Survivor: Tonga Summary
Hello, faithful readers of Survivor: Tonga.
First off, this is an article that I hoped I wouldn't have to write. I had hoped that Tonga would be a weekly feature, competing right along with All-Star Greece throughout the summer. That was the plan, both of the projects would run concurrently up until September, when Pearl Islands would start. But for reasons I'm not going to get into, it didn't happen. There will be no more episodes of Survivor: Tonga.
The purpose of this article is to summarize the entire story of Tonga. You see, it was a great game. It was designed to be as immersive as possible and Rafe Judkins (the host) did a great job in setting it up and running it. Sixteen players (including yours truly) agreed to play, to compete against one another, and we later agreed to have it written up as a story... similar to my All-Star stories.
And let me say that although some of the players may have treated it as a joke at first, or as a lark, by the end it was pretty darn serious. It was cutthroat, personal, and way beyond the limits of a healthy experience. It got really nasty, really personal, and the language you will see is pretty strong by the end. People really took this thing seriously. EVERY ONE OF US gave our all for this game... as we pretty much had to. It was three months of our lives, where we basically did nothing but eat, sleep and think about Tonga. We would spend 8... 10... 12 hours per day online sometimes, just to keep up on game events. It was so immersive, in fact, that some of us had a hard time adjusting to life without it afterwards. There was a little shellshock involved, and we all still talk about it to this day. There were friendships, fights, grudges, and even a real-life romance to all blossom out of the experience.
In short, it had everything you could want in a story!
So admittedly it is a little difficult to see it never end up in print. We all hoped it would be a great story, but this is the best you're gonna get. I put a lot of work into piecing it all together into an interesting format, but I simply didn't have the energy to make up for so much lost time and write actual episodes. But hopefully you will like this format, I tried to make it as balanced as was humanly possible, with input (and quotes) from most of the players involved. And I apologize (for all of us) to the readers who got invested in the story, and really got into the first two episodes that were posted here at S=C. But hopefully this article will make up for it. It will give you a pretty good idea as to what happened in Tonga. It was a great game, a great experience, and a great challenge. And I am as proud of Tonga as of just about any project I have ever taken part in. It was a game I will never forget, and it was simply a lot of fun.
So here is the story-- The story of an online game. And the story of sixteen Survivor fans who went way past the line of good sportsmanship and probably took things a little too seriously.
This is the story... of Survivor: Tonga.
(Special note: This summary assumes that you read the first two episodes of Tonga. I didn't go into a whole lot of backstory. But if are new to the project, you can catch up on the backstory and all the player bios at the Official Tonga Website.)
The game was divided into two teams, just like a normal season of Survivor. And right away, it looked like one team was older (Tumutumu) and the other one was younger (Ana). This split in ages helped define the two teams, right from the start. Tumu was more group-oriented, while Ana was more individual-based. You could see it from day one.
The older Tumutumu tribe was made up of the following players:
1. Marcy, a 17-year old student from Canada.
2. Anna, a 26-year old office worker from Seattle.
3. Isabella, a 25-year old psychology student from New York.
4. Dave, a 30-year old tech lead from Dallas.
5. Jayemel, a 20-year old writer from New York.
6. Mario, a 28-year old programmer from Seattle.
7. Taylor, a 21-year old store manager from Tennessee.
8. and Jenne, a 21-year old nanny from Santa Cruz.
Jenne: "What a team we had. We really came together well, we all seemed to have our heads in the same place and wanted to make life as comfortable and pleasant as possible. And we were male dominated, which both Anna and I liked!!!"
The early leadership roles were taken by Jenne and Anna, as they hit it off as friends right off the bat. The two women made a good team, and helped to get the camp in shape right from the start. Anna built a wonderful shelter and Jenne helped organize the daily activities. The rest of the team fell easily into place behind them. Taylor was the strongman-- the big strapping worker bee. Dave was another big man, a strong sensitive guy who could handle any physical labor around the camp. Isabella was the food gatherer, in addition to her job of leading yoga exercises every morning on the beach. Jayemel became the everyman, the entertaining young man who was so fun to be around. Marcy, the youngest, was the little boy whom all the women fawned over. And Mario slid right into place as the cook, although he was not quite the person he told everyone he was.
Mario: "My strategy was to make up a fake persona, and make myself as unthreatening as possible. I mean, people only know as much about you as you tell them, right? So I told everyone I was a youth minister and my name was Nick. I just wanted them to forget about me, and let me do the cooking. Because once they stop thinking about you, that's when you can do some serious damage. And they all called me 'Nick' from day one."
Across the island of Tonga was the other team, the younger, more athletic Ana tribe. And this team came to the island ready to play. This was no group of rookies, the Anas were all hardcore, cutthroat strategists, and Jenne's theory of "Tumu unity" would not have flown for a second in this bunch. The Anas were made up of:
1. Kathy, a 19-year old pre-school teacher from Illinois.
2. Jamie, a 21-year old student from Iowa.
3. Tenzil, a 28-year old stagehand from Ontario.
4. Lindsay, a 16-year old soccer player from Pennsylvania.
5. C.J., a 21-year old legal assistant from Pennsylvania.
6. Bobby, a 16-year old student from Massachusetts.
7. Ronan, a 21-year old nursing student from Long Beach.
8. and Pete, a 26-year old salesman from Illinois.
