Marcus Lehman the ninth castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: Gabon'
By John Bracchitta, 11/07/2008
Marcus Lehman, a 28-year-old doctor from Atlanta, GA, thought he had numbers on his side with his powerful Kota tribe's members as his allies. However, a second tribal shakeup coupled with a weak ally proved to be too much for Marcus to overcome and caused his to become the ninth castaway to be eliminated from Survivor: Gabon -- and its first jury member -- during last night's broadcast on CBS.
"I see the future of 'Kota: Part 3' as being probably a very sneaky one," Marcus said following his elimination. "I feel bad for [Robert 'Bob' Crowley], I don't see him necessarily surviving the next few days. Obviously the people that wrote my name down get to see me in the future, and I forgive but I don't forget."
Survivor: Gabon's eighth episode began on Night 21 with both tribes returning to their camps following their Tribal Council sessions, during which Ace Gordon and Dan Kay were eliminated. As both tribes anticipated an upcoming merge, both attempted to solidify their alliances in order to ensure their survival.
At Kota's camp, Randy Bailey, a 49-year-old videographer from Eagle Rock, MO, told his five tribemates that if they remained together that they could get rid of the four remaining Fang members with relative ease.
However, while the tribe seemed to agree with the idea, Marcus couldn't help but bring up Susie Smith's blatant criticism of Corrine Kaplan, a 29-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Los Angeles, CA, before and during the previous Tribal Council.
"I'm not trying to call you out Susie, but you can't vote for Corrine and not tell somebody that there is a problem there," Marcus told Susie as the rest of the tribe looked on.
Prior to the Tribal Council session, Susie, a 47-year-old hairdresser and assistant teacher from Charles City, IA, had openly told Corrine that she had planned on voting to eliminate her because she had not contributed at camp. Susie had then criticized Corrine further during Tribal Council, saying that she had more upper body strength and could swim better than her as well.
"I'm not really sure that you're not gonna vote me out as soon as you get your next opportunity," Corrine responded. "I don't wanna feel that way about someone I'm planning on going to the Final 6 with."
"Will I sell you out sooner, is that what you're asking me?" Susie asked back, before answering her own question.
At Fang's camp, the tribe members returned to their camp still somewhat surprised that Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, a 29-year-old pin-up model and actress from Brooklyn, NY, had followed through with a plan to vote Ace, her former ally, out of the game.
"That was a textbook blindside to Ace, so I'm so glad that I stuck to my promise and didn't vote him out, but I'm not gonna corner myself with any pacts on my girlfriend again," said Matty Whitmore, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Pacific Palisades, CA.
Matty also worried that the fact that his alliance Ace had left him as the only remaining Fang member to cast his vote for Crystal Cox, a 29-year-old 2004 Olympic gold-medalist track athlete from Durham, NC, had left him as an enemy of hers.
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However, as the tribe discussed their strategy to stay together when the merge eventually occurred, Crystal extended an olive branch to Matty and offered to let bygones be bygones.
"That's done. I'm looking at you in whatever light we have Matty," Crystal said next to the campfire. "If you wanna start from a clean slate we can."
As part of their new "clean slate," Fang's four remaining members also agreed to not tell any Kota that Sugar still had her Immunity Idol once the tribes merged.
"We're good, hopes are high right now for the current Fang members," Crystal said after the meeting. "If there's gonna be a merge hopefully we can 'outwit, outlast and outplay' the remaining Kota members so that we can go as far as possible."
The following day, both tribes were told to take only their personal items to a nearby beach for a "beach bash" that would feature "a brand new tribe, a brand new game, and a new way of survival."
Upon arriving at the beach, the tribes found a table filled with food along with a closed box tagged with a note that the castaways couldn't open it until after they had finished their feast.
As the castaways ate, Ken Hoang -- a 22-year-old professional video gamer from Westminster, CA -- saw another note containing a hint to the location a second Immunity Idol hidden somewhere on the beach underneath one of the bowls on the table. After initially planning to keep the clue to himself, Kenny was eventually forced to share the clue with the rest of the castaways after Charlie Herschel, a 29-year-old lawyer from New York, NY, noticed it as well.
After the castaways read the clue and attempted to seem disinterested in the prospect of finding themselves an Immunity Idol, Marcus stepped forward and suggested that everyone collectively find the Idol and then get rid of it.
"It occurred to me that if everyone is gonna act so casual about not really wanting an Immunity Idol that is hidden just a few feet away from the table, than fine. I'll call all of your bluffs and I'll force you to get rid of it." Marcus later said.
