Survivor recap: Idol Hands
Brendan gets kinky with a statue to uncover the hidden immunity idol, while Coach continues his personal crusade against women
“I just started kinda feeling around, and looking at the skirt, and then lift up the skirt on the backside of it and saw a little hole.” — Brendan
Uh…ooooooooookay. Not quite sure how to start the column off after a quote like that. I mean, let’s just break it down for a second here. This pervert Brendan is talking about groping something. Then when the groping isn’t good enough, he starts checking out the skirt. Then when checking out the skirt isn’t enough, he begins lifting up the skirt. That’s better. He likes that. But then he wants more. So much more. So he starts looking at “the little hole”. Now, don’t start writing nasty comments to me on the message boards: This is what he said! His words! Are they being taken a little out of context? Perhaps. But think about it, are they any more respectable in context? I mean, basically, he’s talking about pulling an object out of a statue’s ass. Is that really any better?
I’ve been a bit torn on Brendan. I liked him enough to make him my episode 1 pick to win it all. But he also can be annoying when he keeps going to great pains to refer to himself as an “entrepreneur.” He seems like a smart, likable fellow. But then he couldn’t figure out what “tribal homelands” meant. And next thing you know he’s molesting statues. Of course, I’d be molesting statues too if they had a hidden immunity idol stuck inside them. So good for you, Brendan. I just hope you at least gave the statue some dinner beforehand. And I hope you’ll still stop by to visit from time to time while retrieving tree mail. Don’t let things get awkward between the two of you. Neither of you came looking for a showmance — it just happened. Two crazy kids out in the wilderness — something was bound to go down. Of course it would never work out in the real world; you come from two totally different walks of life. But there’s no reason why you can’t still be friends. And perhaps friends with benefits, if you play your cards right.
But Brendan’s shenanigans were just part of a super Timbira-heavy episode. Things started off at the tribe with Coach claiming his intelligence had been insulted by Erinn. No offense, Coach, but I have a feeling there are plenty of people who have been posting here on the message boards who could insult your intelligence a million times more than Erinn ever did. Erinn just claimed to be hanging out with Candace because she didn’t trust her. People here will flat-out call you stupid. I know, because I slave over a keyboard and a Milwaukee’s Best every week bringing them TV watches and they often call me stupid, so you, my friend, don’t stand a chance.
NEXT: Blink and you’ll miss Jalapao
Another person whose chances seemed to be fading was Jerry. The rest of the tribe was taken aback when the Army Sergeant refused to eat beans. For a split second, I felt a kinship with the man, as I too do not eat beans (unless they are of the green or jelly variety), but it turned out the reason was that Jerry was having himself a little tummy ache. He wisely tried to keep a brave face on, smiling as much as he could on the outside while feeling awful on the inside. No word on if Coach Qui-Gon Jinn also took great offense to this master deception.
Hey, I have a question: Do you like the Jalapao tribe? Well, too bad because one measly fishing scene is all you’re going to get of them this entire episode (that and one quick check back so Psycho Sandy can tell us that she’s a sex kitten). Look, there goes Stephen catching a tiny minnow! There goes his man-crush J.T. catching a real fish! And the producers apparently want to make it as obvious as possible that Timbira will be going to Tribal Council so they’re not going to show you any more of Jalapao. Sorry! Instead, let’s go off the reward challenge, shall we?
Blindfolded challenges are almost always a blast — people knocking into things, people knocking into other people, people getting lost, people yelling at other people for not following directions, and Jeff Probst making fun of people for all of the above — and this one in which they had to collect water and grain did not disappoint. You had J.T. and Spencer bumping heads. You had J.T. pouring corn all over his face, and at one point all of Timbira looked like they were all in one long blindfolded conga line. But the star of the show was Debbie, who spent here entire time yelling, “RIGHT! RIGHT! RIGHT!” and “LEFT! LEFT! LEFT!” as Brendan and Jerry made their way God knows where. Not only did her hysterical screaming make her look like about 20 veins were going to pop all over her neck and face, but she also kept referring to Brendan as Brandon. My question to Timbira on selecting Debbie to be their instruction-giver is this: Don’t you have a coach on your team? Who calls himself Coach? And isn’t the most important ability for a coach to posses the ability to calmly and clearly give directions? Might he have been a better selection for that job, or would the assignment have been some sort of insult to his intelligence?