Jamie: "My first impression of the tribe was that we were young. We had 2 people that couldn't even buy cigarettes yet, and only 4 of us could buy booze."
Whereas nobody on Tumutumu was even discussing alliances yet, within days, the power core of Ana had already revealed itself. They started talking strategy right off the bat, as all eight of them hit the ground running. And the one at the center of most of the action was their early leader, Tenzil.
From day one, Tenzil was the man calling the shots.
~~ FIRST IMPRESSIONS ~~
The players came to the island in pairs. Two of them arrived via canoe, each boat slowly trickling to shore throughout the first day. And on Tumu, an interesting dynamic appeared right off the bat, in the canoe of Mario and Isabella. Not only were they the last to arrive to camp, but they also had been paired together for a reason. You see, Mario wasn't the only one trying to hide his true identity.
Isabella: "I went into the game knowing I was going to win. I had no doubt about it; I was just oozing confidence. And my first plan was to not tell anyone about my profession and my knowledge of psychology, I wanted a very non-threatening job that people would like. I was leaning toward yoga teacher, but when I realized Nick was very religous, I decided to go with secretary instead. I was afraid 'Nick' might not take to a yoga teacher as well."
But soon the two of them arrived at camp, and met the rest of the "canoe buddies" on their team. Jenne and Taylor, who seemed to already have a very flirty relationship. Anna and Dave, the eldest pair, the builders of the bunch. And Jayemel and Marcy, the young, fun-loving pair of the team. This was their tribe. This was Tumutumu.
On Ana, the "canoe buddies" all semmed to form alliances with another right off the bat. Kathy and Lindsay were already best friends. CJ and Jamie had a final 2 alliance before they even arrived at the island. Ronan and Bobby were more or less joined at the hip too. The only pair that didn't seem to get along was Tenzil and Pete, who already seemed to hate one another.
Jamie: "The first thing I picked up on those first few days was that there was a power struggle between Pete and Tenzil. They were the oldest guys on the island and both were control freaks at times. It happened right off the bat, too."
But soon, Tenzil found an alliance. And it didn't take long at all.
Tenzil: "I had tried early on to get in contact with Pete with the idea of working together from the get go. Unfortunately, by the time he ever got back to me I was already offered an alliance by Bobby and Ronan. I agreed and we later brought Lindsay into the fold. Then we needed just one more person to have a majority alliance within Ana, and this is where it got messy..."
Ana was ready to play.
~~ The GAME BEGINS ~~
Both teams did their best to muddle through the first three days. Shelters were built, food was gathered, and teams quickly discovered the differences between their two locations. Tumutumu was up on a mountain, so food was scarce. Ana was down in a cave, so water was hard to find. But eventually, both teams adapted. And once they had reached a point of stability... it was time to talk trash. Both teams made fun of each other mercilessly, in preparations for their first immunity showdown. Both teams were quite certain they were going to win.
Jenne (day 3 confessional): "And I know we are all really gonna shine in today's challenge. There is just no way we can lose. There is no way that they have a better builder than Anna. Or someone stronger than Taylor. Or faster than Nick. Everyone is really strong in their ways."
The challenge itself was held on day 3, and was an eight-part relay race. The tribes would have to assign their members to certain tasks, and the team that could complete all eight tasks first would be safe from the first Tribal Council.
Tenzil: "I picked who went where, changed it with input from Lindsay and that was that. Our only concern was how much time there'd be in between the challenge and Tribal Council, since we didn't know yet."
The challenge ended up being very close. Lindsay's running ability was put on display, as was Jenne's intelligence and Kathy's fire building. But in the end, the older Tumus worked together just a little better, and they won the race.
The Ana tribe would be sent to the first Tribal Council.
Tumutumu went home to relax, and share more of Jenne's famous group hugs. Jenne was already considering her team the "love tribe," and everybody was acting the part. For now, anyway. But over at Ana, the team began to unravel. It was day three, they had lost one challenge, and they already started to veer wildly out of control. The problem was simply that some people genuinely didn't seem to like one another.
Kathy (day 3 confessional): "Tenzil has become the leader, and is already calling himself "Commander Tenzil". He's really arrogant, and I know of several people who are annoyed by his attitude. It's one thing to lead, quite another to order the tribe around. He's okay around camp, although he doesn't really seem to have any useful skills. But he doesn't get on my nerves too much, mostly because I try to ignore him."
The plan was for Ana to vote out Kathy. She was the cook, which was good, but she had always been a bit of an outsider among her team. She wasn't online as much as the others and she really only had ties to her canoe-buddy Lindsay, so she had already been deemed expendable. Plus, she didn't exactly get along well with Tenzil, so he just didn't mind having to lose her.
