Joe “blindsided by [his] body,” saving Brendan for next week’s face-off with dragon idiot Coach

And the tribe has anti-climaxed. That was the most climactic anti-climactic episode that I can remember on Survivor. I guess with just 16 contestants, there was no way a medical exit and a Tribal Council would occur in the same episode, but it was still surprising to see Jeff Probst appear and announce that not only was Joe leaving, but “the impact on you guys is no Tribal Council.”

There was tons of strategizing in the merged tribe up to that point, leading to a new alliance–Tyson, Coach, Stephen, JT, and Debbie–who targeted Brendan because he “just seems like a sneaky bastard,” Tyson said. Taj dumped her Exile alliance because she and Brendan didn’t talk (though the preview for next week suggests that’s a big old red herring), and JT seemed to bond rapidly with Coach, which is tragic because I was liking JT, though he isn’t exactly salivating over Coach.

The bye-bye-Brendan plan now goes nowhere–except straight to next week, when it looks like Coach and Brendan face off. I’m praying that the editors’ contempt for and continual focus on Coach means he’s gone next week. (His meditation routine while silhouetted against the sun was an Emmy-winning clip if I’ve ever seen one.)

And boy, is that guy a douche. I hate that word, but that’s what Benjamin “Coach” Wade is: a master douche. My favorite head-shaking Coach line of the night was when took complete credit for the new alliance’s plan and said “call me the orchestrator” or “call me the dragon slayer. … You guys call me whatever you want to.” As I wrote in my msnbc.com recap, I’ll take him up on that offer and call him “delusional megalomaniacal idiot” from now on. “Douche” for short.

Meanwhile, the guy who actually went home, Joe Dowdle, is healed and well, CBS told me. He was medically evacuated due to an infection on his leg that threatened his bone and blood, and thus his life. Ironically and sadly, Joe presciently told me before the game, “it’s not even an option for me to go home early and quit or anything like that.”

The evacuation happened after the tribes merged into Forza, a Portuguese word that apparently means “strength” and is approximately one baziliion times better than “Nobag,” but actually marginally weaker than Stephen’s suggestion of “Dingus.” Someone objected to it because they couldn’t imagine Probst saying, “Come on in, Dingus,” but that’s exactly why it would have been so awesome.

That, and because every time Probst said that, Coach and Sierra would have each said, “Just me? Not the whole tribe?”

about the writer

Andy Dehnart is a journalist who has covered reality television for more than 15 years and created reality blurred in 2000. A member of the Television Critics Association, his writing and criticism about television, culture, and media has appeared on NPR and in Playboy, Buzzfeed, and many other publications. Andy, 36, also directs the journalism program at Stetson University in Florida, where he teaches creative nonfiction and journalism. He has an M.F.A. in nonfiction writing and literature from Bennington College. More about reality blurred and Andy.