‘Survivor: Island Of The Idols’ Recap: “Honesty Would Be Chill”

Vokai Beach

Jack and Jamal come back to camp after being blindsided by the Molly vote at Tribal Council. We don’t hear much from Jack, other than him going full millennial and uttering the phrase that gives the episode its title. Jamal, on the other hand, is a lot more active. He’s smart and plays the nice guy, not getting visibly upset or yelling at anyone about not being included on the vote.

But while the rest of the tribe, especially Tommy, try to reassure him of his place on Vokai, Jamal is beginning to formulate his own plan. And his target is Dan.

Dan is campaigning to vote Noura out if Vokai loses the next challenge. Noura is doing more Noura things, so Dan thinks it can be an easy vote, something everyone can get behind with little to no hurt feelings – well, besides Noura of course. Jamal isn’t quite convinced this would be the move for him, as he wants to make sure he’s losing his place in the game.

Jamal approaches Janet about considering Dan as a possible target. Janet seems amenable, says she’ll talk to Tommy about the idea. And all of this talk about Jamal has been one big misdirection to throw an attaboy to my guy Tommy. Tommy’s reaction isn’t some big, revelatory response. But that doesn’t mean it’s not significant.

Jamal’s reasoning for wanting Dan is out is presented logically and factually. But Tommy still sees it for what it is, as he says to Janet, “Is it a move for us or a move for Jamal?”

It seems like something obvious that any player would pick up on. But I’m filing this away, and making a note that the Survivor producers made sure to include it in the episode. It’s a quick way to show Tommy really has his finger on the pulse of the game.

Lairo Beach

The five Lairo women all feel quite confident and secure with their current place in the game, controlling the numbers with a 5-4 advantage. The four guys clearly notice this, causing a bit of worry. They start thinking of ways to chip away at the women’s alliance. And they might have an option drop right into their hands with Karishma.

While what we’ve seen on screen may not necessarily reflect it, Karishma has felt on the outs from the beginning. She doesn’t feel that she’s connected with the rest of the tribe, and even though she’s part of the majority alliance, she thinks she’s the bottom rung on that ladder.

This point is amplified when Karishma cuts her finger and nobody seems to care. Not one single person checks on her or asks if she’s okay. This was an odd scene. While it’s absolutely believable that no one views Karishma as their best friend, or a number one ally, I don’t understand how not one single person would at least check in with her. Was so much time spent on this because Survivor loves showing emotional moments like this? Or could it hint at a redemption arc for Karishma?

DEAN! What are you doing?

If that felt abrupt and unnecessary, so was this gem of a moment, brought to us by Dean after Vince leaves for the Island of the Idols.

The double “Huh?” at the end is absolute gold.

Island of the Idols

This week’s lesson from Professors Diaz-Twine and Mariano is all about taking risks and staying calm under pressure. To that end, Vince’s challenge is quite a bit different from the two we’ve seen so far.

He has to sneak into the Vokai camp, and steal fire, or some other proof if the camp does not have an active fire while he’s there. The same stakes are at play: immunity idol good through Vince’s next two Tribal Councils against losing his vote.

Vince arrives at the Vokai camp and finds there is no fire. He manages to scoop up a few piles of ash from the fire pit, which he takes back to Sandra and Rob. They accept it and Vince is rewarded with his idol.

There are two interesting points to note with this week’s Island of the Idols. First, while I don’t doubt it was difficult (and it was definitely fun watching Vince play super spy) I’m inclined to believe it wasn’t quite as difficult as the show would like us to believe.

We know that various producers and camera operators and other productions staff are constantly milling about around camp. So hearing some random noises in the dark or seeing someone walking around the camp might not seem out of the ordinary if it were to wake up a given tribe member. Not to say what Vince did wasn’t challenging; I’m sure it was. Just noting to maybe take it with a small grain of salt.

The second piece is that we don’t see what Vince tell the tribe when he comes back to camp. That was a major point for both Elizabeth and Kellee each of the past two weeks, and we’re deprived of it here. I would venture to guess that Vince made up some sort of lie similar to what we’ve already seen. Heck, maybe he decided to simply match Elizabeth’s story. But watching the players make this decision, and seeing how it plays out at camp, has been a great source of drama so far. Hopefully we’ll see more than we don’t the rest of the way.


One player from each tribe swims out to a platform and dives into the water to untie a buoy which releases a key. Once that’s done, the rest of the tribe swims over to a teeter-totter, where they must balance while one tribe member retrieves two bags, one hanging just off either end of the teeter-totter. The last two members of each tribe solve a puzzle.

This challenge was awesome. Watching the tribes try to keep the balance on the teeter-totter, constantly shifting and reassessing, was so much fun to watch. Surprisingly – and unfortunately, if you ask me – nobody fell off the teeter-totter. Not once. It’s one of Survivor’s simplest pleasures: watching people fall off things. It’s almost as good as watching blindfolded contestants bump into things (which it looks like we’ll get next week).

Both teams start the puzzle at roughly the same time, Jamal and Lauren absolutely crush Karishma and Dean, sending Lairo to Tribal Council.

Pre-Tribal Council

Not much to see here, folks. The guys want to split the vote between Vince and Karishma. The girls, sans Elizabeth, want to vote out Tom. What I needed to see, however, was something from Elizabeth, or Elizabeth and Vince, and the Island of the Idols. Did Elizabeth and Vince have a one-on-one discussion about it? Did Elizabeth want to vote out Vince to preserve her story? This is the content we need to see.

Tribal Council

Vince is voted out 5-3-1, with Karishma receiving three votes and Tom one. I have to question this decision. Even if Elizabeth didn’t want to vote out Tom, the four other women could have looped in Vince, assuring Tom’s ousting. I hope we get some sense next week of the women’s thinking behind this move. They all seem like smart players, Missy and Chelsea especially, and this doesn’t quite seem like a smart move. Oh well, that’s Survivor I guess.

Written by Matt Hambidge

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