Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden
It All Depends on the Pin-Up Girl
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
October 31, 2008

Did anyone else just hear her say she can't wait to betray me?

Hello, good people, and welcome to Episode 7 of Survivor: Gabon. So far we've had six episodes, six Tribal Councils and six votes...yet amazingly, no one of any consequence has actually left the show. I don't know that I could have hand-picked the first six boots any better than this. They've ranged from useless (Paloma, GC), to annoying (Gillian), to boring (Jacque), to forgettable (the skinny girl who left first) to downright stupid (Kelly). So far, I have to applaud this cast for dumping the dead weight as soon as possible. At the same time, the Fang tribe is quite possibly the most futile tribe in the 17 seasons of Survivor. I mean, it appears the only way to have a Kota member voted off is to either switch them to Fang or to have both tribes vote someone off, as is promised for tonight's episode. Hopefully this cast will continue to vote smart and dump the obnoxious and useless Crystal and practically invisible Susie. Anyway, enough from me, let's get to it.

Shocker! We begin the episode at the Fang tribe and Matty is telling us how bad they're starving and how it's finally draining his hope and spirit. And just as he's talking about lack of food, Crystal accidentally dumps over their rice container, spilling most of their remaining food onto the dirt. As she picks it up, Matty demonstrates how hopeless he feels by not even having the strength to say anything. Ken cooks up the rice and Crystal refuses to eat. She tells them to just eat like they always do. Ken tells us that there's a big issue in camp between Crystal and the tandem of Matty and Ace and he doesn't like it. Hate to break it to ya, Kenny, but what you like or don't like doesn't really mean a whole lot. Your tribe is a disaster that will only get worse and Crystal is the worst of the worst.

We come back from the opening to the Kota tribe on Day 20. They're just sitting around the fire talking and Dan tells us that Charlie, Marcus and Corinne are definitely a clique and he's not feeling part of it. So naturally he goes to them and practically begs to be a part of their group. Both Marcus and Corinne tell us that he's trying too hard and that ultimately, he'll be a major liability for them. So while this conversation makes Dan feel more included and more a part of the group, he's every bit as expendable as before in their eyes. And with that...

Probst sighting!! Today's challenge will be a game of keepaway. Three members of a tribe will be throwing a breakable ball around while one member of the other tribe does what they can to break it. Both groups will be playing at the same time and the first person to break the ball earns a point for their tribe. First team to three wins. Wanna know what they're playing for? The winning tribe will be picked up by a helicopter and taken, along with an entire picnic lunch, to have a sweet picnic. They will also get to send one person to Exile Island. Kota sits out Corinne and Charlie.

The first round has Randy attacking Ken, Crystal and Matty, while Ace will be attacking Bob, Marcus and Dan. My money's on Randy. And they begin. After maybe 15 seconds, Randy puts enough pressure on Ken that his toss to Crystal doesn't even come close and the red ball shatters on the ground. First point for Kota. Next up will be Bob and Sugar attacking. Before they begin, Sugar comments on how mean Randy is. This round goes a little longer and Bob takes down just about everyone trying to get the ball. Sugar goes strong for a minute, but loses steam quickly. Eventually, Bob slaps Ace's arm as he tosses and the ball hits the ground right at Matty's feet. Kota up 2-0. Next to attack are Dan and Matty. Matty goes out hard, but the Kota guys are ust too fast. Dan comes out crazy hard, basically tackling Ace to get the ball. After a few hard hits, he finally gets enough of Ace that his toss to Sugar doesn't go the distance and Kota wins the reward by a final score of 3-0. And this is yet another defeat for the Fang tribe. I can't believe it, but they actually send Sugar to Exile Island again. As she leaves, Matty tells us that she's useless and can go at any time. He tells us how hard it is to keep watching the other team walking away with every reward. Honestly, I could see Matty completely losing it and hacking the rest of his tribe to pieces while they sleep.

We come back from break to join Kota on the chopper. As always, the ride is beautiful and the wildlife is amazing. They get dropped off at the edge of a fantastic crater and quickly unpack their picnic basket and begin to feast.

We then head to Fang tribe and Matty is telling everyone that he's never been so embarrassed in his whole life. He tells the rest of the tribe that he can't stand to keep looking over at Sugar and watching her be completely dominated in every challenge. He says that as long as they have her, they'll never win a challenge. And then he asks Ace to take a boat ride. Hmmm...wonder how that will go over with Ken and Crystal? As they head out on their boat ride, Matty goes hard at Ace that Sugar has to go. He says that he, Crystal and Ken can all vote Sugar. That way Ace doesn't have to. He talks of fluching out the idol with this vote as well. Ace tells him that he's thinking about it wrong and with Sugar having the idol, THEY actually have the idol to use whenever they need to. Maty wants to dump Sugar and then roll with Ace to the merge and while Ace says that he's with that plan, Matty isn't convinced. Ace's argument about the idol, however, Matty does get and as almost immediately changes his tune and asks if Crystal's the vote then. Ace says, "Crystal."

