Carolina Eastwood the first castaway voted out of 'Survivor: Tocantins'
By John Bracchitta, 02/13/2009
Survivor kicked off its eigtheenth edition with a blindside after the boisterous nature of Carolina Eastwood, a 26-year-old bartender from Los Angeles, CA led to her becoming the first castaway voted out of Survivor: Tocantins during Thursday's premiere broadcast on CBS.
"I just got completely blindsided. I'm the fist person voted off. I'm not gonna lie I'm pissed off, like, this sucks, it's embarrassing," Carolina said following her ouster from the Jalapao tribe. "However, I'm gonna be the bigger person and wish [my tribemates] well. I think initially what got me voted off was my mouth. It's lesson learned, but I totally got duped, you guys are good."
Survivor: Tocantins' premiere episode began as the season's sixteen castaways were transported along with Survivor host Jeff Probst via truck into Tocantins, a Brazilian highland known for its 100-plus-degree temperatures and intense rain storms.
The castaways sat on either side of the truck in their already-determined tribes. The Jalapao tribe consisted of Spencer Duhm, a 19-year-old college student from Lakeland, FL; Sydney Wheeler, a 24-year-old model and interior designer from San Diego, CA; Joe Dowdle, a 26-year-old commercial real estate broker from Austin, TX; Carolina; Stephen Fishbach, a 29-year-old corporate consultant from New York, NY; Sandy Burgin, a 53-year-old bus driver from Louisville, KY; James "JT" Thomas Jr., a 24-year-old cattle rancher from Samson, AK; and Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George, a 37-year-old from Nashville, TN.
The Timbira tribe consisted of Debra "Debbie" Beebe, a 46-year-old middle-school principal from Auburn, AK; Jerry Sims, a 49-year-old U.S. Army sergeant from Rock Hill, SC; Sierra Reed, a 23-year-old model from Los Angeles, CA; Benjamin "Coach" Wade, a 37-year-old soccer coach and part-time orchestra conductor from Bolivar, MO; Tyson Apostol, a 29-year-old bike-shop manager and former professional cyclist from Linden, UT; Erinn Lobdell, a 26-year-old hairstylist from Waukesha, WI; Brendan Synnott, a 30-year-old entrepreneur from New York, NY; and Candace Smith, a 31-year-old actress/model and event planner and former lawyer from Los Angeles, CA.
Even though they were unable to speak to each other, the castaways had already developed first impressions of some of their tribemates.
"[That] tall spiky-haired momma boy, love him," Erinn about Tyson. "He just seems like a good guy to have around."
However Tyson was apparently not as impressed with what he saw in Erinn.
"The younger brunette, she comes off to me a kinda being the bitch," he said of her later.
After arriving at their destination and being welcomed to the competition by Probst, the two tribes were each given their "first chance to work together" when they had one minute to scavenge as many supplies as possible from the truck for their campsite. Afterwards, it was clear that Timbira had done better in the minute, getting all of the water and beans from the truck.
"We got everything we needed," Coach said.
"We'll be all right," Spencer replied, albeit with some trepidation, when Jeff pointed out his tribe's lack of water and dry food.
After each tribe received the maps and compasses for their four-hour trek to their camps, Jeff revealed that one person from each tribe "will not make this journey," and had each castaway vote for one tribe member based on their initial impressions of each other.
In the Jalapao tribe, while Stephen received a lone vote from Sydney, he was easily beaten by Sandy, who received five votes from Joe, Taj, Spencer, Carolina, and Stephen.
After hearing the vote, Sandy was outspoken regarding her unhappiness with the vote.
"I am pissed, I am so pissed," she told Jeff. "Obviously I didn't know it was gonna be like, this as far as [a] vote before we got to know each other or whatever. But I bet one of the youngest ones drops out first. You'll see who can handle the heat."
In the Timbira tribe, while Erinn received one vote from Brendan, Sierra -- who admitted to being sick with strep throat as the reason for her looking so weak -- was easily voted out by Debra, Coach, Erinn, Candace and Jerry.
"I think I coulda brought a lot to this team," Sierra said. "Um, I'm sorry I have a fever of 102, but if that's your choice, fine by me."
However, following the votes Jeff clarified that he had only said that those voted for by each tribe would not "take part in this adventure."
"This adventure is a four-hour trek to camp," he added. "You guys both made strong first impressions. The good news is you get a chance to change those impressions because while these guys are trekking for four hours carrying all the camp supplies, you're gonna fly to camp in a helicopter."
"Thank you God," Sandy exclaimed as her tribemates looked over in shock before beginning their hike as the helicopter arrived for her and Sierra.
