Natalie Finn, eonline
There are only so many weeks left to survive Gabon.
Last week, after another tribal shuffle, Kota got Crystal Cox and Ken Huang—hence, it cracked, finally losing an Immunity Challenge and then shipping off Marcus Lehman, who up until last week had been the strongest player, as evidenced when he convinced Randy Bailey to toss an Immunity Idol into the ocean.
But while Survivor: Gabon hasn't exactly played out the way audiences might have expected seven weeks ago, there are still schemes to be planned, rewards to be had and eight backs to stab after another seemingly out-of-nowhere elimination.
Let's just say, someone's playin' this game good. Check out the moves made Thursday:
Matty Whitmore is psyched, while Charlie Herschel winces when Jeff Probst informs them that Marcus has been voted out. "Corrine, you look miserable," Probst points out.
Reward Challenge: Using a large slingshot, each tribe must shoot a ball toward a flag-marked hole 300 yards away. The tribe with the lowest number of shots to get the ball in the hole wins—just like golf! Fang has an extra member so Corinne Kaplan sits out. Shocking.
Kota wins the first hole in three shots. Fang wins the second in two. And Fang takes the third hole, though not without some spitty hissing and shhing between Matty and Randy over slingshot strategy.
Fang wins an overnight jaunt to a Gabonese village, where they're treated to a plentiful dinner and native dancing.
Fang also chooses to send Bob Crowley to Exile Island, with Corinne expressing hope that the likable and now alarmingly skinny physics professor will find the Immunity Idol.
So, apparently the old Fang was holding Matty back, and Randy was a major Kota asset. And now the two are enjoying the spoils of war together, as Crystal's toxicity infiltrates the once-dominant Kota. Meanwhile, Charlie's wondering who's going to do the thinking for him now that Marcus is gone. Kenny's got some newfound gumption, feeling pretty proud of himself for helping to orchestrate Marcus' ouster.
Over in exile, Bob is fashioning his own fake Idol, using resin and other doodads, just to mess with people. Ha!
Immunity Challenge: When the tribes show up, they find out they're playing for...individual immunity. Meaning, it's merger time!
Each castaway is tasked with starting a fire with the usual camp-provided fire supplies (flint and steel), building a little fire tepee and burning through a piece of rope. The first to do so wins.
Well, what do you know? Susie Smith and Sugar Kiper start off with the most impressive-looking flames, with Susie sparkin' first.
Susie wins immunity! She can't believe it. Ha, ha—Corrine can't either.
The remaining nine head back to their new one-size-fits-all camp, where they find coffee, rice, beans, pears and other goodies. But now let's get with the strategizing.
Randy starts pushing—hard—for Crystal's ouster, and Charlie likes the idea, feeling that he, Randy, Corinne and Bob are still tight, while Crystal, Ken, Matty and Susie have joined forces. Which makes Sugar the wild card.
Corinne assumes she has charmed Sugar, because the pinup model is "such a moron." Nice attitude, Corinne.
Ken has it out for Charlie, so he's looking to blindside the young attorney. Despite Corinne's sureness that she has Sugar because she was "nice to her for one day," Sugar is outwardly neither here nor there.
New-look Tribal Council: There's Marcus, Juror No. 1, soon to be joined by…someone.
Randy votes for Crystal, and calls her a "bitch" to boot. Ken thumbs his nose at Charlie. Charlie votes for Crystal, citing her betrayal of Marcus as the reason. Yikes. Sugar, flush with emotion, sheds a couple tears as she writes a name down, but we don't get a peek.
And, Ken really is an evil genius. Charlie gets the boot, 5-4. What do you want to bet he's just psyched to be sitting on that jury with Marcus?
"This is a disaster. I 100 percent did not see this coming," Charlie says. "But if I'm going to lose Survivor, I'm glad it's a blindside. Thank God Marcus is in the jury house. That is my saving grace, I can't wait to see Marcus."
So, don't cry for Charlie.