'Survivor: South Pacific' votes off Brandon Hantz, eliminates Edna Ma
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/15/2011
Survivor: South Pacific's merged Te Tuna tribe voted Brandon Hantz out of their tribe during Wednesday night's broadcast of the thirteenth episode of the CBS reality series' 23rd edition.
"I think there's definitely going to be a lot of critics about the move that I made and the funny part about it is that I don't care. You're not out here for 35 days and you haven't built a relationship out here, and if you haven't played before, you're not going to understand. This game's not made for me," Brandon, a 19-year-old oil tanker crewman from Katy, TX, said upon arriving at Redemption Island.
In addition, previously voted off castaway Edna Ma lost the season's tenth Redemption Island duel to Oscar "Ozzy" Lusth, a former Survivor: Cook Islands and Survivor: Micronesia -- Fans vs. Favorites castaway, and was permanently ousted from the game. However, she will become the sixth member of Survivor: South Pacific's jury.
"Gosh, for me having just been out here shows that I can do something and I can survive the extremes of elements. I think that that's something I can show to them," Edna, a 35-year-old anesthesiologist from Los Angeles, CA, told Survivor host Jeff Probst when asked what she will take back to her family following her experience on the show.
As the game's newest Tribal Council victim, Brandon will now take Edna's place on Redemption Island, where he will battle Ozzy, a 30-year-old currently residing in Venice, CA, in the game's next duel in attempt to earn the chance to rejoin the game's other remaining castaways and resume competing for Survivor: South Pacific's million dollar prize.
Survivor: South Pacific's thirteenth broadcast began on Night 32 with the Te Tuna tribe -- which consisted of Sophie Clarke, a 22-year-old medical student from Willsboro, NY; Albert Destrade, a 26-year-old "baseball/dating coach" from Plantation, FL; Brandon; Rick Nelson, a 51-year-old rancher from Aurora, UT; and former Survivor: Tocantins and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains castaway "Coach" Benjamin Wade, a 39-year-old currently residing in Susanville, CA -- arriving back at camp following the season's sixth Tribal Council session since the merge.
Everyone was really excited about being in the Final 5 and congratulated each other on their success so far in the game.
"It's a beautiful feeling. Just walking back into camp, we can just feel as if that cloud was lifted off of us and we're all feeling pretty good. We did what we said we were going to do. We know that we can go at it with honor, loyalty and integrity," Coach said.
"We knew that this day was going to come. More stuff is going to hit the fan because we know that there's no more loyalty. We know that it's every cat for himself, and so, the alliances that people have built up to this point, the alliances within the alliances so far, are going to be revealed. The real game begins tonight."
Albert told Sophie it was very important for Ozzy to not win the final duel and rejoin the game because he would pose a big threat. While it seemed like Albert was very close with Sophie, he admitted afterwards that she was going to be the next person to do and she didn't see it coming.
"Since early on in the game, I've been planning to go to the end with Coach and Sophie, but the more and more I look at it, Sophie's getting increasingly dangerous. She's a very well-spoken girl, very intelligent. She's starting to build a little bit of a resume. She's got two immunity wins under he belt, and I frankly, don't know if I want to sit next to her in the end," Albert explained on Day 33.
Albert then told Rick the two of them were going to make it to the end together and nothing had changed between them. Albert said he didn't like Rick as a person the best out of everyone left in the game, but he felt Rick was the "least dangerous" person in the game because he had done nothing strategic and failed to win any challenges.
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Albert declared in a confessional that his key Final 3 would be himself with "the cult leader" Coach and Rick.
Later on, Jeff met with Ozzy, Edna and the whole Te Tuna tribe for the game's tenth duel and explained the rules.
For the duel, Ozzy and Edna were required to race to complete a slide puzzle, releasing a hatchet. They must use the hatchet to chop a rope, releasing a bag of puzzle cubes, and then stack the four cubes so that there were no repeating colors on any of the four sides. Each vertical side had to present all four colors -- red, yellow, green, and blue.
The first person to finish the task would stay alive in the game and remain on Redemption Island, while the person to lose would be eliminated from Survivor: South Pacific.
The castaways then squared off in the duel and Edna really struggled with the slide puzzle, so Ozzy gained a commanding lead. However, Ozzy had trouble with the Rubik's cube-like part of the challenge, allowing Edna to catch up. Edna had the entire Te Tuna tribe helping her and hollering out answers, while Ozzy worked alone. Although it ended up getting fairly close, Ozzy ended up winning the duel.
After the duel, the Te Tuna tribe walked back to camp. Albert said in Survivor, he really didn't care about integrity and honor even though that's what his tribe had preached the entire game. While he had told Rick he'd take him to the end, Brandon thought it was going to be himself, Albert and Coach in the Final 3.
