‘Survivor: Caramoan’ Episode Recap: A ‘Survivor’ First and a ‘Survivor’ Worst?


'Survivor: Caramoan' (CBS)

Quick Note: We’re going to be bringing you all kinds of “Survivor” fun this season including episode recaps, exit interviews, and Power Rankings with Michael Skupin. Be sure to follow me on Twitter (@gordonholmes) for up-to-the-minute news and info.

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Last Week: The favorites were visited by a bushman named Tata, while a grain of sand and a lack of challenge prowess respectively forced Shamar and Laura to say, “Ta ta.”

39 Days, 20 People, 1 “Survivor” Blog

Let’s take a look at the tribes as they currently stand…

The Bikal Tribe (wearing purple)
Andrea – Entertainment Host and Writer, 23
Brandon – Chemical Disposal, 21
Brenda – Paddleboard Company Owner, 30
Cochran – Harvard Law Student, 25
Corinne – Pharmaceutical Sales, 33
Dawn – English Professor/Power Rankings Champ, 42
Erik – Comic Book Artist, 27
Malcolm – Bartender, 25
Phillip – Chief Executive Officer of Enter Software Sales, 54

The Gota Tribe (wearing orange)
Eddie – Firefighter/EMT, 23
Julia – Racecar Driver/Student, 21
Matt – Brand Manager of Two BMX Brands, 38
Michael – Event Planner, 44
Reynold – Sales, 30
Sherri – Fast Food Franchisee, 41

The countdown to Hantzageddon kicks off with a seemingly calm Gota camp after Tribal Council. See, one speck of sand helped bring the Gotians together. And while they aren’t yelling at each other, they do make it clear that Idol Hunt Part Deux is going to kick off at dawn.

Over at Bikal, Brandon is feeling bad about leaving his family to play “Survivor.” He tells everyone to vote him off the next time they go to Tribal Council. Wait, is this a “South Pacific” rerun?

The next morning, Brandon tells everyone that he doesn’t want to leave, he wants to play. Buh…

Reward Challenge Time: Two members from each tribe will hold onto ropes that are holding up nets. Members of the other tribe will shoot coconuts into the net basketball-style. When both of a tribe’s nets drop, they’ll lose. Winning tribe gets everything needed for a delicious barbecue.

Andrea, Dawn, and Erik will sit for Bikal.

Brandon and Phillip will hold nets for Bikal, Michael and Matt will hold for Gota.

Quick Note: This is very similar to a challenge that was used in the original “Fans vs. Favorites.”

Not much to describe here except for Phillip shouting out some kind of weird strength chant. Kinda like Alan Rickman in “Galaxy Quest.”

Another Quick Note: “Galaxy Quest” is very underrated.

Brandon is the first to drop his net, he’s followed by Matt. It’s a tough struggle between Phillip and Michael, but Michael can’t last and his net drops. Favorites win reward.

Yet Another Quick Note: When the Favorites went to pick up their barbecue stuff, Corinne made a beeline for the wine. That’s my girl.

Back at Gota beach, Sherri is not pleased that getting rid of Laura didn’t results in a challenge win. Because Laura would’ve been great at holding up twice her weight in coconuts.

The Gota idol hunt commences, and Matt lets us know that he definitely wants to find the idol. Thanks, Matt.

However, that’s quickly a moot point, because Reynold finds it again. This dude has won one challenge and found two idols.

Meanwhile at Bikal, Brandon is in a bad mood again.

Brenda pitches the idea of repositioning the tarp, but Phillip would like to conserve energy for challenges. Brandon comes to her defense (and Phillip wasn’t being confrontational) and says that Phillip is acting like a dictator.

Phillip stays level-headed, but Brandon wants to argue. Wow, I never thought I’d type the words, “Phillip stays level-headed.”

The two try to make peace…somewhat. They shake hands, but Phillip lets us know that Brandon’s going home at the next opportunity. Later, Phillip says that he’ll throw the challenge to get rid of Brandon. He even sounds concerned that Brandon could be a physical danger to someone. That’s telling.

