Survivor: Island of the Idols – “Assume Nothing”

Idols, where? Not just on the Island of the Idols, there’s idols anywhere and everywhere. We saw a strange start to the episode, but also some new techniques in strategy. Let’s dive right in!

SPOILER ALERT! This recap and review will contain spoilers about the latest episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols.

EPISODE 2 RECAP

Tommy and Jamal talk together at the Vokai camp.
IMAGE: MICHELE CROWE/CBS
Elaine, Chelsea. Elizabeth and Missy walk along the beach after taking a dip in the ocean.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

For 38 seasons of Survivor, we always (minus one or two episodes), begin with Jeff saying, “previously on Survivor…”. This was cut, entirely. No recap of last week, no sentence, nothing. Instead, just a couple flash FORWARDS to tonight’s episode, previewing what’s about to come. I’m not too fond of this start, at least right now. Anywho, Lairo returns from Tribal Council after blindsiding Ronnie in the very first vote of the season. Vince is shocked his name was brought up and voted for, and he’s angry about it. Aaron tells the tribe he would have voted Ronnie if he was told that’s where the majority is going. But is still hesitant to trust anyone on the tribe now that they played against him. Missy however is confident in her girls alliance, and in her connection with Aaron, hoping he can still be an asset to her. Aaron takes the blindside so tough, like man you’re a fan you KNOW that this happens. Everyone that plays this game should know that when you return to camp from a blindside, you have to act cool, calm, and collected. Crying and whining and gonna get you nowhere.

Molly and Kellee talk and laugh near the shelter on Vokai.
IMAGE: MICHELE CROWE/CBS

In the morning on Vokai, Noura is complaining that other tribe members aren’t pulling their weight, and she’s pretty aggressive about it in front of everyone and Molly is the first to tell us viewers how annoying it is. She accurately says that in Survivor, you need to bite your tongue, and Noura clearly didn’t get the memo. Noura than proceeds to complain about Molly personally and how she’s the ‘popular’ girl in high school that no one likes in the real world. She has a heart-to-heart with Jason, who tells her to remain calm at camp. He does reveal to us that Noura’s antics push her further up the target board than he is, but equally is guilty because she helped save him early on when the tribe was after him. Noura identifies Molly, Jamal and Jack as the power trio, declaring a ‘revenge of the nerds’ strategy to overthrow the royal party and bring the underdogs and misfits back to the top.

Back at Lairo, the tribe is still struggling to make any fire with their flint (hello Elizabeth where are you to help? Boston Rob literally taught you how to make fire!). Chelsea comes in to try and start fire, and is successful in gaining a spark and later a fire, ruining Tom’s male ego as he tells us. Chelsea’s ecstatic she was able to accomplish the feat as a superfan and woman, noting that the women are dominating the tribe compared to the men. While collecting firewood, the firestarter becomes even more powerful when she stumbles upon a tree holding the hidden immunity idol. She’s pumped to add this to her resume and is officially proving why she deserved to finally be cast after years of being so close.

Rob sits and listens to Sandra and Kellee (unseen) at the Island of the Idols.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Day 5 on Vokai, and Noura is leading a yoga session on the beach, much to the dismay or delight of the tribe. During the session, a boat arrives on the beach, where the tribe is passed a note saying Kellee is the next person to visit the Island of the Idols, returning to camp before the day is finished. She’s a little freaked out about, but Jason gives her some parting advice in, “thinking outside the box” and “assume nothing”. Yeah, my pre-season winner pick knows how to talk. She takes the words on board, and heads off to see what awaits. As she arrives, Rob and Sandra greet her leaving her jaw dropping to the floor. They welcome her and read her the oath of the idols, and they quiz her on her camp life, real life, personal details and more. Sandra and Rob also go on and on about themselves and Kellee is questioning what the hell the point of this is. She appears to be zoning out, but Rob then announces that her test has already begun, and to earn a hidden immunity idol good for two Tribal Councils, she must answer four of five questions correctly about Rob and Sandra, testing her ability to listen and make personal relationships with her tribe mates. She’s hesitant because of the risk in losing her vote if she can’t answer four. Rob offers to sweeten the deal (YES!), she only has to get three of five questions correct, and the idol upgrades for her next three Tribal Councils. She agrees to play, and after correctly telling the two Sandra’s husband served in the army, she has two daughters, and one of her dog’s name is ‘Papa’, Kellee secures an idol and breaks down in tears for making the achievement.