Back at the fire, Ken and Crystal know that they're talking about getting Crystal off. Ken asks Crystal to trust him 100% as he plans on getting to Sugar and blindsiding Ace. Crystal tells us that Ace is manipulating Matty something terrible and he has to go.

We're back at the Kota picnic, and as they talk about how desperate Fang has to be, a courier shows up out of nowhere to deliver an envelope filled with...Letters From Home. Naturally, the whole tribe is pretty stoked about this and the letters are handed out quickly. Everyone separates and there's much crying. Especially from Bob, who I would say is damn near in hysterics.

In the middle of the love-fest, we join Sugar out at Exile. While she's enjoying the food and comfort, she's worried that she knows nothing about what is going on. She tells us her alliance with Ace is based solely on the fact that he's the strongest player. She just hopes that while she's on Exile, they're not just screwing her around.

And with that, we go right into another challenge. Today's immunity challenge is...a twist!!! Jeff drops the bomb that both tribes will be going to Tribal Council and both tribes will be voting someone out. However, they all have the chance to win an immunity necklace. Today's challenge is a simple log roll. You'll match up with someone and the last one standing will move into the next round. Last person left standing wins immunity and will be safe at tonight's Tribal Council. Dan tells us that he has a huge target on his back and that it's important for him to win big today. Probst throws out one more bone by saying that there is one more twist that will be revealed after the challenge. Survivors ready?

The first round pits Dan against Ace. Wow, one of the big guys gone right off the bat. Both guys do quite well, but Ace prevails and Dan is out. Charlie and Crystal are next. After about three seconds, Charlie dumps Crystal and moves on. Marcus and Matty are up next and despite having a good battle for a minute or so, Marcus is just too tough and Matty takes a dive. Randy and Susie are up next. As you would expect, Randy dispatches her pretty easily. Ken and Sugar are up next. They both fall off at almost the same time, but Ken hits the water first, so Sugar advances. Last up is Bob against Corrinne. Not surprisingly, Bob's done this before and was pretty good. While they stare each other down for a minute, once the log gets rolling, Corrinne takes a dive pretty quickly. And we're on to the semi-finals.

The first semi-final pits Ace against Charlie. Who will win? In the Closet or Out of the Closet? After a great battle, both guys lose control, but it's Out of the Closet (Charlie) that hits the water first, meaning Ace moves on. Next up is Marcus against Randy. Marcus is proving to be tough as he takes care of Randy with not much trouble. The last battle of this round is Sugar against Bob. Winner joins the final round with Ace and Marcus. As the two size each other up, Bob slips a little. He regains, but Sugar starts the log moving and as they both fall off, Bob strikes the water a split second before Sugar knocking him out and moving herself on to the finals.

The final round will have all three finalists on the log at the same time. Ace gets the middle with Matty and Sugar on both ends. All three are doing a great job of staying up. Sugar saves herself a couple times, but is the first one to finally fall in, leaving Ace and Marcus fighting for immunity. With his back to Marcus, Ace finally loses it and hits the water, giving Marcus the win and immunity. As he gets his necklace, Jeff gives him a piece of paper to read. He gets to assign immunity to one member of the other tribe. And I guess that all the trips to Exile Island have paid off, as he gives immunity to Sugar. He tells us that he hopes that giving her immunity will help the Fang tribe get rid of one of the power players, Ace, Matty or Crystal. What amazes me here is that despite being sent to Exile Island five times in a row, the Kota tribe honestly thinks she hasn't found the idol. Um...duh. All this does is give Sugar amazing strength coming into the Tribal Council tonight as she can protect herself and one other person. Looks like it really does "all depend on the pin-up girl."

We come back from break and it's time to play It's Anyone But Dan and Crystal. We start at Fang. They're discussing whether or not Susie or Dan will get sent home. Ken tells us that Ace and Matty are sure Crystal's going home, but Ken says he'll do anything to try to get Sugar to vote with Ace. Ken takes Sugar aside and flat out lies to her about how Ace has been talking about getting her idol and then voting her out. Ace has never said one word about voting out Sugar. Matty is the one who wanted her out, not Ace. So while the conversation ends with Ken and Sugar saying they're going to blindside Ace, there's no possible way that Ken's lie won't come to the surface and result in either him or Crystal going home. Ken tells us that he trusts Sugar will dump Ace.

Ken goes to Crystal with the great news that she'll be saved and I can't help but think that I'm truly watching the dumbest people ever in the history of this game. Next up is Sugar talking to Ace. And he plays right into Ken's hands by asking Sugar for the idol right off the bat. She says there's no need for that. Ken and Crystal don't have the votes to dump him. She tells us that after what Ken says and Ace asking for the idol, she's starting to believe Ken. Sugar tells us and Ace that she's not sure what she's going to do. Honestly, she can't vote out Ace. He's their best shot at winning a challenge and he's stuck up for her from Day 1. Hell, Matty wanted to dump her and Ace talked him out of it. And with that, we head to Tribal.

