Kelly Czarnecki the sixth castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: Gabon'
By John Bracchitta, 10/24/2008
After drawing the ire of her Fang tribemates for her bad attitude and failure to contribute much to its challenge efforts, Kelly Czarnecki, a 22-year-old retail salesperson from Buffalo Grove, IL, became the sixth castaway eliminated from Survivor: Gabon during last night's broadcast of the CBS reality series.
"I think the Fang tribe is still cursed, I think they're gonna go down. They need to work together," Kelly said following her elimination. "I definitely wanted do stay in the game, but you know, if it's my time to go, it's my time to go."
Survivor: Gabon's sixth episode began with Matty Whitmore, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Pacific Palisades, CA, expressing his frustration about his status on the game's perpetually-losing Fang tribe.
"I'm in a terrible position, I feel like I've been in a bad position from the moment this game started with Fang," Matty admitted during a confessional interview. "If someone approached me with a legit, logical, reasonable plan that might work -- for sure I'm on board, I am jumping on board."
Shortly thereafter, Ace Gordon, a 27-year-old fashion photographer and Cartier jewelry salesman from Naples, FL, approached Matty about forming an alliance.
Matty immediately jumped at the offer, and the pair eventually agreed to form a four-person alliance that would also include Jessica "Sugar" Kiper, a 29-year-old pin-up model and actress who had already openly allied herself with Ace, and Ken Hoang, a 22-year-old professional video gamer from Westminster, CA that Matty felt would remain loyal to him.
Both Ace and Matty swore on the lives of their loved ones, with Ace swearing on his mother's life and Matty swearing on his girlfriend's life.
Later on Day 16, the Kota and Fang tribes both encountered drastically different problems regarding their food supplies.
At Kota's camp, several tribemates noticed and became angered that Dan Kay, a 32-year-old lawyer from Walpole, MA, had been eating much larger meal portions than anyone else.
"We've been eating very well, and when we got spices and salt we started eating quite a bit," said Robert "Bob" Crowley, a 57-year-old physics teacher from South Portland, ME, referring to their prize from the game's last Reward Challenge.
"But Dan was shoveling [the food] on with a spoon, and I realized when I served [Susie Smith] I put the same number of scoops on the same plate for Susie and I to share as Dan put on for himself," he added.
"It doesn't matter if you weigh 100 pounds more than me, you still get the same proportion of food," Corinne Kaplan, a 29-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Los Angeles, CA, added.
Meanwhile, over at Fang's camp, several tribe members complained of hunger as their rice supply dwindled, which elicited a private "I told you so" reaction from Ken.
"Starting on Day 1, I was talking about how everybody's got to preserve the rice while everyone's eating it raw and spilling it all over the place, and now of course we have a shortage of rice," Ken told the cameras. "We have about six days worth, and if we don't have rice, we're dead, we're finished."
"It's hard for our tribe right now, it's like we're at rock bottom," he added.
Later, Ace decided to tell Sugar he was pretty sure everyone knew she had found the Immunity Idol.
"Should I give you the Idol, and then if I don't play it then you'll have it later?" Sugar asked.
"If you want to give me the Idol that's up to you, you don't have to. That's not what I'm asking for," Ace responded.
"If I'm not gonna play it, I might as well give it to you right? If they already know I have it," Sugar said before deciding to turn the Immunity Idol over to him.
"I'm really putting a lot of faith in Ace right now," Sugar said afterwards. "Ace is kind of a snake, but he's my snake, and I'm glad to have him."
After getting the Idol from Sugar, Ace made it clear that he felt he had played his cards well since being switched from Kota to Fang during the Day 10 pick' em that shuffled composition of the game's original tribes.
"I feel like I've put myself in a good position coming from a tribe that I didn't have any alliances with," he said.
Later that day, the two tribes met Survivor host Jeff Probst at a dirt track for their Reward Challenge. Upon seeing the Fang tribe and learning that G.C. had been eliminated, Kota tribe member Randy Bailey -- a 49-year-old videographer from Eagle Rock, MO that had previously been a Fang member -- openly pumped his fist in excitement.
After that, the tribes learned that the challenge would require them to each be tethered to a 20-foot-long plastic snake that weighed 200 pounds. After positioning themselves on opposite sides of the track, both tribes would run around the track carrying the snake and attempt to catch up to the other tribe and tag one of its members.
