Survivor recap: Firestarter
In the first individual immunity challenge for the merged team, Susie and Sugar surprise all by dominating, and there are more surprises in store for Corrine and Charlie at tribal council
Crystal: What is it that I did to Randy for Randy to be bashing Crystal so much at Kota camp?
Randy: Okay, you want a list?
Man, I had to go check a calendar after watching this last episode of Survivor: Gabon, because I could have sworn it was the Fourth of July judging by all the fireworks on display. Actually, it was more like a boxing match with plenty of punches to the gut. In this corner: an Olympic gold medalist in the sport of trash talking. She’s big, she’s bad (at least in challenges), and she can knock you over faster than a bowl of rice (well, maybe not rice). She’s known in these parts as the Tribal Council Terror. Ladies and gentlemen, please put your hands together for CRRRRRRYYYYYSSSSSTALLLLLL COOOOOOX!!! And in the other corner: He’ll videotape your wedding, rub it in human feces, and make you eat it for dessert. His questionable temper is matched only by his questionable taste in tropical shirts. He’s the self-proclaimed king of Gabon. Ladies and gentlemen, a round of applause if you will for the ornery, the testy, the wild man of the wild, RRRRRRRAAAAAAANDYYYYYYY BAAAAAAAAILEEEEEEY!!!
I was getting all psyched for a tribal council beatdown of epic proportions, but then something somewhat uncomfortable happened: Randy started yelling at Crystal about how she and G.C. acted back at the original Fang. Fair enough; they were both pretty useless and moody. But then he threw this in: “You and your posse ran the tribe like it was a gang.” Whooooooa there, cowboy. Am I the only one who cringed when he said this? Maybe I’m at fault for being one of those oversensitive, bleeding heart, tree-hugging East Coast liberals that everyone loves to make fun of, but when I hear a white dude describing two black people as a “posse” and a “gang,” well, it just makes me wince. Let me be clear about something: I’m not labeling Randy a racist. Don’t know the guy well enough to come to any sort of conclusion about that. (I do know that in our pre-game interview he promised to be an equal opportunity offender, giving hell to both contestants and the host. Just watch him go!) Plus, I wasn’t there. Tribal council gets presented to us after it’s been through a chop shop of editing. Maybe he amended or clarified his statement. I have no idea, so I’m going to give him the benefit of the doubt and just say that it was a…poor choice of words.
Crystal, surprisingly, did not fight back after that. I say surprisingly because while staying quiet is always the way to go in a situation like that, Crystal has never been one to exactly keep her anger in check. Neither has most of this cast, really. In fact, when you think about Michelle, Kelly, Crystal, G.C., Randy, and Corinne — this has been one of the angriest casts in history. Lighten up, people! It’s never raining there. It’s not 115 degrees as in many Survivor locations. There are barely any bugs. You didn’t really even have to build a shelter. Don’t you realize how easy you’ve had it?! Try one day in Guatemala and get back to me.
NEXT: Matty gets down
But all the drama and dissention wasn’t limited to tribal council. The back-and-forths started right at the reward challenge when Fang saw Marcus was gone, and Corinne remarked that, “He doesn’t deserve to leave the game.” “Then who does?” Kenny replied. “Who does deserve to leave the game?” Ken, of course, was right. True, Marcus was a bit screwed over by producers switching up tribes for the 4,371st time, but you know what screwed him over even more? Telling Crystal he was going to vote out her closest ally in the game. That was a stupid as hell move and when you make stupid as hell moves, you go home. (Or rather, you go to Ponderosa to star in a series of product-placement packed web clips.)
Finally, they got to the slingshot golf reward challenge. Corinne sat out for Fang, as did Sugar (who, while technically a participant in the challenge, did absolutely nothing except concentrate on not breaking out into tears). Randy was once again at his most delightfully abrasive, but instead of mocking or taunting the other team, he started going at it with his own tribe — specifically, Matty. The more the two of them got into it while trying to make a 6-inch shot, the more I wanted them to miss it, just for the comedy of it all. Admit it, so did you. It’s okay. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It just means you have an appreciation for the finer things in reality television — confusion, degradation, and outright humiliation. It’s why we get along so well, you and I.
