Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden
She Obviously is Post-Op
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
October 5, 2008

She's too cute to be voted off this soon!

Hello, good people, and welcome back to BOP's Survivor Gabon recap. Last week 18 Americans set out to begin the adventure of a lifetime. Unfortunately, two of them didn't make it out of premiere night. The tribes were determined by the pick 'em format and one tribe picked well. The other? Not so much. The Fang tribe lost the first three challenges in a row and were forced to jettison the athletic and feisty Michelle and the annoying and weak Gillian. On the flipside, the Kota tribe is all harmony and yoga. But behind the scenes, a potentially lethal alliance is growing. Charlie, Marcus, Jacque and Corinne have formed a foursome that seems to be quite strong. They have a plan to bring in the physics teacher, Bob, as their fifth member. If they stay true, they could be THE force to be reckoned with. Without further ado, let's check it out and see how they do this week.

The show begins after Tribal as the Fang tribe returns to camp. They all seem to be happy to still be in the game. Crystal tells us they got rid of a major weak link and then discussions turn to winning the challenges. Randy tells us that his entire tribe is comprised of "complete idiots" and he doesn't see how they can possibly win. And on that high note, cue the opening theme...

We come back from break to the next day at Fang camp. Randy tells us that on Day 7, they're now halfway done with their rice. He says they've been having three meals a day and that has to stop. He then tells the tribe that they need to cut back on their meals. GC isn't too thrilled with this idea, which causes Randy to call him a cancer on his tribe. We then cut to GC asking Randy if he's the leader of the tribe. What follows is as dumb an argument as I've seen on the show. Dan tells us that their biggest problem is that they're fighting amongst each other and are not unified.

Over at Kota, the boys are fishing again and Charlie is telling us about his alliance and how Sugar is now attached to Ace. He feels that the rest of his tribe is kinda all over the place, so his alliance of four should be good. We then join Paloma talking to Kelly about how annoying Ace is. As they're talking about Ace, Ace and Sugar are talking about them. Sugar then tells us that she and Ace have a bond and that he'll take care of her. As we think about Right Said Fred hooking up with the pinup model, Tree Mail arrives. It suggests some kind of comfort will be won in the next challenge. Ace points out that while he wants to win every challenge, reward is not near as important as immunity and he suggests sitting out the stronger people in this challenge, so they'll be available in the immunity challenge. While he's right about immunity being the most important thing, the one thing he forgot about is momentum. Right now, his tribe has it. If they go on and win this next challenge and deny any kind of comfort item to could be the straw that breaks that tribe. If you even give them a glimmer of hope or momentum by losing this challenge, they're right back in it. But if you kick their ass again, the doubts REALLY start to set in.

Probst sighting!! Today's challenge will be all physical. One member of each tribe will sit on the ground and wrap their arms and legs around a wooden pole. Two members of the other tribe will then run out to pull that person off the pole and drag them down the course and across a line. First tribe to do that gets a point. First tribe to get two points wins reward. Wanna know what they're playing for? Well, it is definitely comfort items. Bedding, blankets, mats, hammock and pillows. Also, they'll get to send someone to Exile Island. Due to the setup of this challenge, each tribe will have to sit some folks out. Fang sits out Kenny. Kota sits out Corinne, Jacque and Kelly. Let's get to it.

Dan and Ace start off on the posts. Charlie and Marcus will go after Dan, while GC and Matty go after Ace. Marcus and Charlie are quick to get Dan off the post, while Ace isn't even close to getting pulled off the post. As Dan gets close to the end, GC has simply given up and Ace never leaves the post. Kota leads 1-0. As we ready for the next round, Ace tells Paloma that she should go to the post next. Hmmm...sounds like he's protecting his little girlfriend. Anyway, Paloma and Susie are next up on the posts. Bob and Sugar will attack while Randy and Crystal will take on Paloma in the mismatch of the century. It takes them very little time to drag Paloma across the line and the score is tied. Last round, Ace and Dan are back on the posts. This time Marcus and Bob will attack Dan while Matty and Crystal will go after Ace. As we saw last time, Dan gets taken off the post while Ace hangs tough. As Bob and Marcus are dragging Dan back to the line, Ace finally gets pulled off the post. After a few minutes, you hear Dan yell at Crystal to hurry up, as he can't hold on much longer. That must have been enough, because she and Matty finally drag Ace across the line and Fang finally wins a challenge. Along with the win, they decide to send Sugar to Exile. She says that she knew they'd pick her because they think she's dumb. And with that, she's on her way to Exile while Fang gathers their winnings and heads back to camp.

