Survivor: Caramoan – Fans v FavouritesThu 7:30pm, GO!
IT CAME, SURVIVOR TRAGICS! IT HAPPENED! IT’S THURSDAY! It’s my birthday tomorrow and TODAY IS STILL THE MOST EXCITING DAY OF THE WEEK. Will the Favourites beat The Specialist to death with his pink undies? Will Reynold’s ego reach critical mass and explode? WILL BRANDON WEE ON THE BEANS??????

Gota is back at camp after voting out Laura, who couldn’t swim very well. Reynold and Eddie have finally relaxed and stopped shouting at the people who currently hold all the power. The tribe agrees that winning challenges is the priority right now, and convoluted strategy can come later.

To camera, Reynold is giddily recounting his genius move to play his immunity idol when he was in no real danger of going home. He’s pleased he got the chance to tell everyone on the tribe that they were backstabbing losers who couldn’t win anything without him – or with him so far – and then play his idol immediately so he would still be safe. Since no one except Eddie seems to give a damn what Reynold says or does, the tribe went ahead with their original plan, not bothering to get offended at the rantings of Survivor’s self-appointed prom king.  He’s finally agreed to work with the majority and they are all excessively gratified at the social elevation his condescension provides them.

Michael says Reynold is a clutch player. What? Does that mean he’s handsy?

At Bikal, Brandon is missing his wife and children. He feels completely selfish for leaving his family just to play a game. He announces that if they go to tribal council, he’s volunteering to go home. This is generally considered Survivor Suicide – you never, ever, ever, offer to go home unless your bag is packed and you’re talking to Probst. Am I right, Zayn? However, Brandon is well known for being completely rational and never changing his mind at the drop of a hat about anything, so I’m sure that he won’t regret saying that later.

(I just gave myself a sarcasm headache.)

Brandon continues making Good Conversation Decisions and happily confides in the tribe that when he was cranky the other day, he was going to set the shelter on fire and wee in all the food. Everyone begins to back away very, very slowly. Except Andrea, who takes his head in her lap. THAT’S WEIRD.

The next morning, Brandon gathers everyone around solemnly and reiterates that he came on Survivor for selfish reasons. BUT WAIT – HE’S CHANGED HIS MIND! He no longer wants to go home, but instead stay on the island and tough it out for his family.  Too late buddy, you already said the cursed words. It’s like feeding the Gremlins after midnight.

REWARD CHALLENGE. Probst wearing a blue shirt. Magic.

Two tribe members will hold onto ropes that suspend two nets above the ground. The rest of the tribe will throw coconuts up into the other tribes’ nets, making them heavier and harder to keep suspended. The last person holding up a net wins for their team. Wanna know what you’re playing for? BBQ – meat, vegies, wine and condiments. Worth playing for? Apparently. GO.

Phillip encourages his team by yelling out unintelligible war cries.  Malcolm and Reynold are awesome at shooting coconuts, Sherri is totally worthless. Reynold targets Brandon’s net and he’s the first to drop his rope, staring at his hands like he’s never seen them before. This ramps up the pressure on Phillip, who is holding up the Faves’ last net. Matt and Michael are holding up the Fans nets but both are starting to buckle, when Matt drops the bundle. Phillip might be wacky but he certainly pulls his weight in challenges, he will not budge. Finally Michael’s arms give out and Bikal continues their winning streak with a reward BBQ. Phillip has ended this as the hero, which he’s likely to be very gracious about. Ho, ho, ho.

Gota are BBQ-less in the rain and Eddie is despairing. He thought they finally were going to get a win. Sherri is very angry that they got rid of Laura and are still losing challenges. She’s hoping the rest of the tribe realise that they still lose with Eddie and Reynold and just get rid of them. Without the two frat boys, the challenge wouldn’t even have been close, but she can’t hear me yelling at the TV, so the episode continues.

Sherri’s decided the idol will be re-hidden and is a must-have. Matt, Michael and Reynold are also looking for it – all separately. They’re all poking around trees and rocks and other Nature. To the entire world’s disgust, Reynold finds it for a second time. He gloats that at this rate, he can just play it at every tribal council and then go out and find it again. This is how you play Survivor, he tells us. Well played, fathead.

It’s BBQ time but Brandon isn’t happy. Phillip is kicking back on his laurels, explaining how he masterminded the win with brain and brawn. Brandon nearly ripped his hands to shreds holding up his net so he’s understandably angry about Phillip taking full credit. It doesn’t take long to come out.

Someone asks Phillip to do something and he declines, saying he’s saving his energy for the glory of challenges. He uses many words and Brandon fairly calmly tells him that the way he speaks to people comes off like he’s a dictator. Phillip says he’s not going to argue and Brandon informs him that in fact, yes, they are going to argue. He tells Phillip to shut the coitus up. (I’m cleaning up the language). Corinne comments that Brandon is a little unstable, which is hilarious considering who they’re letting play Chieftain at their camp. Phillip walks away but he is angry. He starts ranting to camera about how he’s a street fighter and won’t take that from any young punk. On a side note, he must have excellent time management skills back home, to fit in all that street fighting, professional basketball, pumping iron, being a ladies man and secret agent.

