Welcome back everyone! I hope you’re still picking cranberries out of your teeth as you sit down to enjoy the next chapter in the adventure that is Survivor:Gabon! After enjoying the best episode of the season, how can this week follow up? C’mon, let’s give them the benefit of the doubt. I doubt we’ll see something as spectacular as the bluff they pulled on Randy, but with the headcount down to seven, the possibilities for drama are running high!

Sour Bob. The Nobag tribe returns to camp, and the mystery of Bob’s sullen countenance at the end of last episode is revealed. Bob thinks the laughing at Randy’s misfortune was excessive. Corinne and Sugar get into it next regarding the way that Kenny’s alliance is playing the game. Corinne vows to take the gloves off.

Ooooh, no main title sequence! There must be a lot going on in this episode.

Product placement.
Ken and Bob pull some HUGE fish out of their net, and the tribe looks forward to a feast. Bob ingeniously fashions a frying surface to cook up their fish. Meanwhile, Kenny praises Bob’s inventiveness while deriding his ability to play the game of Survivor in the same breath.

At the reward challenge, Jeff announces that the survivors will be competing for the right to watch videos from home on the SAMSUNG INSTINCT from SPRINT (available now.) As they watch their video, they will enjoy a tasty snack. Tribe mates are teased with excerpts from their videos, the tears flow, and the moment is touching indeed. Crystal and Susie are selected to form teams. After a schoolyard choosing, Sugar, Crystal and Bob will compete against Matty, Ken and Susie in a race to collect (can you believe it) puzzle pieces in the form of gears which must be assembled and used to raise the flag which signals their advancement to round two. As Corinne is not selected for either team, she is excluded from competition. Bob’s physics expertise comes into play, and Crystal’s team wins the chance to go onto the second portion of the competition.

Survivors must next solve a puzzle formed by sliding tiles to win reward. Again, Bob’s brain serves him well and he wins reward. Kenny states that he has been alerted to the danger of Bob’s heady play, and targets him for possible elimination.

Family matters.
Bob pulls himself a beer and sits down to enjoy his reward video. His wife announces that she has to show him something, and the scene cuts to Bob watching the video as his wife, Peggy, steps out from behind the tree and surprises him. I’ll be honest, their reunion brought a smile to this grizzled reporter’s face.

Bob and Peggy return to camp, and Bob has a surprise of his own. All of the survivors’ family members have come back to camp with him, and there are hugs all around. Survivor is always good for one tug at your heart strings per season, and this episode delivers on that promise. After the hugs have subsided, Kenny discusses his position in the game with his sister while Sugar and her own sister spread some of their father’s ashes into the river near camp.

Matty takes the opportunity to reaffirm his love for his girlfriend, Jamie, and proposes to her on camera. He offers her a hand-fashioned necklace in lieu of an engagement ring, and she says yes. The survivors spend the rest of the afternoon getting reconnected to their loved ones, and this season’s feel-good segment comes to an end.

Check out the big brain on Bob.
Bob and Corinne go off to check tree mail, and Bob says that it would be a good time to blindside Matty. Kenny’s alliance is discussing their vote, and even Sugar agrees that Bob is the biggest threat. Well, so much for that father/daughter relationship that I theorized on two weeks ago!

Next, the payoff from the tease we saw week before last is played out. Bob spins a tale of how Marcus rescued the immunity idol discovered at the feast during the merge, and faked the throw into the ocean. In actuality, Bob’s tale is completely fabricated, and he is planning on making another fake idol. Bob and Corinne will use the fake idol to influence the tribe, and draw votes away from themselves.

At the immunity competition, survivors answer trivia questions to win balls, balls which will be tossed at a target after the end of the question round. The person who ends up with the ball closest to the center after all tosses wins immunity. As Bob and Corrine’s plan requires that one of them win immunity, a win here is vital for them. Ball area pitched and after a threatening final toss from Sugar, Bob’s tosses prove to be the most accurate, and he wins immunity. Presumably, Bob is safe this round.

Fake Idol Mark II. Bob and Corinne develop their plan involving the fake idol. They will let certain influential people know that Corinne is planning on using the idol that Bob claims he was given by Marcus. The key here is how they introduce this story of the rescued idol. They have to do it in such a way that Kenny’s alliance doesn’t suspect that the idol is a fake. Corinne tells the story to Kenny, and he is taken in by the story, so much so that he seems willing to switch alliances. Kenny advises Bob and Corinne to target Matty, and also states that he will try and get Crystal to play along with them.

Bob crafts another convincing immunity idol, and shows it to Crystal, selling her on the idea of him, Kenny, and Corinne going to the final four. But wait! Kenny tells Crystal to vote for Corinne, assuming that the other three in his alliance will be voting that way as well, with only himself, Corinne, and Bob voting Matty. If this happens, and Corinne plays her fake idol, Corinne will still be going home. Bob and Corinne’s plan appears to be in jeopardy.

At tribal, Jeff asks the players if paranoia has been striking them individually. It is generally agreed that such attacks have been taking place. Trust is discussed next, and Crystal and Kenny seem to be hinting that they will be voting along with Bob and Corinne’s plan (which should get Corinne booted anyway.) The only hope for the pair is if Crystal, wishing to take no chances to get rid of him, switches her vote to Matty, recognizing him as a greater danger than Corinne. Jeff calls for the idol to be played and Corinne holds her fake one back. The votes are read, and Corinne is sent home by a vote of 4-3.

Well, Bob’s plan may not have saved Corinne, but it did do something very interesting. The fact that Matty garnered three votes when the opposing alliance numbers only two did not go unnoticed. He appeared visibly shaken after the vote. Bob’s plan might be the key to fracturing the stronger alliance — if Matty starts going after Kenny, Bob’s intelligent play ought to be sufficient to maneuver him into a swing vote position, and save him in future rounds. Kenny started off the episode saying that Bob’s game play isn’t up to snuff, but I doubt that he feels that way now.

Posted by:Andrew Stubinski