    Sunday, May 17, 2009, 7:02 pm

    Ah, Coach, I’m sure Jeff Probst will have a zillion questions for him during that reunion.

  3. Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Alabama on ‘Survivor’: Finale live blog
    Sunday, May 17, 2009, 11:11 pm

    […] Wade on Birmingham » Blog Archive » Alabama on ‘Survivor’: The last of the T… Sunday, May 17, 2009, 11:02 pm 3 […]

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