Survivor: South Pacific - God made them do it (spoiler alert)
I hate to break it to Brandon, but I think God likes Coach better than him.
It looked like "divine intervention" had foiled Coach's plan to send Brandon to Redemption Island after Brandon won the immunity challenge on Wednesday's show.
But then a couple of things happened: God "talked" to Brandon and told him to give his immunity necklace to Albert and God "talked" to Coach and told him to vote out Brandon.
So voila, Coach gets his wish and Brandon goes to Redemption. Way to outwit and outplay, God!
Of course, the skeptics among us would say that it was Coach and Albert who were really doing the outplaying. Poor earnest Brandon didn't stand a chance.
Sophie and Coach hatched the original plan to send Brandon to Redemption Island, where he and Ozzy, dubbed the "two most dangerous" players in the game, could battle it out.
For Sophie, it was about Brandon's perceived loyalty and godliness winning him jury votes. For Coach, it seemed to be more about old grudges; Brandon reminded Coach of uncle Russell Hantz, especially after Brandon interrupted a conversation between Coach and Albert and demanded to know what they were talking about.
"Bullying people is not gonna help you at this point," said Coach. "It's so reminiscent of Russell, I'm having flashbacks."
Coach had the three required votes to oust Brandon once Cowboy Rick fell into line, even though Albert was agitating to dump Sophie (Coach's theory: Albert was intimidated by Sophie. "I think it's because Sophie's smarter than Albert").
Coach looked a bit like the cat that swallowed the canary as he waited for the immunity challenge to begin.
(As an aside, has anybody ever been more excited about pizza than Jeff Probst as he told the castaways about the winner's food reward? "Here we go for immunity and reward in the form of pizza!" he exclaimed, with the emphasis on the pizza.)
Brandon and Rick were neck and neck in the early part of the challenge, which involved climbing a steep wall to retrieve bags of puzzle pieces, but Rick was, er, puzzled by the puzzle. The castaways had to sort the puzzle pieces into pairs, finding the three odd pieces and using the numbers on the back of them to open a combination lock that released a flag at the top of the wall. Brandon and Coach both solved the puzzle, but Brandon had climbed up and opened his lock before Coach could get up the wall.
Back at camp, the pizza (!) got delivered by jet ski, which I have to admit was pretty awesome.
Brandon had chosen Rick to share the food. And while they ate, Coach and Sophie plotted against Albert.
Albert, perhaps not being quite as dumb as Sophie likes to think, realized right away that when Sophie approached Rick and Brandon to "smell" the pizza (no one but them was allowed to eat it) she was really giving them the word to vote against him.
But this is Brandon we're talking about and nothing is ever as simple as just doing what he's told. He wanted to talk to Albert before he voted him out, give him a chance to put his foot in his mouth. Albert did that in spectacular fashion.
If you'll recall, the episode began with Albert telling Rick, "You and me are still going to the end." Albert had assessed Rick as the "least dangerous person left in the game (because) he hasn't done anything strategically at all, he hasn't done anything in the challenges."
But Albert had already promised to take Brandon to the final three, although he had no intention of keeping that promise.
Brandon, Rick and Sophie ganged up on Albert and confronted him with his lies. And Albert just kept lying, to Sophie's delight. "It's like he's on the toilet bowl ... we all get to have a little chance to flush him down," she said.
Actually, it was more like premature evacuation.
Albert took one more run at Brandon, alone on the beach. "Why would I want to take someone like that to the end with me?" he asked, reminding Brandon of Rick's "Princess Albert" taunt.
How could Brandon resist a chance to show his godliness and integrity? "I love Albert, he's my friend. How am I not to forgive? I'm an imperfect person. I've got to forgive him," Brandon said.
Just agreeing not to write Albert's name down would be one thing. Coach would still have enough votes with Rick and Sophie to get Albert out. But Brandon decided to seal the deal by giving Albert his immunity necklace. And in keeping with his honour and integrity shtick, he told Coach he was doing it.
"I know you'll never vote against me," Brandon told Coach. "I just honestly believe this is what God wants us to do."
Coach needed to hear it from the Man himself. So he prayed, on his hands and knees, facedown in the sand, "and there was a name in my head, over and over and over again. And I cleaned the slate and I asked for it again, and it came over and over and over again."
Cut to tribal council, where Brandon announced, "I want to give my immunity necklace up," leaving Jeff and the jury agape as Brandon handed it over to Albert.
"I had a lot of time to pray with Albert. I knew if I didn't give him the immunity tonight he was going to Redemption," Brandon explained.
Then, to try to explain how his sense of loyalty works, he told a story about being in a gang when he was younger and being willing to give his life for his homies. In fact, sometimes a huge brawl with a rival gang would be planned "and I'd be the only one standing there. No one would show up."
"So it wasn't really a gang," said Jeff.
"It was people taking my loyalty for whatever they wanted to use it for and leaving me hanging," said Brandon.
Could there be any doubt at that point that Brandon was getting ganged up on all over again? Even Brandon started to realize he was in trouble.
Rick spilled the beans that Coach was the only other tribe member who was safe since he had a hidden immunity idol. And then Rick invited Albert to give the immunity necklace back to Brandon "if he thinks Brandon is in trouble."
As if. Albert had just heard Rick and Sophie diss him as sneaky and he's going to hand the necklace back to Brandon? He'd have been a bigger fool than Brandon if he did that. Instead, he lied, "I don't believe he's going home tonight so I'm not gonna give him the necklace back."
Whether Coach was divinely inspired or not, he did exactly what he'd planned to do at the beginning of the episode: he voted Brandon out. With Sophie and Rick following suit, Brandon's torch was snuffed.
"It's God's will. Go win Redemption," Coach whispered to Brandon.
The question now is whether the man of God or Nature Boy will prevail in the final duel. Jeff said that whoever wins the next duel, Brandon or Ozzy, will get back in the game.
Speaking of Ozzy, you didn't really think that Edna was going to beat him, did you? I know last week's promo made it look that way, but the promos lie.
Mind you, she appeared to have a fighting chance thanks to her former tribe mates. As Jeff noted, "The same people that voted Edna out so desperately don't want Ozzy back in that they're now helping her."
Edna was hopelessly behind in the duel, which involved solving a slide puzzle to release a hatchet, chopping a rope to get at a bag of puzzle pieces and then stacking multi-coloured cubes so that the same colour didn't repeat on any one side.
Edna was still on the slide puzzle while Ozzy worked on the cubes. Her former tribe mates yelled instructions until she was able to release the hatchet. Then they yelled enough instructions on the cube puzzle to get Edna to the point where she thought she had Ozzy beat.
Luckily, she didn't. Ozzy, working alone, placed his last cube and won the duel.
I mean seriously. Can you imagine Ozzy, the one-man challenge-winning machine, getting shut down by Edna? Can you imagine how boring next week's duel would be watching Brandon vs. Edna?
Maybe God's a Survivor fan after all.
The end of the season is upon is. Sunday night is the two-hour finale, followed by the one-hour reunion show, starting at 8 p.m. on Global TV.
It looks to me like the season is Coach's to lose, but the wild card is Ozzy. If he beats Brandon and gets back in the game, and if he wins enough challenges to make final three (or if Coach keeps his word and takes him there voluntarily), I figure he'd have the votes of all the former Savaii members, maybe even including Cochran.
All will be revealed. I'm considering live blogging the finale. What do you think? Would you be into that? You can comment here, Tweet me @realityeo or comment on my Facebook page.