Albert had no issue with Brandon assuming that because he said his strategy was to convince Brandon he'd never write his name down, as to not compromise their alliance and Brandon's loyalty to him.
"I made an agreement with Albert and I believe that to be 100% percent and as long as me, Coach and Albert stay on course and vote off Sophie, we'll definitely be in control then for sure no matter what," Brandon said.
Albert and Brandon then agreed that Sophie was next, while Sophie told Coach they should get rid of Brandon and send him to Redemption Island -- allowing the two most "dangerous" players in the game to duke it out in a duel to get one of them officially out.
Sophie didn't like the fact that Ozzy, being on Redemption Island with all the previously eliminated castaways, got to be the last person to talk to all of them personally and "comfort them" and "feed them" information.
"I think Coach and I are really on the same page. We both recognize that Brandon has done things in the past, but I think we've seen a change in Brandon since the merge -- superficially at least. He's the most loyal, the most trustworthy, the most Godly-man out here, and that's not somebody that I would want to go to the Final 3 with," Sophie said.
Rick told Sophie and Coach he'd vote out Brandon next with them. Albert then told Coach that Sophie seemed like the number one threat, as she posed a bigger danger than Brandon in the end because the jury "wouldn't respect" how Brandon had played the game. Coach said it was very disheartening to hear Albert turn on Sophie because he had a tight alliance with Sophie ever since he had discovered the hidden Immunity Idol.
Coach said Albert was beginning to get intimidated by Sophie because she no longer acted as a "mouse" in the game. He said she was being more outspoken and outgoing, ready to state her case at Tribal Council sessions. Coach then tried to convince Albert to keep Sophie around, telling him that he didn't know how the jury worked as a defense.
Brandon interrupted Coach and Albert's conversation, insisting they weren't talking about who would pose the biggest threats when it came to the jury. Coach seemed extremely annoyed and told him he was turning into a "bully" and was showing his true Hantz colors -- as Brandon is the nephew of Russell Hantz, who had competed on Survivor: Redemption Island, Survivor: Samoa and Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains.
"Brandon really pissed me off. I think Mr. Hantz came down and gave Brandon a shot of Hantz. All of a sudden, Brandon comes bullying up to us and is like, 'Well what are you guys talking about?' First of all, it's rude to interrupt somebody's conversation. Number two, bullying people is not going to help you at this point, in fact, it's going to seal your fate. It's so reminiscent of Russell, that I'm having flashbacks," Coach said.
Coach told him that he didn't like seeing Brandon make moves and treat people in a way that reminded him of Russell's old gameplay, which ultimately destroyed Coach's shot at the million dollars in a previous Survivor season. As a result, Brandon apologized and asked Coach for a hug.
On Day 35, the Te Tuna tribe met with Jeff again, who then explained the rules to what would be their eighth Individual Immunity Challenge. Jeff told the castaways they would be required to climb a massive wall, collecting bags of puzzle pieces along the way. With each bag, they'd make their way further up the wall, and once they collected all five bags, they had to sort the pieces into pairs.
However, three of the pieces would not match up, and those misfit pieces would reveal a number code. The castaways must then race back to the top and use their number code to unlock a box. The first person to get their box open and raise their flag would win individual immunity and be safe at the next Tribal Council session.
In addition, Jeff revealed the castaways were also playing for reward in that the winner would receive a pizza, soft drink and garlic bread delivered to the camp.
Brandon ended up winning individual immunity much to everyone's dismay. Jeff told him that not only would be get a pizza, but he could choose one other person to eat their own pizza as well. The pair would have to eat their reward in front of the other tribemates and were not allowed to share even one piece with anyone else.
Coach was "pissed" about Brandon's victory because he could no longer vote him off. However, Coach called it "Divine Intervention" and said he was "at peace with it."
Later that day, while Brandon and Rick enjoyed their reward, Sophie and Coach agreed they must get rid of Albert since Brandon was no longer an option because he had won immunity.
"Today, worst case scenario happened. Brandon won immunity. We were hoping to get Brandon out tonight, so I feel like the way to go right now is Albert. Coach and I have both agreed that Albert has just been getting on our nerves more and more and more since the merge. He's been sneaky. He thinks he's more strategic than everyone else. Everything he does is the 'smartest and most strategic decision possible.' More and more, I'm feeling like Albert should go home tonight," Sophie explained.
Sophie told Brandon and Rick she was going to vote off Albert, and Rick told them that Albert had promised him they'd be in the Final 3 together. Sophie, surprised by that statement, called Albert "the sneakiest guy" out there. Brandon then approached Albert about his motives because he had a decision to make, and Albert insisted he had never spoken against Brandon in the game.
