To win Survivor, there is always an element of luck and chance, but for 41-year-old phys-ed teacher Brendan Shapiro, the odds stacked against him were just too much. His fate was determined ultimately by Michael, who chose incorrectly as to whom he should use his Immunity Idol on.
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Yes Brendan. There seems to always be at least one Brendan “type” on each season, a loyal, honest stand-up guy cut from the mold of Colby Donaldson or Tom Westerman. They just can’t help but lead, as it’s just a part of who they are. Brendan’s short time in the game showed him giving some inspirational “pep talks” to his tribe mates, and being thought of as the “leader,” which we all know is not the role that you want to be perceived to have on Survivor.
After the tribe swap, Brendan found himself on the minority of the new Orange tribe, along with his closest ally Michael, Stephanie and Jenna. With the majority alliance looking quite unbreakable, it appeared that the minority’s only hope was on the hidden Immunity Idol that Michael had found…one of the two actual Idols from Survivor: China that James Clement famously never used and was voted out with. We see this scenario quite often on Survivor, the game of “Survivor Roulette”: On which person should the Idol be played? Even after Michael’s quite brilliant lie at Tribal Council – where he announced that his Idol could protect not just one person, but two people – his gut told him to play it on Stephanie, so that’s what he did. Sadly for Brendan though, the majority five alliance put votes on him and not Stephanie, because they figured no one would ever suspect they’d target likable Brendan. They were right.
I had the chance to speak to Brendan today on the FilmSurvivor Podcast (the full audio of which you can find and download at the bottom of this article). But here were some highlights from the interview:
On that crazy Tribal Council last night:
Brendan Shapiro: It was kind of like, you see the train coming down the track and it’s far away, yet you can’t get off the track. It’s that kind of feeling. I kind of saw it coming and it ran me over unfortunately.
On Michael’s Tribal Council lie:
Brendan: Full credit to Michael on that one. We had kind of discussed how to approach Tribal Council together, but when it comes to that specific piece, that the Idol would cover two people…look, it made a lot of sense, I would have believed it. That was 100% him, he came up with that on his own. He’s a really savvy player and it’s starting to come through on the edit, I just think he’s a triple-threat, I really do.
On his age, at 41, being the oldest male in the game this season:
Brendan: I was shocked when I saw how young everyone was. And you might have to ask them this, but I kind of felt like I was able to integrate pretty well. But I’d say that’s sort of equal credit to both me and the other players out there…it wasn’t just me integrating myself, it was everybody out there looking to bring everybody else into the fold. It was a good group, they made it easy on me. I mean look, I was the old man out there, and I knew it. But I was never made to feel like the odd-one-out.
For much more from Brendan Shapiro, including my full interview, please listen to the latest episode of the FilmSurvivor Podcast below or by clicking here.
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Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe