March 12, 2009 08:00 PM by Ryan Haidet
The strategy of a unique four-person, cross-tribal alliance dominated the majority of tonight’s Survivor: Tocantins — The Brazilian Highlands. Taj was the stand-out star of the jam-packed episode as she got into an argument with her tribemates. But that’s not all, a Jalapao member discussed his homosexuality and his fears of letting his secret out. Then at the Immunity Challenge, one castaway got so involved in the competition that he knocked one of his teeth out and didn’t even seem to care.
On Day 13, while the rest of the tribe slept, Taj and Stephen rushed off to the treemail station to search for the hidden Immunity Idol. Moments later, she lifted the skirt from the small statue there to find the Idol underneath. She was so excited that each half of the four-person alliance held a hidden Idol (Brendan already found the one at Timbira). “I just love it when a perfect plan comes together, it’s so much fun,” she said.
Taj handed the Idol off to Stephen since he had pockets. But maybe that wasn’t such a brilliant idea on her behalf. “As long as it’s in my possession, I’m going to try to keep it in my possession,” Stephen said in a confessional.
At Timbira, everybody except for Brendan and Sierra went on a search for food. During their alone time, Sierra revealed to Brendan that she knew all about the four-way alliance after Taj told her about it on Exile Island. Brendan and Sierra were completely thrilled with their plan and they thought they had sealed their spots in the final four with Taj and Stephen.
Laugh Yourself Dizzy
The two tribes gathered for the Reward Challenge, which was the most creative competition so far this season. The contest consisted of a series of races along a straight balance beam. In each round, one contestant from each tribe sat on a rotating platform that had rope wrapped around the bottom. Then another tribemate took that rope and ran with it across a field. This caused the platform to spin at a very high speed. After they were done spinning, the now dizzy contestants had to simply walk across the balance beam before them. The first tribe to win three rounds would win the reward — an afternoon at the Charmin Cafe. Yes, the Charmin sponsorship has returned! Too bad season 12′s Bruce and Bob Dawg aren’t there to drink a whole bottle of wine together!
But the third round was the best. Sierra and JT were extremely dizzy and could barely walk. Sierra looked like a newborn who was trying to take her first steps. Host Jeff Probst compared JT’s difficulty walking to a long night out at a bar. After taking a moment to compose himself, JT eventually hobbled his way across the balance beam to gain a point for Jalapao.
In the next round, Sydney crossed the finish line before Debbie, thus winning the challenge for Jalapao. They chose to send Brendan back to Exile Island. He chose to take Stephen along with him effectively driving him away from participating in the reward.
The Charmin Cafe
Jalapao arrived at the Charmin Cafe to see a table filled with an array of coffee and snacks. And with a name like the Charmin Cafe, Probst ensured there was a working toilet and plenty of Charmin toilet paper to use. “I didn’t know what to do, I forgot my name,” Taj said as she excitedly filled up on the various drinks and snacks.
Moments later, JT discovered they each had letters from home and most were brought to tears as they hurriedly opened them up. Spencer felt that it was the best part of the reward. Everybody wiped tears from their eyes as they read all the love their families had poured out onto the paper.
Over at Timbira there was no love going on. Tyson was strategizing and said that Brendan had to be their next target. He felt he was too in touch with Jalapao. Coach and Debbie were on board because of all the bonds he was forming with the enemy. “If we merge, he has control of the game and I’m a bystander,” Coach said in a confessional.
Day 14 at Exile Island, Brendan and Stephen took off their shoes, and climbed up the desolate stretch of sand. “It’s like an oasis,” Brendan said. In the first moments the two guys were able to spend alone together in the game, Stephen revealed that he and Taj also found a hidden Immunity Idol. Brendan was stoked because his four-way alliance had possession of both idols. Stephen said in a confessional that he thinks Brendan is very strategically strong, but he’s also wary. He said he was reluctant to place his trust in the four-way alliance at this point, but would keep his options open.
Day 15 at Jalapao, Sydney said that she had been dreaming about her boyfriend the night before and she woke up realizing how much she loved him. Spencer swung in the hammock and listened to her talk all about her love life. But in a confessional, Spencer revealed that he is gay, which is something he was hiding from everybody at camp. He said that he didn’t feel that there was anything for his tribemates to gain by knowing his sexuality. He said he hated to hide it, but he felt it was best for him to keep it a secret. Spencer was concerned that some of his tribemates might hold it against him and want to vote him off because of it.
Tooth Falls Out In Brutal Contest
The two tribes gathered for the Immunity Challenge as Brendan and Stephen joined them. Two members from each tribe stood at a platform and took turns shooting balls from a giant slingshot. Their tribemates stood out the river with nets and had to simply catch the balls as they flew at them. For Survivor fans, this challenge may seem familiar because it’s been done before like in the Thailand season. Anyway, the first tribe to net five balls would win Immunity.
Sydney and Stephen were shooting the balls for Jalapao as Erinn and Debbie fired them off for Timbira.
JT started off really strong as he scored the first two points in the challenge for Jalapao. In the second round Joe struggled to catch a ball and hurt his knee in the process. Brendan tied the score at 2-2 in the next two rounds.
In the next round, JT caught another ball, but got hit in the face and lost a tooth. He took the tooth and simply threw it on the ground ready to continue the challenge. “Let’s find the tooth,” Probst said. JT said it didn’t matter if he got it back or not, but Brendan found it and Probst put it in his pocket.
Even after losing his tooth and blood was dripping out of his mouth, JT was able to catch another ball giving Jalapao a 4-2 lead.
The next three rounds went sour for Jalapao, though. Tyson tightened the contest by scoring points in the next two rounds to tie it up at 4. JT yelled at Spencer and told him to do a better job guarding Tyson. But Spencer’s efforts didn’t work as Tyson scored the last point to win the challenge for Timbira.
After the challenge, Probst handed the Immunity Idol off to Timbira and gave JT his tooth back.
Taj & Spencer Express Frustrations
Back at camp, Taj said she was angry about the challenge because she was so frustrated with losing. Taj said she felt like a target at Tribal Council, but that keeping Spencer around would be a mistake. As several of them gathered in the river she snapped and said they need to think about what’s better for the team. “Do what’s gonna be best for the team,” she said. She was obviously campaigning against Spencer, but yelling at her tribemates likely created some enemies.
Stephen, who is a part of her f0ur-person alliance had another plan. “I am better served by Taj going home without the Idol because that means it’s mine to keep,” Stephen said in a confessional.
Taj went back to camp and left the guys alone in the river.
Spencer was also frustrated with losing the challenge and he feared that JT was angry with his poor performance. Spencer walked down to the river and stood along the shore as JT campaigned against him. As JT continued to talk, Spencer stood behind and took his shoes and socks off before evenutally joining them in the river to try and convince the guys he was a valuable member to the tribe. JT told him it didn’t seem as if he was giving much effort in the challenge, but Spencer tried to fight for himself and said he felt he wasn’t the worst person in the group.
Another Jalapao Member Voted Off
At Tribal Council, Spencer said his challenge performance was very pathetic and that he was upset with himself. Taj said that after the challenge she exploded because she felt they could’ve done a better job. Taj said she felt her position in the game was threatened and that’s why she got so heated. Probst also addressed the amount of time Taj has spent on Exile Island and the possibility that she might have the hidden Immunity Idol. Taj disputed that fact and told them then that she didn’t have the Idol — that’s because Stephen had it in his pocket.
Images courtesy of Monty Brinton/CBS.
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