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Episode 13: "I Trust You, But I Trust Me More" (season finale)
Filmed: December 8-10, 2008 ||  Aired: Sunday, May 17, 2009 || Re-watched: July 17, 2015
  • Ep13 Final four Immunity challenge: "Tarantula" - JT wins, barely.
  • Final four voted out: Taj, 3-1 over Erinn.
  • Final three Immunity challenge: "Simmotion" - JT wins again.
  • Final three voted out: Erinn, 1-0 (or 2-1) over Stephen.
  • Final Tribal Council jury vote: JT wins, 7-0, over Stephen.
JT wins F4 IC Taj out, 3-1 JT wins again
Erinn booted Bros, mancing JT wins yet again, this time 7-0

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Episode 13 scoring notes

Notes: On re-watch, the F4 IC was on par with the similar one in South Pacific as a surprisingly nail-biting mix of physical and mental effort. Except this time, the Ozzy held on and won it. Had JT not raced out to a gigantic lead collecting the bags (say, if Taj had refused to let him pass when they were both in the same tunnel, at a time when she knew perfectly well he was about to collect his final bag), he probably would have lost, which would have created an interesting conundrum for the other three.

 

But no, everyone, especially Taj, loves JT. And he escapes a resurgent Erinn on that challenge, calmly outlasts both Erinn and Stephen on the next one, and coasts to a unanimous jury victory. On rewatch, Stephen's above-the-belt Final Tribal approach, refusing to speak negatively about JT, should have earned him the respect and vote of Coach. But again, no. Everyone loves JT. ("He's so fast!") Certainly, Stephen could have owned his moves better, and sold his strategic game more aggressively. In the end, though, this stands as perhaps the single most unfairly lopsided jury vote in Survivor history. To be sure, JT was an outstanding player here: a physical powerhouse, and his irrepressible Spradlinesque charm led everyone to want him in their alliance, never vote against him, and shower him in jury votes. We get it. After all, his performance here is the best ever by the SurvScore stat. But strategically, Stephen was more than a few steps ahead of him, and the final jury tally should have been much more balanced.

 

And in looking back at the final four Tribal Council, which occurred two days earlier in real time, there's one person who probably deserves an assist here: Jeff Probst. As Stephen tries to give a non-answer to avoid revealing the looming Taj blindside, a dismissive Probst mocks Stephen with "It's almost as if you just showed up, and it's your first day here, and you don't know how the game is played." Stephen, flabbergasted, pauses, then manages a shocked parry, but the damage was done, especially in the eyes of the jury. To modern audiences, having seen this and subsequent seasons play out, re-watching a proto-Know-It-All Stephen making a series of strong social and strategic decisions, Probst's accusation is absolutely jaw-dropping in its geek-shaming, testosterone-worshipping audacity.

 

It was a joke, yes. But it was a particularly cutting one, and it undermined almost Stephen's entire (self-effacing) final jury claim to having been an equal strategic partner with JT in each juror's ouster. Because Stephen and JT did their plotting in private, many of the jurors probably weren't aware this was such a ridiculous exaggeration. But the audience did. And Probst, despite his claiming not to know what goes on in camp, had to know it as well. And it's not a joke Probst would have made about JT. The only thing close would have been Probst saying at the F3 Tribal Council: "JT, sure you're good in challenges, but you seem to be a simple country bumpkin who didn't even know Coach was getting booted two days back. Would it help if I explained this voting thing to you more slowly?"

 

But that would never happen, because JT is a telegenic, handsome young man who won three straight immunities.

 

We have complained about Probst playing favorites and tampering with the outcome through his line of questioning in modern seasons. It's shocking to rediscover how blatantly he was already doing this at what is now roughly the show's midpoint.

 

Final Four vote count:

- Taj received 3 votes, JT, Stephen, and Erinn (voted out, 3-1).

- Erinn received 1 vote, from Taj.

 

Final Three vote count:

- Erinn received 1 vote, from JT (voted out, 1-0, or 2-1 if you count Erinn's and Stephen's auto-votes).

Contestant F3 Immunity
Challenge
F3 Tribal council stats Jury stats SurvSc SurvAv
ChW ChA VFB VAP TotV TCA JVF TotJ JV%
J.T. 1 1 1 - 3 1 7 7 1.00 2.26 17.11
Stephen 0 1 1 - 3 1 0 7 0.00 1.21 8.20
Erinn 0 1 0 1 3 1 - - - 0.73 2.98
Taj - - - - - - - - - 0.76 2.58
Coach - - - - - - - - - 0.74 3.46
Debbie - - - - - - - - - 0.92 4.11
Sierra - - - - - - - - - 0.66 1.98
Tyson - - - - - - - - - 1.05 4.66
Brendan - - - - - - - - - 0.91 3.53
Joe* - - - - - - - - - 0.84 1.92
Sydney - - - - - - - - - 1.19 3.42
Spencer - - - - - - - - - 1.06 2.67
Sandy - - - - - - - - - 0.98 2.03
Jerry - - - - - - - - - 0.53 1.53
Candace - - - - - - - - - -0.41 0.13
Carolina - - - - - - - - - -0.88 0.00

Contestant Final Four Immunity
Challenge
F4 Tribal council stats
ChW ChA VFB VAP TotV TCA
Erinn 0 1 1 1 4 1
J.T. 1 1 1 - 4 1
Stephen 0 1 1 - 4 1
Taj 0 1 0 3 4 1

Glossary of terms - for more, see the full glossary
Challenge stats
  • ChW: Challenge Wins. For tribal challenges, a contestant earns a fraction of 1 win, depending on if they participated (no points for sitting out). So in a five-person tribe's win, each participant gets (1/5) of a point, or 0.2 points.
  • ChA: Challenge Appearances. Used to calculate ChW%. Fractional for tribal challenges (same as ChW), except sit-outs get charged for an appearance, because they could have participated.
Tribal Council stats
  • VFB: Votes For Bootee. The number of times the contestant has voted for the person who was ultimately voted out. Applies only to initial votes (no points for revotes in case of a tie). Special case: In a final three TC, where only one vote is cast (by the F3 IC winner), only that vote counts.
  • VAP: Votes Against the Player. The total number of tribal council votes cast against the contestant. Again, only initial votes count (no penalty for revotes), and here a hidden immunity idol (if played) erases the votes. In the special case of a final three tribal council above, only the F3 bootee receives a vote against.
  • TotV: Total votes cast during the tribal councils the player has attended (again, only initial votes count). Used to adjust for different vote totals as tribes shrink.
  • TCA: Tribal council appearances. The number of times a contestant has attended tribal council (at which they voted).
Overall scores
  • Survival Score (SurvSc). It's simply the sum of Challenge Win% (ChW%) + Tribal Council% (TC%) + Jury Vote%, for a maximum possible score of 2 (3 after the finale).
  • Survival Average (SurvAv). It's a simple sum of fractional Challenge Wins (ChW), weighted TC Ratio (wTCR), and (eventually) a weighted Jury%. The latter two max out at six points total, for a theoretical maximum score of around 18 or so.
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