Last week on Survivor, Sierra got the boot that had been awaiting her since the first day. But not before calling out Coach for lying about his attempt to get her back on his side.
In that vote, Erinn and Taj apparently voted for Stephen and Debbie, which angered Coach. He goes to Debbie that night to expound on how angry he is, calling them cowards. “This is the time for the warrior alliance. This is the reason we have a name,” he says. Coach adds that people who don’t play the game “half as bold as me” pisses him off.
Debbie tells him he’s got to let it go, it’s going to drive him nuts. Debbie tells us Coach doesn’t let things go without a dialogue as to why, and it gets old.
“Cowards, cowards, cowards all around me,” Coach says, alone. He says he doesn’t care about the million dollars, he cares about his “honesty and integrity.”
How Much is a Pinky-Swear Worth?
The next day, Debbie tells us she’s been with Coach since day one, but lately it hasn’t been a positive thing for her. As a social person in a social game it’s not good. He’s a “downer” and people are tired of him, his comments and directives and his not doing much around camp.
So she’s decided to step up, and tells JT she’s second-guessing her alliance. She says Coach claims he doesn’t want the money, so why is he here? JT tells us Debbie’s playing a strategic game and she’s scared, and she may be more of a loose cannon than he thought.
He talks to Stephen, who says he’s getting tired of Debbie. She turns up, and says they’re talking about her, and that she doesn’t want Coach speaking for her. She says she doesn’t like going against Coach, but as far as she’s concerned, she’s in an alliance with them, pinky-swear, god strike her down if she’s lying, etc. They shake her hand and she hugs them, and she’s excited.
Stephen tells us Debbie’s a strategic player, and that people don’t take her seriously because she’s sweet and chatty, but she worries him a little.
The Chicken-Hearted and the Big-Hearted
They head off to the reward challenge, which turns out to be the Survivor auction. Jeff explains they can’t share money or food.
The first item is French fries, for which Taj says $40. Debbie says $50, and Jeff explains that it’s $20 increments. So Debbie says $70. Ha. She fails at math.
Coach is excessively excited about the next time, chicken parmesan with garlic bread and wine. Coach pays $320 for it.
The next item remains covered, and JT buys it for $160. It’s nachos. Lucky break there, as you can never trust the covered items.
Which is proven next, as Stephen pays $100 for what turns out to be …. a skewer of chicken hearts. Ew. Stephen gamely eats them. I’d have paid $100 to NOT have to eat them.
Jeff announces the last item – a phone that can bring them “love from home.” It’s got messages from their families. They can pool money on this one, and JT gives Taj his money. So do other people, and Jeff asks what that says about the group.
Erinn says Taj has had a tougher time, Debbie has kids too but Taj has a little baby. Crying, Taj gives Jeff $20, and no one bids against her.
Her husband, kids and some other person are on the video. Her husband says they miss her, they’re fine, and she needs to put all her focus on what she’s doing. Taj sobs.
She utterly misses the last line, “see you back at the camp,” till Jeff points it out to her. She’s so excited, but there’s more. Jeff explains her husband is there, but he’s the only loved one there. But everyone can have a loved one, if Taj sends herself to Exile with her husband. She agrees immediately. “A romantic night in the dunes, are you crazy?” someone else says. I agree, this was a no-brainer.
The Warm Love of Family And … An Assistant Coach
Taj arrives at Exile, and so does Eddie, her husband. “Golly, you look bad,” he says. She shows her armpits.
Taj says seeing him is just great, and that he looks muscular. “I just wanted to take him to the side and have a conjugal visit,” she says.
He tells her she’s lost weight, and tells us she looks great and happy. She’s dirty and “smells filthy,” but something about the wild, it’s a turn-on. Well, I guess we know what they’re doing the minute they can escape the camera.
The rest of them return to camp to find their loved ones. “I’m so gross, you’re going to have to disinfect yourself,” Stephen tells his brother. They hug, one of the most sincere hugs they’ve had, Stephen says. Stephen tells his brother he looks great and healthy. “Don’t eat me,” the brother says.
Debbie’s husband and JT’s sister are there, and Erinn’s dad. But Coach’s visitor is…. His assistant coach. Isn’t that a little weird? Doesn’t he have anyone who loves him, any relative, who would have been first in line to come?
Anyway, Coach tells his assistant that he’s running the show out there. And then he makes the assistant help him stretch out. Wow. “We are not doing weird sexual positions by the way,” Coach announces. He says he just needed his back cracked.
Back at Exile, Taj warns her husband about the scorpions. He says he played ball against great defenses, but snakes, scorpions and spiders, “I’m like, what?”
He manages to start a fire, and tells us he has newfound respect for Taj. “There are plenty of women that wouldn’t even think about coming out here and doing this,” he says.
She says he’s the love of her life and seeing him really helped. Awww. They’re pretty cute together.
At camp, Stephen’s crying because he doesn’t really think about missing people out there, but now he is. JT’s sister also cries, while JT asks about family, and cows. And then Debbie cries, telling her husband she’s becoming a better person and not taking things for granted. She says it’s been a very emotional day for them, and it meant the world to her that he came.
