Tribal reform on 'Survivor: Gabon'

Randybailey_survivorgabonearthsla_2 Well, well, well, things are starting to heat up on Survivor: Gabon, now that the playing field has been leveled somewhat.  Also, the solo immunity idol is in play, and alliances are formed and at loggerheads. This is why Survivor fans love this show! Very soon we'll see how the meat of this season tastes.

One down, one to go. Kota returns to camp after tribal, and Kelly is feeling the heat. As Paloma's lone ally, she herself is alone at camp. Ace is sharpening his fangs (the teeth, not the tribe members) already.

The deck is shuffled. Fang's rice supplies are running low, but Randy seems to be the only one who is taking this fact seriously. I'll be honest, when this all started, I thought Randy would be the guy I hate. Now, he's one of the few on Fang that I like. They may have won the last two challenges, but they are not playing smart, and the cracks are showing. Randy makes allies with Dan, Susie, and Matty, and they are setting their sights squarely on GC.

The tribes show up for this episode's first challenge, one where tribe members must rank each other by their importance to the tribe. Blind votes will determine the order. Matty and Marcus are ranked most important by their respective tribes, while Kelly and Susie are chosen as the least. GC is next to last, "hard out here for a pimp," he quips.

Then comes the twist, as the tribes are re-chosen. Marcus and Matty will now choose new members, armed with the information gained by the rankings. Marcus makes his first choice from the Fang tribe, and turns are taken.  Here's how it shakes out:

New Kota: Marcus, Dan, Charlie, Randy, Corinne, Susie, Bob

New Fang, Matty, Ace, Crystal, Jacquie, Ken, Kelly, GC

I'm so happy for Charlie, he can pine away for Marcus without interruption. Ken picks Kelly based on the fact that she is hot. I guess Super Smash Bros. doesn't require a lot of strategy to play. Sugar is the only castaway not chosen, and she is sent to Exile Island (not really an island, more of a peninsula.)

Making new friends, new enemies.
The new Kota tribe arrives at their Camp, where old Kota out number old Fang. The old Fang members take notice of how the old Kota tribe works, and prepare to make new friends.

Feeling safe with an immunity idol in her possession, Sugar chooses a bit of comfort at Exile. Personally, I think she should have tried to figure out if there were two immunity idols now in the game, or if the clue would indicate that someone had already found the idol, making any future visits by other castaways to Exile dangerous to her. But I understand that my Spartan lifestyle may not be emulated by someone who calls themselves "Sugar."

At Fang, GC feels blessed by the tribal shake up, like he has a new lease on life. Kelly, formerly on the outs with the old Kota alliances, is getting close to GC, Ken and Crystal. Ace is in trouble, I might not find out what the deal is with that accent...

Worst. Challenge. Performance. Ever.
Tree mail comes, and the tribes are given a La Crosse stick to practice with, the assumption being that it will factor in the next immunity challenge. Marcus identifies Randy and Susie as the most likely candidates for elimination. He seems willing to take both of their performances in the upcoming challenge as a barometer for Kota worthiness.

At the immunity challenge, tribes must compete in a game that is a mix of water polo and La Crosse played on small rafts. First tribe to three wins. Kota strikes first, and the next round develops rather laconically, many Fang members playing lackadaisically. Kota scores again, Randy being responsible for two points already. Fang gets a bit more fired up and puts up a struggle next round, but Randy scores on them for a third time. Marcus is no doubt taking notice of Randy's performance.  Good for him, not so good for Susie. But the "not so good" prize of the night goes to the entire Fang tribe. Dictionary.com just IM'd me, "Fang" is now a synonym for "pathetic."

New Fang tribe, same Fang story.
Fang is despondent, and long faces rule the afternoon. GC, Crystal, and Ken hold a powwow, GC deciding that Ace might be better to keep around than Kelly. The point is brought up that Sugar will soon be arriving at their tribe, an immunity idol potentially (actually) in her possession; an immunity idol that she might pass along to Ace or Jacquie. Deciding Ace is more valuable in challenges, Jacquie is selected for elimination.

Jacquie discovers that her name is in people's mouths, and she sets in on Ken. He seems willing to switch back to voting for Kelly, be he says that she needs to talk to Crystal. Jaq pleads with Crystal to be spared, and Crystal's heart is swayed. The name of the tribal member to be eliminated tonight is not as clear, with any of the old Kota members seeming viable candidates.

Jacquieberg_survivorgabonearthsla_2 The switch is discussed at tribal, as is the Fang curse. It seems that, regardless of the constitution of the Fang tribe, Fang is predisposed to epic poor performances at challenges. Tribe members vote, and Fang selects Jacquie for elimination, a vote inspired by fear of Sugar's immunity idol, it would seem.

The old ways have returned to the Fang tribe. Not only in the form of poor challenge performances, but as doubt, fear, and poor cohesion. GC's disappearing act hinted at in the teaser for next week does not bode well for this tribe. Can Fang turn it around, or will Kota reign supreme once again?