Pre-credit sequence. Heading back to Forza after the latest Tribal Council blindside, Sierra is grateful, very. Very, very grateful. She figures she just witnessed a miracle. The actual miracle workers (No, not Helen Keller and Annie Sullivan), Stephen and JT, are trying to smooth things over with Debbie and Coach, who were nearly as blindsided as Tyson. Both Coach and Debbie nod and agree that they're glad they didn't know in advance. Because being in the loop is such a drag. Stephen isn't displeased that Coach and Debbie are being diplomatic, but part of him would prefer that they be open with their well-deserved discomfort at what just took place.
[Full recap of Thursday (April 30) night's "Survivor: Tocantins" after the break...]
Watch out for the recoil. We're up to Day 28 and Debbie is trying to make sure she's properly aligned. Maybe she should try some of that aquatic meditation stuff Coach does. Oh yeah, right. You have to be a special magical monk to even learn the recipe to Coach's mojo. JT and Stephen agree that Erinn and Sierra are out next and that they'd still like to be in a Final Four with Debbie and Coach. Debbie isn't buying it. She says she's recoiling, like a snake, figuring out her next moves. She goes to Coach and they agree that going back to the Timbira alliance might be a good idea, bringing Erinn and Sierra back into the fold to try to reclaim control of the game. Why do I suspect that Sierra is going to require a little convincing?
Everybody Hates Sierra. The Reward Challenge begins with the castaways filling out a series of questions about each other. They have to guess what the group said. Then rope-chopping is involved. Want to know what they're playing for? It's a trip to a mysterious natural spring and yet another traditional Brazilian feast. We learn that Coach has not lived up to his potential, whatever that means. Sierra would squander the million dollars, for some reason. Debbie would never survive on her own, which I buy. There's across-the-board consensus that JT is the one they'd trust with their lives, which amuses JT. Sierra is voted the one most likely to stab you in the back, which makes her unhappy. The strategy on the challenge is a little odd, but it's down to Stephen and Taj. When Stephen correctly guesses that Sierra is the one they'd least like to see win, he is triumphant. Poor Sierra. Stephen decides to send Erinn off to Exile Sand Dune and then picks Taj to join him for Reward and then adds JT to the field trip. It's an all-Jalapao reward, which makes Coach uncomfortable.
I hope the family got to keep the leftovers. Stephen, JT And Taj arrive at a farm and meet a nice Brazilian family. The food looks rather tremendous, though when the three-old falls off of her chair and begins to bawl, Taj's maternal side comes out. After lunch, they go to a spring which is indescribably odd. While floating, they initially agree that Sierra's the one to vote out next, but Stephen proposes that ditching Debbie might be a better strategic move. No decisions are made. Also, I'm not sure if the spring looked cool, or basically like a sinkhole.
No country for girlie-girls. Poor Erinn, unloved and all alone at Exile Sand Dune. Not only can she not make fire, but it begins to pour. "I had no food, no water, no warmth, no way to dry anything and I slept in constant pouring rain," she says. Poor Erinn. "I am about as girlie and prissy as they come," she explains.
Coach's definition of "loyal" is a bit odd. Back at Forza, Coach and Debbie decide to try to push Sierra to join them. "I thought you said you were going to be loyal," Coach says. Sierra recognizes that she has the control and lectures a confused Debbie, who tries pretending that she has a bigger alliance. Debbie finally tells Sierra to talk to the hand and goes off crying. Sierra respects that the Jalapao alliance used her to eliminate Tyson and she wants to stick with the smart people. Coach, resigned that the Timbira alliance isn't reuniting any time soon, is pinning all of his hopes on JT.
He Said, She Said. Coach pulls JT aside and lays his cards out, that the next three people out are Sierra, Erinn and Taj. JT agrees that that is, indeed, the plan. Coach says that it was Sierra who wanted to reunite with Timbira. Oh Coach, you liar. JT nods politely and Coach is mollified. Meanwhile, though, Sierra goes to Stephen and narcs on Coach and Debbie, which causes Stephen at least minor panic. He isn't sure if he should trust Sierra. "Look at me... I don't want to play anymore games," Sierra cries, explaining she should be the least of anybody's worries. When Stephen approaches Coach, Coach simultaneously blames both Sierra and Debbie for the Timbira alliance, calling Sierra "A half-wit floating on the breeze." Stephen doesn't know who to trust. JT and Stephen agree that they're eventually going to have to betray Coach and this may be the right time.
Hook, line and stinker. Immunity time. Erinn returns from Tribal Sand Dune and Stephen presents her with a big red sweater. The challenge includes using a grappling hook to pull in bags, as viewers are treated to Grappling Hook Cam. Nice shot. They have to grapple three bags to make the finals. It's Coach, JT and Debbie in the Finals. The goal is to navigate balls through a maze. Stephen is practically holding his breath watching JT navigate. When JT fails, Coach reaches the end, pumps his fist and announces, "Dragonslayer!" Sierra knows her only hope is to turn everybody on Debbie.
Coach can't handle the Truth. "Guess there won't be a blind side of Old Coach Wade tonight," Coach proudly announces, figuring his win justifies his place and validates his approach to the game. He's confident. With Debbie and Coach off being happy, Sierra tells JT about the plotting. Sierra, decides to air her dirty laundry, asks Coach to level with everybody. He says he's never lied in this game and proceeds to tell a very strange and convoluted version of what happened at camp the day before. At least half of the things he says are versions of the true, the rest? Not-so-much. Debbie and Sierra get into a fight over whether they're the people they know. "I'm too old for this," Debbie wails, going all Murtaugh. She says that she doesn't even remember whether or not Sierra was telling the truth. But Stephen and JT believe Sierra. Stephen wants to take Debbie out, but JT suggests booting Sierra would, if nothing else, reduce drama. Stephen finally agrees that losing Sierra, "eliminates one big nutty variable." Big Nutty Variable was, incidentally, an unsuccessful chocolate bar released by the Cadbury company in the 1960s.
Tribal Council. With fewer people in the game, pressure is increasing. JT and Debbie agree that there's ample pressure. Coach says that Sierra has been a catalyst for the pressure, prompting an eye-roll that even Jeff Probst has to solute. Sierra recounts Coach and Debbie's behavior, completely accurately. Coach protests that he is not, in fact, a coward and a liar, blaming it on "Sierra's warped mind." He forgives Sierra, quoting Scripture, practically demanding an apology from Sierra, who he describes as "23 going on 5." Taj compares it all to a soap opera. Debbie, raving at her own popularity, draws another eye-roll from Sierra. Everything Sierra has said tonight has been the truth, right? That ought to be worth something.
The Vote. Debbie votes for Sierra. Sierra votes for Debbie. That much we saw. Nobody plays an Immunity Idol. The first three votes go Sierra, Debbie and then Stephen. The Stephen vote confuses things, it's soon 3-2 against Sierra, leading to her elimination. Coach smirks. Stephen looks around wondering who betrayed him [The answer: Erinn, which I guess was the only possibility, but what about that sweater he brought you?.].
Voting out Debbie would have been the right play this week, right? Or was it correct to eliminate the drama in favor of a senile rat?