Charlie Herschel the tenth castaway eliminated from 'Survivor: Gabon'
By John Bracchitta, 11/14/2008
Only days after the elimination of his closest ally by a blindside vote, Charlie Herschel, a 29-year-old lawyer from New York, NY, fell victim to the same fate and became the tenth castaway eliminated from Survivor: Gabon during last night's broadcast on CBS.
"This is a disaster. I 100% did not see this coming, but what can you do at this point," Charlie said following his elimination. "I didn't think [I would] make it past the first [Tribal Council], so to make it this far is amazing. If I'm gonna leave Survivor I'm glad it was a blindside. I'm thankful [Marcus Lehman] is in the jury though, that is my saving grace."
Survivor: Gabon's ninth episode began on Night 24 with the Kota tribe returning to camp following their Tribal Council session in which Marcus had been eliminated. As Ken "Kenny" Hoang, a 22-year-old professional video gamer from Westminster, CA, attempted to light a camp fire, Susie Smith, a 47-year-old hairdresser and assistant teacher from Charles City, IA, complimented him and said that he had finally "come out of his shell."
Kenny seemed to appreciate the compliment, and later said that he felt he had become a major player in the competition.
"Tonight was a huge night for me because it coulda been me tonight, and thank god it wasn't," Ken said, referring to his close call at the prior Tribal Council. "I've been under the radar with Fang in the beginning, and now I have to stand up to myself. And so far, the last two Tribal Councils I've been to, there have been 'blindsides' because of me."
"The next one to go is [Robert 'Bob' Crowley], so Bob should be worried right now," Ken added about Bob, who had been Marcus' ally and was the last original Kota member still left in the tribe.
Meanwhile, perhaps aware of Kenny's intentions, Bob -- a 57-year-old physics teacher from South Portland, ME -- hoped that a merge with the competing Fang tribe would occur soon and buy him more time.
"If I'm to last I'm assuming I need to be at the merge," he said. "If we're not in the merge, I think I'm history, even though I teach science."
The following day at Fang's camp, Matty Whitmore, a 29-year-old personal trainer from Pacific Palisades, CA, told his tribemates that they were out of rice and found himself in a similar situation to Bob's.
"I'm hoping for a merge every day," he said. "The longer I stay on this tribe, the closer I [get] to going home.
Corinne Kaplan, a 29-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative from Los Angeles, CA, said that she was not worried about her chances in the competition and didn't care who would be eliminated next as long as her original "onion alliance" members Charlie and Marcus were safe.
However, as the two tribes met with Survivor host Jeff Probst for the Reward Challenge, both she and Charlie where visibly disappointed and angry when they learned that Marcus had been sent home.
"I'm pissed, yeah, [Marcus] doesn't deserve to leave the game," Corinne told Jeff.
"Then who does? Who deserves to leave the game?" Ken shot back dryly.
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Following the discussion, the castaways then learned that the Reward Challenge would each tribe to play "golf" using rubber slingshots and specially-designed golf holes. The tribe to get their ball in the hole using the slingshots in the fewest amount of shots would receive one point.
The first team to win two points would receive the chance to send an opposing tribe member to Exile and a trip to a Gabonese village for the evening where they would be treated to a dance ceremony, food, and a comfortable night of sleep.
After Fang determined Corrine would sit out to even the teams, the tribes began the challenge -- with Charlie and Randy Bailey, a 49-year-old videographer from Eagle Rock, MO, manning the sides of the slingshot while Matty shot for Kota and Kenny and Crystal Cox, a 29-year-old 2004 Olympic gold-medalist track athlete from Durham, NC, holding the slingshot for Fang while Bob shot it.
The tribes split the first two holes, after which Fang was able to win the challenge by winning the deciding third hole in four shots. However, before Matty made the winning shot for his tribe, he and Randy got into an argument about how to shoot the ball correctly.
After their victory, Corinne revealed that Fang had decided to send Bob to Exile -- but she made no attempt to hide her ulterior motive when asked by Jeff why he had been chosen.
"Because I know that we can find the [hidden Immunity Idol], I wish him the best in doing that," she told Jeff.
As Corinne responded, Sugar reveled in the fact that she had already found the Idol but had not told anyone else on Fang before they had decided to send Bob searching.
The Fang tribe then left for their night in the Gabonese village, where they were able to relax for the evening. For Matty -- who had been on Fang during his entire tenure on the show -- winning the challenge was especially sweet.
"To finally get a reward, the man upstairs is looking out man, because I needed it," he said.
On Day 26 at Exile, Bob chose to look for the Immunity Idol and followed each clue correctly. However after arriving at the spot where Sugar had already obtained the Idol and not finding it, he decided to attempt to protect himself from elimination by constructing a fake Idol out of materials around him and telling his tribemates it was real.
"It's like when you're holding up a bank. You don't [necessarily] need the gun, but if they think you've got a gun they might leave you alone," Bob said as he put the fake Idol around his neck.
On Day 27, the tribes met with Jeff and were excited to learn that their upcoming Immunity Challenge would have the castaways competing for individual immunity instead of tribal immunity.