Brandon goes to apologise to Phillip, who has completely flipped his lid. He tells Brandon that he warned him that he was the leader and controlled where Brandon finishes in the game. Phillip tells him that he has slapped the gift horse. Brandon questions Phillip’s right to decide who deserves to play. P is absolutely seething at this point, while B has calmed right down. They finish it, shake hands, still furious at each other. Phillip is now gunning for Brandon and Brandon is just trying to keep himself under control.

Matt has wrinkled, white corpse feet after two days of rain. Michael is trying to rally everyone to do things but they’re busy huddling in the shelter. Eddie has a head cold and soaking wet everything. Their shelter doesn’t look brilliant. Everyone is really struggling at Gota and they desperately need a win to pull them out of this slump.

Bikal seem to be faring better, with a better shelter and a fire undercover. Brandon has clearly been brooding about the fight with Phillip all night and is so angry that he looks to be seconds away from snapping. He’s talking himself in the third person, actually yelling to camera with some brilliant crazy eyes happening.  “WHO STARTS THE FIRE? BRANDON… HE DOESN’T FEED ME! I’M A HANTZ. I FEED ME!”

Cochran comes to announce a “boxing” immunity challenge. Phillip has also been brooding and wants to throw the challenge to be able to get Brandon out immediately. Giving up your winning momentum is a terrific idea, Phillip. That always works out great. He tries to pass off his paranoid, bruised egotism as an act of compassion for Brandon and stalks off to instruct Andrea on his plan. He tells her threateningly that if Brandon doesn’t go tonight, he won’t be happy.

Now. Everyone’s been humouring Phillip, with his faux Boston Rob leadership and his stupid nicknames, but since they’ve been winning, it’s all been pretty harmless. If they go along with this – Malcolm, I’m looking at you – if they go along with this insanity, then they are actually allowing Phillip Shepherd and his red undies as their leader. Allowing one borderline violent crazy man to dictate the untimely expulsion of another borderline violent crazy man makes no sense whatsoever. Someone needs to step up and not let these aggressive idiots be making the big decisions.

Brandon comes up and immediately senses what’s happening. Andrea doesn’t admit that Phillip wants to throw the challenge, but Brandon guesses. He calls Phillip off for a private chat. Phillip tells him that he doesn’t trust him and starts banging on about the rules for Stealth’R’Us and Brandon finally calls him on it. He tells him that the concept and the nicknames are stupid, and childish. Phillip says it’s just a bit of fun but Brandon disagrees and tells him that no one likes it, or him.

There is a very poignant moment when you know that one of these two fragile, volatile men are about to crack under the provocation, and it’s just a matter of who.

It’s Brandon. He storms into camp and announces that he’s going to give everyone a reason to vote him out. To the anguish of his tribemates, he tearfully pours the rice out onto the sand. He grabs the beans before Erik can stop him and pushes him aside, emptying those out too. He’s screaming and swearing at Phillip, who has walked away down the beach. He pushes over a deckchair. Everyone is frozen, upset and cold and intimidated. Malcolm goes over to try and salvage the rice, looking worried that Brandon is about to stop him. Everyone looks simply terrified, and aggression is radiating off Brandon. Dawn tries to pacify Brandon as he calls out to Phillip to come and get him. He ends up pacing on the beach, alternating between what looks like rage and prayer.

Okay. They can vote him out now.

Bikal doesn’t know what to do. Forfeiting the challenge and going straight to Tribal Council seems like a likely move. There are only two rules in Survivor – you can’t physically assault anyone and you can’t conspire to share the money. Brandon is so close to the edge that at this point it makes more sense for him just to walk out of the game.

We come back from an ad break to a new challenge, where Bikal arrives with Brandon in the front. Probst starts asking about the impact of the long, rainy night on the tribes. Reynold starts shooting his mouth off about what a lovely time the Favourites must be having with all their rewards, and perhaps senses the incredible hostility that immediately meets his comments.  If he only knew. He continues on to saying that no matter how much you win, it’s horrible for everyone and they decide not to kill him on the spot. Cochran says that it’s damaging for morale. Probst asks how Brandon’s doing. He says that he’s had a bad morning, and talks about his outburst with Phillip. Brandon asks permission to step off his mat and address the other tribe. Probst is a kind and benevolent leader and grants him his request.

This is just the best episode I’ve seen in so long.

