Survivor Gabon: Earth's Last Eden
Say Goodbye to Gabon, Part 2
By Jim Van Nest, Survivor Analyst
January 9, 2009

Hail to the king, baby.

Hello, good people, and welcome to the Survivor: Gabon Finale, Part Deux. As I promised, there's no three week wait for the end of the recap. Before I get to where we are and where we're going and who won and who didn't and all of that, I want to mention that this will be my last Survivor recap. This is my fifth straight season of recapping Survivor here at BOP and prior to this, I had done six other seasons at another site. So having covered 11 of 17 seasons, I'm ready to call it quits and have my Thursday nights free again. My first recap season was Season - Survivor: Africa. And with season 17 also taking place in Africa, this totally fits my need for symmetry. But, enough about me. Let's get back to the show.

When we checked out of the finale, Kenny had been sent home and then in an upset almost as amazing as Buster Douglas over Mike Tyson, Susie somehow managed to win the final immunity challenge, setting herself up in the finals. I left the last recap with a couple questions. Tonight, we'll find out the answers. Who will join Susie in the final tribal council? And will Susie get ANY votes?

We rejoin the show after Susie's challenge win. She is totally blown away that she won. As everyone congratulates her, Bob starts planning to go. He knows he's the biggest threat to win, and so does everyone else. So, it's pretty certain that Bob will be the one to go, leaving us with a Susie, Matty and Sugar final three. Susie is amazed at the fact that she beat Bob in that challenge. I know she is amazed because what we see next is Susie talking about winning the challenge over and over and over and over and over and over. Then she asks Bob if he thinks he would get many votes in the final tribal. And as she continues on with talk of her victory, Bob finally snaps at her that everyone there knows the score and they all know what's going to happen. Do they have to keep reliving it? Normally, I would think this was a big pile of sour grapes from the guy going home, but considering how much she has basically rubbed this in his face, I was glad Bob finally said something.

Susie tells us she couldn't believe Bob would snap at her and that sealed his if he had a chance otherwise. As she talks about it to Sugar and Matty, they both tell her that he doesn't want the constant reminder of it and that she should just stop talking about it for right now. Sugar tells us that she is having a very hard time voting for Bob, because she thinks he really deserves to be there. So she goes to Bob and plants the seed that if they both vote for Matty, that would force a tie. She is worried about it because she promised Matty she would never write his name down. With Bob seeming like a father to her, she just can't imagine voting for him. As they finish talking, Bob heads into the jungle to think. We see Matty and Sugar talking about how Bob is going home tonight and Matty wonders where Bob is. Cut to Bob, in the jungle, practicing making a fire. Just the very thought of a tie has Bob out there planning for a tie-breaker. He tells us that he can't believe Sugar would be that nice to him, but he's going to be prepared, just in case.

As they get to Tribal, Jeff starts with Susie and how she's the only one guaranteed to be in the finals. She says she's very pleased and that she had to win or she would have been gone. On the flipside, Bob is as uncomfortable at a Tribal as he has been since the beginning. Probst then points out that he has so many friends on the jury and asks what he did with his last few hours to try to stay in the game. Bob says there's only so much scrambling he could do, but he's holding out hope.

Jeff asks Matty if it was a busy afternoon at camp. He says there wasn't as much action as he expected. Jeff asks him about the choice between Sugar and Bob and he says that Sugar gave him an immunity idol so he can't vote for her. Probst puts the same question to Bob, who says that Matty is well liked on the jury and he'd be better off with Sugar and Susie in the finals. Jeff then moves to Sugar and she says it's tough because she'd lose to both of them. She says it's really hard because Bob is like a dad and Matty is like a brother. How do you choose between a dad and a brother? Probst then asks Matty what it feels like to hear her say he's like a brother to her. He says it feels pretty good and he feels the same way about her. He then asks Bob about his relationship with Sugar and he talks about how he's happy that he was able to have that kind of impact on her. As Sugar's tears are flowing, it is now time to vote.

