THE LOSERS RETURN
Fang returns to camp, thankful yet again that they are still in the game. Crystal points out that voting out Gillian was a no-brainer for them, as she was a major physical weak link. Susie and the others insist that they must win their next immunity challenge, while Randy stares pessimistically at them. He vents his frustration with Fang's incompetency. "The problem is that they're stupid. I really shouldn't blame them for being complete idiots, but they are. They don't know it, but they are."
THE CANCER IN THE TRIBE As morning begins on the seventh day of the game, GC prepares rice for the Fang tribe. Seeing this, Randy points out that they have already gone through half of their rice, and that the three meals per day that they have been consuming has been exhausting their food supply at an alarming rate. He tries to convince the tribe to reduce their consumption to two meals per day in order to preserve their rations. Everyone agrees but GC, who blames the rest of the tribe for wasting the rice in the beginning by making too much, resulting in wasteful leftovers. "I'm suffering because some people chose to do that early on," he complains. Randy comments, "In my opinion, the cancer in the tribe is GC. He cannot be told anything and our tribe is going to continue to have problems until that cancer is excised." GC then asks Randy if he is the new leader, arguing that he has been stepping up into the role in recent days. The two continue to bicker back-and-forth, ending with Randy telling GC that he does not want to be the leader.
THE OTHER FIVE At Kota, the alliance of Marcus, Charlie, Corinne and Jacquie go on an early morning fishing trip. Charlie explains how the divisions between the other five members outside of their alliance can be used to his advantage, with Kelly and Paloma allied, and Ace and Sugar allied and Bob available as a swing vote. The worst case scenario would be if those five people formed a tight alliance, which is unlikely since they are currently disconnected.
Meanwhile, Paloma and Kelly bad-mouth Ace, who is watching them in the distance with his closest tribe mate, Sugar. Sugar admits to trusting Ace, and believes that he will take her to the end. Bob and Corinne arrive with treemail, which hints at a head-to-head battle for a reward. Hearing this, Ace suggests using their weaker tribe mates in the challenge in order to save their stronger ones for the immunity challenge. Although the tribe agrees, Paloma, on the other hand, is fed up with Ace's attempt at leadership, stating that she and Kelly are over him.
REWARD CHALLENGE: KICKING AND SCREAMING Kota and Fang arrive on their mats. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules. One member of each tribe will be stationed at a post. Two members of the opposing tribe will race to the post and attempt to remove the person stationed at the post and drag that person through the sand to the finish. The first tribe to get the member of the opposing tribe across the finish line scores a point. Players can swap positions each round. The first tribe to score two points wins comfort in the form of pillows, blankets, a hammock, and a mat. In addition, the winning tribe will send one member from the losing tribe to Exile Island. Fang must sit out one man, while Kota must sit out three women because this challenge requires equal numbers of men and women. Ken sits out for Fang, while Corinne, Jacquie and Kelly sit out for Kota.
For round one, sitting on the posts are Ace for Kota and Dan for Fang. The attackers for Kota are Charlie and Marcus, with GC and Matty for Fang. As Jeff yells, "Go!" the attackers immediately charge toward the posts. A big battle ensues as Marcus and Charlie rip Dan off the post and begin dragging him across the course. Ace holds his own as GC and Matty attempt to pry him from the post. As Marcus and Charlie drag Dan across the sand, GC gives up, allowing Ace to hang on while Dan is dragged across the finish line, awarding Kota their first point. Ace returns to his tribe and asks Paloma to be the next person to defend for Kota.
For round two, clinging to the posts are Susie for Fang and Paloma for Kota. The attackers are Bob and Sugar for Kota, with Crystal and Randy for Fang. As soon as round two begins, Paloma is ripped off of the post and dragged across the sand like a rag doll by Randy and Crystal. "You're done! You're done!" exclaims Randy. They throw her across the finish line, winning the first point for Fang, tying the game 1-1.
For the final round, returning to the posts are Ace for Kota and Dan for Fang. The attackers are Marcus and Bob for Kota, with Crystal and Matty for Fang. Dan holds on for dear life as Marcus and Bob attempt to pull him off the post. Crystal and Matty rip Ace off the post and begin dragging him across the course. Ace fights for his life, kicking Crystal off of him. The war continues, as Dan screams for Crystal to finish the job before it is too late. "I can't hold on much longer!" Dan yells. Crystal and Matty use every ounce of energy they have and drag Ace across the finish line, winning Fang's first challenge. Fang decides to send Sugar to Exile Island, in which she replies, "I knew that they were gonna pick me because they think that I am dumb, but they haven't talked to me yet."
A STRATEGIC WITHDRAWAL Fang returns from winning their first challenge of the game with great excitement and enthusiasm. "That challenge felt so good. It felt good for the other tribe to feel the pain that we have been feeling, to walk away with their heads down," says Crystal. The tribe members recount the highlights of the challenge, coming together for the first time in the game.