Randy agreed with Marcus, and after the castaways finished eating they went and found the Idol, which was buried underneath a nearby fallen tree.
After one final round of half-hearted denials of wanting to have the Idol for themselves, Randy tied the Idol to a bottle and Marcus waded out into the water and threw it into the ocean with Randy as the rest of the castaways watched from shore.
"That Idol represented the apple in Eden. You grab that Idol, and you'd be biting into the apple and you'd be exiled from Eden," said Matty. "Nobody wants to be thrown out of Eden."
Meanwhile, Marcus was pleased with what had turned out to be a calculated move on his part.
"These people are so stupid, I got 10 people to throw an Immunity Idol into the ocean. That's never been done. It was a perfect way to make the situation much easier for the Kota 6 to gain control of the game because there's no extra Idol floating around to really screw up any votes."
The castaways then opened the box that had been on the table with their food. After obeying instructions and taking a numbered stone from a bag within the box without looking, the castaways learned that their tribes would once again be reshuffled with the castaways with odd numbered stones making up the new Fang tribe and those with even numbered stones making up the new Kota.
Following the shakeup, the new Kota tribe was made up of Marcus, Susie, Crystal, Kenny, and Robert "Bob" Crowley, a 57-year-old physics teacher from South Portland, ME.
The new Fang tribe consisted of Randy, Charlie, Corrine, Matty, and Sugar.
While Randy was generally satisfied with the shakeup -- which still left half of the Kota 6 in each tribe and still gave them a majority in both tribes -- he did note that Susie's alliance waffling could put Marcus in danger.
"I am worried about Marcus, I just don't trust Susie. Susie's crazy and Susie's stupid. That's a horrible combination."
However, Marcus seemed confident following the shakeup because of his strength in numbers.
"I don't need the Immunity Idol. I got great relationships in this game, and that's honestly what I'm banking on because I know, at the end of the day, that no Immunity Idol gets me to the finals."
After the new Kota tribe returned to their camp, conversations between Marcus and Crystal revealed that one of Marcus's closest friends happened to be Crystal's cousin. The common bond seemed to unite the two, with Marcus saying that he had "thrown out the playbook" upon his promise to her -- and hers to him -- and that they would not vote to eliminate each other.
"It's a really strange situation because I really feel a little torn," he said after the revelation. "I'm in a situation where I had completely calculated voting her out, but since we changed tribes I don't know if that's still the case."
However, Crystal admitted after the forming of the alliance that promises she had made while in Gabon had not quite panned out so far.
"Me telling Marcus that I won't write his name down, that's me playing the game," she said. "I also told Ace that I'm not writing his name down, and he got blindsided."
After the new Fang tribe had returned to their camp, Charlie and Corrine had a discussion about the idea that Sugar may have the Immunity Idol. The two also said that, because they were worried that she may use it to defend herself from elimination, Matty should be the first person voted out at the tribe's next Tribal Council session. However, they also acknowledged that Randy might object to eliminating Matty so early because of their initial bond from Fang.
In an attempt to solidify his standing with Sugar, Matty also attempted to convince her that Kenny had lied to her before Fang's last Tribal Council and that Ace had not been planning to eliminate her.
"He might have gunned for you later, but he wasn't gunning for you now," Matty told a shocked Sugar.
"I think Kenny and Crystal duped me. I feel awful that I got rid of Ace," Sugar said later. "I think I may have made a big mistake and I feel really bad."
Both Matty and Sugar committed to watch out for each other as the minorities in their new tribe.
The following day at Kota's camp, Marcus began expressing doubt in the Kota 6 majority in the tribe because of a discussion with Susie in which she said that her vote could go either way and was not particularly bound to the alliance.
Marcus later said that while he was close with Bob, and Kenny was close with Crystal, Susie had not made any allegiances in the new tribe yet.
"Susie's in the middle, spinning around in a circle paying dizzy bat," he said. Where she stops, I have no idea."
"Marcus right now is the king, but I have the power right now to cut his head off," Susie said of her standing in Kota.
Prior to leaving for the Immunity Challenge, Randy gathered with his former Kota tribemates and proposed that they throw the challenge in what amounted to a double move to both eliminate Matty and save Marcus from any waffling from "crazy Susie."
He added later that, while he did not particularly want to eliminate Matty, that his position in the game at that point gave him more reason to side with Corrine and Charlie than Matty.
Before leaving for the challenge, Matty -- perhaps aware of the target on his back -- said that he would do everything he could to win the upcoming challenge.