We come back from break to a very excited Fang tribe. They are just thrilled to win a challenge and to see Kota forced to leave a challenge with THEIR heads down. Dan says that for the first time, they feel like a team and maybe this can be the start of a little roll for them.

Over at Kota, they're telling themselves that they can't feel bad, they competed really well. Ace lets them all know that it's not that big of a deal and they're all set for the immunity challenge. Paloma then tells us that she didn't have a chance against Crystal. She also mentions that it was interesting the way Ace protected Sugar by not putting her on the pole. We join a larger discussion about how Paloma should be the first one to go as she's the weak link. Ace tells us that he doesn't think she's motivated and that was enough to put her atop the list of people to be voted out.

Next up is another trip to Exile Island with Sugar. With no hesitation, Sugar takes the clue over the comfort. And with her map in hand, she takes off in search of what Dan couldn't find after hours and hours of digging. As she makes her way through the jungle, she gets a couple ants on her and completely freaks out. She makes it through that though and continues on. As she does, she tells us how she went on Survivor to help her get over her father's death. He died seven months ago and she's having trouble with that. As she comes out of the jungle, she finds the huge crater referenced in the first clue. I'll note here that Dan wasn't anywhere near this place when he was searching. After looking around for a bit, Sugar finds the second clue. And then what do you know? She finds the third clue. And the fourth clue. The fourth clue takes her into a creek (complete with alligators). As she crosses the creek to a tree she thinks may have the next clue, she once again freaks out over nothing. But when all is said and done, her tree does, in fact, hold the immunity idol. So I guess all her freaking out and crying has paid off as she has the ultimate Get Out of Jail Free Card.

We come back from the break to Kota for some pre-challenge strategizing. Bob and Ace are discussing the lower folks on the totem pole. And they are Paloma and Sugar. Bob tells us how much Ace is putting his faith in Sugar and how he will take her to the end. We then join Bob talking to Corinne and she point blank tells him that she has four and if he joins them, they will have a strong five and they could run this game. While Bob seems to be down with this plan, Corinne tells us that none of the four of them plans on keeping Bob, they just need his vote. While this is cold and calculating, I have to say it shows me, once again, that this foursome has it going on and could easily run the table on this game. Tree Mail arrives and with it, bikinis. WOO HOO! Marcus tells us that this is the most crucial challenge yet. Fang tasted victory and if Kota can crush them again here, this could really take the wind out of their sails.

Probst sighting!!! Sugar is brought back from Exile Island and as someone mentions that she was gone so long, she says, "I know" and then shoots a dirty look at Probst. He quickly points out that he didn't send her. None of this is important really; I just wanted to mention how adorable she can be when she wants to. Forget the idol, for a second...this girl could go far in this game on personality alone. Back to the's challenge is a slip-n-slide challenge. The players will slide down a wet slide into the water. They will then get a number tile. Once all six tiles are brought back, one person will work a math problem. Once they have the answer, that number will be the combination to a trunk. First tribe to open the trunk and raise the tribe flag wins immunity. Paloma and Sugar will sit this one out. And Bob and Ken will be the math problem solvers. Survivors ready?

Kelly starts off for Kota against Crystal. While Kelly's slide is perfect and Crystal basically falls on her ass, Crystal still makes it back with her tile first. Next up are Corinne and Susie and Corinne quickly takes the lead back. Kota keeps the lead throughout the slip-n-slide portion of the challenge. But Matty does close the gap so that Bob and Ken are both working on the puzzle at the same time. Bob is the first one done with the puzzle and when he enters the combination, the lock doesn't open. Ken tries once and fails as well. Both men finish at about the same time for their second go 'round and it's a race to unlock the box. Bob finishes first but turns out to be wrong again. Ken's second try works and Fang wins immunity. And while I know it means nothing now, I'd like to point out something very interesting about this challenge.

The puzzle, as written on Ken's tablet reads:


The puzzle, as written on Bob's tablet reads:


Okay, now I'm not a huge conspiracy theorist or anything...but Jeff also read the puzzle to them and when he said it out loud, it matched what Ken's tablet said...not Bob's. For those who still haven't noticed it yet, Ken's (and Jeff's) puzzle said MINUS, while Bob's said PLUS. Assuming that both tribes had the same set of numbers, hence the same combination (and with Probst reading the problem aloud, you have to think everything was the same)...the Bob and the Kota tribe got completely screwed on a challenge they probably should have won. It would be pretty damn hard to get the right combination when you have the wrong problem. The thing that sucks for me is that I'm in NO position to be able to ask someone what the hell is up with that. Now...I love this show. That's why I've been doing this for years now. But to think that they could possibly be rigging challenges to help the sucky tribe compete with the strong tribe makes me literally sick. My only hope is that somewhere along the way, someone puts Probst or Burnett or someone on the hot seat and asks about this. Because, as it stands right now, this looks like some serious bullshit.

