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Survivor: South Pacific – Ep 3 – Leave Me Out of the Drama

I must say, I am officially tired of writing about the Hantz family. May I respectfully make a request to Mark Burnett? No more. I don’t want Russell’s Uncle Owen next year, or his brother’s ex-fiancée, or his former roommate from the Navy. No more Hantzes, please. Enough. I give up. I’ll take another three appearances from James and Rupert before another Hantz.

I go into my Hantz rant because this week’s Survivor episode was marked by a rash of stupid moves by Survivors. The most stupid came courtesy of young Brandon Hantz. I will say this about him, he is a complex character. As Coach wisely said (I can’t believe I just said that), the man is fighting some demons. However, he is proving to be out of his element on Survivor. Naysayers may say what they will about the show, but one thing you cannot deny is the level of difficulty playing Survivor. It takes a toll on you physically, which in turn helps do a number on you mentally. That is hard for a fully matured adult to deal with, it is asking a lot to have a 19-year-old do it, especially one who appears to have a checkered past. I don’t know what Brandon has done or recovered from, but I think we can all assume that it was not stress from advanced calculus classes.

Come to think of it – the struggles young Brandon is having with the mental aspects of the game gives some newfound respect for one of last year’s Ambers – 19-year-old Natalie.

So, for this week, let’s talk about the dumb ass moves, or just plain wacky moves, by some of the Survivors.

Brandon – Oh, Brandon. Very few tribe meetings have gone well over the years, and you not only did one, you did two of them. The first one was somewhat ridiculous – Brandon chose to reveal his secret to the entire tribe following his terrible Tribal Council reveal of his plot against Mikayla. This was the worst thing he could have done. Essentially, he tried to recover from an exposed lie by…exposing a bigger lie. Where’s the logic? All he did was make his tribe trust him less.

When dealing with a big issue like Brandon had – the fact that he is Russell’s nephew – you have only two choices to choose from: Reveal it right away, or never reveal it. The gamble with doing it right away is that you have the initial target on your back. However, if he framed it as, “Look, my uncle is as much of an influence upon my life and behavior as any of yours are. Meaning, that I see him at Thanksgiving and Christmas and he ignores me to watch football. I am my own man, please don’t hold any prejudice against me that you may hold against my uncle.” Boom. That issue is likely over and done with.

The other option is to keep it secret – a la Gary Hogeboom in Guatemala, Marcus Pollard on the Amazing Race, or even Jim this year on Survivor. Bury the reason that folks may want to axe you by never making it an issue. This was hard for Brandon because of the tattoos, but he could have managed it. Stay disciplined and this is never an issue in the first place.

The worst thing to do is bail on the plan midway through. Eight days passed when Brandon told the tribe who he was, and now all they know is that for eight days, Brandon withheld information about him. Maybe this deception proves that he is his uncle’s nephew. It was just an unnecessary complication to his game that he can only blame himself for. Although it did provide us with an incredible double take from Stacey, who punctuated her surprise facial response with some weird karate chop hand motion. I hope someone puts that on YouTube soon.

That meeting was bad enough, but Brandon went and made things even worse. When Mikayla aggressively confronted him about what his problem was with her, Brandon called another friggin meeting! In this one, he was very irritated and aggressive and really made no sense. The one line that did resonate was that he wants to be left out of the drama. What? I wanted to do a Stacey response, but add a few kicks to the chops. The drama is only there because of Brandon! You can’t say “stop looking at me” while you are jumping up and down like a maniac!

Oh, and he made Mikayla cry. Not cool. He essentially lied to her and said nobody liked her and she was doomed. Meanwhile, we viewers can only point to what we have seen, which is nothing of the sort. The question now will be whether or not the Upolu alliance will want to keep Brandon or replace him. Stacey is an easy vote the next time they lose, but after that, the question may present itself. Brandon did well in this week’s challenge, but so did Mikayla. Edna poses an interesting question – Coach wants her as he sees her as loyal to him, but would Sophie/Albert/Rick feel that way?

Ozzy – Oh, Ozzy, have you learned nothing? Season 16 wasn’t really that long ago, and since Probst keeps reminding you about getting voted out despite having the idol in your possession, it should not be something you have forgotten. And yet…

Why, oh why, did Ozzy tell Keith about the idol? Telling another person that you have the idol is risky, and should only be done in strategic ways. Terry telling La Mina about it when they were down in numbers was a way to try to keep them together, even if all it did was keep Terry safe. Yul and Becky became closer thanks to the idol, and showing it to Jonathan iced that key move. Yau Man and Earl had to team up in order to find the idols, as did the Four Horsemen. So there are examples. However, there are others – ask James about it.

There are is also a more recent model to follow – Boston Rob. He didn’t tell anyone about the idol, even if post-show interviews implied that the Ambers figured it out. Why didn’t he say anything? Because the target on his back was big enough, just as the one is on Ozzy’s back. Keith immediately ran to Whitney and now they both know about it. And who knows if they told anyone else!

The smart move by Savaii would be to turn on Ozzy, sooner rather than later. The only reason to keep him around now is for the challenges – but even that reason may not be enough. They may need to pull the trigger on him now that they know about the idol, and because of what Boston Rob managed to do last season. Were the scenes for next week a glimpse into that plan? Or typical misdirection? I don’t know, but if Keith and Whitney are smart, they get something going with Cochran and Dawn to turn on Ozzy. Now.