We see Matty's vote for Bob saying that Bob has had a huge impact on his life and that he very much respects the way that he's played the game. We then see Bob's vote for Matty saying something about love for his friends. We know Susie is voting for Bob, so it all boils down to Sugar. Will she go back on her word to Matty and tie it up? Or will she send her father figure home? First vote: Bob. Second vote: Bob. Third vote: Matty. Fourth vote: Matty. And we have a tie.

Jeff explains that in the case of a tie, they will go to a fire making challenge. As they set up for this and get to it, I want to mention that I LOVE that Sugar made this decision. Basically what she did was say, "I love you both and you both deserve to be here. So I'm going to let you determine, on your own merit, who should continue in this game." Honestly, this was the fairest thing, in my opinion. If only the NCAA would wake up and realize that EVERYone prefers to see winners and losers and champions determined on the field. Not in a vote.

Anyway, on to the challenge. To this point, Bob has a great foundation but is having trouble with the flames. Matty has nothing going on at all. Finally, Bob gets a flame and it grows fast. As Matty has nothing going on, it's only a matter of burning a rope for Bob. And there it goes! Bob is moving on with Susie and Sugar to the finals for a one in three chance at a million dollars. Unfortunately, we have to say goodbye to Matty. I say unfortunate because he's a likable guy. However, Matty had no right being in the finals of this game. He was one of (if not THE) losingest Survivors in the history of the show, as far as challenges are concerned. He had NO strategy in this game. Honestly, I'm not sure how he made it as far as he actually did.

We come back from break with the three finalists finally able to stop and take a breath. As they celebrate making it to Day 39, Susie is still amazed she's made it this far. They all head to get tree mail together and find a basket of food and drinks for breakfast. Sugar tells us that she was involved in voting out everyone on the jury except Marcus. She tells us that they all hate her and she might get a vote or two. Not that it counts, but she has my vote. She has easily played the best game of the remaining players.

Back to camp, the survivors have thrown all of their stuff in a pile and are burning it down. Bob tells us that he only has one thing left to do - and that's convince the jury that he deserves to win this game. They watch the camp burn and as they head out to Tribal, we get some thoughts from the jury. Kenny is still whining about Bob's deal and he wants to hear from Susie why she thinks she deserves to win. Randy tells us that he doesn't like any of the finalists. He says that Sugar is the only one who could change his mind and he plans on tearing Bob a new one. Corinne tells us that she wasn't able to let them have it before she left, so she plans on doing that at this Tribal. Oh dear. We could be looking at one of the worst Tribals ever.

As always, Jeff gives the speech about the game switching hands this time around. He tells them they'll get to make an opening and then the jury will address them and then we vote. Susie will start off. She says that she feels she deserves it because she came into the game to show her son and her students what it was like to try. She says she was so nervous when she started out, but through the 39 days, she's not even nervous going up against Bob. She says she now has much more confidence. Mmmkay.

On to Bob's opening. He says that for 38 days he's hoped no one would vote for him and tonight he hopes they do. He says his strategy was to use his personality and skills to make people more comfortable throughout the game. He says he doesn't think he outwitted or outplayed any of them. He goes on to say that he's very happy to have played the game with them and they made it the most exciting adventure of his life and he hopes they can toss a vote his way.

Last bit not least, we hear from Sugar. She says that she feels like she played a perfect social game. She says that she had to lie and break some alliances to get where she is. She mentions that no one ever wrote her name down and that she found the hidden idol within the first 24 hours on Exile. She says she thinks she played a pretty good game for someone so physically weak. She tells them she was a free agent all along and was pretty much on her own until she made an alliance with Bob toward the end. And with that, it's time for the crybaby hour. We already know that Randy, Corinne and Kenny are going to be awful. I expect Crystal might be too. That leaves Charlie, Marcus and Matty as our hopes for a civil discourse. *Crosses fingers*

And we start off with Charlie. He begins by asking the ladies a question. He asks about the time when Jeff made them rank themselves. They were both at the bottom. Why should they rank them at the top right now? Susie says that she never stopped trying, despite being underestimated the whole way through. Sugar says that she doesn't know and that he doesn't have to vote for her, but it would be nice. The last question is for Bob and he asks if all the cuddling at night for warmth might have been a little more enjoyable that he'd like to admit. Bob says that he thinks Charlie is a wonderful person and that he was nice and warm at night.