Okay, so I took the commercial break to cool off a little and I'm back to finish the episode. We naturally join the Kota tribe as we begin a game of "It's Anyone But Paloma." The talk, though, starts with the grilling of Sugar about the hidden idol. She just plays stupid and the rest of the tribe buys it hook, line and sinker. Later on, she tells Ace that she found it. Of course, Ace is thrilled that "their game" is in much better shape. They also discuss that Paloma is the vote. And is it me or does Ace's accent sometimes seem to go away for a second? I'm now wondering if he really even has an accent. Anyway, Paloma is doing what she can to save herself and her target right now is Corinne. She's throwing Ace under the bus because of his protection of Sugar. Corinne says she'll see what she can do. And it's like she's reading my thoughts. As she discusses Ace, Corinne tells us that not only does she question whether his accent is real, she also figures him to be the first one to turn on them when the tribes merge. She runs back to Charlie and fills him in and he sees the logic. Charlie and Corinne both tell us that even though Paloma is the weakest link, Ace may be the most dangerous player. And he's basically casting two votes every time out. They're having a tough time making a decision because they're not sure whether they should be looking at the short term game or if they should be focusing long-term this early.

So we get to Tribal and we do the torch lighting. Fire represents life and stuff. Jeff starts off with Corinne and asks her what she bases her vote on. She says it's important for the tribe to agree and vote together. He asks Ace if that isn't wishful thinking. Ace says that what's most important is to have the stronger tribe. Next up is Sugar and Exile. And the tears start flowing...again. She tells about her dad and how thinking about him got her through it. Marcus is up next with a question about the idol. He says that if Sugar found the idol, her outside is definitely showing something different than her inside. He says that's how he would play it too.

Jeff then asks Marcus if anyone jumped out as interesting. He mentions Ace and that they get along quite well. He then asks Paloma what she thinks of Ace and she calls him out as the leader of the tribe. Jeff asks her how she feels about that and she replies that she isn't gonna go there with the whole "Ace is my hero-type thing." Jeff asks Ace if he's surprised by that answer and he admits that they just don't really get along. He then asks Kelly if Ace is an asset to the tribe. Because her answer is so ridiculous, I'm just going to type it up right here. "Um, in some cases. Because he's almost condescending in a way." Maybe Jeff should have chosen a word other than "asset" in his question. He asks her how being condescending is a good thing and she says that it's not and then she goes into a diatribe about rice and water and Ace and I honestly have no idea what the hell she said. Obviously, Jeff doesn't either as he just moves on. Jeff asks Ace if hearing two people speak against him worries him and he says that it does. But before he can finish, Paloma points out that for someone so worried, he didn't even bring his bag with him. Final question is whether Marcus wants to give up his idol. Not a chance. And it's time to vote. The first vote we see is Paloma's vote for Ace saying that it's self-explanatory. The only other vote we see is Ace's vote for Paloma saying it's for the strength of the tribe. Jeff'll go tally the votes.

The first vote is Ace's vote for Paloma. Next up is Paloma's vote for Ace. Then we get another Paloma and another Ace. But that's all the help Paloma would get as she becomes the third person voted off of Survivor: Gabon. And with that, three people have been voted out and I can't say that I'm going to miss any of them. So far, so good, eh?

And now, it's that time again. The time of the column where I shamelessly try to get you, the readers, to help me, the idiot writer, try to force his way onto our favorite show. All of last season and for the first episode of this season, I've been giving you the CBS Feedback Forum link to tell the Producers that they need to get a "real" fan of the show on. And what did I stumble on today? Why, it's Jeff Probst's Survivor: Gabon blog at And what's at the bottom of Episode 3's blog? IS that a Comment Section? Well, in that case, forget the CBS Forum for a minute...let's fill up the Blog Comments. Come on, it'll be great. Just go Right Here and link this column and tell my soon-to-be best buddy Jeff Probst that you wanna see the fat guy from Box Office Prophets on his show. Thanks a ton, you guys rock!

Anyway, next time on Survivor: Crystal, Ken and GC seem to have separated themselves from the rest of the Fang tribe. And a twist has the tribes ranking themselves from 1 to 7 or 8. And it's suggested that the tribes may be switching. While we have come to expect a switch around this time, I'm real curious to see exactly how they're going to do it this time around. So, please won't you come back next week and see how this goes down? You will? Awesome. 'Til then, take care!