Purple Rock Podcast’s Survivor Gabon Watch-Along: Episodes 10-12

It’s time for Survivor Watch-Along, in which we watch a previous season of the show and invite you all to watch along with us. As promised on the podcast, we’re starting with Survivor: Gabon.

For this Watch-Along, the three of us that haven’t seen Gabon– John, Mark, and Matt- will be watching the season and discussing three episodes here each week. Advance warning: Even though we haven’t seen the season yet, we are aware who wins and we may accidentally spoil that at some point (and commenters may as well). With that out of the way, rejoin us on our descent into Survivor madness.

Note: We’re skipping episode 10 since it was just a recap episode.

Gabon- Kenny post merge

John:  Okay, let’s dive back into this thing. We’re up to episode 11 now. And in the “Previously on…” segment, we see a clip of Bob being disgusted that Sugar laughed too hard at Randy.

Mark:  You could tell Bob was peeved during the Randy vote.

John:  The first thing Bob says to Sugar is that he wasn’t “mad at being part of it” (meaning punking Randy with the fake idol), but he thought it was cruel of her to rub it in Randy’s face. So Bob is the guy that just put some nerd’s head in a toilet and flushed it, but he’s mad that someone else pointed at the nerd and laughed?

This seemed like hypocritical bullshit to me.

Mark:  Yeah I’ve struggled to find the red lines in Bob’s moral compass as the “good guy” here.

John:  Just because you say you’re the good guy doesn’t make you the good guy. Although to be clear, I’m not saying he’s a terrible person for punking a terrible person.

Matt:  Yeah what did Bob think was going to happen when he gave Randy a fake idol?

I imagine it was done to remove himself from consideration of being voted out. But you have to know that everyone else wants it done to mock Randy, so maybe hold up on the judgment that you enabled

Gabon- Sugar laughs at Randy
Stop laughing when bad things happen to people that are terrible to you! It’s unseemly!

 

John:  How does that help his case, though? It’s probably smarter to just not say anything publicly about it, right?

Bob is, as Kenny notes in a confessional, not good at this game.

Matt:  I would agree

Mark:  I have comments, but I’ll wait til we get deeper.

John:  We also got to see Corinne- who has been a non-entity for most of this season- finally appearing in time to argue with Sugar.

Matt:  How did Corinne get invited back?

Like seriously, what quality does she possess that they said “Yes, that.  I want more of that”.

Mark:  Cattiness.

This is still a reality show, after all.

Matt:  She isn’t even that good at that! At least on TV she isn’t.

John:  I’m wondering the same thing, Matt. I don’t know how anyone would have remembered her.

Matt:  I mean the answer is Rob’s podcast

John:  But Sugar’s argument with Corinne is fun, because Sugar wants Corinne to stop talking behind peoples’ backs, to which Corinne responds, “If I was saying it to your face I’d be doing a bad job of playing this game.”

And Sugar responds with something about how “We’re all playing the game!” Which, no.

Well, yes, I guess. But very, very poorly.

Matt:  I mean Corinne is not talking to their faces and is still doing a bad job of playing the game.

John:  Corinne most likely never bothered to talk to these people when she assumed her alliance was in power, so that’s coming back to bite her in the ass.

Gabon- Corinne saying something uninteresting
“Hi, I’m Corinne. You may remember from such scenes as [FOOTAGE NOT FOUND].”
But the show is very interested at this point in setting up a narrative that Kenny is the power player and mastermind of this season. Mark, your hero nerd has taken control! Celebrate his greatness!

Mark:  Praise be unto Kenny, our nerd king. He really is the best player on this season. Mostly.

John:  I mean, it’s a low bar. But I’d agree.

Mark:  I can’t believe he was fooled though. We JUST played a convincing fake idol. What makes you think they wouldn’t try it again?

Matt:  In this episode he makes the mistake that will cost him the game I believe

Mark:  I am very annoyed with a lot of moves in this episode. It was a very weird summary of Gabon as a whole.

You have bad strategic plays, bad emotional plays, and a bizarre family visit.

John:  Oh, let’s talk about that family visit reward.

Because it wasn’t really a reward challenge, so much as a product placement segment followed by everyone getting to see their family members. Oh, and Bob ate some pizza.

Matt:  I had forgotten about the super prominent product placement era of Survivor

Mark:  Was product placement the only reason they tried to punk them?

John:  Yes. Sprint paid a lot of money to make sure that these horrible Survivor players thought they weren’t going to see their family members.

I miss the obnoxious product placement era.

Mark:  I’m sure Sophie doesn’t.

Matt:  Won’t someone think of Jack and Jill!

John:  I did enjoy that the reward challenge brought back team-picking, though. Because if there’s one thing we’ve learned, it’s that these people are great at selecting teams.

Matt:  Well they didn’t choose Corinne so…

Mark:  That was the best. And then Bob’s misfit team still won!

John:  Yeah, not picking Corinne was perhaps the first thing any of these people got right during schoolyard picks. We did get to see a scene with Sugar and her sister talking about their dad and pouring out some of their dad’s ashes, though.

Matt:  And everyone being impressed at Matty’s attractive girlfriend. Including Probst, who gave a little “damn” look.

Mark:  Let’s not forget, Matty proposed too!

Gabon- Matty's girlfriend
Well sure, you gotta lock that down.

John:  Matty blew it. The key to the successful Survivor proposal is to do it at the reunion. It guarantees you some face time.

So in addition to really wanting you to believe that Kenny is the mastermind, the show really wants you to have empathy for Sugar.

Matt:  I’m not entirely sure why they want us to have empathy for Sugar, since she won’t win.

Mark:  Because she’s the Tai of this season.

Matt:  Except the producers were showing all Tai’s flaws at this point, not his heartbreaking backstory.

Mark:  That is her flaw.

John:  We’d gotten a mention or two of how he’d been in a refugee camp, but I get your point.

Matt:  Her dead dad is her flaw?

John:  Mark is so heartless!

Mark:  That’s a first.

So Bob starts his victory run, wins his loved one, and then EVERYONE gets time with their loved one. What was the point of a challenge?

John:  That’s what I’m saying. The only thing Bob got that nobody else did was a pizza.

Also, the reward challenge involved putting together a set of gears. Maybe Gamer Kenny should’ve spent more time playing The Incredible Machine instead of Super Smash Brothers.

The Incredible Machine
Know your history, kids.

But the main plot of this episode is Bob’s plan to create a second fake immunity idol, and use it to help save Corinne.

Matt:  A plot that relies on Bob (or Corinne, but c’mon really just Bob) winning immunity.

John:  And, of course, that happens.

Mark:  I gotta say, the challenge department blew all their good ideas early on. We’ve gone from carnival games to “shit left over from a museum”

Matt:  Remind me again what was the challenge here?

Mark:  Ball toss down a hill with a trivia component

Matt:  Oh right.

I will say this is the weird sort of thing that Bob would of course be good at, as he dominates this challenge, having the three closest throws

John:  Other than the shout-out/throwback challenge they did in Cambodia (which I enjoyed just for nostalgia), I’m glad they’ve abandoned the trivia challenges.

Mark:  Bob wins due to physics. Starting his Obvious Winner Edit, right?

John:  Bob’s Obvious Winner’s Edit was the helicopter filming his nature hike at Exile Island.

Matt:  I think trivia combined with rope chopping can be a good way to expose alliances and pecking order in reward.

Mark:  Unless you game it like SJDS did.

Matt:  This is the time when everyone starts talking about how they need to get Bob out and that he is a threat.

Mark:  See: Holloway, Mike

John:  It reminds me of everyone wanting Darrah out in Pearl Islands because she was the biggest physical threat, despite weighing about 85 pounds.

Matt:  Yeah but they weren’t wrong about her.

Mark:  Yeah but her competition was Lil, Fairplay, and Sandra.

John:  No, they weren’t wrong about her. And they’re not wrong about Bob. But Bob is a 57 year old man, and they’re talking about him like he’s an unbeatable Adonis.

Mark:  Have you seen him with his shirt off?

Matt:  I did think he and his wife were gonna get it on during that family visit.

John:  Hey, thanks for putting that thought in my head.

Gabon- Bob and his wife
I don’t see nothin’ wrong with a little bump and grind

Matt:  That’s why I’m here!

Mark:  How much you want to bet he goes off on scientific principles in the bedroom?

John:  …

Anyway, Bob and Corinne’s plan…

So Bob and Corinne convince Crystal and Kenny to vote Matty. But Kenny pulls Crystal aside and sees a better way forward for them: Split the vote 4-3 and flush Corinne’s idol while also getting rid of Matty.

Matt:  Except that isn’t better.

John:  Exactly.

Matt:  Well it’s possibly better than voting Matty but you know what is even better than Kenny’s plan?

Voting Corinne and if they have an idol letting it take care of Matty.

Gabon- Bob's second fake idol
They *kinda* have an idol

This was terrible for Kenny. Does he think he has a better shot to beat Bob and Corinne?  Two people who have three fans on the jury?

