Jerry Sims the third castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: Tocantins
By John Bracchitta, 02/27/2009
Jerry Sims thought his military experience would prepare him well for his time on Survivor: Tocantins. However, a sick stomach combined with intense Brazilian heat proved to be too much for the 49-year-old U.S. Army sergeant from Rock Hill, SC, causing him to become the third castaway eliminated from the CBS reality series during last night's broadcast.
"As far as my experiences in Afghanistan and my military career this by far was the toughest [thing] I've ever endured in my life," Jerry said after his tribe opted to vote him out of the competition. "I don't know what happened to my stomach, but in 130 degree heat and me not being able to eat anything, it took a toll on my body, so I'm hoping that one of my tribe members will win that million dollars."
Survivor: Tocantins' third episode began on Night 6 with the Timbira tribe returning to their camp following the Tribal Council session in which they'd voted to eliminate Candace Smith. Upon returning to the camp, the remaining tribe members were quickly angered by Erinn Lobdell, a 26-year-old hairstylist from Waukesha, WI who had allied with Candace prior to her elimination but subsequently began trying to write off their relationship and saying that she had wanted Candace gone all along.
"The last thing in the world that I wanted to do was give Candace any idea that I was voting for her and not knowing what everybody else was doing," Erinn told her tribemates. "I was like 'Oh my God this could be the very last nail in my own coffin.'"
However, Benjamin "Coach" Wade, a 37-year-old soccer coach and part-time orchestra conductor from Bolivar, MO, doubted Erinn's claims and said later that she would have to live with her decision to ally with Candace.
"Not only did she align herself with the wrong person -- Candace -- but she has completely insulted all of our intelligence when we came back tonight and she said 'You know I've just been hanging around with Candace the past couple of days because I wanted to see what she was up to because I didn't trust her,'" said Coach. "For her to say that to us is insulting, it's why she would have never been in my alliance form the very beginning, and she's made her bed and gonna have to lie in it."
The following day, Erinn realized she probably associated with Candace a bit too much and was likely "on the outs" in her tribe and committed to try and outperform the other girls in the tribe in the next few challenges to prove herself.
Meanwhile Jerry skipped his breakfast meal of beans after not eating dinner the evening prior either and revealed his stomach had been hurting for the past few days.
"I haven't been feeling too hot these past couple days," Jerry said. "I don't know, either it's the beans or something I've been eating but something's been causing my stomach to hurt real bad."
"I'm used to some type of situation like this like when I was in Afghanistan or other military spots, so I never like to show weakness. Anywhere I go I always want to be looked upon as one of the stronger ones," he added.
The Timbira and Jalapao tribes then met with Survivor: Tocantins host Jeff Probst for their Reward Challenge. The castaways of each tribe were told that six members of each tribe would be blindfolded and tied together in pairs and led into a maze that each tribe's seventh member would have to scream directions to from a nearby perch.
While in the maze, the castaways would have to find buckets and then make their way to two silos filled with water and corn. After filling their buckets with water, the castaways would have to navigate their way back to the start and pour the water into a tub until a flag was raised when they poured enough into it. The castaways then would have to repeat the process a second time but fill their buckets with corn, bring them back to the start, and pour them into a second tub until they raised a second flag.
The first tribe to raise their first tribe would win "Comfort" -- an umbrella, chairs with cushions, blankets, pillows and a hammock -- as well as the chance to send one of the losing tribe's members to Exile Island. However, Jeff reminded them that the castaway chosen to go to Exile Island would also be able to choose a member from the winning tribe to accompany them.
The challenge then got underway, with Joe Dowdle, a 26-year-old commercial real estate broker from Austin, TX, calling directions to his Jalapao tribemates while Debra "Debbie" Beebe, a 46-year-old middle-school principal from Auburn, AK, serving as the caller for Timbira.
Jalapao dominated the challenge from the beginning, getting the first buckets of water back to their tubs and raising its flag well before Timbira had come close to filling their water bucket. After moving on to the corn Jalapao didn't relinquish their lead, speeding through the challenge and winning it before the far less organized Timbira tribe had even finished filling their water bucket.
