Well, we all saw this coming. We saw this coming back on South Pacific when he accused Mikayla of being an evil temptress, and we saw this coming when he went back and forth and back with his relationship with God and spoke of battles with inner demons. And we saw this coming in episode two of Fans vs. Favorites 2 Legit 2 Quit when, in beautiful night vision, his neck tattoo glistening in the twilight, he threatened to go on a rampage. So no one – no one – should have been surprised when Brandon Hantz finally lost it on Survivor: Caramoan. Which isn’t to say it was predictable, or that it wasn’t riveting, truly unsettling television.
But first, who’s that girl next to Michael and Eddie?!
Oh, right, Julia. That person that exists on the Fans tribe. At this point, she’s our pick to win it all, solely because everyone will keep forgetting that she’s there and no one will ever write her name down. Also, she might be a ghost.
Meanwhile, Brandon is not a ghost, but he might be possessed by an evil spirit. Something, clearly, has taken hold of the boy, as over at Favorites camp he once again oscillates between clear-eyed and crazy-eyed, placid and psychotic. Now he’s decided that he’s erred in abandoning his family, and suggests to the tribe that they vote him out so he can return to his wife and children. Brandon, trust us, if your behavior has been any indication, staying away for your family is the best thing you can do for your family. If you needed any motivation to be the sole Survivor, that should be it. He, once again, considers peeing in the beans and rice to convince the tribe to eliminate him, but instead, stunningly, simply asks to be voted out, realizing the important lesson that sometimes threatening to pee in the rice and beans is just as effective as actually peeing in the rice and beans (and far more responsible, should you have any later desire for rice and beans). So Brandon makes his plea, and that’s the end of that twisty, thorny, Brandon Hantz saga.
Then Brandon wakes up the next day and changes his mind. “I’m in, dudes! For my family!” Clearly, he took our advice about what’s best for his family to heart. Other members of the BeKool tribe, you might want to hide the rice and beans, just to be safe.
It’s Reward Challenge time and Brandon is ready to go! The object of this one is clutch a rope that’s holding up a net that will be gradually filled up with coconuts launched by the opposing tribe . Brandon is like “I got this. If I can hold onto my sanity this long, I’ll have no problem holding onto this rope.” But while Brandon funnels all the energy he normally puts into his mistrust of women and fighting the voices in his head into holding up the net, Former Federal Agent Fillip(?) employs a different strategy, shouting nonsense (possibly a tactic used by the US during the invasion of Grenada).
At the last Tribal Council the Fans voted out Laura in an attempt to keep the tribe strong. However, one has to wonder if they would have kept her around had they known the next challenge would not require any swimming. Because the bar’s set pretty low right now.
Say what you will about Jeff Probst, but that guy is a straight shooter. Calls ’em like he sees ’em. The Alex Trebek of Survivor (but not a total jerk).
Survivor is really on the payroll of the Toss-Industrial Complex this season, as this challenge yet again involves a toss element. Except this time the challenge requires the Survivors to toss the coconuts like they’re an eight-year-old girl trying to make a foul shot. Even Reynold can’t quite pull this one off.
If there’s anything that’s been nearly as omnipresent in the challenges as tossing it’s Favorites’ victories. And this challenge is no different, with Former Federal Agent Fillip(?) the last man sitting and still holding a rope. Maybe if Michael and BMX Bike Sales Matt did curls every morning, they could have lasted as long as a man half their height.
Back at the Fans camp they do a post-mortem on their latest lost, analyzing just where things went wrong. Sherri, for her part, seems dissatisfied in the decision to keep the muscle together. They voted off Laura and look what happened? They still lost. What went wrong? Hmmm.
With another defeat, and another visit to Tribal Council looking more and more likely, the Fans embark on the Great Immunity Idol Hunt of 2013. Sherri, Michael, Matt, Julia (who?), they’re all on the hunt. And it goes exactly as you’d expect.