Brandon tells the Fans that tonight will be different and he’s giving them a second chance at the game, that he is their second chance. He then warns them not to let Phillip get to the end of the game. A bemused Reynold asks where he’s going. Corinne asks for permission to say something on behalf of the Favourites. Probst is loving it. She announces that they’re forfeiting the challenge to go to Tribal. She claims that they’re all competitors, but have some discord to hash out in the proper setting. Reynold’s face lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. Corinne adds that they respect the game and the Fans tribe. Brandon flares up at her. He yells that they don’t respect the Fans, that the Fans shouldn’t let anyone push them around, that they deserve a chance. Corinne refuses to fight back. He starts ranting and Probst interrupts, asking Brandon to come over to him.

Probst takes charge of the conversation and asks Brandon to explain what he means by helping out the Fans. Brandon starts in. He calls Phillip out for Stealth’R’Us, for degrading everyone by giving them nicknames, like they’re his playthings. THEN he loses it. He’s yelling, he is furious. He yells that Boston Rob took Phillip to the end, that he’s a joke. That he never stops talking about himself. “STOP TALKING ABOUT YOURSELF!” How dare he tell Brandon not to bite the hand that feeds him? “I FEED MYSELF!” This is a full blown meltdown and no one knows where to look. Actually, scratch that, Reynold is really enjoying himself. He knows he’s watching Survivor history in the making. First time I’ve liked him all season.

Probst calmly tells Brandon that he’s a bit concerned about the hostility and they’re going to talk it out. Brandon starts talking about how his first season of Survivor really affected his personal life, how he swore that if he played again he wouldn’t let himself get walked over. He swore he wouldn’t cry, and he hasn’t. He calls his tribe out for not caring about anyone but themselves. (I’m cleaning up the grammar.) (And language.)

Probst puts a casual and all-powerful hand on Brandon’s shoulder and asks the silent Phillip what his take on all of this is. Phillip stumbles over his first few words and Brandon very rudely imitates him. Reynold cannot believe what he’s seeing unfold. Phillip starts saying that he tried to embrace Brandon from the start. Before he gets much further, Andrea bursts into tears. She’s emotional at Brandon being so upset, as they’ve become close. She’s sorry to see two tribe members saying cruel things to each other. Phillip interjects that he hasn’t said anything cruel and Brandon immediately lashes back. He tells him to own what he says, that he’s not perfect, then calls him Secret Agent 3.0 and tells him he’s 100 years old. Phillip cracks it now and tells him he’s pathetic for apologising so many times back at camp. Brandon tells him to shut his mouth, that he’s been talking for 12 days straight. He starts walking towards him menacingly and Phillip tells him to back off. Probst lays his hand of power back around Brandon’s shoulder and Brandon tries to calm down. He makes Brandon look him in the eye and promise not to get physical. As if anyone could deny Probst.

Dawn is getting emotional now. She’s stressed and hating the negativity. Brandon reassures her and Andrea that he loves them and tries to explain himself. Brandon says he tipped out the rice and beans so both tribes can starve together. It doesn’t make a whole lot of sense considering that Gota still has their rice and beans and less mouths to feed, but we left sense about twenty minutes back. Corinne wants to argue this point but her tribe stops her from making it worse.

Probst asks Brandon as respectfully as he can if he’s crazy because Russell was crazy. He laughs and says that he’s proud that the Hanz family speaks their mind. The difference is of course is that Russell was ruthless and smart, not volatile and stupid.

Phillip tells Brandon that him being in charge and gunning for Brandon is a figment of his imagination. This is his version of damage control for the benefit of the shell-shocked Fans. Brandon tells him to shut up, Phillip tells him to grow up and respect his elders. Phillip talks about Brandon leaving his kids to come play Survivor and Brandon nearly bursts into flame. He’s ready to go over and knock Phillip’s head off and tells him so. His eyes are bugging out and he has the smile of a serial killer glowing on his Hanz head. Probst is physically restraining him now and is ready to end this. He tells Erik to hand over immunity to the Fans tribe. Reynold sheepishly asks him to throw his hands up in traditional Probst fashion to declare them victors but Probst isn’t letting go of Brandon for a second.

Probst declares Tribal Council immediately, at the challenge site. No one objects, since they’ve basically been having it already. They’ll cast their vote verbally, and in front of everyone. Probst asks them in turn. Brandon loudly votes for Phillip. One by one and without hesitation, each of member of Bikal casts a vote for Brandon. Dawn is crying, Erik is guilty and Andrea utterly drained. Brandon’s not upset or not surprised, and only angry with Phillip. He’s happy enough to walk away. Probst calls it. He tells Brandon that there’s no way he’s going back to camp and tells him exactly where to walk out, behind the challenge and away from his tribe. The Fans wish him luck on his way and he yells out one final curse to Phillip. The Favourites are shaken but very relieved.

Brandon calls his exit glorious. He feels like he proved himself. TO BE A CRAZY PERSON.

Best. Episode. Ever.

Next week: Phillip wants Corinne out, Corinne wants Phillip out and Probst is about to shake everything up. Team jumble……????

No recap next week, so make sure you watch it twice!