So Jalapao won their pillows and chairs and the two tribes decided that sending Brendan and Taj to Exile was so nice they had to do it twice. Probst seemed to be the only one who realized that might not be such a strong strategic move letting these two players from opposing tribes have another opportunity to bond and work together. Even when asked about it by Probst, Spencer said he didn’t see anything fishy about it at all. Ignorance is bliss! Back at Timbira, Coach had one plea for the tribe: “Please don’t go off and say, ‘Man, Erinn really screwed up today,’ or ‘Man, Debbie screwed up today,’ because that would be the worst thing we could do.” Wow, subtle, Coach. Real subtle. Love how you just happened to pick those two people out as examples. Even better, after his faux plea to not dis people while he was fully in the act of dissing them, Coach then went off and did EXACTLY what he implored others not to do—going down to the water and ripping Sierra.
Coach was in truly rare form this episode — even for him. After bad-mouthing Sierra, he then awkwardly tried to make an alliance with Tyson, dubbing the naked Mormon his “assistant coach.” (Now who’s insulting whose intelligence?) All I know is this: If Tyson does at some point end up on another tribe and insist they also call him Coach, he will automatically become my favorite Survivor ever, taking the crown from my all-time Survivor crush, Panama‘s Sally Schumann. (Mmmmm, knee socks…) However, Coachstill wasn’t done, going on and on about how he didn’t care about comfort and was happy to be buried in the sand and eaten by tarantulas and bitten by snakes — he just wanted to win. (Of course, winning anything is a big difficult if you’ve been eaten by a tarantula. And while we’re at it — contrary to what the 1955 creature feature Tarantula would have you believe — I’m pretty sure being consumed by a tarantula is pretty near a physical impossibility as well.)
NEXT: Does Coach hate women?
If you wanted some good strategy talk this episode, you had to go to Exile (non) Island to get it, where Taj shared the second hidden immunity idol clue with Brendan, which she kinda had to do since he shared with her the last time. The true genius part was them coming up with a contingency plan to find the idols should they not get sent to Exile again. And that plan involved bringing in one other member from each tribe to be sent in their place next time to form a secret four person inter-tribe alliance. Their chosen deputies: Stephen and Sierra. Brendan reacted to the plan by dubbing Taj “the best accomplice ever,” to which she let out an evil, maniacal laugh that sounded like a cross between the Joker and the Wicked Witch of the West and made me feel slightly sorry for Eddie George.
Finally, it was time for the immunity challenge. Sydney and Jerry engaged in some good natured pre-match trash talking before Probst explained how six large crates needed to be retrieved, rolled back, and then stacked into steps that when arranged properly would spell out the tribe name. It was an exciting back and forth affair, even though any savvy Survivor viewer knew Timbira would lose because of all the camera time they had dominated the entire episode. The hunch was confirmed when cameras hovered on Jerry doubling over in pain after bringing back one of the boxes—producers were clearly hammering home that storyline for a reason. Sure enough, Timbira watched their lead evaporate once they had to communicate with each other about stacking the boxes. Erinn seemed to be directing the tribe well, but then got into an argument with Brendan over the position of one of the final crates. While Timbira’s teamwork evaporated, Jalapao passed them to win immunity.
“I’m through. I’m finished,” Jerry said after to no one in particular but loud enough for everyone to hear. This was a somewhat shocking thing to hear from a Sergeant in the U.S. Army. Later, he changed his tune, announcing, “I’m not a quitter” — which is all well and good, but quitters do have a tendency to say things like “I’m through. I’m finished.” The tribe began talking down in the water about how maybe Jerry had to go because he was so ill. Then, something really odd happened. Coach claimed Erinn made the “evilest look” on her face. Just in case others didn’t catch it, he insisted on painfully reenacting the entire thing in slow-motion. He then went on to punch his open palm and claim that he was so “true” that he couldn’t even “exist” near Erinn. I can think of a lot of words to call Coach, but “true” isn’t at the top of the list.
