There are surprising casting choices, and then there is Brandon Hantz. We were stunned to begin with that Russell Hantz’s nephew got cast on “Survivor: South Pacific” based largely on nepotism alone, and his journey was one of the strangest for any reality-show contestants that we have ever seen. We continually heard that he wanted to try to clear the family name, while at the same time telling lies and creepy out over Mikayla Wingle frolicking around in a bikini.
At times, there were moments where we felt bad for Brandon, and it felt as though he was crumbling under the pressure of everything around him. Here was a young guy who was a father and a husband at a very early age, and he was struggling to battle his demons on a reality TV show that is not exactly well-designed for such a purpose. Typically, the people who go far on “Survivor” are those who actually know who they are as people, and Brandon was thus played like a fiddle to the point where he gave his immunity necklace to Albert, and was voted out immediately as a result.
We get why CBS cast him on “Survivor Caramoan: Fans vs. Favorites,” at least from a standpoint of drama. Brandon is someone who will create TV moments, whether it be by freaking out at other people or getting in his own head and driving himself insane. He also has a history with both John Cochran and Dawn Meehan, so there’s a built-in story that comes along with that.
This is where we have an issue with Brandon’s casting on the show: can this guy win? He is the only person among the Favorites who we legitimately think has no chance. Even if he tries to pull a 180 from his past behavior, we still think he is going to be judged for some of his past mistakes, and he would probably even be judged still for being related to Russell if he made it to the end of the game.
There are some strengths to having Brandon in the game: he’s strong in challenges, can handle himself well around camp, and apparently believes that his word is so binding that he will fall on your own sword for you. Unfortunately, the latter one is almost negated by how unpredictable he is; even if he is loyal, you still run the risk of him spouting off at tribal council and exposing every one of your secrets. He’s not the sort of player you want to align with unless you are 100% sure that you have the numbers for a while; and while he is a good person to take to the end, you still have to get there with him.
Prediction – Brandon’s got a long, hard road ahead of him. Being that the Favorites tribe has Malcolm and Erik on it already, there’s not as much of a need for a physical player like Brandon. Therefore, we’re going out on a limb here and saying that he will actually be the first person to leave this tribe. You need stability in this game, and his liabilities overshadow what he brings to the table when it comes to loyalty and challenge ability.
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