Archives for posts with tag: Survivor: Tocantins

After a long hiatus, Survivor is back on. (Therefore, I warn you this is going to be a long post. Bear with me please.) I was about as excited as I can get after missing the show for entirely a month that it almost felt as good as waiting for a new season. But action’s just picking up.

Flashback: Sydney became the first casualty on my initial bets’ list. And I have two good explanations as to why I’m not feeling any remorse for her being voted off. With good looks like that, Jeff was indeed right in her assessment since she’s been unable to establish herself outside of the “blonde, hot girl” distinction. And even her flirtatious card was quite a flop.

First, she resigned herself to the “flirtatious” strategy way too hard. I mean, watching Sydney do it was fast becoming pathetic, the kind that made you cringe on your seat while watching her do it. After 18 seasons of Survivor, this is one of those strategies that wear down easily. And before she could even launch her strategy, it was already pummeling down to the ground. What with the group of people she got marooned with – I’m pretty sure either Joe or JT wouldn’t have traded the million dollars for Sydney. I bought her claim that the editing made it appear though as if flirting was her only strategy. I did. She fought hard to show that she was a competitor too. But only use flirting as one of your cards in the game, not the one thing that would save you. With Sydney, it was the latter. And second (which is worse), she wasn’t even attempting to do it subtly. See how Amber won in the All-Stars? She was flirting with Boston Rob but when it came game time, she was ahead of Boston Rob. If I were to use an analogy for that: make it your paddle, not a floating device. See my point?

On to the latest epi, there’s much to cover so I’m going to talk about the highlights here.

Bad: It’s a distress signal for Brendan. I cannot even muster watching Coach talk about being the dragon slayer and it makes me puke to think that he claims to be a man of integrity when he’s promised JT the exact same things he promised Brendan during their long 4-mile hike at the start of the game. It’s simply ridiculous to watch and made me even wonder what supernatural powers he possessed to have reached this stage of the game without being voted off. It’s simple how this turn-around came about – his insecurity for Brendan! Even Tyson, I’m kind of in a toss-up right now. Not sure about where I stand about liking him still now that he’s sided with Coach but I’m not too surprise. What I’m surprised about though is how they came about with the idea of Brendan being such a manipulative and untrustworthy individual. Is having the idol being manipulative? Come on, he hasn’t done a thing to reap such opinion about him. Isn’t their scheming just the very same thing they’re accusing Brendan of? And JT’s getting a free ride too just cause they need the numbers? My head’s spinning with all these scenarios but I would literally fall on my knees if I saw Brendan voted off before  Coach does. Just you wait.. Another unlikely prospect is Stephen’s tightness with JT. How ironic, huh? Now, he’s dragged along the plan to get rid of Brendan. I knew the 4-way Secret Alliance was too good to be true and with the way they’ve built it up on the show.

Brendan is nonchalant about the plans of blindsiding him.

Brendan is nonchalant about the plans of blindsiding him.

Good: Tyson won the Immunity Idol for nothing. Brendan indeed lives to fight another day and so is his hidden immunity idol. With three more days, I don’t believe Brendan is THAT insensitive to not see something brewing behind his back. Hopefully, he’d be able to win immunity this time to at least keep the hidden immunity safe for one more day until he’s ready to flush it out. Overall, this was not too good of an episode. The only bright side was that there was no tribal council. When I watched the reaction on Coach’s face when Jeff announced there was no tribal council that night, I think it was enough to redeem Brendan. Served him well!

In-between: This then makes the perfect segue for the other blindside in this game, Joe Dowdle’s case. Watching someone being airlifted off the show due to injury is NEVER good. In Joe’s case, his own injury blindsided him, snapping him out of the game without warning. And worse, it’s usually the

Coach looks on as his plans fall apart...for now.

Coach looks on as his plans fall apart...for now.

competitive ones that get themselves injured and taken out of the game. With Joe’s ouster, it takes away some competitive spirit of the game. Also, he’s not sealed any strategic allegiances so he might be pulled over to Brendan’s side and contend with Coach’s fivesome.

Nonetheless, I can’t wait to see the dragon slayer back in action next week and be slain himself.

*photos courtesy of

Spencer Duhm, 19, student is the 5th casualty in Survivor Tocantins.

Spencer Duhm, 19, student is the 5th casualty in Survivor Tocantins.

