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Posted on Jul 14, 2011 11:30am

In a tense night at Tribal Council, 32-year-old Kel Gleason, an Army Intelligence Officer from Ft. Hood, Texas, was voted out of the Ogakor tribe in a unanimous 7-1 vote. Done in by a tribe that didn't trust him, Kel acknowledged that his military background may have been an obstacle as he tried to adjust to the group dynamics of his non-military tribemates.

Jerri Manthey, the fiery actress from Los Angeles, got the ball rolling against Kel when on day 5 she accused him of cheating at the game of Survivor. Jerri suspected that Kel had smuggled beef jerky into the Outback and was eating it behind his fellow tribemembers' backs. "Quite frankly, I believe her," stated seven-foot-tall singer/songwriter Mitchell Olson, even after they searched Kel's bag and found no evidence supporting Jerri's indictment. But Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey did not agree, and felt an apology was in order. ( Whom doesn't Mad Dog trust? ) For his part, Kel vehemently denied eating anything but blades of grass that he had picked up along his hike. Trying to make peace, he confessed to having a quiet personality, which may have made it difficult for the tribe to get to know him, and offered them the use of his luxury item, a shaving kit. The skeptical tribe accepted his offer, but it was too late: right or wrong, their fragile trust in Kel had been splintered.

After he was voted out, Kel confessed, "I knew from day one it was going to be hard for me to fit in. I tried, I really did."

Decision Making

Michael Skupin, the self-proclaimed leader of the Kucha tribe, awoke just before daylight to cook a pot of rice for his still sleeping tribe. Jeff Varner, wiping the sleep from his eyes and clearly agitated by Mike's actions, was shocked that he would cook anything without consulting the group first. "I hope everyone's hungry. I'm not hungry at all," he said. Alicia agreed and asserted her opinion: "When it comes to food, it has to be a group decision." Kucha, clearly disappointed in Mike's judgment, not to mention his weak cooking skills, struggled to eat the overcooked, gooey rice that they didn't even want.

Leisure Time

"With less shade than at Kucha's beach and under a blazing sun for most of the day, Ogakor tended to be more lethargic than their opponents. "We are more of a recreational tribe, we lie around a lot," said Tina, the personal nurse from Tennessee. The tribe also liked to play at their "whirlpool," a shallow section of the river with light rapids that served as massage jets. Maralyn couldn't have put it any better: "There is a time to be energized and a time to chill out, so we are going to the whirlpool."

Only Kel refrained from joining in the group frolic. While the rest of the tribe played, he was hard at work trying to catch fish. Unfortunately, he returned empty-handed. Said Colby, "The guy couldn't fish a rubber ducky out of a bathtub."

Leap of Faith

Day 4 began with both tribes receiving tree mail summoning them to the upcoming reward challenge. Atop a 30-foot rock cliff, host Jeff Probst explained the rules of the "Butch Cassidy" challenge: Leap off the cliff into a deep pool of water, swim to a floating crate, and—once the entire tribe arrives at the crate—unhook it from an anchor, swim with it through rapids, and carry it to the beach. The first tribe to cross the finish line with the crate would win its contents: warm blankets, useful especially during the frequent rain.

Everyone was hesitant, but no one was more fearful than Rodger Bingham, the 53-year-old farmer and school teacher from Kentucky, who had just recently learned how to swim and has a fear of heights. Yet with barely a pause Rodger leapt heroically into the air and swam to the crate like the rest of his tribe. And though Kucha lost, their disappointment was offset by the pride they felt in their elder tribemate, whom all of them had come to respect.

New Chef in Town

Back at Ogakor, the pot was beginning to boil. Keith once again under-cooked the rice and the gloppy outcome bewildered Jerri: "It doesn't make sense, how could a gourmet chef not know how to cook rice?" ( Tina is frustrated with Keith's cooking. )

Threatened and embarrassed, Keith tried to downplay the situation and watched as resourceful Jerri impressed her tribe by using what little flour they had left to make "Outback tortillas." Energized by Jerri's success, Ogakor was prepared to relinquish the cooking duties to her. Confident with her position, she promised, "I have a few more tricks up my sleeve."

Meanwhile, at Kucha, Mike returned from fishing with a hefty catch. But then he led the tribe in a group prayer—in which he thanked God for making him the leader!

Kimmi's Redemption

On the day of the second immunity challenge, "Tucker'd Out," Kimmi Kappenberg was feeling the heat. The premise of the game is simple: Each tribemember faces an opponent from the other team and spins a wheel; on the wheel are several local aboriginal foods called "bush tucker," such as cow brains, grubs, grasshoppers, and mangrove worms. If a tribemember refuses to eat whatever delicacy the pointer stops at, or throws the food up, their tribe loses a point. The problem? Kimmi is a vegetarian.

Sure enough, Kimmi stepped up for her spin and got cow brain. Tearful, she declined to eat, crying, "It's a mammal, I can't do it," and Kucha lost the round.

Every other Survivor managed to eat the "bush tucker," so it looked as if all were lost for Kucha because of Kimmi when Ogakor's Tina faced Michael for the final spin. Chewing on tripe (cow stomach-lining) in disgust, Tina did everything she could not to gag; meanwhile, Kucha's Jeff Varner, from the side, simulated gagging sounds to encourage Tina to throw up. Sure enough, she did, and the tribes were tied.

In the tiebreaker round, Kucha chose Tina from Ogakor, and Ogakor chose Kimmi from Kucha, to go head-to-head in a race to eat a one-foot mangrove worm. Bouncing up and down, Kimmi cheered, "I can eat a worm! I can eat a worm!" And she devoured it in amazing time, too, winning the immunity challenge for Kucha!

So in the end it was the Ogakor tribe who took the long, dreaded hike to their first Tribal Council, where Kel was voted out in a 7-1 declaration of unanimity


Did you notice that Maralyn "Mad Dog" Hershey did not jump off the cliff during the Butch Cassidy challenge? Ogakor had one more member than Kucha at the time, and chose Maralyn to wait in the water with the crate to even out the sides during the diving part of the challenge. But it was important to Maralyn to prove to her tribe that she could in fact do it.

Did Kel really eat beef jerky behind his tribe's back?