06/15/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Survivor Tocantins: Puff's Revenge

"Dragons live forever, but not so little boys." - Peter, Paul, & Mary, Puff the Magic Dragon.

"Into the blistering wilderness of Shur, the man who walked with kings, now walks alone... stripped of all rank and earthly wealth, a forsaken man ... without a hope, his soul in turmoil. Each night brings the black embrace of loneliness. In the mocking whisper of the wind he hears the echoing voices of the dark, his tortured mind wondering if... the desert's hot breath has melted his reason into madness. He is driven onward through the burning crucible of desert, where holy men and prophets are cleansed and purged for God's great purpose, until at last, at the end of human strength, beaten into the dust from which he came, the metal is ready for the maker's hand." -Cecil B. DeMille, The Ten Commandments.

"I was freezing. I didn't get any sleep. I didn't have any water, no food, no fire. I had the best time of my life. It was euphoric." - Coach Wade, "The Martyr," Survivor Tocantins.

"Any 37 year old man who thinks he's a dragonslayer, belongs in a mental institution." - Taj George, "The Martyr," Survivor: Tocantins.

Oh Taj, Taj, I now repent over the cruel, hurtful things I wrote about you earlier, when you were plotting against my darling, Joe Adonis. Tonight your wisdom shone bright, as you so sweetly pointed out that Voldetool, the Ex-Coach, has the maturity of a 9-year-old, and is possibly (Possibly?) insane.

We began with the final five returning from Tribal Council, following the blindsiding of Debbie, which had left Coach feeling dumbfounded. He'd been blindsided, and his closest ally had been the one vote against him. "Coach was clueless," Jeff Probst announced. What else is new? But when Jeff Probst is openly dissing you in the recap, you are in big trouble.

At last, Dork Vader understood one thing. He wasn't "running this game," as he told his paid lackey, who was the only person CBS was able to persuade to be paid to visit Voldetool in Brazil in last week's episode. He has no loved ones. Loved ones only make a warrior vulnerable.

No, he was not in control of anything, including his fantasy life. Yet he managed to grasp that his only hope lay in licking JT and Stephen's butts as ardently as he could, because his inter-tribe grudges and anti-female vendettas had destroyed Timbirra's early numerical power and left The Jalapeno Trio firmly in control. Brilliant game play, Voldy.

So, having slain no dragons at all, he now has to lick the real dragons' hindquarters to stay alive. He has become: The Dragonlicker!

Dragonlicker thinks "The Warrior Alliance" -- a thing that exists only in his head -- was protecting him in voting out Debbie. He's become Sierra of two episodes back.

Thus Spake Dragonlicker: "So what's the lesson in this? I think that the game is still being played with Truth. I think the game is still being played with Honesty." Does Dragonlicker know what truth and honesty mean? JT and Stephen had told him they were voting for Erinn, and instead voted out Debbie, and two episodes earlier, they lied to his face about voting out Sierra, and blindsided Tyson instead. Apparently, lying to Dragonlicker is "playing with Truth." Well, it's playing with the truth. And Dorky is right about one thing: the game is still being played.

Dragonlicker prattled on about how he was "almost speechless," although his almost is most people's no where near, as he kept on babbling, "Obviously Coach Wade is no longer in control." Dragonlicker, you never were! Never!

Next day, Dragonlicker is still kissing the skinny posteriors of JT and Stephen, and bringing up his favorite targets, the remaining women. He asks the boys, "Do you still want to do Erinn next?" He is talking about voting her out, right? Because otherwise -- Ew!

Also, thinking ahead to his next losing challenge, Dragonlicker realizes that he is the most likely candidate to get sent to Exile Dune, and he clearly doesn't want to be. Please note: He does not want to go to Exile Dune! He actually said: "I don't want to go to Exile." Remember this when we get to all the times he brags of wanting to go, deciding to go, how much he enjoyed it, etc., etc. Because he immediately starts trying to weasel out of getting sent there by, in essence, writing himself a doctor's excuse.

