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Season 17: Episode 9 - The Brains Behind Everything

The Brains Behind Everything: THE UNDERDOGS RISE ABOVE The Kota Tribe return to camp after blindsiding Marcus at Tribal Council. Susie praises Ken for orchestrating this brilliant move. Ken is fully aware that last night’s Tribal Council put him in a powerful spot. “So far, the last two Tribal Councils I’ve been to…they’ve been blindsides because…because of me,” he says. Bob senses that he is in trouble and may be the next in line to be voted out. “If I’m to last, I’m assuming I need to be in a merge. If we’re not in a merge, I think I’m history,” he says.

DREAMS OF A MERGE The next morning, Fang awakes to the stark reality that they’ve exhausted their food supply. As starvation takes a toll on them, Matty hopes for a merge soon. “The longer I stay on this tribe, the closer I get to going home,” he admits. Charlie and Matty arrive with treemail, which reveals that the winner of a golf challenge will receive a once in a lifetime “cultural trip.” As the tribe practices using a giant slingshot that was included with the treemail, Corinne reveals that she is hoping for a merge soon so that she can be reunited with her closest ally, Marcus. “The Kota alliance from the get-go was me, Charlie and Marcus. As long as that’s intact, I don’t really care who goes home.”

REWARD CHALLENGE: SUPER GOLF The new Kota and Fang Tribes arrive on their mats as host Jeff Probst reveals that Marcus was voted out at the last Tribal Council. Corinne, Charlie and Sugar are stunned at the news, and Corinne proclaims that Marcus did not deserve to leave the game. Ken snaps at Corinne, “Then who does? Who does deserve to leave the game?” Corinne tries to justify that Marcus simply earned the right to be in the game longer. Jeff Probst explains the rules of the “Survivor-style” golf game. Using a large slingshot, players will take aim and shoot their ball toward a hole until they land their ball in the hole. The tribe with the lowest number of shots wins the hole. The winning tribe will be rewarded with a trip to a Gabonese village where they will enjoy a beautiful dance ceremony, have a meal, and spend the night. They will return to camp in the morning. In addition, the winning tribe will send one member of the losing tribe to Exile Island. Since Fang has one extra member, Corinne is chosen to sit out of the challenge.

The first hole is 300 yards away on a slight downhill grade. Bob launches the ball just shy of 150 yards. Matty launches a nice shot for Fang, which overdrives Kota’s mark slightly. Kota is up next, and Bob launches the ball just past the hole. Matty sends Fang’s ball wide and to the left about 20 yards from the hole. For Fang’s third shot, Randy shoots and comes up short. Ken executes a smooth shot which drops the ball in the hole, scoring one point for Kota.

The second hole is 225 yards uphill. Bob launches the ball just past the 125 yard marker for Kota. Matty’s shot lands short for Fang, just behind Kota’s. Fang’s next shot gracefully sends the ball just short of the hole. Bob fires Kota’s ball about 30 feet from the hole. Ken overshoots the hole for Kota’s third shot. For Fang’s third shot, Matty drops the ball into the hole, tying the game 1 to 1.

The final hole is 200 yards uphill. Fang is up first, and Matty sends the ball flying to the dead center of the course. Kota is up next, and Bob executes a huge drive ahead of Fang’s ball. Matty launches Fang’s ball closer to the hole, while Bob sends Kota’s ball wide right. With both tribes very close to the hole, Ken just misses the hole for Kota by overshooting 6 inches. Fang sends their ball just on the edge of the hole. Ken overshoots Kota’s ball again, opening the door for Fang to win. With their ball right on the edge of the hole, Randy begins delegating orders to Charlie and Matty about how far to stretch out the slingshot. This irritates Matty, who shushes Randy. Soon Matty and Randy are arguing back-and-forth on how to hold the slingshot. Matty finally listens to Randy and drops the ball in the hole, winning the reward for the Fang Tribe. Fang chooses to send Bob to Exile Island.

BWITI VILLAGE REWARD Sounds of a mouth bow fill the air as the Fang Tribe arrives at a traditional Gabonese celebration in the Bwiti Village. The Gabon natives, wearing red dresses and face paint, begin bathing the Fang Tribe. They erupt in loud chanting and dancing, while playing instruments that are native to their culture. A small child accompanies Corinne, who is amazed at how the 2 year-old girl chose her of all people. While the natives feed their new guests, Charlie and Corinne discuss the recent departure of their closest ally, Marcus. Charlie describes his feelings on his good friend’s blindside: “Marcus getting voted out is like the lowest moment I’ve had in this game ‘cause Marcus and I have been playing together since the first day. Like, not just as like strategists in this game, but as like really good friends. And now with him gone, it’s like who do we turn to, because he really did a lot of the thinking for us.” The natives continue to dance and sing into the night, as Fang enjoys their feast. Matty erupts into dance and laughter with the natives. Matty reflects on his experience in the village: “My main objective was to allow myself a break from the game of Survivor and it gave me some relief that I needed desperately.”

THE NEW PROVIDER Back at Kota, Ken struggles with maneuvering the outrigger, which he has managed to get stuck on an obstacle in the lake. He is finally able to release himself and pulls the net out of the lake to find three tilapia inside. Proud of his recent achievements, Ken thinks that he is beginning to have the game figured out. He returns to camp with the fish he has just caught and shows them off to Susie and Crystal. “Who would’ve thought the little guy in this game would have been the provider for them?” he proudly states. “I am very proud of myself for what I’ve done so far in this game and if people want to take me out, I will take them out before they take me out anyway I can. So right now I know for a fact I can win this game.”

