Season 17: Episode 1 - Disconnected Tribe Votes Out First Survivor
Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

After losing back-to-back challenges, the Fang Tribe was the first to go to Tribal Council. Torn between voting out Gillian, the weakest person in challenges, or Michelle, whose constant negativity around camp began wearing them down, Fang came to a unanimous decision. In a landslide vote, Michelle Chase, the 24-year-old music assistant from Los Angeles, California was the first person to be voted out of SURVIVOR: GABON -- EARTH'S LAST EDEN. Michelle leaves behind her final words: "I'm not really surprised. Losers stick together. Fat people stick together. They decided to keep Gillian, who's like a hundred and five, and to vote me, who's twenty-four and completely fit. I mean they're all idiots. They're all voting off the strongest member, so it's going to be interesting to see what happens. Very interesting."


Eighteen Americans from different walks of life are thrown into the wilderness of Gabon, one of the most remote places in Africa. Wearing nothing but their street clothes, these castaways are led by a group of local warriors through untouched savannah that is home to a variety of animals including elephants, gorillas and buffalo. The castaways consist of Bob, Michelle, Gillian, "GC", Kelly, Ace, "Sugar", Marcus, Jacquie, Paloma, Charlie, Susie, Matty, Dan, Crystal, Corinne, Randy and Ken.


Host Jeff Probst greets the castaways and asks them to introduce themselves. Upon revealing their name and occupation, one of the castaways, Randy Bailey, the 49-year-old wedding videographer from Eagle Rock, Missouri, reveals his true nature. "I edit wedding videos for a living, but I'm not the most positive person in the world. I am not a fan of marriage. I will never get married myself. I am almost sure of it." Crystal Cox, the 29-year-old Olympic champion from Durham, North Carolina, tells everyone that she is a preschool teacher and full-time mom. "Even though I am an Olympic Gold Medalist in track and field, I have no intensions of telling anyone of what my real occupation is." Corinne Kaplan, the 29 year-old sales rep from Los Angeles, California, gives insight into her strategy. "I'm gonna be a total bitch and I'm gonna get rid of who I have to get rid of and I'm gonna hurt people's feelings and I'm gonna laugh when people cry and I'm gonna own it." Jeff tells the group that it is tradition in Gabon that the elders typically make the big decisions and are the leaders. In keeping with that tradition, the two oldest people, Bob Crowley, the 57-year-old physics teacher from Portland, Maine, and Gillian Larson, the 61-year-old Nurse from Temecula, California, are chosen as leaders of separate tribes. Going off very little information, they are forced to choose whoever they want, male or female, on their respective tribes after picking a colored mat to stand on. Bob chooses the yellow mat, and Gillian chooses the red mat. They rock, paper, scissors to decide who gets to pick first, and Bob wins, paper covering rock. He chooses Ace first, followed by "Sugar", Marcus, Charlie, Paloma, Kelly, Jacquie and Corinne. Gillian chooses Crystal first, followed by Susie, Matty, Randy, Dan, "GC", Ken and Michelle. Charlie Herschel, the 29-year-old lawyer from New York, New York, is dumbfounded when Susie is among the first tribe members chosen on Gillian's tribe. "Okay, now we're playing stupid Survivor because this makes zero sense. She clearly is not an athletic person. I am so confused, like, don't you want to win immunity?" Michelle is put on the spot when Jeff asks her what it feels like to be the last one chosen. "I'll learn to love you guys…maybe." Jeff tosses the tribes their buffs. Gillian's tribe becomes the red tribe, Fang. Bob's tribe becomes the yellow tribe, Kota. Then, Jeff shocks the tribes by asking them, "Are you ready for your first challenge?"


Both tribes must race through red and yellow flags that outline a pathway up to the top of a hill where there are two individual immunity idols, one for each tribe. The first person from each tribe to get to the top of the hill and grab the idol will be safe at the first Tribal Council. Also at the top of the hill are the essentials that both tribes will start with, including a bag of rice. Also waiting at the top of the hill is an extra bag of corn and beans. The first entire tribe to get all of their members across the black line wins the corn and beans.

