Thursday, March 14, 2013

Survivor: Caramoan Episode 5 Thoughts

I'd love to break down the strategy in this episode, but frankly, there isn't much to talk about strategy wise. Good on Reynold for finding the hidden immunity idol for a second time, and for his desire to keep it under wraps. I get the feeling that them showing Julia working on the fire as Reynold tells Eddie about the idol will come into play somehow, but that won't play out for at least a week.

And Brandon happened.

The first real big take away from this was that Philip has no idea as to how to handle somebody like Brandon, and that's why he'll never be the Boston Rob figure he tried to be. You have to coddle Brandon; he is far too unstable to push away. In short, if Philip had treated Brandon "better" (as better as blatantly lying to somebody can be), this could have been avoided. Instead, Philip continued to treat Brandon as he envisioned Bostson Rob treating him if he messed up, and the whole tribe paid the price.

The other take away from this is how unentertaining it was to watch Brandon melt down at the immunity challenge. This was uncomfortable at it's best; disturbing at it's worst. There were times that it seemed as though he was ready to assault Philip, and he didn't care if he did. He went off in a way that somebody who understood that he was playing a game could never go off. His tantrum at camp was kind off understandable; he was pissed and was going to take the tribe down with him. At the immunity challenge? Something bad was going to happen if Jeff didn't step in.

The thing that made me uncomfortable about it? The way that Jeff Probst grinned though the entire situation. It was as though he was amused by this situation, even though he was doing everything he could to diffuse it and/or keep it from escalating. He correctly read that Brandon had to leave now, or else something bad was going to happen. I couldn't tell if the grin was his producer side sneaking out saying "this is great TV!"

The other uncomfortable factor was that even though it was unentertaining, it was compelling to watch. You could tell that Brandon truly felt everything he was saying; you didn't know if the situation was going to explode. But you felt compelled to watch.

The only thing you could feel after watching this is that Brandon should never be on Survivor or any other reality TV show again. He clearly has issues to deal with which are much larger in scope than anything that can be dealt with on TV. Bringing him back only serves to exploit him; the hope is that he's going to explode once again.

There is also the real question as to whether he should have been brought back in the first place. He went through a lot publically after finishing his first season, and his experiences during the first season were odd at the best of times. I understand that he was a recognizable face from his season, but maybe it would have been better to bring back a Sash, who could create drama in his own way and not make the viewer wonder about what they were watching.

This episode is bound to get everybody talking. The question is whether the discussion is actually a positive for Survivor.

(Blog note: I will probably be late with next week's report as I'll be on vacation in Vegas. With that said, next week will bring the official return of my patented,  completely incorrect power rankings!)

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