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‘Survivor’ sends two castaways home

"Survivor's" seventeenth season took the cast to the pristine West African country of Gabon, but the backstabbing, plotting and race for the million dollars was anything but pristine.
/ Source: contributor

The tribe has spoken: The last person picked for a tribe was also the first person voted out. Michelle was sent home by Fang, who found her to be annoying — even though she finished the first challenge before any other woman. Her placement in the tribe wasn't a good match from either perspective, because Michelle thought her tribemates were "the dumbest people on Earth." Friendship with gamer Ken couldn't save her, nor could Randy's arguments that Gillian should go home first. At Tribal Council, she seemed resigned to her fate and fought with the others, at least until she took the season's first walk of shame.

The tribe speaks again: For "Survivor"'s first-ever two-hour premiere episode, six days elapsed, meaning there were two Tribal Councils, and Fang found themselves there yet again. This time, they voted out 61-year-old Gillian, who — surprise! — was bothering them with her non-stop talking (and snoring), in addition to her constant demands. As Randy said, "This is our first day, and I've come to the conclusion that Gillian is annoying."

Loser tribe: Fang lost three challenges in a row: The opening reward challenge, the first immunity challenge, and, in the second episode, the combined reward and immunity challenge. Jeff Probst ridiculed them for their performance at the first Tribal Council, saying "this tribe is in complete denial" because they kept insisting they did their best. After the third challenge, during which Fang was ahead of Kota at one point, Probst changed his tune and told them, "much different than last challenge, guys. You were right there." Still, Fang now has two fewer members because they're seemingly incapable of doing anything other than bickering.

Exile: Dan was the first person sent to Exile Island, where he was faced with a choice: Comfort or Clue (to the location of the hidden immunity idol). He chose the clue, although he couldn't decipher it and spent all his time looking in the wrong places. Although he found nothing, his weird behavior when he returned to camp convinced his tribe he had the idol. But at Tribal Council, he just said that Exile "really mess[es] with your mind a little," and dumped out his bag to prove he didn't have it. "I don't have the idol, so please don't try to flush it out. I don't want to go home," Dan pleaded.

Leader of the pack: After Jeff Probst goaded the Fang tribe into electing a leader at the first Tribal Council, they chose maintenance worker GC, who was reluctant because he didn't want to be targeted. Thus, he resigned shortly thereafter. "I didn't want to be the leader, I'm not going to let you all force me be the leader, so I'm not going to," he said. His tribemate Randy told us that was GC's "best leadership call since he's been leader, since he hasn't led anything."

The onion alliance: At Kota, the tribe that won all three challenges, gay lawyer Charlie and straight doctor Marcus formed a bond. Charlie didn't hide his immediate crush on Marcus and his "deep blue beautiful eyes." Marcus recognized that and said, "I think he's attracted to me," and while he acknowledged that Charlie is "handsome and smart," Marcus said he's straight and there are "not two Adams here" in Earth's Last Eden. Still, they formed an alliance. Marcus told Charlie "you're my inner circle," and said his alliance was like the "layers of an onion," which soon included Jacquie and Corinne. Since they keep winning, though, the onion has nothing to do right now.

Color commentary: Randy — who cut his head open on a branch and needed stitches early on — is this season's most viewer-friendly cast member. His confessional interviews are hysterical. "My new operation is called Operation Let Other People Crash and Burn," he said at one point, and added that his plan is to "sit on my ass and watch us self-destruct." So far, the operation is working.

Worst advice ever: Before she was ousted, retired nurse Gillian suggested that her tribemates hunt for elephant dung so they could pick out undigested seeds as food.