JT tells Dork Vader that he doesn't want to send the girls to Exile, since 1) They've both gone before while Dragonlicker has never been, and 2) They're girls. Voldetool, thrown by the idea that the guys might like having females about, launches into The Maladies of Malarkey. Let the butch whining begin. If you have crocodile tears, prepare to shed them:

"I feel like I scarred my lungs yesterday. We were sitting around the fire at camp, just breathing in that smoke, and my lungs feel like I smoked 20 cigars in a row yesterday, and inhaled all of them. But for me, it's whatever you guys want." This is "Playing the game with Truth." Oh, and he claims he has asthma too. First we've heard about it. If he's that sick, maybe he should leave the game, like -- poor -- Joe! [Sob!]

He scarred his lungs sitting around the campfire? What do you do when you are sitting around a campfire (No really, What? And why? You couldn't pay me to go camping, unless you mean hanging out with drag queens in The Castro.) and the smoke blows in your face? You sit somewhere else! No one sits there inhaling campfire smoke until their lungs are scarred.

JT has noticed how hypocritical Dragonlicker is, the warrior who craves hardship and adventure, but is terrified of going to Exile Dune, which girly little Erinn survived. Oh, he is so going, unless he wins the Reward Challenge.


Reward Challenge: They must race through a maze, then build a pole to retrieve a bag, then swing the bag to knock over targets, all the while with their ankles shackled together. The winner gets to overnight at the Governor's "retreat." Have they told the Governor that he could end up with Dork Vader in his home? In his bathroom? Security!

With never a blind alley or a wrong turn, despite the shackles making his running look like he needed severely to visit the little boy's room, JT zipped like The Flash through the maze. (Which was built to spell out Survivor for the benefit of all the zeppelins, alien space crafts, and pterodactyls that fly over this remote wasteland). Dragonlicker just followed along behind him, which is the first smart thing he's done since he told everyone what to grab out of the truck using only his eyes back on Day One. Stephen, whom you'd think would also have sense enough to just follow JT, got completely lost in the maze, and found himself in the Tri-Wizard Tournament at Hogwart's. He ended up being the last player to exit the maze, having stopped to slay a minotaur, I think.

The pole-assembling part of the challenge resulted in some of the unintentionally-funniest remarks Jeff Probst has made all season: "Now you gotta start working on your pole," he shouts at JT and Dragonlicker. Some men never stop working on their pole.

"Everybody is now working on their pole." It's sounds like a cub scout meeting when the Den Mother is passed out drunk.

"JT has a nice pole coming along." Jeff!!! Who is writing your material? Me? (And no, he hasn't.)

"Coach now in on it. Will his pole reach?" No.

JT wins by about half an hour. Most of the other players had given up even trying, and were just sitting around playing pinocle.

JT must select someone to go to Exile. "Exile is the one place you do not want to be," says Jeff, forgetting about such other undesirable locations as Antarctica, the Moon, next door to an elementary school or a diary, or underneath a sexually-aroused Roseanne.

JT asked "Any volunteers?" Oh yeah. "Pick me! Pick me!" "No me!" "No, me!" "I'm Spartacus!" "No I'm Spartacus." "I'm Spartacus!" "I'm Brian and so's my wife!"

"Let's be noble, Coach." said JT as he sends the Dragonlicker off to the wasteland. Roughly translated, that meant: "Don't go all postal on me."

Now stuck, Dork "I don't want to go to Exile" Vader jettisons his honest feelings, and embraces his fate, with bullcrap and excuses. "I'm good. I'm going to take the monastic approach. I'm not going to build a fire. I'm not going to eat. I'm just going to meditate." I believe him. He won't build a fire because he doesn't know how. He won't eat because there's no food, and meditating on his own awesomeness is his primary activity anywhere. If only his "monastic approach" included a vow of silence. Of course, if it did, he would tell you about it all day. "I've taken a vow of silence. Did I mention my vow of silence? I take 'em all the time. I haven't spoken in years. Let me tell you all about my vow of silence."

Erinn gratuitously rags on Dragonlicker, calling his monastic approach, "the martyr approach," telling how he will overdramatize his suffering to give him an excuse for blowing the next challenge. It's almost like she's speaking the Truth! Erinn darling, me-ow!

Dragonlicker said, "I want it to be tough on me. That's for sure." No it isn't, Mr. "I scarred my lungs. Please don't send me to Exile".