A NEW VISITOR AT EXILE ISLAND Bob immediately chooses clue over comfort at Exile Island in a desperate attempt to save himself from his perilous position. He successfully follows all of the clues to the location of the hidden immunity idol, but is unaware that Sugar has already found it. Thinking that he did not follow the final clue accurately, Bob becomes perplexed and extensively searches the island for the idol to no avail. He finally comes to the realization that his last hope is to construct a fake idol in order to save himself. Bob uses some resin that he found to glue various materials into a convincing-looking fake immunity idol necklace. “It’s sort of like when you’re holding up a bank. You don’t necessarily need a gun, but if they think you’ve got a gun, they might leave you alone.”

TREEMAIL At Fang, Matty reads treemail, which hints at building a fire to win immunity. Randy speculates the challenge will be for individual immunity, and singles out Crystal as being his number-one enemy. He gives her the nickname, “sasquatch,” and vows to vote her out the first chance he gets if there is a merge. “I hated Crystal from the beginning. Everybody knows that. She made her bed back at the old Fang, and I still hold a major grudge.”

IMMUNITY CHALLENGE: FIRED UP Both tribes arrive at their mats, while Bob returns from Exile Island and rejoins the Kota Tribe. Host Jeff Probst reveals that, from this point forward, players will be competing for individual immunity and then surprises the tribes by announcing that they are now a merged tribe. Everyone roars with excitement as they drop their buffs and embrace each other. Jeff hands out new blue buffs to the merged tribe and explains the rules of the challenge. Each person will have a flint and steel, along with a box of fire-making supplies. The objective is to make a fire high enough to burn through their horizontally suspended rope. The first person to burn through their rope wins immunity.

As the challenge begins, everyone frantically rubs their flint against steel to get the fire going. Susie is the first person to get a flame, and she continues to build her fire while everyone else continues their attempts to get a flame. Matty’s vigorous efforts yield little result, but he does manage to cut a gash in his thumb. Sugar gets a flame, and she and Susie utilize similar strategies, constructing teepees with wood to expand their fires. Susie’s fire begins to grow as the flames come closer and closer to reaching the rope. Sugar races to gain on Susie’s lead, but Susie’s fire has already begun to burn through the rope. The rest of the group are not making any progress. Susie’s fire burns through the rope, and she is granted individual immunity. Jeff announces that everyone will be returning to the Fang camp where they will have the necessary supplies to build a new tribe flag along with any personal items that were left at the Kota camp.

UNITED, YET DIVIDED The newly merged tribe return to their camp to find an assortment of food including rice, beans, Gabon pears, coffee, and canned foods. After enjoying a brief moment eating the food, the tribe separates to talk strategy. Randy talks to Charlie in the jungle, and singles out Crystal as the next person to go. Charlie brings up the fact that he, Corinne, Bob, and Randy are a solid four, and Matty, Ken, Susie and Crystal are a solid four. Sugar is somewhere in the middle since she has ties to both sides. In the savannah, Sugar suggests voting out Randy, citing that she cannot stand his antics anymore. Corinne and Charlie try to convince Sugar to vote out Randy after they first vote out Crystal. Knowing that Sugar is a swing vote, Corinne is walking on eggshells with her in the hopes that she can sway Sugar to her side. “Sugar is so weak and naïve and gullible. I’ve been nasty to her for twenty-five days. I was nice to her one day and she’s sold. So it doesn’t make sense that she buys it ‘cause she’s such a moron.” Back in the jungle, Susie rats out Charlie and Corinne to Ken, Crystal and Matty, for being in a tight alliance and trying to lure Sugar to their side. Ken points the finger at Charlie for being the mastermind, but secretly, the real reason that he wants to vote him out is because Charlie took the clue to the hidden immunity idol away from him at the Tribe Switch Feast. “I’ll trade that idol for his life. Serves him right,” says Ken. Soon Ken has convinced Crystal, Susie, and Matty to blindside Charlie at Tribal Council. He then gets to work on Sugar, and soon has her convinced as well. Everyone returns to the hut and discuss what the new tribe name should be. Ken suggests “Nobag,” since it is Gabon backwards. Everyone agrees, and the merged tribe now has a name. Sugar paints multicolored bubble letters onto a blue flag that says, “NOBAG.” Sugar admits that she does not trust Ken since he lied to her about Ace but, at the same time, she finds it hard to trust anyone in this game since they have all proven to be deceptive. As the sun begins to set, The Nobag Tribe hang up their new tribe flag and walk out to Tribal Council.

TRIBAL COUNCIL The first member of the jury, Marcus, is brought in to observe Tribal Council. Randy arrogantly states that, at the reward challenge, if everyone would have listened to his suggestions, Fang would have made each shot ten times out of ten. Crystal attacks Randy for having issues with her, and the two ignite a heated argument. Randy draws comparisons between the way Crystal and GC ran the original Fang Tribe to that of a gang, and takes it further by blaming Crystal and GC for making his life a living hell and for being the reason that Fang lost nearly every challenge. Charlie criticizes Randy for not thinking before he speaks and says that he is simply venting his frustrations. Sugar claims that spending most of her time on Exile Island did not hurt her assessment of everyone else because she has a pretty good idea of who everyone is at this point. In the end, Sugar was convinced by Ken’s idea that Charlie is the mastermind and, thanks to votes from her, Susie, Matty, Crystal and Ken, Charlie was blindsided with five out of the nine votes cast against him. Charlie Herschel, the 29 year-old lawyer from New York, New York, became the tenth person voted out and the second member of the jury of SURVIVOR: GABON: EARTH’S LAST EDEN.