Survivor’s [Spoiler] Received an Unseen Advantage at the Tribe Swap Mat That He Never Got to Use

The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Survivor.

A tribe swap, as they often do, sealed Brando’s fate, and not even a mysterious advantage could’ve save his life in the game.

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On Wednesday’s Survivor, hunger ravaged the Belo tribe, as they struggled to draw lines in the sand between two competing duos. With two former Reba members and two original Belos facing off, Emily became the swing vote in the middle, as Brando tried, but failed to kickstart a nerd alliance with his Pokémon cohort Drew. But after getting caught in a lie and failing to secure Emily’s trust, Brando was voted out by a vote of 3-2. (Read our full Episode 5 recap here.)

Below, Brando takes us behind the scenes of his vote-out, including an unseen swap advantage that he never even had the chance to read.

TVLINE | We saw you try to align yourself with Drew but he shot you down! Were you surprised that he didn’t want to move forward in the game with you?
BRANDON ‘BRANDO’ MEYER | I was stunned. That’s something that I would never expect, somebody to openly shut down an alliance to my face. But it worked out because it gave me more ammunition to gun for him when talking to Emily and things like that. Although at the same time, I don’t totally blame him. Going into that conversation, my intention was to sway his vote to Kendra, not to vote with him. So, I don’t blame him for shutting down the alliance.

TVLINE | You offered your Shot in the Dark to Drew in an attempt to make sure that Kendra was his target and not you. Did you not expect that Drew would blab about your conversation to everyone else?
I really felt that offering him my Shot in the Dark was a peace offering, and the fact that he was willing to let me hang on to it was sort of like a mutual agreement that we wouldn’t go for each other (which we all know how that turned out). But I was sort of under the impression that I had developed a degree of trust with him, even though we might not have been forming that nerd alliance in the long run.

Survivor 45 Brando
Survivor 45 Brando

TVLINE | Looking back, do you have any regrets about how you handled that conversation?
I wouldn’t say with Drew. I think my biggest regrets are with how I handled conversations with Emily. We all know about the twist that Jeff mentioned in “On Fire” where Kendra went to Lulu. And so, Kendra and I went into that swap under the perception that we already had Emily in our three. Kendra said that she was really close with Emily and that she felt really good about her. So I think I could have gone after Emily harder than I actually did. I might have gotten caught up in a lie a little bit when Emily cross-checked my story with Drew and I think if I were to do that again, I would just straight up be open with her because she was there when the nerd alliance got shut down. I think she would understand me lying straight to Drew’s face.

TVLINE | Did you consider playing your Shot in the Dark at all during Tribal Council?
Going into Tribal, I was convinced that Drew was getting three votes and that Kendra was getting two votes. I didn’t even think that my name was on the block. There was a 0% chance that I was playing my Shot in the Dark. Even back at the beach when we were strategizing, I was never planning on it because you know, a one-in-six chance [at safety], but you lose your vote versus a tribe of five people where Austin just went on a journey. I knew that Drew went on the journey that Bruce went on, so who knows what he could have? There’s a chance that maybe there’s an extra vote in that group of two, for example, and we’d need the 3-3 tie. So there was no scenario where I would have risked my vote and played my Shot in the Dark.

TVLINE | Austin shared his amulet news with Emily. How much do you think that might’ve factored into her decision to vote you out?
I think that was huge because it shows that he’s being open with her. He’s willing to share things that he lied to the larger group about. Considering that I didn’t have some sort of Belo idol to show to Emily, I think that was a really good tool for him to use in that moment. I wish I could have done the same.

Survivor 45 Episode 5
Survivor 45 Episode 5

TVLINE | If there wasn’t a tribe swap, how do you think you would’ve fared at your first Tribal Council with the original Belo six?
I think I had so much insulation on the original Belo. I think Bruce goes before me. I think Jake goes before me. I think Katurah goes before me. I think Bruce would have been the first one to go. We all could sort of see what he was doing. We were all being bossed around camp. I love the guy, but if we had to pick someone and we had to pick a reason, it would have been him. So I think I would have done pretty well. I think I would have gone really far if there was no swap.

TVLINE | Were you aware that Katurah was so irked by Bruce?
It was public knowledge. There was a moment or two where it might have come out, but I was on a walk so I missed out on those. But we were all aware of the tension. I’m not surprised that we got to see it come to fruition with the papaya in the last episode.

TVLINE | What’s something we didn’t see on TV that you wish was included?
The biggest thing for me is when we originally swapped, I get that swap buff. I’m unwrapping it and I’m like, “Hey, this feels weird. This isn’t what a normal buff feels like.” And on the inside, there’s a piece of Survivor parchment stitched into my buff. There’s writing on it, but I don’t look at what it says. I rip it out and I shove it in my pocket because I’m like, “Maybe this is the clue to the idol. Maybe this is some sort of vote advantage,” who knows? But the last thing I want to do is read it on that mat in front of everybody and get caught looking at it, right? So I shove it in my pocket.

I get back to camp and I get pulled to go for a walk pretty quickly. So I’m like, “OK, this is so I can read the advantage that I just got.” So I hand it over, don’t look at it, don’t read what it says and I never get it back. My gut instinct is that it was something where maybe if I would have read it on the mat, I could have swapped my tribe with somebody else’s. I could have swapped maybe somebody on Lulu and Reba, who knows? But there’s a nonzero chance that I had my ticket to the endgame sitting in my pocket at the swap. Going back to camp, I didn’t know and then just ended up losing with the hand that I was dealt.

TVLINE | To clarify, a producer asked you to hand it over?

TVLINE | Wow. And we’ll never know what it was!
We’ll never know. When I got voted out, I asked, but never got to know.

TVLINE | The Belo tribe seemed to be feeling the effects of not eating in this episode. Tell me a little bit about the hunger out there because sometimes I don’t think viewers at home fully understand what that feels like.
Oh my god, it’s brutal. It’s the hardest thing that I’ve ever done. And I don’t know if you could tell, but I was struggling out there. I got to a point where even putting on my socks and shoes in the morning would take me five minutes. It was hard to walk around camp on Day 10. All we did was sit around at the shelter. Another thing, too, is I clearly don’t have that much weight to lose and I lost about 20 pounds when I was out there. So it wasn’t something that I had expected. If I were to go out there again, I’m putting on more weight before we get started. But the food aspect is absolutely brutal. It was one of the only things that we talked about late at night. I don’t know if you caught that all the votes for me, except for I think Emily’s, had pizza drawn on them. Pizza was my big talking point on the beach. I was at least happy to have that pizza when I got back to Ponderosa. That was the silver lining.

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