In fact, the pre-excuses, his medical complaints, are next trotted out: "My body is about this close right now." He's finally catching up to his body! He's got a ruptured this, he's about to rupture that, his asthma's kicking in, and he has logo on the magogo. Taj is rolling her eyes at his bull.

"I make no excuses" Dragonlicker said, after reciting a litany of excuses. I was reminded of the late, unlamented Richard Nixon, and his classic: "I take the responsibility, but not the blame." Dork Vader winds up with a meaning-free, "Hit me with your best shot, Pat Benatar." He is now hallucinating before fasting. This is not a good sign.

JT says, "People are so dumb in this game. I mean they talk way too much." How right he is.

Stephen is selected by JT to share in the reward slumber party. It's Mancrush Night at the Governor's crib. I bet there'll be spooning.

Back at camp, Erinn realizes that verbally kicking Dragonlicker when he was going into exile anyway may have seemed too harsh, and is worried that it's put the boys off of her, as indeed it has put off JT.

Taj defends her attack on Voldetool, saying, "He's a jerk." I'm starting to like her. It only took me 13 episodes and a good gander at her incredibly hot husband to bring me around. And she has lost weight now. Or, since she claimed many episodes back that it wasn't fat, but all muscle, she's lost muscle. And she accurately notes of Dragonlicker, "had he won, 'The Warrior' would have been back."

Exile Dune: featuring "The Silent Monk Who Talks Too Much." It was the hyper-sad, ironically-over-dramatic music which accompanied the shots of Voldetool climbing Exile Dune that put me in mind of Cecil B. DeMille's over-the-top narration quoted above, which I'm sure would be embraced by the Dragonlicker as perfectly representing, if not indeed underplaying, his ordeal. "Moses had it easy." (That is, by the way, really only about a third of the whole DeMille speech. I hated omitting such juicy phrases as "the hot winds and raging sands that lash him with the fury of a taskmaster's whip," "He can not cool the burning kiss of thirst upon his lips, nor shade the scorching fury of the sun," and my personal favorite, "into the molten wilderness of sin." I have a gorgeous vacation time-share in The Molten Wilderness of Sin. Great restaurants.)

Dragonlicker, who begged JT privately not to send him to Exile, who came up with imaginary medical excuses for why the girls should go instead of him, who stated flat-out to us, "I don't want to go to Exile," now hits us with: "This is going to be like a vacation for me..." Remind me never to allow Dragonlicker to book a vacation for me. "...get a suntan out here. All those wishy-washy people at camp with no character -- Phew!..." When Dork Vader says "People with no character," he means "people with no penises." "...Coach Wade's foundation is built on a rock inside here: unbreakable, unbending, unyielding, immeasurable, immovable, invincible. I could stay out here for a week without any food..." Please, take him up on that bluff! "...only make me a better, stronger person." That list of adjectives all modify Dragonlicker's delusions.

Not content merely to make the camera crew shoot what were probably hours of Voldetool's self-aggrandizing blathering, the crew were also forced by the producers, I assume at gunpoint, to tape Dork Vader praying on TV to A Power Greater Than Himself: "Thank you for creating me as an individual." God, on behalf of the whole world, we also thank you for not creating Dragonlicker as a crowd. Generously, he includes "I ask you to help me forgive Erinn." The man is even passive-aggressive with God! And so began two days of Dragonlicker preening with nature.

Off on reward, JT is impressed by all the Governor's luxury, what with an indoor privy and all. Stephen is halted dead in his tracks by the first mirror he has seen in a month. "Oh my God, this is what I look like?" Stephen, it hasn't been pleasant for any of us. Has he never seen a mirror before? "I''ve got a beard?" He hadn't noticed the beard he'd grown? Had he forgotten about puberty?

Somehow the Mancrush boys managed to resist the temptation to shower together. If only Joe and Brendan were sharing this reward. That would be my reward! Instead we watched JT shower. That was just plain cruel.

I admit to enjoying watching them chow down on enough food to feed a small city while Dragonlicker was starving, I mean fasting. Or at least I was enjoying it until JT, speaking with his mouth full and his brain empty, said, "I will take Coach to the final three." What???? Noooooo!!!!!!!!

