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The previews for the most recent episode of Survivor: Caramoan couldn’t have been more misleading. I guess I should expect this by now, but based on the previews, it seemed Brandon Hantz, he of the Bikal, or “Favorites” tribe, would be going all out, creating chaos amongst his group, and quite possibly going down in a blaze of glory. But much like Ozzie’s whining and moaning about being a free agent a few seasons back, Brandon’s pouting seems to last less than one entire evening. The next morning, Lil’ Hantz as he is known on the internet, seems born anew, refreshed, and ready to re-join the game.
It is unfortunate for Brandon that he’s run into Philip Sheppard, codename: the specialist, who is also rejuvenated and playing by what he calls “BR” (for Boston Rob) rules. Phillip comes right out and tells Brandon he doesn’t quite trust him, and because of this lack of trust, Philip perceives Brandon as a “middle manager,” not worthy of important information. This sends Brandon into a fury, and he seems re-committed to taking down Phillip and his special agent alliance. Unfortunately for us, the audience, the Bikal tribe wins the combined reward/immunity challenge (side note: I hate when they combine these challenges into one mega-challenge), sending the Gota (“Fans”) into upheaval.
Quick turnarounds such as this are par for the course on Survivor, and this is really no big surprise. The Favorites dominated the challenge, easily beating the Gotas despite the editing suggesting that the Favorites had staged a comeback. Malcolm and Phillip are the heroes, winning the final leg of the challenge (which, much like last week’s challenge involved a sort-of carnival game, tossing objects into other objects). The Bikal tribe heads back to their camp, where Phillip has a one-on-one with Malcolm. Malcolm, he of Survivor: Philippines fame, is perfectly willing to ride Phillip’s coattails as long as its convenient. I found this tidbit unnecessary info. Malcolm’s not really going to split from this alliance. If Bikal plays its cards right, Sheppard’s alliance could potentially coast to the end of the game.
The most interesting stuff happens back at the Gota tribe, where Iraq veteran Shamar has grated on everyone’s nerves. Shamar is the type of player I both love and loathe. The situations he gets himself into are immensely entertaining, but I question whether or not he’s even out there to actually win the game. Sherri Biethman, the attractive older female on the Gota tribe, wants to keep Shamar around as a Phillip Sheppard-style goat to take to the end. It’s way too early to play this game, and hitching one’s wagon to Shamar’s star might not be the best idea at this juncture. She has a heart-to-heart with Michael and Matt, who seem to want to target Shamar immediately, thus ridding themselves of the most annoying castaway.
Meanwhile, Reynold runs afoul of the immunity idol, and immediately has big plans for the future. He wants to keep the idol hidden and use it to keep Allie, Eddie, and Hope around as long as he can. Reynold is the kind of player that has the potential to go far, but he’s not nearly as charming as he finds himself, and if he does make the merge, I predict he will be an early jury member. His plan to keep the idol hidden from the others doesn’t last long, as Laura almost immediately sniffs it out, and then outs him at tribal council. The core four alliance of Eddie, Allie, Reynold, and Hope doesn’t last long, as the others see the double pair as a threat, and vote out Allie instead of the annoying Shamar. Allie seemed tailor-made to this game, which is why it is sad to see her voted out. I was hoping for great things from her, and it was indeed somewhat heart-breaking to hear her final confession (she wanted to win this game since she first saw it when she was just 11 years old). Where Gota goes from here is anyone’s guess, but it isn’t looking pretty for the Favorites tribe.