Both tribes immediately dash across the savannah with "GC" and Matty in the lead. Fang falls behind, with Gillian bringing up the rear. Matty runs back to help his lagging tribe members as they struggle up the hill. Bob and Ace help Paloma up the hill as Kota's lead increases. "GC" is the first at the top of the hill and grabs the immunity idol for Fang, while Marcus grabs the immunity idol for Kota. Michelle is the first woman to the top of the hill. Susie, Gillian and Crystal really struggle to get up the hill, despite Matty's help, giving Kota a huge lead. The chance for victory becomes hopeless for Fang when the Kota members make their way across the finish line, while Gillian, Susie and Crystal barely make any progress. Kota wins the extra bag of corn and beans when all of their members make their way across the finish line in a landslide victory. Matty pushes Gillian up the hill after a long struggle, finally getting all of Fang's members to the top, but it is too late.


After an exciting first victory, Kota arrives at their new camp, surprised to discover two broken-down huts on a lake. Bob Crowley, the 57-year-old Physics teacher from Portland, Maine, takes charge by climbing up on the roof and directing his tribe members to give him the necessary materials to build a strong shelter. His talents as a handyman begin to shine around camp as he constructs a new roof and a bench. Impressed with his work around camp, Corrine says, "Bob totally like gets it together. He's got the camp running really smoothly. He's 57-years-old and he's awesome." Bob explains, "I don't like to spend money on stuff. I tinker. If I don't know how to do it, I go to the library and get the book and look it up and go do it."


As the Fang Tribe arrives at their new camp, Gillian Larson, the 61-year-old from Temecula, California, begins discussing their first loss. "Apparently according to some people we sucked today. I don't think so. I thought we were awesome, and I think that's what we need to do is we just got to keep that awesome spirit going." She then goes on a trek through the jungle in search of elephant dung. After finding some, she brings the elephant dung back to camp and suggests that her tribe eat it, noting its many nutrients from undigested seeds that exist within it. Randy Bailey, the 49-year-old wedding videographer from Eagle Rock, Missouri, finds Gillian to be annoying. "She is so busy at just trying to look busy and she's not accomplishing crap." Meanwhile, Ken and Michelle go off on a private walk in search of termite mounds. Ken flirts with Michelle, daring her to eat a termite. When she eats it, he responds, "That was hot." Ken admits that he has not had much experience with relationships. "The last girl I kissed was actually in high school. That was like four or five years ago which is a long time. But being here in Gabon with a girl that you are attracted to is a very special moment in life. I mean I am single and she is single. You never know, a romance could start."


Back at Kota, Ace begins annoying the tribe when he delegates orders on how to make fire and get water. Ace's goal is clear. "What I've done at the moment is give suggestions, let other people carry them out, take some of the benefit and then they go, but you know who suggested it? Ace." Charlie and Marcus walk off by themselves and both agree that Ace is irritating, but they should let him run the show for a while to take the target off themselves. Charlie opens up and admits he is attracted to Marcus. "Ever since I saw him on the mat and he picked me, I just felt this connection in his deep blue beautiful eyes." Marcus agrees he has a connection with Charlie, but that it is purely on a friendship level. "I'm straight, so, we're in Eden, but there's no two Adams here."


As night falls on Fang, sounds of elephants and other wildlife are heard lurking in the shadows. "There's an elephant thirty yards from our house just cruising through the forest right behind our little hut," says Matty. Suddenly, Randy bangs his head on the top of the hut, causing a deep, bloody gash on his forehead. The Survivor Medical Team is called in and they administer a couple of stitches and explain to Randy that the biggest risk is infection. Randy is willing to do whatever it takes to stay in the game and expresses his fear that his injury might take him out. "Leaving this game is not an option and I am petrified that this injury could take me out of the game."


