Tonight, on Survivor: Midgets try to eat Coach’s asshole. Oh, if only I were making that up.The night following Joe’s fade into obscurity, Coach tells us that there is a “funk permeating the camp”. I bet I can tell you what the smell is. Coach, luckily, has the perfect remedy for the stench. Surprisingly, his solution is not to commit hara-kiri. “I want to share piece of my life with them. I want to show them that no matter how bad it gets in your life, there is always something that’s gonna make it much worse.”
Coach then shares a story that “only three other people in the world know” about a time when he had a military helicopter drop him off at the Peruvian border, and then he paddled down the Amazon river, where he was captured by four foot tall indigenous midgets, who then proceeded to tie him up and beat him with clubs. Fortunately, he “wore through the rope” (generic!) and slipped out the back of the hut.
The rest of the tribe listens to this story with various levels of amusement, ranging from skepticism to…lots of skepticism. Debbie tells us that she wanted to give him a “reality check” after hearing his ridiculous tale. People, mother effing Debbie did not believe this story, and Debbie believes in The Great Pumpkin.
Brendan, who is probably more amused than anyone else, starts asking questions in order to poke holes in Coach’s story. “How much does it cost to have a military copter drop you off?” he begins. “That would be free.” Coach replies curtly, because the military is his bitch. Yeah, I’d believe that Coach knows Donald Rumsfeld or something. Obviously, they’re both good at making up stories. ZING!
Who, the midgets or Forza?
Coach also says that National Geographic wanted to come with him, and that he said no he wanted to be on his own. Yep, just Coach, the crisp Peruvian air, and thousands of cannibal midgets.
“Coach is either the second coming of Cousteau, or the biggest fraud in this game,” Brendan says. What does Jacques Cousteau have to do with anything that Coach just said? Was there an undersea element to the story that was edited out?
Holy shit, how are we just now at the credits? I’m tired.
We open Day 22 with more meditation from Coach, except this time there is an Oriental theme, complete with crane flying overhead. I guess they had lots of leftover stuff from the China season. The former Jalapao members are apparently seeing this for the first time, because Debbie is explaining how Coach “likes to do that in the morning, it’s kind of like his thing”. Also kind of his thing? Ponytails. And dragons. He’s sort of like a little girl in a lot of ways, now that I think about it.
Coach comes back to the beach, and Brendan asks what kind of meditation he was doing. Coach says that it’s called “Chong Ran”, telling Brendan that if you do a Google search on it, you won’t find it because it has to be passed down verbally. Also because it’s not real, but probably mostly the verbal thing.
“I know some stuff that you can’t look up on Google either, like that you’re full of shit. Well, you’ll be able to look that up on Google after this airs, but for now, I mean.”
Sierra (I think) tells Coach that he “looked hilarious”, but he says that he doesn’t “give a flip” what anyone’s thinking about, which is probably also why he used the term “give a flip”. He tells us that he’s ready to be rid of Brendan with his new alliance with Tyson, Debra, Stephen and JT. “I am commanding my officers, and running the show like I was born to do,” he says, unaware that the show he is running exists only in his head.
Coach calls Brendan the “dragon” again, and then says that Sierra is the “bowel movements that comes (sic) out of the dragon”. I’m sure he is equating her with poop because she is worthless, and that it has nothing to do with the fact that she just mocked his stupid secret fake meditation.
In non-Coach related events, Erinn talks to JT down by the river, telling him that she really misses Joe, even though JT, much like the rest of us, has already completely forgotten who Joe even is. Erinn laments that she has no one to talk to, because she hated her old tribe. She flat goes, “I like you guys way more than I like my own tribe,” because she doesn’t have anything to lose. JT knows that he can use Erinn as an extra asset if he needs to, but Erinn’s got her own game going, too: “It’s nice to have room to move around, since the former Jalapao members really need a fourth right now.” JT must have a really trusting face or something. People just…tell him things. That’s what makes his friendship with Stephen so effective: JT takes this info to Stephen, and he uses his mind grapes to process it into strategy. That’s not to say that JT doesn’t have his own ideas (because he does), but so far we’ve pretty much seen Stephen calling the shots at the end.
Reward Challenge. The tribe will be divided up into teams of three, and each team has row of tiles. The goal is to toss a ball and knock out the tiles of one of the other two teams. The last team with tiles remaining wins an afternoon of whitewater rafting and picnicking, and also gets to send someone to Exile alone.