Does he worry that he can’t beat Sugar or Matty or Susie?

What is the motivation to jump here? He isn’t the target of the idol!

Mark:  Or you get Crystal to keep voting Matty, make a major blindside and take out a threat!

So stupid.

Matt:  You take out Matty and suddenly you are locked into an alliance with two people who actually have fans on the jury. That is stupid too.

And yet Kenny leaps at this opportunity… why?

It is just such a curious decision.

Gabon- Kenny post merge
But…but I’m the mastermind of this season!

Mark:  Either way Bob has a leg up. You could vote Corine off at 6

Matt:  How Mark?

How can Kenny and Crystal just turn around and get everyone to side with them again?

Mark:  Kenny, Crystal, Sugar, and Susie hate Corinne.

Matt:  And now they would also hate Kenny.

He makes himself a bigger threat, something that might go unnoticed because no one is playing the game

Mark:  Like these people are making anything other than emotional decisions…

Matt:  Right and he gives them an emotion!

That is my exact point Mark. No one was emotionally against Kenny at all before this point and he just gave them a reason.

Mark:  He did that with the way things actually went, too.

Matt:  I agree. Which is why I go back to my initial point: once he determines that the target isn’t him, let them vote for Matty, while he still votes for Corinne. There is no need for a third vote there.

John:  I should note that just before they go to tribal council, we get a confessional from Crystal wondering what would happen if Corinne’s idol is fake. Because she’s considering taking out Matty just to take out Matty.

But if they could take out Matty and pivot back to Sugar and Susie, Kenny would have been the proto-Tony.

Matt:  True.

But that isn’t what happens.

John:  Nope! Because Gabon.

Gabon- Susie Matty Bob
Because Gabon.

Matt:  Corinne goes home and we have almost completely pagonged Kota. Only Bob is left and I start getting Vanuatu vibes.

John:  Episode 12 opens with Sugar telling us that she has a strong alliance with Kenny and Crystal. So, this being Sugar, you can already assume that there’s no way that alliance will survive this episode.

Mark:  Because Kenny and Crystal shot themselves in the foot last episode.

Matt:  Well really just Kenny, but everyone knows Crystal can’t be too far behind.

Mark:  Judging by her running prowess, I’m guessing she shot herself in the foot a while ago.

John:  Burnt.

Oh, we want to discuss running? Did you guys notice how Kenny runs in this episode?

Gabon- Kenny running
It’s called running, not land-swimming.

Matt:  Hahahaha

Mark:  The running button is new in this game! They needed a few more weeks to work on the animation.

Again, this challenge was…basketball?

And yet, Sugar hits the camera once and Crystal can’t even dunk from next to the net.

John:  Crystal’s missed dunk was fantastic.

Mark:  I’m starting to think her Olympic medal was made of chocolate.

Matt:  I love that Crystal can neither make a shot nor dunk.

Mark:  There’s no sport she is good at in Survivor.

Matt:  She is the worst challenge performer ever.

survivor-gabon-crystal-dunk

John:  But as always with Gabon, there are many mistakes made here. When Kenny confronts Bob about the fake idol, Bob owns up to it. At that point, why not just lie and say that Corinne didn’t play it because she was convinced they had Kenny and Crystal on their side?

Mark:  He was thinking about it! But is too nice to do that.

Matt:  Nice is just another way of saying bad at this game

John:  Again, this is Bob making himself a good guy by just saying he’s a good guy. And he’s won a convert! Sugar now thinks he’s a good guy, and she just wants a good guy to win.

Mark:  Obviously, her dad’s ashes have infected her drinking water.

John:  Damn. Mark getting the villain edit in this chat (by way of me not editing out his actual words).

Mark:  Once again, the cultural rewards are my favorite. Without any baby humans to play with the gorillas, they try to chase our players down the path instead. Still really cool to see them. And good for the show for doing something more than “have lunch with some locals!”

Question for you guys: Bob choosing Kenny and Crystal. Sympathy or weird strategy?

John:  Not weird strategy. I think he senses that those are the two people most likely to work with him.

Matt:  What John said. That was good strategy to try and win over two people who are suddenly feeling vulnerable.

Gabon- Bob Crystal Kenny reward win
Because he had to bring *someone* with him.

Mark:  And then screw them but maybe get jury votes.

Matt:  So that is getting ahead, but why did Bob bail on them?

He is immune; a rock draw can’t hurt him; he has a final three deal with them. Something more in doubt with the others

John:  As with most strategic decisions in Gabon, the answer is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Mark:  Let’s not skip ahead.

John:  Right.

Besides, we only get to that because of another recurring theme: Sugar making a rash, emotional decision.

Matt:  It may be rash, it may be emotional, but is it wrong?

John:  Crystal, who you may remember as one of Sugar’s strong alliance partners 20 minutes ago, is now “a bully”.

Gabon- Sugar talking to Crystal
“You are my strong ally. Wait, what episode is this? No, you’re a bully.”

Sugar is in a strong alliance with Matty suddenly, and she hints that she’s going to give him her idol.

An idol, I should point out, which has to be used by final 6. What the hell?

Matt:  Gabon!

Did anyone else think: “Oh Sugar read that wrong, surely she has another tribal to play it at”

John:  Yes! I assumed she’d just fucked it up, then Probst confirmed it at tribal council.

Matt:  This season man.

Mark:  She even said “final 5” in her confessional.

John:  Speaking of immunity, after Bob wins the challenge, he has to deal with a ridiculous promise he made to Kenny.

Matt:  Because again, Bob is not actually good at this game.

John:  He then walks back that promise by adding in a few loopholes.

Matt:  “Kenny, I know you aren’t in danger because we’re voting for Crystal.”

John:  So despite Kenny’s fucking terrible acting and pleas to get the necklace from Bob, Bob holds onto it. Then Sugar gives her idol to Matty.

Mark:  Bob must have learned about legal loopholes from Charlie and Dan.

I liked Sugar’s move!

She isn’t terrible at the game.

Matt:  Again Sugar may be motivated by emotion, but I think this is a good move.

John:  It’s certainly reasonable, since Sugar knows the vote won’t be on her. Though I think Crystal might be one of the few people Sugar stood a chance of beating.

Matt:  This is why I won’t praise her too much: if Sugar actually wanted to win, she needed to arrange for a final 3 of Susie, Crystal and herself. Maybe Matty works, but I think Matty beats her easily.

John:  I don’t know that she stands any chance at winning, but Susie and Crystal give her the best chance.

Mark:  Yeah, Sugar is not concerned with winning.

Clearly
Clearly

Speaking of winning, are we skipping any Bob the Challenge Beast talk for the finale?

Matt:  Well let me ask this: do we think Bob will win out?

John:  Nah.

I don’t think that he’ll have to. At this point any alliances left are pretty loose anyway.

Mark:  Kenny, Bob + Sugar + Matty, Susie?

John:  Is Bob/Sugar/Matty an alliance, though?

Mark:  It’s more like a progression of relationships.

Matt:  Sugar/Matty is.

Mark:  Bob likes Sugar, she likes Matty.

Matt:  Susie is… Hey has anyone heard from Susie lately?

Mark:  It’s the Susie Shack now.

John:  Sugar and Matty is an alliance as of right now. Any alliance with Sugar should probably be viewed as temporary.

Mark:  Susie is just a vote for hire. She’ll probably vote out Matty at 4.

Matt:  If you can make Sugar cry, you are in an alliance with her.

Mark:  Is that what we’re calling her boyfriends now?

Matt:  God, Mark. You are a monster.

John:  Pure evil, this guy.

By the way, if Susie hadn’t gotten a scene at Exile I might’ve forgotten she was still in the game.

Matt:  Yeah, she is Cowboy Rick-ing this post-merge.

Mark:  Did Rick ever win immunity for a basic tenant of survival?

John:  I’d have to look it up. The only things I remember about Rick were that he wore a cowboy hat and that I never saw him on Survivor.

Mark:  Kenny is doomed in the finale. Which makes me sad, because week-to-week I would have been optimistically cheering for him.

Matt:  Yeah watching week to week I would have thought Kenny was in perfect shape until these episodes

John:  Yeah, Kenny is boned. Now he’s a “villain” that turned on them.

Mark:  Matty too, unless he won F4 immunity.

Matt:  Nah, we only think Matty is boned because we know Bob wins.

John:  I wouldn’t think Matty was doomed, other than being forced to align with Sugar. That’s always a risky proposition.

Mark:  So I’m guessing our final three is a fire-starter, Kettle Corn, and an artsy science teacher who’s bad at games.

Matt:  Otherwise, the logical assumption would be Kenny and Bob are the targets. Yeah Sugar, Susie and Bob are clearly the final three now.

Mark:  But even without knowing Bob wins, if he gets F4 immunity, obviously it’s Matty.

The "big threats"
The “big threats”

Matt:  Right.