Back at Kota, Ace reveals to the tribe that they did not lose, but strategically withdrew from the challenge in order to ensure victory in the upcoming immunity challenge. Paloma admits that she did not stand a chance against Crystal, and questions why Ace put her up instead of Sugar. Marcus regrets sitting out Kelly, stating that she should have gone up instead of Paloma. Ace stands by his decision, contending that Paloma lacked the spirit to win, stating, "Yeah, I think her lack of motivation, let's say, just sort of sealed what we were all thinking already."
EXILE EXPEDITION Sugar arrives on Exile Island, and chooses clue over comfort. "I'm pretty sure since I am only the second person sent to Exile Island that the idol is still out there," she says. After reading the first clue, which hints at a sandy crater across the lake, Sugar descends into the jungle. Her lonely trek conjures thoughts of her father's recent death, which brings her to tears. "I'm sure I'll be a stronger person by the end of it all. Playing this game will help me at this time in my life."
Sugar makes her way out of the jungle and arrives at the sandy crater. There, she finds another clue to the whereabouts of the hidden immunity idol. The clue sends her to a lonesome tree, where she finds yet another clue. She then struggles across a creek to another tree, where she finds the hidden immunity idol! In her excitement, she jokes, "I can't believe I found it and the lawyer didn't. How funny is that? That's funny."
SWING VOTE Bob tells Ace that if you line everybody up, the two on the bottom are Paloma and Sugar. Ace defends Sugar by saying that she is trustworthy. Bob takes this information to Corinne, who tells Bob that Ace is doing something very stupid. He is taking Sugar to the end because she is weak and needs Ace to help her in the game. Corinne then tries to persuade Bob to vote with her alliance and take out Paloma, which would put them in the majority no matter what. "None of us are looking to take Bob to the end, however, we need him for numbers and I think that we can trust him," she reveals. Marcus returns with treemail, which includes swimsuits. He is determined to crush Fang, stating, "Their one victory is giving them some hope, and crushing that hope is going to send them to another level of despair."
IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: LAKE LAUNCH Both tribes arrive on their mats, as Sugar returns from Exile Island. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules. One at a time, each tribe member will launch themselves down a slippery slide and into the water. They will then swim out to retrieve a covered numbered tile and then race back. Once all six tiles have been collected, the remaining tribe member will use the numbered tiles to solve a math puzzle. The answer will reveal the combination to a chest. First tribe to open their chest and raise their tribe flag wins immunity. Kota has two extra members and decides to sit out Paloma and Sugar from the challenge. Bob and Ken are chosen to solve the puzzle for their respective tribes.
The tribe members launch down the slide one at a time. Crystal retrieves the first puzzle piece for Fang, with Kelly right behind with Kota's puzzle piece. Susie slows Fang down, allowing Kota to take the lead. One after the other, Kota retrieves their puzzle pieces with Fang right behind. With Kota in the lead having collected their final puzzle piece, Matty takes charge for Fang and darts off into the water in record time, returning to shore with Fang's final puzzle piece. Both tribes now have all of their puzzle pieces. Bob and Ken race to try and solve the puzzle, which reads, "The sum of both end values equals the sum of the middle two, the last is equal to the second minus the third and is one less than its only neighbor." Bob thinks he has solved the puzzle right away. He pulls the lever on the chest, but nothing happens. Ken then thinks he has it, and tries the combination on the chest, but he is also wrong. Bob then tries again, but he is still wrong. Ken tries the combination, 172465, and is right. The chest opens and he raises the tribe flag, winning Fang's first immunity challenge, and sending Kota to their first Tribal Council.
THE SNAKE AND THE MOUSE With Tribal Council looming, Sugar tries to conceal the fact that she has found the hidden immunity idol on Exile Island. Convinced that her tribe bought her story, she then goes off on a secret boat ride with Ace, in which she reveals to him that she has found the idol. Ace is thrilled and is set on dominating the game. He then proceeds with his efforts to convince the tribe to vote out Paloma. Paloma, on the other hand, has plans of her own, as she watches Ace from a distance. She informs Corinne that Ace is playing everyone by forming alliances with every tribe member, which stirs things up around camp. Corrine explains, "I really can't stand Ace. I'm not sure that that accent is real. I think he is a con artist. I'd like to see him go home sooner rather than later. I'm afraid that if Ace goes with us to the merge that he will be the first to flip because he is on the outskirts of our alliance." Corrine then brings Charlie into the mix, telling him Bob's story about Ace wanting to take Sugar to the end, which would make things complicated for their alliance after the merge.
TRIBAL COUNCIL Kota's first Tribal Council brings Sugar's experience at Exile Island to light. She claims that she did not find the hidden immunity idol and breaks down in tears when she reveals that she thought about her father's recent death during her time there. Paloma makes it quite clear that she does not like Ace at all, as does Kelly, who has grown tired of his condescending attitude. In the end, Kota decides that they need to continue with a physically strong tribe this early in the game, and vote out Paloma, their tribe's weakest player in challenges. With seven out of the nine votes cast against her, Paloma Soto-Castillo, the 24 year-old waitress from Downey, California, becomes the third person voted out of SURVIVOR: GABON: EARTH'S LAST EDEN.