The last line of the episode – essentially sums up Brandon Hantz. No, it is not made for you, bro. Because in this episode the wild world of Survivor just linked together an innocent ice cream scooper from the Great Lakes with a teenaged former gang member from Texas. Only on Survivor could that happen.
The pantheon of really, really, really stupid Survivor moves has some long-time standbys. Colby voting out Keith. JT giving Russell his idol. James going home with two idols. Tyson managing to vote himself out of the game. I am not including the cases of some Survivors’ strategic moves gone awry with breaking alliances – those are always crapshoots and hard to fault someone for trying to shake things up to get a better position. It’s the “should’ve known better” moves, or bad idol play, which usually get you on this list.
The biggest bonehead move has been Micronesia’s Erik’s crazy decision to give Natalie his immunity necklace. Not the hidden idol – his earned immunity necklace. In the Final Five. It is pretty ridiculous to give up the necklace in the first place, much less when you are so close to the end. In that season, Erik was the last guy left and had won the previous couple of immunity challenges. He could have gone on a run at that point. Natalie was going to be taken out, leaving just Cirie, Amanda and Parvati as his opponents. The man may have handed over a million bucks that day.
Why are we talking about Erik? Because Brandon made the same mistake. Well, the same move, but his mistake was even more ridiculous. Erik thought he might have been striking a deal with the ladies to put him in the Final Three. They were lying to him, but at least there was the fact that he was trying to further himself. Brandon had no reason to believe he was in danger (even though he was), and actually agreed to hand the necklace over with no real deal in hand. In fact, Albert was in no position to even offer anything. Brandon just did it. Seemingly with a spur of the moment decision.
It may have been one of the funniest Tribal Council moments as Probst kicked off the questioning and had Brandon tell him he was giving up the necklace. Probst hasn’t Elizaed his face that much since Billy told him he was in love with Candice in Cook Islands. Dawn followed suit with her own reaction on the Jury. She even muttered, “What’s going on?” Indeed. It is hard to really pile on Brandon for this, because as he said on RI after being voted out, the game isn’t made for him. He has NO idea what he is doing. It is not surprising to see him make ridiculous moves.
The fascinating part of the drama last night was, of course, how Coach handled it. I think Coach 3.0 is starting to crack a bit. When he went off on Brandon earlier, after the young Hantz interrupted his conversation with Albert, it seemed a bit much. Maybe interrupting was a Russell move, but Brandon was not really doing it aggressively. What that showcased was that after meeting Brandon’s dad, Coach seems resigned to the fact that he needs to ditch Brandon. The right move? I say no. I’d want to sit next to Brandon at the end. But I think Coach’s pride was still a bit damaged by Russell’s gameplay in HvV. Last week brought it back to the surface. He was ready to take out Brandon.
However, it was how he did it that was fascinating. He used Brandon’s fanaticism with God against him. Now, does Coach really believe all of the Bible thumping he’s been doing this season? I don’t know. Maybe somewhat. But I think he saw it as a way of using Brandon and putting this group together. Now having been told by Brandon that giving the necklace to Albert was instructions to him from God, Coach had to rethink his plan. Albert was going home, and now his original target was available again. However, Coach had to keep his mind on the endgame – he will need Brandon’s vote. The solution? God.
That’s right; Coach brilliantly told Brandon that giving up the necklace was what God was telling Brandon to do. It was right for Brandon. Not for anyone else. Awesome. Coach would pray to God and get guidance on what to do. Amazingly, God was on board with Coach’s original plan. I must say, God must not like Brandon much. Why else would he trick him that way? Brandon needs to reach out to Tim Tebow for tips on how to use God for personal gain.
So, Coach voted with Sophie and Rick to get rid of Brandon and send him to RI. And folks, unless Ozzy, Brandon or Albert manage to win the Final Four challenge, that trio is your Final Three. Personally, I think Brandon and Rick never had a shot at winning. Albert is dead now that his own tribe turned on him, and he was exposed at Tribal by Probst. Albert talked himself into the trouble – he took Brandon’s necklace, but when the discussion made it clear that Brandon just pulled an Erik, Albert was asked point blank by Probst if he would give it back. He didn’t, rightfully so, but the consequences is that he basically lost any jury support he could have had.