Tenzil: "Ronan and I had decided on Kathy as a sort of cop out target. It became a case of Pete or Kathy, and we decided to target Kathy since her best skill was cooking-- which CJ could do anyway (just not as well). Plus Kathy didn't have the athleticism that Pete did."
It was decided. Kathy would be the target. But this did not sit well with certain members of the alliance, namely Bobby. True, Bobby was in good with Tenzil and Ronan, but he was not above speaking his mind when he disagreed with "the commander.' And at this point, Bobby took a gamble and decided to start stirring the pot a little.
Bobby: "I was talking to Tenzil, and I was like 'We need organization, why don't we both make a chart so people can sign up for a duty everyday?' But Tenzil stole my idea and never ever gave me credit, so I was pissed. I mean, the 'Commander' thing was already so over the top..."
Bobby didn't like Tenzil, he wasn't that fond of being in Tenzil's alliance, and he didn't like Tenzil's plan to vote out the cook. So he tried to put together his own alliance instead.
Tenzil: "After I met CJ, I really liked her mind for the game. She was a rock solid partner. As a bonus, she had a partnership with Jamie so by adding her, we would get a six-member alliance. However, when we approached Bobby about making her our fifth, he was adamantly against it. He simply wouldn't listen to reason. We really started to wonder if Bobby had two alliances..."
Bobby was already running around like a madman, trying to recruit alliance members. He wanted to take out Tenzil. But the problem was that people caught onto this, very quickly. Ana was on to Bobby, and he soon received the dreaded label of "troublemaker." Once that happened, it was really all over. Bobby tried to pull something together, it failed, and now nobody wanted him around. He was too much trouble and, worst of all, he had angered 'the commander.'
Bobby was toast. He was the first person voted out of the game, and he was voted out unanimously.
~~ TUMUTUMU ~~
On Tumutumu, it had always been an issue that the girls were outnumbered. There were five males and three females on the team, and this made some of the girls nervous. So they made a pact. In one of the first alliance talks of Tumutumu, the females of the tribe decided to vote as a bloc, and stick together to the end.
Jenne (day 4 confessional): "We girls realize we are at a numbers disadvantage, though we don't see this group of guys organizing themselves at all- they are as different as men could possibly be. And hopefully they won't notice how close the three of us are becoming. Anna and I have bonded pretty tight out here. It's really scary how similiarly we think. I can't hide stuff from her, and Bella is just a doll. So really, my Tumu girls are still the closest to my heart. Not only do I love them, it's in my best interests to stick with them. We have a bond and a pact."
Jenne saw it as a sacred bond of friendship. A group of friends sticking together to the end. But others weren't quite so convinced.
Isabella: "As far as the girls go, I realized the other two were worried about being outnumbered, even though I thought it was an advantage. I think it was Jenne who formally proposed that the girls stick with eachother. I took my time hemming and hawing saying I wasn't sure, but it was just a ploy. I would say yes to almost any alliance offer, and this one with Jenne and Anna was just too easy. But we knew we had the power. Or at least Jenne knew it."
With the Tumu males disjointed at best, the females would now be ruling the voting. And since they ALREADY ran the camp, this was just the next natural step. But one thing that was soon to be a potential problem was Taylor. You see, Taylor and Jenne were close. Very close. So close, in fact, that some viewed them as a couple, or as an alliance. And in either case, Jenne suddenly had a lot of power in the tribe. She had bonds to both the females, had Taylor linked to her by the hip, and was clearly at the epicenter of all things Tumu. Simply put, Jenne was the queen of Tonga... and it was already starting to draw some resentment.
Already, the free-spirited figurehead of Tumu had made some enemies.
Isabella (day 5 confessional): "The 'Tumutumu Girls Alliance' is a silly idea. I don't base my alliances on gender. I am loyal to them to the point where it helps me. I am not so fond of Jenne either; as a person she's great and we could be friends, but as a player I can't trust her. She's the ratings type, not the loyal type, and I have no use for someone like that in this game. As for Taylor... of COURSE Jenne is attracted to him; she's attracted to the frogs in the waterfall."
~~ ANA ~~
While the Jenne-Taylor relationship was starting to raise some eyebrows on Tumu, over at Ana love was DEFINITELY in the air. And what may started as a simple strategic pairing soon turned into something much different. By now, CJ and Tenzil started a romance. They had been flirting for a while, and it soon became much more than just a game, pretty soon they realized they were falling for one another.
Tenzil: "At the beginning it was just mere flirting. It took about a week or so before the feelings got more intense. But together we were the queen and king of Ana, and we were always on the same page strategically."
CJ had already been flirting with Jamie, so this started to cause some issues. Much like Jenne at Tumu, suddenly Tenzil was starting to draw some heat. For one, Pete REALLY wanted the leadership role, although he didn't seem to have the votes to do so. But in any case, it was evident that a showdown was brewing. Pete against Tenzil... although no one was sure when it would happen. So for the meantime they let Tenzil take the reigns, and listened to his orders, even as they rolled their eyes at his self-proclaimed nickname of "Commander."
