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HOME > Survivor > Survivor: Gabon

Michelle Chase and Gillian Larson get voted off 'Survivor: Gabon'

By John Bracchitta, 09/26/2008 

Michelle Chase's poor attitude and inability to bond with her teammates and Gillian Larson's age proved to be their downfalls, as the 24-year-old Los Angeles, CA music production assistant and the 61-year-old nurse from Temecula, CA became the first two castaways voted off Survivor: Gabon during last night's back-to-back broadcast of the show's first two episodes. 

Survivor: Gabon's special two-hour premiere began with the show's eighteen castaways -- equipped with nothing but the clothes they were wearing -- arriving in a field and meeting Survivor: Gabon host Jeff Probst.

After introducing themselves to each other, Jeff told them that they'd be using a schoolyard pick'em format to determine the season's two tribes.  As the cast's eldest members, Gillian and Bob Crowley, a 57-year-old physics teacher from South Portland, ME, were made the initial members of each tribe and told to select one other person to join their tribe.  After that, each new member would be tasked with selecting the next member of the tribe.  A game of rock, paper, scissors determined that Bob would get to pick first.

Once the time the selection process was complete, Jeff told Bob's yellow tribe -- which consisted of Ace Gordon, a 27-year-old Naples, FL fashion photographer and Cartier jewelry salesman; Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, a 29-year-old Brooklyn, NY pin-up model and actress; Marcus Lehman, a 28-year-old Atlanta, GA doctor Marcus Lehman; Charlie Herschel, a 29-year-old New York, NY lawyer; Paloma Soto-Castillo, a 24-year-old Downey, CA student; Kelly Czarnecki, a 22-year-old Buffalo Grove, IL retail salesperson ; Jacque Berg, a 25-year-old Santa Barbara, CA medical device sales representative; and Corinne Kaplan, a 29-year-old Los Angeles, CA pharmaceutical sales representative -- they would be called "Kota."

Gillian's red tribe -- which consisted of Crystal Cox, a 24-year-old Durham, NC teacher and Olympic gold medalist; Susie Smith, a 47-year-old Charles City, IA hairdresser; Matty Whitmore, a 29-year-old Pacific Palisades, CA personal trainer; Randy Bailey, a 49-year-old Eagle Rock, MO videographer; Dan Kay, a 32-year-old Walpole, MA lawyer; Danny "G.C." Brown, a 26-year-old Portland, OR maintenance supervisor; Ken Hoang, a 22-year-old Westminster, CA professional video gamer; and Chase -- was given the name "Fang."

"I'll learn to love you guys, maybe," Michelle joked after being the last player picked to a team.

Following the team selections, Jeff introduced the season's first challenge. After racing through a field marked by flags, the castaways would have to climb up a steep hill and cross a finish line located at the top of it.  Waiting for the tribes at the finish line was a bag of rice for each tribe and an individual immunity idol for the member of each tribe that finished the race first.  In addition, an extra bag of corn and beans  would be awarded to the first tribe to get all of its members across the finish line.

"Do you race out selfishly and get that [immunity] idol for yourself, or do you work together, thus ensuring food?" Jeff told the tribe members prior to the race.

With Gillian pulling up the rear for a majority of the challenge, Kota had no trouble getting all of their teammates to the top of the hill first and winning the extra food.

Although he was on the losing team, G.C. was the first Fang member to the finish line and won the immunity idol.

With Fang's members standing dejected on the hill following the loss while Coda's members celebrated, Jeff handed each tribe their maps and told them to make their way their camps.

After arriving at their camps -- which each consisted of multiple partially covered huts located near a pond or river -- the tribes began organizing their camps. Worried it was going to rain, Kota member Bob took the covering from two partially covered huts and created one completely covered hut, while Fang member Gillian urged her team to stay positive and drew the ire of some of her teammates.

"She is so busy at just trying to look busy, and she is accomplishing crap,' Randy said angrily.

The next day, Fang continued to set up their camp and bond as a team, however Michelle continued to hold a grudge about having been picked last and was vocal in her displeasure as she stood in the cold watching her tribemates fail to start a fire with wood and an animal bone.

"Trying to make fire with a bone?!" She told cameras with a frustrated tone. "I don't thin I got stuck with the brightest bunch that’s for sure. I just kind keep thinking why I got stuck with all these people... The other team's got all the smart, beautiful people and I'm stuck with these dorks!"

While Fang struggled, Kota tribe members thrived as they bonded through activities such as yoga. Marcus and Charlie also took time away from the group to talk and set the building blocks for a possible alliance.

On Day 3, the tribes met Jeff for their next challenge. Six of their members would be belted together for a race through a leech filled swamp, over a net-wall, and then over and under hitching posts before digging up three bags willed with puzzle pieces, Three other three tribe members would then have to assemble each bag into a complete puzzle.

The first tribe to complete all the tasks would get immunity and a flint to make fire, while the losing team would be sent to Tribal Council.

"Immunity is the most important thing in this game," Jeff warned the tribes. "When you have immunity you cannot be voted out. Without it you are vulnerable."

Much like the first challenge, Kota easily beat Fang to gain immunity and got the flint.

"So far [we're] three days into this and it is not even close, two absolute blowouts," commented Jeff.

As Fang prepared for their first Tribal Council, the tribe members singled out Gillian and Michelle as the weak links in the group.

"We're in a down and out position. We need positivity, [Michelle is] negative. She doesn't wanna be here. She's miserable." Matty told Dan and Randy.

However, Randy maintained that Gillian had bogged the team down with her age in both challenges so far and should be sent home instead.

