Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden
The Good Guys Should Win in the End
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
December 13, 2008

Olympic champion. Whatevs.

Hello, good people, and welcome to the start of Survivor Week. We're on the home stretch of what has been one of the best seasons of the long running reality pioneer, Survivor. Tonight will see the cast knocked down to five and set up our season finale on Sunday. Previously on Survivor, Bob and Corinne hatched a plan, Bob made ANOTHER fake immunity idol, Ken and Crystal took the bait, Kenny out thought himself and America cheered as the bitchy Corinne was sent packing for the Ponderosa. When I say Kenny out thought himself I mean that he was down with the plan to blindside Matty at Tribal, but he got greedy and decided he wanted to make sure Corinne used her "idol" also. So, he made Crystal vote for Corinne. What he actually did was insure that Corinne went home and put himself out on a limb as the person that flipped on his alliance. It's actually quite amazing how just last week, Ken had a real good shot to collect $1 million, and now I'm wondering if he'll make it to the finale. Well, there's only one way to find out...let's get to it.

We join the survivors as they return from Tribal Council and Matty tells us that he thinks his vote came from Ken. Matty goes right in his face and asks him about it. Ken tries to make something up and Matty ain't buying. Matty tells us that Ken is the mastermind and that he's on to him. Sugar and Crystal are talking about how Matty will go next. Crystal is pissed that she didn't write Matty's name down. She said it was her biggest mistake. While she's probably right about that, it won't hit her as soon as it does the "mastermind." Cue the sun...

We come back from break to Kenny confronting Bob about the idol plan. Ken asks him why he didn't play the idol, and Bob fesses up that it's fake. Ken tells Bob how because of Bob and Corinne, his game is all screwed up and what transpires next is nothing short of pure unadulterated stupidity. Bob tells Ken that if he wins the next immunity, he'll give it to Ken. Um, Bob...there's no reason for you to feel bad. You did what you had to do to stay in the game. Ken would have done the same thing. He's just pissed because his own harebrained scheme of "let's flush out the idol" is fixing to backfire on him. This is why I should be on this game instead of people like Bob...because if I were there, we would have seen MUCH better television here as I'd have told Kenny exactly what he could do with his lies and screwed up game. But instead, we have Dreamz promising Yau Man another necklace.

As the sun sets, it's time for a Probst sighting!! Today's challenge is a race through a swampy obstacle course to retrieve a ball. They will come back through the course and shoot the ball into a basket and then head out for ball #2. The first person to sink all three balls wins immunity. The winner will then be flown via helicopter to the Luanga National Park where they'll visit a gorilla sanctuary, have a nice meal, a good night's sleep with a bed and shower. Also, the winner gets to send someone to Exile Island. Worth playing for?

Matty is the first one to head back with his first ball with Ken and Bob right behind. Matty is the first to sink the shot again with Ken and Bob right behind. The ladies are still struggling to sink their first shots. Matty and Kenny miss several times with their second ball, while Bob takes his time. He gets back and sinks it on the first shot as Matty finally sinks his second shot. Ken also sinks his and it's a three horse race at this point, with Matty having a large time advantage. It's now down to a first to make the free throw contest and as we're starting to expect, Bob sinks the shot first and wins reward. This challenge has an interesting finish. Our Olympic athlete, Crystal, who never made a shot, decides to take her ball in for the dunk on the four foot net. And fittingly, she misses that too.

Back to Bob, though. He now gets to choose someone to go with him and he chooses Crystal. WHAT????? Now he gets to pick another person and he chooses Kenny. You can only think he's going for strategy here. Next up is to send someone to Exile Island. And who woulda thunk? Susie's still in the game??? He sends her to Exile. As they head off to reward, Matty tells us that his plan is to now get Sugar to align with him and Bob to go against Ken and Crystal.

We now join Bob, Ken and Crystal on their reward. They are greeted with a huge spread of food and drinks. Right away, Ken starts talking about how Matty has to be the next one to go. Bob asks if they could get Sugar on board with that. Bob tells us that he feels pretty good that Ken and Crystal are back with him. Discussion turns to Bob's immunity promise. Ken sorta kinda lets Bob off the hook, but not really. They decide that if Ken seems to be in danger, Bob will give him the necklace. If Bob is in more trouble, he'll keep the necklace. Next up is the shower scene. And I have to say that without a Corinne or Sugar involved, the shower scene is quite dull. After getting clean and changing clothes, they are greeted by a couple of park rangers who tell them all about the project and take them down to the observation platform.

