Janu Tornell quits 'Survivor: Palau', becomes the thirteenth castaway to exit
By Reality TV World staff, 04/22/2005
Stating that she'd "already received what I needed" from the game, Janu Tornell quit Survivor Palau during Thursday night's CBS broadcast of the tenth episode of the tenth installment of the series, making her only the second person to ever voluntarily quit a non-All-Stars edition of the long-running reality competition show.
"What are we, 'junior high' Katie," Janu hollered across the campsite toward Katie. "I have nothing against you [but] you're being creepy," replied Katie. "I am very upset," explained Janu, after which Katie offered a half-hearted apology. While most of the other castaways simply awkwardly listened to the argument, Gregg Carey attempted to play peacemaker -- only to be rebuffed by Janu. "It's going to turn into what it's going to turn into because all you guys are going to turn on each other," Janu explained to Gregg.
In confessional, Gregg explained that Janu was turning into a "buzzkill" that "we need to put up with out here." Despite Janu's behavior, Gregg made it clear that he still planned to remain focused on voting Stephenie LaGrossa, the conquered Ulong tribe's final survivor, out of the game at their next Tribal Council.
"I'm not going to vote someone out because I don't like them, I can get over it, she [Janu] plays a bigger role in all our strategy, where Stephenie only threatens it," he explained. "Some might think that Stephenie deserves to stay around, but in the grand scheme of things, winning this game is hardly about [being] deserving. I don't care if someone deserves to be here or not, if you have a role in my strategy then you deserve to be here so that you can help me win a million dollars."
After convening for the episode's Reward Challenge, host Jeff Probst explained that the remaining castaways would be randomly divided into two teams and compete in a scaffold tower-building competition. The teams would have to transport six scaffolding pieces into the water, assemble them into a tower, retrieve a flag suspended above the tower assembly area, and then race back to the beach. As their reward, the first team to have all four members make it back to the mat would travel offsite to attend an authentic Palauan feast.
Once the teams were divided, it was obvious that with two strong men in its foursome, the team of Gregg, Janu, Caryn Groedel, and Tom Westman was likely to have an advantage in the physically demanding challenge. While the other team had benefit of having superwoman Stephenie and Ian Rosenberger on its team, it was also burdened with Katie, a weak competitor who was constantly slowing down her group -- a significant hindrance in a task in which, as Jeff noted, the groups "could only move as quickly as your slowest member." In the end, Janu and Caryn managed to keep up with Tom and Gregg during the challenge, giving their group victory -- and the opportunity to enjoy the Palauan feast.
Returning from the feast later that day, the foursome shared some leftovers that they'd smuggled back with the losing team. Tension built again however, when Caryn and Janu (who had vomited at the feast) helped themselves to a portion of the smuggled food.
After assembling for the Immunity Challenge, the castaways learned that they'd compete in a challenge intended to test their ability to overcome fear and not panic. Positioned in a partially submerged "steel cage," the castaways would have remain huddled below the barred steel barrier while the incoming tide slowly submerged the barrier under water. While the person to last the longest would win individual immunity, Jeff also announced a new twist -- that the first person to quit the challenge would have to spend a lonely night on their own island.
Despite the show's tropical location, the surrounding waters were apparently not very warm, causing Janu to complain about being cold and quit the challenge only six minutes after it began. As Jeff questioned Janu about how she thought she'd handle spending a night alone, several of the other castaways began snickering, particularly Katie. "[There] doesn't seem like a lot of love lost with these guys, they don't seem very concerned about you tonight," Jeff commented to Janu. The remaining castaways immediately denied Jeff's suggestion, to which Jeff replied "you know what, I'm sitting here asking her if she knows how to make fire and you guys are making jokes like you're at 'Open Mike [Night]' -- you tell me, what am I supposed to think?"
As the challenge went on, the rest of the women quit the challenge one by one, leaving only Tom, Gregg, and Ian competing for immunity. In the end, Tom used an improvised "hand snorkel" to outlast a submerged Ian, giving the 40-year-old New York City firefighter his second straight individual immunity win.
Alone on her new island, Janu initially struggled to start a fire, but eventually got it going. Discovering that she was glad to be away from the other castaways who had alienated her, she began to enjoy her solitude, dancing joyously on her private beach. "Yesterday, I didn't even want to be here, but maybe God was just telling me 'hold on a little bit more because this is the feeling you were supposed to get,'" she confided to the camera. "So who knows, every day brings new experiences, and right now, I am probably the happiest that I have been in these 26 days because it's all about me and this little island."