As each tribe made their way to camp, the Jalapao tribe had difficulties reading their map, delaying them somewhat until JT stepped in to guide them in the right directions. Just the presence of JT seemed to worry Stephen, whom he did not foresee getting along well with.
"When I saw at least one sort of good ol' fashioned southern boy [in JT] I thought I' a little bit screwed, I don't really see us connecting on too many levels," Stephen said. "I don't know how much he's gonna like the anxious New York Jew."
Over at the Timbira tribe's hike, Jerry deflected questions about how he was in such good shape by saying he went to the gym a lot rather than admit that he was a U.S. Army sergeant.
"I don't wanna be in charge, if you're in charge you don't last too long," he said later.
Coach spent no time living up to his nickname as he pushed and motivated his tribemates. He also established what seemed to be the season's first alliance with Brendan when he told him that his strategy was to "change the game" by keeping the show's stronger castaways in the competition instead of getting rid of them to eliminate the threat.
"So I know I'm making myself vulnerable to you by letting that out of the bag first, but that's why I'm talking about you and me changing the game," he added.
While appreciative of Coach's show of support, Brendan nonetheless was confused by the conversation.
"[The conversation] kinda throws up a red flag," he said afterwards. "One: is he lying? And two, we're here to win and play a game, I don't think any of us wants a coach in that process."
Upon arriving at her camp before the rest of her tribe in the helicopter, Sandy broke down into tears after letting her guard down as she thought back to the vote.
"I'm glad I'm here first, and then they can't see me with emotion," she said as she cried, "I'm the first vote, and it scared me so bad, but now I'm gonna make it the 39 days and show 'em, because I may be the old woman, but I'm older and I am wiser."
Sandy then found a clue by her camp site telling her that she could either begin to set up the tribe's camp in an attempt to curry favor with them, or go to a nearby beach and search for a hidden Immunity Idol that she would be able to use at her first Tribal Council. Sandy reasoned that she would be voted out the first chance her tribemates had to do so, no matter what she did, and began searching for the idol but was unable to find it.
Upon arriving at her camp, Sierra received the same clue, but decided to begin building the camp instead.
"They say that first impressions are everlasting, but hopefully I'll change their opinion of me," she said. "Yeah, I could go for an Immunity Idol and try to protect my butt, but my prerogative is looking good for my crew."
The Jalapao tribe was the first to complete their trek and arrive at camp before sundown. After hiding her Immunity Idol clue in her shirt, Sandy met her apologetic tribemates, many of whom felt bad about voting for her. However, some sympathy was lost after the tribemates realized she had not set up camp at all.
"We just trekked four hours carrying pots and watermelons, and get here and it's like Sandy you didn't do anything!" Carolina said later. "I was just like 'Great, you've been chilling here and I still gotta do stuff."
"Everyone was kinda just all laughs and smiles, and they'd just all written my name down, but you know, screw you," Sandy added later. "The bottom line is when we go to Tribal Council you're gonna write down my name again, so why the hell do I even wanna waste my energy trying to get in your good graces when I ain't even ever there [as] an option?"
The Timbira tribe arrived at their camp after sundown, but was pleased that Sierra had set up their camp. After meeting with them, Sierra once again attempted to explain why she looked like such a weak player initially.
"I was kinda really sick and I was hiding it because I thought it was a weakness," she told her tribemates. "I probably woulda voted for myself not knowing what was wrong with me because I did look like I was tired."
While Coach appreciated Sierra's effort, calling her a "sweet kid," he added that she might have unfortunately dug her own grave.
"She did do a lot of work, of course we appreciate that," he said. "But let's face it, you can't change what we did together [back there] as a tribe. It bonded all of us. Unfortunately Sierra was not there."
The following day, Carolina took the first step towards her eventual elimination as the Jalapao began building their shelter by nagging the other contestants and complaining about the lack of efficiency in their planning. However, most castaways also took issue with the "antisocial" behavior of Sandy, who disappeared throughout the day to continue looking for the Idol.
Despite figuring out her first clue for the Idol, Sandy was inexplicably perplexed by the rather simple clue of walking "ten paces" as she was unable to figure out what a "pace" meant.
Over at the Timbira tribe's camp the mood seemed to be much lighter, with Tyson stripping naked to go and get water from a nearby lake, amusing Debbie and Sierra in the process.
The following day, the two tribes met with Jeff for their first Immunity Challenge, where they were told that six members of each tribe would have to race across a field of sand hills and into a river to retrieve a raft holding puzzle planks. After all six of the tribe members got to the raft, they were to bring the raft to shore and transport each of the pieces back to the starting line. Once all of the pieces and tribe members had returned to the start, the two remaining tribe members would begin assembling the planks into a staircase, which the entire tribe would have to climb after its completion.