Bob tells us about what an amazing sight this was. He tells us that he's not really a spiritual person but he felt a huge connection between the gorillas and himself that rocked his soul. Moreso than any other Survivor seasons, this one has been filled to the brim with once in a lifetime opportunities. This one was very cool.

Now we're off to the Sugar Shack to check on Susie. Knowing that Sugar has the idol, she takes comfort and tells us how nice it is to relax, eat, rest and not even think about the game - which is pretty run of the mill for her, I would think. She's only made one strategic move in 36 days, for crying out loud.

Back at Nobag Camp, Matty tells sugar that he really wants Ken and Crystal gone. She tells him that he better win immunity next time or he's gone. Matty calls Sugar, Ken and Crystal the "Evil Three". Sugar tells us that Ken probably is lying to her but that Matty is the biggest physical threat. I keep saying this, but they don't seem to be getting it. How exactly is Matty a physical threat? Is it because of all those challenges he's won? Are you kidding me, this dude is one of the losingest Survivors EVER, yet everyone considers him a threat. Meanwhile, Bob is winning every challenge handily and he's just the lovable old guy. Makes you shake your head, ya know?

Matty suggests that Sugar should give him the idol, since no one's going to vote for her. He tells us Bob will probably win the necklace which leaves him as the man out. Sugar tells us that she will not give anyone her idol and that she plans to use it tonight as it's the last opportunity to use it and she wants to guarantee herself the next round.

We come back to see Bob, Ken and Crystal returning from their reward. The first thing they show off is their clean clothes. Matty tells us how much he doesn't like Ken and Crystal and that he's pissed that they got to go on the reward. And here comes the argument. Matty, Ken and Crystal get into an argument about Ken writing his name down. Crystal tells him how many times her name has been written down and Ken tells him how mad he is about it. I'm not exactly sure how his vote for Matty has made Ken mad, but somehow it has. Matty tells them that they told him they would take him to the Final Four and that he's pissed that they lied to him. After Matty leaves, Crystal tells the rest of them that "Karma's a bitch in this game."

We next see Crystal take Matty aside and tells him that their plan to the final four got changed because he and Susie are so close. So basically, despite staying on their side all the way through this game, to Crystal, it's Matty's fault that he's not part of their alliance anymore. As Crystal continues to pound on Matty, it's affecting Sugar. She tells us that Matty doesn't deserve any of this and that she's starting to see that Kenny will lie to anyone about anything and that Crystal is just a big bully. As we've seen throughout the show, Sugar is someone who wears her heart on her sleeve and follows her emotions more than anything else. The question here is, is this enough to get her to act on her emotions?

She heads down to the lake to talk to Matty. She tells him that they're not good people and she believes Matty now and that she was so upset for kicking him when he was down. She then tells him that he's not going. She tells him that she'll talk to Bob and Matty can get Sue and they're going to change this game. Matty asks her who to take out if she's serious. She says Crystal. Matty tells us that he doesn't really want to go to the end with Bob because Bob will dominate, but at least one of the good guys will win.

The next morning brings another immunity challenge. Today's challenge is a tough one. Each person will study a mask with removable pieces. They'll then have to navigate an obstacle course where they will collect three bags of mask pieces. They'll use those pieces to recreate the mask on a blank mask. So they'll have to be quick and have a good memory. And oh, by the way, did I mention that they'll do all this blindfolded?

Matty is the first to his blank mask, drops off a bag and heads back for a second bag. The rest of the group opens their first bag and begins to work on the mask. Crystal, however, isn't even on the course anymore. Everyone is working on their mask, Matty has all three bags, and Crystal is still not even up to her mask yet. As Susie heads back for her second bag, she goes completely past her original station and off the course. As Bob gets back with his third bag, he calls Jeff over to check out the mask. He does NOT have it. Crystal seems to be on track now and Susie is still not on the course. Ken calls Jeff over to check the mask and he is also wrong. As Matty and Bob race to finish, Bob gets finished again and calls Jeff over. This time, Bob is right and wins his fourth challenge in a row. Talk about domination! Yet Matty is the physical threat. Go figure. As we head to commercial, Ken reminds us of Bob's immunity deal and how now we'll see about Bob's integrity.

We come back from the challenge and right away, Ken and Crystal make their plans. Ken tells her that he's going to ask Bob for the necklace and they'll vote him out. So Ken goes to Bob and tells him how scared he is. Bob doesn't see it. He tells Ken that Matty's the vote and that Ken is not in trouble. He is a horrible liar. How anyone has believed him is amazing. As Bob and Ken are talking, Crystal tells Matty and Sugar that the plan is to get Bob to give Ken the necklace and then vote him out. At this point, Ken comes in and tells them that the only way he'll get the necklace from Bob is that if everyone tells him that they're voting for Ken.