Taj, are you listening to your loyal ally, who will screw you over for Dragonlicker?

Gastronomically undiscriminating vultures are seen flying over Dork Vader as he lies in a stream. Sorry vultures and viewers, he's not dead. I was disappointed too. He is still full of himself, and his awesomeness, even listing all the adventurous places he imagines he's been to. "My Exile experience was mostly starving, no food..." (That's for those of us who don't know what starving means) "... very little water. And it was frikkin' awesome... I've been in the Amazon, the Congo, the Orinoco..." Adventureland, Middle-Earth, the Kingdom of the Crystal Skulls, Munchkinland, "... the Darien Gap, chalk another one to the list." I think he means "chalk up another one," but Voldetool's syntax tends towards the garbled. He probably thinks syntax is the added charge he pays at The Mustang Ranch.

But the pre-excuses are lodged up front as firmly as his delusions, "Yes, I'm walking slower. Yes, my asthma is still at the forefront of things. Yes, it's going to take me longer to get to the challenge today. I do not feel tired. I do not feel hungry. I feel nothing..." Maybe he is dead! "...but incredible mental focus on the task at hand ... and that's winning immunity." He quoted Marcus Aurileus, although I'm fairly certain Marcus spoke Latin. At least, he always spoke Latin to me. And then Dork Vader told us his master plan: "I plan on winning immunity today." Well, the best-laid plans of mice and egomaniacal gasbags.

Immunity Challenge: Coach arrives with his own ironic music. Taj almost delivers a spit take at the sight of him with his "Dragon Cane" (That's actually what he called it. It's a large stick), and said, "This guy is such a drama queen... Any 37 year old man who thinks he's a dragonslayer, belongs in a mental institution." Taj, who lives her life surrounded by professional athletes and rock stars, two professions that attract the most chronically-immature people this side of hotel heiresses, thinks Dragonlicker is wildly immature. That's like having Eva Braun calling you excessively anti-Semitic.

This is an endurance challenge. These are good challenges, but poor TV viewing. They take hours, and again, consist mostly of holding still. I can not imagine watching one in real time. The players are wedged in between two walls, in what Bush Administration torturers call a "stress position," held up by progressively smaller footholds. It's what Dick Cheney would call an "Enhanced Challenge," and what The Hague would call a "war crime."

While Jeff explains the challenges, we always see anonymous people demonstrating them, show staffers and challenge testers who never get their faces on camera. Whoever the man was who demonstrated this challenge, he has a great, magnificently beautiful body. And since we haven't seen an attractive male body on the show (the only reason to still watch Survivor at all after 9 repetitive years) since Brendan was voted out, I reran the explanation footage several times. That's how desperate for an indecent set of pecs I've become.

I truly could have done without the low-angle shots looking up the legs of Taj's shorts. I'm warming to her, but not that much.

Another problem with this type of challenge is it leaves contestants free to chatter amongst themselves. That would be all right, if Dork Vader wasn't there. Particularly since Jeff insists on asking him stuff, like a kid poking a sleeping bear with a dragon cane.

Jeff: "Coach, do you think the time you spent on Exile meditating may have conveniently prepared you for a challenge like this?" Jeff, how would starving, thirsting, and suffering exposure for two days help you prepare for a challenge of grueling physical stamina?

Dragonlicker: "No. Deep down inside the pit of everyman's stomach is the feeling that he is no longer going to be invincible..." Taj hilariously crossed her eyes listening to this garbage. No man is ever invincible. Dragonlicker lives his life in a J.R.R. Tolkien novel. " for me to go out there, and to put myself in the most extreme situation that I could, I did it because..." Shut up. You "did it" because JT sent you there. If Coach slipped with a machete and cut off his right arm, he'd say, "I meant to do that. It's making me stronger." This might be a good ploy though. Erinn and Taj are laughing so hard at Dragonlicker's crap, it's all they can do not to fall off, and Erinn shortly does.

Warrior Stephen falls next. Taj is still up there, Stephen, you got beat by a girl. Taj goes next, so it gets down to just JT and Dragonlicker.