Which is to stay, unsuccessfully. Reynold also enters the contest and…what’s that? He’s already got it? It was right there in the crook of a tree trunk? In the first place he looked? Yeah, that sounds about right.
If there’s one thing that Reynold is, besides still suspicious of Shamar’s eye injury, it’s loyal. So he immediately let’s Eddie know that he’s added another Idol to his collection. Although, the way he goes about the reveal is a little curious.
Eddie, not surprisingly, is psyched. The dudes are back on top.
The story of this season so far has been Shamar and Brandon, the two loose canons with hearts of gold and fits of rage. On the last episode, Shamar was felled by something in his eye, a single grain of sand. In this episode Brandon is also done in by something in his eye, but something very different: pure madness. You see, Brandon just couldn’t take it that Fillip was winning all the accolades following their Reward Challenge victory, that Fill’s strategy of yelling gibberish in multiple languages was being heaped upon with praise while no one complimented Brandon for his contributions to the win, or likewise gave him any credit for making fire, and cooking breakfast, and not peeing in the rice and the beans. Brandon is a man of integrity, and a man of integrity can only take so much. And it’s here when you can literally see a man snap before your eyes, as Brandon confronts the CEO of Stealth ‘R’ Us about his role in the corporation. Fillip explains that Brandon is poised to do nominally better than he did last time, and he should be thankful, imparting great words of wisdom:
C’mon, Brandon, these are rules that everyone knows. You don’t put Superman’s cape in the dryer, even beggars can’t be spacemen, all dogs go to gynecologists, and you don’t slap the gift horse. Just common knowledge. This, shockingly, does not sit well with Brandon.
And it’s here that we want to remind the members of the Favorites tribe that Brandon has been very clear about his intentions, stating on numerous occasions that he would spill and/or pee in the rice and beans. He’s made no secret about it. In fact, he seemed downright determined to do so. Just saying is all. Something to keep in mind.
But you don’t tell Brandon Hantz – HANTZ – not to bite the hand that feeds. Brandon Hantz will bite any goddamn hand he wants. The hand that feeds, that hand that waters plants, the hand that sticks out of the driver’s side window to indicate a left turn, the hand that makes that “surfs up” thing, the hand doing sign language, even this hand:
But, don’t worry, after a good night’s sleep Brandon doesn’t feel as angry as he did the day before. He’s way angrier. And that look in his eye has changed from rage to absolute lunacy. If he snapped the day before, he’s completely frayed today. And upon hearing whispers that Fillip still plans to vote him about – perhaps even throwing the challenge – Brandon marches right into the executive office to lodge a formal complaint. However, wary of Brandon, The Specialist recommends that Brandon make a note describing his grievance and drop it in the suggestion box. That, you may have guessed, does not sit well with a Hantz.
Guys, he couldn’t have been more clear that he was going to spill the rice and beans. Really, you have no one to blame but yourself. However, spilling the beans was one thing, but what he did next was really unconscionable.
Truly gutless. We’re just thankful he didn’t put any ants into anyone’s pants. But for Brandon, it’s on, and he’s ready to throw down with the Former Federal Agent(?).
And in what was truly one of the saddest scenes in any Survivor history – perhaps in all of the television – the BeKool Tribe then went about the unenviable task of picking up grains of rice and scooping up beans and returning them to their containers, what is known in agrarian circles as “reverse Johnny Appleseeding.”
With the Favorites in crisis, stray grains of rice never to be recovered, it’s off to the Immunity Challenge. But it hasn’t been all sunshine and rainbows over at the Fans camp either; in fact it’s been nothing but torrential downpour (and, well, maybe some rainbows after). BMX Bike Sales Matt in particular seems to have been hit hard by the rain, really starting to prune up.
But the rain has been tough on everyone, which they all agree on (except maybe Erik, who it seems is still on the show).
