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Survivor: I Trust You But I Trust Me More (season finale)

by Jackie Schnoop, posted May 18th 2009 12:16AM
JT and Taj talk on Survivor Tocantins

(S18E14) Well, tonight was it for Survivor Tocantins. It's hard to believe that the 18th season of the show is a wrap. Why, wasn't it just a few years ago that Richard Hatch was the evil fat naked gay guy and all the talk around the watercooler? We've progressed a lot during those nine years. This season we stepped up the game to include a naked skinny Mormon crude dude and a delusional coach. So, how did things go down tonight? Read on.

Survivor' Photos

    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor Season 18 contestant Stephen Fishbach and Survivor Season 18 winner James "JT" Thomas Jr attend the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Stephen Fishbach;James "JT" Thomas Jr

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor Season 18 contestant James "JT" Thomas Jr (C) is joined by members of the Tocantins Government as he is named the winner of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" during the finale at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** James "JT" Thomas Jr

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Debra "Debbie" Beebee attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Debra "Debbie" Beebee

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Debra "Debbie" Beebee attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Debra "Debbie" Beebee

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Pro-athelete Eddie George attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Eddie Geroge

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor Season 18 contestant James "JT" Thomas Jr is named the winner of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" during the finale at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** James "JT" Thomas Jr

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Erinn Lobdell attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erinn Lobdell

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Erinn Lobdell attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erinn Lobdell

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Erinn Lobdell attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erinn Lobdell

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    NEW YORK - MAY 17: Survivor season 18 contestant Erinn Lobdell attends the finale of CBS's "Survivor: Tocantins The Brazilian Highlands" at the Ed Sullivan Theater on May 17, 2009 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Erinn Lobdell

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Just the skinny
I want to talk more about how I feel about the season, but I'm aware that some folks might be reading this to find out exactly what happened. So, here are the facts in a nutshell:
  • Jalapao joy as the Jalapao Three rule the game after voting off Coach.
  • Bits of betrayal weave their way into conversations. Everyone thinks that JT will win it all with the jury.
  • The first immunity challenge had them scrambling through a giant spider doohickey and (but, of course) putting together a puzzle. JT won, although Erinn was very close.
  • Erinn tried to work her mojo with the boys.
  • Sigh. Betrayal. JT and Stephen vote out their ally, Taj. They think that they have a better chance of beating Erinn in the final immunity and with the jury if it comes to that. Poor Taj.
  • Stephen and JT realize that Erinn is a chatterbox and they must kill her vote her off.
  • The final three do the Rites of Passage Walk. I forgot Carolina was on the show. Coach's bit was still very annoying. He just doesn't stop.
  • The final immunity challenge was actually something a bit different and kind of nifty. It was kind of like catching balls on Hot Wheel track loops. Lots of dexterity and concentration were needed as they built up the number of balls in the tubes. Then it started to remind me of Lucy and Ethel in the chocolate factory.
  • Erinn was out first, followed by Stephen. Once again, JT wins immunity.
  • More betrayal was afoot as Erinn tried to drive a wedge between the boys.
  • In the end, JT remained true to his word and took Stephen to the final two.


Throw 'em under the bus!
The jury questioning had the "we share one brain" boys scrambling to throw each other under the proverbial reality TV bus. The BFF boys were baited by just about everyone. Brendan basically accused Stephen of being a weak player. Erinn pointed out all of the alliances Stephen was in, and even unpopular Sierra lit into JT for taking the weakest player with him. Taj was crushed, betrayed, and disappointed ... with both of them.

What was Stephen to do? Of course, he had to defend his own strategy and lay some of the blame for the votes on JT. He pointed out that JT took the easy route out by not writing down Coach's name as a strategy ploy for his vote. The worst point for Stephen came when Debbie pressured him to give an answer to her question -- would he have taken JT to the final two had he won immunity? She wouldn't accept an "I don't know" answer and he finally admitted that he probably would have taken Erinn. Aha! More betrayal!



In the end
While the jury questioning might have had some bearing on the vote, I still think JT would have won. He definitely would have won against Erinn (as would Stephen and Taj). I think JT probably would have won against Taj if they were in the final two. I don't think the vote would have been unanimous for the win as it was against Stephen. Since JT was not only very popular with everyone, but an out there blatant kind of game player, he had it in the bag.

Both Stephen and Taj played a sneakier less physical game. Neither really rode coattails, both made some sound strategic decisions. But we know that because we're watching the confessionals throughout the season. The jury doesn't have the insight we have into strategies. Heck, even Erinn deserves some kind of recognition for gameplay as she made it to the final three despite the odds against her.