John:  Yeah, this is why I think Bob doesn’t win out with immunity. Kenny and Matty are now viable targets.

Matt:  Sugar and Susie could just rubber stamp their tickets to F3 now. I think Bob loses the F5 immunity but wins F4.

But Kenny has shot himself in the foot so much recently that they don’t take the chance to get out Bob.

John:  So if you’re watching as this season aired, are you guys just hoping against hope that Kenny digs himself out of this hole? Or have your rooting interests shifted?

Matt:  I think so?

I would also be saying to myself that, hey, Matty hasn’t been that bad and has become a lot more enjoyable as the season progressed.

Mark:  Yeah, I’d be rooting for Kenny as the actual player to do something with Bob and Sugar. But Matty wouldn’t be a bad Plan B.

John:  I think Matty is the backup option by default, because I see no reason to root for Bob, Susie, or Sugar.

Matt:  I would also be wondering “Sugar can’t win this season can she?”

John:  My rooting interests at this point would be:
1. Kenny
(Big gap)
2. Matty- not because he’s better than the rest, but because they’re worse than him.
3. Susie- she hasn’t been quite as actively horrendous at Survivor as the other two.
4. Bob- is not Sugar
5. Sugar- is Sugar

Matt:  I would still have Bob above Susie because Susie does not exist.

Mark:  Yeah Susie is #5.

John:  But apart from making great fake idols and a few impressive challenge wins, Bob has been actively bad at this game.

Mark:  Bob has at least won challenges.

John:  Susie at least flipped on Marcus correctly.

Matt:  Has Susie actually played the best game?

Other than you know her failure to exist.

Mark:  No.

Matt:  She made her move at the right time, and it has gotten her to top 5, with basically a guarantee of top 3. All that from being dead last on her tribe.

Mark:  And what else has she done?

Matt:  She didn’t have to do anything else.

John:  That’s my argument.

Matt:  Just be a part of the majority.

John:  In fact, maybe I put her up to #2 in the rooting interests.

Matt:  Eh, Matty had a similar target and consolidated power similarly.

John:  Her one huge mistake was saying that she was considering voting for Corinne.

Before she actually did, I mean
Before she actually did, I mean

Matt:  What was Matty’s big mistake?

Does he have one? He ceded power to Kenny and Crystal, but then when they came for him, he got them instead. I mean obviously if he has a chance to take out Bob and doesn’t that is the big mistake.

John:  Matty has been pretty inert strategically.

Matt:  The same can be said about Susie!

So the final five is two people who have done basically nothing strategically in Matty and Susie, Bob who has consistently failed to do anything, Kenny who had power and has just squandered it, and Sugar.

Sugar has made the most moves and I think a lot of them have actually been fine, but her reasoning has always been terrible, she is basically reacting every time to being a gullible sucker.

John:   Agreed.

Mark:  This episode has started making the case for Bob. And yeah, Sugar is actually not a bad player, but her decisions are ruled by emotion.

Matt:  Emotion that people are constantly manipulating.

Matt:  So anything else before the finale?

John:  Nope. As Andy and I often used to say before we had a podcast, “Save it for the podcast.”

John
Follow me:

John

John is the co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast. He is still not sure if it was just a f*%king stick.

Favorite seasons: Heroes vs. Villains, Cagayan, Pearl Islands, Tocantins
John
Follow me:
  • As I mentioned at the end, we’ll be doing a podcast specifically on the finale, reunion, and the season as a whole. Please let me know if you have any questions answered or topics you want discussed.

    • Purplerockmatt

      Also this podcast will be going up at the end of the week, but we are recording tomorrow night, so please get your questions in before tomorrow night.

      • Violina23

        1) Do you think that knowing the winner in advance made this season more or less enjoyable to watch than it would have been live?
        2) Similar question: Do you think binge-watching in 3 weeks made this season more or less enjoyable than had you been watching over the course of 3-4 months?

        • Black Dynamite

          I find the second question incredibly intriguing. My least favorite season that I’ve seen is Worlds Apart. I think the fact that WA is one of the few seasons I watched in real time impacts that ranking. It felt like I had to deal with and think about the awfulness of that season for longer. I would’ve hated Gabon more if I watched it week to week.

          • Purplerockmatt

            this is literally a question Andy asked us before we even began watching so it will definitely be answered (and I think the answer is yes it made it more enjoyable)

      • I think you all need to talk about the Fiji vs. Gabon question. Why is one an interesting failure and another just a failure?

        To make it trickier, you can’t just say casting.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          I’ll have more to say once the podcast goes up, but the casting discussion to have is how the same production cycle gave us both the Gabon cast and the Tocantins cast.

          • Good point. Maybe that’s why Tocantins is the last 16 person cast.

    • Alkanarra

      As the resident co-Sugar fan (along with Mike Hirsch), I feel obliged to submit a question you’ll probably cover anyway: how many votes back do you have to go to pinpoint exactly where Sugar doomed herself? And what could she have done differently to have a chance of winning?

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        I wouldn’t call myself a Sugar fan, exactly, but I’ve enjoyed her presence on my TV way more than I expected going in. I think she was drawing dead simply because there was no way she was getting any of the onion alliance votes (even if she had held it together during the Randy vote-off). Her best bet was maybe to not give anybody her HII, and maybe she picks up the votes that went to Susie. Giving it to Matty lost her Crystal and Kenny’s votes, and giving it to Crystal would have lost her Matty’s vote.

        • Alkanarra

          See, I think you have to go even farther back because you’re right about the Onion’s total disdain for her. Perhaps a weird scenario where it’s her/Randy/Corrine and she gets Bob/Susie/Matty/Kenny/Crystal, but that requires her going *way* back in the vote and somehow making it to the end with people that loath her, which would be a completely different season. Curious to hear people’s thoughts, though.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Even if the many-worlds hypothesis is correct, there’s no scenario in which Sugar, Randy, and Corinne are the final 3. But I think you’re on the right track–If Randy and Corinne were just a bit smarter, they would have realized their only chance once Marcus got booted was to form an alliance of the loathsome. Instead they actively pushed away Sugar, Susie, and Crystal.

      • andythesaint

        I think the exact moment Sugar lost her chance to win this season was when she was cast with these people.

        • Alkanarra

          Or cast period, some would argue.

          • andythesaint

            Sure. It’s hard to imagine a season she would’ve done BETTER in.

            Not everyone is cast to win.

          • Kemper Boyd

            This is a very important thing to remember when watching Survivor, they like to say anyone can win but there are always 5 people on each cast who absolutely cannot and on a FvFs it’s 14/20 who cannot win.

      • sharculese

        The response from the cast has generally been that Sugar was way more difficult to be around than the show made it look. I don’t think there’s a specific move that dooms her, I think it was just that nobody wanted to vote for her.

        If you want to see why Sugar lost Gabon, your best bet might be watching the first episode of Heroes vs. Villains.

        • Alkanarra

          So I got a *lot* to say about this, and as you and I have differing feelings on Sugar (but not, thankfully, Penner, my real favorite player) let’s get into it.

          First off, I’m not a big fan of social media and post-game talk. A lot of times it’s just the revisionism of narcissists, highly dubious, and just as misleading as a standard Survivor edit. Who someone likes/dislikes after the game often just boils down to “did they vote with me or against me”, and as Sugar voted against basically everyone it’s easy to see them disliking her after the fact.

          To add to that, as far as Sugar in HvV goes, she was known to have played a no-loyalty-at-all, highly emotional game and she was an unathletic female. You don’t need social media to come up with an explanation for her boot. And you can of course contrast her to Sandra, the Queen of Escape Artistry, who had similar flaws and survived, but that’s just another reason why Sandra is a good player and Sugar is decidedly not. Because while I like Sugar as a character, she’s admittedly one of the worse strategic players ever.

          So yes, Jessica Kipur is likely an erratic, emotional, vain mess who would have driven me crazy if I’d spent 30+ days isolated with her. Yes, the show probably gave her an overly positive edit to counter the saccharine that was Corrine/Randy/late-game Kenny, and because she dictated most of the votes so it’s hard to paint her in a bad light. And yes, it’s entirely possible that with a social game that terrible her only shot at the end was sitting next to Philip Shepard and Natalie Tennereli (who I care so little about that I won’t bother to check the spelling of her name). But the character of Sugar was a sometimes-amusing contrast to the downright meanness of everyone else, and given annoying or mean, I side with annoying.

          Anyway, I kinda… kinda got off trail there. I guess what I’m trying to say is that I liked her hair. That definitely makes up for a lot of the foibles.

          • sharculese

            I agree with you on the dubiousness of social media and post-game talk. I give it some credence but take it with a grain of salt. The thing is though, they’re already saying it at the reunion, and it’s been the consistent party line.

            Also, I think that, although a lot of the things you said are true, the jury really does want to explain what happened, especially when the ending is confusing. We saw a lot of that with Kaoh Rong, and I wouldn’t be shocked if it happened with Gabon, too.

