Smash TV: Survivor Gabon, Week 7

Monday, November 10th, 2008 | SMASH TV with

Survivor Gabon

How the mighty have fallen! Wow! Score one for the underdogs! After last week’s searing blindside of Ace from Fang, at the hands of his supposed kewpie doll/sorta love interest, Sugar, this week’s ouster was just as stunning. Marcus, the mighty doctor, leader, motivator, who liked to hear his own voice, was knocked to his knees at exactly the moment when he thought he was controlling his entire tribe. Uh uh. Here on “Survivor”, people’s fates can change in an instant and this was a classic, if not entirely unsurprising, moment. Here’s how this all went down:

Jeff Probst pulled the old switcheroo on both tribes Fang and Kota. First he invited both teams to a luscious feast of food —roast chicken, cheeses, meats, veggies, fruit, drinks—and both teams, especially the ravenous Fang, dove at the spread and generally pigged out. The gaunt Ken, the champion gamer, looked like he was going to die soon without any nutrition besides meager grains of rice.

Amid the copious food, a couple of unsettling items. The first was a note wrapped around a small box that said that it could only be opened after they finish eating. It looked like a box full of new headbands. Everyone thought this was the week in the two tribes would merge into one –thus the spread of food heralding some kind of celebration. The survivors kept eating, gnawing at their chicken pieces, wolfing down pastries. Only there was one other annoying item on the table, actually under some of the food: a clue to find the immunity idol somewhere right near them. Ken grabbed the clue, which as the message said, he could keep to himself or “share” with the rest. Charlie saw this, grabbed the note too, then read it aloud. That spurred everyone into action, and especially Randy, who in about 30 seconds found the clue buried beneath some sand.

What to do with this sudden idol? For a moment there was both a widespread panic but also an inescapable yearning to simply grab it and just be hated; it’s a good way to become a target because you were perceived as pushy and instrumental. (Isn’t this Corinne currently?) An interesting thing happened: Marcus, who dove in as his own perceived leader role, managed to convince the others that the best thing to do was to collectively get rid of the idol. That way no one would benefit, and no one would bear any pressure. Somehow this worked, with everyone going into the ocean water and disposing of the idol. For a moment there I thought Marcus (or even Randy) would manage to secretly keep the idol for himself. It didn’t happen.

The other switcheroo moment occurred when the merge did not actually materialize. Instead, a cruel re-choosing of teams took place, with members choosing either an odd or even number, and Fang and Kota were still the two teams –except now with some changes. For example, Fang now consisted of Bob, Marcus and Susie (formerly of Fang), along with Ken and Crystal. Kota now is composed of Corinne, Charlie, Randy, Matty and Sugar.

A lot of sniping occurred before and after the immunity challenge. And it was a brutal physical one –the tribe members had to balance a thin wooden log on the tops of their hands so that it would remain steady. People like Crystal and Susie, two rather weak players, were ousted early and finally it became a battle between Matty and Bob. In the end it was Matty, who won immunity for his new team of Kota. The fact that Crystal is simply listless in physical challenges makes her an obvious target as well, and Marcus noted this in his comments. Yet he also confessed that in this “small world” one of his closest friends back home in Atlanta is Crystal’s cousin. They have now found a common bond, and Marcus thinks that he has a (sudden) alliance with her, even though he is new to Fang and despite Crystal’s comment to the camera that she isn’t above telling him something and doing something else. She’s been in an alliance with Ken. So when Marcus, with his high horse and perceived friendship with Crystal, suggests that Fang vote out Ken, this raises Crystal’s hackles. Why or
how
Marcus manages
to make this
stupid move
is hard to figure
Why or how Marcus manages to make this stupid move is hard to figure. Add to this the fact that in order to do this, he also needs Susie’s vote. But Susie isn’t dumb. She knows that she has enemies over on Kota, especially Corinne and Charlie, so the move to Fang was probably some relief to her. But she also perceives that she does have some power too, as when she falsely promises to Marcus that if she does what he says, she wants to be brought into the final 6 –no wait, she’s bolder than that: she wants Final 3.

Over at Kota, nothing much happens, except for the elevation of Matty after his immunity challenge win. He makes some kind of peace and alliance with his former Fang teammate, Sugar, who actually cries when he tells her that her ousting of Ace was actually unfair. Sugar believes him, saying that Ken and Crystal were giving her incorrect information that Ace was out to get her. It’s hard to say who was right but there’s no denying that Sugar delivered a great blindside last week.
Yet it also suggests that Sugar is still too easily swayed by men.

It’s hard to understand why Marcus felt he was not on the chopping block when Fang went into Tribal Council. It’s probably the same sense of self-satisfaction he had given himself to start strutting around with a new tribe and try to call the shots. This is almost always an unsafe move. I wonder if Marcus has ever been aware of his sometimes pompous nature, his sense that he is always “right”. Why did he think that his call to get rid of Ken would not be a popular suggestion? Why would he be surprised that Ken, with an angry and rattled look, would not stand up for himself and call him out during the questioning by Jeff Probst? Isn’t Marcus the new person? Why would he think he could tell others (seemingly, only Bob obeyed him) what to do? Thus it was dramatic to see that Marcus in effect fell on his own sword. Susie didn’t go along with him. His new buddy Crystal didn’t either. What Marcus didn’t see was that by slaying the lion, the other weaker players were now able to elevate themselves by ridding themselves of one of the strongest players on this season’s “Survivor”.

Week 7 Rewards Challenge Winner: No challenge
Reward: A virtual feast of food that both tribes enjoyed
Immunity Challenge Winner: Matty
Player of the Week: MattyAlso winner of “Best Hair”.

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