Back at Koror, the morning of Day 27 brought more scheming. Despite Tom's comments that "the girls all seem to be convinced that it's Janu," Gregg felt strongly that Stephenie still needed to be the next person to be voted out. Gregg's insistence that Stephenie go next would be a problem for Tom, given that he, Ian, and Katie had formed a secret Final Four alliance with Stephenie during Survivor: Palau's initial days of communal living.
Later, Tom and Ian once again attempted to subtly convince Greg to vote Janu out prior to Stephenie, however Greg wasn't buying it. "I get concerned about the whole 'eleven Tribal Councils in a row and Stephenie's still surviving' [story]. I just feel like that's a story developing that we need to put an end to," he told them. "Stephenie's story has been continuing and continuing and you can just see it all coming together -- Stephenie conquers Ulong then comes in and conquers Koror -- and we want to all prevent that from happening," Gregg elaborated in private confessional.
"As things seem now within the tribe, Stephenie appears to be going home tonight," a sullen Tom explained to the camera. "It's not where my heart is, but anything can happen."
Arriving back at Koror after her overnight exile, Janu made it clear to everyone that she had enjoyed her night alone. "It was great to be away from here," she told her fellow castaways. Later, in confessional, Janu explained that she wasn't falling for what she saw as the other castaways insincere offers of congratulations. "To be honest, I didn't want to come back here," she confessed.
As the tribe prepared for Tribal Council, Stephenie began to feel that despite her brief conversations with the rest of the castaways, rather than voting Janu out at the evening's Tribal Council, the group would instead be targeting her. "For some reason I have a feeling it's me," Stephenie confided to the camera. "It almost seems like no one wants to talk about it, so I'm really nervous."
At the evening's Tribal Council, responding to questioning from Jeff, Janu made it clear that she was hoping to be voted out of the game. After Jeff asked Katie "why keep you?," he asked the same question of Janu. "No reason, they can get rid of me," was her response, causing Stephenie to become visibly frustrated. "I have to be honest, I had a really rocky road so if I was them, god, I'd be sick of myself already," Janu elaborated to a shocked Jeff. "You almost seem like you want to go," responded Jeff, causing Janu to state that "it doesn't matter... whether happens, happens... I'm completely satisfied."
Probing further, Jeff asked Janu "is there a part of you that wants to say 'vote me out'" -- to which she replied "yes, absolutely." Jeff began asking her fellow tribemates their opinions on Janu's comments, causing Ian to remark that "if you feel like you don't want to continue in this game, if you feel like you want to set your torch down, then you have the power to do that... there's nobody keeping you here."
With Stephenie on the verge of tears in explaining that she would "kill to be here," Janu explained that she had "already received what I needed to receive from this whole experience." Breaking down into tears, Stephenie explained that it "killed" her that "these people" would keep "someone who basically wants to go home that bad" and instead oust her.
Asked by Jeff what she would like to see happen, Janu stated that "I would ask the tribe to vote me out and keep Stephenie in" -- a comment that caused Jeff to ask what was the difference between "you laying your torch down and you looking at this group and saying 'vote me out?'" After a few seconds of thought, Janu replied that after reflecting on it, "there would be no difference, so I would be willing to lay down my torch so that Stephenie can have a chance to stay in the game."
With both Tom and Gregg offering shocked looks in response and sole jury member Coby covering his face in apparent shame, Stephenie responded that she had no problem with Janu's action, but that Janu's decision couldn't be done just for Stephenie's benefit. "If she wants to lay down her torch and quit this game [then] she can do it, but not on my account," Stephenie protested. Rephrasing her statement, Janu explained that "I will lay down my torch and I don't want Stephenie to feel that I am doing it for her, that's something I have to do."
Shocked, Jeff asked Janu to confirm her decision. "I just want to be clear, you are, on your own, quitting this game," Jeff stated in a comment that sounded more than a little bit like legal protection against Janu later claiming that she had somehow been coerced into quitting the million dollar competition.
Janu replied that "yes, Jeff, I will lay down my torch this evening," making her the thirteenth contestant to exit Survivor: Palau, and -- joining Survivor: Pearl Islands quitter Osten Taylor -- only the second first-time Survivor castaway to ever quit the competition.