Jeff starts out with Sugar and asks her about camp life. She says they're very low on rice and that Crystal knocked it over. He asks Ken how much rice they had and Ken says about seven days worth. After Crystal's spill, they were down to about 5 1/2 days of rice. Matty chimes in that no one in the tribe said one word to her about it. Ace says that the fact that the tribe was mad at her was concocted in her head. After this, an argument about whether she should have eaten or not ensues. And honestly, I don't care enough about her to detail it. He asks Sugar what it's like to be in the middle of this. She says this type of stuff is why their tribe hasn't been winning. She then says that she'll be keeping immunity for tonight. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Crystal's vote for Ace, with her saying something about him being a snake and all that. Matty then votes Crystal and he tells us how long he's been waiting for this and that he's so glad she's going home. Assuming Ace votes Crystal and Ken votes Ace, that leaves Sugar as the swing vote. I guess I'll go tally the votes. No one plays the hidden idol and as expected, after four votes, there's 2 for Ace and 2 for Crystal. The final vote is for...Ace. Holy crap! As he gets up, he says, "Thanks Sugar." I have to say, I'm actually shocked. Every day that Crystal is on this tribe, the tribe gets worse. They will never win with her on the tribe. And to make it worse, they got rid of one of their best challenge performers. While the other votes were either very good or at least justified, this vote ensures that Fang will die a quick death. I feel sorry for Matty because he's a solid player and a good guy and he's shackled to the worst tribe in Survivor history. I can't wait to see Crystal, Ken and Sugar get their tickets punched next.

We come back from break to watch Dan try to save himself. He comes up to Marcus and asks if he's gone. Marcus says not that he's aware of. Dan is scared shitless and seems ready to do anything to stick around. Marcus, Charlie, Corinne and Randy are all strategizing and Randy has officially replaced Bob in their final four. Marcus tells us that Randy is part of the group and if he stays true to them, they'll take him with them. He then tells the group that Dan's a bumbling idiot and they discuss how useless Susie is in challenges. Randy thinks Susie will be the first to flip when the tribe merges. He also says that Bob will be loyal to the end. Charlie tells us that Dan is very vulnerable tonight but he could get a reprieve if Susie blows up today and does something crazy.

Right on cue, Corinne is shown telling Susie that she doesn't plan to write her name down tonight and that Dan is probably going to get the vote. For some reason, in the middle of this, Susie decides to tell Corinne that originally, she was going to write her name down. She says that Corinne doesn't do enough around camp. And as Corinne nods her head and accepts this "constructive criticism", you can tell that she's just seething underneath. Corinne then tells us that she hates Susie and can't believe she would say that. Naturally, she runs right off to Randy to tell him the story. Randy tells us that Susie has no game at all, but that means that her vote can be bought. Corinne is a little concerned about Dan having the idol, as he has gone to Exile. She's worried that if they vote Dan and he plays the idol, she'll go home based on Dan and Susie's votes. Randy agrees that Susie needs to go, so Corinne heads off to see Charlie and Marcus. Both guys are concerned that they have these issues in their camp. They also think voting Susie would be smarter as Dan could have the idol. Marcus tells us that this boils down to who's least risky, above all else.

And with that, we head to Tribal Council...again. Jeff starts with Marcus and asks if they're looking out for themselves individually or as a tribe. He says they plan to surround themselves with the most powerful crowd of people. He then asks Susie if she is the weakest person on this tribe. She says she doesn't think so. Jeff asks her who and she pinpoints Corinne. Corinne tells us that she feels like she has a lot to offer and amazingly enough, Corinne manages to keep her cool quite well. He asks Randy if it's better to be yourself or hold some stuff in. He says he's about an eight on a scale of 1 to 10. He then says that the good and bad parts of this are that everyone knows where he stands.

He asks Dan where he fits in. Dan says that he is a worry wart and that has hindered him in being himself. Jeff asks Charlie how important trust is at this juncture of the game. Charlie says it's huge as they plan to enter the merge as a solid unit and that anyone who might splinter hurts their objective. He says his vote is based on who he can trust the most. Jeff asks Corinne if tonight's vote could be a mistake. She says of course it could be. Marcus, you wanna give up that idol? Didn't think so. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Susie voting for Dan and Dan voting for Susie. We see Marcus' vote for Susie and it would seem that either Susie will get all the votes, or they split their votes in case Dan has the idol. First vote, Susie. Second vote, Susie. Third vote, Dan. Fourth vote, Susie. Fifth vote, Dan. Sixth vote, Susie. Final vote is for Dan. Looks like they hedged their bet against the idol and Dan is finally sent packing. While Dan is good in challenges, this tribe can absorb that loss and keep rolling, I have no doubt. For Kota, dumping the stronger guy was a great move. For Fang, it was suicidal. Interesting how two tribes can apply the same strategy and yet still end up on opposie sides of the coin.

Next time on Survivor: there's a new King in Gabon and his name is Randy. As the tribes appear to merge, Randy is letting us know how this is his beach and everyone knows it. Splice in some shots of the ladies in the water topless and then Randy's nekkid ass getting ready to go in, and next week's episode is sure to entertain. Until then, take care!

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