Survivor: Brandon Has an Epic Meltdown
Jeff Probst and Brandon Hantz | Photo Credits: Monty Brinton/CBS
Wednesday's episode of Survivor: Caramoan — Fans vs. Favorites was one for the reality show's record books, featuring a forfeited immunity challenge and a narrowly-avoided physical confrontation between two tribe members — all brought on by an epic meltdown by Brandon Hantz unlike any ever seen on the show before, according to host Jeff Probst.
From the opening minutes of the episode, it was clear that Brandon's emotional stability was questionable at best. While the Fans (Sherri in particular) tried to regroup and get over their guilt about voting out weak link Laura at last week's Tribal Council, the Favorites were dealing with a mini-crisis of their own: Brandon said he wanted to quit the game because he missed his wife and kids. (He also apologized for threatening to pee in the food and burn down the shelter in an earlier episode.) "He's loco, for sure," Corinne said after his speech. "Clearly he's spinning out of control. It's just a matter of time and it's a matter of what does that mean for everyone around him? What's he going to do?"
But by the next day, Brandon had changed his mind and decided he was going to not only stay in the game, but also step it up a bit. "You're going to see the most intense Brandon you've seen thus far, and it's gonna be awesome," he said. "I'm excited. I freaking myself out. I don't know what I'm gonna do!" Ominous words, these. Shortly thereafter, the seemingly unstoppable Favorites emerged victorious once again at the first reward challenge and won a full barbecue, complete with meat, vegetables and wine.
On the Fans side, as Sherri struggled to not point out that voting off her closest ally didn't exactly pay off, she and her teammates fanned out to look for the hidden immunity idol, now back in play since Reynold used it at the last Tribal Council. As luck would have it, Reynold found it again. "Back in business, baby. This is how you play Survivor," he gloated to the camera.
Meanwhile, the Favorites enjoyed their barbecue — that is, until Phillip started explaining how he won the challenge for the tribe (which, it's worth noting, he did). That didn't sit well with Brandon, who started taking verbal jabs at Phillip and trying to bait him into an argument while their tribe mates looked on uncomfortably. Though Brandon and Phillip later seemed to make amends, Phillip admitted he was still seething under the surface. "I think he's unstable. I think he should be out of the game," he said. "The first opportunity I have to get him out of the game, he will go." For his part, Brandon added: "As long as I can keep myself under control, I'll be good."
That may have been true, but the tribe never got a chance to find out. While the already downtrodden Fans got ravaged by a two-day rainstorm, the Favorites were dealing with a tornado of their own in the form of Brandon, who woke up the next morning with his blood boiling again. As a result, the tribe contemplates doing "the unthinkable" — forfeiting the challenge so that they could go to Tribal Council that night and vote Brandon out. "It is a degree of compassion for him, as well as potentially a game-saver for us by eliminating him out of the game by throwing a challenge," Phillip explained. "We've got to get Brandon out of camp. He's not sane."