Once the entire tribe had reached the top of the staircase, any two tribe members would have to work to navigate a peg through a table maze, the completion of which would raise their tribes flag and win the challenge if done before the other tribe.
In addition to winning immunity, Jeff added that the winning tribe would also receive a flint to make fire.
With Taj and Sandy hanging behind for Jalapao and Erinn and Sierra doing so for Timbira, the challenge then began with both tribes running with each other step for step until they had both retrieved the pieces and brought them back to the start. While Sierra and Erinn struggled to construct the steps for Timbira, Sandy showed her worth to her tribemates as she gave them a sizable lead by building the stairs quickly with Taj.
However, once the stairs were completed and Jalapao had climbed up the stairs, Spencer and Sydney struggled with the table maze and allowed Timbira to catch up to them. Timbira was ultimately able to surpass them and win the challenge after Erinn and Brendan raced through the table maze with little trouble to raise their tribe's flag.
Following her challenge loss, Sydney admitted to feeling bad that Sandy's hard work for the challenge had seemed to be all for nothing.
"Tribal Council is the one thing that I was dreading, because I don't wanna vote for Sandy," she said. "I mean, she worked her ass off at the challenge, but I don't know who else to vote for."
"The challenge, it was heartbreaking, added Carolina. "The vote's for Sandy unfortunately. But with every failure there's an opportunity for growth, that's one of my No. 1 sayings."
Ironically, it was the former part of Carolina's statement that was ultimately changed by its latter part. Upon returning to camp and urging her tribemates to be more organized and finish up camp while others only wanted to relax in the lake, Carolina slowly began taking Sandy's place as the most expendable castaway.
"When we first get back we're hot we're exhausted, we lost, and the fist thing you're gonna tell somebody is you gotta clean up the outdoors! Are you kidding me?" said Taj, who called out Carolina for her whining and warned that it was quickly wearing on the other tribemates.
"Taj called me out, and she was right," Carolina said later. "When it comes to working or getting things down, I can get very opinionated and speak my mind."
Carolina told Taj that she would try to "check herself" and not make the same mistake again.
Prior to the vote, Spencer and Sydney both acknowledged that Sandy had done well on the challenge and thought that voting for her would be a mistake. Upon hearing their conversation, Joe and JT agreed that they would prefer to oust Carolina.
"She's more than welcome to take her ass up there and finish the shelter by herself," JT said of Carolina's shelter nagging.
"Between Sandy and Carolina it's kinda of a tricky decision," Joe added later. "Being that it's pretty close as to how they'll perform in future challenges and how they'll add to the moral of the camp."
Both Carolina and Sandy were incorrectly confident of their fates before leaving for Tribal Council. After apologizing to Sandy once again for voting for her, Carolina said how she wished "we didn't lose [the challenge] so you didn't have to go home."
Following the conversation, Sandy also seemed confident that she would soon be going home.
"I'm glad I'm here today, and I'm hoping I'm gonna be around tomorrow, but I believe my tribe is voting for me," she said.
The Jalapao tribe then traveled for their first Tribal Council ceremony. JT admitted to being disappointed by Sandy's decision to not build camp for the tribe after getting their early. Sydney added that she had not known what to make of Sandy's secret idol-searching disappearances during Day 2, which Sandy attributed to wanting to "collect my thoughts" after the initial vote against her.
She added that she had not attempted to change her image as "the old lady," simply because there was no point.
"I'm the old lady no matter what, but the old lady can also fit into this tribe and all these kids they can be mine," Sandy said, eliciting laughter from her tribemates.
Carolina admitted that voting for Sandy because of her age might be unfair, but added that her team had "voted smart" when choosing her. She also took once last chance to explain her nagging nature while at the camp to her other tribemates.
"I'm very boisterous, so I'm not afraid to say my opinion, and I could say that I came across a little demanding that I wanted to get things done," she said "Sometimes my directness comes across as maybe a little whiny, and I've checked myself before I speak and I openly admit that."
However, her statement was not enough to save her, as each of her tribemates voted for her elimination and easily beat her one vote for Sandy.
"Well, two things are very clear form tonight's Tribal Council," Jeff said after Carolina's elimination. "You're willing to change your first impressions and you're willing to blindside each other."
Upon leaving the ceremony, the tribe received a flint as well so they could create fire.
The next episode of Survivor: Tocantins will air on Thursday February 19 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.