Smash TV: Survivor: Gabon, Weeks 5 & 6

Saturday, November 1st, 2008 | SMASH TV with

Survivor Gibon Gabon

Time to get caught up with the goings-on in Gabon. Week Five did not generate much drama, actually. As we know, Sugar has the hidden immunity idol, which she found weeks ago on Exile Island. Everyone on Fang knows this, including the Mephistophelian Ace with the maybe-phony British accent who seems to have taken a liking to the former pin-up model. In fact, on last week’s episode he told her that it seems that everyone knows she has the idol. To which she smiled gamely and said it didn’t matter much to her.

Also, Ace managed to pad his alliance with Sugar a little more with Matty, who seemed to be the most physically imposing of any of the other players. Matty gladly agreed, since no one else seemed to approach him about anything. Matty is a strong player, and he really stepped it up on a competitive level last week when lesser players like Kelly and Crystal could not. In fact, Crystal, Kelly and Ken attempted to sway Matty away from the clutches of Ace, i.e., how to tell him that Ace is a menace to everyone and that he is some kind of evil guru. Well, Matty for one isn’t seeing it. And given the fact that this lot is meager, starving and quite lacking in performing in any of the challenges, the choice for Matty was fairly clear.

It’s what happened next that was interesting. Seeing that there are some weak players, Matty tried to convince Ace to try to get rid of one of them. Then he wondered whether it wouldn’t be bad idea to off Sugar, since (as he revealed) he knew she had the idol and would be blindsided if she didn’t expect to be voted off. Ace froze. He deftly convinced Matty that Sugar was not the problem; the weaker players like Crystal and Kelly were the real issue. Pick them off and then move on. Yet Ace also let on that he was in cahoots with Sugar, and hinted that he knew she had the idol. Then when he approached Sugar, he asked her if he could borrow it. She said yes.  Bad move –maybe. In retrospect
really don’t
know whether she
“gave” it
to him or not.
In retrospect we really don’t know whether she “gave” it to him or not. Why would she? Did she give it to him just so he could hold it? Ken was flabbergasted when Sugar gamely admitted that she did this. Yeah, good reaction, Ken: start telling Sugar she is a dunce and that the real danger to everyone on Fang and to an expected merge soon is Ace, and all his machinations. On last week’s episode we are not quite sure what is in Sugar’s mind.

In the end, it is Kelly’s turn to have her torch snuffed. She whined a lot. She let her mouth at Tribal Council get the best of her, which probably suggests she knew she was a goner. Fang players except for Sugar (?) and Matty don’t care much for Ace. But once again, he managed to manipulate those puppet strings and get the rest to accede.

Over at Kota, what can be said? They won breakfast pastries! Evil Randy bit into his strawberry Danish with disgusting and noisy gusto right in front of the demoralized (and just defeated) Fang. Kelly asked if they would share. (Hell no!) That caused Crystal to make a little teary-eyed scene. But no, Kota is comparatively well-fed They eat like kings! They season their rice with saffron, maybe! Give them some white wine, a little veggie broth, and who knows, they can have some risotto! Oh, and the feature amphibian last week was this enormous turtle, which happened to magically land on shore. Yum. Right into the pot of boiling water, a little more spices, and out came what looked like something sickening, but the turtle soup was deemed delicious by this well-fed troop. Nothing else to report from Kota from last week, except that Dan manages to come off as a little insecure and bossy. And that irks the trifecta of Marcus, Charlie and Corinne. Oh, and bringing up the rear, as in the “I-am-so-lucky-to-ride-these-coattails”efforts of Susie.

Week 5 Reward Challenge Winner: Kota
Reward: Danishes, croissants, sweet rolls, coffee
Immunity Challenge Winner: Kota (of course)
Player of the Week: Matty, for being strong in the face of frustration

On last night’s episode, things did not start well at all for Fang. With Matty just about ready to blow a fuse and get rid of the weaker females, we can see that this is an increasingly emaciated tribe. Ace looks positively gaunt. Crystal, who used to run 100-meter Olympic sprints, isn’t used to this kind of extreme endurance. Her long, large body takes to lying down a lot and she seems listless during the challenges.

But this is a very hungry group as well. They are basically falling apart, and they have taken to counting –nay, rationing—their dwindling supply of rice. And look whose clumsy ass spills part of this precious stuff: oh no, it’s Crystal. Matty gets upset, the others kind of do as well, and she puts on this this woe-is-me routine and actually offers to not eat her portion in order to show some penance, or maybe get some sympathy. Crystal’s display of emotion and false pride grates, and it isn’t lost on the others, especially Ace, who proclaims her as the “lamb” who will be led off to “slaughter” next.

