Finally! A jam-packed episode of group strategy talks, one-on-one scheming, idol searching and awesome Coach and Tyson quotes, and what do we get? An injury and no tribal council. But after seeing how much Joe‘s left leg swelled up, to the point where he clearly couldn’t feel insects hovering around an open sore, it was good to see him on a helicopter and on his way to healing. And so Joe Dowdle, a 26-year-old real estate agent from Austin, Texas, became the seventh person to leave Survivor: Tocantins.
Coach Class: Not many deserve to have Carmina Burana serve as mere musical accompaniment for their montages, but Coach catapulted himself into a special league on day 19, meditating by the water and massaging his way to a better relationship with his Timbira tribemates. “If that’s the thing that turns you into Mr. Nice Guy around camp,” Erinn said, “You do it, every day … because I like New Coach!”
Merge Mania: Both tribes arrived at a feast, put on new green buffs and merged. Coach described it as “just like getting a new girlfriend. There are all kinds of things to explore.” Um, Okay. Meanwhile, the whole group toasted with wine and talked happily of christening the new tribe Forza, the Portuguese word for ‘strength.’ But then Sierra asked the former Jalapao members to explain their last few votes at tribal council. Awkward!
New Alliances: While Brendan and Sierra did not actively court their exile secret alliance members Taj and Stephen, Coach pulled JT aside to form a new partnership. JT fibbed to Coach that he didn’t know if Taj had the hidden idol or not, but said Brendan definitely did. At night, Coach reported back to Tyson and both guys decided to have a tight bond with JT, Stephen and Debbie. Then Coach mixed metaphors: “Brendan is the dragon. You want to defeat the army, cut off the head of the dragon.”
Pole Position: Tyson won the first individual immunity challenge by clinging onto a tall pole the longest. Jeff Probst told Joe, however, to stay behind so Dr. Lucy could look at his leg. Back at camp, Tyson asked the original Timbira group if they were going to vote out the injured Joe; Erinn said JT would be the smarter choice strategically and they all agreed. In one of the best asides, Tyson said of Brendan, “He’s really the sneakiest bastard I have to worry about. I’ve kissed him on the neck, softly. He’s felt my warm, steamy breath on the nape of his neck, even on the small of his back, but as the old adage goes, keep your friends close but your enemies closer.” Wow.
Injury Timeone: After much scrambling, it seemed the vote would go against Brendan, and if he played his idol, the next highest amount of votes would have gone against Sierra to offset any votes against JT. But then Jeff showed up at the rainy camp to tell them that Joe had to go and there would be no tribal council. While Taj asked, “Can you tell Joe we miss him?” the last best line was Coach lamenting that the “Dragon slayer has to wait another day.” — Cynthia Wang
Tell us: Who do you think would have gone home if there had been a tribal council? Would Brendan have played the idol?