At Fang, Randy's injuries have improved and he expects to be fully recovered in the next few days. Michelle whines about being cold. "We're supposed to be on the freakin' equator. Where the hell's the sun?" Matty notices Michelle is suffering and tells the tribe, "Look at her, she's miserable." Her complaining continues when Dan tries to make fire with a bone. "I don't think I got stuck with the brightest bunch, that's for sure."


Kota receives treemail for their first immunity challenge, which hints at the reward of flint. Ace becomes the tribe Yoga instructor to prepare everyone for the challenge. "I felt a little Yoga would really sort of clean out our humors, get our energy flowing, the chakras would be all in time and just get us excited and motivated about this next challenge." Paloma clearly found the situation funny, giggling, "They're like, doing it in their underwear. In like, the middle of the jungle."


The two tribes, Fang and Kota, arrive on their mats, ready to play. Host Jeff Probst explains the rules. Six tribe members will be belted together. They will race through a swamp, over a net wall, under and over a series of hitching posts. They will come to a sand pit where they will dig up three bags of puzzle pieces and make their way to the finish, where the three remaining tribe members will use those pieces to solve the puzzle. First tribe to solve the puzzle wins. He reveals they will be playing for tribal immunity and fire in the form of flint. Paloma, "Sugar" and Bob are chosen to solve to puzzle for Kota, while Gillian, Susie and Randy are chosen to solve the puzzle for Fang.

Both tribes dash off into a leech-filled swamp. Kota starts off with a bit of a lead, while the puzzle solvers cheer each tribe on. Both tribes begin climbing over the net wall, while Jeff emphasizes, "Everybody's got to get over." Corinne and Kelly get stuck while climbing over the net wall, giving Fang the lead. Fang keeps their lead as they crawl under the hitching posts. Fang arrives at the sand box, with Kota close behind. Both tribes begin an unfriendly exchange of dirt in each other's faces as they attempt to find their bags of puzzle pieces. Kota finds their first two bags of puzzle pieces as Fang struggles to find their first bag. Fang finds their first bag of puzzle pieces. Kota finds their third and final bag of puzzle pieces and rush to the finish where the puzzle solvers cheer them on. With exhaustion setting in, Fang slows down. Kota quickly solves their puzzle as Fang loses hope. Gillian loudly cheers Fang on even though it is obvious they have no chance of winning. Fang finally finds their remaining two puzzle pieces, but it is too late. Bob, "Sugar" and Paloma solve the puzzle, winning immunity and fire in the form of flint for Kota, and sending Fang to their first Tribal Council.


At Fang, with Tribal Council looming, "GC" points out how nobody has stepped up to be the tribe leader. Matty targets Michelle due to her negativity around camp. With paranoia setting in, Randy tells Matty that it is early and he is unsure of who he will vote for. He targets Gillian, exclaiming, "[Gillian] cheerleads and blows sunshine thinking they're gonna like her, but to be honest, Gillian is worthless - totally worthless." Ken and Michelle also target Gillian because she is the oldest and weakest member of the tribe. Ken informs Michelle that she herself is on the outs, in which she retorts, "That would just like confirm my beliefs in this tribe that they are like, the dumbest people on Earth." She is amazed that her tribe would rather vote her off than Gillian. Gillian and Dan are dead-set on voting off Michelle, calling her "Negative Nancy." Gillian still fears it might be her own torch that gets snuffed, saying, "I might be the naive woman that's just walking around thinking, 'It's not me, thank God.' But it may be."


At Tribal Council, Fang immediately erupts into a shouting match brought on by Michelle. They bicker about who didn't perform well in the Immunity Challenge, and come to the conclusion that the tribe desperately needs a leader. "GC" volunteers to be the leader, and the tribe agrees that he would be the best man for the job. Both Michelle and Gillian plead their cases, each arguing that the tribe could get rid of some "dead weight." In the end, the tribe decided that Michelle's negativity around camp was bringing them down, and she was voted out of the game. With eight of the nine votes cast against her, Michelle becomes the first person voted out of SURVIVOR: GABON -- EARTH'S LAST EDEN.