The teams are Debbie Brendan JT, Tyson Taj Coach, and Stephen Sierra Erinn. People start going after Brendan’s team, and he wants to know why everyone’s going after him, because he still hasn’t picked up on the fact that everyone hates him. When Erinn points out that his team is “a little stacked”, Brendan points out that they’re all throwing balls underhand to break tiles, and that no one’s exactly a pro at this, since no one’s done it before. Coach: “I have”. Does that story involve midgets beating you about the head and neck too?
There is tile smashing, complete with montage. Erinn knocks out Team Coach after some strategizing with JT. The other two teams only have one tile apiece remaining, and after several rounds of misses, Brendan clips the last tile but doesn’t break it, and then Erinn does the same thing. Taj calls it a nail biter, but it is actually incredibly boring. This is the Joe of challenges, if you will. Brendan finally, mercifully knocks the final tile out, and Brendan, JT and Debbie will get to go whitewater rafting together.
They decide to send Stephen to Exile. Coach tells him to “be the wizard”, for some reason, even though it means less than nothing, even in a metaphorical sense. I think between this and the dragon slaying reference that Coach has maybe been to one too many Renaissance Fairs in his time. Can you not see him wandering around in a monk’s robe with a giant turkey leg, greeting people with lame Old English phrasings and hitting on seventeen year olds with Maid Marian dresses and braided hair?
At Exile Island, Stephen receives his clue: “A big wooden head is what you have here, look in the gap that you’ll find in the rear.” Apparently, the people writing the clues have not been laid in a while. Since Stephen already knows where the idol is (in his pocket), he doesn’t particularly care about some vaguely dirty clue, so he sets off to make a fire. He tells us that he hasn’t made fire at that camp, so this will be his first time fending for himself. He spends a long time with the flint, as in: it gets dark and there is time lapse photography. When he finally starts the fire, he compares it to giving birth to his first child. Man, that would really burn your crotch.
“I’m going into labor!”
Reward! In order to keep Debbie, Brendan and JT from perishing in the river, the producers have arranged for experienced rafters to ride along with them. Brendan comments that JT was really digging it, almost like a little kid, and then we get a lot of really dorky JT faces as he looks just like a little kid. Soon it’s time for the picnic, which includes chicken wings, which sound pretty good right now. JT tells us that he was worried about having to hang with Brendan, but that it wasn’t uncomfortable at all and pretty easy to get along with him. Yeah, I think you would have to be an actual serial killer to keep JT from liking you. Even then, I think he would probably like a gentler serial killer, as long as the serial killer wasn’t, I don’t know, hiding the heads in his fridge or something.
“Man, I’m having a blast! I just wish the tour guides would quit telling me their deepest, darkest secrets.”
Debbie wanders off somewhere, probably to pick flowers and have butterflies land on her head or something, leaving Brendan and JT by themselves. Brendan asks JT whether the other tribe members had approached him, and JT shakes his head no. Brendan offers to ally with him, noting for us in confessional that “winning” this game for him is about getting an outcome that will satisfy him, and since he likes JT, getting JT the win would be just like Brendan winning. When you are already a millionaire, it’s easy to make statements like this, isn’t it? I would also be remiss if I did not mention that he seems pretty genuine about this, especially because he is doing it on Day 21 and not using it as an excuse for his terrible play on Day 38, Sugar.
Back at camp, Brendan goes to Sierra to tells her that he doesn’t want to send JT home next, because he thinks the plan from last week remains in effect, since he still hasn’t figured out yet that everyone hates him. Brendan proposes to her that they put their super secret cross tribal alliance into effect and get rid of Tyson. When she agrees, Brendan takes the same idea to Taj; he even goes “I know that we haven’t talked, but you have to trust me,” just to drive home what a terrible player he is. Thanks for doing the work for me! Taj makes the very salient point that she should probably be worried about her position in the game, what with Jalapao down three to six, but the Timbira members have been so busy trying to take each other out that she hasn’t really had to worry about it. Devote the time to writing a comeback album! I know that there are at least…a couple of people that wish that would happen.