Similar to the end of the previous Reward Challenge, Jalapao chose to send Brendan Synnott, a 30-year-old entrepreneur from New York, NY, to Exile Island. Just as similarly, Brendan chose to take Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George, a 37-year-old from Nashville, TN, from Jalapao to Exile Island with him so they could further build their nascant secret alliance.
When Jeff asked Spencer Duhm -- a 19-year-old college student from Lakeland, FL and admitted Survivor-addict -- whether he was concerned that Brendan and Taj were going to Exile Island together once again, he failed to recognize the alliance the two were developing.
"It seems like both tribes are using the same strategy, I'm not entirely shocked," he responded.
Following the challenge, Coach expressed his frustration regarding the challenge and recognized that Timbira had to improve their play in the challenges drastically.
"We gotta turn it around, just for every reason imaginable," he said. "Pride, the rewards, the anger that I'm feeling. Winners find a way to win, losers find a way to lose. We gotta get it together."
Upon returning to camp, Debbie apologized for not giving the best directions during the challenge. Coach added that even though everyone was disappointed by the results, the castaways should stay together and figure out their tribe problems instead of branching off into small groups and blaming one another.
However Coach didn't seem to listen to his own ideas, as he proceeded to single out the weakest castaways to Tyson Apostol, a 29-year-old bike-shop manager and former professional cyclist from Linden, UT, after the two left the other tribemates to go fishing.
"People have just panicked during the challenges," Coach said. "Have you seen Sierra, she screams every time. I'm just like 'Oh my goodness!' I mean who's worse, is it Erinn or Sierra?' Honestly I wanna get Erinn out immediately."
Coach added that he felt the two of them should team with Sierra and Debbie could get together to vote out Erinn at their next Tribal Council.
"The one word to describe Coach, I think, is that's it, 'Coach,'" Tyson said later. "He's not always the best at what he's coaching but he thinks he knows the most."
Tyson added that he felt Coach had a "little schoolboy crush" on him and that he had taken on the role as his "assistant coach" so far in the competition.
Upon arriving at Exile Island, Brendan and Taj once again got to choose urns, this time with Taj's containing a clue informing her that the hidden Immunity Idols that were hidden back at their camps were hidden in places surrounded by wood. Both Brendan and Taj committed to continue looking for the Idol, but devised a backup plan if they could not find the Idol and were not chosen to go back to Exile Island for a third time.
Taj said she would inform Stephen Fishbach, a 29-year-old corporate consultant from New York, NY, of the hidden Idol if she could not find it, while Brendan said he would inform Sierra. They would then push to send both of them to Exile Island the next time so they could begin looking for the idol as well while forming a strong four-person alliance after the merge as well.
On the morning of Day 9, the Jalapao tribe awoke warm and well rested following a rainy night because of the blankets they had received for winning the challenge.
"We had the best sleep of our lives," Stephen said. "We had our blankets, we had our new shelter and we had the knowledge that Timbira was having a miserable night so that made us all sleep really soundly."
Well rested, Jalapao met up with the cold and tired Timbira tribe for the Immunity Challenge. The castaways were told that each team would run groups of two across a field to a group of giant crates and roll them back one-by-one to the starting line.
Once a tribe had all of their crates, they would have to build them into a giant staircase in a way that the markings on the side of each crate spelled out their tribe's name. After correctly building their staircases, the first team to get to the top of the stairs to the finish line would win immunity, while the losing team would be sent to Tribal Council that evening.
The challenge then began, with Timbira jumping out to a quick lead and eventually getting all of their crates back to the starting line first, slightly ahead of Jalapao. However, while many of the Timbira tribe members began doubting the direction from Erinn, who attempted to lead the tribe in the challenge, Jalapao worked together successfully as a team, jumped into the lead and held on to beat Timbira once again to win immunity.
Following the challenge a worn out Jerry, who still had not recovered from his stomach bug, doubled over in pain.