Unfortunately, they made the shot. My disappointment, however, was somewhat offset by the inexplicable humor I found in watching Corinne off by herself yelling and jumping in celebration. She just looked so…lonely. Even the team win couldn’t keep Randy from sulking, leading the always emotionally even-keeled Sugar to proclaim, “Whatever, we won. Good Lord!” Fang’s reward was to be slapped in the face with wet leaves and then forcibly stripped down. No wonder Randy was sulking. Although the sulking wouldn’t last long as he began getting a bit cozy with a native. “I haven’t had a girl come on to me in, like, 20 years,” Randy informed us. Now, why could that be? He’s so damn cuddly! Oh, I kid, because Randy of all people can appreciate it. For all of his grouchiness, dude has a pretty dry sense of humor. While Randy was making time with his lady friend, Matty was…well, I don’t know what the hell Matty was doing. My man had ants in his pants and he needed to dance! Or ants in his sarong, or ants in his whatever he was wearing. For a second there I thought I was watching Breakin’ 3: Electric Gabonese Boogaloo. Again, I had Matty pegged as a total dud from my pre-game interview with him, but he’s become one of the more engaging characters this season (granted, that’s not saying a whole lot, but still). As much fun as Matty and Randy were having though, it all went south for them when they got back to camp, as you can see in our exclusive deleted scene from last night’s episode.
NEXT: Charlie gets taken out
Back at Kota, Kenny was playing the game so well, in twisting and turning the competition’s heads, that he even had his own boat spinning in circles. Also moving nowhere fast was Bob at Exile (non) Island, futilely searching for the hidden immunity idol. But let’s give props where props are due: The physics teacher did the next best thing, constructing what has to be the best fake hidden immunity idol ever. (Although I do have a soft spot in my heart for the stick with the smiley face on it. So genius and simplistic — and, when put in the properly idiotic hands, amazingly effective!)
It was then off to the immunity challenge where we all waited with bated breath to see if Randy would indeed puke at the sight of Crystal as promised. He didn’t. In fact everyone appeared all lovey-dovey at the news of a merge, especially Ken and Matty who began hugging each other while stroking each other’s arms and heads. Charlie, meanwhile, stroked and hugged an imaginary Marcus, perfectly reenacting the pottery making scene from Ghost before Probst broke up the imaginary love-in. And how much do we adore Bob for making a new blue buff bow tie? Is it just me or is he starting to look more and more like Dr. Emmett Brown every day. Just hook him up with a white lab coat and a DeLorean, and he’s good to go. (Eighties movie references — I got a whole bag of them! Don’t make me start busting out some Krull and Better Off Dead doozies.)
So it was individual immunity they were now playing for. And they’d be playing with fire — literally! The challenge was a classic first-to-build-fire competition. Images of Sandra and Becky from the Cook Islands pathetically attempting to make fire with matches began dancing in my head. Ah, good times. That still ranks in my top 5 tribal council moments ever. But it turns out that this wasn’t any ol’ ordinary challenge. It was a Survivor Bizarro Challenge! How else to describe a competition that was dominated — dominated! — by Susie and Sugar. I mean, no one else was even close. It’s not like we thought Crystal would pose any sort of challenge whatsoever, but where was Randy, Kenny, Charlie, anyone else whose name ends in an “e” sound? I don’t want to say that Susie and Sugar had been complete non-factors in the game up until now because their vote flips certainly took care of Ace and Marcus, but, as we know, that was more due to coaxing from Kenny and Crystal rather than their own scheming.
In any event, Susie burned her rope the fastest and got the honor of putting on the ugly-ass immunity necklace. But Sugar would end up being the one with all the power as foursome #1 of Randy, Corinne, Charlie, and Bob and foursome #2 of Kenny, Crystal, Matty, and Susie fought for her vote. “Sugar is so weak and naive and gullible,” said Corinne. “I’ve been nasty to her for 25 days. I was nice to her one day, and she’s sold. So it doesn’t even make sense, but she buys it. She’s such a moron.” Not so fast there, Ms. Thang. Sugar was apparently not so sold, falling instead for Kenny’s plan to ouster Charlie (who Kenny was still bitter at for forcing him to share the hidden immunity idol clue).
It was about this point when I started yelling NOOOOOOOOOOOO! at my TV screen. Charlie was my preseason pick to win it all, and now some professional videogamer who calls himself “The King of Smash” was about to smash my prediction to a million pieces. And that’s just what he did. Following the Randy-Crystal fireworks (which culminated with Randy yelling “bitch!” as he cast his vote) we learned that Sugar — after crying, natch — had gone with foursome #2. But don’t feel bad for Charlie. He’s off to see Marcus! Now they can frolic around Ponderosa, rubbing sunblock all over each other in many a CBS.com web video.
What does Probst have to say about all the bickering that went on last night? Well, you’ll just have to check out his weekly EW.com blog to find out. And why were Matty and Randy bumming hard when they got back from the reward dancing extravaganza? Well, you’ll just have to click on our exclusive Survivor deleted scene below to find that out. And then it’s all up to you. Did Susie and Sugar impress and surprise you in the immunity competition? Did Randy go too far at tribal council? And what are Charlie and Marcus up to at Ponderosa? There’s a time to post and that time is now!
[Sorry, video not available]