me and my dad just rewatched that iconic tribal to see what the hell happened, and let me tell you the editors did an amazing job at tossing in red herrings.
the way i understood it: the original plan was for nuku to vote off sierra, but since jt told culpepper early in the tribal, that was what tipped brad off that they didn’t change. hali was going to vote with her tribe the entire time, but she wanted nuku to vote brad to help her out. sandra also wanted brad out so that she could help hali, but jt and malcolm weren’t gonna flip so she resigned to the original plan. i think mana voted for malcolm because they wanted the strength off their tribe.
nuku went hell because jt couldn’t keep his trap shut.