Sierra Reed the tenth castaway voted out of 'Survivor: Tocantins'
By Steve Rogers, 05/01/2009
After 30 days in the Brazilian Highlands, Sierra Reed became the tenth castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Tocantins during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
I started off super sick. I had the flu. But I persevered through it and I've done all that I could do to stay in the game as long as I possibly could," the 23-year-old model from Los Angeles, CA said following her elimination. "Coach was lying, I guess they'll have to find that out on their own. I was just totally floored that I made it 30 days living essentially in a bush with nothing and I'm very proud of myself."
Survivor: Tocantins' tenth episode began on Night 27 with the seven remaining merged Forza tribe castaways returning from the Tribal Council session in which Tyson Apostol, 29-year-old bike-shop manager and former professional cyclist from Linden, UT, was unexpectedly voted out of the game.
After the castaways returned to camp, James "JT" Thomas Jr., a 24-year-old cattle rancher from Samson, AK, and Stephen Fishbach, a 29-year-old corporate consultant from New York, NY, attempted to explain why they had secretly decided to vote off Tyson -- who was one of the members of their "Warrior alliance" -- to fellow "Warrior" allies Benjamin "Coach" Wade, a 37-year-old soccer coach and part-time orchestra from Bolivar, MO, and Debra "Debbie" Beebe, a 46-year-old middle-school principal from Auburn, AK.
"I knew you would not want to go against your word with Tyson," JT told Coach and Debbie as he explained why he and Stephen hadn't told them about the plan to vote off Tyson.
However Stephen admitted to a different reason to the cameras afterwards.
"The reason we didn't tell Debbie and Coach that we were going to vote out Tyson was because we didn't want them scrambling and changing their plans. We knew what they're votes were going to be and we could safely get rid of Tyson without telling them," Stephen said, referencing the fact that Tamara "Taj" Johnson-George, a 37-year-old from Nashville, TN, and Erinn Lobdell, a 26-year-old hairstylist from Waukesha, WI, had also agreed to vote for Tyson.
Together with Sierra's vote for Tyson -- which she cast without knowing that the others would also be voting for him -- the votes were enough to result in Tyson being eliminated from the game via a 5-3 vote.
Recognizing that their game fate was now in the hands of Stephen and JT, Debbie and Coach both immediately heaped congratulations on the duo.
"Both Coach and Debbie realized that the dynamics of the tribe had suddenly dramatically shifted and they were trying to curry favor with us," Stephen explained afterwards. "So basically anything we had done was the greatest thing that had ever accomplished. You know 'What a tremendous blindside!' It worried me a little bit because I would rather have an honest blowout than have people smiling at me and plotting something else."
Meanwhile, Sierra was just shocked that she had managed to manage the Tribal Session session despite Tyson's earlier matter-of-fact pronouncements that she would be the next castaway sent home.
"I totally though I was going home, I couldn't have asked for a better Tribal Council." Sierra said.
The next day, Debbie approached Stephen and JT and asked who they were planning to send home next and they told Debbie that Sierra and Erinn would be the next two castaways going home.
"I trust you completely Deb... there's no reason why we can't be in the Final 4 -- you me, Stephen, yourself and Coach," JT told Debbie as Stephen looked on.
However Debbie later admitted she wasn't sure whether she should believe Stephen and JT's statements and approached Coach with her concerns.
"They blindsided us with Tyson last night and I'm still upset about it," Debbie told Coach. "It's dangerous that Stephen and Taj and JT are together again, and if we take out Sierra and then Erinn next... then they can take me out and then you out."
"So who would the [new] alliance be? You and me and Sierra and Erinn?" Coach responded, referring to the other two remaining members of the pre-merge Timbera tribe.
"[Yeah,] otherwise we're taking out all our people and then you and I are sitting ducks," Debbie said.
"If we could pull al all the Timbera tribe members back together and get Sierra, Erinn, Coach and myself [then] we would outnumber [the former] Jalapao [members] -- Taj, Stephen and JT -- and maybe be able to gain control of this game again," Debbie told the cameras afterwards.
Later that day, the castaways met Survivor host Jeff Probst for their Reward Challenge, however before revealing the challenge he required the castaways to each answer a series of questions in private.
After collecting their answers and tallying the results, Jeff revealed that the challenge would require each castaway to attempt to guess how most of the castaways answered the questions, which had asked the castaways to reveal their personal feelings about their fellow contestants.
Similar to Survivor: Marquesas' legendary alliance-exposing "Coconut Chop" challenge, each correct answer would allow a castaway to chop one of three ropes that were preventing a hammer from smashing a large figurine that represented each castaway. Once all three ropes were chopped, a castaway's figurine would be smashed and they would be eliminated from the challenge.
The winner would get to visit a unique local spring and join a local family for a home-cooked traditional Brazilian feast as well as determine which castaway would get sent to Exile Island for the next two days.
