Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden
The Brains Behind Everything
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
November 13, 2008

I'm the president of the Marcus fan club!

Hello, good people, and welcome back to another fun-filled episode of Survivor: Gabon. My name is Jim and I'm back in town after a quickie vacation last weekend and I'm excited as ever to be back on the keyboard with another episode of Survivor. Well, in all fairness, the big shocking twist that was supposed to have everyone talking was quite the dud. Also, the whole "you'll never believe what's in this box" subplot was weak and annoying. Honestly, with that kind of build-up, only the severed head of GC wrapped in a note telling them that the game was going to stop being polite and start getting real would have lived up to the hype. Like some kind of sick, macabre Stephen King novel gone wrong. As it is, we got a fake merge...yawn. And then another tribal swi...zzzzzzzzz.

My bad. While I was sleeping it looks like Ken and Crystal offered Susie their friendship in exchange for Marcus' head...and she delivered. For the third vote in a row, one of the strongest players in the game was taken out of the game. Previews for this week suggest we'll get the merge that was faked last week. I know I can't wait to see Corinne's face when she sees that Marcus bought a ticket to the jury. She keeps telling us what a bitch she is and I'm hoping to see it this week. Anything would be better than watching Crystal be terrible in challenges and even worse as a person. Seriously, can we petition the IOC to take back her Gold Medal on the grounds of "we don't want someone like that representing our country as a gold medal winner"? No? Oh well, maybe she'll be voted out this week. That would make me feel better.

We begin this episode in an unusual place, Kota camp after Tribal. Ken tells us how he's so glad that he wasn't the one voted out. He's feeling pretty good about himself right now as he's orchestrated two blindsides in a row. He also tells us that Bob is in trouble if they lose again. Bob tells us that unless there's a merge, he's likely to be history. Even though he teaches science. Ah, that teacher humor...doncha miss it? No? Neither do I, cue the opening.

We come back from break to the Fang tribe on Day 25 and they cannot make a fire and they are completely out of rice. Matty tells us that he needs a merge real bad or he's not gonna make it much longer. And with that, Matty and Charlie come back with Tree Mail in the form of what appears to be a golf flag. The clue suggests some sort of golf type challenge with a sweet cultural reward for the winners. As they unwrap and practice a slingshot, Corinne tells us she's disappointed that there's no merge yet, but she's excited about seeing Marcus. Oh, dear...this is gonna be bad. We could have an implosion of epic proportions here. Can't wait.

Probst sighting! As Kota comes in and Jeff announces Marcus voted out, Corinne looks absolutely sick while Matty looks tickled pink. Jeff notices the reactions and asks about it, to which Corinne says that Marcus didn't deserve to leave the game. And Ken, with his new set of balls in hand snaps back that anyone deserves to leave the game. Charlie chimes in that he's sad to see it and that while so many people complained about everything, Marcus was having a great time. As Ken continues to say that he deserved to go as much as anyone, Corinne simply says that she feels he earned the right to still be here. When these tribes merge, I honestly think Corinne may kill and eat both Ken and Susie. Now THAT will be a shocking twist!!

But oh yeah, there's a challenge to be played here. And it looks awesome - slingshot golf. That looks like fun. Each tribe will use a slingshot to shoot golf balls toward a sandpit hole. The tribe that gets their ball in the hole in the least amount of shots wins that hole. Best two out of three wins reward. Wanna know what they're playing for? The winning tribe will be taken to a village where they'll see a beautiful dance ceremony, have a great meal and spend the night. They'll also get to send someone to Exile Island. Corinne will sit out for Fang and let's get started.

Kota starts out on hole #1, a 300 yarder to get them going. Bob launches it just shy of 150 yards. Matty's shot goes just about the same distance. Bob's second shot lands on what would be the green, while Matty goes a bit left and ends up about 20 yards from the hole. Randy takes the third shot and comes up short while Ken sinks the third shot to give Kota a one hole to none lead. Okay, I like this challenge. And we're on to Hole #2. It's 225 yards uphill and Bob shoots it about 125 yards. Matty also lands around the 125 mark. Matty's second shot sails way over the hole, but with a sweet downhill bounce winds up about six inches from the hole. Kota's second shot lands about 30 feet from the hole. Ken takes their third shot, pretty much needing to make it and he's off by just a bit giving Fang a six inch shot to tie up the game. After much concentration, Matty finally drains the tiny putt and the challenge is tied.

