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This week on Survivor: Crystal is surprisingly not terrible. I know! We begin at Kota on Night 21. These jerks have been boring for three whole weeks now? Marcus asks Randy how that Tribal Council (where they voted out Dan) compared to the others he’s attended, which is a really pretentious question to ask, if you think about it. Randy tells him in a fairly succinct tone that it was much worse. This causes Susie to laugh at him, which in turn causes Randy to unleash a torrent of abuse upon her for little reason. I get that he’s trying to cement himself with the original Kota members, but he’s trying way, way too hard here.
Corinne then takes her opportunity to pile on to Susie and asks her why the hell she called Corinne out as the weakest member at Tribal. The whole group basically piles onto her to the point that she has to promise them that she won’t sell them out when it gets time to vote the Fang members out and take it to the Final 6. If this is really their plan, they don’t actually even need her, since they can have a majority with only five people.
After the credits, we’re at Fang on Night 21. There are dung beetles, and they are fighting over a large, perfectly spherical pile of dung. In this particular animal analogy, is the Fang tribe one of the beetles, or the finely formed ball of shit? I think we all know the answer to that. Matty is predictably shell-shocked by the Ace boot, and Ken attempts to comfort him by promising that they can make a fire and explain themselves. Matty tells us that he’s glad that he stuck to his promise and didn’t vote for Ace, but tells us that he doesn’t plan on making a promise like that ever again. I know, you just barely got out of that one! Now go make a promise ring for your dog.
Matty also tells us that he was concerned that Crystal would treat him poorly, since he voted for her at the last Tribal Council. Crystal actually tries to reaffirm her bond with Matty instead of holding a grudge, causing Ken to let them know that he has a plan, and it’s going to get the four of them to the end. That might actually be the most unlikely outcome ever. I will say that Fang looks unified for the first time ever right here in this moment. I must say that I am definitely rooting for Ken to win at this point. He’s pulled off some amazing moves already, and it’s not even the merge yet.
The next morning, we’re over at Kota. Marcus and Corinne stand by the treemail, where Corinne is still bitching about Susie. “I plan on burying her as soon as possible. Alive.”, says Corinne unapologetically. That certainly wouldn’t get old if I were Marcus. The treemail actually contains a spoon and a letter hinting that it’s time for a merge, so get ready for the accompanying feast. While Corinne reads the clue, Marcus hilariously plays air guitar in the background. It’s like he’s Bill and Corinne is Ted, except Ted has anger issues and would not hesitate to devour Bill like a praying mantis.
Feast! Both tribes arrive at a table situated on the beach where a low table is adorned with a variety of culinary delights, as well as a box with a note on the top telling them to open only after they’ve finished eating, because the feast is over once the top has been removed. So people start stuffing their faces in your typical Survivor Feast Montage, particularly Ken, who is told to slow down by Randy. Methinks Randy might be getting a little too big for his britches. It’s either that, or his lobotomy made him think that he is Indiana Jones and Ken is Short Round.
So as Kenny is eating, he spies a piece of paper under one of the bowls and pauses momentarily, working over how he can grab ahold of the paper without anyone seeing him. Charlie (who’s sitting next to Ken) sees it shortly afterwards, and there is a brief round of grade school shoving as they volley for the paper. Charlie announces to everyone that the paper has a clue for another hidden immunity idol on it, and then he chucks it across the table so that everyone can read it. What is this, show and tell? Work out a situation on the low with each other. You’re going to need someone to cover for you while you go and dig for the thing.
So group conversation becomes a discussion about what to do with the idol. Marcus (because he knows this will only complicate things for him) suggests that they just leave the idol where it’s buried and ignore it. However, Randy and his flair for the dramatic would prefer to tie the thing to a rock and send it out to sea. Since no one is in a position to disagree with him (mostly because disagreeing to this particular thing would result in getting your ass booted from the game), Randy goes and digs the thing up in about thirty seconds. Gee, I bet the producers weren’t counting on this happening when they came up with this particular idea.
Randy returns to the table carrying the idol and drops it nonchalantly in the middle. Everyone eyes it enviously, and of course people start referring to it as “eating the apple”. The specter of James will haunt me forever, because Mark Burnett hates me. After making everyone go around in a circle and state that they don’t want it (which is just mean), Randy ties the thing to a beer bottle and sets it out to sea. He calls himself “the King of Gabon” in confessional, telling us that “everyone works for me now”. Yeah, nice move, Tony Sopran-not. Marcus also takes credit for the move. “Everyone’s stupid,” he says. “I actually got ten people to throw an immunity idol into the ocean.” To his credit, this does make things quite a bit easier for the Kota Six. It’s much more difficult to vote out four people when two of them have immunity idols.
