Survivor: Caramoan – also known as Fans vs Favorites 2 – was the 26th season of the show and aired in the spring of 2013. What were the most memorable moments?
Season 26 of Survivor signaled the light near the end of what had been a mostly dark tunnel, as it was the final season of what have become known as the Dark Ages of the show. Survivor: Caramoan implemented a previously popular concept, Fans vs Favorites, meaning ten “popular” players returned to face ten “super fans” of the show.
I used quotations because Survivor brought back former first boot Francesa Hogl as one of the favorites, which was only because of her banter with Phillip Shepard in Redemption Island. Also, the fans cast were about as exciting as watching paint dry (sans Reynold Toepfer), which made for a brutal pre-merge.
Let’s take a look at the most memorable moments from the 26th season of Survivor.
Fans vs Favorites Part Deux
Survivor saw how successful the first Fans vs Favorites was in its initial run in season 16 back in 2008, so naturally they wanted to do it again at some point. The second coming of Fans vs Favorites took place five years later with season 26 and was nowhere close to being what the original was.
Something cool was that Erik Reichenbach, who was a fan on Micronesia, returned as a favorite for Caramoan. Unfortunately he was rewarded for this by getting virtually no air time and was medically evacuated at the final five.
First Boot Again
It was odd seeing Francesca on this season, as she was the first boot on Redemption Island, but as I mentioned above, that was only because she and Phillip (who was also on this season) had themselves an entertaining dynamic at Ometepe’s first tribal council.
Francesca came into Caramoan even more aggressive than she was the first time and it ended with, well – Her being the first boot yet again in cruel fashion. She even said in a confessional prior to tribal council that if she was voted off first again, she’d eat a rock. Still waiting on her to do that.
Because this season took place in the Dark Ages, it only made sense that they wanted to hold onto Russell Hantz as long as humanly possible and they did so by bringing back Brandon Hantz to appear as a favorite on Caramoan.
Brandon clearly wasn’t in a good place when he was on this season and it showed. He and Phillip butted heads throughout and it finally came to a head when he dumped out the favorite tribes’ rice and threatened physical violence against Phillip.
Things got so bad that the favorites forfeited the immunity challenge so that they could vote Brandon out. Jeff Probst sensed it wasn’t a good idea to send Brandon and Phillip back to camp together, so he had an impromptu tribal council right there at the challenge where everyone verbally voted Brandon off. This was a Survivor first and something that needed to happen to ensure everybody’s safety.