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May 17, 2009

Survivor: Tocantins Episode 14 (The Finale!) Recap (live blog)

J.T. Stephen. Taj. Erinn. Coach.

Aww, no Coach. Well, we'll have to settle for those first four to properly entertain us for tonight's finale. Who's your money on? The smart money says either of the boys, as Taj has plenty of moolah and Erinn...well, it seems as though no one likes Erinn, which ought to ensure her a place in the final three, but not much further.

And so it begins...

7:02: Does the show ever go to a location that doesn't have tarantulas and/or some other large spiders? That's the place I want to go when I'm a contestant.

7:04: Make no mistake. J.T. and Stephen are going to turn from friends to enemies on this show. They pretty much have to, don't they?

7:08: Damnit - tree mail was a big tease. Inside their basket was a giant fake spider, leading me to believe that maybe, just maybe, the players would be forced to endure an "eat nasty things" challenge, but no - turns out it's just a taratunla-shaped obstacle course. Still could be a good challenge, but color me disappointed.

7:10: You know how Jeff always asks the players "You guys ready to do it?" What if they said "No?" (This comment courtesy of Mrs. Fletch.)

7:13: Can you say "no drama?" J.T. is destroying the field. Barring him having one hell of a time with the puzzle element, this challenge is o-v-e-r.

7:16: I call fancy editing shenanigans. I think J.T. had that challenge pretty much locked up, but we were made to believe that Erinn had a shot. Or perhaps not, as Erinn pretty much just validated what we had seen on screen.

7:20: Again with the spiders?!? I'm sensing a theme...will Coach be showing up to Final Council in a spider outfit or something? Will Stephen get bitten by a radioactive one, bulking him up and correcting his vision, giving him a better shot at the final Immunity Challenge?

7:24: I can't believe that Stephen and J.T. are seriously concerned with Taj having a better chance of winning the game than either of them. Yes, she has played a decent strategic game, teaming up with them and sticking with that alliance for the entire game. However, financial considerations aside, she hasn't done jack in terms of challenges or any other physical side of the game. I'd be happy to take her to the Final Council.

7:28: This has to be the most courteous final four in some time. Not that it's a bad thing, but none of these people has any animosity towards any of the other three. As such, Jeff seems to be really struggling to drive up the drama here, and the producers even turned on the fake lightning/thunder machine in order to make it seem more dramatic. Wise choice, CBS.

7:31: Baby did a bad, bad thing. Seriously, guys? Taking out Taj? What exactly did that accomplish? Now, not only is there the option of Erinn making the Final Council, which will be judged by a jury made up almost entirely of her prior tribe members, but even Taj would be picking Erinn over either guy. Seems like a lose-lose to me. If anything, the wiser choice would have been for either guy to stab the other guy in the back, but what do I know?

7:39: Stephen = King of the Passive People. Only he would rather NOT win Immunity so that he won't have to make the decision of who to take to the final two. Call me crazy, but I'd rather have a 50% chance of winning than a 33% chance. And here we've been told that Steve's a math whiz.

7:42: ETA to the annoying "Walk of Dead Players:" three minutes and counting. Time to hit pause, go have some dessert, then come back and fast-forward through the most annoying tradition in every Survivor finale. At least there's no Pontiac Azteks being given away...be back in about 15 minutes.

8:07: Well, it's 8:07 my time, but since we paused it, I now am unaware of what "show time" it is. On the bright side, we've just skipped through about 8 minutes of clips of people we barely, if at all, remember, and since we'll be skipping commercials, I should be all caught up soon. I'll let you know when I'm back "live."

8:09: Wow, the heavy symbolism of burning trinkets. Deep.

8:11: Apparently the producers hired the set designers/artists from the film Fracture, as the challenge features intricate rolling ball structures. Interesting...

8:13: Okay, I admire the artwork and engineering that it took to create these rolling ball thingees, but this has to be one of the dumber final immunity challenges of all time. C'mon, as Jeff put it, this could be a "million-dollar challenge," and what's it testing? Their hand-eye coordination? This is supposed to prove how much they want a million bucks? Gimme a break.

8:15: Well, I guess the style of the challenge matters not - we got the same outcome. J.T. wins immunity yet again. He hasn't appeared to be nearly as dominant, but this has to have been the closest we've seen to an Ozzy-like run on challenge victories, no? What's he won - 6 of the last 8 or so?

