The Jalapao members are concerned about the expected merge, seeing as their tribe is down to four members. Or, as Taj puts it, “We’re just ‘Jala’; we done lost ‘Pao.'”
Over on Timbira, Coach is centering himself with stretchy, meditative stuff, which is accompanied (just for the viewing audience, I assume) by epic music and thunder. The refocused Coach massages his tribemates, and Erinn likes this new Coach better than the bean-obsessed Coach of yore.
The tree mail message is unclear whether the tribes will be going to a challenge or a merge, but Taj likes the mention of a feast, saying, “I get excited when I hear anything that starts with an ‘F.'” Really? Anything? Fusillade? Fascism? Franken Berry cereal? OK, I’ll grant you that last one.
Turns out, the tribes are merging. They feast, get to know each other, and ponder a new tribe name — they consider “Dingus,” which is Portuguese for “will overcome,” but decide to call the new tribe Forza, meaning “strength,” so we’ll never get to hear Probst say the awesome phrase “Come on in, Dingus!”
Back at the Timbira camp (the Forza tribe’s home), Coach and J.T. go fishing and talk strategy. Coach sees J.T. as a kindred warrior spirit, open and honest. J.T. tells Coach he thinks Brendan has a hidden immunity idol, and, all wide-eyed and country boy and earnest, lies to Coach and says he doesn’t know whether Taj has one.
Various combinations of people chat, and the plan is for Tyson, Coach, J.T., Stephen and Debbie to be in an alliance, and get rid of Brendan first. What about the super-secret alliance among Taj, Stephen, Brendan and Sierra that was hatched on Exile? Taj is nervous that Brendan and Sierra haven’t said anything about it, so she tells Stephen she’d go along with a plan to vote against Brendan. Brendan, clueless about all this, tells the camera he’s being quiet about the Exile alliance for now, until after Joe and J.T. get kicked off.
Coach, who loves comparing his enemies to deadly things (poison apple for Candace, cancer for Erinn), sees Brendan as the head of a dragon, and himself as the Dragon Slayer. Or maybe, because he’s orchestrated such a masterful plan to get rid of Brendan, Coach should be called the Orchestrator. “You guys call me whatever you want,” he tells the camera, “because at this point in time, I feel brilliant!” [Insert sound-effect thunder here.] I don’t know, Coach, I’m partial to your old nickname, which my hometown girl Erinn gave you: Jackass.
Joe and Erinn see that the tree mail statue no longer has an immunity idol hidden in its butt, so they know Brendan or Sierra must have it, and Erinn’s fine with voting against one of them next. So while Timbira talks about voting against J.T., everything’s in place for voting out Brendan — including a plan to split votes between Sierra and Brendan, just in case Brendan plays the idol.
There are a few good quotes in this episode — Tyson says, “I never liked Sierra, ever. I have no clue why she’s out here, other than to just give hope to stupid people around the world. … And, Brendan — he’s really the sneakiest bastard I have to worry about. We smile at each other. We hug. I’ve kissed him on the neck. Softly. … But as the old adage goes, ‘Keep your friends close and your enemies closer.’ That’s right, right?”
The other quote I like is from Probst during the who-can-cling-to-a-pole-the-longest immunity challenge (which Tyson won): “J.T., now — having a little movement.” He’s referring to J.T. slipping down the pole, but all I can think of are his bowels.
After the challenge, a woman from the medical staff looks at Joe’s leg, which is hot and swollen from infection. The medical lady is concerned about the infection entering his bone or blood, and Joe has to leave the game.
So there’s no Tribal Council, no one voted out. The Dragon Slayer has to wait to slay another day.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS © 2008 CBS BROADCASTING INC. All Rights Reserved.