After seven boring weeks of forgettable episodes, Survivor Tocantins has finally become a game worth watching thanks to the merge. Timbira and
Jalapao are gone. From their ashes rise Forza – Portuguese for strength.
What makes this season’s merge so interesting is that there are no less than six of the remaining ten players who feel they are in control of the game. This should lead to some very entertaining blindsides as those who think they are leading the pack find their names written on those little pieces of parchment.
This brings us to this week’s episode and the ongoing antics of Coach. An inside joke within his own tribe, Coach truly believes he is the one to beat. After his morning Tai-Chi cleansing ritual, Coach declares himself void of any negative energy, clear-minded and ready to play and win. The self-proclaimed “Dragon Slayer” is ready for the merge.
The tribes are invited to a banquet where they are informed of the merge, receive their new tribe colours and come up with their new name. Coach immediately clings to JT and they go off and begin forming a merger based on the fact, as Coach puts it, that “they are both Warriors” – there really should be a Coach drinking game for each time he says “warrior”, “dragon slayer”, “alpha-male”, “kindred spirits” or any other ridiculous term that describes himself as anything more than a soccer coach.
JT later spends some time with Tyson and he soon realizes there is a division within the old Timbira group that he can exploit if he simply “makes them hate each other.” He brings Steven in to the mix and lets him know about his agreement with Tyson and Coach. Steven, now a member of no less than 3 alliances, plays along.
As the castaways compete in a “who can hold the pole longer” immunity challenge that Tyson ultimately wins, Joe is whisked away by Jeff Probst to have his clearly infected knee/leg looked at by the medical team. Joe learns that staying in the game could cost him his leg and perhaps even his life if the infection spreads to his blood. Any way you slice it, Joe is a goner as far as the game is concerned.
Back at camp the tribe members plot, scheme and attempt to solidify their voting strategies for tribal council. Basically it is either JT or Brendan on the chopping block, depending on which alliance stays together. Still, Yale grad Steven isn’t convinced that his group’s strategy is sound, so he suggests splitting the group’s vote between Brendan and Sierra to ensure that JT is safe.
It is all for not, however, with Jeff Probst delivering the unfortunate news about Joe’s departure and the cancellation of tribal council. Everybody is safe.
So, with the merger complete, let’s take a look at the many alliances in play and who ultimately holds the power.
• Old Jalapao – JT, Steven and Taj. No chance of these three making it to the end together.
• Old Timbira – Coach, Brendan, Tyson, Erinn, Sierra, Debra. Too much deceit and general dislike within this group to do the easy thing and pick off Jalapao one at a time.
• Cross-Tribe Alliance – Brendan, Taj, Steven, Sierra. While they hold both immunity idols and spoke a lot about working together before the merge, there didn’t appear to be any communication following the merge…either the producers didn’t show it or it didn’t happen. This could be a sleeper-cel type of alliance that could show up later. Something tells me Steven is most likely to break from this group.
• The Dragon Killers – Coach, Tyson, JT, Steven and Debra. Coach and Tyson have turned their back on Erinn and Sierra to align with JT and Steven in an effort to eliminate Brendan. If Brendan smells something afoul, he could play his idol and force JT or Steven out of the game. If Brendan does go, Erinn and Sierra will need to scramble quickly to get together with Taj and perhaps Debra to form an all-girls-alliance to go head-to-head with the Dragon Killers.
• Free Agent – Erinn. With Joe out of the game, Erinn has lost her only connection to the Jalapao tribe and any chance of joining them to overthrow the Timbira powerhouse. Erinn could still be valuable as a swing vote down the road and she could fly under the radar for a while and find herself at the finish line.
The Scribe has spoken…