The tribe has spoken: Model Sydney was voted out of the diminishing Jalapao tribe, which now has just four members left. The men picked Sydney instead of Taj because of Taj's relationship with Stephen and J.T., and because Taj has a connection in Timbira — her not-quite-totally-secret alliance with Brendan and Sierra — which will make Jalapao potentially stronger when the tribes merge next week.
Merge ahead: The preview spoiled the merge, perhaps to make sure we remember to watch, since "Survivor Tocantins" just finished a three-week break.
All you need is love — not: At the beginning of the episode, Joe told us, "I got a little thing for Syd. ... she's safe." She wasn't. So much for the magical power of crushes as a strategy on "Survivor."
Not-so-hidden immunity: Taj retrieved the hidden immunity idol from Stephen, and then found a good hiding place for it: on the top of her bag, where J.T. found it immediately and accidentally. Lesson of the week: good hiding places keep something concealed.
Plotting and scheming: Although the end result wasn't that interesting, there was a lot of plotting and scheming leading up to Sydney's elimination. Soon after J.T. found the idol, Taj told him about it, and together with Stephen, they formed an alliance. Taj also created a fake hidden immunity idol for Joe to find, since he was sent to Exile and thus got all of the clues to the idol's location. Stephen and J.T. momentarily considered flipping on Taj to get rid of the real idol, but stuck with her. Going into the merge, there are now two real immunity idols and one fake one. Soon we'll need a spreadsheet to keep track of it all.
Predictably annoying: There was "another one of those Coach moments," as Brendan called it, when the always-right, super-cocky Coach ruined Timbira's bean dinner after he forced beans to cook longer by dumping river water into the pot. The results were burned to the pot and tasted like charcoal. Considering what a smashing success that was, he should start calling himself Cook.