Tribal implosion on 'Survivor: Gabon'

Acegordon_survivorgabonearthslasted So far, all but one episode of Survivor: Gabon are indistinguishable from the others. The common thread of Fang sucking up the dark continent runs through nearly the entire show so far. Again I wonder, will this be episode where our resident losers turn it on and turn it around? They'll have to show more sack than we've seen so far to make it happen.

Benny Arnold. Another grim evening at Fang winds on, and they try to effect a positive attitude. Ace is very genuinely positive, with his alliance riding high; he's looking for a traitor from a longtime Fang member to strengthen it. Matty looks to memories of his girlfriend to give him strength, and indicates that he is willing to get with a winning program. Ace reaches out to Matty, looking to pull him in as his willing traitor. Matty could not be more down.

Another Fang-tastic loss. At Kota, Dan appears to be thieving food, and this pisses his tribe mates off. Bob and Corinne voice their umbrage at this turn of events. On the flip side, Fang is facing a nearly empty barrel of rice. Ace tells Sugar that he's nearly certain that the other members of the tribe know she has the idol. She gives Ace the idol in case she is eliminated and does not have the opportunity to play it. She may not be as smart as I was hoping she is, and Ace's accent is definitely slipping. What a weird choice, affecting that accent. How the hell can that help him along?

At the reward challenge, both tribes must chase each other around a path while carrying a heavy fake snake.  First tribe member to touch a member of the other tribe wins a lovely coffee and danish snack. Fang takes an early lead, but Kota slowly catches up as Fang's energy flags. Fang drops their dead weight -- Sugar, Ken and Kelly.  Susie drops out for Kota, then Crystal THE OLYMPIC ATHLETE drops out. Matty makes a herculean effort, but ultimately, Kota catches up to him and Ace. Crystal takes the loss hard, and cries openly. Sugar is selected for a fifth trip to Exile island.

And the tears do flow. Kota celebrates their win by enjoying the reward. All seem in favor of rationing the pastries except Dan. Kota is ruffling their feathers in response to Dan's gluttonous ways.

Constant exile is starting to take its toll on Sugar, and she feels guilty about getting extra food at Exile Meanwhile, the rest of her tribe's members are feeling the day's the loss. Crystal seems to take up the mantle from GC, moping about, but them she gets over it and makes a point of letting her tribe know that she's still strong. Her display would be more convincing if she'd shown a spark of strength once during this season.

The best TEAM wins. Kota's fishing gear nets them a turtle, and they whip up a gumbo out of our shelled friend. How many licks does it take to get to the middle of that tortuga, Charlie? The meal excites the tribe, and just in time for the immunity challenge.

At said challenge, tribes must race through an obstacle course, two at a time, to collect pieces of a flagpole. First tribe to raise their flag wins -- you know what's at stake. Again, Fang starts out the challenge strong, although both tribes are starting with their weakest members. Bob and Randy make up the difference and give Kota a lead. Round two sees Ace and Crystal eat up some of Kota's lead, while Matty and Ken overtake Kota in the third. Fang sets about assembling their flagpole first, with Kota right behind. Kota's teamwork defeats Ace's do-it-yourself approach to flagpole building, and is spared a trip to tribal. This was an excellent example of how Kota is continually beating Fang. They are a team, Fang is a group of individuals, and they show no signs of willingness to change this attitude.

Much Machiavellian melodrama. With a tribal council impending, Ace has his eyes on Kelly. Matty tries to sell Ace on the idea of flushing the idol out of Sugar's grasp. Ace convinces him that there is no chance that Sugar will play the idol (because he has it!) Matty agrees to go along with Ace. Crystal questions Matty's allegiance to Ace, as Ace is her target. Both Ken and Crystal are trying to convince Matty to turn on Ace. Ken even goes so far as to try to convince Sugar to oust Ace, and Sugar tells Ken that she gave Ace the immunity idol. Either this woman trusts anyone who talks to her, or she is going to flip on Ace. In an interesting move, Sugar takes the idol back from Ace, leaving him vulnerable. I'm not sure what's going to happen, but it seems that either Ace or Kelly are taking a hike tonight.

Kellyczarnecki_survivorgabonearthsl At tribal, Jeff calls Fang the same thing that I just called them, a group of individuals. Crystal's tears shed at the reward challenge are brought up, and Crystal and Kelly get into it. Crystal's frustration at the numerous losses suffered by both incarnations of the Fang tribe pour out of her. Kelly tries to draw Ace into the argument, but he is staying well away from it. Fang's fractured nature is in full display as its members go to vote. Sugar does not play her immunity idol, and the votes are read. Kelly garners the majority, and her torch is snuffed.

It seems that this season of Survivor is stuck on rerun mode, with Fang losing again and again and again. Honestly, I'm getting bored of it, and I hope the merge isn't far off. Next week promises a tribal council for both tribes, but it seems to me that another vote for Fang isn't the remedy for this situation. You'd think the producers of the show would initiate a merge sooner rather than later to shake this show out of the doldrums. It will be mildly interesting, however, to see exactly how these minor disputes at Kota are played out.