Upon arriving at the challenge site, Survivor host Jeff Probst informed the tribes that the challenge would require all ten castaways to stand with their arms outstretched as they attempted to balance two poles between the tops of their hands and a board above them.
If someone moved their arm down even slightly, the pole would fall, eliminating the tribe member. The last tribe to have one of its members balancing a pole would win immunity, while the other would be sent to Tribal Council with Jeff later that evening.
After each tribe's members struggled, the challenge's winner was ultimately left to Matty from Fang and Bob from Kota. While Matty's initial taunts almost caused him to drop his pole and left it balanced on the very end of his board, he was able to just barely outlast Bob, which gave immunity to Fang and a Tribal Council date with Jeff to Kota.
"It was good to win, but it didn't really matter," Randy said after the challenge. "In fact, if we had lost, I'm absolutely sure that Matty would've been going home."
As her tribe returned to camp, Susie said that she had wanted to see Kenny or Crystal go home.
"The question for me is can get to the Final 3 by trusting Marcus," she said.
Once Kota got back to camp, Marcus began attempting to convince Crystal to vote off Kenny by saying that his elimination would set up the elimination of Susie at their next elimination round. As a result, Marcus said that Crystal would be able to take Susie's vacated Kota 6 spot.
"That's a no brainer for me," he told her.
However, while Crystal nodded in agreement to Marcus, she later said that she had not appreciated his attempt to turn her against Kenny.
"Marcus and I now have a solid relationship, but when you start talking about knocking of my number one ally just so you can get further in the game, I am not pleased at all," Crystal said. "Marcus is playing the nice guy but he's a schemer. I'm playing the nice girl, [but I'm a] liar and a schemer. The game is 'outwit, outplay, outlast,' and you can't outwit Crystal Cox baby!"
Marcus then went to Susie and urged her to vote for Kenny by telling her that he had dismissed the idea of eliminating Crystal because she had been so "atrocious" in recent challenges. However once Kenny was gone, Crystal would still be the next tribe member to go if the tribe had to go to Tribal Council another time, according to Marcus' conversation with Susie.
Meanwhile, Crystal found Kenny and informed him that the tribe was pushing to have him eliminated. Kenny responded by suggesting that they both try and get Susie onto their side to blindside Marcus instead.
"Kenny being safe tonight is riding 100% on Susie," Crystal said.
While lying in a hut with Susie, Crystal offered both her and Kenny's votes for Marcus if Susie would vote along with them. She added that Marcus had been lying to her and could not guarantee a spot in the Top 3 for her because of Randy and Corrine's dislike of her and their desire to eliminate her after the merge.
"I have a huge decision to make tonight in which way to go, either Marcus and Bob, or I can vote with Kenny and crystal. I don't know if it's good or bad," Susie said prior to leaving for Tribal Council. "I'm confused, I don't know how to feel about it."
At Tribal Council, Crystal told Jeff that there was a noticeable difference in tones between the Fang and Kota tribes.
"To me the Kota camp is like corporate espionage. You wear the suit, but what's going on in your head," she said. "Whereas at Fang [it is like]'This is the projects, I need some rice, I'm hungry, lets go to war. And over there its like 'I wear my suit.'"
When asked if he would be voting to keep the tribe strong or to hold onto alliance and hope for the merge, Marcus said he was voting for the latter.
"I think it's important to keep the tribe physically strong and ready for challenges," he said "My hope is to keep us as strong as we can.
However, Kenny instantly called him out for not telling the truth.
"I think that total bull," he screamed. "What he just said was null! He's definitely looking for a merge around the corner and to have numbers to take out Fang!"
"You know very well that we beat you guys seven times in a row, why would we want to change any of the people in there?" responded Marcus. "Frankly I think you're a very nice guy and it sucks that your frustration is being taken out in this direction."
Kenny reiterated that Marcus was a leader of Kota and still looking out for his old tribe's best interests, while Marcus maintained that he was only of five voices for his new tribe.
Jeff then had the tribe vote and subsequently revealed that -- with votes from Kenny, Crystal, and Susie -- Marcus had been narrowly been eliminated and made the first member of Survivor: Gabon's jury over Kenny 3-2.
"Just when you think you're in control of this game, blindside!" Jeff said following the elimination.
Survivor: Gabon's next episode will air Thursday, November 13 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS. About The Author:John Bracchitta
John Bracchitta is an entertainment reporter for Reality TV World and covers the reality TV genre.