It’s over for “Big Tom” Buchanan, the 49-year-old cattle farmer from Rich Valley, Va., whose Survivor: All-Stars run ended Thursday night as the CBS reality series had the bad fortune to run up against NBC’s “Friends” finale.
Tom’s ouster capped a particularly turbulent episode that pitted alpha males Boston Rob (Rob Mariano), Big Tom and Rupert Boneham against one another as Amber Brkich and Jenna Lewis kept their safe distance.
Try as he might to play defensively – though some may have called it a bad case of paranoia – Big Tom sealed a deal with Boston Rob to take him to the final three, despite Rupert’s unheeded advice about Rob’s growing influence.
Earlier in the show, Rob complained about Big Tom’s often unintelligible accent, then carped when it came time to cast the deciding vote: “You’re welcome for carrying you this far.”
As Tom told Rob in his exit speech: “Pull that knife out of my back … Gosh, I’m mistaken, there’s two knives back there. It’s Rob and Amber. But I’m gonna be on that jury. And the stick is gonna be in my hands. But listen. Don’t worry about me. If you can live with it, I can live with it. And I’m going to live with it happily ever after.”
Big Tom’s exit leaves Rupert, Boston Rob, Amber and Jenna and to duke it out for the $1 million prize.
The jury members, meanwhile, spoke to PEOPLE about each finalist and their odds of winning:
Odds: 2 to 1
Pro: “Such a hard worker and so loyal,” says Shii Ann Huang.
Con: “Needs to get a little more cutthroat,” says Alicia Calaway.
Odds: 3 to 1
Pro: “He is the strongest physical player out there,” says Alicia.
Con: “He treated us like dirt,” says Kathy Vavrick-O’Brien. “It was like playing against my ex, who’s a maniac.”
Odds: 4 to 1
Pro: “May be the ultimate puppetmaster,” says Lex van den Berghe.
Con: “She appears shrewder than she really is,” says Alicia.
Odds: 6 to 1
Pro: “She has Rupert under her spell,” says Shii Ann.
Con: “Most of us found her insufferable,” says Lex.