"Survivor" can break down even the strongest and toughest of competitors. The brutal weather conditions, emotional betrayals, and calculating politics take their toll on all the players.
And the game wound up to be too much to handle (again) for Brandon Hantz, who basically eliminated himself in a blow-up of epic proportions on last night's riveting "Survivor."
Hantz, who returned to the game as a "favorite" after finishing sixth on "Survivor: South Pacific," seemed emotionally fragile for the bulk of this season. He felt excluded from the alliance headed up by Phillip Sheppard, and threatened to "go Russell Hantz style" on his tribe if they voted him out.
(He was referring to his uncle, an infamous "Survivor" villain who's known for his cunning and mind-games.)
When Hantz learned that Sheppard was angling to get rid of him, he poured the tribe's rice and beans into the sand. He did so to be "the author of my own fate" and give them a reason to vote him out -- which they did.
In a stunning, unprecedented turn of events, the favorites forfeited the immunity challenge. After more arguing between Hantz and Sheppard, Probst held an open vote. The favorites unanimously voted for Hantz.
This isn't the first time Hantz has experienced a meltdown on "Survivor":
On "South Pacific," Hantz irrationally targeted tribemate Mikayla Wingle, because he was attracted to her
He cried frequently that season, most notably when he revealed to his tribe that he was Russell's nephew
He won and gave away the immunity necklace, and was promptly voted out
On "Caramoan," Hantz blew up after the first tribal council, which sent home Francesca
A few episodes later, he vowed to pee on the tribe's rice and beans if he was the next to be voted off
Hantz's epic meltdown had fans buzzing about his emotional state, but he told Xfinity, "I am perfectly mentally stable."
As for his actions, he said he doesn't regret throwing out the favorites' rice and beans. "I was tired of being taken advantage of," he said. "And I proved my point."
Check out some Twitter reactions to Brandon's metldown:
— Russell Hantz (@russellhantz) March 14, 2013
Most bizarre #Survivor ever!Great job by Probst in mediating a fantastically watchable train wreck.
— scott foley (@scottkfoley) March 14, 2013
Brandon Hantz accomplished the impossible last night. He made Philip seem like a reasonable guy. #Survivor
— Joshua Malina (@JoshMalina) March 14, 2013
"Survivor" airs Wednesdays at 8 PM on CBS.