Next up is Crystal. She starts with Susie. She tells her that if coattail riding was her strategy, then she played perfectly, because she rode coattails all the way through. To Bob, she says that Sugar remote controlled him all through the game. She asks for an example of something he did on his own. He says that he did ride coattails and that he never needed to do anything differently. Finally for Sugar, she says that she never lied to her and she wants to know why Sugar voted her out. She says that it's because of the way she talks to people and the way she bullied people.

Third is Kenny. This should be good. He asks Susie why she deserves his vote. She goes on about how they were both underdogs and how she was just an ordinary housewife and she really believes that. I know. I don't know what the hell that means either. On to Sugar. He says that he really trusted her and that what she did really hurt him. He wants to know why she backstabbed him. She says that she had alliances with Bob and Matty and she thought he was a bigger threat than Susie and that's why she voted him out over Susie. She sheds some more tears, and Ken tells her that he doesn't believe her. I'm wondering, what would Ken have believed there? Next up is Bob. He goes back into the whole immunity necklace thing. Bob once again says that because Ken was trying to take him out, he became an enemy. Ken cuts him off by telling him that's not what he wanted to hear. I can only assume what he wanted to hear would have gone something like this: "Ken, I don't deserve to win the million dollars. Not as much as you do. You were so much better than me. You should be sitting here instead of me. Oh Ken, I really loved you so much and I never should voted you out. I wish that you would forgive me so we can go on a date sometime. Aw, Ken, you're right. I'm an asshole who went back on his word. If not for my assholishness, you'd be sitting up here getting ready for your unanimous victory as the mastermind of Survivor: Gabon."

And it just gets better as Corinne is next. She starts with Susie and tells her that if she answers yes, she will get her vote. The question is, "If you win this money, will you use it to have your vocal chords removed?" Susie says no. She then tells Bob that she adores him and that she is worried that he is too one dimensional. She wants to see him NOT be the nice guy and she wants him to be nasty. He says that he did not like some of the things Sugar did in the game and specifically mentions the tribal with the rolling on the floor laughing at Randy playing the fake idol.

To Sugar, Corinne says, "You are an uneducated, unemployed leech on society and the only thing I would vote to give you is a handful of anti-depressants so that no one else has to be subjected to your constant crying anymore. And maybe if you got some then it would seem a little bit more sincere when you are crying about your dead father. (At this point, Sugar grins and flips her off.) You don't deserve the million." Ya know, I really kinda liked Corinne up til now. If you want to slam someone, go right ahead. I love a good tussle as much as the next guy. What I don't like is the bullshit cheap shot at the girl's father. That was low and uncalled for. Corinne, you're not Jerri Manthey. You'll never be Jerri Manthey. You're not gonna parlay this into a Playboy spread or any other reality gigs. You're a lame imitation of the original. And even Jerri had a line she wouldn't cross. You definitely crossed over from villain to obnoxious bitch.

And to calm things down, we hear from Marcus. He tells Susie that he's surprised that as a mother and a teacher that "it's a game" was all it would take for her to shuck off her greatest responsibility to be a positive role model. He starts with Sugar by assuming that her father really passed away. He says they have something in common as they both have lost someone and he wants to know if she will use any of the million to honor her family member. She says that she never even considered winning the million dollars, but that if she does, she will definitely put some to lung cancer, but also to children as that's the cause that's closest to her. To Bob, he wants to know of one example of him choosing to be responsible for his decisions. He says that he never had to do that as everyone else was making good decisions around him and it would have been dumb to go against them.

Next up is Randy. He starts with Susie and says that if someone had told him 39 days ago that she would be sitting there while he was standing where he was; he'd have thought they were crazy. He mentions that she's said a couple times that she felt sorry for him and he'd like her to elaborate on that. She says that with the way he responds to people, she could tell that he was not happy and was actually very sad. She wishes she knew a way to help him. With Sugar, Randy goes on about how she laughed at him when he was voted out. He asks why she would do that when he would be a jury vote. Why would she make him look like a jackass? She says that she didn't need to do that, he did it to himself and that he was always a jerk to everyone. He then asks Bob the same question - did he not want Randy's vote on the jury? Bob says it wasn't a joke and that it was a strategic move on his part. He says he didn't mean to embarrass Randy and that he was appalled and pissed about the way Sugar acted that night.