Tenzil: "Iím a big fan of nicknames within the game and I really wanted one. So I encouraged everyone to call me The Commander. I just decided to play the role of an evil tribal leader to the hilt. My ORIGINAL plan was to play it low-key, but I decided just to go barreling in the other direction instead. And generally, it worked. People hated me... but as long as I took all the heat I was worth keeping around."
Another key development on Ana was with Ronan. At the first Tribal Council, he had received one vote-- one parting shot from Bobby, directed right at him. And to Ronan, this was not good news. Add to that the fact that he had injured his leg while collecting water, and all of a sudden Ronan was terrified. He didn't want to be at the forefront of the alliance anymore. He didn't want to be associated with Tenzil anymore. So he decided to stop scheming. He wanted to just back off... and fade into the scenery. So from here on out, his plans changed altogether. Ronan would now be very, very quiet.
Ronan: "Just when I thought things couldn't get any worse after that Bobby vote, I hurt my leg. I slipped in the cave, and busted it up pretty good. And that just sucked. I thought... why did this have to happen to me? So my first instinct was to get myself out of the spotlight for a while. Get out FAST, and just stay back and observe. I decided to just make myself useful around camp and not stand out at all. Let the others take the attention off me, like I wanted to do in the first place."
~~ TAP ~~
The reward challenge for this episode was called "Tap," and was based on communication. Mario and Lindsay were chosen to represent their tribes, and were each sealed in a tomb. The first one to tap out a message to their tribemates won a spice rack and cooking supplies. And as expected... the better-organized Tumu tribe won it in a cakewalk. The less mature Anas never even came close.
Mario: "That was great. That was one of my favorite challenges because it was pure teamwork. Everyone worked great together and nobody got in the way. I remember in particular Isabella, Jayemel and Anna always seemed to ask the right questions. And on a selfish note, it was great to beat Lindsay in something... since throughout the game, she repeatedly stomped me in challenges. This was the only time she didn't make me her bitch in a head-to-head contest, and you bet I remembered that. I always had a grudge against Lindsay because of the challenges."
The Tumus were riding high. They had won both challenges, were well-organized, and everybody seemed to get along. A second immunity win seemed like a given. After all, the Tumus considered themselves to be the far superior tribe. How could they possibly lose?
The immunity challenge was willpower-based, and was the dreaded "gross food" challenge. Each tribe would line up to eat sea slugs, in individual one-on-one matchups. And the team that could finish their slugs the fastest would win immunity.
Tumu was a bit cocky by now, and figured they would save their willpower. They figured they could use it later on down the road instead. Plus, they didn't really mind losing this one, as they knew EXACTLY who they wanted to vote for.
Isabella: "I wanted to lose that challenge so badly. I had already wanted to lose the first, and I was starving for some drama and fun. We had to give will points to compete against another player, and I gave so few it's not even funny."
Jenne: "We lost, but it wasn't by chance. The order our team stepped up to eat was rigged. Anna came up with the order and told everyone it was a random drawing... but it wasn't. It was an interesting strategic move she made early on. She was protecting her alliance, and put her allies at the end. We all knew we'd lose in the first five matchups, so the last three in our lineup would even have to eat. She wanted them to save their will points."
Meanwhile, the desperate Anas needed to win. So they poured EVERY bit of willpower into their efforts... and ended up winning easily.
Tenzil: "We poured a ton into our efforts. Not that we needed to, as the Tumus had supposedly put in a less then stellar effort. But really, we needed to win for a different reason. I knew that my alliances and leadership role may fritter if we kept losing. So I was really sweating it out until we got the results."
Ana was safe, and Tumutumu was set to make their virgin Tribal Council appearance.
With the three females calling the shots, it was easy to see who was going to be safe. Isabella, Jenne and Anna weren't going anywhere. Taylor was safe due to his bond with Jenne. That left one of the other four and, as was the Tumu way, they attempted to find who was the most expendable. After all, this was an efficient bunch. Who could most easily be lost and not have it affect the tribe?
Jenne (day 6 confessional): "Jayemel is so useful in every way. He's very well-rounded and always more than willing to help in any way. He's not someone I plan on voting off for awhile. Marcy is such a sweet kid. It must be difficult for him to be the youngest and by so much. And Nick is our mommy. He's such an excellent cook and I love to eat. He's not going anywhere! Plus he's a warm family man. I haven't had hardly any interaction with him but Anna likes him and I trust her opinion."
With Marcy, Jayemel and Mario safe, that left just one person. One person who had always been on the outside among the Tumutumu tribe.
Jenne (day 6 confessional): "Dave and I have had no one-on-one contact. I don't really have any grasp on who he is or what he's doing here. He didn't win any brownie points today either. He did very little of use and didn't even come with us on our waterfall trek! He's playing for himself- and to me you don't do that until individual immunity is up for grabs. Right now, we have to work together to take care of one another and I just don't see him doing that. Anna, Isabella, and I all seem to peg him as our first boot."