JT is one popular dude
So, JT won the million dollars plus the $100,000 from the fans' vote. He can go hire someone else to wrangle the cattle now, eh? I was pleased that Sierra and Taj were the other two in the top three for the fans' vote. I never did get why Sierra was treated so badly all season. The poor kid was in tears again on the reunion show. Thankfully, Coach won nothing.

Next season
It will be Survivor Samoa in the fall. Here's what I'd like to see:
  • Please ... no delusional and obnoxious people like Coach. I'd rather he just vanish in the netherworld of bad reality show people.
  • Fewer puzzles.
  • We really need some fresh new challenges. I know it's hard to come up with new stuff, but so many challenges are treading trodden trails of past glories.
  • Don't let the show winner win the prize from the fans, too. Share the wealth.
Shake it up a bit more next season, Burnett and company. I know that if the show is on, I'll watch it. I'm an addict. But even addicts like new and exciting. Don't get so dependent on wacky characters and get back to the game at hand.

Will you be watching Survivor Samoa?
Of course!5758 (79.1%)
No way!678 (9.3%)
Depends on what it's up against.669 (9.2%)
If they move it to 10 PM, I'll watch it over Leno even though I don't like it!177 (2.4%)

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Karen

Glad JT won. He deserves it. TAJ should have won the $100,000.00!! Did everyone forget that she was the reason that the other contestants were able to see their loved ones? That's reason alone!

May 18 2009 at 9:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

I'm happy that JT won and sad that Taj was betrayed and voted out but I also doubt she would have won anyway. I wish Sierra had won the player money, too.

Watching the Ponderosa clips tells me that Taj is in heaven with all her "cleaning" products, Errin believes she played a hell of a game and Coach is still as delusional as ever. I could live without another Coach next season. He strikes me as a future "postal" guy, too.

I totally agree that the winners of Survivor should be exempt from winning the $100,000. Second most votes would be fair and it gives us the hope that a fave player will at least go home with some cash.

I can't wait for the next season to start. I've said it before, Survivor and The Amazing Race are the elite of all the reality genre.

May 18 2009 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
gaylos

I understand the feeling that the winner should not be eligible for the fan vote, but given that both the winner and the fan vote winner are revealed at the same show on the same night, how could the winner be excluded from eligibility without it being revealed who won before hand?

May 18 2009 at 2:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gaylos's comment
Rebecca

Obviously the winner can't be taken out of the running for the $100,000. But they could have the money go to the person who won 2nd place in the poll for that money.

May 18 2009 at 2:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Ðan

I'm with you Jackie the Survivor winner shouldn't be in the running for thefan favourite $100,000 from the fans' vote. The same thing happendlast year too UGH !!! Last year I wanted Sugar and this year I wantedSierra to get the fan favourite money and the million dollar Survivorwinners got it BLAH !!!

May 18 2009 at 1:46 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
allmadeup

I too thought Coach sucked and was a bunch of bolony. Couldn't say what I truly wanted to say about him but that gives you an idea.

May 18 2009 at 1:05 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Abbe

I too agree with Jackie Schnoop. They should definitely NOT have the winner win 'player of the season'. Don't put them into the mix. It would be much nicer if someone else got to appreciate some of the monies. The winner truly doesn't need additional money and that would make it a little more exciting for the others to wait their fate as well at the end. Hope it is changed.

May 18 2009 at 1:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tamsac

I agree, Taj should have been taken to the final 3 but Erin played a better game protecting herself, especially given the status she had in her camp...Taj admitted that she lost sight of the game and depended upon her alliances...in this game you can't trust anyone...it always makes me laugh when the jury addresses the top two at the end, they act like they didn't deceive anyone through out the game and they look down on the people who do...I've watched this show for 9 seasons and haven't come across one person who hasn't lied or deceived to stay in the game...it's all a part of the strategy at some point you have to save yourself or a least try!!

May 18 2009 at 12:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
CM

Was anybody else surprised at how hot Erinn was when she was all cleaned up?

May 18 2009 at 11:56 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to CM's comment
Drex

Hell no, IMO she was the hottest one on the show.. She dropped a few lbs as the show was going on and she kept getting more and more attractive.. Those Prada glasses of her's added to her hottness IMO..

May 18 2009 at 12:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BlissfullyCogent

I think it's a terrible shame that "the coach" isn't able to actually indulge, savor and relish all the glory that is him by eating himself with a spoon. I just hate it when someone with his rare high-and-mighty and zen-ness - his self-satisfaction and sanctamoniousness isn't recognized for his shear grandier.
Use a pair of high quality sunglasses when basking in his glow - lest you be overwhelmed by his immense aura and profundity.
How I yearn for such clarity, wisdom and greatness.

May 18 2009 at 11:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
james hewlett

don't feel sorry for taj she is married to eddie george # 27 ex running back for the tenn titans. she does not need the money. eddie also works as a comintator on tv game days.

May 18 2009 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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