Survivor: Gabon, Week 8: Bittersweet Blindside

Crystal, Susie and Kenny are pleased with their ousting of Marcus, and Bob knows that if there’s not a merge, he’ll probably be history, too … even though he teaches science. It’s a little joke, he explains. America grins.

The Fang tribe can’t make fire and doesn’t have any rice, so they’re hoping that tree mail brings news of a merge, or, in the words of Corinne, “something merge-esque” so she can see Marcus again. But no, the tree mail just brings news of the reward challenge, which Marcus won’t even be at.

Corinne and Charlie are shocked to see Marcus gone, and Matty grins like a chimp in heat. Corinne says that Marcus didn’t deserve to leave the game, and Kenny asks who does deserve to leave. To Corinne’s credit, she doesn’t name names, although I’m sure she thought of a few.

The challenge is a golf game in which each tribe uses a slingshot to shoot a ball toward the hole. On the third and final hole, Matty and Randy bicker about the shot that can win the challenge for Fang — Randy wants no tension on the slingshot at all; Matty says “I know” but still pulls it back; Randy wants Matty to let him do it; Matty shushes him and says no. Meanwhile, Charlie pleads for peace, and Sugar (as she does the whole challenge) just stands off to the side and looks pretty. They do make the easy shot, but Randy’s still not happy that Matty wouldn’t listen to him.

As their reward for winning, the Fang members go to a village, where they eat, dance, and are beaten with leaves covered with water. Corinne has a 2-year-old cling to her, Matty grooves to everything, and Randy says of one of the natives, “I haven’t had a girl come on to me in about 20 years, but I think one of them kind of liked me.”

Now that Sugar is actually on the winning team, someone else has to go to Exile. Bob is chosen, and he follows the clues and comes to the spot where Sugar’s hidden immunity idol used to be. He’s frustrated that he can’t find the idol, but when life gives Bob free time and no idol, he’s the kind of guy who makes his own idol using rocks, resin, a feather and whatever else he can find. It’s really pretty impressive — it puts Ozzy’s “face on a stick” fake idol to shame. Bob hopes having a fake idol is “sort of like when you’re holding up a bank — you don’t necessarily need a gun. If they think you’ve got a gun, they might leave you alone.” (Or, you know, give you money, which is probably want you want.)

Tree mail indicates that the next challenge will involve starting a fire, and Randy says that Crystal wouldn’t be able to start a fire with “a book of matches and gasoline.” Charlie has trouble remembering which derogatory nickname Randy uses for whom, and Randy explains: “Sasquatch is Bigfoot, which is Crystal … which is also T-Rex.”

The challenge is for individual immunity, as Jeff Probst announces that the tribes have merged (Bob has new life, and a new blue buff to use for his bow tie). The players are given supplies to make a fire, and the winner is the first whose fire is high enough to burn through a rope. Sugar looks particularly wide-eyed and excited, as if she knows how to make fire.

Whoa. Turns out, she does. And Susie’s even better at it, as the two of them are the only ones to get a flame. Who’d have thunk it? Bob can make anything out of anything, MacGyver-style, yet he doesn’t beat Susie and Sugar in fire-making.

After Susie wins the challenge, the merged tribe returns to what was formerly the Fang camp, and the strategizing begins. Randy, Corinne, Charlie and Bob are on one side, Kenny, Crystal, Matty and Susie are on the other, and Sugar’s the hot commodity in the middle.

Sugar tells Corinne she can’t live with Randy anymore, and Corinne empathizes. Or pretends to — she tells the camera, “Not only do I have to act interested in what Sugar’s saying, but I have to act like I care about her.” Corinne and Charlie tell Sugar they can get rid of Randy with the next vote, after they get rid of Crystal. Sugar doesn’t really commit one way or the other, but Corinne thinks she bought the sales pitch, and that she’s “weak, naive, gullible” and “such a moron” for doing so. (Is there anyone Corinne doesn’t think is a moron? Could you just subtitle the White Pages of any city “People Corinne Thinks Are Morons,” and it’d be pretty accurate?)

So it looks like the elimination will be between Crystal and Randy, but Crystal, Kenny, Matty and Susie discuss how they need to break apart Charlie and Corinne. Although Susie and Matty high-five each other over how horrendous Corinne’s personality is, Kenny tells the group that Charlie should go first, since he’s the brains behind his alliance. It’s a lie, but Kenny has a grudge against Charlie for sharing the clue about the immunity idol hidden at the feast last week. When it comes to reasons for wanting to vote someone out, that has to be one of the weakest.

Kenny then tells Sugar that Charlie is the brains behind Kota, and they need to get rid of him. I wonder why Kenny didn’t ask her who she wanted to vote for — if she’s the swing vote, wouldn’t finding out her opinion be a great way to court her? In any case, Sugar doesn’t trust anyone, including Kenny, since he lied to her before about Ace.

Oh! And the merged tribe names itself “Nobag” because it’s “Gabon” spelled backwards. Ummm … I try not to be the judgmental type, but that’s just silly. I will, however, think of the tribe every time I tell a cashier that I don’t need my purchase to be put in a bag.

At Tribal Council, Crystal wants to know what she ever did that caused “Randy to be bashing Crystal so much” (my answer would start with “She refers to herself in the third person”), and he tells her that when they were on a tribe together, she was arrogant, hard to get along with, “made Fang a living hell” and was the reason the tribe lost so much. She seems OK with that.

Randy then votes for Crystal (for “CC,” actually), his reason being the single word “Bitch.” Kenny says “Sorry, Charlie” with his vote; as Charlie votes against Crystal, he says he’s mad at her for taking away his Marcus; and Sugar stands there, holding the pen, sighing, shaking her head, her eyes wet. And then she votes for Charlie.

It was an utter blindside for Charlie — a “disaster” — but he says the saving grace is that he’ll join his special friend in the jury box: “I can’t wait to see Marcus.”