            As to HvV, all of the things you said about her are true, but at the same time… look at the tape. She’s shown being seriously annoying, and her tribemates are shown calling her annoying. They can choose what they play up and down, but they can’t invent that footage.

            Also, upvoted for Penner solidarity.

          • Alkanarra

            John Penner: bringing people together since 2006.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I think we all have these sort of feelings about the social media and interviews post game. There are very few Survivors I trust to tell me “how things really were”. This season is a good one to hang your hat on if you dislike the social media as the loudest voices explaining things were Kyle and Neil. Neil who was positive he would have won despite no evidence supporting this and Kyle who still seemed to think he ran the game despite getting no votes post merge right.

          • andythesaint

            Unbelievably, Nick has emerged as the person to listen to for info about Kaoh Rong.

          • sharculese

            Yeah, his interview with Rob was surprisingly delightful and informative. I get his explanation for why he played the character he did, but I wish we could have seen this version of him.

            Also, the revelation that Kyle worked for Blackwater was maybe the only thing that could have made me think less of him.

          • andythesaint

            I think Nick’s RHAP is essential. In large part because he doesn’t spend it trying to cast Kaoh Rong as the story of him.

          • sharculese

            It’s the “as someone who loves the game, here’s what happened in this game” interview we always want but never quite get. I never would have guessed Nick would be the one to give it, but here we are.

          • Hornacek

            Insightful, and a Greek Adonis! What a package!

          • corndogshuffle
          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I had Michele and Nick’s RHAP interviews in my podcast feed and chose Michele’s. Man, leave me out of any schoolyard picks or might choose Susie.

          • Nick’s understanding of the game was surprisingly impressive, especially since he really acknowledges the flaws of his game. And while I remain upset that Aubry didn’t win (obviously), his points about jury management made a lot of sense. Plus he was hilariously pseudo-obnoxious and self-deprecating. I rarely buy the whole “the edit made me look bad” thing, but Nick is definitely not the sexist idiot he was made out to be on the show.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Was his Rhap interview good? I skipped it honestly.

          • andythesaint

            It was one of the best season retrospectives Rob has ever had.

            Basically, Nick admits early and often that he played a bad game. Which helps give him objectivity in observing what happened out there.

          • Alycia Swift

            I agree. I’m about half way through.

          • sharculese

            I think Kyle is so used to bullshitting his way through life that it never occurred to him that people would eventually see the post-merge game and realize he was irrelevant to it.

          • I will add to this explanation with the idea that Sugar was still on the top of many people’s minds out there on HvV because Gabon was a fairly recent season (which is why a buzzword early on is “Micronesia”) while many other castaways may not know/remember Sandra besides being the random winner of Pearl Islands or being a fantastic character (unless your name is Rupert or Russell).

        • Hornacek

          In the reunion, Marcus almost comes right out and says that Corinne’s jury question to Sugar was justified in that Sugar’s talking about her father was very annoying to her fellow players.

      • Mike Hirsch

        I’d like to think that by the third or fourth time Sugar got Exiled, she knew she was never winning and decided to start making moves left and right in order to make her time playing the game worthwhile.

        • sharculese

          I think it’s likely that at a certain point Sugar knew she couldn’t win, although I don’t think it’s until after the merge.

          But I also think that from episode to episode she’s just doing what she feels like in the moment without any reason to it.

          • Alkanarra

            She definitely figures it out towards the end, but I’d agree it’s way after Exile. What Exile really did is take her already unstable alliance with Ace and give her ample time to doubt him, so that she was ready to turn on him the moment it came up. She might have been a bit more loyal if she’d hadn’t spent half the game isolated from her partner.

          • Black Dynamite

            Her turning on Ace really changed the projection of the season along with the Dan vote. Ace would’ve quickly jumped back to the Onion Alliance the first chance he got.

          • Hornacek

            In the finale at final four vote Sugar tells Jeff that either Bob or Matty would beat her at the finals (leading to a lot of nodding on the jury), so at least she recognizes that she’s not gonna win. Plus her answers to the jury are terrible, as if she’s deliberately trying not to win.

      • Purplerockmatt

        Man I have some complicated thoughts on this and all I will say for now (to save something for the podcast) is that it is different from any answer given thus far (the moment when she thought she couldn’t win though is in line with some of the answers)

    • Kemper Boyd

      I would like you to discuss the fact that Susie is a bad Sandra who can’t seal the deal. And ask how different is this season if Susie wins?

      • Hornacek

        Even in the reunion Jeff tells Susie how shocked he was that she almost won.

        • Kemper Boyd

          That’s because Jeff is a prick who underestimates women in general and old women especially. Susie’s game is as a I say like a bad Sandra, Sandra would never have told Corinne she was going to vote for her, but Susie will go with the numbers and look to always move forward. I think her flip is 100% a good move for her, she would never have broken through the Onion 4 but she let different groups just implode around her whilst never targeting her. She needed to be in a final 3 with Crystal and Sugar to win I think.

          • Alkanarra

            Russel: Sandra?
            Sandra: What?
            Russel: You with me? Or are you against me?
            Sandra: I’m against you, Russel.
            *Sandra stares dead at him*
            *Parvati openly laughs at her ally*
            Russel: I’m just telling you Sandra. You either with me, or you against me. If you’re against me, you’re going home next.
            *Sandra continues to stare him down*
            *Parvati continues to laugh*
            *Russel walks away meekly*

            Nah, Sandra would totally have told Corrine off too.

          • Kemper Boyd

            I don’t think she would of at the point Susie did. Sandra turns that on later in the game.

          • Hornacek

            I’m pretty sure Jeff was talking about being shocked that Susie made it past the first few tribal councils. She lucked out by being on a tribe that never went to tribal council until she was swapped. If she had been on the other tribe then she would have been voted out in the first couple of weeks. Pre-merge, performance in challenges is much more important, and her performances in those tribal challenges was terrible.

          • Black Dynamite

            She was in the first couple of tribals. She was on Fang to begin with when they voted out Michelle and Gillian. I do think that going to the other side in the first swap helped her out.

          • Hornacek

            Oh, you’re right! She was on the Fang tribe at the start. For some reason I thought she was with Kota originally but that wasn’t until the first swap. Well, she benefited from Michelle being very anti-social and Gillian being worse at challenges than her. But yes, if there hadn’t been a swap or if she had remained on Fang after that swap, she probably would have been voted out next.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Susie went to the first 2 tribals though and survived. She then got swapped and didn’t go until the Dan vote. I’ll once again point out that Sandra was terrible in challenges except the HvV second immunity where she just did the puzzle. So I will reiterate Susie is like a bad Sandra.

          • Hornacek

            Yeah, Susie was saved by Michelle being very anti-social and Gillian being worse in challenges than Susie. She got saved by the swap.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Yeah but that’s all some players need, get saved the one time they could have been in trouble and work your way in from there.

    • Black Dynamite

      My question would be if you had to pick someone from this group that hasn’t already returned (Sugar, Randy, Corinne) to be in a future season, who would you pick? Also would anyone from this cast excel on a different season?

      • andythesaint

        “My question would be if you had to pick someone from this group that hasn’t already returned (Sugar, Randy, Corinne) to be in a future season, who would you pick?”

        Death

      • gouis

        And why is it Kenny?

        • sharculese

          I actually would be up for a Kenny return.

          • Hornacek

            I am surprised Kenny hasn’t returned.

          • sharculese

            I’m not. Kenny immediately jumped behind Stephen and then also behind Cochran in the “nerd who wants to game game game” list. And then they added Spencer, who got precedence over him too.

          • Plus Kenny is a really big deal now in the gamer community, so for him to go out and sacrifice two months could be detrimental (I’m not a gamer). The one thing that really separates him from the three you brought up is the fact that he is a POC. If they were desperate for diversity, they could potentially go his way.

    • sharculese

      Is this season better if Susie wins?

      • Black Dynamite

        I wonder a similar thing about Matty. I think he wins if he’s in the finals. How does a Matty win play out?

        • Purplerockmatt

          i came to really like matty by the end of the season, i think i would be a little happier if he won.

        • sharculese

          I think Josh Wigler kind of answers that question on TEoS. He calls Matty sort of the prototype version of Fabio, so even if he wins I think it gets eclipsed by Fabio winning 3 seasons later.

        • Hornacek

          (SPOILER) At the reunion Jeff asks the jury if Matty had won that fire-making challenge, who would have voted for him to win? Matty got 5 or 6 votes. So if had practiced making fire more, and had given a passable final tribal performance, he could have won.

          Of course these hypothetical jury votes at the reunion are always suspect, especially since it’s months later and everyone has seen the show. I wish Jeff would ask this question after the final vote and air it during the reunion.

    • Black Dynamite

      Another question. Would the tribe pick have worked better if it was more like Palau, where they had time to spend together before dividing? Or did it not really matter?

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      How did edgic make it totally obvious Bob was going to win, right from the first episode?