The third and final hole is 200 yards uphill. Matty's first shot is a beauty right down the middle of the fairway, but Bob out-drives him again. Matty's second shot once again blows over the hole and once again gets a favorable bounce leaving Fang only a couple feet from the hole. Bob lines up shot number two and with a nice kick, Kota winds up with a little longer shot and Ken overshoots the hole by about six inches and opens the door for Fang. Matty plays it safe and puts it right on the edge of the hole. The pressure is on Ken to do or die here as Fang has a gimme for a fourth shot. Ken overshoots by a smidge, leaving the door wide open for Matty. What comes next is an amazing display of idiocy as Randy and Matty get into an argument over how to sink this last putt. Randy is telling Matty to just drop it and Matty is trying to shoot it and after a real long time going back and forth with both guys getting irritated, Matty finally takes the shot, sinks the putt and Fang wins its second challenge in a row. Most important, Sugar doesn't have to go back to Exile Island. Instead, Corinne chooses to send Bob with hopes that he'll find the hidden idol.

We come back from break to join Fang on their reward. As they enter the village, they're greeted by an entire tribe singing, chanting and cheering them. Every season there's a challenge that you just HAVE to win...this is that challenge. This is stuff you'll never see on any Tauck Tour. As the natives bathe the Survivors, it's just an incredible scene. As they begin to eat, Matty talks about being glad to see Marcus gone. Charlie is taking about how the power players have gone out three in a row. Charlie's a mess with Marcus gone now. He says Marcus did most of the thinking and he doesn't know what to do now. Next is the dancing. The Survivors are put up to dance as well. Randy seems to think he's getting hit on while Matty is soaking in everything he can as he figures he's the next to be voted off, so he wants to get everything he can out of this reward.

Over at Kota, Ken is stuck in the boat on the lake. He is stuck on a tree and after quite a bit of time, he finally gets unhooked. As he pulls in some fish, he lets us know that he thinks he's figuring this game out. Someone is a little too impressed with himself. He tells us that he'll take out anyone before they can take him out. He's starting to believe that he can win this game. Not a good omen for young Kenny. As soon as someone starts feeling untouchable, they get sent packing.

And we're off to Exile Island with Bob. Of course, he takes the clue over the comfort. And as he searches out the clues, he tells us that he's next to go, so he has to find the idol. It takes him no time at all to follow and find all the clues. And when he gets to where the idol should be, he finds nothing. And in a brilliant maneuver, after giving up on finding the idol, Bob decides to fashion an idol of his own. He uses tree sap and several beads and shells that he's collected over the days in Gabon and fashions an incredibly authentic looking immunity idol. His thought process is that you don't necessarily have to have a gun to rob a bank, if everyone thinks you have a gun. So, I'm assuming the plan is to let this idol be discovered by a tribe member and see if that's enough to save him from a vote. Amazing plan and I hope to hell it works for him.

We come back from break and the Fang tribe has come back to camp with Tree Mail. The clue tells them that the challenge will be centered around starting a fire. It sounds individual rather then tribal. This challenge note sets Randy off on a rant about how Crystal will never start a fire. He tells how he's hated her from the beginning and he really doesn't want to see her again. And with that, it's challenge time!

Jeff tells them that they will not be playing for Tribal immunity, but Individual immunity. Drop your buffs. You are now merged. Bob feels like he has a new life as he puts on his new blue buff tie. The first challenge is a simple fire building challenge. Everyone will have flint and steel as well as fire building materials. First one to build a fire tall enough to burn through their rope wins immunity and a one in eight chance at a million dollars. As the challenge starts off, this is a huge waste of time as no one can get a spark. Susie, of all people, is the first one to get a flame. As she struggles with her teepee fire, Sugar gets some flamage and it appears to be a two person race at this point. Susie and Sugar both have pretty decent fires while no one else even has a flame. Susie has the lead, so to speak, but Sugar is real close. And as I type that sentence, Susie's rope breaks and Susie wins individual immunity. If this means that Crystal goes home tonight, I can deal with Susie winning this challenge. Jeff lets them know that they will be headed back to the Fang camp. As they trek on, Randy tells us that there's no way he'll go back to camp with Crystal tonight. Either she'll be gone, or he'll be gone.

As they arrive back at camp, they find a whole bunch of food for a feast. Matty tells us that everyone enjoyed it for a minute and then they all split up into the jungle to play the game. The first such conversation we see is Randy and Charlie, where Randy says Crystal will get his vote. Charlie tells us that he feels safe that Randy, Corinne, Bob and he are a pretty solid four to vote for Crystal. The way he sees it, Sugar is the swing vote here and they really need to get her on their side if they want to keep going. So we then see Corinne and Sugar talking and Sugar says she can't live with Randy anymore. Corinne tells her that she understands but they need Randy's vote right now to keep them in the game. As all of this is going on, Corinne is telling us that all she needs to do is pretend to be nice to Sugar and she's so dumb she'll fall right in line. I hate to break it to her, but Sugar ain't as dumb as everyone thinks she is. And if they hammer her too much, she'll vote against you on principle. As it is, it seems that we are headed toward a Randy v. Crystal showdown tonight. Please, please, please, Survivor Gods, let it be Crystal.

