Survivor: Gabon, Week 5: Shedding Snakes and Tears

Ace ponders which member of the old Fang tribe could be a Benedict Arnold to help keep him around. Matty sees himself as being in a bad position and is eager to agree to the first logical plan anyone presents to him. Just like the magical moment when chocolate met peanut butter and begat Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (not really, but I’m trying to make this more interesting than it was), Ace and Matty join forces and agree to protect each other until the merge, sealing the deal with swearing on their loved ones (Matty’s girlfriend and Ace’s mother). Matty wants Kenny for his sidekick, and Ace says he’d like to keep his Sugar.

Ace tells Sugar he’s 90 percent sure people went through her bag and know she has the hidden immunity idol. Although Ace doesn’t ask her to, Sugar gives him the idol, reasoning, “If I’m not going to play it, I might as well give it to you.” She tells the camera, “Ace is kind of a snake, but he’s my snake, and I’m glad to have him.” (My husband tells me he thought Sugar called Ace a stake instead of a snake. “A tent-pole stake, not a steak with grilled onions,” he clarifies. I’m tempted to hand this blog over to my husband — what he misheard is probably more interesting than the show was.)

For the reward challenge, each tribe chases the other while tethered to a 20-foot, 200-pound snake. Members can disconnect from the snake when it gets too heavy, and Sugar, Kenny and Kelly drop out fairly quickly. After Crystal drops out, the Fang snake-carriers are just Matty and Ace, the latter of whom struggles with his pants slipping when the snake gets too heavy. (It seems there could be a joke in there someplace, but I’m not going there.)

Kota wins pastries, coffee and tea, and starts eating in front of the hungry Fang tribe. Crystal sheds some frustrated tears after losing the challenge, and Randy says “Wah, wah, wah” in response. He tells the camera that his love of winning challenges is surpassed by his love of watching Fang lose. Crystal tells the camera that she thinks Randy is a mean, angry troll, and that when the tribes merge, old Fang and new Fang probably won’t get along.

Kota sends Sugar to Exile yet again, where she cries in her Sugar shack because she feels sad and guilty that her Fang tribemates don’t have food, and she gets to eat. Kota, meanwhile, has tons of food, and they discuss how to divide the treats they won. Randy sees that he should distance himself from Dan, who’s annoying everyone with his food issues.

Kelly and Ace chat in the forest about how Crystal cried after the challenge, and Crystal uses her Olympian speed to chase them down and tell them not to mistake her tears as a sign of weakness.

Bob and Marcus see a big turtle, which they catch and cook. Since this episode isn’t holding my attention very well, I find myself wishing for a cross-network promotion between Survivor and Heroes, and that the turtle is the one Parkman brought back to the States to guide him to Daphne. The two shows already have similarities — this season of Survivor is subtitled “Good vs. Evil”; this season of Heroes is “Villains.” Just imagine if Hiro (who’s also in Africa right now!) visited the Survivor set — he could freeze time to steal the hidden immunity idol, affect the outcome of challenges, and pull Ace’s pants down at inopportune moments.

For the immunity challenge, tribemates are tied together in pairs, and they go through an obstacle course and collect pieces of a flagpole. Fang falls behind early on, catches up due to a spirited effort by Matty and Kenny, and then falters when it comes to assembling the flagpole, allowing Kota to win.

Afterward, Crystal is upset with Ace, whose efforts to take charge of putting the flagpole together hurt the tribe. “Ace is a tyrant and a bully,” Crystal says to the camera. “He’s been in our tribe for three or four challenges now, and we haven’t won anything. So how is he benefiting me?”

Matty tells Ace that he fears Sugar’s idol, and Ace assures him that Sugar can’t use it. I can’t tell if Matty understands that Ace has the idol, or if he really thinks Ace will choose to keep him instead of Sugar.

Crystal tells Matty she wants Sugar or Ace gone, but Matty honors his agreement with Ace and says no, Kelly should go next. Matty then tells Kenny that he and Ace made a serious, swearing-on-loved-ones agreement. I think some key parts of the conversation were edited out — it doesn’t flow smoothly, and Kenny doesn’t seem surprised by what Matty says. I wonder if Matty lets Kenny know he’s his chosen sidekick.

Kenny is shocked when Sugar tells him she gave Ace the idol, and he advises her to keep it. Sugar later tells Ace she took it back from him (which makes me wonder about the rules of possession on Survivor — Crystal couldn’t take the idol when she found it in Sugar’s bag, but Sugar could take it from Ace’s jacket. Presumably the idol still belongs to Sugar, even though she gave it to Ace?), and Ace doesn’t seem bothered by this.

At Tribal Council, they discuss Crystal crying after the reward challenge. Kelly says that no, she doesn’t think it means Crystal’s weak, but it does make her seem unstable. Like any well-balanced, stable person, Crystal yells at Kelly, and then angrily displays her middle finger while casting her vote against her.

Everyone else votes against Kelly, too, but manages to not make obscene gestures while doing so.