"I'm through I'm finished," he said to himself. He later added that his inability to be effective in the challenge because of his illness had been detrimental to the team.
"I feel a great deal responsible for the loss today because I couldn't give it my all, I'm really weak, my stomach just feels so bad, it's like there are two boxers in there boxing around," he said. "But I'm pretty sure everybody start looking at me like 'Jerry's not getting any better, he's probably the weakest link on the tribe, we need to get rid of him.'"
Sure enough, while Jerry recuperated at camp following the challenge, the other Timbira tribe members met in the river and agreed that Jerry's illness was beginning to effect the team and that he should be the one eliminated.
"Alright, well that makes it easy," Brendan said.
With his plans to eliminate Erinn seemingly put on hold, Coach couldn't help but let his disgust of her be known -- particularly after she smiled when it was determined that Jerry's sickness was cause for him to be eliminated.
"The most unfortunate thing about this whole situation is that as soon as Erinn realized that Jerry was that sick she turned around and looked at the tribe [with this] evil sneer, kind of like I'm staying!'" Coach said later.
"Coach is definitely pissed about voting off Jerry, but I'm honestly not gonna sever off another limb so that we can get our vendetta against Erinn," Sierra said. 'In the beginning when they saw me sick and they saw me weak they were gonna vote me out. So as much as I've actually grown to like and be fond of Jerry, I'm not gonna be stupid."
In a last ditch attempt to try and get Erinn back on the chopping block, Tyson told Jerry to try and stay strong and get better. During his conversation with Jerry, Tyson added that no one had been talking about eliminating him but not to mention that he had told him that to anybody.
"Yeah," Jerry said somewhat cautiously.
Meanwhile, after being unable to find the hidden Immunity Idol after his first trip to Exile Island, Brendan's luck changed after he decided to inspect Timbira's wooden "Tree Mail" statue and found the hidden Immunity Idol tucked in its backside.
"Yes, that makes not eating for a couple of days worth it!" Brendan said later. To be safe, he hid the Idol under a rock nearby.
That night, Timbira met Jeff for Tribal Council. Upon arriving, Jeff asked Tyson if he felt momentum was playing a factor so far in the competition.
"Momentum's extremely important. I think we got a little bit arrogant and [Jalapao's] on a high right now and we're on a low," Tyson responded. "It doesn't take much to regain momentum, just a win. If we can all focus and get together we can flip-flop pretty fast."
After Erinn reiterated that she felt her Immunity Challenge suggestions had been largely ignored by her tribemates, Jerry added that he felt a "controlling person" needed to be put in place to lead the tribe.
"At today's challenge if we had a controlling person to say 'Okay you got it, I'm gonna listen to you,' bam! But that didn't happened. We need to establish a leader," he said.
When asked by Jeff who he thought the leader, Jerry angered Coach when he mentioned Brendan's name.
"Being the devil's advocate, let's say Brendan is the leader, then he has to take the reigns," Coach said. "I'm not suggesting that I'm the leader, but on the truck I was making eye contact with everybody, and the reason why it worked so smoothly was because I basically told everybody with my eyes to get what they needed to get."
Coach's response elicited smirks from many of his tribemates, as well as Erinn who began laughing.
"I think [being leader is] a role that Coach is used to, [and he would like] to be in, but it's something that Brendan does better," she responded.
"Again I'm not criticizing Brendan, but we've lost three challenges in a row, and for her to be so quick to say that comes more to a personality clash between us two," Coach responded.
"I didn't know we had a personality clash!" Erinn shot back with a smile.
Prior to the vote, Jerry said that he felt the vote would work to eliminate the weakest person from the tribe. Sure enough, after the votes were calculated it was revealed that everyone in the tribe except Jerry had deemed him to be the tribe's weakest link and voted for his elimination.
"Well according to you guys, tonight's vote was all about making this tribe stronger," Jeff said. "Time will tell if you've made the right decision or not."
The next episode of Survivor: Tocantins will air on Thursday, March 5 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.