Now, while waiting for people to fall off something is normally dull viewing, this time the suspense is terrible. All it would take would be for JT to slip ever so slightly, and Dragonlicker would have immunity. This is the next-to-last show. It would mean no horse's-ass-free episode all season. Voldetool must lose!

JT tries to talk Voldy into letting go, promising him not to vote for him that night. "I can't believe you don't you trust me, Coach." I can.

Dragonlicker replies, "You are a man of your word." JT has lied to his face over and over, and Dragonlicker knows it. I've finally worked out what Voldetool means by "Playing with honesty and integrity." He means "playing with a penis." Throughout the whole season, he has consistently said that men he knew were lying were being honest, he insisted he was being honest when he was lying, and he has consistently said that the various females were liars, even when, as with Sierra, they were loudly proclaiming the absolute truth. To Voldetool, men are all honest, even when lying, and women are all liars, even when telling the truth. He achieves a new high in unconscious misogyny.

In the end, glory hallelujah, Voldetool fell, and then played possum on the ground. Was he faking? He claimed his back had been spasming out for ten minutes, and that he needed help to stand and walk. Jeff offered to have Medical come look at him. "No! ... Medical would really look at my back...Please don't have them look at my back." Any chance that the other players were buying into Voldetool's goldbricking was gone right then. They all knew that the real reason he didn't want Medical to check him out is that they'd know there was nothing wrong with him. Lots of more eye-rolling from Taj and Erinn.

Stephen was slightly falling for it, and said, "I want someone I can beat up there in the final." Is he thinking if the final two is JT and him, he'll lose, but if it's him and Dragonlicker, they'll give it to Stephen? Don't think like that, Stephen. Thinking like that will keep Dork Vader around. Vote out Voldy!

Voldetool made JT all but carry him back to camp. He can defeat whole tribes of mythical Amazonian pygmies, but he is hobbling back to camp after an endurance test that didn't cripple anyone else. And wonder of wonders, like John Locke on Lost after the crash of Oceanic 815, when he was miraculously healed, so Voldetool, on arriving back in camp, was suddenly healed of his affliction, and was trotting about doing stuff pain-free, not even noticing that everyone was now disgusted with his transparent goldbricking.

"If I'd had steak and beer," said the mouth that pours, "...I swear to you, I wouldn't have had it." Oh puh-leaze! If he'd won the reward, he'd have turned it down? The real question of this season of Survivor is, does he think everyone is an idiot, or does he just believe his own crap so utterly, he thinks others do too?

"As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another," said Voldetool. Now all season I've been maintaining that Dragonlicker is not gay. More often than not, when a man hates all women with the intensity that Dork Vader does, it's because he is straight. But that "One man sharpens another" line is making me rethink. That's about the gayest thing anyone has said on this show since Tyson the Nude Mormon expressed his desire to wear a "man tiara," back in episode one.

As part of his usual attitude that losing is really winning when he does it, Voldetool added, "I was honored by the defeat, and the way that I went down." Perhaps, but not as honored as the winner, you loser. By coincidence, I myself have often been honored for the way I went down.

Voldetool says, "I'm done with the surprises at Tribal, man." Oh dear. Well, you will be soon, you idiot, "The Warrior Alliance is going strong... to this date, it has not backfired on me." Ah, except for when Tyson and Debbie were blindsided behind your back. He has not so much selective memory as no memory. Only his fantasies have any reality for him. He doesn't need Medical; he needs Psychiatric. "I am the last of the Mohican." Oh brother.

Tribal Council: Debbie looks much better cleaned up.

As usual, they rehashed most of the same things I've been rehashing here. Jeff did his best to inflame more hostility between Dragonlicker and Erinn, as if more were needed. Voldetool, who is now so at home with Exile Dune, you'd think he'd rather go back there than to camp, elucidates his Exile awesomeness thusly, "I had past experiences with which to draw on, which made it easier for me." Obviously those experiences weren't studying English syntax, as that is one seriously messed up excuse for a sentence.

He continued on into the land of bizarre misogyny: "A lotta times men drop what they think is a pebble, but women see a boulder dropping and crashing." All the women, on and off the jury, are falling over, laughing at this sexist insanity. You know the reason why we women sometimes mistake pebbles for boulders? Because all our adult lives, men have shown us something three inches long, and said it was ten inches. Better not send a woman to the quarry for a bag of boulders.