Having eaten their fill and dispensed with the idol, Randy opens the box and reads the instructions. The first note says that there are 10 numbered stones in the bag, and each person is to grab a stone without looking. After this is done, Randy opens the second note, which he assumes will tell them that it’s time for a merge. Instead, the note hilariously says “Congratulations, you have just divided yourselves into two new tribes!”
All of the players with odd numbers are now members of Fang, and all of the players with even numbers are now Kota. Well done, show.
So new Kota is now Bob, Marcus, Susie, Crystal and Kenny, and new Fang is Randy, Charlie, Corinne, Matty and Sugar. Randy tells us that he’s a bit worried about Marcus, who is now stuck on Kota with Susie, even though there’s now a majority of the Kota Six in each of the two tribes. We then hear from Susie (was she on the show before last week?), who tells us that she feels as if she has a great amount of power now, because she has the option to go either way. That, my friends, is what she said.
As Kota returns to camp with their new members in tow, Marcus makes a cursory effort to psyche them up, talking about how they’re a team now and how they have to try and stay out of Tribal Council. Kenny, however, is worried a lot about the numbers at the new camp, especially because Marcus and Crystal have discovered that Marcus’ best friend is actually Crystal’s cousin. Marcus tells us that this fact has him torn, because while he knows he needs to eliminate Fang members systematically, he also thinks Crystal is a really cool girl and feels some loyalty towards her because of their shared connection. Seriously, he said Crystal was cool. I did not make that up. So in case you were wondering whether Marcus was good at reading people, there’s your answer.
Crystal and Marcus end up out in the woods together (not as kinky as you’re imagining). Marcus tries to solidify a secondary alliance with her, and Crystal seems pretty receptive to the idea. Crystal promises Marcus that she won’t write his name down if they go to Tribal Council, and that seems to satisfy him to some extend. “When I told Marcus I wouldn’t write his name down? That was me playing the game,” she says as I roll my eyes. “I also told Ace I wouldn’t write his name down,” she smirks. Is she really taking credit for that? Because that one was definitely Ken. Good for her nonetheless, though.
Meanwhile, Charlie and Corinne caucus out in the woods at Fang. They worry that Randy is going to funnel information to Matty, and that Matty’s already a huge threat and needs to go as soon as possible. Matty, to his credit, does not trust Randy at all and knows that he’s loyal to the Kota members and will sell him out in a heartbeat. To review: Ace = trustworthy, Randy = not trustworthy. The difference? Someone explain.
Matty actually makes a very schrewd move by taking Sugar aside and letting her know that Ace was loyal to her right up to the end, telling her that Ken and Crystal used her to remove one of their major threats. Sugar starts crying (I know!), and admits that she feels very duped by Ken and Crystal. Excellent call by Matty to create an ally in a precarious situation for him. The guy has had terrible luck with these twists: he’s ended up on a tribe that makes him a minority each time a switch has happened.
Now it’s Day 23 at Kota. Marcus works Susie at camp, trying to shore up her allegiances in anticipation of a possible vote. Susie, who seems to be unable to finesse anything, tells Marcus straight-up that her concern is that she’s going to be going home in sixth place if she stays in her current alliance, so she wants a reason why she should stay with them. Since she’s pretty much right, Marcus is unable to come up with any good reason for her to stay around. Wow, what a strategist he is! People have been overestimating this guy since his wang peeked out in Week 1.
All of a sudden it’s Day 24 now (Day 23 must have been mad boring), and Fang is getting the treemail for the challenge, which insinuates that it’s going to be an endurance related affair. Kota talks about how getting rid of Matty is going to be their priority, but no one really discusses how it’s probably in their favor to throw the challenge, which makes me wonder how smart they really are.
Immunity Challenge! Once the tribes have been called in, Jeff has a little Q&A session with them about their new digs. Corinne tells Jeff that they’re calling the new tribe “Fang” instead of “Fong”, because “Fong” has a bad connotation and is the ghetto. Jeff picks on Matty about his inability to escape the Fang camp, causing Matty to refer to the Fang camp as “the ghetto” and voicing his desire to get out. Hey, he’s just like Tupac!