Immunity. Jeff takes the necklace back from Tyson, even though in all fairness he should get to keep it and then they should give the winner of today’s challenge immunity as well. Everyone is going to be attached to a rope, and the rope is going to be wrapped around a wooden structure. The first three people to follow their rope around the structure get to go to the final round, which is another rope-wrapped structure that’s three stories tall, sort of like a jungle gym. The person who wins the second round gets immunity.
There’s not really too much to say about this one. There is climbing! And people following rope! It is as riveting as you would think. Tyson and JT are in front the whole time, and then Brendan and Sierra are competing for the final spot, which ends up going to Brendan. In the final round, Tyson smokes everyone and wins immunity yet again.
Back at camp, Coach goes through the whole spiel about how Brendan is the dragon and he is the dragon slayer, and the votes will be split between Brendan and Sierra, and he is in charge and is the greatest human being ever, and I am bored with him. This can’t be real, can it? Is there a person like this in the world that actually exists? I find it difficult to believe. Maybe my faith in humanity is unfounded.
Stephen tells everyone about that one time when he made fire, and Coach congratulates him in the most condescending way possible, telling him that “The Wizard is coming into the Man of the Mountain” which makes no sense, cohesively or grammatically. Tyson straight up stops the conversation in front of everyone, just to verify that Brendan is still on the chopping block. Tyson tells us that he wants Brendan to go home first, just so that he can boss Sierra around for three days. “I probably won’t win her vote, but I’ll probably win everyone else’s,” he says. Did I miss the part where Sierra was annoying?
Brendan says it’s time for Exile Alliance to do their thing, and since Tyson has immunity, he’s going after Coach. Once he takes this information to JT, JT grabs Stephen to discuss. When JT tells Stephen that Brendan wants him in the finals, Stephen is laughably honest: “Why would he want that? That’s crazy.” If I’m JT, I’m alarmed by what that means for my chances to go the ends with Stephen himself.
“I don’t know, this is a really strong play to get rid of Brendan. We might not get another chance at him,” Stephen says astutely, knowing that Coach is not as much of a threat to the two of them. JT throws in his two cents, all “And what about that story? It’s probably a lie. I’d have come back with a 30/30 Winchester!” which is such a redneck-y response that it comes all the way back around to being endearing, just like everything else JT does.
“Would you say that we’re in control of this game right now?” JT says, and Stephen answers in affirmative. True. I’m not sure it’s anything JT’s done specifically, except be some sort of lovable hick, but: whatever. It works for them. Ironically, Brendan’s desire to save JT from being voted out really only saves Brendan himself from being voted out, since his perceived goodwill is saving no one’s ass but his own.
Brendan tells us that he’s looking forward to taking out Coach. “I don’t like misleading people, but this is, like, the one time in life when you’re actually allowed to do it!” he says, laughing. In order to misdirect the rest of Timbira, Brendan gets them all together to make sure they’re all ready to get rid of JT. “Yeah, I’ll pass it around to everyone,” Tyson says. There’s a brief moment where Tyson and Brendan exchange looks, each thinking that they have the upper hand.
Coach gives us one more jewel before Tribal Council, because the editors cannot get enough of his ass: “Leaders are born, we’ll see tonight who really is the chosen one; it’s gonna be Coach Wade, and that’s very fulfilling”. Wow, so many things wrong here: referring to one’s self in the third person, the almost overtly homoerotic masculinity, the utilization of overwrought Christ imagery. And here I thought that it was impossible to pile this many terrible things one on top of another, outside of an episode of The Real World: Las Vegas.
Tribal Council. Probst begins by asking who keeps the tribe laughing. WTF? What is he, the head of the yearbook staff doing senior superlatives? He asks JT who tells the best “campfire stories” and JT says Coach, of course. Can something that’s so obviously one hundred percent factual be called a “story” really? Probst asks Taj what the best story is, which is cause for Taj to bring up Midgetgate again. Jeff asks Coach if his story is true, and Coach admits that he “toned it down a little” in order to keep it PG-13. “I didn’t want to admit that the tribe was looking at my asshole and talking about eating it, but they were looking at my asshole”. Everyone completely loses it, and Coach looks around like he can’t understand why any of what he’s saying is funny. I don’t care if you’re an indigenous midget or what, you don’t look at a living thing’s asshole and go, “Gee, that looks like the tastiest part of the body! Let’s eat that first!” Of course, since Coach is pretty much one giant, walking asshole, they could have been looking at anything. He should be more specific.