After making small talk about the weather, the Favorites begin airing their dirty laundry, which is something that really should be done at camp before challenges. But when they’re done doing that, they get into the whole Brandon having a psychotic outburst thing, and Corinne, evidently trying to win the beauty pageant on poise points, politely interjects and informs Probst that the BeKool tribe would like to move directly to the Tribal Council portion of the evening. Reynold, for one, is ecstatic about this development.
But Probst, being the Survivor Whisperer that he is, the Filipino Island Medium, can sense immediately that something is wrong, a rift in the Favorites Force. Utilizing some experience dealing with three-year olds, Jeff separates Brandon from the BeKool Tribe. But careful, Jeff, Brandon has a shiv in his ear! And we don’t trust him not to use it.
However, Jeff can handle himself, and using the power of his magic fingers (or Vulcan nerve pinch), he calms down Brandon and learns about the chaos at Favorites camp. Let’s check out Reynold’s reaction to all the bombshells.
But as it turns out, Jeff might be responsible for Brandon’s erratic behavior, as it seems Brandon was just puffing out his chest just to impress the Duke of Denim.
Fillip, for the most part, maintains his robotic, lobotomized, steely focus, resisting the urge to engage with Brandon. Until, that is, Lil’ Hantz finally pushes the right buttons and persuades FFAF to take off the gloves and hit Brandon with a low blow, bringing Brandon’s wallet into the conversation.
Or maybe Fill said something about Brandon’s kids or something. Either way, Brandon was PISSED.
Luckily, cooler heads prevailed and they go right to the Tribal Council vote. As expected, every one on the BeKool tribe casts their vote for Brandon. And this is where we really have to hand it to Brandon, what a perfect time to play his hidden Immunity Idol, and, really, what a brilliant scheme altogether, pissing off the whole tribe, destroying their entire food supply, manipulating them to forfeit a challenge in order get rid of him, and then negating all the votes with an Idol. Machiavelli himself would be impressed.
Of course, that didn’t happen, but you can imagine that it would have been amazing. As it was, we still got a legendary, breathtaking, truly startling meltdown, and one that will (hopefully) not be replicated anytime soon.
ALWAYS, REMEMBER, BRANDON, LOOSE GRAINS OF RICE THAT YOU SPILLED EVERYWHERE ON PURPOSE AFTER REPEATEDLY THREATENING TO DO SO SINK SHIPS.
Although, in Brandon’s defense, they could have at least had the decency to give him the news face to face.
After the vote, Jeff very wisely instructs Brandon to head behind the challenge course, cool off and wait for the crew to meet him there. Just smart, common sense stuff by Probst to increase the physical distance between Brandon and Fillip and prevent any further altercations. But we thought what Brandon did afterwards was really classless, and totally unnecessary:
But with that truly despicable, bush league move we’ve come to the end of Brandon Hantz and we’re happy for it, and we believe the show is better for it too. In Brandon – and perhaps in Shamar as well – they cast someone unstable, who had already proven in his first time in the game that he just mentally cannot be trusted, and this season thus far has been dominated by his mood swings and anger issues. It seems like Brandon made up his mind long ago that he was going to pour out the rice and the beans, it was really only a matter of when and how much urine would be involved. But Survivor should take pains to leave these kinds of volatile personalities to The Real Housewives and The Bad Girls Clubs of the world. Like we said in our recap of the premiere, good, interesting characters don’t have to be big and loud and volcanic; in fact, they can often be just the opposite. With Brandon – and Shamar – now gone, hopefully we can get to better know these other players. Like, for example, apparently there’s someone named Julia on the Fans tribe. Who is she?
And while Brandon might be a Hantz – demonstrating his surname’s proclivity for vengeance and wrath, bitter pride and a short fuse – he’s no Russell Hantz. If Russell dumped out rice, it would have been part of some ploy to preserve his place in the game, not destroy it. That guy needed to be dragged away from Survivor, and not to prevent a fistfight.
Which brings us to our A-B-C of the week:
Always Be Crazy
Just like the “Loco” neck tattoo that Brandon had covered with another tattoo after South Pacific.
Brandon, any last words?