Rick then announced what Albert had discussed with him earlier about their alliance, and Albert bluntly denied the claim. Brandon was angry because he thought Albert was lying, but then Albert asked why Rick's word was considered higher than his. Rick, frustrated that Albert had backstabbed him, called him out for trying to get rid of him in the game before.
"It's so gratifying seeing everything with Albert exposed just because now, instead of a nice little blindside, he gets to go out looking even more pathetic than he's looked this whole game," Sophie said. "It's like he's in the toilet bowl and Brandon and Coach and I and Rick, we all get to have a chance at flushing him down. He keeps kind of scrambling back up, but I think Jeff will put in the final flush tonight."
"I think Brandon took the lid off Pandora's box today for me and I just got thrown with a storm of crap. I got a heck of a lot of damage control to do if I want to have a prayer of escaping tonight's vote. If I could just draw Brandon back over with me, man, I'm right back where I need to be," Albert said.
Albert said there was no reason why he would take Rick to the end, especially since Rick had called him a "princess" earlier in the game. Albert asked Brandon to not "close his heart" on him, and Brandon wasn't sure about what to do because he considered Albert -- the "wild card" a good friend and felt he deserved forgiveness.
Albert then told Brandon he of course had deals with people in the game prior to that moment but they were bonds that were broken a long time ago, and he claimed his alliance with Brandon was always the strongest.
Brandon then admitted everyone had lied in the game before, even himself, so he began to consider keeping Albert around. As a result, Brandon ultimately decided he wasn't going to vote Albert out because he could see inside of him and believed he deserved to stay and didn't have bad intentions in the game.
Brandon then told Albert he'd give him his immunity necklace if necessary at the upcoming Tribal Council session to ensure his safety.
After Brandon came to a conclusion, he sat down with Coach and asked him to accept his proposal of keeping Albert in the game. Brandon said if he needed to, he'd give Albert his immunity necklace and wanted Coach to be forgiving of his brother.
"I want things to be easy and simple, and earlier today, it was kind of black and white because we had one man, Albert, that had completely lied to Rick. So it's justification that he goes, and then Brandon brings in forgiveness and the immunity necklace, and it makes it so hard to determine right from wrong. It makes it so hard to figure out who should go, who deserves to stay, which alliance I should be in, which people I can trust," Coach said.
Coach then prayed and told Brandon he'd make his decision based on what God told him to do. Afterward, Coach said he kept seeing the same name over, and over, and over again in his mind.
"My soul has never grieved like it does in this moment," Coach said.
That night, Survivor: South Pacific's castaways arrived for their seventh Tribal Council as a merged Te Tuna tribe.
"I want to give my immunity necklace up," Brandon said immediately, making a move that clearly shocked Jeff and everyone on the jury.
He gave his necklace to Albert and explained he wanted to remain true to the commitments he had made. He wanted to finish what he had started.
"I've just had a lot of time to pray with Albert and I knew that if I didn't give him immunity tonight, that he was going to Redemption. It's really hard to explain because my loyalty is a little bit different," Brandon said, adding that he used to be involved in "gangs" and was always loyal to people who didn't always reciprocate the same behavior.
Jeff told Brandon he just made a potential million-dollar decision, but he said he felt good with his choice because he considered Albert and Coach to be his two best friends. Albert said Brandon's decision "blew his mind" but he understood his choice because he felt like their bond was real. He said their connection was on a different level spiritually than his other relationships on the island.
Albert then admitted that it Brandon was truly in need of the necklace, he would show the same kindness and help him out by giving it back.
Sophie said she didn't know what to believe because Albert was "sneaky." The tribe then revealed they all knew Coach had the hidden Immunity Idol and they weren't going to vote for him because if he had suspected at any moment people were turning on him, he could play it.
Rick then made it clear Brandon was in trouble just like Sophie and himself were, and as a result, he called Albert out. Rick implied that Albert had a chance to prove his word was good and give the necklace back to Brandon to ensure his safety in the game. Brandon could sense he was in the hot seat and said it was up to Albert what he wanted to do.
"It's a ton of pressure, but I hope Brandon feels comfortable with me, him and Coach, knowing that he can make a move like this and go untouched. Honestly, I don't think he's going home tonight, so I'm not going to give him the necklace back," Albert said.
Coach said his decision was based on what God had told him and he was "at peace" with who he was going to vote for.
Jeff then revealed the votes and three people voted for Brandon, while two people voted for Sophie. Coach whispered to Brandon that his decision was based on God's will upon his exit, and Brandon's torch was then extinguished and he left the premises.
The closing credits revealed that besides Brandon, Albert was the other castaway who had voted for Sophie.