People, I am ready. Ready for Fang to either do a 180, or dissolve into the Kota tribe. Fang is pure poison right now, and the only excitement they can provide is in the form of redemption or infection. Either they blow me away by banding together and winning some challenges, or they need to merge with Kota, creating conflict and drama at Camp Happy. This self-destruction act on Survivor:Gabon is getting old.

Dirty rice — not just a Cajun dish anymore.
Matty is struck with despair at Fang. To make matters worse, Crystal accidentally dumps some of the rice into the dirt. Crystal’s guilt turns into passive aggression, urging Matty and Ace to eat her share of rice while stating that she doesn’t want anyone to think that she denied them any food. She sees accusation in Ace and Matty’s looks. Crystal’s behavior marks her for deletion by Ace.

You’re breaking my balls here, Fang.
The palling around continues at Kota, and Dan is sensing that he’s on the outside of something. Corinne thinks Dan seeks approval, Marcus thinks Dan is paranoid, both don’t predict that he won’t last through many tribal councils.

At the challenge, tribe members must pass a semi-fragile ball between them, while a member from the opposing tribe tries cause it to break. The winning tribe will be helicoptered to a picnic lunch. Kota strikes first, and Sugar’s ineffectiveness in the second round allows Kota to score again. Before long, Kota is again victorious. And what a surprise — they send Sugar to Exile Island. Matty expresses his frustration, making Sugar his scapegoat in the loss. Well, we’ll say what Ace has to say about that.

Logjammin’. Kota experiences a truly spectacular helicopter ride to a picnic amidst the tall grass at the edge of a stunning canyon. Fang limps home after their latest loss, and they continue to find new depths of despair. Ace and Matty hold palaver on the tribe’s boat and Ace manages to sway Matty to his way of thinking – making Crystal their target. Meanwhile on shore, Ken strikes a deal with Crystal, and pledges to work on Sugar to get her vote.

At their picnic, Kota gets letters from home, and no one is as emotional as Bob. He’s excited to be in Africa, but he can’t wait to get home to see his family, whom he clearly loves (and vice versa.) Sugar has again chosen comfort at Exile, and states her belief that she and Ace are both playing each other for the fool. I’m a bit surprised that she hasn’t elected to check and see what’s up with the clue during one of her stays at Exile Penninsula.

At the immunity challenge, it is announced that each tribe is going to vote someone off. All tribe members will have the opportunity to compete for individual immunity in a series of log rolls. Additionally, Jeff announces that there will be a twist at the end of the competition. Ace, Marcus and Sugar make it to the final round, and all three compete on the log at the same time. Sugar falls first, and then Marcus manages to stay out of the water a split-second longer than Ace. At Jeff’s behest, Marcus reveals the twist, and finds that he is being given the opportunity to assign immunity to one member of the opposite tribe. He gives it to Sugar, hoping that the idol he has given her will force Fang to vote out a stronger member. The thing is, I’m not sure that I’d consider Sugar the weakest member of that tribe. Is she playing a sophisticated game of Survivor strategy, or does the dizzy blonde act go more than skin deep? The jury’s still out.

Fang(s) bared. Ken tells a whopper of a lie to Sugar in order to win her vote and spare Crystal. Kenny tells her that Ace has been planning on getting the immunity idol from her and then vote her out. Sugar agrees to go in with him and says that she will vote Ace. Ace asks Sugar to spare one of her immunity idols, as he thinks that Matty might flop on him. What he doesn’t realize is that what he’s asking Sugar for is playing right into Ken’s lie. Sugar is far more reluctant to hand over her idol now than she has been in the past. Truly, if ever a survivor has been a swing vote, Sugar is.

At tribal council, Crystal spilling the rice is much discussed. Crystal again plays the martyr card while Matty and Ace claim that they were never angry at Crystal for the rice mishap. Jeff tells Sugar that she looks quite comfortable in the catbird seat, and she couldn’t agree more. Votes are recorded, tallied, and when Ace doesn’t play an immunity idol, you get the feeling that he might be going home. A short time later, Ace-hole is sent home, and we have our first blindside of the season. Guess I’ll never know about that accent…

Friends, I’m starting to think that Sugar might be the real deal. She’s officially a front-runner for most interesting person in the game.

Kota vota. Wow, a whole segment devoted to Kota, however will I take it all in? Dan’s paranoia rears its head as he presses Marcus for a name, Marcus gives him Susie’s. Randy works to sink himself in closer to Marcus’s alliance. Then, in a bizarre move, after Corinne tells Susie that they are pretty much going to vote Dan off, Susie tells Corinne that she was thinking she’d vote Corinne off. This instantly makes Susie Corinne’s mortal enemy. Very interesting to see Corinne’s mean streak come out, perhaps that will factor into the game later this season. Personally, I think sloppy play like Susie’s should be rewarded with a swift trip back to the states. You don’t just tell someone that you were thinking of voting for them – especially when you aren’t in an alliance, and that someone is in the most powerful alliance in the game. Marcus counsels the group, stating that Dan might have the immunity idol, and voting him off when he is unsuspecting is a safe way of taking the idol out of the game.

At tribal, Susie continues to make her backhanded slashes at Corinne. Corinne plays it off very diplomatically, but you know that she’s got to be fuming. Votes are tallied and Dan is voted out by a narrow margin. Marcus’s alliance played it smart, with some of their members voting for Dan, some for Susie.  Thusly, they ensured that if Dan had played the idol, and a stray vote or two had been cast for a Kota member other than Susie, Susie would still be going home.

This week’s episode of Survivor felt a little different, and that’s certainly a good thing.  But at the start of next week, we will still have a weak Fang tribe on one side, and on the other, a Kota tribe that is being led by a very powerful alliance with Marcus, Charile, and Corinne at its core. Oh wait, we will also have NUDITY. Old man ass? Count me in!

Posted by:Andrew Stubinski