“You don’t slap the gift horse”: Survivor Caramoan Fans vs. Favorites II March 13 2013 recap

13 Mar

Billed as an episode containing a shocking event, this was really just shockingly lame.

Early in the episode Brandon tells his tribe he wants to be voted out at the next episode. Then he tells them he was torn between saying what he just said, or instead lighting the camp on fire and peeing in the beans and rice.

At the reward challenge, the tribes are playing for lots of meat and vegetables. Two people from each tribe have to hold a rope that holds up a net, while the other tribe tries to toss in coconuts to weigh the nets down. At first I was surprised that Phillip, who has been the most accurate thrower of the group so far, is one of the people holding ropes, but it proves to be a brilliant move as he becomes the hero of the challenge by holding on longer than anyone, giving the favorites the victory. Phillip motivates himself through the challenge by shouting various rallying cries, among them “Kunta Kinte!” (Alex Haley fans nod knowingly, and I’m sure a few network executives shed a tear for that moment as they realized nothing on TV now will ever have the kind of ratings that “Roots” did).

Back at the Fans’ camp, now that Reynold played the hidden immunity idol at the last tribal council, everyone assumes another hidden idol is in play and goes looking, especially Sherri. Lo and behold, Reynold finds it. He goes back to camp and puts it in his bag, and tells his buddy Eddie about his good fortune. By the way, I’m surprised contestants who find the idol don’t just put up a pretense of continuing to look for it, which would divert any suspicion that they have it!

Over to the Favorites: Brandon is acting even more unstable than usual and starts a petty argument with Phillip over nothing. The two of them seem to bury the hatchet (with Phillip using the mixed metaphor mentioned in the subject line above). Both teams are seen suffering through 48 straight hours of rain, and Michael notes of the Fans “We’re failing on all levels of Survivor.”

Back to the Favorites again. Phillip is thinking of throwing a challenge to get rid of Brandon, even though we know from previous seasons that tribes that throw a challenge always regret it later. Brandon gets the idea that Phillip is disrespecting him, and he snaps. He “pays Phillip back” by dumping out the tribe’s sack of rice. As everyone says “no, don’t” he dumps the beans too. Nobody moves to stop him because he really has a violent, psychotic look in his eyes. The two tribes go to the challenge and Brandon wastes no time going on a self-serving rant. The Corinne speaks up and says the Favorites respect the game (too much to throw a challenge) but have chosen to forfeit the challenge so that Brandon can be voted out. Cue more long, self-serving rants from Brandon that sound like the kind of thing a guy who goes on a shooting spree at a school would come up with. Dawn bursts into tears… OK, granted she bursts into tears almost every week, but Andrea started crying even before Dawn did.

Jeff Probst is standing behind Brandon massaging his shoulders for about the last 10 minutes of the episode. Having heard the Favorites’ decision, he has them hand their idol to the Fans, who of course can’t believe their good fortune. Thankfully Probst doesn’t insist on rehashing all of this crap at tribal council, and simply conducts the council on the spot with Brandon being voted out 8-1. He sends Brandon to a neutral site to cool off, the tribes pick up their flags, and the episode is over.

The Survivor producers should not be patting themselves on the back for this episode. In fact they should be feeling bad about bringing Brandon, who was fairly unstable in his first season on the show, back for a second season. Don’t they supposedly give prospective contestants all kinds of psychological tests? And no, producers, this “shocking” episode was not entertaining, any more than watching someone go on a shooting spree would be entertaining. Worse, this season’s cast had two unstable guys who were incredibly annoying to watch in Brandon and Shamar.

The last time Brandon was on the show, his uncle Russell came to the finale and when Jeff Probst asked what he thought of Brandon on the show, Russell basically said he did a lousy job. I doubt he’ll say anything different this time.

Contender list: 1) Malcolm, 2) Matt, 3) Michael, 4) Sherri, 5) Andrea, 6) Brenda, 7) Reynold, 8) Eddie

Not sure yet: Corinne, Dawn, Erik, Cochran, Julia

No-chance list: Phillip

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