Stephenie LaGrossa becomes the fourteenth contestant to exit 'Survivor: Palau'
By Reality TV World staff, 04/29/2005
Demonstrating that Janu Tornell's previous week's quitting of the game had merely postponed her fate, Stephenie LaGrossa was voted out of Survivor: Palau during CBS's broadcast of the show's eleventh episode, making Stephenie the fourteenth castaway to exit the competition.
Survivor: Palau's eleventh episode began with the seven remaining castaways returning from the Night 27 Tribal Council in which Janu quit the competition, buying planned-bootee Stephenie another three days in the process.
Despite her newfound game life, Stephenie remained uneasy about her chances of lasting much further in the game. "I don't know whom to trust, I don't know who to talk to -- I almost don't want to talk to anybody," she confided to the cameras.
Feeling that his victories in the game's first two individual immunity challenges had firmly established him as an upcoming target, 41-year-old New York firefighter Tom Westman proactively approached his fellow castaways and requested that they not hold his physical strength against him, adding that a strong challenge performer has never won Survivor's million dollar prize. Later, with Tom not around, his four fellow alliance mates snickered about his speech, with Gregg Carey commenting that "there's a reason that no [strong castaway] has ever won... because they've all been voted out."
Sensing a possible opportunity to last longer in the game, Stephenie approached Katie Gallagher and Jennifer Lyon about the possibility of the three teaming with Caryn Groedel to form that most elusive holy grail of Survivor -- a successful endgame all-female alliance. Recognizing that Tom, Gregg, and 23-year-old dolphin trainer Ian Rosenberger were a formidable physical threesome, Katie and Jennifer claimed to be receptive to the idea, leaving them to recruit Caryn in order to be able to complete their plan.
After retrieving their Day 28 tree mail, the castaways suspected that the upcoming Reward Challenge would feature the show's traditional "everyone's a winner" food auction. And after assembling for the afternoon challenge, they weren't disappointed, with each castaway receiving $500 to spend on unrevealed mystery auction lots. After auctioning off food lots that included an ice cream sundae to Jennifer, a cheeseburger and fries to Caryn and Stephenie, and a plate of spaghetti to Ian, Tom purchased a letter from home for $220. With Jeff announcing that anyone else could also purchase their letter for the same $220 price, Stephenie, Caryn, Katie and Gregg all quickly pounced on the opportunity, leaving only Ian (who had spent a total of $360 -- minus Gregg's $20 "bite" contribution -- on spaghetti and a beer and didn't have $220 left) and Jennifer (who appeared to be saving her remaining money for a cheese and crackers auction item that never came) as the only castaways to not receive their letters.
During a Day 29 scroll, Tom approached Caryn about becoming the "strong sixth" member of his "Final 5" alliance, hoping to use her as protection against becoming a target. Feeling that Tom had worked "really hard" to keep her in the game, Caryn agreed not to "bite the hand" that was feeding her, causing the two to agree to, in Tom's words, "look out for each other to the best that we can."
After arriving at the day's Immunity Challenge, the castaways learned that the challenge would be a coconut tossing game in which the castaways would attempt to break thirty-five colored ceramic tiles representing each survivor, with the first castaway to have all five of their tiles shattered winning immunity.
Ian correctly hit his target with the first toss of the game and never really looked back, using some accidental help from Gregg to pull away from the rest of his fellow castaways and easily win immunity when Tom also unintentionally broke his final tile.
With the evening's Day 30 Tribal Council coming up and Tom having failed to win immunity, Katie (in one of her few actual contributions during her month-long stay on the island) approached Caryn about the girls' plan to form an all-female Final 4 alliance and vote off Tom.
Staying loyal to Tom, Caryn immediately told Tom of her conversation with Katie -- a strategy that given that Tom had failed to guarantee Caryn that she would last any further than the game's Final 6, seemed to surprise even him. "Why are you telling me as opposed to siding with the girls?," Tom asked Caryn. Despite admitting in confessional that she didn't "have the word 'alliance' with anyone," Caryn gave little indication that she realized that Tom's reaction was based on the fact that even he didn't think that she should turn down the girls' offer.
"I'm a little wary of why Caryn is giving me the information [because] she'd be better off holding on to that information and just surprising me," Tom later confided to the camera. Tom immediately alerted Ian to Caryn's news, causing Ian to immediately confront Katie about Caryn's claims.
Given that his four fellow alliance mates had already seemed to have decided to make Tom the first member of their alliance to be ousted, Katie appeared to be able to smooth things over with Ian. In the end, Katie confided to cameras that "we can't get a female alliance together because Caryn sucks" while Caryn admitted that "I might be in trouble" after discovering that word of her conversation with Tom had leaked back to Katie.
At the evening's Tribal Council, Caryn's demonstration that she couldn't be trusted resulted in all three original Koror women remaining loyal to their tribal past, causing Stephenie, the game's sole remaining former Ulong tribe member, to be voted out of the game in a 6-1 vote and become the third member of Survivor Palau's jury.