Once his name was mentioned, Dave never stood a chance. He was strong, but Taylor was stronger. He was smart, but Anna was smarter. He could cook, but Nick could cook better. Dave had also gained the reputation of being "sneaky," and that was the final nail in his coffin. So the plans were delivered from the girls to the guys, and Dave was now marked for extinction.
At Tribal Council, Dave put up a good fight. He tried to get Taylor out, calling him an "emotional drag on the tribe," but it didn't make a difference.
Isabella (voting for Dave): "It just didn't work out, buddy. You have contributed the least to the tribe and your skills are pretty useless. I wanted to vote for somebody else, but you shot yourself in the foot by trying to strategize against me. You are sneaky beyond compare, and I could've used you, but now I have no use for you. Goodbye."
Dave was voted out 7-1.
~~ ANA ~~
The Tenzil-Pete showdown was bound to happen eventually, and it finally made its appearance in this episode. Tenzil was the leader of Ana, and that was that. No one else had any stake to the claim. But this had caused problems with Pete, even back on day one. Pete simply couldn't STAND authority figures, in particular ones like Tenzil. And he vowed to get control of the tribe by whatever means possible.
Meanwhile, the Anas started to line up on either side of the fence, either pro-Tenzil or anti-Tenzil. And unfortunately, the line separating the two sides wasn't as defined as people would have liked.
Lindsay: "After Dave's boot, I made a side alliance with Pete and Kathy, to overthrow Tenzil. Everyone was pretty angry about his whole Commander bit. We tried bringing in Jamie and CJ, but it didn't seem to work."
Jamie: "Pete really started to rub me the wrong way. While Tenzil seemed overconfident and arrogant, Pete just seemed like a slime ball. His email name was 'Pete Puppetmaster' for God's sake! I don't know what it was but I never vibed with him at all."
Tenzil's greatest ally by now, of course, was CJ. She was a strong player, well-liked by all, and had ties to just about everybody on Ana. She was the biggest flirt on the tribe and the guys all loved her. And, of course, she and Tenzil were officially a couple now, even though they managed to hide it from the rest of the tribe.
Tenzil: "At this point, Pete and I never actually communicated anymore except in the daily chore list. He was also actively competing for CJ and Jamie's loyalty. Unbeknown to all though, CJ and I were making kissyfaces. Our chats that were sent to the host would go on for pages and pages with only a smattering of strategy talk being in it."
With CJ now on board for good, Tenzil inherited Jamie's loyalty as well. And with loyal Ronan at his side, Tenzil now had a strong group of four.
Jamie: "CJ told me that she really liked Tenzil and that I should trust him. I never knew how close they were, but from then on I stopped completely trusting her and tried to form bonds with some of the others in Ana. I still didn't trust Tenzil, but I figured staying with CJ was my best bet."
~~ TUMUTUMU ~~
Over at Tumutumu, the game was about to become a little more sinister. The "love tribe" (as they were called by Jeff Probst) was ready to do some serious damage to itself. It was about time for the group hugs and the team unity to end.
Mario: "The way I saw it was that Jenne and Anna ran the show. That was it, case closed. If you weren't named Jenne or Anna, you didn't matter. So I think people started to get fed up with the amount of power those two had and really wanted to shake up the tribe a little. I know I did. I didn't want any tribal unity, I wanted chaos. Tribal unity sucks."
For a while, a few players had been tossing around comments and confessionals about breaking up the two female leaders. And while Anna was the one who REALLY called the shots, it was Jenne that tended to stand out more. She was the hippie cheerleader. She was the figurehead. And she was, without question, the heart of the team. But people knew that she was almost unstoppable at the moment. With Isabella and Anna firmly on her side, and her budding romance with Taylor completely out in the open, Jenne was going to be hard to beat. She was simply too popular for her own good.
Jayemel: "That part of the game was fun for me. It was an immediate payoff for my strategy. I sat back and made myself approachable so I could be enlisted to break up the first alliance. Then my input would be crucial and my vote trusted. And that's exactly what happened. Mario came right to me with the proposal of me, him, Bella, and Marcy voting for Jenne. Of course he tried so hard to make it seem like it was someone else's, mainly Marcy's, idea. Bella made it seem like she didn't want to vote Jenne out at all but I knew she would, cause we had the numbers. Finally Marcy played naive and unaware... as was his strategy."
Mario: "I called us the 'Outcast Alliance.' And every chance I got, I would try to build us up as this great David versus Goliath story. 'We'll take out Jenne and change the tribe! She doesn't care about us! This will change the whole course of the game!' Since I was still playing youth minister, I tried not to come off as scheming, but wanted them to see me as wounded. 'You guys, I don't think it's fair that we get pushed aside because we aren't as popular, I don't like the way Jenne plays. It's too much like high school politics around here.' I particularly tried to sell it to Isabella, but it wasn't all that hard. Jenne already annoyed her, so she didn't hesitate for a second."