As Kellee returns to Vokai, she’s working out the best strategy to throw suspicion off her. She, on cue, bursts into tears before explaining a half-arsed version of events about the Island of the Idols, excluding the information that Sandra and Rob are there. Her idol however, she wants to prove to everyone she doesn’t have it and asks the tribe to go through her stuff and pat her down (metaphorically) to show she isn’t hiding one. Unbeknownst to everyone else, the idol is hidden in her hair bun, and she believes she successfully pulled off the misdirection.

The tribes enter the Immunity Challenge, and they need to swim out and lift up a ladder (in the water) for someone to reach and grab a bag of balls that they will then roll on a platform to land in three targets. Lairo is the first to release their ladder, with Vokai not too far behind. Chelsea climbs up the ladder to untie the bag of balls, pushing them further in the lead as Vokai struggles to hold their ladder up for Molly to retrieve the bag. Lairo momentarily loses the bag of balls, but do eventually find them and continue to extend their lead. Missy is quick to land the first target for Lairo, but Vokai is soon catching up and begins to start shooting. Elaine switches out for Missy, and lands the second, as Jamal lands the first for Vokai. He then lands the second, and both tribes are tied to land the final target. Jamal just misses their target as it bounces around, but Missy successfully lands the third, winning Immunity and sending Vokai to Tribal Council.

Lairo competes in the Immunity Challenge and runs with their ladder to move to the next stage in the Challenge.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Vokai returns to camp, and Noura tells Jack and Jamal to keep her in the game over Jason if the two of them are the two options for the vote. Jamal explains that the vote is straight forward, and split the vote between the two incase someone finds a hidden immunity idol. He says that him, Jack, and Molly are attempting to be an unsuspecting alliance that moves the vote under the radar, adding that he’s impressed they’re handling themselves so well. Molly wants Noura out, but Jack and Jamal want Jason gone, they agree on the split vote, and a midday nap. Cue Jamal snoring.

Jason, Jamal, Kellee, Noura, Dan, Molly and Tommy sit in the Vokai shelter and talk together.
IMAGE: MICHELE CROWE/CBS

Lauren, Kellee, and Janet discuss flipping the split vote plan into voting out Molly for being a powerful and manipulative player. Lauren leads this charge, and identifies the three as an obvious trio (despite Jamal believing otherwise) with Molly being the queen between herself, the king (Jamal), and the jack (Jack, lol). Jason and Noura sense these changing winds and are a little worried it might be too good to be true, but are hopeful everyone stays on board to blindside the three. Tommy’s extremely cautious, because of his alliance with Jack and Jamal. He doesn’t wanna lose his two closest allies, and talk with Kellee about exactly where they go in making a move and taking out Molly, or going with the easy vote and eliminate either Jason or Noura.

Vokai attend Tribal Council, where someone will be the next person voted out of the game.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

At Tribal Council, Jason tells Jeff everyone got along on Day 1 except for him. He explains that it’s all paranoia, with everyone believing he was searching for an idol (but he was). Kellee says it’s a matter of group culture, to work together on the shelter and not split off and go the separate ways. Jason empties his bag to prove there’s no idol, and Molly says she takes offence at Jason’s statement that he’s been left out of the group. Noura talks 100 miles a minute, to the tribe (not Jeff), about a million things about her life and game magnification, yada yada yada. She’s hilarious. Jason calls Jamal out for not bringing his bag to Tribal, saying the speed he’s playing at is much slower to Jamal’s. Cue an, “uh-oh”, by Boston Rob in the spy bunker with Sandra. The tribe then heads off to vote, so will it be blindside or bye-bye Jason/Noura?

Jeff returns with the votes, and after no one stands to play an idol, he reads them out eventually exposing the blindside as Molly is voted out in a 7-2-1 vote, with Jason picking up Jamal and Jack’s votes, and Molly voting for Noura. It’s a surprising exit, and it’ll be interesting to see how the boys react to this one.

Jeff snuffs Molly’s torch as she is blindsided by her tribe and leaves the game on Day 6.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

REVIEW

Another solid episode. This season is certainly exciting and the Island of the Idols twist is still not overshadowing the game, and that’s greatly appreciated. We had a fantastic blindside with Molly going home, and I love that Vokai did visit Tribal Council instead of Lairo, keeping the tribes even and the edit proportioned between players.

My girl Chelsea picked up that idol which is huge for her! Starting the fire is another bonus and I can see the season gearing up for an incredible season run for Chelsea. Please do not be the surprise pre-merge boot. PLEASE! Jason also coming in clutch this episode showing me exactly what I saw pre-season and him being the iconic strategist he is. Despite not being in the favourable position, he helped flipped the script and showed some perceptive gameplay in telling Noura to calm down and Kellee to think outside the box for the Island of the Idols twist. He’s a pivotal player, and I’m liking his style. Lauren getting her way with the blindside, awesome. That’s a great under the radar edit for her, as is Tommy and Kellee’s swing vote positions putting them firmly as decision makers rather than being on one side or the other. I hope Tommy can repair his relationship with Jack and Jamal, who are going to be scrambling a little looking for a way out of their bottom position.

