March 21, 2013 at 1:27 PM ET
After Brandon Hantz's explosive exit from "Survivor: Caramoan" last week, it seemed like this "Fans vs. Favorites" edition of the reality granddaddy had nowhere to go but up.
Don't misunderstand: Brandon's brand of crazy was painful to watch. Possibly the only viewers who found his meltdown even remotely entertaining were Brandon and the rest of Hantz clan.
Unfortunately, instead of really exploring the repercussions of his violent exodus and the advantages it gave the Favorites tribe, "Survivor" responded with a diversionary tactic: a tribe reshuffle.
As the groups reconvened to compete in the same challenge that Brandon's premature boot made unnecessary, Jeff Probst announced the end of Fans vs. Favorites. Through a random selection, the tribes regrouped into the most lopsided contest since "Survivor: Fiji's" Haves vs. Have-Nots.
Bikal reinvented itself as the Mostly Misfits, led by the wildly delusional Phillip: Corrine, Cochran, Dawn, Julia, Michael and Matt (RIP).
Gota, on the other hand, formed Tribe Bold and the Beautiful (moniker courtesy of Lunch Table Eddie, who must have been insufferable in high school). Although anchored by powerhouses Malcolm and Reynold, the remaining new tribemates -- Eddie, Erik, Brenda, Andrea and Sherri -- are all athletic competitors who have proven themselves in the challenges.
Inevitably, Gota railroaded Bikal for an easy immunity win -- a trend likely to continue unless we quickly see a merge, another reshuffle or the challenges consist solely of Sudoku and acrostic puzzles.
If not, the terrible aftermath of Brandon's exit might have doomed this season of "Survivor" for one team -- and for viewers.
What do you think? Is "Survivor" better or worse now that Brandon Hantz is out of the game? Sound off on our Facebook page!
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