Why Kel Lostby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
The first thing we need to look at was whether he was able to scheme, plot, and form alliances. From his own words, it looks like he tried to do this, and supposedly allied with Maralyn and Tina against Jerri. The problem is that, not only didn't they vote against Jerri, they actually voted against him! Not a very solid alliance. Since nothing from their discussions was actually shown, we have only his word to go on. He seemed rather na´ve, so you have to wonder if he really did have such an alliance, or if it was more one-sided, with him promising one thing and them just nodding along noncommittally.
But Kel knew he was having a hard time fitting in with the rest of the group. As such, he should have spent more time trying to bond with them instead of going off on his own to try to catch fish or walk around the hill or whatever. By separating himself out like that, he didn't give himself a chance to stick around. He did, however, give the others plenty of opportunity to plot against him. Heck, he even gave them time to rummage through his backpack when they thought he was cheating!
Jerri, on the other hand, is definitely a good schemer. We now know that Kel was constantly putting things in his mouth – grass, bark, you name it. You have to wonder if she really did think he was eating something illegal or if she was just using that as a good opportunity to cast doubt on him. I’ve got to go with the latter. There were two strikes against Kel right off the bat: He was not good in the Machiavellian area; but he was in the sights of somebody who was.
Kel definitely followed some of the ideas of Rich Hatch, which I agree with – providing food keeps you around. But while Kel certainly tried to get food, his attempts were more reminiscent of Sean's SuperPole 2000 than they were of Rich and his spear. He was not viewed as a provider, but almost as a buffoon, with various other tribe members mocking his attempts.
He did his best to pretend to be nice, but he just wasn't up to the task. Even when he gave his razor blades to his teammates, they accepted but didn't alter their opinions of him. He might have been trying to be generous, but he ended up looking fake whenever he was trying to be earnest. And this guy's an intelligence officer in the Army? I just hope he never has to go undercover anywhere.
Because he was voted off so early, most of the rest of the advice I had in that article did not play much of a role. Tina had lost the most recent challenge for Ogakor, but wasn't really perceived as being "weak." In fact, since they had won the two previous challenges, there wasn't anybody who stood out as a weak link to pick on. This certainly contributed to Kel's downfall. Jerri had convinced most of the rest of the tribe that Kel was a cheater and a liar, and this was weakening them all. Even Maralyn, who had defended him, ended up voting against him. She may have seen him as hurting the tribe's unity, too, even if she didn't necessarily believe he was guilty of anything in particular.
Kel tried to learn some lessons from Rich Hatch, but he got them all mixed up. He focused on getting food, which is good, but he did so to the exclusion of making alliances and even just mingling with the rest of the group. Rich did it exactly the opposite way around. Yes, Rich was valuable as a food provider, but his alliance-building skills were what really kept him around and gave him the million dollars. Kel doesn't appear to have understood this. Jerri, however, has a firm grasp on that Machiavellian part of the game. A combination of these two factors is why Kel lost.