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Survivor: Tocantins — An Infectious Merge

April 09, 2009 07:09 PM by Ryan Haidet


By far — the best episode of Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands to date. Lots of scheming, backstabbing, new alliances, big personalities, a merge and a medical issue were featured as the game moves into the individual stage.

On Night 18, Jalapao returned to camp after voting Sydney off. They were now down to four players, which put them down to Timbira‘s six. That left them nervous about a merge since they don’t have the numbers advantage.

The next day at Timbira, a new Coach was born. He was standing in the river under the sunshine with his arms spread. He spent 10 minutes in the water working to get refocused through meditation. With a merge on the horizon, he was working to get on everybody’s good side. He walked around the fire and gave his fellow castaways a back rub. His tribemates noticed the change. “You’re like a totally different person now,” Brendan said.


Over at Jalapao, Joe was worried about his leg injury. It was starting to swell and turn red, which had Taj worried. But the worry was quickly dissipated when treemail arrived. It hinted at a feast, which had the tribes debating if it was the result of a reward or a merge.

Forza Is Born

The two tribes met at a hut with a huge amount of food spread before them. JT grabbed a letter off the table and read, “Congratulations tribes, you have merged.” His announcement brought excited shrieks and squeals from everybody as they passed the food and drinks around the table.

As Tyson passed out the new green buffs, they learned they would be living at the old Timbira camp for the remainder of the game.


The new tribal name was a quick topic of discussion and somebody mentioned naming themselves Dingus. But most of the group thought that sounded ridiculous and decided to go with Forza instead. Coach said it meant “strength” in Portuguese.

Although the new tribe seemed to be getting along just fine, JT was worried about the numbers. He was hoping to find a way to discover a break in the Timbira tribe.

I bet he wasn’t expecting it to be so easy, though.

A New Alliance

The new Forza tribe got to the former Timbira tribe’s camp and JT was shocked to see the state of their “doghouse shelter.” He was ready to rebuild it, but Debbie had another idea. She wanted to give the four former Jalapao members a tour of the camp.

Soon after, JT and Coach went fishing together and instantly formed a bond. Coach said both he and JT are warriors. They shook hands on a deal to be honest with each other for the remainder of the game. That’s when JT told Coach it was time to blindside Brendan because he likely has the hidden Immunity Idol.

That night Coach and Tyson discussed the possibility of ousting Brendan. Tyson agreed and proposed an alliance between themselves with Debbie, Stephen and JT.

The next morning, Tyson pulled Debbie aside and told her about the new alliance with Coach, JT and Stephen. She loved the idea and agreed to do it.

Outside of all the scheming, the two contestants last Exiled together, Erinn and Joe, went for a walk and talked about the hidden Immunity Idol. Joe told her he had found one at his camp — too bad he doesn’t know it’s a fake one that Taj made. Anyway, they went to the Timbira camp’s treemail and realized somebody had already claimed that hidden Idol.


Hanging On With His Toes

The new Forza tribe arrived at the first individual Immunity Challenge. As done in the Vanuatu and Cook Islands seasons, the castaways were tasked with climbing to the top of a pole and hanging on as long as possible. In a simple contest of endurance, the last person left on the pole would win the Immunity necklace.

After the first few minutes, Stephen was the first to drop out of the challenge with Joe next to touch the ground. After Joe sat on the bench, host Jeff Probst noticed his leg infection and commented on how bad it looked.

Back on the poles, Brendan was the third to fall, which brought a big smile to Coach’s face. Taj and Erinn dropped off immediately after.

After 20 minutes, JT was the next to fall.


That left only four on the poles — all former Timbira members including Coach, Tyson, Sierra and Debbie. Soon after, both Coach and Sierra dropped off their poles leaving it down to Debbie and Tyson. “Tyson, hanging on by a couple of toes,” Probst said. Debbie started to really struggle and she fell moments later leaving Tyson as the first to win individual Immunity.


Joe’s Situation

Probst sent everybody back to camp, but told Joe to stay behind so the medical team could take a look at his leg. Joe sat on the bench and tapped his thumb as the medic said the swollen nature of his wound signaled quite a bit of puss underneath the skin.

The medic said his infection was at risk of entering his bone or blood, which she said could be potentially fatal. Remember Jonathan Penner from the Fans Vs. Favorites season? Well, this moment with Joe was very reminiscent of Jonathan’s removal from the game due to a leg infection.

Back at camp, Tyson said that he was really enjoying lying to his former Timbira tribe mates. His new alliance with Stephen, JT, Coach and Debbie no longer required Brendan nor Sierra. “I never liked Sierra, ever,” he said in a confessional. “I have no clue why she’s out here other than to just give hope to stupid people around the world.”


With everybody going their separate ways to talk around camp, Brendan felt he might be in trouble. That’s why he said he was going to have the hidden Immunity Idol in his pocket at Tribal Council.

But the others thought he might have the plan to play his Idol. That’s why JT came up with the plan to split the votes just in case Brendan used it. The majority of them planned to vote for Brendan, but a few of them were ready to toss their votes toward Sierra. That way if one of the two of them were guaranteed to be eliminated.

The plan was set and Coach was ready to go in for the kill. “If Tribal Council goes the way I planend it to, it will absolutely shake the hell out of the foundations that were Timbira,” Coach said. He then nicknamed himself the Dragonslayer in reference to Brendan’s upcoming demise at Tribal Council.

Plans Are Cut Short

As the rain kept coming down, Probst arrived at camp with an update on Joe’s condition. “They (medics) looked at it and did a thorough assessment. He can’t continue.” Probst said the medics thought it was too serious of an infection and they were evacuating him via helicopter to take him to a nearby hospital.

With Joe getting evacuated, that meant no Tribal Council.

“Brendan lives to see another day. I’m disappointed,” Tyson said.

“No Tribal tonight,” Coach said. “That sucks. I’m ready for action. The Dragonslayer has to wait another day to taste blood.”


Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS. Image of the green buff courtesy of CBSstore.com.

Stay tuned to RealityTVMagazine.com every Friday for interviews with the latest person voted off of Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands. Check out an interview with Sydney Wheeler who was the sixth person voted off.

And in case you missed it, you can watch a video containing images of what took place in the first 15 days (Courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS).

For other great Survivor: Tocantins news, please feel free to check out SirLinksALot: Survivor Tocantins. Discuss on our reality TV message boards. You can also read more about each of this season’s contestants by checking out our Survivor bios page.

Topics: CBS Reality TV Shows, Survivor |

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