      • Well done.

      • sharculese

        I know you’re joking, but I did a little googling and fun fact, here is an actual edgic chart from Gabon: http://swsu-master.deviantart.com/art/Survivor-Gabon-Edgic-99057300

        • Purplerockmatt

          oh the comments on that… my god so beautiful

      • Hornacek

        On the recent RHAP edgic podcast, they mention some previous seasons and when Rob brings up Gabon, the edgic guy says it defied the system (or something like that) with the winner pick changing at least 4 times (I can’t remember the exact number, maybe it was more than this, but it was a larger normal than normal). Edgic eventually settled on Kenny, but when he got voted out it changed to Matty. So edgic didn’t realize Bob was the winner until the final three.

    • gouis

      I sat here for 5 minutes trying to think of something to ask and have nothing. That tells you how much there is to say about Gabon.

  • Assistant Dragon Slayer

    Once Kenny fell for the second fake idol, I went back to the beginning to chronicle all the mistakes being made in this episode, but I abandoned the project a) because Gabon, b) because I was starting to get drunk, and c) because I figured you guys would catch them all (and you did!).

    I too have been asking myself who I would be rooting for if I had been watching it in real time. Kenny has rubbed me the wrong way the whole time, so he’s out. I suppose once Bob and Matty became the big threats to win (good god, Lemon!) I would have rooted for whoever made it to the finale. Or possibly Sugar for playing the game the hardest of the final 3 (good god, Lemon!).

    Now that we’re in the home stretch, I think I can put Gabon ahead of Nicaragua, Thailand, All-Stars, and possibly South Pacific in my rankings, mainly because unlike those seasons, Gabon’s cast of incompetent goofs is at least not actively unpleasant (and I know I’m an outlier in my disdain for All-Stars).

    • corndogshuffle

      Somehow I’m also prepared to consider moving Gabon away from #32 on my list. I’m not convinced yet and I need a rewatch of Nicaragua, Thailand, Redemption Island, and One World before I’m willing to move Gabon anywhere (and let’s be serious… I’m not rewatching those if Purple Rock doesn’t have a watch along). But there *is* enough in Gabon to make me hate it 5% less, and for a bottom five season that can be enough for a big jump in my rankings.

      Believe it or not, being drunk helped tremendously with rewatching this season. Maybe that’s all we needed to do to love Gabon as much as SurvivorOz seems to love it (they have it #7 and I don’t get it).

      • Violina23

        I would love for Purple Rock to hate-watch Nicaragua. That would be epic 😉

        • Black Dynamite

          After Gabon is done I’m going to watch Nicaragua for the first time. I’m curious about the disaster that is coming.

        • Purplerockmatt

          not to spoil future plans… but yeah that will happen. probably in the winter so that we didn’t do these two seasons back to back. And it will probably only me and mark because andy and john won’t subject themselves to that again.

          • Black Dynamite

            In that case I’ll wait to watch Nicaragua until you guys do it so I won’t have to suffer alone.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Why doesn’t Emma have to pull her weight?

          • sharculese

            Isn’t Emma working with Andy on the HvV rewatch?

          • She is, but the Assistant Slayer’s point still stands.

          • Purplerockmatt

            I should totally make Emma watch with us.

        • I watched the first ten minutes to remind my wife which season it was, and I instantly had a visceral hate towards it. Just seeing the cast again was upsetting me.

          • corndogshuffle

            I’ve also been doing a rewatch of Borneo starting this week and as much as Borneo feels like a “different show”, Nicaragua feels like a different genre. I really can’t word what I mean properly. The whole thing just feels like a sick joke, I’ve wondered before if a large part of that cast didn’t secretly hate Survivor and actively conspire to end the series.

          • andythesaint

            Different genre is perfect. Which is why when some people talk about what they like about it, they resort to describing features of reality shows that I refuse to watch.

          • corndogshuffle

            Yeah I have a difficult time getting behind people’s reasoning for liking seasons like Gabon/Nicaragua. They usually get compared to a sitcom or something. If I want a sitcom I’ll watch one, I don’t need my reality TV to be funny (it’s great if that happens but that’s a bonus, not a prerequisite).

            On that note, I’m considering giving Big Brother a chance this season. Not sure what I’ll think of it but I need something to watch this summer besides Nationals baseball. I don’t watch a lot of TV but even I need some variety and the Game of Thrones season will end in the next week.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            How’s that working out for you? I watch Big Brother for the very first time last night (also part of the Nats game, coincidentally). BB is….. not for me (to put it in the very mildest terms possible).

          • corndogshuffle

            Well… I’m not sure yet. I don’t hate it enough to stop watching as I have nothing else to watch in my free time, but I don’t like it enough to say I will definitely finish watching this season either. I definitely can’t blame you for your reaction because I suspect I agree with a lot of your thoughts about it. I’d grade it as “incomplete” at this point.

            Nats need to stop losing games… a real closer would help, preferably one who doesn’t choke star players would be even better.

      • Mike Hirsch

        I think not having to stretch watching Gabon out over a whole season helps it a lot, too. I can imagine it being tedious if you had to watch this over 13 weeks’ time.
        That said, Nicaragua in no way benefits from watching the episodes in quick succession. Still awful.

        • corndogshuffle

          I actually binge watched every season besides three – Worlds Apart, Cambodia, Kaoh Rong. I couldn’t imagine having to spend three months paying attention to Gabon or Nicaragua. I’m not sure I could do it.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Sooner or later there’s bound to be another Gabon level tire-fire season. When that happens all of the social media, blog, and podcast coverage that now accompany Survivor are going to be like gasoline on the fire. I’ll probably have to cut back to PRP and RHAP (and only KIA).

          • Kemper Boyd

            We’ll just have to do a load of rewatches instead!

          • Hey, I’m down primarily because they will be first-time watches for me.

          • Kemper Boyd

            What haven’t you watched?

          • Because I have only really seen 9 complete seasons at this point (Borneo, AO, All Stars, China, Samoa, SJDS, WA, Cambodia, and Kaoh Rong).

          • Kemper Boyd

            NO WAY.

          • Yeah way. I was off and on for a long time to the point that the only episodes I have seen of a lot of those seasons were the finales (Pearl Island, Amazon, Tocantins, Guatemala, Cook Islands, etc) because that was the time that my family decided to watch Survivor finales only.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’ve watched all of those seasons for the first time within the last year or so except Cook Islands. They’re all well worth watching even if you saw the finales and have had the details thoroughly spoiled here. It would be beyond strange for you to have watched all Gabon and Nicaragua before those (plus Palau, Philippines, and Cagayan).

          • I have about 75 percent done with Philippines and Cagayan (Philippines: I got to Artis’s boot. Cagayan: I got to Jeremy’s boot). I have seen the epic Palau finale to the point that I remember two guys standing on a pole for a long time to come #phrasing

          • Kemper Boyd

            Ok Pearl Islands is great, Philippines is great, HvV great, Micronesia great. Survivor is great.

          • andythesaint

            People on Reddit will claim its underrated after a season.

          • The “What does everyone think of Mike?” threads have already started. And people there are going to end up deciding in hindsight that Dan was hilarious as a Coach-like idiot lacking self-awareness as soon as Lanza makes the case for Dan.

          • Purplerockmatt

            it already happened, have we forgotten WA so quickly?

          • Black Dynamite

            I’ve tried my hardest to.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Forget WA? We should be so lucky. It’s true WA was a disaster, but it wasn’t the Hindenburg of Survivor like Gabon. WA was a perfectly decent season up to the merge, where there were signs of trouble with Gabon from the moment they started running up the hill. And WA had a standard-issue Survivor winner in Mike, where Gabon had… Bob.

          • Purplerockmatt

            yeah i’ll give you the winner, and that WA was better pre-merge, but man that season got awful fast and its lows were lower than gabon’s lows

          • Wait, the draft wasn’t the first sign of trouble of Gabon?

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            You’re right of course. The run was just confirmation.

          • Fair enough.

  • andythesaint

    Sugar was the driving force of the season. She had no shot at winning, but she made the moves that dictated the season and basically got to choose who she’d lose to. This is what it’d be like if Abi-Maria made it to the end of Cambodia.

    • sharculese

      This is basically dead on, but there are two differences that make Cambodia less frustrating than Gabon:

      1.) Post-merge, Abi is basically sidelined. I don’t think there’s a single vote that she has a say in.

      2.) Even pre-merge, you can construct rational reasons people are using Abi’s whims to vote someone off, even if it’s frustrating to see them make that mistake week after week. The only vote I think you can’t point to anything besides “because Abi” is the Woo vote.

      The difference with Gabon is that Sugar gets to dictate things up until the end, there’s frequently no reason why they’re letting her dictate things, and there’s no rhyme or reason as to why she wants person x gone this week.

      • andythesaint

        One reason people are letting her have her way is the idol.

        • sharculese

          Right, yeah, I forgot about her idol.