We then join Susie, Matty, Ken and Crystal talking about the power alliance of Charlie and Corinne and how they need to be split up. They decide that Charlie is the brains and needs to go. Ken is still pissed off about the whole immunity clue from the last episode, so he's got his vendetta against Charlie. He goes strong for Charlie and the rest of the sheep baa-baa right in line with him. So, I guess I'm wrong; it's Charlie v. Crystal tonight. And again, Sugar is the key. Ken heads right to Sugar and tells her that Charlie has to go. Sugar tells us that she feels like the lady of the hour as everyone is coming at her for her vote. As they paint their new Tribe flag with their new name "Nobag" (Gabon backwards), Sugar tells us that she does not trust Ken after the Ace lie and that she doesn't trust Crystal either. But then she doesn't like Randy or Corinne either, so she's in a tough spot here. As they head to Tribal, Sugar tells us that she has no idea what she'll do and that she owes nothing to anyone. Here's the way I see it...I want Crystal gone so bad I can taste it. Which means, Sugar will side with her and Charlie will go home. And I'll be pissed. There. There's my prediction. Let's head to Tribal and see what happens.

Jeff starts out Tribal by asking Randy about the reward challenge. He asks about all the tension. Randy basically says that no one was listening to him, so that made him mad. Whatever, let's move on, k? Jeff asks Randy about how he has been pretty clear that he didn't miss any of his original Fang tribemates. Before he can answer, Crystal jumps in and wants to know why he has such a big problem with her. Here we go. This should be good. He says that she made Fang a living hell. She said she and GC were arrogant and caused the division in their tribe and she was the reason why they lost. Jeff asks Crystal if she regrets any of her emotions coming out. She says not at all. Jeff asks Charlie if he thinks Crystal or Randy should be concerned about being so vocal. He says he definitely thinks so.

Jeff moves on to Ken and asks him if opinions start to change as the tribe gets together. Ken says that he has a different opinion of Charlie now as he's realized that he's a nice guy. Charlie says his opinion of Ken hasn't changed a bit as he thought he was a great guy from the outset. He asks Randy if his opinion of anyone has changed. He says that Ken has grown up quite a bit. He's not the same Kenny he met weeks ago. Jeff asks Sugar if it was an advantage to be on Exile as much as she was. She says that it gives them more of a chance to talk about her. She feels confident that she wouldn't be bothering anyone as she doesn't talk about people behind their backs and that she pretty well knows who everyone is. Next up is whether or not Susie wants to give up the immunity necklace. She says no. And with that, it's time to vote.

We see Randy's vote for Crystal (C.C.) with one word, "Bitch." We see Ken's vote for Charlie saying, "Sorry Charlie." Next up we see Charlie's vote for Crystal saying that she got rid of Marcus and that makes him really mad. Then Sugar steps up and they show us the "C" as she starts off and after some crying and several seconds she finally casts her vote and we're ready to tally the votes. No one plays a hidden idol and we'll read the votes. First and second votes are for Crystal. Third and fourth votes are for Crystal. As Randy and Corinne get a little excited, the next four votes come up Charlie and we're dead even. Now it all comes down to Sugar. And she went with the evil empire and voted out Charlie. Seriously, if I have to see the smug little smiles on Ken's and Crystal's faces again, I just may puke. Over the last three weeks, this season has taken a dramatic turn toward the dark side and I just can't stand it. Now, I have no love for Corinne or Randy, but I find Crystal so vile I can't even stand to see her face and Ken is without a doubt the biggest liar to ever play the game. While I know that lying and deception are part of the game, I can't recall any player ever just straight up lying dead in the faces of the other players like this. Jonny Fairplay is the closest I can come up with, but I don't think the dead grandma can even compare with the whoppers Ken is telling to get people dumped. Oh well, another Survivor season that appears destined to have less than favorable results. *Sigh*

Next time on Survivor: Randy goes loco. He is determined to stir up as much trouble as he can. Looks like he's starting with Matty, telling him that the final three is obviously Ken, Crystal and Susie and he needs to do something about it. Corinne then tells us that they have to get this right. Whatever that means. Anyway, I know I'll be back next week and every week keeping alive my hopes that Crystal and Ken meet their end in this game. 'Til next Thursday, take care!

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