Feb. 21, 2013 at 11:37 AM ET
Is it too soon in our relationship to say "I love you" to "Survivor: Caramoan"? Its second installment was even more amazing than the premiere, with a thrilling Tribal Council, an epic blindside and all manner of crazy courtesy of Brandon Hantz, Shamar and Phillip. Also: Hello, Hidden Immunity Idol!
First congratulations are in order: Dawn made it all the way to episode two before bursting into tears! With Brandon yelling "explicatives" (see: "The Specialist's Guide to Malapropism"), we might turn on the waterworks too.
L'il Hantz, you see, is "feeling revengeful" after finding himself outside The Specialist's alliance of six. With madness in his eyes, he says he plans to go "Russell Hantz-style" on his tribe and feels his "uncle's blood coursing through" him, driving him to play "dir-ty to the core."
But overnight, Brandon manages to exorcise his uncle's evil spirit, with the 180 flip frightening Cochran.
"He has these moments of extreme rage and they're almost immediately followed by unbelievable pleasantness -- the sort of behavior befitting a murderer who is sociopathic," notes the candidate for SPF 1,500.
But Brandon's mood sours again after being rebuffed by Special Agent Pink Panther, who calls him a "narcist." (He may garble his diagnosis, but at least the Specialist pronounced his name correctly. "Coreen" wasn't so lucky.)
At Camp Gota, the fans are exasperated by Shamar's indolence. With ominous foreshadowing, Allie says if they go to Tribal Council, voting out the Marine sergeant is "non-negotiable."
Sherri, however, encourages Shamar to keep up the aggro, welcoming him into her alliance with Julia, Laura, Michael and Matt. "Shamar is my Phillip," she crows, "but I get along with my Phillip."
Too bad the rest of her Gota tribe couldn't get along at the challenge for both immunity and reward (a fishing kit).
Owing to their teamwork and smart division of labor, the Favorites took a huge lead in the three-part contest. The favorites retrieved all nine of their submerged rings and had them ashore while Sherri, Hope and Julia has only released two.
But Reynold nearly overcame their deficit in the final ring toss. While Malcolm landed two, The Specialist earned the win -- and more PSI in his already overinflated ego.
The Stealth R Us CEO celebrated their victory by awarding more nicknames -- the Enforcer for Malcolm and True Grit for Dawn -- and then performing a terrifying dance.
Gota weren't dancing or celebrating, unless you count Vote for Shamar Day. Reynold called out Sgt. Boo Boo the Fool for his "unacceptable" behavior, and the Foxy Four expected that his ouster would be unanimous.
Actually Matt was on the fence (it was not love at first sight between the pogonophile and the Iraq War vet), and makes a case for voting out Shamar so that the Cool Kids wouldn't feel betrayed.
Cut to Reynold, who also must be channeling Russell Hantz, because he finds the Hidden Immunity Idol after a brief search of likely hiding places. He's better at finding than concealing, however, and Laura spots the tell-tale bulge in his pocket -- just as the group is departing for their rendezvous with Jeff Probst.
Will she follow the lead of the "Survivor: Philippines" truth vomiters and spill all at Tribal? Our hearts were racing with anticipation while Reynold and Eddie vented about Shamar.
But if Matt and Mike really considered voting out the big man, they changed their minds when Laura revealed what she witnessed.
Obviously Probst is dousing his council members with sodium pentothal, because Reynold immediately fessed up to his "pocketful of Kryptonite" -- and announced that he'd play it immediately.
But he didn't play it at all, and he was crushed when Allie, his snuggle bunny, was voted out 6-4. Eddie's slack-jawed shock is priceless. Aw, the purty people has the sads!
Next time, on "Survivor": More Shamantics from the 300-pound sloth, and Brandon threatens to burn down the shelter and pee in the rice and beans. Hey, it could be worse.
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