So there was this elephant on last week’s episode of “Survivor”. The Fang tribe discovered it. It was a pretty angry pachyderm, and it was busy tearing down large branches and their camp. The team sat there in bemusement, and even Ace and Matty took the kayak to get a closer look for absolutely no good reason. Sugar seemed afraid for Ace; GC was saying “leave the elephant alone”. And yet, this opening sequence was a metaphor of sorts. The “elephant in the room” for Fang is that they are rudderless and full of disarray. They are unable to deal with personality and management issues in their own tribe because they won’t face them. And this is to their own detriment, and once again, they were faced with doom: Tribal Council.
What is up with Sugar? The cute curly-haired blonde gets picked again to be sent to Exile Island after Kota wins the reward challenge. (Something about batting down tossed fruits.). And what does Sugar do about it? She beams. She laughs. She claims “it’s already known as the ‘Sugar Shack’” Come on, now. Even if Dan from Kota justifies this as a “strategy” and that she could use the immunity Idol (if she has it, and she does) before the tribes merge, Sugar is way too gleeful about being sent again. Why show your cards? Why does she give off the impression that she indeed has the Idol –which is the only reason to go there–? Put another way: if she didn’t have the Idol, she would not be happy to have to go out there again for the third time to look for something. Kota said they were sending her for “comedy’s sake”. That’s dumb. She sashays into the island, doing a little dance and says the joke is on them. In her little “Eden” of fresh mangoes and pineapples, she is living by herself surrounded by nice things and an Immunity Idol in her bag that’s she’s already found. More about that later.
Meanwhile, at Kota, the “rich keep getting richer”, in Charlie’s words. They are better organized, they seem to get along much better. Dan the tall ex-lawyer calls himself “outspoken” and starts acting more like a leader, which may or may not rankle people. At least he is stepping up and asking the tribe to vote unanimously before the merge takes place. And given the surprises already this season, that could happen anytime. Marcus mostly agrees with Dan, but sees him as too “eager” and that “no one believes him”. He may be right. But he’s also a realist. He doesn’t share Dan’s golly-gee optimism that this tribe is so tight that everyone has each other’s back.
Fang can’t seem to get its act together when dealing with its personalities. Does GC have a death wish? Can Crystal be any more gruff?Can Ken’s scrawny, flea-bitten body take any more abuse? It would seem that GC is the most beleagured. He plainly hates it out in Gabon. He has been unable (and unwilling) to step it up as a leader, and he failed miserably because he is weak emotionally. He is homesick, as if he is the only one. He also can’t seem to handle the elements. “You know Ive had enough of these people here”, he tells the camera, “I need to get back to real life”. Later, when the tribe has to go to the challenge, GC is off on his own, nowhere to be found. His teammates almost leave without him. GC is a classic example of the Survivor player who willfully gives up, the person who is somehow blindsided by what it takes to make it –and ultimately (and shamefully) gives up. This is also not the proudest member. And it’s the type that no one can stand, because they tend t become whiny. Jeff Probst also has no patience for this person.
Fang ultimately finds an out-of-it GC and head to the Immunity Challenge, where they lose miserably again. Crystal sees GC as a “grown man who throws tantrums”. But wait! Ace sees this as an opportunity. He sees the disarray within the ranks as a way to separate the weak from the strong before the merge. Or else he just sees this as a way to impose himself and his tiny alliance with Sugar (if you can call it that) forward. Misery loves company but only to a certain point. Ace seems genuinely happy to hear the arguments, especially between Crystal and GC.
When Fang comes back after losing the challenge, GC does some major league whining. It’s pathetic. GC is so busy walking around saying how miserable he is, and how he doesn’t “sound like himself”, etc., and it’s because of the game. Whatever. On the one hand he isn’t getting any sympathy, least of all from Crystal, who calls him a “loser”. On the other hand, too, why keep someone like him around if he is basically bringing everyone down with his pooh-butt attitude. If you can’t trust someone because they aren’t “there”, it’s as if they really aren’t there.
The only other “discovery” at Fang is something that was just waiting to happen: Sugar’s Immunity Idol, which Crystal finds wrapped up at the bottom of her bag. Where was Sugar? Staring into bald cadaver-looking Ace’s eyes out at the pond, talking about their sticking together before the merge and other goo-goo eyes-type items. Meanwhile, Kelly is the lookout in the tent while Crystal does some searching. Sure enough, it is found. They all know she has the Idol and she is instantly, in Crystal’s words, the “most dangerous player right now”. There is talk of blindsiding her by voting her out. Dumb Sugar. Of course she is “acting all confident”; the rest of the tribe sees this now. And her odd alliance with Ace, which has more to do with her own personal insecurities and need for approval by a male, seems iffy. Believe it or not, one of the previews for next week actually shows Ace asking her to give him the Immunity Idol. What’s that all about? Is Sugar ready to be pwned?
At tribal council, there is talk of the Immunity Idol. But of course the tribe members don’t let on that they know that Sugar has it. She seems diffident to the fact that a person could go through her bag and look for it. Perhaps she suspects this. But she is blind to the reality that her gig is up. They (as in Matty, Ken, GC, Crystal and Kelly) do know, and they are sitting there at Tribal Council making it seem like nothing is wrong. But GC is still the lingering sore that supersedes everything, the hangnail that is bringing everyone down. Sugar doesn’t even feel the need to use her Idol, thinking she would be voted out tonight. GC is voted out.
Reward Challenge Winner: Kota
Reward: an herb garden, oil and condiments, fresh fruit
Immunity Challenge Winner: Kota
Player of the Week: Dan, for finally growing a pair