"Drop your buffs, you are merged," Jeff told the castaways, who were excited by the news.
"The merge is a new lease on life for me," Bob said later. "I knew my days were numbered, I'm the luckiest guy in Gabon."
No longer bound to their tribes, each castaway was told that the Immunity Challenge would be similar to the Tribal Council tiebreaker challenge used in previous Survivor editions and require each castaway to attempt to start a fire large enough to burn through a string set above their station. Each castaway would be given flint, steel and a box of kindling to start the fire with and the first one to start a fire that burned through their string would receive immunity at the upcoming Tribal Council.
All the castaways appeared to have trouble starting a fire initially, however Susie and Sugar were able to eventually spark fires for themselves. However, because Susie lit her flame first, she was able to win the challenge and get immunity.
Following the challenge, Jeff informed the castaways that they would be returning to Fang's camp, which had been restocked with all of Kota's Reward Challenge items as well as more food and materials to design a new flag for their tribe.
"Finally we're merged, just everybody together the nine of us," Randy said after the challenge. However he also stated that he would do everything he could to get Crystal out of the game at the upcoming Tribal Council.
"There's no way I'm going back to camp tonight with Crystal. She'll be gone or I'll be going," he added.
Randy first spoke to Charlie about voting out Crystal, telling him that Bob and Corrine would vote for her too.
Following the meeting with Randy, Charlie laid out how the alliances in the tribe had been split up and what it would take to get anyone eliminated given the circumstances.
"I feel very confident that Corinne, Bob, Randy and I are a solid four, and I feel confident that Matty, Kenny, Susie and Crystal are a solid four," he said. "Then there's Sugar. She's hanging somewhere in the middle and she has ties to both sides... So now it's a war for Sugar."
Sugar met with Corinne and Charlie and asked if they would join her in voting to eliminate Randy. Corrine promised that she and Charlie would vote for Randy in the next round, but only if she voted for Crystal in the upcoming Tribal Council.
"My whole plan is just to stay on Sugar because she is the swing vote," Corrine said afterward. "Not only do I have to act interested in what Sugar's saying, but I have t act like I care about her."
Meanwhile, Kenny decided to exact his revenge on Charlie for publicly revealing the hidden Immunity Idol clue he'd found at the castaways' earlier fake marge feast by lying to Crystal, Susie and Matty and saying that Charlie was now the brains behind the remains of Marcus' "onion alliance."
Matty added that Charlie and Corinne should be split up because of they had an alliance and would never vote for each other. As a result, they decided to all vote for Charlie and attempt to get Sugar to vote on their side to give them the majority.
"I made it up and everybody listened to me," Kenny said afterwards with a smirk. "I'll trade that [Immunity Idol] for his life, serves him right."
Afterwards, Kenny continued his deception by finding Sugar and telling her the same lie he had sold to his alliance members. He also added that if she voted for Charlie that his alliance would back her in a vote in the next Tribal Council as well.
"I think I'm the lady of the hour because everybody's telling me who to vote for and are chomping at the bit until I give my vote for somebody," said Sugar following her offers from both alliances.
"The thing is, I don't trust Kenny. He lied to me about Ace, so he could be some evil mastermind. And I don't trust Crystal at all," she continued. "I certainly don't have any allegiance to Randy or Corinne. So I guess I don't trust any of these guys."
After deciding on "Nobag" -- or "Gabon" spelled backwards -- as the new name for their tribe, the castaways headed to Tribal Council.
Once at Tribal, Randy commented on his argument with Matty during the Reward Challenge and his reason for getting so angry.
"The shot that Matty took, he would make nine times out of ten. If everybody woulda shut up and listened to what I was saying, I had a shot that would have made it 10 times out of 10. Nobody would listen and it was annoying," he told Jeff.
While Matty remained mum on the subject, Crystal took the opportunity to get "everything on the table" with Randy and find out why he disliked her so much.
"Do you want a list?" Randy shot back. "You made Fang a living hell. You and your boy [Danny "G.C." Brown], you and your posse ran the tribe like it was a gang. When you guys had power you guys were arrogant, you guys were hard to get along with. You were causing a division in our tribe and you were the reason we lost all those times."
When asked by Jeff if she had any regrets, Crystal emphatically said that she did not.
"Yeah I cried when I won, I cried when I lost. I've been called delusional," she told Jeff. "But you can guarantee one thing: This is Crystal. What you see is what you get."
Prior to voting, Randy also acknowledged that he had seen quite a change in Kenny since they first met on Fang initially.
"Yeah Kenny, he's not a little kid anymore. he's grown up," he told Jeff. "That's not the Kenny I saw weeks ago."
The castaways then went to cast their elimination votes. After compiling the votes, Jeff revealed that Sugar had cast her vote for Charlie and that he had been narrowly eliminated 5-4 over Crystal.
"One thing tonight that Tribal Council made clear to me was that the merge has had an impact on this game, and it should make for a crazy finish," Jeff said.
Survivor: Gabon's next episode will air Thursday, November 20 at 8PM ET/PT on CBS.