It's time for Thursday (March 12) night's "Survivor: Tocantins."

Pre-credit sequence. Taj has an itch that only Stephen can scratch. Literally. He's just glad to be of use and jokes (we think?), "I've never brought such pleasure to a woman before." Taj explains that she only wrote Joe's name down because she didn't want to vote for Sandy. Really, she's focused on finding the Idol to keep the Exile Sand Dune Alliance in place. In no time flat, she and Stephen lift up the Tree-Mail Man's skirt and they find the Idol. "Everything is complete now," she says. "I just love it when a perfect plan comes together. It's so much fun!" She gives the Idol to Stephen for safe-keeping, but how safe is he keeping it? "Theoretically and ostensibly, it is mine," he declares. "I'm the one wearing the Idol around my neck."

[Full recap after the break...]

No love for Vishnu? With the majority of the Timbira tribe doing chores down by the water, Sierra lays into Brendan for making a tribe-crossing alliance without warning her. She doesn't see too bothered by his forgetfulness, or by the fact that he hasn't previously mentioned that he found the Idol. In fact, she's quite pleased with the whole state of affairs. "Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. Amen, Jesus," she gushes. "We're going to take over the whole world. That's right."

It's like Beer Goggles, man. Reward time. It's a pretty amusing challenge where the players are wound up like spinning tops and have to retain their balance across a balance beam. Want to know what they're playing for? A trip to the Charmin Cafe, with coffee and all the toilet paper you can eat. Tyson beats Taj to give Timbira an early lead, but Spencer beats Erinn to even things up. JT tops Sierra to give Jalapao a lead and then Sydney beats Debbie to give the red tribe reward. They decide to send Brendan back Exile Island. Taj plays like she's thankful and blessed when Brendan opts to have Stephen join him. Since the obvious move would have been for Brendan to keep Taj as his Exile partner, Tyson smells a rat, noting "He definitely seems to have some of their respect and it could get dangerous."

Don't squeeze. Food and drink await Jalapao at the Charmin Cafe. Taj, so frequent a resident in Exile, is particularly grateful. But can she fit back in with her tribe? Joe suggests that she's out of the loop and that she's an outsider. There's another surprise for the winners. They all have letters from home. Isn't it a little soon for this? And isn't it a little soon for all of these tears? Wait? Is anybody even going to use that shiny Charmin toilet with the soft, quilted Charmin toilet paper? Please? At least use it to dry your tears!

You don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. In Timbira, they're running low on food. Perhaps because of the hunger, they're feeling suspicious. Tyson makes the very strong case that Brendan is building alliances with the other tribe and that he has to go. Coach, who has learned to read the winds, agrees. Or he thinks he's figured out how the wind works. Using his newly developed meteorological gifts, he predicts that a building storm is going to miss them. Sitting in the shelter as the rain pelts down just moments later, Erinn is unimpressed, declaring, "Coach is kinda a jackass." She posits the idea that this "Coach" thing is all an act and that he might just be an accountant from Nebraska.

Hi, we're in an alliance, right? Off at Exile Sand Dune, Brendan and Stephen are just enjoying the chance for some bonding. They each admit that they have idols. Trust is formed, at least on one side. Stephen isn't ready for a commitment ceremony just yet. "I've known him for five minutes," Stephen explains. "I can't put my entire faith in the game on him."

Sex and the Salsa Girl. Wait. Sydney has a boyfriend? And she's telling people about him? And she's telling people about her dreams involving the boyfriend, chips, salsa and marriage? How bizarre. Spencer doesn't seem too disappointed, though. He says he hasn't found a girl yet because he isn't in a hurry to be in a relationship. But he has a secret! He's gay. Is that shocking? And why is it that the ultra-young, life-long "Survivor" fans on the show are always gay? Spencer's kept himself in the closet because he isn't sure that JT would accept his sexual preference. He's disappointed in JT without ever giving him a chance to do anything disappointing.

Hufflepuff, FTW. Immunity time. It's like Quiddich, only less magical. Lots of diving to catch snitches with nets. JT is dominant, but all isn't well for Jalapao. Something is wrong with Joe's knee. Maybe that's why Timbira catches up. In a tie game, JT makes a diving grab, cracks a tooth and tosses it aside. Jeff Probst is perplexed by his machismo and stops the game to find the shard of JT's tooth. JT doesn't seem to care. What he does care about is Spencer's neglectful defense and lack of competitive sprit. JT keeps getting more an more frustrated, particularly when a series of lucky Tyson catches lead to Timbira winning Immunity. "I don't wanna get rid of anyone, but it's gotta be Spencer," JT says.

If you'll excuse me, there's this target I'd like to affix to my back. Taj fears she may be a target after getting tired during the challenge, but she knows that Spencer might be a weak target. She unleashes a weird, profanity-laden tirade about what's doing best for the team. She's feeling left out and she lets the guys hear it. Nobody remembered her before and now everybody's paying attention. It's a stupid move and Joe instantly decides that Taj is next, leaving Stephen to defend her, while also admitting, "I am better served by Taj going home without the Idol." Spencer comes and tries to make peace with JT, still grumbling under his breath. Spencer's argument is weak and JT comes right out and tells him that it's either him or Taj going home.

Tribal Council. Jeff begins Tribal Council by asking Spencer about his performance in the challenge. Spencer calls it "pretty pathetic." Taj cops to her post-challenge blow-up, sounding properly contrite, though there are no indications from Joe that all is forgiven. It's all about Taj and Spencer, Spencer and Taj. Joe and Taj have a little back and forth about whether or not she has the Idol. Taj says she doesn't have it, but is it semantics or is it a lie?

The vote. Taj votes for Spencer. Spencer votes for Taj. Jeff asks if anybody wants to play the Idol. Nobody does. Taj knew what she was doing. The votes go against Spencer, who's heading home. That's what you get for not tackling the way JT thinks you should tackle.

 

Right move for Jalapao or wrong move?

 

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