I was neither a Spencer fan, nor did I hate him from the beginning. However, his not-so-recent boot in Survivor Tocantins’ 5th episode was heartbreaking (not really to the level when it was Brendan who got voted off, but still heartbreaking).Why, you might ask?! I’ve listed my reasons below…

1. Spencer needs to redeem himself. For the first 5 episodes, I don’t believe Spencer has shown exactly what he’s capable of delivering in the game when it comes to competitive aspects. For one, he hasn’t had much share of air-time and the only time he did manage to step into the spotlight was the episode he got voted out. He’s being “gay” held no factor in him being voted off or of his team’s opinion of him, I hope he thinks that way. There was just too much fire in him that I think the show failed to bring out. He might have proved to be an interesting player post-merge. Tsk.

2. JT misjudged the situation. Yeah, he’s the typical alpha male. JT’s overzealous personality tells me he will not go that far into the game (I could be wrong). But Survivor is all about subtlety. You need to know when to pull out your cards, and you do not necessarily need to show off how “good” you are. Sometimes, it’s all about performing well when it matters. Spencer did not perform poorly in the immunity challenge for the episode where he was voted off. (Recap: Spencer went through some major bashing for his “poor” challenge performance because he had to go up against a fairly strong competitor in Tyson. While JT? Don’t even bother asking how well he did against Sierra.)

3. Spencer is a Survivor superfan. He might as well have represented a major demographic of Survivor fans out here, who religiously watch the show on a weekly basis. Plus, it doesn’t hurt that he’s smart. He could have really brought in a lot of strategy into the game.

The most striking revelation with Survivor Tocantins, episode per episode, is that Coach has the makings of a good leader… in theory. But Survivor is a game that requires action, that subjects your action in a microscopic view such that your strengths and weaknesses are magnified for other castaways to see. Consequently, these are the determiners on whether you get booted out or they prefer you to stay.

It’s been episode 4 so far and lots of the talks that transpired with every discussion for each episode has one element that has never went missing – Coach. After the debate of whether whose going to be a leader of the tribe, Brendan finally comes to term with the idea of leading the tribe if his tribe feels it is the right decision. It probably hit Coach’s ego so hard, thinking that he’s been refused the role he claims to do for a living, but Coach claims he is okay with Brendan being the leader, provided that he can assume the role once Brendan is voted out. (Did he just have the temerity to say that?) Anyway, Brendan is finding it quite pointless because it has been all talk and no action, which he believes is what impedes the tribe’s success.

Then, Coach goes off to say that he isn’t going to vote off Brendan.. after all, he’s made the claim to bring the best into the finals. He isn’t going to cower in front of Brendan’s growing power in the tribe, is he? Let’s see though.. Coach then let out one of the most quotable quote of all quotable quotes in Survivor history, “iron sharpens iron” so he decides it would be better to keep Brendan around since he (Coach) is obviously the stronger one.

Which brings me to the next topic, the reward challenge. He claims to be much stronger (physically) than Brendan: “If you look at me, and you look at Brendan, who looks stronger? I do.” Of course you’d say that, Coach. And why was the leaner and skinnier Tyson assigned on carrying the pole during the challenge? I thought Coach was stronger than Brendan, as he claims at least? Now, why was he given the task of putting on the weight bags to the pole? (pauses) As a Survivor recap at EW pointed out, “I was a bit surprised to see Timbira pick the scrawny Tyson to be one of the weight bearers instead of the sturdier Coach, but then I remembered that Coach is Coach.” Coach never fails to amuse me with his irony, either.

Sierra is stoked to be part of the four-way Exile alliance and she did nothing about it.

Sierra is stoked to have been initially voted as the weakest and now is a part of the four-way Exile alliance.

One interesting development, and one more worthy of being talked about, of the episode is the solidification of the four-way intra-tribe alliance that was built on Exile. Now that Taj has found the last clue to the immunity idol, this alliance has the makings of going all the way through. If everything goes as planned, we already have the final four determined. And I tell you, it isn’t quite bad as three of my bets are part of it: Brendan, Stephen, and Taj. Hopefully, Tyson won’t spoil the party next week.

As for the boot, Sandy knew it was coming. It was one of the less surprising part of the episode. For a while there, I did fear about Sydney’s position given that she exposed her own game in a conversation she had with Stephen at the shelter wherein she revealed that the conniving part of the game is what she loves. Hmm.. Going back to what I said on top, it’s really about magnifying what you say or do in the game as it could ultimately affect how your tribemates perceive them. In this case, it could have cost Sydney the boot.