Isabella: "Jenne had a bond with me, but she had just been getting worse and worse. I think the power was getting to her or something, but she became even more obnoxious. Unlike before, she'd start telling me things like, "Listen, Isabella, this is gonna be the way it is. We're all voting out Jay." As if I were a 2-year-old. Well, you can imagine how kindly I took to hearing things like that even though I'd just say "Oh, sure, Jenne. *giggle* :)" And in my fantasies, I had started thinking how much fun it would be to get rid of her. She just bugged the hell out of me."
A new alliance was born. Mario, Jayemel, Marcy and Isabella all happened to find the right target at the right time, and now a new game was on. Jenne was suddenly right in the cross-hairs, and she didn't know anything about it.
Isabella: "I feel like the alliance that occured between myself, Marcy, Nick and Jay was a collision of forces all moving in the same direction. I wanted Jenne gone. Marcy wanted Jenne gone. Nick wanted Jenne gone. Jay wanted Jenne gone. But none of us knew the other ones did. Since Jenne was kind of like the president of Tumu, it was akin to talking about assassinating the president. And I like to think I started the ball in motion, but I think all four of us think that about ourselves. We all wanted it, it was just a matter of who said it first."
With the bootees of Pete and Jenne already established, both teams prepared themselves for the challenges. And once again, this turned out to be the week of the Tumus. First off, the Anas completely fell apart in the Reward Challenge.
Tenzil: "We had a number of tasks that needed to be accomplished in order to weave a mat. And we lost because one of them was never done. And while no one did it to my face, I ended up being blamed for overlooking it and not assigning all the tasks. But as I said at the time, we ALL had the same instructions. They all read the same challenge I did and no one bothered to mention I overlooked something."
Jamie: "Ana won, but then lost because our mat fell apart. Yeah, chalk that one up to Tenzil. He was the one giving us all orders of what to do and said that he would be the one to put the cloth together. Unfortunately, he forgot it and we lost.... I was pissed."
And then for immunity, Ana lost a crucial swimming challenge, although rumors of sabotage quickly spread.
Tenzil: "We were not informed it was a water based challenge, so I was fairly conservative in my effort. None of Ana were really great swimmers and I think it showed. Supposedly, Pete deliberately threw the challenge but I haven't been able to confirm that."
It looked like Ana was about to take their second trip to Tribal Council. And while Tumutumu celebrated (and Jenne was spared), the Anas quickly solidified which side of the fence they would be voting with tonight... Tenzil or Pete?
Lindsay: "We lost another Immunity Challenge and Tenzil and Ronan wanted Pete gone. I was aligned with Pete and Kathy, but I was confused now. I had really started to like Tenz and Ronan so I betrayed Pete and Kathy and decided to vote for Pete instead."
Jamie: "Tenzil wasn't well liked in the tribe, so I figured that was a little more smoke screen to hide behind. I figured that once we merged, he would be a big target. But his mistake in the reward challenge almost made me vote for him. I fumed about that for a while... but then Pete and I had a falling out (thanks to Tenzil) and I was no longer a floater, I was stuck with Tenzil and crew. I didn't have much of a choice anymore."
Ana went to Tribal Council, and Pete was voted out 5-2. Only Kathy had voted alongside Pete, and this would later lead to huge rifts within the tribe.
CJ (voting for Pete): "I can't let you vote out my man!"
Tenzil: "Lindsay never seemed to have bothered to tell Kathy she was flipping on Pete. And this, I felt, had settled the matter of where Lindsay's loyalty was. She was now on our side."
Pete was gone, Tenzil had won, and Kathy was now very much on the outside of the Ana tribe. She was alone, and angry, and afraid. And things hadn't even BEGUN to get ugly yet...
~~ TUMUTUMU ~~
Jenne (confessional from day 10): "I'm a little uncomfortable taking on the leadership role and would rather shy away from it. I hope Anna continues an active role in that. But I can't really help it, because I have a very dominant personality. I took a personality test once and I scored as high as you can in dominance. Like out of 100 people, I'm THE most dominant. So I'm working on holding back but I'm just not good at it."
Jenne knew that being at the head of her tribe was not a good idea. She knew it, and tried her best to push Anna out as the "real" leader. Anna, for her part, was doing the same thing, trying her best to let Jenne step forward as the leader. But Jenne had one HUGE handicap working against her, one that Anna lacked, and that was Jenne's relationship with Taylor.
Taylor: "My game plan going in was simple: Use my horrible instant messaging skills and make everyone think I was an idiot so they would underestimate me. And it went great, too... for the first 6 days. But then somehow I started to have a lot of fun with it, and I made myself so stupid that I was annoying. I had become a combo of Robb and Silas, and I couldn't do much about it."
Everybody on Tumutumu thought that Jenne and Taylor were a couple. The two of them would flirt, they would hug, they would talk, and they would disappear off on their own every so often. And when you saw a couple, you thought one thing, there's an alliance. And Taylor was simply not liked very well among the tribe. His act to play stupid started to grate on people, and the fact that he was paranoid certainly didn't help. He was mocked almost mercilessly by his own tribemates.