It was right around this time when I started to wonder: Does Coach hate women? He keeps talking about wanting to get rid of Sierra, insisted on voting out the athletic Candace when she wouldn’t let him lick her face, and now has declared a personal Jihad against Erinn for “insulting his intelligence” and giving a “look” that no one else seemed to see. Not exactly capital offenses in my book. And look how he has treated the men: He buddied up to Brendan at the very start of the game, and has now dubbed Tyson his “assistant coach”. I try hard not to make sweeping generalizations about people after watching a few quick hits of reality television — oh, who am I kidding, of course I do! — but I am starting to wonder about this guy. We know he is a women’s soccer coach (or at least he was until he got fired the other week). Is he used to females acting as subservients and can’t handle it when they challenge his authority in any way?
NEXT: Coach talks about how great Coach is
I honestly am not sure if I can remember a character that has elicited such a negative reaction from viewers so early on in a season. There have been people like Fairplay and Hatch that you loved to hate, but I haven’t even sensed the love part of that equation this time around. By this point of the episode Coach had done enough unlikable things to last an entire season for most contestants — but he wasn’t done! At Tribal Council, Jerry told Probst that he thought the tribe needed a leader and that Brendan should be that leader. Probst seized on this immediately, going to Coach and asking if he agreed with that. Now, this is the point at which any Survivor contestant with half a brain would smile and say “Absolutely, Jeff. Brendan would make a great leader. In fact I would consider him a leader among leaders, that’s how damn good a leader I think he would be.” You know why you say this? Because no one in their right mind wants to be a leader! That’s like painting a huge red circle on your stomach and then giving the rest of your tribe arrows and letting them conduct target practice.
But did Coach do this? Of course not. Instead, he made a case as to why he should be the tribe leader, using as exhibit A the fact that at the beginning of the game, he told people on the truck what to do — WITH HIS EYES! What the hell?!? Is he taking the whole Qui Gon-Jinn look too far and now attempting to perform Jedi mind tricks? Is he gonna start demanding midi-chlorian blood counts from the rest of Timbira while insisting to Probst that these aren’t the droids he’s looking for? Probst played this perfectly at Tribal Council, with just the right blend of commentary and facetiousness, at first commenting “Well, it sounds like you should be the leader,” to which Coach responded “Absolutely.” At this point I realized that Coach was way too much of a dumbass to be Qui-Gon Jinn and was more like stupid Darth Maul, sitting there and doing absolutely nothing while Obi-Wan Kenobi sliced him in half. Finally, Probst called him out by saying “It sounds like what you’re struggling with a little bit is ego” Coach’s response: “It’s not about ego.” Actually, Coach, it is all about ego. Every single little bit of it. Oh, and by the way, leaders don’t usually suck in challenges. Just thought I would point that out.
So Mr. I’m Finished But I’m Not a Quitter Jerry was voted out unanimously and then in his parting words called the experience harder that what he experienced serving in Afghanistan. At first, that really, really shocked me. Then I remembered that he just spent nine days with Coach.
Curious about what Mr. Probst has to say about his hysterical Tribal Council back and forth with Coach? Then check out his latest EW.com blog entry on Popwatch. Curious about watching something you didn’t see in last night’s episode? Then check out our exclusive deleted scene below. Curious as to what Jerry has to say about his experience as well as who our super secret special guest is going to be this week? Then check out the latest episode of Survivor Talk, which will be up on Friday afternoon. That’s a lot of checking out to do, people. But first, I am really curious to see what you all think about Coach: his bizarre insistence on being a leader, and whether you feel, he does, in fact, have a problem dealing with women. Post your thoughts now. The boards are open for business!
[Sorry, video not available]