Over at Kota, all seems fantastic by comparison. All they do is eat! Yet the one discordant note is what is revealed early on, with the hurt feelings of Dan, the not-so-smart-ex-attorney. See, Dan was probably always surrounded by people who told him he was a great guy. A people dude. When he sees the natural bonding and camaraderie that goes on between Marcus the doctor, Corinne the sales rep and Charlie the lawyer, well, he is just not having it because he feels…..excluded. As he pathetically tells Corinne and Marcus (cue the violins), “I wanted to clarify that I’m always like a sensitive person, and it’s weird when I’m not part of a group. It like makes me feel bad a little bit. It’s just me, that’s how I am with groups.” Ugh. He feels outside this group! But he wasn’t a part of Kota before! Mean Corinne wonders whether he was a “former fatty”. Marcus thinks he is just a “paranoid human being”. All Marcus can muster at the end of this desperate chat is “Do you feel better?”, as if to simply placate him. Yeah, yeah, Dan we get it. You’re also a liability to us all.

Kota then goes on to win the rewards challenge handily –again, with Matty and Ace looking angry on the sidelines. Some kind of keep-away game, in which some colored ball had to be kept in play, was Fang’s downfall, and it looked as if Sugar was being more playful than actually concentrating on winning. Oops. She dropped the ball. That made her an instant target in the eyes of some, including Matty (again).

Meanwhile, Kota got a pretty sweet reward, what with a helicopter right to some astoundingly beautiful cliffside and out came a picnic basket festooned with wine, champagne, juices, meats, cheeses, bread, and, most importantly, handwritten letters from home. This is always an emotional part of “Survivor” in every season, and this one did not disappoint. Instant waterworks came from Bob, who walked away to read his letters in total privacy. Others were similarly affected. The letters seemed to have come out of nowhere. Kota had already eaten their reward when a French-speaking butler walked in with a small basket of letters. Of course, the fact that Kota had this especially moving bounty given to them went completely unmentioned to the other tribe.

Crystal GabonThe big story last night concerned Sugar and Ace. Sugar was once again sent to Exile Island –a record fifth time back-to-back—and her possession of the idol was now an open secret. At the same time, Crystal and Ken continued to try to blindside Ace and the only way they were going to do this was to get to Sugar and somehow break whatever tie she had with him. Ken got to her alright: he convinced her that Ace and Matty were dogging her rotten performance during the challenge, and Sugar at once seemed unsure of Ace’s support. Ken wasn’t lying. He had to find a way to persuade Sugar to vote Ace out, and her vote would be crucial. What sealed Ace’s fate was what happened after the immunity challenge: he asked her to “use” the idol for himself and she sheepishly declined. Suddenly Sugar was becoming a bit more hip to the possibility that Ace was trying to control her emotions, and thus her actions.

The immunity challenge that followed was a surprise, since it involved individual elimination. A log rolling challenge seemed thrilling enough, but who would have thought that Sugar would do so well, especially when she stank in the first challenge? It was Marcus who prevailed, both over Ace and Sugar (it was possible for a tribe to have members challenge each other), and even Dan. Ace was hurting for a win, and it showed painfully. Not even Bob, the older physics teacher, who revealed that he was a logroll champion many years ago, could muster too much. None could match the physical strength and stamina of Marcus.

The other surprise was that there would be two tribal councils, with two members voted off. AT the first, the plan to eliminate Ace went through, with him slightly edging Crystal and thus providing this season’s first major surprise. Ace was unable to get the idol from Sugar; he couldn’t mold her when he really could have used it. When he got up, he gently said “Thank you, Sugar”. Done.

Susie GabonOver at Fang, the quandary was whether to send the two draggers, Dan or Susie, home for good. Marcus, Charlie and Corinne couldn’t quite cotton to Dan and his nattering insecurities, loud, endless yammering or his gluttonous eating. Plus they managed to swear in another member to their tight alliance: Randy. Yes, as in evil Randy. Randy, who, like Dan was in Fang before, seems to be around just because, well, he is a vicious, fairly amoral competitor. He might be just the kind of bulldog the alliance needs, the attack person who does the nasty bidding. Not that Corinne is a fairy princess. Her snide attacks on Susie, whom she discovers was thinking of voting her out, reveal a mean streak to Corinne. Susie, no sharp knife herself, makes this social gaffe in front of Corinne, which is stupid in itself, especially when no one really knows about her. Corinne refers to Susie as “this moron”. “I hate her”, she says, “like I really want to stab her in the face”. I won’t make any link to the fact that Susie is older and Mexican-American, but I wonder whether she seems to be an easier target for Corinne to start attacking. It’s just hard to imagine that all of a sudden Corinne is so “pissed off” (and “so is my alliance”) because of some ill-advised, nonsensical talk that came out of Susie’s mouth.

At tribal council, it’s Susie again who insults Corinne by simply “letting loose” and saying whatever is on her mind. Randy claims that people know exactly where he stands –he doesn’t have to pretend to show his venom. And in the end, it’s lonely Dan who is voted off over Susie, probably because he is the one that few people can read inside and who could have posed the biggest threat when the merge (maybe next week) took place.

Week 6 Reward Challenge Winner: Kota
Reward: Helicopter ride and picnic basket full of goodies; letters from home
Individual Immunity Challenge Winner: Marcus
Player of the Week: Marcus. He makes it seem easy.

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