Let's head over to Jalapeño, shall we? They're waking up for the morning. Spencer interviews that everyone is "concerned" with how Taj is holding up after her two visits to Exile, as if the place doesn't have fire and rice and stuff. He thinks Taj is getting "worn down" by being out there with no one to trust. Ha! Taj then interviews that she has to talk to Stephen about being in an alliance with her, Brendan, and Sierra. She gets her chance when he walks up to her hammock with a fresh canteen full of water and she says she wants to talk to him alone later.
Later is now, as they go for a walk. Taj: "do you want to be a part of the biggest upset in Survivor history?" Stephen: (with no hesitation) "yes I do!" That's right, Stephen. She tells him about Brendan and Sierra. Stephen interviews that he seems to have "stumbled ass-backwards into a huge alliance." Heh. I love that Stephen has no idea what's going on or how to survive in the outdoors, but is somehow sort of owning this game. Take that, Douche The Ultimate Outdoorsman Who Probably Gets Hopelessly Lost At An REI And Then Attacked By Squirrels. Taj tells Stephen that the plan is for him and Sierra to go to Exile after the next immunity challenge. Stephen frets that Exile Sand Dune is "tough." "It's not bad at all," Taj laughs. Clearly, she's been giving everyone the impression of the opposite. No doubt she got her mad acting skillz from all her SWV music videos.
Ugh, do we have to go back to Tempura? I hate them. Erinn and Sierra bring the treemail over. It comes with a sandbag and says the next challenge will involve shouldering the load. Sierra worries about being sent to Exile, and the group decides to plan who they'll send in the incredibly unlikely event that they actually win. Brendan suggests Taj again, then interviews to us that while he and Taj made a plan for Stephen and Sierra to go to Exile next, he didn't actually tell Sierra about this plan. They all head out to the challenge with Sierra still in the dark. Brendan may have somehow found that idol last week, but he is still a moron.
Probst calls the tribes in, and we get a shot of Taj as she sees that Tempura's first two Tribal Councils have ended with a black person's torch being snuffed. You know she's got to be worried as hell about her chances should Tempura ever get a majority in a tribe switch. Probst explains today's challenge. It's a recycled challenge from Season 7, where three players (one must be a woman) have to hold a pole across their backs while two members of the other team choose whose pole to add sandbag weights to until the player drops out. The last team with a member standing is the winner of the reward -- also stolen from Season 7 -- of a chance to raid the losing team's camp and take two items. This is a decent reward for Tempura, but, obviously, not so much for Jalapeño. And since Jalapeño is clearly going to win, this reward sucks. Tempura has to sit one person, Sierra, out, while Jalapeño sits out Stephen and Spencer. The reward sucks and the challenge sucks. I know it's tough after seventeen seasons, guys, but please try to think of new challenges and rewards, guys. Or at the very least, don't make them exactly the same as they were last time. Although actually, I just looked the Season 7 challenge up and it turns out that they didn't have a rule that one of the weight-bearers must be female. Now I wish they had made it exactly the same as before so Douche would be forced to participate and show us all how much stronger than everyone else he truly is not.