A quick note before Thursday (Feb. 19) night's "Survivor: Tocantins." Dear Jalapao, Why did you vote out Carolina? She wasn't just eye-candy. She appeared to actually work around camp. Or was that the problem? She was too industrious? Oh well. Good luck with Sandy. I hope you like crazy. Love Daniel.

Pre-credit sequence. It's nightime in Jalapao and the Carolina-free tribe is rationalizing their voting decision, while making fire, or "far," as Sandy calls it. Sandy's grateful and lets everybody know it, but Spencer makes it clear that last week's vote just swapped things at the top of the elimination chart. It could have been Sandy-Carolina. Now it's Carolina-Sandy. 

[Full recap, with spoilers, after the bump... Click through...]

Grub time. No, literally. We're still in Jalapao. Is there even another team in this game? It isn't even like Jalapao is doing anything interesting. They're eating veggies and lamenting their absence of protein. Joe's solution? Collect termites and chow down. Teenager Spencer is whining about his absence of snack-foods. Is a giant grub worm the same as a pack of Cheetos? If you're hungry, the answer appears to be "Yes." Sydney wrinkles her model nose at the meal, telling the camera, "I'll eat one at a challenge if I need to, but not in real life."

The Pits (not to be confused with FOX's short-lived "The Pitts"). Oh that's right. Timbira. That's the other team. Long time no see. Even with flint and a machete, they still can't get fire. Meanwhile, Sierra continues to feel on the outs, so she decides to find the hidden Idol, cutting Brendan in on the information. I can't exactly figure out Brendan's necessity in this treasure hunt, other than attracting more attention. They're down on the beach digging deep holes. You think somebody might notice? Fortunately, it's only Debbie who finds them and she buys into their "fire pit" lie without any hesitation. Candace isn't buying it and her correctly manifested doubt only makes her look anti-social.

Beans and rice really *do* have different cooking times. Candace is also stirring up enmity by complaining about hunger and fantasizing elaborate meal plans involving sea bass and olive oil and other things they don't have. She's taken the bean preparations upon herself, but her simultaneous combination of rice and beans irks Coach, who thinks they should be prepared separately even if he has to wait to eat. Coach tells us that he and Candace have similar personalities, but he does it because he's a coach and he wants to help people, but Candace does it because she's got problems. Candace plays along as Coach plays nice in the only way he knows how, awkward flirtation. She isn't buying it, warning us "That will be the death of him, his ego."

Secret-keeping. You're doing it wrong. Things are boring enough in Jalapao that they're sharing stories about their families. Taj's husband, it turns out, is a football announcer. More specifically, he's former Ohio State and Tennessee Titans running back Eddie George. Doesn't she know that this is the sort of information you're supposed to conceal? It's not like anybody ever would have guessed spontaneously. Spencer is really impressed. Stephen doesn't know who or what an Eddie George is. And for JT, Taj has just become a target, saying, "I know I definitely need the million dollars more than Taj does."

Tonight's challenge: Pixilation. It's a Brazilian game of Water Tackle Basketball. Want to know what else they're playing for? Fishing gear. Maybe Candace can get her sea bass after all. With rain pouring down and lightning crashing, it's a very photogenic brawl. Best early moment? Candace tossing Sydney aside like a ragdoll, perhaps contributing to Timbira taking an early lead. The purpose of the game appears to be for the women to pull each other's tops off (or maybe that's just Sandy's strategy with Erinn), while the men wrestle. Timbira gets a 2-0 lead, setting up an all-girl game, allowing Jeff to announce, "Four women all fighting for that ball." Jalapao wins both the all-girl and all-guy rounds. In the tiebreaker, Stephen becomes an unlikely hero. He may not know football, but he was less exhausted than anybody else and he scores the winning basket. Jalapao opts to send Brendan to Exile Island. But there's a twist: Brendan gets to choose one person from the winning team to join him. He picks Taj. 

City Mouse meet Country Mouse. Triumphant Jalapao, is ready to make use of their fishing equipment and a bromance is building between Country Bumpkin JT and New York Jew (self-applied designations, not mine) Stephen. "He might just be seducing me with his pretty country ways, but I'm smitten," Stephen says, while JT also acknowledges that bonding is in the air and bigs his partner-in-crime first crack at the fish-spearing. It's a comical gesture and Stephen fails dismally, but amidst the laughter, he figures he's cemented his place with JT as "his goofy awkward right-hand man," which is a safe strategy.

When is an Exile Island not an Island at all? Brendan and Taj are actually marooned on a mammoth sand dune in the middle of the wilderness. They receive rice and they each have to select an urn. Taj's urn contains nothing. Brendan's contains the clue, which he must read in private. Does he share or does he keep it to himself? And he has an even more interesting choice: After leaving, he can choose whether to go back to his own tribe or defect to Jalapao. He doesn't hesitate before saying, "No chance I'll go to Jalapao." Brendan is nice enough to take Taj along with him on her quest. She quickly recognized that her family disclosure was a hinderance. She knows that people think she doesn't need the money, but she has a cause, telling us, "My cause is that I want it." They discover that the Idols are back at camp.

The best laid plans of Coach and men. Back at Timbira, they're disheartened. Candace is conspiring to get rid of Coach. She thinks he's all talk, but no effort. Without pause, Debbie goes back to Coach and tattles on Candace's trash-talk. Coach's plan, announced last week, was to keep the strong players and dispatch the weak, but when the strong start plotting against him, his convictions are less steadfast.

Mad Shadiness. Brendan returns to Timbira and tells a little white lie to his tribe, claiming that Taj picked the urn with the clue, so he just sat around on a sand dune. Candace continues to foment her anti-Coach revolt, but she's willing to wait to give him the boot. At their shelter, they outwardly agree to stick with the original plan, Sierra. Coach, though, has other plans, hoping Candace packs her bags. Tyson and Jerry at least pay lip-service to the idea that keeping Candace would benefit the tribe. Sierra is confused and worried even after Coach tells her she's safe. Maybe it's his assurance, "I make my living off of people trusting me." That and coaching soccer. Candace and Erinn sense something's up, but Candace isn't smart enough to detect what she calls "mad shadiness."

Tribal Council. Does fire still represent life? Why yes it does. Thanks, Jeff! The early focus is on Sierra and her illness. Coach and Candance say they think they're OK. Trust becomes an issue. Jerry talks about how close they've all become in six days. Erinn disagrees, saying that nobody knows anybody, not that well. Debbie disagrees. She has trust with several people. Like the people building a fire pit down at the beach? Sure.

The vote. Candace writes down Coach's name. Sierra writes down Candace's name. The first two votes are split before the Candace votes begin pouring down. Candace sighs. Coach smirks. This is the second straight week that a tribe has voted out a relatively strong female with an opinion.

What'd you think of this week's episode? Are you feeling "Survivor: Tocantins" yet or are you ready to tune out?

 

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