Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Week 3

Saturday, October 11th, 2008 | SMASH TV with

Survivor Gabon

With Paloma gone last week, Kota seemed to be ridding itself of someone weak and nattering. Yes, she complained a lot, and so did Kelly, who was a bit of a confidante or partner in crime in hating on Ace. Kelly the sales rep had a target on her, and Ace was apparently determined to go after her. She was not the cute sidekick to him that Sugar was. Hell, without the Idol that Sugar found, what use was Kelly anyways?

Over at Fang, fresh from two victories last week, you’d think they would settle their petty differences about, well, eating rice. They’re getting emaciated out there and someone at least (Randy) thinks they are going their food supply too fast. Except that a mini group of Ken, GC and Crystal –the non-white members, natch—don’t think so. They seemed to be pitted against evil-minded Randy (again), Matty the personal trainer, Dan the attorney-who-needs-to-find-himself and Susie, who brings up the rear because she doesn’t want her housewife-ness to get ousted. These cleavages within Fang are familiar.

Except that Jeff Probst has other plans. Instead of the reward challenge, he decides to split up the teams again! No way! He passes out little pads and asks both teams to “rank” each other as to who has the most “value” or worth. Then he asks them to stand on top of these yellow posts that are raised from lowest to highest. Surprise, surprise? Maybe. On Kota, the top guy is Marcus. Makes sense. On Fang, it’s Matty. Crystal doesn’t seem too happy to be ranked under Randy, whom she despises. And GC looks a bit low, but he reasons it’s because he has rubbed people the wrong way.

No matter. Jeff then does another playground trick, asking Matty and Marcus to call out two new teams. And Jeff constantly ribs everyone about how low they are, how they react to being picked, etc. Randy tries to prevent GC from being picked on his tribe. Kelly seems left out. Sugar is left all alone because the sides are even and she is the odd-female out. Her reward is to be sent to Exile Island for the second week in a row. When she returns she will join the team who has cast off its member on Tribal Council. She doesn’t detest this, but of course can’t show this (she has the idol, by the way). She spends her time eating fruit (the “most delicious apple”) while swinging on a comf hammock. You’d think the previously nasty, leach-infested Exile Island was almost livable.

The two new tribes, still called Kota and Fang, proceed to the next immunity challenge as they also begin to take in each other’s camps and diverse personalities. Ace is quickly seen as somewhat of a leader/guru, a bit stuck-up and fussy, but somehow allowed to call the shots. At one point, Crystal refers to him as a “pimp”, which may be harsh, but essentially carries the same meaning. If there is a game in which it pays to be loyal to your protectors, especially when you have something they want (Sugar having the idol), then “Survivor” is that game. Matter of fact, OK, yeah, Ace is really something, as this interview clip about Ace shows.

The physical challenge itself is noteworthy only because it is one of the worst, most lopsided performances in “Survivor” history, a fact that Jeff repeats endlessly. The two teams essentially play a water polo-like game in which they have to score goals while on inner-tubes. The new Fang is horrendous. Only Ace fares well, since he is the only one who has practiced swimming lately. Crystal can barely move. (She also stupidly admits later at Tribal Coucil that she “was in the game. In just wasn’t participating as much as I normally do”) But it’s the new Kota that completely dominates the challenge and Jeff just can’t resist the snide play-by-play (“Kelly not doing much”. “Kelly just hanging back”) that reduces Fang to a laughing stock. Marcus shows his athleticism in the challenge, and it’s clear he has some water polo or rowing in his Ivy-League past. He assists Ken for each of his three goals. Ken the cranky guy saves himself from any doubt that he would be picked off someday. At Fang, it’s just a who’s who list of the miserable players. Ken is clueless and might possibly seem a bit frail. GC is strong but can get unfocused. Jacquie and, to a lesser extent, Kelly are physically underwhelming, as if this was the most rigorous challenge they’ll ever face. (It isn’t.)

Kelly and Jacqui are two women that, if you saw them from far away, you might not be able to tell them apart. Both blond and somewhat listless, they get lost in the crowd of characters so early in the season because of their near-obsolescence. They are
according to
Ken, the nerd
gamer champion.
They are “hot”, according to Ken, the nerd gamer champion. But come on, doesn’t Ken think any young woman with a pulse is “hot”? Moreover, hotness doesn’t get you much here when you are clearly sucking at physical challenges. In the end, it’s another messy Tribal Council, with lots of words being thrown around and creating an uncomfortable atmosphere. Can Kelly, the sales rep who should usually not be a loss for words, shut her mouth? Is there a method to her madness for insulting the very people who want to vote her out? Isn’t the goal of Tribal Council to defend and explain and not go out on an attack on others?

Yet it’s Jacquie who is voted off, and for a second there I actually thought the Fang members got their names mixed up, or maybe there was a typo. Jacquie didn’t say much and frankly, we hardly knew ye. I wonder if Fang thought Kelly was more interesting in an irritating kind of way and voted to keep her around. Or that they wanted to boot out someone who could be a stronger player one day. We will never know. Jacquie, the blond, unsung woman from who-knows-where had her torch put out.

Update on Marcus and Charlie: They are once again on the same team, Kota. Did we ever doubt this? Corinne is there too. With anxious glee, Charlie declares that he “loves” Marcus.

Reward Challenge: None –time to switch!
Immunity Challenge: Kota
Player of the Week: Randy

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