|Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am|
The Forza Tribe sit under the midnight sky around the campfire as Coach begins to share a tale. "I want you to know that there are three people in the world that know this story," Coach prefaces. He then proceeds to illustrate an unbelievably true story of his kayaking trip down the Amazon River. "I had a military helicopter actually drop me off a couple of feet from the ground up in the Peruvian border where the Amazon supposedly starts. I was paddling early one morning and I just felt like I'm being watched," says Coach. He then describes a near-death experience in which a tribe of about six or seven four-foot natives drew their bow and arrows and kidnapped him. "They drag me into this hut, they tie me to this stake, and they take turns beating me with a club," Coach says to his befuddled tribe members. "I don't know how long it lasted. Sometimes I blacked out. Sometimes I just went to a faraway place," he continues. "I knew they were about ready to kill me. I finally wore through that rope and I slipped out the back. I went down to the kayak and I dipped it into the water and I paddled like hell. I paddled so hard that my hands started bleeding"¦I just can't describe the feeling of being stalked by another human being," Coach concludes. The entire Forza tribe is stunned in disbelief at the incredible story they have just heard. After a moment of awkward silence, Brendan interjects. "How much does it cost to get a military "˜copter to drop you in?" Coach confidently replies, "That would be free." When Brendan asks Coach how that was possible, Coach arrogantly responds, "I pulled some strings." Brendan reflects on the moment. "I don't believe this guy anymore. And if I don't believe his stories, how can I believe what he's saying to my face?"
THE DRAGON SLAYER AWAKENS
As the first light as day twenty-two dawns, Coach performs his morning Tai Chi-like workout, which he clarifies with his tribe mates is actually called "Chong Ran." "If you do a Google search on it, you won't find it. It's only passed down verbally. You have to go there to the monastery to study it," Coach proudly reveals. Feeling on top of his game, Coach lays out his plan. "You know if you look at it, to defeat an army, you have to cut the head off the dragon, which is why I nicknamed Brendan "The Dragon""¦hence my name, "The Dragon Slayer," says Coach. "Sierra is the bowel movements that come out of the dragon. After Brendan, Sierra's gotta go," he concludes.
Meanwhile, JT and Erinn reminisce about Joe's early departure from the game. Erinn admits to JT that losing Joe meant losing her entire alliance. Seeing an opportunity to get in on an alliance, Erinn tries to convince JT that she could be a valuable asset to him as a swing vote in the upcoming Tribal Councils. "It's good to know if I need her, I can call on her," says JT.
REWARD CHALLENGE: ROCK BLOCK
The Forza Tribe arrives on their mat. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules of the challenge. The tribe will be divided into teams of three with each team assigned to a color "“ red, black, or white. Each team will have one row of eight ceramic tiles in the color that corresponds to their team color. One member from each team will toss a metal ball attempting to knock out one of the tiles belonging to the other two teams. When a team is out of tiles, they are out of the challenge. The last team with tiles in tact wins a white water rafting trip down the Rio Novo. After the rafting trip, the winning team will enjoy a picnic. In addition, the winning threesome will choose any member from either of the losing teams to go to Exile Island alone.
The red team consists of Tyson, Taj and Coach. Stephen, Sierra and Erinn make up the white team while Brendan, JT and Debbie make up the black team. The tossing begins with the black team down two tiles. Tile after tile is knocked out with all three teams fairly even throughout the challenge. As the challenge comes to an end, the red team is down to one tile left, while the black and white teams have two tiles left. Coach knocks out a black tile. Erinn knocks the red team out of the challenge after taking out their final tile. Brendan takes out a white tile. Finally there are two tiles remaining and both have been chipped by previous tosses. It is now up to Brendan and Sierra to win it for their respective teams. Sierra misses, while Brendan knocks out the final white tile. The black team of Brendan, JT and Debbie win the reward and send Stephen to Exile Island. "Be the wizard, Stephen"¦be the wizard," says Coach.
Stranded alone on Exile Island, Stephen struggles to survive on his own in the vast emptiness of this arid climate. Having failed at camp to ever start a fire on his own, Stephen attempts to turn his greatest weakness into his greatest achievement: he attempts to make fire. He strikes the flint repeatedly throughout the day, and as darkness begins to close in, his goal is accomplished "“ he has made fire. "It was like giving birth to my first child," Stephen cheers. "Being out here and making it was like winning my own reward," he proudly proclaims.
WHITE WATER RAFTING REWARD
The next day, JT, Brendan and Debbie paddle across the breathtaking waters of the Rio Novo. They roar down several small waterfalls, savoring every moment. After the rafting, they pull off onto a bank where a picnic blanket lies with a huge spread of food "“ watermelon, chips, brownies, and sandwiches await the starving trio. "This is the best food in the world!" elates Debbie. After quickly devouring their first servings, Brendan probes JT to see if any of the old Timbira members have approached him. JT shakes his head "no" and Brendan rejoices in a golden opportunity to align himself with JT, doing whatever it takes to get him to the finals. "If he wins it, that's like me winning it," explains Brendan.