Mario (confessional from day 11): "I sure as hell don't want to have to deal with Taylor any more than we have to. I'm just not sure it is worth keeping him around. He makes the game that much harder... drama 24/7. He is the Anti-Vecepia. I have told him things time and again that are the truth... I'm helping him out... and he takes it wrong EVERY TIME. He never sees it as "Wow, someone is helping me out." He sees it as 'Why didn't I know about this? What are you guys hiding from me?' I tell you, it gets old after a while."
Taylor had received one vote at the first Tribal Council, a lone vote from Dave. It was a meaningless vote, just a parting shot, but this vote bothered Taylor. It bothered him so much that he started asking around, trying to figure out why he had been targeted. He asked, and asked, and was soon just annoying the heck out of his teammates. And eventually, people learned not to talk strategy with Taylor. It was just too hard to do.
Isabella: "Taylor was running around like a chicken with its head cut off. He thought for sure he was going; he had no idea of our new alliance and the plan to oust Jenne. So it was fun playing with him, knowing he was safe. When I talked to him, I'd always subtly hint he was still in danger just to get him all riled up and paranoid. And it worked. Oh the fun times."
But the moment Taylor was linked with Jenne, and seen as Jenne's little lapdog, it more or less sealed both of their fates.
Jenne (confessional from day 11): "My relationship with Taylor is deepening and we are spending much more time together. Basically, I'd like to keep him around long enough to cement Tumu at the top while keeping him on the jury. I'd love to sit next to him at final two simply because he's not that popular. But I also love to flirt my RUMP off with him! I feel a connection to Taylor, I really do. I told him I wouldn't vote him out and that I liked him. Even though I'm playing him, I think he's started to open up to me more and I really don't want to lose him now. But I know that everyone will feel threatened by our relationship. At some point, he will become a liability. I know Bella is already gunning for him and I know our relationship will lead to us being targeted at some point... if not already."
~~ ANA ~~
Over at Ana, the tribe was settling down into hopefully some stability for a change. Things had been tense, and morale was pretty low. But at the moment, the tribal lines had finally been drawn in the sand. It was clear enough for all to see. It was now five people... against Kathy.
Ronan: "Well, after Pete was voted off, we all knew who had to go. Kathy voted with Pete at the last Council vote and to be honest, I was relieved. I finally was back where I wanted to be, I know that when we went back to Tribal Council, my name would be safe. I was no longer vulnerable."
Tenzil: "I was a little gun-shy around Kathy and avoided her for a bit. I still wanted to maintain as good a relationship as possible though. And after a few days, I bit the bullet and at least symbolically buried the hatchet. Oddly enough, this was when I really had started to like her. Unfortunately... the machinery was in place. So sad, so sad. Besides, even though she could be a ton of fun, the fact is no one in Ana, except maybe Lindsay, seemed to have trusted her in the slightest. CJ and Jamie often compared her to Shii Ann."
Kathy was treated like a leper, although she already disliked most of her teammates. She had a personal beef with most all of them by this point. Tenzil she just didn't like. CJ was too flirty. Lindsay had backstabbed her at the last vote, and was now numero ono on her hit list. And Jamie she just didn't trust.
Kathy (confessional from day 11): "Jamie feeds me endless lines of bullshit. I thought that he could be trusted, but it seems to me he simply acts the fool and looks for the greatest deal. I don't trust him and I don't like him. Every time I try to talk to him, he gets defensive and hostile. I'd like to get rid of him, but we really need his strength. So I can deal with him for now, knowing that he's going to be gone as soon as we don't need him anymore."
But for now, Tenzil was in a pretty good spot. For the first time in the game, he had some security. And if Ana could pull things together, he more or less had the game in his hand.
Tenzil: "Roughly at this point, I was sitting in a very good posistion. I had a majority alliance with three people itching to take me to the final two (CJ, Ronan, and Lindsay). The make up of that alliance meant I had two groups of two (CJ and Jamie vs. Lindsay and Ronan) to pick between if we made it far enough. Jamie seems to have had no clue that after Kathy he was next on the hit list. But the thing that worried me was that people weren't really communicating with one another. Basically, they all waited for me to do that part of the work. They all expected me to do run everything. And this lack of communication and building bonds would later bite every single one of them in the ass."
The reward challenge was a dual-parter. It was a Tongan ball game, similar to cricket. The reward was going to be a big one... a huge feast. It would replenish every player's energy to maximum, and this was something EVERYBODY wanted to win. Both teams poured in a maximum effort... and the more athletic Anas managed to pull it off. Again, Lindsay shone, almost single handedly winning it for her team. Lindsay was nearly always the challenge MVP.
And at this point... the players were hit with a twist. The feast would be held tomorrow, at the same time as the Tribal Council. And since Ana would be eating (and could not go to Tribal Council), they were thereby granted immunity. The reward had ALSO been for immunity. Ana was safe.
Tenzil: "That was the icing on the cake. Overall, I liked this challenge the best of them all because I could sense the focus we had at the time. We really pulled together and it was a great boost to our egos."