Erinn claims to her dad that she’s a “total badass.” And she’s glad to have someone there she can talk to, and who back home she won’t have to explain everything to.
The families, and I guess the assistant coach, have an emotional parting. Taj promises her husband she won’t smell like this for long.
Happy With Third, Really?
Day 32, JT and Debbie talk, and she says she has some “great ideas” of things to think about down the road. JT says she’s “opened up like white on rice” and he thinks she has her game face on and has turned on Coach, and you’ve got to watch out for people like that.
Coach arrives and says Taj needs to go. He’s afraid she’ll use the immunity idol and he doesn’t want any wild cards out there. JT agrees, but tells us Coach’s strategy isn’t the same as his. He feels he’s a few steps ahead of Coach, and tells Coach what he wants to hear.
Debbie asks Erinn what her thought process is, and they discuss Coach being next. It’s all of them but Coach. Debbie says it has to be a blindside, and that Coach is going to feel betrayed by her. “He’s pretty much driving everybody crazy in the camp, including me at times,” she says.
Debbie then tells JT and Stephen that she thinks Erinn and Taj should go after Coach. She says she’ll do everything in her power for JT and Stephen to be sitting there at the end. She’d even give up immunity. “I’m happy with third,” she claims.
Stephen says you can’t trust anybody’s promises out there. He doesn’t feel like he knows Debbie that well, and he doesn’t know how much her promises mean.
They tell Erinn that Debbie’s gunning for her next, and JT says he wonders what other promises Debbie has made. “Nobody wants only third place,” he says.
Finally, A Challenge Made For the Nerd
They head off to the immunity challenge. Taj returns, wearing her husband’s orange shirt.
Jeff says it’s a series of obstacles. At the end of it, they’ll find 10 spinning math symbols, which they must memorize and use to solve a math equation. Ugh, math.
They must start by digging a hole in the sand to get under a board. Jeff notes they’ve lost weight, but still, JT and Taj both get stuck. JT breaks free and has a big lead. He’s at the math before the others escape the sand. Oh, but they have to run back and crawl back through their hole to get to their chalkboards.
Stephen can’t get across the balance beam, and seems in no hurry.
JT and Debbie have all the symbols and are working on the math. Stephen gets to the math part too, trying to do it all with just one look at the symbols. And yet Stephen gets it right, and wins immunity. Good for him.
He’s the nerd, and explains how he devised this mathematical memory thing, assigning numbers to each symbol because the brain can remember seven numbers. Whatever, dude, it sounds more complicated than just memorizing symbols, but whatever works.
JT tells us it’s just like he got the necklace, since he and Stephen are such a team.
Back at camp, they congratulate Stephen and go off to rinse off the sand. Stephen tells us he and JT went into the merge expecting to be picked off, and now people are coming to them. They feel pretty good about it.
In the water, JT and Stephen tell Taj the situation with Debbie. JT says it’s good Taj is sticking with them. But he still considers himself and Stephen a two-person alliance, the others, even Taj, are extra. JT doesn’t trust Debbie, whereas Stephen does believe she’d step aside for them in a final three.
Coach comes and again pushes for Taj. JT promises they’re solid. He tells us Coach is always wanting reassurance and it’s hard to lie to him. Coach says one of them three is going to win it. That’s probably true, but I doubt it’ll be Coach. JT tells us the sooner he can get rid of the people he’s got to lie to, the better, because he doesn’t like lying.
Getting water, Stephen and JT congratulate themselves on an awesome game, and marvel that no one is trying to vote them off, even though people know they’re running things.
Hope She’s Equally Happy With Sixth
Jeff talks to Coach about how he talks about going to the end with the best players. But with only six left, everyone can’t be equally deserving. Coach says Stephen is a warrior to him because he’s gone from a boy reading books about adventure, to a man living an adventure.
He says Debbie is playing the game for the same reasons, integrity. He knows she will never lie to him. “I trust her implicitly. She will not lie to me in this game,” Coach proclaims. Uh, right.
Taj says it’s not a risky statement, because you build alliances, and Coach has done a great job being a warrior. Jeff asks about that, and she says that’s what he calls himself. Coach says he didn’t come up with that. Jeff says what, was it a chief in a small village? Coach says it’s fine that every tribal council Jeff tries to cut him down.
Coach says Taj’s raw emotions at the auction shows she’s made the ultimate sacrifice, taking time from her son. He claims it would be difficult to vote off Taj after her sacrifice, going to Exile so everyone else could have time with loved ones (or assistant coaches). What sacrifice? She got a night alone with her man!
JT says Coach has never told a lie and deserves to go as far as he can. Are these people just being facetious?
Debbie says Coach is determined to be honest, and in the game honesty is huge but she doesn’t know if it can last the duration of the game.
And the vote is…. One for Taj, one for Coach, and three for Debbie. She’s out. In her final confessional, Debbie says she’s a girly-girl, and everything she endured, she’s proud of herself. She knows this was a hard vote and she holds no grudges. She’s looking forward to being on the jury.
Erinn is irritating people, and Coach “digs deep” to stay in the game.