        • Violina23

          True, but did anybody ONCE think of trying to flush Sugar’s idol? It only came up with the fake idol! The people in Cambodia were not that clueless.

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            Incredibly–YES! Dan the Golden Retriever specifically said they were sending Sugar to Exile Island over and over again so that they could force her to play it and get it back in circulation.

          • Violina23

            But did anybody actually try to arrange a vote for Sugar to flush it? It didn’t ever seem to come up!

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            First you want them to _think_ of a smart move, next you want them to actually _make_ a smart move? What season are you watching?

            EDIT: I think sharculese mentioned this earlier, but not only did Randy have to be fooled by Bob’s fake idol, he had to believe Sugar couldn’t find it in four tries. Assuming Randy was thinking above Level 1.

          • sharculese

            On the other hand, the one time the cast of Cambodia really needed to do a vote split they… did not.

          • andythesaint

            Of course they didn’t. These people are stupid.

      • I know exit interviews aren’t canon, but hasn’t Ciera come out and said that the Woo vote was a “because Abi” deal? In reality, Savage would have been a good choice there especially since he was still close to Jeremy (as displayed by their brodown during the gross food eating challenge) plus he seems to be a physical challenge. Woo would not have lasted long in the Bayon Bros alliance, especially if Spencer had any say.

        • sharculese

          Yeah, but I’m pretty sure it wasn’t an exit interview, I think someone asked about it on twitter immediately after the episode and her response was literally “because Abi.”

  • Purple Rock Emma

    I enjoyed Mark’s heel turn. The four of us making him seem terrible has infected his psyche.

  • sharculese

    The one thing I will say about Bob’s game (not the one positive thing, literally the one thing to be said about it) is that, once he realizes that Sugar has a soft spot for him, he does an okay-ish job of nurturing that bond.

    • Hornacek

      Yes. Whether it was strategy or just wanting to be aligned with someone that he liked and could trust, he did a good job at that. The two (?) times Sugar saved him, Bob did not go to her and convince her of anything – they were Sugar’s ideas and she brought them to Bob and told him what to do.

  • Violina23

    Before I started commenting on the AV Club & on this blog, I didn’t really think too much about Survivor beyond finding it entertaining and fun to watch unfold week-to-week. I also have a HORRIBLE memory for seasons prior to the past few years. So it was really interesting the things that jumped out at me that definitely didn’t before:
    1) Corrine really WAS that horrible. I don’t mind bitchiness and aggressiveness. But she’s mean for no reason and prides herself on it. Girl, I don’t know anything about you in real life (because it all cries out “defense mechanism to deal with past emotional trauma” to me) but that is NOT healthy. The comment towards Sugar in the final tribal council is kind of ironic that way.
    2) Sugar was a HOT mess (no pun intended… well… maybe a little). My memory was that she was a fun character and I was half-rooting for her to do well, but watching again, it’s grating how horrible a player she was. Is there a single person she didn’t betray? More comments relative to the finale that I’ll hold off on…
    3) Bob — he did ABSOLUTELY NOTHING. He just let other people do stupid things around him and win lots of immunities. I remember being satisfied that he won, but I guess it was more being happy that someone worse didn’t win.

    • Hornacek

      Bob won 5 challenges. Only on Gabon could Bob be a challenge-beast.

      He also made lots of stuff around camp, and great-looking fake idols. That’s about it.

  • Black Dynamite

    I have nothing to add. This season has tired me out. So many people bad at playing the game. Also no longer entertaining, it’s just either nasty or sad. I am going to make it worse on myself after Gabon by watching one of three seasons I haven’t seen yet. That season is Nicaragua. Wish me luck.

    • Assistant Dragon Slayer

      In all seriousness–I think that’s a terrible idea. Gabon is unicorns and rainbows compared with Nicaragua (with IMO one exception but definitely YMMV). And the gameplay is arguably worse, but at this level who cares? What are the other two alternatives?

      • Black Dynamite

        The other two are Africa and Thailand. Africa can be watched on Amazon Prime so no issue there. Thailand will be more challenging for me. I may have to convince someone to start a CBS All Access free trial. I plan on watching every season for dumb completionist reasons.

        • Assistant Dragon Slayer

          Yikes. A Kobayashi Maru. Good luck and godspeed.

          • Black Dynamite

            I should add that I’m watching HvV first along with Purple Rock. Gabon and Nicaragua back to back seems like a reckless prospect.

          • Oh, that’s a better plan. I thought you were going to jump directly into Nicaragua after this.

          • Mike Hirsch

            I watched Gabon for the first time immediately after watching Nicaragua, and it made Gabon seem like a breath of fresh air. Well, a breath of air, anyway.

    • NOOOOOOOOO! Don’t do it! There’s still time to reconsider!

    • Kemper Boyd

      I shall be frank, I gave up at episode 12 and started HvV because I was exhausted/

  • Hornacek

    11:

    An individual reward win involving messages from home and the winner doesn’t get to pick who to share the reward with? Ah, the olden days of Survivor.

    Wait, EVERYBODY gets a loved one visit? So the challenge was just for food and beer. Boo!

    I remember when the “Do you remember when we threw the immunity idol away?” speech was shown in the previous Next time on Survivor” and it blew my mind. Was sad to quickly hear that it was all made up.

    Bob gets the immunity necklace put around him and we get a mini-pelvic thrust.

    Bob’s fake idols look better than the real ones.

    Matty almost becomes the first person to propose and get voted out in the same episode.

    12:

    At the end of the “Previously kn Survivor” segment, Kenny’s face morphs into a snake. Subtle.

    Sugar: “I have a strong alliance with Kenny and Crystal, and that’s the best alliance I’ve had in the whole entire game.” So she’s forgotten how Ace was on her side until Kenny lied and convinced her he was targeting her, and then she found out about it.

    Bob, what are you doing?!? Don’t tell Kenny the idol’s fake! Don’t apologize to Kenny! Don’t say you’ll give immunity to Kenny if you win it! Ugh.

    Sugar starts to cry because of how Crystal treats Matty. How many times is this that she discovered “the truth” and changed alliances? I’ve lost count.

    Crystal has no sense of direction while blindfolded. Oh God, Susie is off the course!

    Sugar: “Let me do the thinking.” Uh, what?

    OH MY GOD I FORGOT ABOUT RANDY’S MOHAWK!

    13:

    Susie: (about Bob) “I don’t know how you beat that guy.” Foreshadowing!

    Kenny tries to take Bob to school at tribal about not giving him the necklace, but he forgot that Bob is a teacher.

    Bob wins immunity. Susie is still lost in the maze.

    The Rites of Passage! You are so silly and cheesy but I’ve missed you.

    The house of cards challenge seems to be Bob’s kryptonite. How can he be so great at building stuff around camp and be so bad at this?

    Wait, Bob doesn’t win the final immunity? So the other three vote him out, right? Right?

    I think Susie is talking more after winning this immunity than she did the rest of the game combined.

    Bob’s fire goes out so he uses his own lifeforce to breathe it back to life.

    The final three are Susie, Bob and Sugar. My younger, naive self must have known this was very disappointing.

    They burn down one of the huts. Wait, they didn’t build that, it was already standing when they got there! Sorry, original huts’ owner!

    Kenny is still obsessing over Bob not giving him the necklace. Just let it go.

    Susie mentions in her opening speech that Crystal is an Olympic medal athlete. No one ever mentioned this on air. Did everyone know?

    Wow, Sugar is really bad at answering these questions.

    Kenny decides to milk writing down his vote for all it’s worth.

    Jeff reads the last vote and tells the cameraman to go in tight on Susie and Bob. Does Jeff usually give stage direction at the reunion?

    Even Jeff is amazed that Susie almost won, and tells her to her face.

    The crowd hates Corinne but loves Randy. Ok.

    Sugar was really loved by the fans? I don’t remember that at all.

    This was fun.

  • sharculese

    I forgot to say this earlier, but I think the loved ones challenge this season actually presents an interesting opportunity. A savvier player could have come back to camp and said “they told me we could spend the night together in a private cabin and eat, or I could share the love with everyone.”

    The problem is that this is a season where savvy players are lacking.

    • Hornacek

      Kind of like what Morgan said in the first episode of Cagayan when she got sent ahead to her camp.

      • Easily Morgan’s best move of the game and it is not even close.

        • Hornacek

          Like most people, I had dismissed Morgan as the cheerleader with boobs before the first episode premiered, and then was impressed with her lie and thought “Hey, she might be a good player.” Then she never followed up on that great move.

          Well, she did have one other pretty-good moment. After the Brice vote, when they got back to camp, she managed to throw Jeremiah under the bus by saying that he had been conspiring with her and Brice, and then she sorta faded into the background while LJ, Alexis and Jefra all attacked Jeremiah. I doubt it would have saved her if Beauty had gone to tribal again, but it showed that she could cause an argument between other people and then leave, getting none of the blame for the argument.

          But yeah, other than that, she was exactly what we expected.