With Tumutumu returning to Tribal Council, it was time for the new alliance to put their plan into place. It was time to see if they could get together and vote out Jenne. It was time for the leader to go. So the four outcasts put their heads together... and did their best to convince one another that they were just following orders. No one wanted to take the heat for this if it failed, so it became a game of "Wow, I love your idea! Let's do it!"
Marcy: "With the Jenne vote, I was completely out of the loop when it came to who had power in the tribe and who didn't. And that continued for most of the game. I would convince myself that I knew otherwise, but, naturally, as a socially awkward person, I really didn't know much. Nick was trying too hard to give me the impression that the booting of Jenne was his idea. And I began to believe that this was some bizarre strategy in which everyone in the tribe was supposed to believe that s/he came up with the plan. But really it was the concoction of some brilliant ringleader, and I believed it was Nick. I guess I was sort-of right, but I was still clueless nonetheless."
The four outcasts came up with an idea how to pull it off, and how to explain it afterwards. They would lay all the blame on Jenne, and explain she had been caught scheming. And hopefully... Anna and Taylor would buy it. Because the two of them knew nothing about this plan. And for Anna, a person who needed to know what was going on at all times, this was going to hit her hard.
Mario: "The fear was that after Jenne was gone, Anna wouldn't speak to us. She was going to be LIVID. So we tried to plan ahead for this. Isabella and I decided we would go talk to Anna right after the vote, and say we were forced to vote for Jenne. Instead of blaming Jenne, we were going to blame someone else. We needed Anna to stay on our side, we didn't want her to sabotage us in the event of a twist or merge. So we were going to lay all the blame on Jayemel, and make him take the hit for this. As long as I could stay out of the blame game, I didn't care who took the hit. I just figured Jayemel was the likely culprit. People already saw him as sneaky."
Isabella: "Nick and I discussed whether it would be better to tell Anna before or after the TC, and this was really the beginning of our unspoken alliance. The way Tribal Council works, we went into a "silence period" before voting where we couldn't IM any other players. We decided that right after TC, I would go to Anna and tell her that I had received an e-mail from Jay right before the silence period, saying everyone was voting for Jenne and if I didn't then he was gonna vote me out next. And that since it was right before, I had no time to discuss this with anyone else, so I believed it. And then Nick could talk to Anna and confirm my story and say Jay had been the mastermind behind the vote, and noone would know Nick and I were so close. We were going to lay all the blame on Jay, our alliance partner. We wanted to make it look like he was sneaky and evil, which Anna already thought anyway."
The plan was in motion, four votes for Jenne. And then Jayemel took it upon himself to add a fifth... just in case. He told Taylor of the plan.
Taylor: "After the immunity challenge, and right before Tribal Council, Jay came to me and told me to vote off Jenne, 'For my own good.' I started to question why, but I realized that 'stupid' Taylor wouldn't question anything told to him. He would just do what they said. I didn't want to lose Jenne, she was the only person I really trusted. She was the only one I had opened up to, and showed the real me. However, I did some investigating of my own, and found out Jenne really WAS leaving. So not wanting to go against the tribe, I voted her off. That vote was the hardest thing about the game, even harder than when I got voted off myself."
Jenne had absolutely no clue about her fate. Nobody told her, not even Taylor, and she walked blindly into the first unexpected vote of the game. She had badly misjudged her allies, badly misread her teammates, and simply put too much trust into the other females of Tumu. And her "good friend" Isabella had gone straight for the jugular too, helping to set a tone that would follow for the rest of the game.
Isabella: "Jenne had decided to call all of us girls the 'Powerpuff Girls'. I was Bubbles, the cute little one, Jenne was Buttercup, the fun-loving one, and Anna was Blossom, the fearless leader. This sort of thing was just like Jenne. And in my vote for Jenne, I talked about her callousness, obnoxiousness, and whorishness, and also about how she thought I was the little Bubbles who would smile and do whatever she wanted, and how wrong she was."
Jenne (from her last confessional): "The way I see it, it will be a 5-2 vote against Jay. I mean, Jay was told Taylor was out, and Taylor was told that Jay was out. If they were smart, they'd notice this. But I suppose I could even end up going. It's always possible, you never know. And as for who I trust? Well, Anna is my dawg. I tell her almost everything and I trust her the most. I really like Nick. I can just tell when I talk to him that he sees more than we give him credit for though. Nick and Marcy can be trusted, they are simply those kind of people... I also adore Bella and have opened up to her a lot. I trust and respect her completely. So I just don't see myself recieving votes at this council. I would be surprised. But it's not hard to lie around here so who knows? Maybe my perception could be totally off."
Isabella (voting for Jenne): "Your attention-grabbing is just pathetic. I thought you were very nice, but then I realized that in real life, you're the kind of person who'd be very nice to someone and their friend until you got bored, then you'd dump them. You wanted to be the star of the show, and you're getting your wish... but in a different way. The only thing you're going to be the star of is this episode. Bye, Buttercup."
Jenne was voted out 5-2.
And the Tumutumu tribe had been born anew.
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