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Survivor: Brendan Blindsided Out Of The Game

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Monty Brinton/CBS

Is this Survivor or Dungeons & Dragons? First you have Coach constantly ruminating on being the dragon slayer and cutting off the head of the dragon, and then Stephen writing down a name and pronouncing, “This is my wizard lightning shooting you back home. Ka-pow!” Well, that old black magic was simply a shrewd strategy as the Timbira tribe turned against each other with Coach and Tyson‘s side coming out on top. And when 30-year-old New York entrepreneur Brendan Synnott failed to play his hidden immunity idol, he became the eighth person voted out of Survivor: Tocantins, but the first member of the jury.

Once Upon a Time: On a sleepless night at camp Forza, tribe mates gathered around the fire to hear Coach tell a tale about the time he got caught by indigenous in the Amazon while solo-kayaking in a place so remote, he had to be dropped there by a military helicopter. Marveled Brendan, “Coach is either the new coming of Jacques Cousteau or he is basically the biggest fraud in this game.”

Rapidly Changing Alliances: During the reward challenge, the nine remaining players were divided in teams of three, and had to break the opposing teams’ ceramic tiles by tossing metal balls at them. After a long but close match, Debbie, Brendan and JT won a whitewater-rafting trip down the Rio Novo and a picnic. They also sent Stephen to Exile Island, where he quickly realized there were no new hidden idols but not so quickly started a fire. By dusk, however, a spark caught, and a jubilant Stephen declared, “It was like giving birth to my own child.” On the reward trip, Brendan was so bewitched by JT’s innocent charm that he took JT into the fold of the secret ‘exile alliance.’

Now You Tell Me: After returning to camp, Brendan finally connected with Taj to tell her of his new bond with JT and that their next votes should be against Coach and Tyson. While Brendan explained that he had intentionally laid low at first but now wanted to bring the exile alliance out of its dormancy, it was clear the plan wasn’t working. Having once committed to betraying Brendan, Taj said in an aside that the Timbira tribe was so concerned with getting themselves out of the game that Jalapao didn’t even need to get involved.

Slaying the Dragon: After a crazy challenge involving looping one’s body through several wooden grids to try to untangle a rope tied to your body, Tyson repeated his immunity victory. Brendan immediately thought that the exile alliance, which had been silent, would now “rear its ugly head” against Coach, who was conveniently prepared to “cut the head off the dragon,” which was Brendan. With the two warring factions scrambling, a calm JT and Stephen realized that they, in fact, were in control of the game. But whose side would they commit to? In the end, the alliance of the guy who had been through a hurricane, survived a shark attack, had a run-in with a crocodile and escaped an Amazon tribe prevailed as Brendan did not play his individual immunity idol and was ousted from Forza. — Cynthia Wang

Tell us: Should Jalapao have teamed up with Brendan and Sierra instead of Coach and Tyson? What will Coach do now that the dragon has been slain? Monty Brinton/CBS