KNEE KNOCKING: No Tribal Council; Vote Decided by Joe’s Leg
“The Dragon Slayer” The tribes merge, and with Jalapao preparing for the fight of their lives, a change in game plan by Coach and Tyson gives JT and Stephen a new lease on life. Plans are drawn up fast and furious to blindside Brendan and flush out his Idol, but Joe’s infected knee puts a damper on Coach and Tyson’s fun.
Upon returning from Tribal Council, Taj feels “bittersweet” about Sydney’s ouster. Joe feels like the odd man out. At Timbera, Coach decides that the game is now all about him, and begins meditating and changing his outward attitude, which impresses even Erinn. Joe’s knee continues to swell and turn red, but he insists it is getting better. Tree Mail indicates a feast, and the tribes arrive for a challenge to find that they are merging. They eat and obtain new buffs – green – and christian themselves “Forza”, which Coach claims is Portuguese for “strength”.
Coach takes an immediate liking to JT, and the two make a pact. Coach tells JT that he has built his game around honesty, all while JT lies and tells Coach he doesn’t know for sure if Taj has the Hidden Immunity Idol. But he does tell him that Brendan has one. Coach relays this information to Tyson, who talks to Stephen about an alliance of the four of them. Plans begin immediately for voting out Brendan. Meanwhile, Taj isn’t getting any signal either way from Brendan and wonders if their alliance is off. Brendan says, in a confessional, that he is keeping the Secret Alliance on the back burner until there are 7-8 people left, as that’s when the alliance would be able to use their power. Tyson recruits Debra as a fifth member of his alliance, and tells Brendan the plan is to vote out Joe. Joe asks Erinn if she has the Hidden Immunity Idol and she says no – they go to the Tree Mail statue and finds it is gone.
In the Immunity Challenge, contestants are made to hold on to a tall pole for as long as they can. The first to drop is Stephen, followed by Joe, Brendan, Taj, Erinn, JT, Coach, Sierra, and Debra, leaving Tyson to win Immunity. After the challenge, Jeff Probst calls the medical team to look at Joe’s knee. Back at Forza’s camp, plans are set and put in motion to blindside Brendan, who suspects something is up and prepares to possibly use his Hidden Immunity Idol. Stephen confronts Taj about voting for Brendan, which she goes along with, thinking their alliance is dead anyway. Jeff comes back to camp to inform the tribe that Joe has been removed from the game and there would be no Tribal Council, much to the disappointment of Tyson and Coach.
- Stephen and JT must be wondering how they got to be so lucky so as to fall into these alliances like this. Is it that they just exude likability and people just want to be their friend? First Taj brought them in with her idol (which wasn’t even really hers), then they seemingly escape being picked off just because Coach decides JT is a nice guy. These two look like they can “aw shucks” themselves all the way to the final 4 without having to do nothing more than smile at the right time.
- Which is not to say they haven’t deserved what they got. Stephen played Taj masterfully by getting her to agree to vote for Brendan, playing what seems to be a major fear for her – the dissolving of the alliance that had become her main plan. And shame on her for not trying harder to find out what was going on in Brendan’s head and just playing off assumptions.
- Every week when the opening titles role, we can’t help but wonder if Sierra really is a model. It’s hard imagining that scrunched-up, angry, sun-in-her-eyes face walking down a runway. Does she model clothes for elves? She looks like she could be part elf.
- When can we start voting for Tyson as the Fan Favorite for this season? Everything he says is soundbyte-worthy, and all f the best scheming and backstabbing going on begins and ends with him.
- It was nice to see a first-hand account of the limitless size of Coach’s ego. No sooner did Tyson give him the low-down on what he, JT, and Stephen agreed to do to avoid a tie vote, and Coach is crowing to the camera about how awesomely his plan is coming together! Coach – buddy – we just saw Stephen a) alert JT that there might be a problem, b) quickly come up with a solution, and c) tell Tyson about it. You were the last person to know about it. You had no involvement. You’re delusional.
- Debra seems nice, but it’s curious that she is perfectly content to play second fiddle (or maybe it’s ifth fiddle) to the boys in her alliance, and with seemingly no plan at all as far as her own game is concerned. Is she out there for the scenary?! Do something, lady! Scheme! Plot! Backstab! Play the game!
- “I get excited any time I hear something that begins with an ‘F’.” – Taj, upon receiving notice of a feast
- “(The merge) is like getting a new girlfriend; there’s all kinds of things to explore.” – Coach
- “You can look in my sweet blue eyes all day and I’ll tell you sweet nothings, and you’ll believe all of them.” – Tyson, on the difference between his lies and Brendan’s
- “I never liked Sierra. I have no idea why she’s out here other than to give hope to stupid people all around the world.” – Tyson, on Sierra
- “I was sitting there with my rod in my hand…did you get that, Debbie?” – Coach, discussing a recent fishing trip
- “Brendan lives to see another day. I’m disappointed.” – Tyson, after hearing of Joe’s removal from the game
- “This game is cool, but it’s not that cool. I don’t want to die, I want to walk home.” – Joe