8:19: Despite the fact that Erinn's former tribemates make up the vast majority of the jury, I can't see how J.T. doesn't win the game at this point. The way I see it, if Erinn goes to the final two, the jury, made up of a group of people that doesn't particularly care for her, will blast her for 40 minutes. On the other hand, if Stephen is in the final two, he ought to stutter, stammer and make excuses the entire time, coming off as whiny at best and cowardly and moronic at worst. Meanwhile, J.T. has held the same, laid-back stance throughout the game, never fretting too much over decisions made, shaking them off with a "what's done is done" stance. On top of that, he's polite and smart - I don't see him pissing people off any more than they might be already.

8:27: Who gives a holy hell if a Survivor "friendship" is broken over the chance at a million dollars? I sure wouldn't. Stephen's "breakfast" reminder was weak.

8:29: Big disappointment from me on the Coach's Fashion front. Really, Coach - a "Shark's Cove" shirt? WWTDT? What Would the Dragons Think?

8:30: I'm unsure of whether or not J.T.'s odds of winning went down at all going against Stephen as opposed to Erinn, but I'm glad he did it. Coach is, too. Breakfast is, too.

8:33: "Dude, you and I are gonna be friends for life." - Stephen, pathetic Survivor contestant to his mancrush J.T. Call me crazy, but I have a hunch that the feeling isn't entirely mutual. And yes, I do feel bad for Stephen. He needs G.O.B. and Michael Bluth to help him through his dark times (yes, that's another Arrestested Development reference).

8:35: Day 39 Breakfast!!!! Day 39 Breakfast!!!! Day 39 Breakfast!!!! Day 39 Breakfast!!!!

8:37: What are the odds that Stephen goes in for a kiss here? It's coming...

8:37: Yes! How refreshing! I was just thinking, wouldn't it be cool if the final two avoided the cliched "burn down camp before leaving" bit? And they didn't do it. Note to the producers: cut out the "Walk of Dead Players" and I'll have one fewer thing to complain about next season.

8:39: Hmmm...Stephen playing the "I didn't do anything worthy of winning/J.T. and I worked as a team" card. Seems unwise.

8:41: Nick, in another timezone, has already commented on the final council, stating that it was "one of the most painful and heartbreaking final tribals I've ever seen." Sounds interesting, to say the least. A little surprising, too - must be a lot of sour grapes on deck.

8:43: Based on the first question from Brendan, I think I already understand what Nick meant by that. It sounds as though Stephen is about to be drilled to bits by the jury...and that he's not going to deal with it very well. This could indeed get cringeworthy, and in a hurry.

8:47: What?!? Coach this early in the testimonials? Boooooooo.

8:47: "Iron"..."noble warrior"...lack of animosity....Coach earning a C- for his comments thus far.

8:49: Coach's final grade: D. He clearly did not bring the warrior's spirit to the final council.

8:51: Did Sierra just claim that J.T. should have brought Brendan to the final two? He was the first person on the jury! Who gives a crap about Brendan?

8:54: That sound? Stephen throwing J.T. under the bus. This could get ugly.

8:55: As it turns out, it didn't matter so much who was on the jury or what they had to say - all of the drama and turmoil was already sitting there between J.T. and Stephen. Not the worst final council, but not the best either. I'm wildly disappointed in Coach, Tyson, and Taj. No one brought enough hate or personality - the reunion show better make up for it.

8:58: And we're back live. Wait a sec, though - no final statement by the final two? Isn't that a hallmark of the finale? The least they could do, then, is to bring back the "Jeff travels by boat, parachute, motorcycle, submarine, and god knows what other method of transportation" sequence.

9:01: Alas, no dice.

9:02: Please stop trying to squeeze the drama out of the reading of these votes. Is there any way that J.T. has fewer than 5 out of the 7 votes? Survey says....

9:03: No. J.T. received all of the votes, as there were no votes read for Stephen, and there certainly would have been had he received any.

9:05: As much as I'd like to keep this up for the additional hour that is the reunion show, including the revelation that Jeff offered Coach a lie-detector test, I'm going to take this opportunity to close the book on this season of Survivor. Thanks for reading, and keep an eye out for Coach's inevitable, MUST-HAPPEN reality series all about him.

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7 people have chosen wisely: on "Survivor: Tocantins Episode 14 (The Finale!) Recap (live blog)"

Nick said...