          • I wish she could have shown more of that skillset, but it seemed like once the swap happened, she went on autopilot.

          • Hornacek

            By the merge I expected her to ask Jeff for cookies at tribal council.

          • By the merge, I expected her to lay down at tribal council like a 14 year old dog.

        • andythesaint

          One of the few times she actually moved.

          • Hey, she moved memorably in the Reed Donaldson Memorial Challenge.

  • Black Dynamite

    Because I’m obsessed with ranking shit, I present the cast of Gabon from best (low bar) to worst (Corinne) Basically my criteria is a mix of how entertaining they are, their likeability and how good they are at the game of Survivor.

    1. Kenny
    2. Bob
    3. Matty
    4. Sugar
    5. Dan
    6. Ace
    7. Susie
    8. Crystal
    9. Charlie
    10. Marcus
    11. Randy
    12. GC
    13. Gillian
    14. Jacqui (sp?)
    15. Paloma
    16. Michelle
    17. Kelly
    18. Corinne

    • sharculese

      Any list that doesn’t have Michelle at the bottom is wrong. In the reunion she’s still making it clear why she was voted out first.

      • Black Dynamite

        I’ve never watched the reunion for Gabon. I’m surprised she even got camera time.

        • sharculese

          This was the era where Jeff was still trying to throw people a bone and give them a chance to speak.

          She tells this weird rambling story about a dream she had involving a giant termite and Jeff has to cut her off midway through because he realizes asking her a question was a terrible mistake, and it makes it really clear that Michelle was too self-centered to go anywhere in the game.

          • Black Dynamite

            I don’t even understand how that story could possibly relate to anything Jeff could’ve possibly asked. I’m fascinated to see how she went to her termite dream and why that is something to talk about on national television.

          • I just watched it about 20 minutes ago. Sharcules is right, it’s awful. Probst makes a good joke about it, though.

          • Hornacek

            When Jeff talks to her, he ends his question with “You ate a termite”. It does seem like if Jeff hadn’t said that then Michelle would have used her time to talk about something else.

          • Hornacek

            In her defense, the only bone Jeff throws her when he talks to her is “You ate a termite.”

          • Heck, two seasons later in Samoa, they don’t talk to everybody. Fincher and someone else doesn’t get a question (Fincher does get Probst coming to during the reunion credit roll, so that’s something).

          • sharculese

            But John Fincher is a poser.

          • Obviously. A poser who is dating Parvati, but still a poser.

          • Black Dynamite

            He’s dating Parvati? I learn new things every day.

          • Yeah, they have been dating for a while because he was at the roast of Rob C. with Parvati and that has been at least two years ago.

          • Hornacek

            One of my favorite recurring RHAP sound clips.

      • gouis

        Who?

        • sharculese

          No this is Michelle with two ‘l’s. She was actually on Survivor.

    • Black Dynamite

      I should add that I dislike Randy more than anyone on the list besides Corinne but his vote out is one of the my favorite scenes in Survivor history. Him even being a major part of that helps. A few of his lines are actually funny too.

      • Violina23

        After re-watching the reunion and the dead-pan nature of his responses, I kinda moved into pity in terms of Randy. Not sure how much is an act (you never can tell in “reality” tv) but he came across like an authentically sad and lonely being.

        • Hornacek

          I loved when Jeff goes through Randy’s resume. “I cheated” gets a huge laugh from the audience.

        • Purplerockmatt

          So Susie hit the nail on the head?

    • Alkanarra

      Well the good news is that if you liked Corrine then you’ll love NaOnka.

      • Assistant Dragon Slayer

        Shhh… don’t spoil it for him.

        • Alkanarra

          I like to think of it more as a public safety warning. I’m worried about his well being.

      • Black Dynamite

        There is a poor man’s version of Corinne? I definitely can’t watch Nicaragua without rum.

        • My kind of drinking buddy.

          • sharculese

            You guys know that you don’t have to drink rum when there are four different kinds of whiskey/whisky, right? Five if you count bourbon as being different and special, which you absolutely should.

          • To borrow a gimmick from Black Dynamite, here’s my liquor power rankings:

            1. Rum
            2. Vodka
            3. Whiskey
            (sizeable gap)
            (Phrasing!)
            4. Tequila
            5. Gin

          • corndogshuffle

            My list would look something like this.

            1. Bourbon
            2. Bourbon
            3. Bourbon
            .
            .
            .
            24. Rum

            In case you couldn’t tell I have spent a lot of time in Kentucky.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            1. Tequila
            2. The Rest

          • sharculese

            Where does whisky rate? Also please separate out bourbon, as it is special and different.

          • DrVanNostrand

            1. Rye
            2. Single malt
            3. Bourbon
            4. Blends
            5. Who the fuck cares?

        • corndogshuffle

          How much rum do you have? However much it is, you’re gonna need more.

    • Hornacek

      Any list that doesn’t have GC near the bottom is wrong. He was disappointing in everything he did. Quitting being leader almost immediately, almost quitting a challenge by not showing up, and then basically quitting the game. I’d be pissed if I had applied and was an alternate for this season, but they took GC over me.

      • Black Dynamite

        I agree that GC is awful and should’ve never been cast. I don’t think I have ever seen anyone give less effort in challenges in the show’s history. I find the sequence of him being elected and completely floundering in the role of leader to be entertaining and funny at times. Overall he is a fascinating disaster. His being where he is on the list is more about the people below him being either complete non entities or worse.

        • Hornacek

          In GC’s defense, he didn’t want to be leader, and he was the youngest person that tribe, and no one else wanted the job. He’s in his early 20s, and there are people in their 30s, 40s and 60s that won’t step up and be leader. If I’m the youngest person in any group, unless I know that I have experience that no one else in the group has, I’m not volunteering to be leader.

          But that’s the only thing I can defend GC for. He agreed to be leader, so he should have manned up and stuck with it.

          At least Michele was strong in her challenges.

          • Black Dynamite

            He was put in a bad position there. He obviously didn’t want the job but probably felt publicly turning it down would be a bad move for his game.

          • Hornacek

            The fact that no one else volunteered to be leader should have been a red flag to him. When his name was suggested he should have said “No, I’m the youngest one here, I shouldn’t be the leader, you all have more life experience than me.”

          • Assistant Dragon Slayer

            I’m grasping at straws to give GC credit, but at least he realized what a poisoned chalice it is to be the “leader”. Most 20-something male pre-merge boots are ready, willing, and eager to be the boss.

      • andythesaint

        OTOH, you’d have been spared having been on this season.

        • Hornacek

          True, but if I was someone that was applying to be on the show for years (like Randy), I’d probably just be happy to get on any season.

    • DrVanNostrand

      1. Meh
      2. Meh
      3. Meh



      18. Sugar

  • Mike Hirsch

    Ugh, Kenny. His plan to oust Matty over Corinne is *so* boneheaded and needlessly complex. And yet I find myself trying to rationalize it. Like, maybe there was some stipulation that Bob and Corinne wanted him to prove his loyalty? And if Kenny is convinced Corinne has an idol, he feels it best to shore up a Bob/Corinne alliance, and then he goes to Crystal and gets her to swap her vote from Matty back to Corinne in an effort to 1) flush Corinne’s idol, 2) get Matty voted out, and 3) throw Crystal under the bus when Matty gets voted out with only three votes, so that the target would remain off Kenny and Corinne would absolutely want Crystal gone next?
    But that is probably giving him way too much credit. It’s far more likely that Kenny is bad at Survivor and forgot how maths work.
    Kenny voting for Matty in that scenario would be like if in Cambodia, when Jeremy took twenty minutes out of his day to get Keith’s attention and tell him “Spencer” so that any idol blowback would land elsewhere than Jeremy, that Jeremy then went and actually voted Spencer. Actually, no, that doesn’t really correlate because in that scenario, Spencer would have gone home, whereas here, the Matty vote still is in the minority. But still, torpedoing your alliance when there’s no reason to? Not a great strategy. I know Gabon is full of baffling people doing baffling things, but this one is the bafflest.

    • Hornacek

      To try and defend Kenny, if the idol was real and Corinne played it, the votes would have been read in an order so all the Corinne votes came first, then the Matty votes would be read, and by that point Jeff would only have to read two of them (that would be enough to vote him out), so maybe Kenny thought that he could keep it secret that he had voted for Matty too since only two “Matty” votes would be seen and he could tell everyone else “Yeah, Crystal and I voted for Corinne too”

      • Saturday Night Palsy

        There is no way that Kenny thought of this.

        • Hornacek

          Hey, I said was gonna “try” and defend him.

          But if any of these players could have thought of this, it would have been Kenny.

          • Saturday Night Palsy

            If the ladies are cool with it, he’ll think about it. If they don’t like it, he’ll go back to not thinking about it Kenny.

            It’s really up to them.