Sierra was the first castaway eliminated from the challenge, followed by Coach and Debbie, however given they had all contributed to each other's eliminations, Sierra seemed to be the only one to attach any significance to the elimination order.
Erinn was then eliminated next when JT chopped her last rope, however Erinn then used her own last swing to take JT out of the challenge, leaving only Stephen and Taj -- both of whom had yet to have any of their ropes chopped -- left in the challenge.
Stephen eventually won the challenge by correctly answering "Sierra" to the challenge's final "Who is most likely to stab you in the back?" and "Who would you least like to see win this game?" questions. Stephen then decided to send Erinn to Exile Island.
"I decided that Erinn should go to Exile because my alliance of JT, Taj and Erinn wants to keep Exile under wraps... just in case a new [hidden Immunity] Idol pops up," Stephen explained afterwards.
Jeff then revealed that Stephen could select one other castaway to accompany him on the challenge and he selected Taj. Jeff then surprised the castaways by announcing that Stephen could also select a second person to go on the reward trip, causing him to pick JT and cite "a promise" as his reason.
However Coach was immediately skeptical of the decisions.
"So now I'm afraid that when push comes to shove, that Stephen and JT will stick with Taj [instead of me] and I'm at their mercy," Coach said afterwards.
Once they returned to camp alone with Sierra, Coach and Debbie immediately approached her about their plan to re-form the Timbera tribe.
"With Erinn on Exile and getting pissed off at Stephen and JT, if we're going to make a move, now is gonna be the chance," Coach told a surprised looking Sierra.
"She may be mad enough now that they've sent her to Exile. Sierra, you would go with whatever Coach decided, wouldn't you?" Debbie asked.
However Sierra was noncommittal and cited the fact that Coach had just rejected her own attempts to re-ally with him before the previous night's Tribal Council.
"I thought you said you were going to be loyal?" Coach responded.
"[I did, but] then you wrote my name down [at Tribal Council] last night and you didn't save me like I asked you to and they did," Sierra told Coach.
"So that's how it's going to be? You're next then baby!" Coach told Sierra.
The three then launched into an argument in which Sierra pointed out Debbie and Coach were in "some big trouble" and no longer in control of the game and Debbie then began crying and accusing Sierra of making "threats" and claiming that she had "no idea who we have" before eventually storming off.
"She's next the block!" Debbie told Coach afterwards.
"I know, I can't believe she's that stupid," Coach replied while also acknowledging that he didn't know whether he could trust Stephen and JT to still take Debbie and himself to the game's Final 4.
"Jalapao's brilliant, they used me to get to Tyson [without my knowledge] so someone is playing their game right and I think I'd go be with the smart people," Sierra told the cameras afterwards.
Meanwhile, Stephen, JT, and Taj also used their reward trip to try and plot some strategy of their own -- specifically whether Sierra, Coach or Debbie should be the next person to go home.
After initially deciding that Sierra would be the next one to go home, Stephen suggested that although Sierra was a "much more erratic player," Debbie was also "shrewd" and a "real strategic player." In addition, the threesome also privately reiterated their beliefs that Erinn -- and not Coach or Debbie -- was the true fourth member of their alliance.
On Day 30, Coach and Sierra both decided to tell Stephen and JT about the aborted attempt to reform the old Timbera alliance, however while Sierra told Stephen the truth about what happened, Coach lied and told JT that Sierra had been the one that had approached Debbie and himself with the proposal.
"I said that's not going to happen, I don't want to get in bed with a snake," Coach falsely told JT. "She's going to do whatever it takes to get her farthest in the game, without any honor."
While JT seemed to immediately believe Coach's claims, Stephen was more skeptical of Sierra's.
"I'd like to [believe you and] include you but you could be playing me right now," Stephen told Sierra, who then proceeded to break down and insist she was telling the truth and tired of playing games.
Coach then lied some more and told both JT and Stephen that both Debbie and Sierra had begun plotting against them but he had valiantly rejected the idea.
"Of course that's what everybody talked about but it didn't come out of my mouth," Coach told them while gesturing with his hands. "As soon as we got back here Debbie and Sierra said 'Do you guys want to talk about the alliance and you know, everything like that?' and I thought about it for like 15 seconds and then I can not do that to those guys. There's going to be no Timbera alliance. I don't like it. It makes me sick to my stomach to think about it!"
Both Stephen and JT seemed to come away confused about what had actually transpired.
"I can't get a real sense of who is telling the truth, which makes me suspicious of [all] three of them," Stephen admitted afterwards.
"I don't know man, I just don't know," Stephen told JT.
"Coach lied to me this morning if Sierra is telling the truth," JT told Stephen.
"He may just be a born pathological liar!" Stephen responded, not realizing he'd apparently just hit upon the truth. "We don't have to get rid of Sierra. Let's keep Sierra as a real viable option... I think she's loyal to us."