Noura’s a character and I’m not overly fond of her as a player but she’s not my least favourite by any means. I do enjoy watching her play the way she’s playing from an entertainment stand point, but I find it extremely hard for her to win based on the first few days of this season. Aaron whining about being blindside at the previous Tribal Council is stupid, I’d love to see that again to see if he’s gained any self awareness and can come back to camp not so passive aggressive. Missy trying to reel him back in was certainly interesting. She’s got a few cards up her sleeve. There wasn’t much to see from anyone else in the season and we’re still early days so strategy hasn’t opened up too wide on everyone’s boxes.

Molly going home? Well I wasn’t too sold on her anyway. But I do believe she had an extremely positive edit in the premiere so it was a shock that she went so early, let alone in the next episode. We love editors tricking their viewers. It’s about damn time.

Island of the Idols continues to deliver and next week looks at someone potentially sneaking into the other tribe’s camp so I’d love to see how that turns out and who is tasked to do so from the Lairo tribe. What will the test be? Oh god, who knows. Great season so far though. Can’t wait to see more.

MATTHEW’S TOP FIVE

This season, I will put together a personal top five based on the episode that aired each week. I aim to consider all factors, like physicality, strategy, social game, likeability, and visibility. They are not ranked in order, and encompass all information gathered, from pre-season press, to previous episodes and the most recent episode.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

CHELSEA WALKER, I mean obviously. She found a frickin idol without even purposefully looking for it! She was in the hero role on the ladder during the Challenge, and started the bloody fire when Elizabeth was literally taught by Boston Rob how to do so. She’s just on fire and considering Lairo didn’t receive much air time in the episode, she was the stand out of the tribe and I’m loving what she’s putting out there. She really wants to be here, that’s evident, and I get Kelley Wentworth vibes so here’s hoping it’s the Cambodia Kelley that made it to Day 38 and not the San Juan Del Sur that got cut pre-merge. She’s awesome!

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

TOMMY SHEEHAN, probably my favourite guy in the cast. He’s still in a prime position and the way he talks is so captivating. He’s so well-spoken that I think he can charm anyone to make it to the end. I actually get good Sole Survivor vibes from him so I hope I’m right and predicted it pretty early on (sorry Jason). If he can manage to keep Jack and Jamal tight with him, there’s no questioning Tommy’s ability to make the merge. If he keeps playing the way he is I think he’ll fly under the radar enough to outlast some threats and the right group might just see him going very, very far. This was a great episode for Tommy.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

KELLEE KIM, another very perceptive and strategic player. The idol-hair thing, brilliant. She did so well keeping that target off her back. But the idol itself is only good for so long so I hope if she never needs to play it, she keeps it as a great fake idol stunt to fool someone into thinking they have one. This will be so advantageous, and off the back of a great episode and decision making for the vote, Kellee is awesome and I’m hoping she continues to have such a good run in the game and goes pretty deep!

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

JASON LINDEN, he may have missed out last week but the boy is here! I see a lot of qualities of myself in Jason, albeit I probably wouldn’t go idol hunting Day 1. But man this guy knows what to say, who to say it to, and when to say it. Just some great advice coming out of Jason and I think he could be a real dark horse to make it to the end and win. Between him and Noura, I definitely think they’ll keep Jason around longer so congrats buddy on working your way in (if I’m right). Maybe he can find an idol soon and shake some things up, I see potential in him. Let’s bring it home!

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

ELAINE STOTT, purely based on the fact no one else stood out to me too much this episode (Lauren and Missy really close). Elaine had a solid start in the premiere and while we saw nothing from her this episode, I think she remains in a good position and is headed in the right direction. If she’s still forming those relationships and not being too analysed as a threat for it, Elaine’s gonna be fine for now. Here’s hoping next week is a larger edit for her and a ticket to episode four. Go Elaine!

The oh-so-close to the top five this week are Lauren, Karishma, Missy and Janet (who dropped out this week). The women are putting up a strong showing this season, although I’m warming on Vince now and still don’t mind Tom, Jamal and Jack. Noura, Elizabeth, Aaron and Dan would be toward the bottom, in that order. Although I’m not discounting any of them so far. They’re going okay. And Dean, I like him, but yeah we need more. Week 3 looks promising!


Survivor: Island of the Idols continues this week on Thursday at 7:30pm on 9Go!.


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