For no discernable reason, Voldetool quoted Mark Twain's "Better for people to think you're a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt" (In Dragonlicker's defense, that's fairly close to what Twain wrote.), advice he has never taken in his whole life, and isn't taking now.

Jeff gets Erinn to admit she fears being blindsided tonight, and Voldetool to admit that he is utterly confident that no blindside is about to occur.

And then, one last time, Ex-Coach Wade, aka Dragonlicker, aka The Chosen Boob, aka Voldetool, aka Dork Vader, does something jaw-droppingly idiotic:

Jeff: "All right. It is time to get to the vote."

Voldetool: "One more thing...." Who's running this Tribal council? "...I wrote a poem for everybody to hear..." Eyes are now rolling both in Forza and on the jury. Even his former ally Debbie is hiding her face in her hands. I have to share his "poem" with you. Since he gave it no name, I have titled it:

I Am Stupid
The Ravin'
By Ex-Coach Wade.

With friend and foe we march to the battle plain,
Some to seek success, others to seek fame.
(Guess which Voldy seeks.)
We play with honor for the love of this game, (Most of the jury is now elaborately asleep.)
And with armor or without, we will toil in vain.
So that some day, someone, somewhere, will remember our name.

Okay class, let us ignore the lumpy rhythm, and the non-existent meter. Let's look at the rhymes: Plain, fame, game, vain, name. Okay, plain, and vain rhyme. And fame, game, and name rhyme. But his rhyme scheme isn't A, B, B, A, B. No one writes A, B, B, A, B. He's actually going for A, A, A, A, A. but those are not five rhyming words. All he has achieved is assonance. But then, all season long, he's been a big assonance.

Also, how can you remember his name, when he's just called "Coach" all season? For the record, his name is Benjamin Wade, and frankly, I'd rather share a tent with Benjamin Linus.

Here is a better poem, also with only five lines.

A horrible Survivor player,
Liked to call himself the dragonslayer,
So was he a tool,
or a big freakin' fool?
All I know is he hasn't a prayer.

For once the vote was very suspenseful. Two votes for Erinn (Voldetool and JT), and two votes for Dragonlicker (Taj and Erinn). Who did Stephen vote for?


Ding, dong, the Coach is dead,
That stupid coach.
That big cockroach,
Ding, dong, the stupid coach is dead!

Stephen, I hereby dub thee The Dragonlickerslayer.

Goodbye Ex-Coach. Please do let the door hit you on the way out.

In his exit interview, Voldetool said, "There was some sadness tonight as I left." Only from him. The general mood was joy. The jury was holding a spontaneous dance. Certainly the room I was watching it in could be described as jubilant.

He also said, "I can not imagine why someone would want to keep Erinn over me." After all, she has that icky old set of female genitalia. You know what is truly disturbing? He really can't. He is deaf and blind to his own obnoxiousness and insufferability. It doesn't occur to him, as he imagines himself to be any 9-year-old boy's ideal grown man, that most people have different values than small boys. Most grown men don't find girls "icky."

And, just to go out sounding like a nine-year-old, when he realized it was Stephen who sank him, he said of Stephen, "The wizard was definitely not the white wizard. He was the evil wizard in the end. It was a travesty. Death before dishonor."

Oh grow up! Stephen is not an evil wizard. He's a smart nebbishy kid from Manhattan who is smarter than you are, and doesn't buy your crap. The Dragonlicker's real downfall was that he does believe the childish nonsense he spews. "Death before dishonor"? It's a game show, you buffoon.

On Sunday they will have the three-hour finale and live reunion show, so I'll be back here Monday with my final recap. And let's hope that the next batch of players, since CBS refuses to cancel Survivor despite it being more truly played out than Randy Jackson's vocabulary, will be a more engaging and attractive cast. Enough of this season, which was built around someone I was supposed to love to hate, but merely hated hating. Let's get some contestants we love to love.

Cheers darlings.

To read more of Tallulah Morehead, go to
The Morehead the Merrier.