The challenge is indeed endurance related. Each person has to balance two long poles on the backs of their hands by bracing them against a board above their heads. If they lower their hands, the poles will drop and they’ll be out. The last person standing wins immunity for their entire tribe, which is cool; I don’t think they’ve ever done an endurance challenge in a tribal format before.
Crystal is out immediately after the challenge begins, and Sugar fails right after. To their credit, this challenge does not look easy at all. I’m wondering how they even got themselves set up in these positions, with those giant poles. Susie falls next, and then Randy and Corinne fall almost in tandem, which is illustrated by a really cool wide shot. Soon only Bob and Matty are left with the fates of their respective teams in their hands. Matty starts shit talking almost immediately in particularly douchetastic fashion, especially when you consider that he’s yelling at an old man.
Matty spends so much of his energy trying to psyche out Bob that he almost loses one of his poles, which is braced by a quarter-inch or so and is perilously close to falling. Bob starts shaking from the exertion of effort, and pretty soon his poles fall and Kota will be attending tribal council. I’m not sure Matty was aware of the fact that he was probably dead in the water had he lost this.
Back at Kota, everyone gives Bob some dap for lasting so long. I’m totally sure that the first thing he wants to do after spending a significant amount of time supporting heavy poles with his arms is to slap hands aggressively with everyone. Marcus thinks that this loss spells the end for either Crystal or Kenny, and he thinks it should probably be Kenny because he’s so close with Crystal. He takes this idea to Crystal, offering her the sixth slot in his alliance instead of Susie in return for Kenny’s head. Crystal is not happy about Marcus suggesting the elimination of her #1 ally. “This came is Outwit, Outplay, Outlast, and you can’t outwit Crystal Cox, baby.” Well, unless you are a box of rice.
Marcus then goes to work Susie, telling her to vote for Crystal to leave. How does lying to her about what his plan is make her feel more secure in their alliance? This seemed like a major misstep to me. If he had just told her that it was Ken, this whole thing may have ended differently. Susie again expresses her concern about getting voted out at six, and Marcus tries to ply her with the most ridiculous scenario ever, in which she ends up in the final three with Marcus and Charlie and both Corinne and Bob go home before her. She seems to actually swallow the story, telling us that she feels much safer with Marcus than she does going with Ken and Crystal. That particular sound byte must have been run out of context, in retrospect. During the show, however, I was like “Is she serious?” I was very concerned that Susie was going to ensure that this season bores me right through the end.
After Crystal notifies Ken of the plan to eliminate him, they decide to work Susie and to try and get her to vote with them. While Ken distracts Marcus, Crystal approaches Susie in the hut with a plan to eliminate Marcus himself. Susie tells Crystal that she doesn’t want to do that, since Marcus is going to take her to the end. I guess she really did believe him, somehow. Is he magic? Because he seems pretty boring to me. Crystal is like “Are you serious? Randy doesn’t like you, Corinne doesn’t like how. How far do you think you’re going to go with them?” she then calmly explains to Susie in layman’s terms that they have a guaranteed majority, and that they won’t get rid of her later like Marcus will. The fact that Susie is still wary belies that fact that she’s probably not thinking too critically, here. Is she hypnotized? Did she fall into some elephant dung? I need to know these things.
Tribal Council! Probst asks Crystal about the differences between Kota and Fang. She gives an amusing answer with a self-aware smirk on her face about how Kota is “like corporate espionage”, and how Fang is “like the projects”. Wait a damn minute. First she shows loyalty to Ken, and now she’s laughing at herself? When did she become likeable? If all she needed not to be a grizzly skank was a few extra helpings of food, Fang should let her eat whatever she wanted. Marcus talks a bit about trying to work together as a new tribe to get to the merge, and Ken interrupts him. “You are full of shit,” he says. “Of course you want to get to the merge as a tribe, because then you can roll over the rest of us and win.” Good on Ken.
Time to vote! That was a quick TC. We see Marcus vote for Kenny, Kenny vote for Marcus (he writes “Marc-Ace” on the paper), Crystal vote for Marcus, and Marcus vote for Ken. The only one we don’t see is Susie, of course.
When the votes are read, it of course comes down to the last vote. When Probst flips it over, it’s for Marcus, surprisingly, and that means that he’s toast. Good showing by Crystal this episode: she remained loyal her ally, she convinced Susie to switch sides. Maybe Ken wasn’t so wrong to ally with her after all.
Man, I can’t wait to see how Charlie reacts to this.