"Nothing against any 60-year-old women out there, but don't come to my camp," he told cameras.

"I may be the naive woman that's just walking around saying 'tra-la it's not me that’s good.' It may be. I doubt it though. I just think Michelle really doesn't wanna be here," Gillian told Susie as she lobbied for her to vote Michelle off.

That night the team met with Jeff for the first Tribal Council. After grabbing their torches, Jeff asked the  tribe members how they felt they had performed in the first two challenges.

"I think we did ok. I think we did better than expected," Dan said.

"So, in addition to being a complete disaster, this tribe is in total denial [as well]," Jeff shot back.

As Jeff continued to ask questions about the challenges, the Fang members answers devolved into fighting amongst each other and Jeff opted to step in and put a stop to it.

After Jeff got the team to admit to a lack of leadership, G.C. hesitantly stepped forward and expressed a willingness -- after Jeff and the rest of the tribe prodded him further -- to try and lead the tribe.

The tribe then individually cast their votes to eliminate one of their tribe members.  After revealing five votes for Michelle, Jeff announced that she'd become the first player eliminated from the competition. (Although the last three votes weren't shown to the castaways, Michelle was actually eliminated via an unanimous 8-1 vote).

"You came in here as a group of individuals. It seems like you found the necessary leadership to leave here as a tribe," Jeff told the tribe as the Tribal Council session came to an end, before also giving them a flint that would allow them to make their first fire when they returned to camp.

The next day, Marcus began expanding his "large onion alliance."  Having already established a core alliance with Charlie, he suggested that they add another "layer" and add Jacque. Charlie agreed, and said that he felt Corinne would be a good fourth member of the alliance as well.

Meanwhile back at Fang's camp, newly appointed leader G.C.'s attempt to bring stability to his tribe got off to a rocky start when it became clear that he didn't really seem interested in listening to the suggestions of several of his fellow tribe members.

"Our tribe hads a leader [in] G.C., but he  is too young and he doesn't know squat about any of this," Randy told cameras. "My new operation is called 'operation let other people crash and burn.' My best plan right now is to keep my mouth shut, sit on my ass, and watch us self-destruct."

After being woken up in the night by G.C. as he attempted to do laundry, Gillian tried mentioning the issue to G.C. and started an argument that lead to his admission that he did not want to be the tribe's leader and would no longer play that role.

"I didn't wanna be a leader. I'm not gonna let [you all] force me to be the leader. So I'm not going to," he told his tribe.

Later, Dan tried to build some team unity by using charcoal to paint each of his tribe member's faces before their next challenge.

After arriving at the challenge site, Jeff informed the tribes that their next challenge would require them to push an giant ball through a number of gates, climb up on the ball and retrieve two sets of keys placed on a perch above the gates, and reach a checkpoint where they would then have to unlock three locks on a gate that stood between them and the finish line.

Jeff added that the first tribe to get to the finish line with their giant ball properly placed in a pedestal would win immunity, fishing gear, and the chance to send one of the losing tribe's members to "Exile Island," where they would be secluded from their tribe but also given an opportunity to find a hidden immunity idol.

After starting off in a dead heat, the Kota tribe eventually distanced themselves from Fang once again and won the challenge.

After collecting their fishing gear, the tribe decided to send Dan to Exile Island.

Upon arriving at his Exile Island destination, Dan was presented with a choice of either "clue or comfort," and told that he could either receive a clue to find the hidden immunity idol or receive an apple to eat.

After deciding to pass on the "comfort" option, Dan failed to realize that the clue was instructing him to look for a large crater -- not a small hole -- and never came close to finding the idol.

"This place is enormous, it could be anywhere," Dan said in frustration. "'Exile Island' is officially the worst place ever."

Meanwhile, once they got back to camp, the rest of the Fang tribe tried to take comfort in the fact that they'd finished a close second in the challenge.  However given another Tribal Council session was coming up the next day, it wasn't long before Gillian's age once again became the focus of several discussions.

As she sensed the target on her back, Gillian tried to -- once again -- sway Susie and form an alliance to vote off Ken.

"They are after me first. But you are next," Gillian warned Susie. "They are gonna wipe us out."

After Dan returned from Exile Island, several tribe members expressed doubt about his claim that he had failed to find the immunity idol, with some members discussing whether or not he could be deceiving the tribe.

However, the tribe did receive a pre-Tribal Council boost when Randy managed to make a fishing hook out of his eyeglasses and -- aided  by the help of many other tribe members -- was able to catch some fish.

Once Fang arrived back at Tribal Council, Jeff forced them to answer more questions about their tribe unity and the lack of leadership.

"We've got eight individuals. Personally I see where G.C. is coming from. I wouldn't wanna lead this bunch either," Randy told Jeff.

While she thought that the tribe may not need an immediate leader, Crystal felt the team simply needed someone to inspire them.

"I need to hear about how were gonna get our heads together and kick Kota's butt," she said.

After learning that some of his tribe still suspected he had found the hidden immunity idol, Dan went so far as to empty his bag in an attempt to convince them he wasn't lying.

Along the way, the tribe also bragged that they had achieved at least one bright spot -- working together on the fishing effort that had netted them five "sardines."

After the tribe members's individually voted, Jeff revealed that Gillian had been eliminated.

"The best news to come out of tonight's Tribal Council is that you realize when you work together, you are successful. Now you just need to do it a little more often," Jeff told the tribe as they returned to their camp.

The next episode of Survivor: Gabon will air Thursday, October 2 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.

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