A CHANGE IN PLANS
The next morning, Brendan continues to enact his plan on furthering himself in the game by bringing along JT. He takes a walk away from camp with Sierra and lets her in on the plan. "Oh now you're making friends with him," says Sierra. Brendan lays out the plan. "Take out Tyson, Coach and Erinn," says Brendan. Sierra, clearly fond of JT, sees this as a chance to keep him around longer and get herself further in the game. "It would absolutely break my heart to send JT home," Sierra admits.
Brendan then presents his new plan to Taj, who doesn't buy his sudden change of heart. "You can't describe Timbira. I really want to know what that word stands for because it could mean "˜confused," says Taj. Seeing as Brendan and the rest of Timbira are preoccupied with ousting their own tribe members, Taj laughs at the fact that she is fine with it since it ultimately keeps her in the game longer.
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: ROPE-A-DOPE
The Forza Tribe arrives on their mat as Stephen returns from Exile Island. To Forza's surprise, Stephen boasts that he was able to make fire on his own. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules of the challenge. Each tribe member will be attached to a long rope that is threaded through a series of obstacles. Tribe members will climb over, crawl under and maneuver around these obstacles, then race to the finish. The first three people to reach the finish move on to the final round where they will once again be attached to one long rope, only the obstacle is three levels high. The first person to finish wins immunity.
The Survivors are off, racing through the first set of obstacles. At first, many castaways such as Taj, Erinn and Coach become tangled in the ropes, but soon make progress. JT, Tyson, Brendan and Sierra take the lead as Stephen and Taj fall behind. Tyson and JT are in the lead, with Sierra and Brendan right behind. Tyson and JT throw themselves over the obstacles as they race to the finish. Sierra and Brendan are still right behind, with the others severely lagging behind. JT and Tyson are the first to make it to the finish as Brendan and Sierra battle it out for one last spot in the finals. Both are neck-and-neck until the last moment, when Brendan crosses the finish line, tripping over his rope in the process.
In the final round, Brendan takes the lead, with JT and Tyson right behind. All three finalists climb, crawl under and flip around this giant obstacle. JT falls behind, and in the end it is a battle between Tyson and Brendan. Ultimately, Tyson steals the lead from Brendan, winning individual immunity for the second time in a row.
THE DRAGON WHIPS HIS TAIL
As the Forza Tribe cheers Tyson for his amazing athleticism during the immunity challenge, they begin to confirm their plans of voting out Brendan. "I've already got it set up so four votes go to Brendan, three votes go to Sierra," reveals Tyson, referring to his original plan three days prior before Jeff Probst announced there would not be a Tribal Council due to Joe's knee injury, which took him out of the game, thus postponing Tribal Council.
With Tribal Council looming, Brendan announces his plans to get rid of Coach, citing that he has already convinced Taj, JT, Stephen and Sierra to vote with him. "I think that this will be one of the biggest blindsides in the game, which I guess I'm happy to be a part of on the good side," says Brendan. JT tells a stunned Stephen about Brendan's plan to vote out Coach and take JT to the finals, which Stephen agrees might be a smart move. As the two begin discussing Coach's unbelievable Amazon story, JT asserts that, had he been in a similar situation, he would have done some things differently. "I'd go back with a damn thirty-thirty Winchester and see what them bows do then," JT claims. As Tribal Council nears, Brendan confirms with the tribe that voting out Coach is a go. Coach, on the other hand, is confident that Brendan will be the next to go. "We are cutting the head off the dragon," Coach confidently states. "We'll see tonight who really was the chosen one"¦it's going to be Coach Wade," he continues.
Host Jeff Probst asks the Forza Tribe who tells the best campfire stories and, without hesitation, Taj responds "Coach." She then proceeds to give Jeff the rundown on Coach's Amazon story, detailing how he was kidnapped by a tribe of natives and nearly killed. When Jeff questions the validity of Coach's story, Coach holds his ground and even alludes that there were details he didn't reveal. "Usually when I tell these stories, I try to give the PG-13 version of it," says Coach. Coach then continues, explaining that he has several scars and tattoos all over his body which remind him of the five, six or seven life or death situations that he has been through. Everyone seems to find this a little hard to believe. "They cannot question my integrity and my honesty. That's how I'm playing this game, that's how I play my life," Coach preaches. Jeff switches gears, asking each tribe member if they have the hidden immunity idol. Each person denies possessing it except for Brendan, to the shock of his tribe. With this, the tribe members cast their votes. In the end, Coach got his way, and "The Dragon" was slain. With four votes cast against him, while the remaining six were split between Coach and Sierra, Brendan Synnott, the 30 year-old entrepreneur from New York, New York, became the eighth person voted out and the first person on the jury of SURVIVOR: TOCANTINS: THE BRAZILIAN HIGHLANDS.