Survivor Tocantins’ Stephen Fishbach is Runner Up!

May 23, 2009
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Stephen Fishbach Stephen Fishbach came in 2nd for the 18th season of Survivor.  Stephen aligned with winner JT early on in the game, and in the end, their whole game was about their alliance and their strategy. 

Stephen was the last of the Survivor Tocantins final four to be interviewed by Reality Exploits.  Survivor Cook Islands’ Billy Garcia started the interview off by saying that Stephen really got ripped by the jury at the final tribal council. 

Stephen agreed and said that he was clearly reeling at JTs actions.  He said that JT was hamming it up more than it showed on TV.  He had his hands on his face, he was rubbing his cheeks, and he was looking miserable.  Stephen thought not only was he NOT going to win this game, he also fractured his relationship and was going to lose his close friendship with JT.  He thought he personally betrayed his closest friend. 

Stephen sat stunned.  But then the cameras stopped rolling and JT was laughing like crazy.  JT couldn’t have been happier.  He had seen an opportunity to try to bring Stephen down, and he ran with it.  Poor Stephen!

Stephen thinks he was too under the radar.  People had come up to him from the jury and said they had no idea he was playing such a strong strategic game.  They thought he was just JT’s goofy sidekick.  While it was a role that Stephen consciously played, he might have played it a bit too close to the vest.

Stephen and JT were in the whole game together.  But in front of the jury, he couldn’t at that critical moment say, “oh by the way, I am responsible for taking you all out”.  If he had taken Erinn to the final two, had he won the last challenge, he would have had a much better shot against her.  Taking or going with JT, he couldn’t really lay out his game.

Stephen Fishbach Billy commented that it’s a balance between how much you are saying is stealth mode vs. how much are you gonna give away.

Stephen also said that strategically, having two people work together was a huge advantage.  They were always on the same page.  They could come after someone with the same story from JT and Stephen.  They would plan out their stories so they would seem believable.   Billy said that from his experience, a lie coming from multiple sources, no matter how far fetched the lie, it sounds like the truth. 

Stephen said that he and JT talked through everything; it was a true partnership.  Billy commented that in his opinion, it should have been a draw and that they both should have won the million.  Stephen said, “yeah, that would have been my preference too”!  Billy was rooting for his fellow New Yorker!

Stephen’s a smart guy, and he was a smart player.  I remember watching throughout the episode thinking that he might actually walk away with the prize!  JT, however, ended up outwitting him, outplaying him, and ultimately, outlasting him. 

A little note about the expressive photo above…I knew when I took the photo that I had caught Stephen at a really funny moment.  When I showed it to other Survivor castaways, they said I HAD to post it.  However, I did show it to Stephen first and he laughed and said, yeah, post it!  Laughing with ya Stephen!


Billy Garcia, Stephen Fishbach, Betsy Hijazi