I think Coach is used to being a leader, but I think that it is a role that Brendan does better.” – Erinn Lobdell, in reference to Benjamin “Coach” Wade

The third episode for CBS’ exciting new season of Survivor Tocantins was living up to the hype that host Jeff Probst single-handedly started (thank goodness!). At least, we, Survivor fans, have more to be excited about, especially after CBS has confirmed that two more Survivor seasons will be on the way, thus you can expect to watch Season 20 (how is that possible?), if you’re such a fan. Not complaining though. Anyways, off to my episode analysis…

Brendan finding the hidden immunity idol at the treemail.

Brendan finding the hidden immunity idol at the treemail.

Good: The highlight of the episode for me has got to be Brendan finding the hidden immunity idol. At least now with his tribe all shaken up after losing three challenges (and two people) in a row, plus Erinn and Coach’s unending word war between talks of trust and leadership, he knows that he’s in safe hands in this game, provided that he’s smart enough in flushing out the idol. Knowing Brendan, I can be confident of that. Another bright side to this episode is Taj and Brendan’s plan (while on exile) to form a ‘secret alliance’. It would be interesting to have two players from opposing tribes to plot this out together and have something to look forward to come merge time. I mean, members of the opposing tribe might enter the merge thinking it is going to be one tribe versus the other in a ‘survival of the fittest’ scenario. But this ‘secret alliance’ formation is going to deliver ‘the biggest upset in Survivor history‘, as Taj would put it. Strategy is definitely shaping up real fast.

Bad: Coach. During Jeff’s pre-show assessment of Coach, he pointed out how he’s never seen any previous castaway so full of himself, except of course Richard Hatch, as Ben Wade (or Coach) is. Truth is, I have no problem with Ben being in-love with himself. I just wish he has the actions to back it up. But so far, he’s been all talk and no action. And his performance hasn’t been as impressive as his resume appears, so far. I am glad that Erinn is stepping up to him and trying to put him in his place. Erinn’s reference to Coach being the leader of the Timbira tribe probably took a huge hit on Coach’s ego that prompted Jeff to respond. Funny, funny, funny!

Jalapao tribe working together in building the staircase for the Immunity Challenge.

Jalapao tribe working together in building the staircase for the Immunity Challenge.

In-Between: Timbira was initially my favorite tribe, thanks to Brendan and Tyson. However, Jalapao’s recent success in the game is quite impressive. They are the ones showing more unity and strategy in the challenges. JT and Joe are leading them during these physical challenges while the rest are hanging in there. And I do believe there’s more upfront game involved in Jalapao, while the Timbira camp is filled with so much drama and animosity. This should set the stage for an exciting episode this week as we see the continuation of the battle between, no not Timbira and Jalapao, but Erinn and Coach.  😀

As of this writing, the third episode for Survivor Tocantins: The Brazilian Highlands almost airs. However, this is only my first post about this new season. Well, if you have seen the first couple episodes, then I shouldn’t be spoiling it for you when I say that Carolina and Candace are already out of the show. And, with different methods of departure at that! Carolina was blindsided, and I’m pretty sure that Candace didn’t take her boot that well.

I haven’t had so much time to assess the contestants prior to the season premier and after the episodes were shown. However, I did have some bets at the start and some of my initial choices were disappointing and a few others impressed me enough to make it on my partial bets list. Here they go:

Let’s kick off with the guys…

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsBrendan Synnott: Jeff’s assessment of Brendan prior to the premiere was pretty general. If you look at him, he’s probably going to be categorized as one of those good-looking hunks who has nothing to offer in Survivor but athleticism during challenges and a body to feast your eyes on (for the girls, at least). Wrong! As a successful businessman, Brendan really does not need that million dollars. But he likes to compete, which means that if he had to take bold moves in the game..then he would! I hope he does not fall into the stereotype and it’s too early to tell for now. But he’d be able to set himself apart from the recognition as JUST A SURVIVOR HUNK when it’s time to bring strategy into the table.

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsStephen Fishbach: When I watched the contestants’ pre-show video, Stephen was one of those characters that I instantly loved. Looking at him, Stephen is one of the most unassuming person to have ever joined the show. But don’t be deceived as this New Yorker is an Ivy League graduate. But he’s not one to flaunt his intelligence nor would he use his educational attainment just to reach a certain pedestal or earn respect from his tribemates (Coach, you hearing me?). He wants to approach the game objectively, stripped off with all his previous achievements, since Survivor is a different world after all. Everyone is equal in the game, and Stephen realizes that. He’s also got a charm to him that makes him one of those people you wouldn’t want to get rid of. Even when he devises scheming plans, he’d probably be the one working behind the scenes, orchestrating things and he isn’t the one to be blamed for it. Athleticism? He did show he’s got enough strength to keep up with the other seemingly more masculine and studly guys this season.