Coach says he has the scars to prove it (so they…took part of your asshole, then?), and he can prove that he’s been in “five, six, seven or eight life or death situations”. For those of you interested, they are: the Indian tribe he just mentioned, attacked by shark (the shark tried to eat his asshole), crocodile (likewise), and an encounter with a hurricane (which, oddly, also tried to eat his asshole).
Probst tells Coach that he sure has spent a lot of time talking about integrity, and numbers, and sticking together with Timbira. Is that still the case, and will he be maintaining this integrity? “Absolutely,” Coach says, because Probst might be a jerk on occasion, but even he knows that Coach is a giant hypocrite, and this is going to be great for the reunion.
“The seven layers of heaven, with the Vikings, were determined on how they were defeated in battle. I want to surround myself with warriors, and even if that means they defeat me, I think that’s the honorable way to play this game.” This is, of course, why his current final five contains Debbie instead of Brendan.
So much faux spirituality, so little time. Have you seen Forgetting Sarah Marshall? I love that movie, and I love Kristin Bell so, so much, but that is a subject for another time. There’s a line in the movie where she’s telling off her Russell Brand boyfriend who has a bunch of douchey tattoos just like Coach and speaks in a bunch of meaningless spiritual gibberish just like Coach, and she looks at him and his tattoos and goes “You know what? Let me tell you something about these tattoos, okay? That is Buddhist, that is Nordic, that is Hindu, that’s just gibberish. They are completely conflicting ideologies, and that does not make you a citizen of the world, it makes you full of shit!” Yeah, I think that about covers it.
Probst asks Tyson about the immunity idol, and he says he’s just assuming that everyone who’s been to Exile Island has it until he can pinpoint who actually does, which is a solid strategy, actually. In response Taj volunteers (a bit too eagerly for my taste) that she doesn’t have it, and then Probst takes it upon himself to cycle through all the people who have ever been to Exile to ask if they have it, which I have a little problem with, honestly. Don’t flat out ask people, Probst. Anyway, Erinn and Stephen both deny it, but Brendan just laughs, raises his hand high, and goes “I have it!” with a huge smile on his face. Oh Brendan. I spent a lot of time watching Yul. You, sir, are no Yul.
If you volunteer, it takes the drama out of it, Brendan.
Time to vote. Coach votes for Brendan: “The ancient samurai used to say that if you want to win the war, you have to cut off the head of the dragon. You my friend, are the dragon, and I am the dragon slayer.” So, dragons are no problem, but midgets, they can be tricky. Got it.
Brendan votes for Coach, but we don’t hear what he says. Stephen says “This is my wizard lightning shooting you back home. Kapow!” which made me pretty sure that Coach was going to be packing his bags, because why would they show Coach calling him “the wizard” so many times, right?
Time to read the votes. Brendan chooses not to use the idol, which makes Tyson and Coach wink, which in turn made me excited to see their sad faces when Coach is inevitably voted out. The first vote is for Coach as is the second Coach (which has an X on it, as do several other votes, and I can’t figure out why), and then there are one, two, three for Brendan, which was my first hint that I was not going to be getting the outcome I wanted, because there should have been only two for Brendan. The next three are all for Sierra, and then I pray that there was some sort of mix up and we are about to see a three way tie, but no: the last vote is for Brendan, and he is out of there. Coach looks smugly satisfied as Brendan’s torch is snuffed, which is enough to make most viewers, including me want to cringe. I understand that Stephen and JT are smart for taking Coach and Tyson with them. It would have been extremely poetic to send Coach home right here, what with all the hubris going on, but this is ultimately the better move for Stephen and JT, because it eliminates a legitimate threat, instead of eliminating Coach, who is not a legitimate threat. Take the hateful people and win the money, yo. But my God, I hate that his dragonslayer BS is legitimized.
I know that lots of people (including me) are hoping for Coach to get voted out, but here’s the thing to remember: no matter what happens, he still has to be Coach. Like it or not, karma isn’t a concept that actually exists, except in this very real sense: no matter what happens, Coach has to get up every morning and be That Guy. His punishment for being such a douche all the time isn’t that he’s going to get voted out in a satisfying matter. In fact, he could very well win this whole thing. He could win the million dollars, and go home and be proud of himself, and we could hate the outcome of this season, but at the end, he’s still just going to be just a douche with a million dollars. And we can all rest easy knowing that, can’t we?