Survivor: Caramoan may have offered up the least desired group of “favorites” ever, but the premiere episode delivered on all the glorious strategizing and flip-flopping. Unfortunately, it led to Francesca making history as the only two-time first evictee. I’ll miss her wit and offhanded remarks, but luckily the second episode offers up enough excitement for me to get over her absence.

Brandon Channels Uncle Russell

I’m not the only one who didn’t want to see Francesca exit, because Brandon is raging over the unfairness of voting her off first again. This Survivor episode is titled “Honey Badger” not because this had suddenly become a wildlife show, but it’s what angry Brandon promises he’ll turn into. His anger is actually enough to make poor, sweet Dawn cry. He also believes voting off Francesca is what guaranteed Dawn and Cochran will lose, because he apparently still hasn’t figured out how the game works yet. No Brandon, Francesca getting voted out guaranteed she wasn’t going to win.

Brandon continues to prove his inability to grasp the game by declaring he is going all-out Russell on his tribe. Except his uncle made deceptive moves that ensured he’d get to the end, not moves that would get the entire tribe to hate him and send him packing. The honey badger man sleeps on his rage rather than burning down the shelter, and much like the Incredible Hulk, turns back into a kind man. Cochran describes Brandon best by labeling him a sociopath.

Speaking of crazy people, the pink-underweared special agent, Phillip, has declared himself the CEO of Stealth R Us. Is this a new store where you can buy night vision goggles?  No, apparently it is the name of his alliance, except all he does is give everyone nicknames. Though he really gives you perspective on how life must be with Brandon, when Phillip actually calls him crazy. Ouch.

Shamar the Goat

Shamar announce his strategy of doing nothing and sleeping all the time, because this is the secret to never getting voted off in his world. Obviously every tribe is begging for their very own version of the unemployed, slacker son. Actually, his strategy may work since the one strategic member of Gota, Sherri, wants him to be her Phillip that is dragged to the end. Of course, that makes Shamar this season’s goat, and not any proof his strategy is working to actually win a million dollars. I have a feeling he may end up being far too heavy to drag along for that long, though.

Hoop Tossing Challenge

The reward and immunity challenges get combined this week, which is fine since things are actually pretty entertaining at the camps this season. The reward is fishing gear, because it is still too early for donuts and product placement. The competitors are back in the water this week as four member go on a raft that is then pulled by other members to a dock, where they then dive down to remove bamboo stick so that hoops can float to the top.  The hoops are then brought back to the shore, and two other members must toss three of the hoops on to poles. Malcolm decides to be a tosser again, probably hoping to prove to his tribe that he can bring home victory.

Both tribes get to the dock at relatively the same time, but it appears Gota is stuck with people who don’t like to actually be underwater. Bikal quickly retrieves all the hoops, goes back to the beach, and Malcolm has successfully landed two hoops before Gota finally retrieves every hoop. But Gota has Reynold back on hoop tossing, and it was his magic of sandbag tossing that caught them up last time. It looks like history will be repeated when he immediately lands a hoop. Of course, Bikal has a special secret agent, and he gets the last hoop on a pole before Reynold can really get some momentum. My wife called the finish once the music suddenly got all dramatic, but you need dramatic music when the pink underwear adorned agent is at work.

Malcolm the Enforcer … for Now

Bikal seems to be one big happy family now that they won immunity and fish gear. Phillip even shows off his hot dance moves to Brenda. He also reveals his alliance along with their very crucial nicknames. No respected alliance can go far without nicknames like Dominatrix, Eliminator and True Grit. Malcolm is officially accepted into the fold when he is called the Enforcer. It appears like Malcolm only plans playing along for a few more days, and may be looking at dethroning the self-appointed CEO of Stealth R Us.  

Is That a Bulge in Your Pants or Are You Just Really Stupid?

The Cool Table alliance immediately declares their desire to send Shamar home. Their prettiness may be hurting their math skills, because an alliance of four doesn’t have any power in a tribe of 10. Matt and his beard of epicness swears his allegiance to the Cool Table by pledging to vote off Shamar. That lasts for a whole two seconds before he meets up with Sherri and Michael and starts discussing which Cool Table member needs to go home. I love how many players are totally into being deceptive this season, and we don’t need to worry about the lame moralizing of past seasons.

Reynold goes off treasure hunting, and immediately discovers the hidden Immunity idol. Remember when people needed clues to find these things? After his discovery, Reynold promises he will be super sneaky and not let anyone figure out what he found. The poor guy will never be good enough for Stealth R Us Inc. because he seems to forget that pockets bulge when something is in them. Laura immediately figures out he has the idol.

The Abi Strategy of Idol Hiding

Tribal council is a bit more heated this week. The Cool Table continues to make their Shamar hate clear. Shamar defends his laziness by saying he is a scapegoat, which is partly correct, he just needs to remove the word “scape.”

During the banter, Laura brings up that she thought the tribe was one big family. It can’t be a family when someone is coming to tribal council with an Idol that he didn’t tell anyone about. Reynold then prove his amazing stealth skills by then immediately revealing he does have the idol. Because it always makes sense to copy moves done by Abi from last season. Poor Reynold now looks like a kid who was told Christmas is cancelled and is on the verge of crying for the rest of council.

The Cool Table Is Missing a Leg 

After the voting Probst reveals four straight parchments with Shamar’s name. Eddie starts looking giddy, because he seems not to realize the Cool Table happens to consist of four people. The party ends when Allie’s name shows up six straight thus ending her run. The Cool Table is also now very lopsided. Allie is obviously the smartest choice, since she also seems to be the only one in that alliance that understands strategy.

Sherri’s alliance seems solid, and they might be picking off the beautiful people. Though that can only happen if the tribe can actually put up with Shamar for much longer. 

Compete in Fantasy TV: Make your picks on who you think will be going home. Hurry, you have until February 27 at 12pm PST to cast your vote!

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Chris Spicer

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV