Survivor Gabon: This Camp is Cursed

Posted by: Erik Reichenbach  //  October 20, 2008 @ 8:30pm

Filed under: TV Recaps/Reviews 

This Survivor episode had a little more substance then the episodes before it, but I'm afraid the cast-aways are still too afraid to pull the trigger and start really playing the game. Last week there were some mixed opinions about keeping Kelly around over Jacquie, someone who is strong. Its easy to see, especially from this episode, that Fang is already playing an individual game.

It seems like the entire first half of this season is building towards something more exciting later on in the game; I keep crossing my fingers that someone is going to start making some big plays to get this big ball of crazy rolling. Here's the brief overview of the episode.

  • Kota wins Reward, earning them more fruit, a Herb garden, and the choice to send Sugar to Exile.
  • Sugar makes residence in her own "Sugah Shack" once more, and enjoys the comforts of having found the Immunity Idol early in the game (again, annoyingly cute).
  • GC, who expresses his lack of desire to stay in the game, almost misses the Immunity Challenge, but doesn't really care too much if he misses it or not
  • Kota wins Immunity as well (bonus points to Randy for tricking Ace)! Fang is just horrendous.
  • Before Tribal, GC tells everyone he's had enough and wants to quit. Crystal, Ken, and Kelly check Sugar's bag and find the Hidden Immunity Idol. They plot to blindside Sugar, seeing as everyone assumes GC is going to be voted out.
  • The plotting and planning is put on hold, and GC is voted out by pretty much everyone.

I apologize for the lateness of this review; I was in Nashville for a Horror and Comic Book Convention along with fellow fan Tracy from Micronesia, some of the cast of TBS's the Real Gilligan's Island, and Mary & Dave from the Amazing Race season 10 and All-Stars. I got to meet some very cool artists, actors, and writers, and I had never been to Nashville before! It was cool to (literally) run around the city streets; there's some beautiful old architecture in that town. This week I'll make sure to post a review Friday morning so you won't have to wait a week or so to debate with me about it.

Wacky Challenges, and some Wacky People

I don't know if Survivor is trying to reinvent the wheel or is simply out of good game ideas, but some of these challenges are pretty crazy looking. The Reward Challenge involved dividing each tribe up into offensive and defensive players. Offensive players took bundles of fruit and passed them to other offensive tribe members through suspended bamboo goals (2) while the other teams defenders tried to whack them out of the air using wooden bats. After a certain time limit the fruit that successfully made it to the other side was weighed, and the winning team got a herb garden and kept that fruit. Kota won it by a few pounds, and fruit was bashed everywhere (if I were there I would have scooped some of that fruit mush off the ground to eat when Jeff wasn't looking). As far as Survivor goes, this challenge was a little strange.

The second challenge reminded me a lot like PLINKO from The Price is Right, with blind defenders added to the mix. One tribe member from each team is blindfolded and given a wooden shield, another tribe member is the "caller" who informs the blindfolded where to go, and at the top of a massive Gabon hill the rest of the tribemembers whip stick-balls down towards numbered wickets at the bottom. Each wicket had a different point evaluation and after everyone threw they would add up the points. Again, Kota wins (although I was rooting for Fang: I absolutely hate one-sided Survivor seasons!).

I just don't think it's in the cards for poor Fang. I'd like to put the blame on one tribe member if I could, but the morale problem seems almost evenly spread amongst everyone. Because of this I'm having a tough time relating to anyone on the tribe, which doesn't motivate me to really root for anyone on the tribe. I'm sorry Fang, you just make me sad inside. If anyone I am rooting for Sugar at this point, seeing as she pleasantly surprised me a few episodes back when she found the Hidden Idol and talked about her father. Plus that entire pin-up make-up is washed off of her.

I think we got to see an interesting side to Ace this episode. For the past couple of times we've seen Ace, it's evident he thinks very highly of himself. That being known, it was interesting to see what happened when he found himself on the Titanic failure of a tribe that is Fang. In the Reward Challenge, Ace caught a melon to the eye, and in the Immunity Challenge we see Ace clutching his eye again. I dunno if you guys see a pattern, but if Ace isn't the big winner it looks like he feigns an injury instead.

I Can, and Can't, Believe GC Quit

Speaking further about strange characters developing in this season, what is the deal with CG? Starting a few episodes ago we started to see him losing his will in the challenges, and in this episode he outright states his frustration. Before traveling to the Immunity Challenge he disappears in the boat leaving the other Fang members having to call him back and (probably) convince him into coming to the challenge. Later he pretty much told everyone to vote him out because he had had enough and the game was getting to him. He outright quit.

I cannot stress this enough: SURVIVOR IS NOT EASY. It is real, it is difficult, and it is not scripted. People have always asked me since being on Survivor, "So how much of it was real out there?" The things I experienced out there are more real than the things I do in my daily life back home. You starve, moreso than you ever though you would. You miss your family, you miss the convenience of simple things like chairs and tables, and unless you find a friend or two out there you are emotionally drained.

The good news is that they won't actually let you die, and that's actually one of the only things that kept me going out there.

Although I can totally understand what would motivate someone like GC to quit, I harbor a bit of disappointment along with it. Everyone has it hard on Survivor, some harder than others, but anybody who is a hardcore fan of the show cannot justify quitting it after finally making it to the island. There are too many people that would kill to be on Survivor as it is, so (in my opinion) giving up that opportunity is one of the most selfish things a Survivor cast-away can do.

Regardless of my opinion, I think his final words speak for themselves. Log onto CBS.com and I believe he has them there in the Video section of the site. And to future Survivor players, beware! If you aim at making it on this show, understand what you're in for. It is not easy!

I thought it was interesting that the other Fang members (Crystal, Ken, Kelly) went through Sugar's bag. Although not important to note this episode (because GC was voted out) I'm sure this sneaky little move will come up in the coming episodes.

Let's Get Out of this Holding Pattern and Land this Thing!

I am waiting for this season to get good! We saw some interesting strategy last episode, but that turned out to be fueled by the power of the tribal swap. I hope Ace and Sugar make some important plays next episode, as I feel like this season is building and building and building like a season of Lost without any answers. Let's hope things start heating up in Gabon.

Tags: Survivor, Gabon, erik, reichenbach, reality

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Original Comments Posted (10)

macphee187 says...

To be honest, this season of Survivor has been the worst quality of participants in many seasons. Both in terms of strategy (not taking out Sugar when they had the chance this week with a blindside), and in terms of physical and mental prowess. It just seems that this season is moving slow motion. I know when they select participants for survivor, that they go for elements of cohesion, conflict, and diversity. Aside from diversity, this season has lost its steam early.

The best thing possible for the show this season, would be a merge of both tribes early. Then divide them for challenges. Or let them live together and then seperate them for immunity challenges. Since the show is taped, I know its obviously pointless to make a "recommendation", but if I were the producer, and saw how poor the interaction and taping was going... I would script something to make it exciting. Here's to hoping Mr.Burnett does just that.

I love the lost analogy Erik!

Oct 21, 2008 1:28am

Ariana says...

I totally agree with the above commenter: the contestants this season are dull, but I hold hope for once there's a merge.

Oct 21, 2008 2:26am

macphee187 says...

It would also be equally hilarious if there was no merge though... or did they do that already in a previous season? Actually if my memory serves me correctly, Bobby Jon and Stephanie were the last two once upon a time in a tribe were they not? Didn't Steph merge as the sole remaining member of her tribe back then?

That would be neat if they followed a similar format, except not have the last member merge and have an entire tribe decimated. Everyone anticipates a merge, but no one anticipates the absence of one. After the last tribe member would be defeated from one tribe, it would be neat to see the other tribe go into a more singular survival mode overnight.

Oct 22, 2008 1:32am

Paul Little says...

That'd be quite an interesting option, but since I believe Kota only has 7 members, they'll probably not let it go that far before making it an individual game. And to be honest, I can see Fang winning again.

I mean, if you think about it, despite their absolutely horrendous morale and lack of energy, they did almost win BOTH challenges last week. They were clearly in the lead in the fruit throwing competition until near the end when Kota figured out that throwing 2 at a time would beat Ace. And despite Sugar's horrible (at least via the edits) communication during "giant plinko", had Randy not thrown Ace off they would've won the Immunity Challenge, too.

It's true, though, that the players are really uninteresting this season. For me, the real star so far has been Gabon. Having Survivor in HD for the first time has been AWESOME visually, and I guess because of that I don't even mind not being as invested in the various castaways as I normally am. There are a few people I'm rooting for left in the game, though, so I'm not totally giving up on this season.

And I'd probably be cheering for Sugar more if she wasn't a somewhat-working actress. I guess I just prefer when "nobodies" are on the show. If anyone wasn't aware, she had a multi-episode role on Gilmore Girls back in the day, spending most of her on-screen time making out with Milo Ventimiglia.

Oct 22, 2008 12:04pm

erik says...

I totally forgot to mention the Elephant that stomped into Fang's camp! He kinda put the middle of the show on hold,.. I thought someone switched the channel to a National Geographic episode.

Oct 22, 2008 10:24pm

joalberts says...

A freaking elephant?!? COOL!

Oct 23, 2008 2:50am

Ariana says...

Jeez, Paul. Quit rubbing your HD capabilities in the rest of our faces. :D

WAIT. WHAT. THAT WAS HER ON GILMORE GIRLS???? What's her real name? OMG.

The elephant was totally cool, but I couldn't believe they let Mattyand Ace take the boat over. That was... somewhat of a death wish.

I really like Corinne and Marcus (and Charlie and Bob to a degree), so I'm interested to see how their alliance does. I also think Ace and Randy are interesting characters, if not particularly likeable. (And I mean, you can make a drinking game out of how much Ace slips out of his fake accent; that's always entertaining!)

Oct 23, 2008 12:49pm

Ariana says...

Looked her up... Jessica Kiper is her name. I'd totally forgotten about her! How'd you figure it out, Paul? Did you hear it on the internet, or was it through your own keen observation skills?

Oct 23, 2008 12:52pm

Paul Little says...

When they first announced the cast, actually, I looked her up. And then I rewatched an old GG episode to confirm WHO it was -- and sure enough, there she was. Jess' "make Rory jealous" dumb blonde girlfriend.

Oct 24, 2008 1:59pm

Ariana says...

Ok, so after all this, they totally announced it on Global during a commercial break last night. When they do those "Huh" segments. Do you get those?

Oct 24, 2008 3:50pm

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