If a tribe member felt that they were becoming a liability, they could separate themselves from the snake and quit the challenge, however doing so would only result in more weight having to be carried by the tribe's remaining members.
As their reward, the winning tribe would receive a basket of breakfast pastries, along with coffee and tea. They would also, as usual, get to send one member of the opposing tribe to Exile.
In order to even out the number of members on each tribe, Corrine volunteered to sit the challenge out for Kota.
After getting out to an early lead, Fang's lead dissipated when Kelly -- who was holding up the front of the snake and in front of the rest of her tribe -- began to tire and slowed down the team.
In an attempt to speed up, both Sugar and Ken disconnected themselves from the snake and quit the challenge. They were followed soon after by Kelly and Crystal Cox, a 29-year-old 2004 Olympic gold-medalist track athlete from Durham, NC -- which left only Matty and Ace to carry the 200 pound snake.
As the Kota tribe gained ground on Fang, Susie disconnected herself from their snake, leaving the tribe's five men to close in and eventually catch Matty and Ace to win the challenge for Kota.
As Kota enjoyed their food in front of Fang and once again chose Sugar to go to Exile, Crystal began crying and admitted frustration in her tribe's inability to win.
"We're losing over and over and it's starting to hurt," she said.
"Wah, wah, wah," mocked Randy back to her before Fang headed back to camp.
"I love winning challenges, [but] more important than winning challenges, I absolutely love watching them lose," he added later, referring to Fang.
"Randy to me, is a troll," Crystal said following the exchange. He's a troll under the bridge that's just mean and angry with the world. I won't play like that. Do not disrespect me like that."
Although Kota reveled in their victory upon returning to camp, several members once again became privately upset with Dan when he pushed to not save the pastries for a meal and instead urged that everyone just take their share and allow other tribe members to take any food they did not want.
"Dan has annoyed everybody," Randy said about his fellow former Fang tribe member. "He's even annoyed me a little bit. "My best move may be to slowly distance myself from Dan as I bring myself closer to the original Kota."
At Exile once again, Sugar was not as happy as she had been in her prior trips and instead felt bad that her Fang tribemates were starving and tired while she kept getting sent to Exile where she could eat fruit and rest in a hammock.
"I'm feeling very guilty," she said.
Meanwhile, over at the other camp, Fang's increasingly hungry tribe members worried about Crystal's emotional outburst at the end of the challenge.
"I'm like withering away," Kelly said. "We only have three scoops of rice and Crystal's reaction to our loss was huge. Personally I just think her personality sucks."
In an attempt to dispel rumors that she was giving up, Crystal sought out Matty, Ace, and Kelly to state that her tears were not a "sign of weakness" and that she had just been frustrated.
On Day 18, the tribes met for their next Immunity Challenge. The challenge required each tribe to divide themselves into three pairs that would be tethered together by rope. The first of each tribe's pairs would have to crawl under a cargo net and navigate a wooden obstacle while retreiving two pieces of a flagpole. Each tribe's other two pairs would also have to repeat the same task, however the second pair would have to face an additional obstacle while the third pair would have to face two more obstacles.
After retrieving all six flagpole pieces, the first tribe to assemble it and raise their flag would win immunity.
With Susie sitting out the challenge for Kota, the tribe tapped Bob and Randy as their first pair, Corrine and Charlie Herschel -- a 29-year-old lawyer from New York, NY -- as their second, and Dan and Marcus Lehman -- a 28-year-old doctor from Atlanta, GA -- as their third pair.
Fang partnered up Kelly and Sugar, Crystal and Ace, and Matty and Ken as their three pairs.
Kelly and Sugar jumped out to an early lead in the challenge's first leg but ended up being passed by Bob and Randy when they got bogged down while untying a knot needed to drop the flagpole pieces.
While Kota's Corrine and Charlie received a sizable lead as Fang's Kelly and Sugar struggled to the finish, Crystal and Ace were able to eliminate it by making up ground at the second obstacle and arrived at the flagpole pieces at the same time as Corrine and Charlie.
Corrine and Charlie opened up a slight lead over Fang when they got back to starting line first, but Dan and Marcus quickly relinquished it to Matty and Ken, who sped through their second and third obstacles. However, both teams had some struggles untying the knots that held their flagpole pieces, resulting in both tribes beginning to assemble their poles and raise their flags at about the same time.