Sugar tells us that she's not digging Kenny's new plan. She says she doesn't want to be aligned with these people. She wants to be aligned with the good guys. So she goes straight to Bob and tells him NOT to give that necklace to Ken. Because if he does, they'll vote him out. She tells Bob that she thinks they should vote for Crystal. She tells him she thinks Susie will vote however Matty's voting. She basically tells Bob to do what he wants but he should take care of himself. She says she will not vote for him despite the fact that he's the biggest threat. She just thinks the good guys should win in the end.

We join everyone else by the fire and Ken wants to know what happens if Bob doesn't give him the necklace. Matty says, "Then I'm going home." As this happens, Sugar comes back to the fire and lets Ken know that she thinks Bob will be handing over the necklace. She tells them she hates lying to Bob, but that he's planning on handing the necklace over at Tribal. We next see a hilarious exchange between Matty and Sugar where Matty says he thinks Bob is still with Ken and Crystal. As she rolls her eyes at him, she has the line of the show so far. "Let me do the thinking," she says. She tells him to just vote for Crystal. As they prepare for Tribal, Sugar wears her idol and feels pretty good that she isn't going home. She wonders if she should give the idol to Matty, but she fears for a blindside if she does. She just needs Matty to vote for Crystal and Bob to trust her and everything will work out fine.

As the jury comes in, we see Randy sporting a new mohawk. Very nice. First question is for Bob and is about winning challenges. He agrees that there's a huge target on his back. He asks Matty about watching Bob win at challenges. He says that he'd rather see Bob keep winning challenges than someone that's a "little less caliber." Next up is Susie. How hard was it to be away at Exile at this point? She says it's really hard, as she doesn't know what's going on at camp. Next up, Jeff asks Ken why he thinks Bob chose him to go on reward. Ken goes into the flop at the last Tribal and even brings up Bob's promise to hand over immunity. Jeff asks Bob if this is true and Bob admits that it is, but that the terms have changed a bit and that if he thinks Ken will go home tonight, he'll hand over the necklace. And he'll make that decision after he hears everything at Tribal.

Jeff asks Crystal if being chosen for the reward makes her feel any more comfortable. She says she thinks Bob chose her because she hadn't won a reward yet. Jeff asks Matty if he thinks that is true. He said he thinks that Bob knows that Ken and Crystal are the tightest alliance and have been running the game. Kenny brings up that he flipped on his alliance again. He may as well just drop on his knees and beg Bob to hand over the necklace. Good God, man, have a little bit of self-respect. Jeff mentions that tonight is the last chance to play a hidden immunity idol. Sugar points out her idol and Jeff says that as long as it's not a fake, it can be played. Next question is for Bob. Does he want to give up his necklace? Bob says that he does not think Ken is in danger tonight, so he will keep the necklace. And with that, it's time to vote.

The first vote we see is Crystal's vote for Matty saying that he wrote her name down once and this is payback. The next vote we see is Matty's vote for Crystal. He says that he's been waiting for this day for a long time and he's glad it finally arrived. We see Sugar's vote for Crystal saying that she doesn't know how to talk to people and wishing her luck with "that jury over there." I'll go tally the votes.

Jeff comes back and asks about playing the hidden immunity idol and Sugar says, "Matty, take this cursed thing away." So Matty plays the idol and Jeff acknowledges that this is indeed the hidden immunity idol. Any votes cast for Matty will not count. First vote, Matty. Second vote Matty. And here they come. Crystal, Crystal, Crystal, Crystal. And the 13th person voted out of Survivor: Gabon is Crystal. WOOOOO HOOOOO!!!!! How about that "Karma's a bitch" thing now, Crystal??? This is easily one of my top five Tribal Council moments ever. The game has shifted once again and has shifted in the favor of the people I want to see make it to the end. I was on the verge of losing faith in this show and who'd a thunk that Sugar would be the one to give me my faith back? And while we're talking about Sugar, while I appreciate what Bob has done in challenges, anyone but Sugar winning this game will be a letdown. She has played easily the best game from day one. She makes the moves when she needs to and has really controlled the game as much as anyone else. All the while, she has played the role of dumb blonde to perfection. Hopefully she'll have a few more tricks up her sleeve for Sunday and she can see this thing through.

Next time on Survivor: The final five will do the final stuff. There'll be some challenges; some Tribals, some arguments, some votes and then we'll get what should be the angriest final Tribal Council ever, which will lead us into the unveiling of the sole survivor of Survivor: Gabon. 'Til Sunday, take care.