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‘Survivor: Island Of The Idols’ Recap: “Bring On The Bacon”

Survivor Island of the Idols

The Thanksgiving week episode is typically one of the stronger episodes of the fall Survivor seasons. Of course, we always say that about the merge episode as well, and we all know how that turned out this time around…

But nevertheless, this felt like a chance for Island of the Idols to turn things around and get back on track. The show dropped the ball last week, all but ignoring the Dan/Elizabeth/Missy mess from the merge. And while that was disappointing, it at least reset expectations. It told fans what the show would be going forward.

And this week had some fun moments, but it still felt like there’s a hangover effect from the merge events. But it did feel like the beginning of a return to form for the show. And at this point, that’s really all we can ask for, I think. And with the family visit coming up next week, I think that trend should continue. But enough of the preamble, let’s get to the actual events of the night. And since it’s Thanksgiving, I’ll try to make this one more brief (haven’t been able to keep myself honest on that front yet, but I suppose there’s a first time for everything).`


Back on the beach after the two Tribal Councils, Karishma is thrilled that her two biggest targets were taken out in one fell swoop. That, combined with her immunity idol, gives her some hope in the game for the first in a long time (all game?).

In some more humorous news, Dean still has the fake Legacy Advantage from Jamal. For some reason, he’s convinced it’s real. To further his moment of genius, he decides to create his own fake Legacy Advantage in secret. This will allow him to use the fake one at the next Tribal, while keeping the one from Jamal for the final six Tribal. It’s actually a good idea…that loses all of its credibility if nobody else believes it to be real. But if they do? Well then, Dean may have just bought himself a free pass to the final five.

Island of the Idols

Sandra finally provides us the best moment of a show. As she and Rob are hanging out and eating, a chicken comes up and bites Sandra, causing her to drop her papaya. “This bitch bit my finger,” Sandra quips.

I’m a bit surprised CBS didn’t censor it, but we’re all better off for it. Hearing Sandra call a chicken “this bitch” was way more satisfying than I ever could have hoped for.

And to decide this week’s visitor, the tribe is presented with another “Make a unanimous decision or draw a name at random” method to pick who goes. Lauren speaks up first and hops on the boat to Island of the Idols.

This week’s lesson is all about “situational awareness.” Rob tells Lauren what the next Immunity Challenge is, including the fact that their will be an option to sit out and eat instead. If she can predict who wins the challenge, she receives an idol. And of course, if she’s wrong she loses her vote.

Thankfully Lauren doesn’t jump, but instead takes her time to think it through, carefully considering each person’s chances in the challenge. She thinks it will come down to either Noura or Elizabeth, but still can’t make up her mind on whether or not to accept the challenge. So Rob ups the offer.

He lets Lauren pick two castaways to back. And with that, Lauren is in, picking Noura and Elizabeth.

Once back on the island, Lauren tells the rest of the tribe what the challenge is, and that she had the choice to decide whether or not the food was an option. She then tells Tommy the truth, or at least a portion of the truth (she leaves out the Rob and Sandra of it all).

The two of them get right to work, attempting to play up the food aspect, in an effort to get as many people as possible – but not Elizabeth or Noura – to decide to sit out the challenge.

This is where the Island of the Idols has been fun. When players are put into a position where they are trying to talk other players into decisions that may not be in their best interest. This was loads of fun watching Lauren and Tommy scheme (and completely successfully, to boot) here. And watching Noura fail in grand fashion a few weeks ago still might be the highlight of the season so far. I’m still a little iffy on the Island of the Idols twist as a whole; but if these kinds of lessons and challenges keep coming up, I’m fully on board.

Immunity Challenge

Lauren and Tommy’s plan worked to perfection as only Karishma, Noura, and Elizabeth chose to compete. Given Karishma’s challenge track record, Lauren had a 99.9% chance of getting that idol before the challenge even started.

And just like that, Karishma loses early. Lauren has her idol either way, and Elizabeth eventually drops her ball, giving Noura the win.

Then in peak Noura fashion, she tries to keep going to allow the players to keep eating. Noura, who last week stopped competing early after wining immunity from her group (losing out on a chance at peanut butter and jelly sandwiches) now refuses to give up, even though she wouldn’t benefit from this in any way at all.

Unfortunately Jeff Probst puts a stop to this act of kindness (the gall of Noura, wanting to be nice). I suppose I get it, but still, come on Jeff.


Not much of note happens before Tribal, aside from Lauren going all Marlee Matlin from “The Lip Reader” episode of Seinfeld.

Tribal Council

Dean plays his fake fake Legacy Advantage, and production makes sure to show us a clip of Tommy saying “I think it’s real.” Might just a quick moment of fun, but it certainly doesn’t make me feel better about having Tommy as my winner pick.

But on the plus side for Dean, nobody seemed to take a close look at the piece of paper he gave Jeff, so I think it’s safe to assume they all believe he burned the one chance he had at this advantage. We’ll see what comes next, but his plan is far off to a good start.

Karishma felt she was in danger this vote, so she played her idol, and negated seven votes against herself. Lauren also played her idol, but it was a waste as nobody voted for her.

That leaves two votes, and one each goes to Elizabeth and Janet. On the re-vote, the tribe unanimously votes out Elizabeth.

So I see I didn’t fare too well in the “making this one brief” department, but c’est la vie I suppose. And I’m not doing myself any favors by adding more words about how I’ve probably gone on too long. Quite the paradox I’ve found myself in. Okay, this is it. I’m done. And Happy Thanksgiving everybody!

Written by Matt Hambidge

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