In the end, Kota's teamwork once again trumped Fang when they were able to quickly assemble the pole and win the challenge while Ace -- who seemed to refuse help from his tribemates -- struggled to put together the pole by himself.
"If you continue to play like individuals, you'll be there every time," Jeff told Fang as he reminded them that, as the challenge's losers, they'd be going to Tribal Council again that evening.
Following the challenge, Crystal made it clear that she felt Ace was to blame for the loss and began to question how much of a benefit he could actually be to a tribe.
"Ace is a tyrant and a bully," she told the cameras. "A lot of people see Ace as a strong competitor, but he's been on our tribe for 3-4 challenges now and we haven't won anything! So how is he benefiting me!"
Meanwhile, Ace began leading the drumbeat for Kelly's departure by criticizing her attitude and contributions during the Immunity Challenge as well.
"I was expecting more from Kelly and she just seemed to peter-out," Ace said. "She goes [home] and we strengthen the team, and I think she's just irritating."
Matty attempted to convince Ace that they should vote for Sugar -- Ace's closest ally -- in an attempt to "flush" her not-so-hidden Idol out before the tribes merged, however Ace understandably wasn't interested in the idea.
"She can't play the Idol, trust me, trust me," responded Ace before ultimately convincing Matty to cast his vote for Kelly.
Crystal attempted to convince Matty and Ken that it was time to vote for Ace, however Matty rejected the suggestion immediately while Ken -- who suspected "something is up tonight" -- attempted to convince her that voting for Kelly was the safest move.
However Crystal's suggestion was apparently enough motivation for Ken -- who didn't trust Ace and didn't seem to approve of the Ace and Sugar alliance Matty had decided to include him in -- to attempt to convince Matty to break his deal with Ace.
Matty rejected Ken's idea, causing Ken to also attempt to convince Sugar that allying herself with Ace wasn't in her best interests.
"Usually in this game, people who are really honest and sweet like [you] get their head chopped off," Ken told Sugar.
"By people like Ace," Sugar told Ken as she interrupted him.
Sugar seemed to receptive to Ken's suggestion that they should "stick together" and then shocked him by not only confirming that she'd found the Immunity Idol, but also revealing that she had given it to Ace.
"You gave Ace the Idol! Are you crazy!?" Ken responded before convincing her to try to get it back before Tribal Council.
Sugar agreed and -- under the guise of taking the Idol from Ace to make sure no one saw that he had it -- told Ace she'd decided to take back the Idol.
Once at Tribal Council, Jeff asked Matty about what the tribe's mood had been like while suffering so many challenge losses.
"We're cursed," he responded. "There's something in our water, there's something in our rice. But I think we have a curse."
"We just can't come as a team and work together," Kelly added.
Crystal said that Ace's insistence on building the flagpole by himself was worthy of an elimination vote, and added that he had played a large part in the team's Immunity Challenge loss.
"We didn't come together as a group and I think I can take a portion -- definitely a larger percentage -- of the blame for how it went together at the end," Ace said in agreement.
After Crystal reiterated that her Reward Challenge tears hadn't been a sign of weakness but said she was aware that the incident could be used against her, Kelly said that she felt there was more to Crystal's tears than she had let on.
"I never said she was weak, but when someone cries it's like 'Why are you crying, clearly you're just not stable,'" she charged.
"You don't know were my tears come from," Crystal shot back. "I'm crying because we're losing, we're not eating, we're not winning. If you don't understand that you won't last too much longer in this game yourself."
Kelly responded that Ace had also felt the same way as her, drawing an angry objection from him.
"Don't throw people under buses for no apparent reason," he told Kelly angrily. "The only I said about Crystal was I actually understood because it's frustrating. Losing over and over again just sort of drives you off the wall."
"He's 100-percent double talking, and it's just so annoying that I don't even know how to explain it," responded Kelly to Jeff.
"Honestly Kelly I'd be surprised if you understood what I was saying half the time," Ace shot back.
The tribe was then asked by Jeff to place their votes for who to send home. With the exception of Kelly -- who cast her vote for Crystal -- every member of the tribe voted for Kelly's elimination.
Survivor: Gabon's next episode will air Thursday, October 23 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.