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsTyson Apostol: Reading about Tyson’s bio sure did impress me enough to put my bets on him, until… he took off his boxers and got butt-naked during the first episode as they had to take water from the river. This guy is hilarious! He isn’t just a physical competitor but he’s also a character! He stands out so much that even if he were voted out pre-merge, he’s one of those you’d be able to remember. His triathlon experience wouldn’t hurt him too as his tribemates could see him as an asset. With a few other strong guys (physically and personality-wise) in his tribe, he just needs to be able to validate his role within the tribe to ensure his safety. Other than that, he’s good by himself.

On to the girls..

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsErinn Lobdell: With Erinn, I’m quite torn.. Many deem her as the next Parvati Shallow, but I believe it’s nothing close. One good thing about Erinn is that, so far from what she’s shown in the game, she cannot be associated with any past players of Survivor. That though can either be good or bad. Her tribemates could start to question her value to the tribe: Is she known for her work ethics? Will she help us win in the challenges? She neither stands out on both aspects. Provided that she is able to take advantage of that, Erinn could slip through the game unnoticed. And before her competitors could realize it, she’s on the finals.

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsSydney Wheeler: Contrary to what others perceive upon seeing Sydney, I definitely think she has the potential to become a strong competitor, physically and socially. She is a big girl and could certainly meet the physical requirements needed to survive the tough challenges in this game. Socially, she seems friendly and unassuming that you’d love to keep her company. She’s not as abrasive as Carolina is, nor is she annoying like Sandy is. I’m not exactly sure though whether her fellow castaways see it my way. But I do see Sydney making it (at least) to the merge.

Survivor: Tocantins - The Brazilian HighlandsTaj-Johnson George: She is going to be my dark horse player. I wasn’t such a fan at the beginning, HOWEVER, her performance during the second reward/immunity challenge called my attention. Plus, her increased air-time is also helping us (viewers) see more of her personal dimension. It’s safe to assume her as an “old lady” given the age range within her tribe. Yet, she’s the strongest female in her tribe, which makes her an asset. She’s also been to exile, along with Brendan last episode, so her knowledge of the hidden immunity idol being at their tribe camp should give her the upper hand.

That’s it for now. I do expect these choices to change in the upcoming episodes. See you in Tocantins! 😀

Survivor: Tocantins. That will be the new name for the 18th and most recent installment of the hit reality TV series by CBS.

If you’ve been following this blog, then you’re probably aware that this isn’t my first post on the show. In fact, I have dedicated numerous posts in the past detailing the events on the show. As opposed to the past few months, it looks like has got a more thorough and specific list of information on tribe names and castaways. The red buff tribe is called Timbira, and the purple tribe is Jalapao.

There is an interesting mix of personalities, although mostly fall under typical categories. With the new season set to premiere on the 12th of February, this would be the perfect time to assess early favorites and glean over their individual strategies going into the game. While these strategies is bound to change once they finally get the game started, it should provide as an opportunity to see what these castaways have got to offer. I’ve included some interesting ones here.

Of course, Survivor always has this guy who claims to have the outdoor skills and survival expertise. However, none of them really do manage to last. But James Thomas hopes it would be a different tale for him, as he claims that “deer, turkey, wild hog, coyote-everything you’re allowed to hunt in Alabama I’ve hunted…I’m a country boy.” Let’s see how it fairs with his tribemates.

Then there’s those cunning young ones who think they’re too smart for the game. Take a college sophomore like Spencer Duhm (yes, that’s his family name, no puns intended) whose strategy is “you have to assume they’re going to screw you before you screw them over.

Caroline Eastwood, meanwhile is just plain strange. When asked what preparation she did for the show, she nonchalantly replied: “I got lasered from head to toe…Because I’m ethnic in the hairiest sense of the word. And I did not want to scare people with my overgrown armpits.

To cap off this list, there are also some players who came into this game only for one thing – the million dollars. And Tyson Apostol from Utah isn’t losing focus of that. “$1 million in two months isn’t a bad paycheck.

Admittedly, Survivor: Gabon was a tough act to follow. Survivor: Tocantins better live up to the challenge! 😀

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