And closing it out is Matty. He asks Susie to tell him why Bob and Sugar are less deserving than she is. She says that she has faults too, but she was disgusted with what Sugar did to Randy. And then she went on about how disappointed she was with Bob and how he wasn't happier for her after she won. He asks Sugar to reveal what she did that was just totally evil. She says that voting out Kenny was the one thing that she felt horrible about. Matty seems surprised by her answer. I can only assume that he wanted to hear that her most evil deed was planning the tie between him and Bob. He moves on to Bob to ask why the girls are more deserving of the prize. Bob's answer is short and sweet, "I don't think they are."

And with that, the jury section is over. While I applaud Sugar's honesty and unwillingness to kiss ass and give the jury what they wanted to hear, I fear it will cost her the votes to win. Susie is a non-factor, which leaves Bob. Despite the fact that he had a brutal Tribal Council, I think he wins this thing hands down. And it looks like Sugar gets to continue the time honored tradition of the best actual player finishing in third place. It started with Lex in Africa, continues with Kathy in Marquesas, Cesternino in the Amazon and now Sugar in Gabon. We'll take a quick break and then come back with the voting.

We come back from break and Jeff explains that tonight the jury is actually voting FOR someone tonight, rather than against them. And with that, it's time to vote. We see Matty's vote for Susie. He says they were friends from day one to 39. Next up is Corinne's vote for Bob telling him he did a great job surviving in Africa and that she's not sure how he survives in the real world. Randy's vote is not shown, but at the top of his lungs he shouts, "All three of you, kiss my ass!" Kenny goes up there and we get the montage of him pacing and thinking and having a hard time voting. Puh-lease. And with that, Jeff goes to get the votes and off he goes back to the States. Switching to live in 3...2...1...

And in front of the live audience, Jeff will read the final votes. First vote is Corinne's vote for Bob. Second vote is Matty's vote for Susie. Third vote: Susie. Are you frickin kidding me? How is she getting ANY votes? Fourth vote: Susie. No lie, if she wins this game, I'm done with Survivor. There have been some loser winners before, but Susie will be the worst of them all. Fifth vote: Bob. Sixth vote: Bob. And we're all tied up with one vote left to read. And the winner of Survivor: Gabon - Earth's Last Eden is Bob. Oh thank God. I really didn't want to give up the show, but I would have!

What's really amazing here is that the hands down best player of the season did not get ANY votes. You have to wonder how things would have been different if Sugar would have dumped Bob and gone along with Matty. As it is, she really did a real life version of the "queen's sacrifice". By sacrificing her chance at winning this game, she took out the black king and queen in Ken and Susie, allowing the white king, Bob, to go forth and win the game. Matty was simply the dumb pawn that almost lucked into making it across the board to get promoted. Who knows how things would have turned out for Sugar had she not sacrificed herself like that? As it is, she'll have to settle for being the star of the season. I have a feeling we haven't seen the last of Jessica "Sugar" Kiper.

And with that, the 17th season of Survivor has come to a close. And as I mentioned at the beginning of this recap, my tenure as Survivor recapper has also come to a close. I'd like to thank David and Kim for giving me the outlet all these years here at BOP and I'd like to thank the folks who have read these silly little articles for all these years as well. By the way, if anyone cares at all, you can still find Jeff Probst's blog over at and if you feel like it, link this recap and/or some of the others and tell them to put me on this show. After watching every frame of every season of this show and after breaking them down in crazy detail for 11 of those 17 seasons, I feel pretty confident I could go out there and have a pretty damn good showing on this show. Anyway, I'm sure BOP will continue to recap Survivor, so please come back in February for the 18th installment of the granddaddy of reality shows. Again, thanks for reading and take care!