After blindsiding Tyson last episode, J.T. tells Coach and Debbie that he didn’t tell them about the plan because he didn’t want to make them break their word to Tyson. I had thought Coach would go ballistic — if Brendan was the dragon and Sierra was the dragon’s droppings, then what must J.T. and Stephen be, after destroying Coach’s beloved and much-bandied Warrior Alliance?
“Bold and brilliant,” says Coach. “No hard feelings.” Well, that was a bit of a letdown. But rest assured, there will be some classic Coach before the episode is over.
J.T. and Stephen tell Debbie that they still see the three of them and Coach as the Final 4, and that Sierra and Erinn would be voted out next. But those two are from the old Timbira tribe, so Debbie thinks it may be smart to reunite the Timbirans and defeat the old Jalapao — otherwise, J.T., Stephen and Taj could end up holding the power.
The reward challenge is the one where the players answer questions about their tribemates, and then guess what the most popular answer was. Each correct answer lets the player take whack at an opponent’s rope — when your rope gets three chops, you’re out of the challenge.
So what do the Survivors think about each other?
* Who has not lived up to their potential? Coach. (He also picked himself.)
* Who would squander the million dollars the quickest? Sierra. (She doesn’t look happy to hear this.)
* Who would never survive on their own? Debbie. (Debbie said herself, too.)
* Who would you trust with your life? J.T. (“I don’t know why everyone trusts me so much,” J.T. tells the camera, “but in this game I’m not so trustworthy, and it seems like people would catch on to that. It may be the accent.”)
* Who is most likely to stab you in the back? Sierra. (“Wow,” she says.)
* Who would you least like to see win this game? Yup. It’s Sierra.
The order that people get knocked out of a challenge like this often reveals alliances, so take note: Sierra’s out first, followed by Coach, Debbie, Erinn and J.T. Stephen answers the last question correctly (Taj picked Coach as the one folks would least like to see win the game), and he picks Taj and J.T. to accompany him on a trip to a bottomless spring and a meal with a local family.
Stephen chooses Erinn to send to Exile, since he wants a potential clue to a new idol to stay within his alliance with Erinn, J.T. and Taj. Erinn has a miserable time on Exile, with no food, no water (except for the rain falling on her as she sleeps) and no fire.
Meanwhile, back at camp, Coach thinks that Erinn might be upset with J.T., Stephen and Taj going off on the reward and sending her to Exile, and he feels Sierra out as to whether there can be a Timbira reunion. He asks her where her loyalty is, and Sierra replies that Coach and Debbie voted against her, and now they only have two people in their alliance and they’re in trouble. Debbie, who earlier feared that J.T. and Stephen would pick off her and Coach, tells Sierra that she doesn’t know anything about who’s on their side. Sierra says she’s just presenting the facts — Stephen, J.T. and Taj are tight, and Erinn voted against Tyson without telling Coach and Debbie. Debbie doesn’t want to hear it. Because it’s true.
“Someone’s playing their game right,” Sierra tells the camera regarding the group who voted out Tyson, “and I’d rather go with the smart people.”
Coach talks with J.T. and asks if he’s OK with Sierra, then Erinn, then Taj being voted out next. J.T. says sure, and Coach trusts him once again.
Coach tells J.T. and Stephen that Debbie and Sierra had wanted to reunite the old Timbira, but he refused because “I cannot do that to those guys.” Sierra tells her side of the story to Stephen, saying that Coach and Debbie were the ones who wanted to renew the Timbira alliance, and “they both went bananas” when Sierra said no.
The immunity challenge involves tossing a grappling hook to retrieve bags; the first three to get three bags go to the next round, where they work a ball through a table maze. Coach, J.T. and Debbie move to the final round, where Coach wins and exclaims, “You better believe it, baby: Dragon. Slayer.” And just in case J.T. missed it, Coach asks him back at camp, “Did you hear me say ‘Dragon Slayer?'” Oh, good heavens.
Sierra isn’t about to go down quietly, so she asks Coach, in front of everyone, about whether he’d asked her about re-forming Timbira. He denies it, and she yells, “You are such a liar!” Debbie cries and says she’s too old for this, to be arguing with a 23-year-old. But she tells the camera, “Honestly, a lot of it, I don’t even remember.” The tribe seems to believe that Sierra caught Coach in a lie, but will the truth do her any good?
At Tribal Council, Sierra tells the story of Coach’s lie, and Coach says that perhaps in Sierra’s warped mind, she thinks she’s telling the truth. He says he’s ready to forgive her and quotes the biblical Stephen, who was stoned in the temple: “God, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” (Well, he’s close. That was Jesus, being nailed to the cross; Stephen’s quote was “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” And he was stoned outside the city, not in the temple, but that’s nitpicky. Since Coach is quoting the Bible to support a lie, I guess the precision of his biblical recall is a secondary issue.)
At least the truth did set Sierra free — as she’s voted out of the game, and away from Coach.