Later that day, the castaways met Jeff and reunited with Erinn for the next Immunity Challenge, which occurred in two parts. The first part required the castaways to toss a grappling hook down individual marked areas and attempt to receive three bags.
The first three castaways to retrieve all three of their bags would then advance to the challenge's final round, which required the three castaways to attempt to navigate a ball through a large table maze. The first castaway to avoid all the maze's drop holes and successfully navigate their ball through the maze would win immunity at the evening's Tribal Council session.
JT and Coach were the first two castaways to retrieve all three of their bags, turning the first round into a two-way race between Stephen and Debbie for the final slot. Debbie eventually won, resulting in JT, Coach, Debbie competing in the final round. Although JT jumped out to a lead in the final round, he lost his ball to a drop hole right near the end of the maze, resulting in Coach winning his first challenge.
"You better believe it baby! Dragonslayer!" Coach not-so-humbly shouted as his ball dropped into the maze's exit hole.
"Guess there won't be a blindside of ol' Coach tonight, will there?" Coach boasted to JT after the castaways had returned to camp. "Did you hear me say 'Dragonslayer?'"
"Yeah, yeah," JT replied.
"You know, that was just my forte today," Coach said as he continued gushing about his victory. "It was mental concentration."
Meanwhile, in an attempt to convince JT that she was the one telling the truth, Sierra offered to publicly confront Coach about his claim that she had been the one who had attempted to reestablish the Timbera tribal alliance.
Coach predictably denied Sierra's claims, and instead seemed to attempt to redirect some of the blame onto Debbie, who didn't seem to notice the not-so-subtle deflection attempt.
"I have not lied in this game nor will I," Coach said as the rest of the castaways looked on. "Yesterday when we came back here and Debbie said do you guys want to talk about whether there is an ex-Jalapao alignment, right, and if we should talk about an alignment ourselves. And at that point you got in Debbie's face, Debbie started crying and I said 'Sierra, I do not want a Timbera alliance, and that's it!"
"I didn't talk about a Timbera alliance, you guys both came to me and asked me," Sierra replied.
"We DID NOT ask you for an alliance!" Coach barked back as Debbie echoed his response.
"You are such a liar!" Sierra shouted.
"Sierra, we talked about our options in this game. When did you become this angry person?" Debbie asked as she feigned concern for Sierra's well-being and began crying again. "That's not the person that I know."
"You're not the person I know anymore," Sierra yelled back.
Afterward, Debbie claimed indignation about the whole exchange.
"I am a 46-year-old professional woman and I can't believe I'm in a verbal combat with a 23-year-old over what I said or didn't say," she told the cameras. "Honestly, a lot of it I don't even remember but it wasn't going to change the vote on her. At least in my mind -- who knows what will happen tonight."
Later, Stephen and JT both seemed to agree that the exchange had demonstrated that Sierra had been the one who was telling the truth.
"I think Sierra just caught Coach in a lie. It sounds like they actually approached her... and she said no," Stephen told JT. "That's like more loyalty than they're showing to us."
"I mean I'm open to Debbie too, it's just, thinking about it, it seems like it'd be less uproars and dramas to send Sierra tonight," JT replied.
"Sierra did a service to me and JT by exposing Coach's half-truths and Debbie's scheming," Stephen told the cameras afterwards. "The problem with keeping Sierra is she's causing a lot of drama around camp. who know what Sierra will say, who knows who she'll piss off. So sending her home eliminates one big nutty variable."
Meanwhile, Taj and Erinn both told Sierra that they believed her.
"You exposed him," Taj told Sierra.
"Yeah, absolutely, I'm not voting for you tonight," Erinn added.
Once the castaways arrived at Tribal Council, Sierra once again brought up Timbera alliance discussion and Coach's lies about how it had occurred, sparking another strong reaction from the self-titled "Dragonslayer."
"I'm happy knowing I just proved that 'someone who was going to change the game' in 'an honest way' wrong," Sierra told Jeff.
"There are two things I'm not, and that is a coward and a liar," Coach fired back.
"And I honestly think that in Sierra's warped mind she thinks she's telling the truth," he added, generating a laugh from both Sierra and JT.
"I absolutely love it, I've been hearing it all day and I haven't watched soap operas in so long so this is really giving me a boost," Taj told Jeff as Erinn laughed and Debbie shook her head in disagreement.
However after the castaways voted, it turned out Sierra's efforts hadn't been enough to save her and she was still voted out in a 4-2-1 split decision in which Sierra and Taj voted for Debbie and Erinn voted for Stephen for unclear reasons.
"Well it's clear that the six of you are struggling to trust each other, and that means paranoia is just around the corner," Jeff told the remaining castaways following Sierra's elimination.
Survivor: Tocantins' next episode will air Thursday, May 7 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.