Semhar – She really didn’t do anything stupid, just something ridiculous. Now, I understand, Semhar is a spoken word artist. By definition it means she really ain’t playing with a full deck. The best part is that it isn’t even the most absurd graphic next to the Survivors’ names – where occupation usually sits. That belongs to Brandon, whose occupation seems to be Russell Hantz’ nephew.

Anyway, Semhar. Before the duel began with Christine, Semhar psyched herself up by reciting a poem about finding some dude and getting naked and having babies with him. This was an odd choice for inspiration. Before competitions, I prefer Metallica, but to each their own. You know you’ve done something wacky when Coach rolls his eyes at you. Coach! Amazon pygmy fighting Coach! That’s when you know it may be time to double the dosage of whatever you are taking.

Mark – Still refuse to do the Papa Bear thing. I’ll slam him for two things. The first is for some really bad acting. I liked his move to look for the idol and then pretend he got it. That was actually rather smart. However, not so smart was over selling it. Dude is not on his way to any acting gigs after this. He over sold and thus was a little ridiculous. It didn’t help him that half the tribe already knew where the idol was – in Ozzy’s pocket.

The other thing – some really bad running. Wasn’t this guy a cop? He ran with his arms straight down like two spears and as he ran they didn’t move on top, but flapped comically on the bottom as if they were little flippers. It was as ridiculous as Phoebe running on Friends.

The Challenge – OK, not stupid, but a little bit weird. Players have to run out on a small platform into the water holding a boogie board attached to a rope. Teammates back on shore turn a crank to provide slack on the rope. The water person grabs a bag with a puzzle banner in it and is then pulled back on the boogie board. Repeat five times. Then two more teammates use a grappling hook to pull the bags up a big wall. Then unwrap the banners and have to place them in the correct order. Just an odd challenge.

Savaii elects to use just Ozzy and Dawn to retrieve the bags, but despite having more crankers, they don’t seem to get the system down. Ozzy gets stymied a couple of times by not having enough slack and having the board fly from his hands. Meanwhile, Upolu has great success with Albert, Brandon and Mikayla.

Opulu has a slight lead coming into the grappling hook portion as Coach and Edna clash with Whitney and Elyse. Coach is a challenge monster here. That’s right, Coach. He and Whitney basically do all of the work, and Upolu has a small lead, enough for the team (especially Mikayla) help them construct the banner and win.

Bottom line – Coach, Brandon and Mikayla excel in the challenge. Savaii – still very disjointed

So that’s the episode in a nutshell – a bunch of people doing dumb things. Semhar is the first official elimination and Redemption Island has begun to fill with the fodder. No Matts so far population that part of the game. Christine and Mark will battle it out next week and I really don’t care which one wins. The fascinating parts of the show remain over on Upolu and one wonders if this is an edit forming because the power players sit over there, or if they are only interesting early because they eventually get steamrolled. It is hard to tell so far, but at least it hasn’t been boring.

Treemail Top 10
• The Duel – From the start you knew Semhar was losing. She looked deflated and defeated from the start. The challenge was to balance a totem on a platform. You had to keep adding parts of the handle so you are essentially balancing it on a big pole. And yes, I giggled like a 12-year-old boy when Probst talked about pole. Semhar lost and again yammered about being abandoned and wondering about the cruelty of people. On Survivor. Sigh. She hands off a hoodie or something to Christine, although Christine would be better off with some bactine or something. Seriously, that’s a lot of scrapes on her knees.
• Christine broke out a King Farouk reference! I don’t think Coach needs to be referred to as a monarch – I doubt his ego could handle that much power.
• Stacey tells Brandon his identity is ok with her- “water up under the bridge.” That to me sounds like a rising tide, and perhaps things are not good after all!
• There are three people playing the strategic game rather hard right now – Jim, Coach and Sophie. I wonder if anyone thought Coach would be in that discussion before the season started. He wisely noticed Brandon’s mistake and attributed it to his age. And I am not saying that is wise because I also thought that – but it certainly helps.
• How did Keith manage to get Whitney to rock him gently on the hammock? That’s some real skills there, Dude. And interesting about Keith – notice how his heart condition has yet to even get a mention yet?
• Sophie made “whore of Babylon” reference. Between that and King Farouk, we are going headlong into a sword and sandals movie here.
• Mark complained that he was put on Barbie and Ken team. That didn’t go too badly for the Toy Story friends.
• Cochran on Mark and his idol deception – “He had a big smile on his face and an extra large bulge in his underpants.” Hey now!
• Trial Council was a bit boring this week. Mark was dead man walking and we all really knew that. So, that didn’t give anything good.
• Mark got all of the votes except for Jim’s unexpected vote for Cochran and Mark’s vote for Jim. I thought it was strange until I thought about it. Jim probably doesn’t know about the idol yet, or if he does, he may not have believed it. He probably knew Mark would throw his vote at him, so to cast a safety net; he went with a Cochran vote. IF Mark had played an idol, then it would have been a Cochran/Jim tie and presumably the re-vote would have piled onto Cochran.

Votes -Mark 6 (Ozzy, Cochran, Elyse, Whitney, Keith, Dawn), Cochran 1 (Jim), Jim 1 (Mark)

Next week – Is there a plot against Ozzy? Is Brandon getting crazier? I think one of these may be true.

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