  • Kemper Boyd

    My big issue with the second fake idol is that the story of Marcus’ idol should have been the story for the first fake idol. It’s a plausible story for why Bob has an idol when every single player knows Sugar has one. But no, Bob is as much of an idiot as the others and tells Sugar it’s fake, without that I genuinely think some would have fallen for it. Also if they are flushing the idol and don’t want Matty to go if it’s fake why does Kenny need to vote with them?

    • Hornacek

      When Bob makes his first fake idol, does he think that it’s already been found? He tells Sugar that he looked all over for it and couldn’t find it, so he must think someone already has it. It’s either Dan or Sugar, so I don’t know if he thinks Dan went home with it, or if he thinks Sugar has it and he’s fishing for her to let something slip when he tells her about how he couldn’t find the idol.

      The story of the fake-merge-feast idol is such a hail mary, as Bob himself says, it probably wasn’t something he came up with until he realized that he was getting voted out at the next vote or the one after that, and it was time to come up with a doozy of a story that was just believable enough.

      • Kemper Boyd

        Is Bob so unsavvy that he doesn’t know that if Dan left with the idol it gets rehidden and he went to exile after Dan was voted out?

        I always thought that the story Bob made up is exactly what Marcus should have just done, he and Randy waded so far out he could have pocketed the idol before throwing the bottle. But Marcus was so cocky about his position he thought he didn’t need it.

        • andythesaint

          The fact that Marcus threw away an idol on the episode where he desperately needed one is why I don’t think he was totally screwed by the second swap.

          • Black Dynamite

            But didn’t that happen before they knew there was a second swap? He was too cocky and that’s what ultimately led to his downfall, along with his puzzling handling of Susie, but I imagine he would do things differently if he knew there wasn’t going to be a merge.

          • andythesaint

            Absolutely. There was no way to anticipate what happened. However, as much as the show potentially screwed a player with a second swap, they also provided a means to save yourself. So it balances out.

          • Black Dynamite

            Definitely. Marcus was in a decent position after the swap with the numbers but he had to continually alienate Susie. Having a family member of your close friend on the island is not a strong enough reason to switch up your game.

          • Kemper Boyd

            Agreed. People say he could have been great on a different season is failing to see that he got cocky and was outwitted on Gabon and that tells me against a couple of better players he’d have been in the same kind of trouble but with less control earlier.

          • andythesaint

            It’s tough to say. Maybe if he had a peer or a rival, he wouldn’t have been that cocky.

          • Kemper Boyd

            That’s true but I don’t think his instincts were strong.

        • Hornacek

          Oh you’re right, if Dan had left with the idol it would have been re-hidden at Exile. So if Bob knows that, then he has to think that either (a) Sugar has the idol, or (b) it is hidden so well that no one can find it (he did find all of the other clues there so he probably thought if the idol was there he would have found it).

          The episode before the one where Bob tells Corine the story of the fake-merge idol, that scene was the only clip shown in the “Next time on Survivor” segment, which I think was a first. Plus it was such a “Wait, what?” moment that I was very excited for the next episode, and I felt like Corinne did when Bob said it wasn’t true. I really wanted it to be true, it would have made that fake-merge feast episode better in retrospect. Hey, the show hid from the viewers that Gary Hogeboom found the idol, so it wouldn’t have surprised me if they hid Marcus pocketing the idol like Bob described.

    • Purplerockmatt

      that last point is exactly what i say, makes no damn sense for kenny to vote with them and it tanked his game

  • Scarlett3639

    A few observations on episode 10/recap episode

    Based on the audition tape I really feel that Corrine was cast because they though she could be another Parvati. Obviously, they were wrong.

    There is a scene where Matty is talking and it switches to voice over while showing Crystal’s sneaker. What he is saying is “…afraid that (Randy) will start ravaging people’s personal items.” So the show seems to be implying that the cast was afraid Randy would commit unspeakable acts with a shoe.

    At they end there is an interesting moment when several of the men go skinny dipping and the women ogle them. A rare moment of Survivor objectifying men.

    • Except in Joey Amazing’s case.

      • Scarlett3639

        True. But the male objectification by Survivor is pretty recent. Not a lot to be found in the earliest seasons.

        • Colby?

          Oh wait, that was just me.

          • Colby definitely got a bit of it from Jerri.

          • Holy crap, I was totally making a joke but you’re right. The whole “Oh my God/chocolate on a hot bod” is just her coded frustration over Colby.

          • andythesaint

            He ain’t no Hershey bar.

          • Hornacek

            You beat me to it.

          • I wanted to add it to my original comment, but it felt a little too long.

          • Well obviously…he’s Superman in a fat suit.

          • Hornacek

            If you watch his 3 seasons in reverse order he’s like Benjamin Button.

          • But hot, right?

          • Hornacek

            Are you saying Benjamin Button wasn’t hot?

          • I guess I should say that the youngest version of Colby Button is the hottest, which would be really weird to say about the youngest version of Benjamin Button.

    • Thanks for handling the recap duties on that one. But which men were getting ogled?

      • Purplerockmatt

        someone has to ask the important questions

        • It must have been much earlier in the game, because I don’t think women would be excitedly ogling Kenny, Bob, Randy, and Matty.

          • Purplerockmatt

            maybe Matty?

          • Scarlett3639

            It appears to be the Kota tribe before the first swap. So it was initially Marcus, Charlie and Ace and then at the end Bob jumps in. Corrine seems to be really into it; she says “Look at them boys” and “Look at Marcus’ cute butt.”

    • I also bet that they saw in Corrine an even bitchier Natalie Bolton (which is a theory floated by TEOS). My big WTF idea with Corrine is the fact that they were going to have on HvV with Jerri when they fit almost the exact same niche except Jerri is likable. Why do that?

      Quick fun fact: Natalie Bolton is three years older than Corinne.

      • #BringBackNatalieBolton

        I WILL NOT BE SILENCED

        • I am there with you because she is part of one of the top 5 (baby!) most remembered alliances in the show’s history.

  • sharculese

    So, the winner of this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race was a queen named Bob the Drag Queen, who actually was awesome and charming, and I realized today my brain can’t but help defaulting to the better Bob.

  • Scarlett3639

    Episode 11

    Instead of Gabon: Earth’s Last Eden it should be Gabon: Corrine & Randy Hate Everyone.

    Corrine: “I’m nice to people I like.” And she says that like it makes her a saint.

    Knowing the winner it’s hilarious when Kenny said that Bob isn’t good at playing the game. Not that Kenny was wrong.

    Bob has been playing for 31 days and Peggy thinks he smells good. That is true love.

    Is Matty & Jaime the first proposal during the game? I know there have been proposals
    at the reunion.

    Corrine’s best move is when she said to Kenny “You’re just as smart as us. We need your input.” That should be memorized by every contestant. That is the perfect way to
    approach someone who you are trying to get on your side/vote with you.

    Crystal speaks for all of Gabon’s contestants “The mental part of this game is kicking my ass.”

    Possibly the most blatant arranging of votes for drama.

    • Saturday Night Palsy

      When the loved ones came to visit, I thought it would have been hilarious if instead of Jamie, Matty’s little pug came strolling in with the others. But I’m not gonna lie. I did get a little teary-eyed when he proposed.

      Anyone know if they did get/are still married?

      • Scarlett3639

        If someone’s pet came for a loved ones visit they would instantly become my favorite Survivor ever.

        • Saturday Night Palsy

          How about an assistant pet?

          I joke. I would cry like a baby if I were to see my cat come strutting up to the camp.

        • We actually discuss this possibility in the podcast about the finale.

          • Hornacek

            My favorite bit of Randy trivia in the wiki is that if he had made it to the loved ones visit he wouldn’t have had anyone come to see him, as he didn’t give Production any names of anyone to participate.

    • Kemper Boyd

      Didn’t Bob get a shower and his clothes washed like 2 days before she came?

      • Scarlett3639

        I believe that was the next episode.

        • Kemper Boyd

          ahhhhhhhhhh.

  • Scarlett3639

    Episode 12

    I wonder if they made Bob wear the green robe because it matched the Gabon logo or if it was just a coincidence

    Jeff was really working to force a smile before the immunity challenge. And he can’t be bothered to say the part of his spiel about one in five chance at a million dollars because he doesn’t want to give any of these people a million dollars.

    Kenny doesn’t flip, he flops.

  • sharculese

    I also didn’t think of this before, but, as a dorky kid, thanks to John for inserting an Incredible Machine shoutout in here.

  • Saturday Night Palsy

    I don’t see the whole “Kenny is a mastermind” thing. Any other season and he’d have gone home early. He shows no real signs of being an intelligent player and he shoot himself in the foot repeatedly in these two episodes. He went from having a shot to zero percent pretty quick.

    “I just got Bob to promise to put in a good word to Santa for me when we get back home, so… Pretty much one of the biggest power plays of the game.”

    • Purplerockmatt

      Kenny is a mastermind compared to this group of contestants, like how I only consider you scum compared to Krusty!

      • Hornacek

        “Ah! Oh, well, right. I can see that, etc.”