Brandon and Phillip chat again and it goes downhill fast. The breaking point might be when Brandon starts making fun of the Stealth R Us Too nicknames. Too far, Brandon.

Oh wait, Brandon snaps and dumps out all of the beans and rice. He then yells at Phillip as Phillip smartly walks away. OK, that’s too far.

Quick Take: I will say that this is easily the least shocking “shocking” moment of all time. During our pre-game interview, Brandon was ready to flip out in an air-conditioned office. What did they expect would happen under the stressful, luxury-deprived conditions of “Survivor”? Actually, that’s probably exactly what they were expecting…

Immunity Challenge Time: Two members from each tribe…

Just kidding. Brandon tells the Fans not to let Phillip get to the end of the game. Reynold wants to know where Brandon is going to be.

Corinne steps up as the Favorites designated spokesmodel and says that they would like to forfeit the immunity challenge. This announcement doesn’t break the Fans’ hearts.

Probst smartly calls Brandon over before he gets a chance to straight up murder one of the Favorites.

Once Brandon has his own platform, he outs the Stealth R Us Too alliance and claims that Boston Rob is the only reason Phillip got to the end of “Redemption Island.” Well, he’s got a point there.

From there, Brandon rants on about a dozen other topics. This is not fun to watch.

Andrea breaks down and cries because she’s grown close to Brandon during their time together.

Brandon then claims that he dumped the rice to make things even for the Fans. Uh huh…

Phillip thinks Brandon needs to grow up. Brandon thinks Phillip needs to shut up. I think that when they look at me they throw up. (“Stand by Me” and “Galaxy Quest” in the same recap!)

Phillip brings up Brandon’s kids and that’s too much. Brandon starts to step toward Phillip, but Probst quickly diffuses the situation.

Probst then has the Favorites give the idol to the Fans. Reynold wants Probst to declare them the winners, which is hilarious.

From there, JPro let’s us know that they’re going to do Tribal right there and then. Sweet, night off for the crew.

Voting Time: Brandon votes for Phillip, everyone else votes for Brandon.

The sixth person to be eliminated from “Survivor: Caramoan – Fans vs. Favorites” is…Brandon.

Verdict: Well, that certainly happened.

I’ve often compared “Survivor” to a circus in that there’s really something for everyone. If you don’t like the smart strategy or the big personalities you might like the buff bodies or the physical challenges. And if you don’t like any of that, here’s some dude freaking out.

Are some people into that? Sure.

Is it my cup of tea? No.

“Survivor” at its best is a triumph of the human spirit over adverse conditions. When people from different walks of life can work together and create a community.

This was the exact opposite of that.

So, now that the Jerry Springer-inspired portion of the season is over, I’m looking forward to what the people who have a chance of winning this game are going to do.

Was It Irresponsible to Have Brandon Back? This reminds me of one time when I was babysitting my niece and my nephew. He was smaller than her and had knocked over some block structure she had built. She was livid, literally shaking. Ever fiber of her being wanted to knock that poor kid into next week. You could just sense it. She even raised her hands as if she was about to clobber him.

But she didn’t.

Why? Because she knew she would have been in serious trouble if she did.

It’s probably the same with Brandon. If he was truly crazy he could’ve just punched Phillip in the mouth.

So, I’ll reserve judgment on this issue until I’ve had a chance to interview some of the other members of Bikal. If they felt like they were in physical danger, then bringing him back was a mistake. If not, then it’s all part of the game.

Who’s Going to Win? If Reynold can find thirteen more idols, the million dollars is his. If not, my money’s still on Erik.

Power Rankings Results: Clearly Michael Skupin and I are psychic. How else could we have predicted that it was Brandon’s time to go home? We both had him in the bottom spot. The current score is Team Skupin 65, Team Lightning Punch 81.

Any questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

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