I just have to say, that was one of the most painful and heartbreaking final tribals I've ever seen.

Though the reunion show made up for it.

Nick said...

Yeah... the jury's questions slowly ripped at their friendship. By the end of it, they were throwing each other under the bus, seemingly pissed off/fed up with one another.

Though according to the reunion show, it turns out J.T. was doing it all for show to win some sympathy votes after all. Smart man (not that he needed sympathy votes). The bromance lives on.

And I, too, waited for the kiss (I even told my mom that). Though if you pay close attention during one of the many times they embrace each other, Stephen kisses him on the cheek.

And I didn't even catch that they didn't give them final say. Though I suppose their little spat kinda took all that time up.

Kano said...

Not a bad season, pretty much figured out the winner once Brendan was gone. I will probably put something up on it in the near future.

That being said, I have heard rumblings that Season 20 could in fact be the final season - which means just two left.

What are your thoughts on an end game?

My personal thoughts are this - a huge all-star season, consisting of like 32 contestants.

Have four tribes of eight and slowly let them peck at each other. This could either happen over a two-month stay, or get rid of people faster with double votes (perhaps even playing two games of Survivor at once, without the anyone knowing it, once you get down to 8 on each 'show' combine them against each other).

Who would you want? Since there have been 17 seasons (not counting the original all-stars) you could basically select two from each season. Or perhaps a fan voting or something.

What are your thoughts? I may have my fav. all-star cast in my post later on.

RIPE Creative said...

Fletch, if Kano is correct, you need to fill out that app NOW!

Frank the Tank said...

I respectfully disagree about the final immunity challenge. I really liked it. It's got to be tough coming up with something completely original this far into season 18 and yet they did it. I also thought it was pretty entertaining.

The reunion was money. Probst seems to get a little better running those things each year. Remember way back when when CBS wouldn't even let him host it, forcing Bryant Gumbel or Rosie O'Donnell upon us?

Fletch said...

Nick - I didn't think it was all that heartbreaking or painful, but I think you've had a soft spot for Stephen, so I can see why you might've thought so.

There was seriously a kiss?!? I missed that 100%. Too funny. I'm honestly glad that they're remaining (unlikely) friends. Good for them, and good for J.T. sticking with his friend and not taking the (possibly) easier route to the finals by taking Erinn (though one has to wonder what's easier than a 7-0 rout).

Kano - I've not heard that 20 will be the last. I hope not; since they still get top 20 ratings, I see no reason to quit. Now, I can see Jeff leaving after that time, and the ratings going down with a new host, but I hope it keeps on chugging.

I made a post about this some time ago, but the two versions of 'all-stars' that I'm looking for are the "all winners" and "all losers" varieties; none of this B.S. where the 5th place person from season 10 makes it along with the 8th place person from season 6. I want either 16 winners or 16 first-voted-off folks.

That said, I do like your mega-cast season.

Oh - I also want to see either an all-female cast or an all-male cast at some point, or both in back-to-back seasons. I imagine we'll never see any of my hare-brained ideas, though...

RIPE - I hear ya, I hear ya...

FTT - I don't want or need completely original. I would have been fine with the "shrinking toe-hold" challenge from last week as the final immunity challenge; I love those types of challenges, especially for the last one. Makes those bastards suffer! ;)

I think CBS thought early on that the reunion show should be more of an "event" and that bringing in the same old host wasn't upping the intensity appropriately. Good that they realized that Probst was the most qualified host for them, and that he was damn good at it.

I've come a long, long way from hating him as the host of Rock n Roll Jeopardy (which I really wanted to go on and win...sigh). Survivor just wouldn't be the same without him, even if he does say the same 15 things every episode.

Robb said...

Probst is the best reality host out there. Love it when he stirs the pot. His blog (as well as Dalton's) are always hilarious and spot on.

Overall, this was a better cast than last season. (Randy vs. Coach? No competition.) But while JT earned his win with all those challenge performances, there wasn't much of an Outwit component this time around, which is what I tend to enjoy. JT and Stephen took full advantage of their opportunity, but it isn't like they orchestrated anything, which would have been more impressive. (Remember Tracy convincing Incredible Hulk Joel to change his target? Or the girls getting the Ice-Cream kid to give up his Immunity Idol? Outwit is just so satisfying.)

Glad to have the summer off from (most) TV. I'll be ready for Samoa come September.