Survivor: Island of the Idols – “A Moment Of Inspiration”

Wow. No need to bore you with a blurb, this episode was epic.

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

EPISODE 7 RECAP

Jamal and Jack sit together on the Lairo beach looking off in the distance.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

With Jason wistfully blindsided by Aaron and Elaine’s vote-blocker advantage, the Lairo four were the new group in power, and Dan, Lauren, and Tommy are left on the edge of certain extinction (throwback anyone?). Lauren in particular feels excessively betrayed by Missy and is quite upset with the fact she didn’t vote with her. But Missy argues Lauren has a lot of connections to the women on the other tribe, and she’s not wrong. The new four though is excited to see what will come of the newfound power.

On Lairo, after a long wet and stormy night, Jamal brushes off Kellee from starting a fire, despite Jack proclaiming that Kellee was good at making fire and encouraged her to do so. This irked Kellee a fair bit, who didn’t appreciate being told how and what to do by Jamal, despite possessing the knowledge of how to make a fire. Eventually, Kelle gets it started, but notes that Jamal is a tough person to work with and that it’s generally his way or the highway. Noura actually attempts to rally an all-female alliance after Jamal makes a comment about her having a heaping portion of rice for breakfast. She’s just as done with him as Kellee seemed, and is prepared to take him out at the most opportune time available, but Janet would rather wait for the merge to take the shot, fearing Dean is a bigger threat.

Sandra and Rob look out into the ocean from their beach, presumably at Janet who’s riding away.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Speaking of Janet, guess who’s randomly heading to the Island of the Idols! She’s scared however, crying as she boards the boat and leaves camp. But to her amazement, out pop Rob and Sandra who offer her a test of weighing up risk versus reward, or calculated risk. If she plays the game, she can have instant immunity, and head back to camp for any Tribal Council of her choice, safe from being voted out but unable to vote. Similar to the Australian Survivor advantage at the final five this year. If she loses, her vote is gone. She really weighs up the decision, and after mulling it over for a long while, she decides not to play seeing the risk of going back to camp and being unable to vote as a move that might ultimately cost her the game. Rob and Sandra appreciate her weighing up the decision and coming to a consensus. She’s the first person to say no, and I’m not surprised to be honest. Smart girl.

Janet returns to Lairo, flashing the tribe along the way, and tells them all she didn’t elect to play the game of the Island, albeit neglecting to inform them about Rob and Sandra. Kellee gives a confessional about how her story ‘aligns’ with hers, without mentioning Rob and Sandra. And we’re all aware the secret club Kellee mentions is bogus and they’re tipped off not to mention the two former Sole Survivors. There’s a lot of sources saying so, and I’ll always wonder why this wasn’t integrated into the twist for the viewer, since it’s such a clever layer to the theme. I love they can’t tell, BUT STOP LYING TO US!

Aaron sits back, smiling, on a chair at the Vokai camp.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Back on Vokai, we witness a bit of night action as one castaway rolls over and wraps their arm around another’s thigh. In the morning, the culprits are anything but romantic. Lauren, Missy, Elizabeth, and Tommy discuss the events, and Dan’s already established touchy-feely nature of interacting with others. They all literally climb over each other mimicking Dan’s actions, all while joking, but still making me as a viewer uncomfortable to think of a large man touching other women/myself for that matter. When Jean-Robert did it to Courtney in 2007’s Survivor: China, it was creepy, it’s 2019, and still nothing has changed. As I learnt in Year One, “keep your hands and feet to yourself”. Just… don’t… do it.

Adding this with Tommy and Lauren’s close relationship, the two allies are prepared to throw Dan under the bus to the Lairo four so they can stay safe and intact as a tight duo. Lauren knows the four think they are close, and Tommy’s prepared to do whatever it takes to make Dan appear as the sneakiest and deceitful player out. So they lie to everyone about him targeting Aaron at the next Tribal. But Missy ain’t no stranger to people scrambling, and sees right through it. She wants Tommy out next, because Lauren will have no one else to turn to and be drawn to Missy as a default ally.

At the Immunity Challenge, three tribe members will shoot coconuts into a basket, making it heavier to release large puzzle pieces. The other four will then use those pieces to solve the Survivor logo puzzle. Tommy, Elizabeth, and Missy manage to gain a lead for Vokai in the shooting portion, but Jack, Dean, and Janet aren’t too far behind for Lairo to stay well with Vokai. Lauren is seemingly in the leadership role for Vokai, as Lairo work a little quieter but somewhat cohesively. Vokai is ready to call for the puzzle win, but Elaine pushes that a mistake has been made. Tommy screams bloody mary to the tribe, to push them forward. But Elaine is still trying to let everyone know the puzzle is wrong. They don’t listen, lol, and they’re back to work and opening the door for Lairo. But with one piece slightly out of position leaving one unable to be placed in, Vokai manages to clear up their mistake and claim Immunity from Tribal Council.

Missy and Jack attempt to throw a coconut into the basket for the Vokai and Lairo tribes, respectively, during the Immunity Challenge.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

After the loss, the old Vokai members and Karishma are heart set on taking out Dean. It’s easy. Simple. And just safe for everyone. Dean on the other hand is told to vote Noura, believing that to be the majority option because of Jack and Jamal’s excellent selling story.

Kellee and Dean sit on the beach, as Kellee smiles during her conversation with him at the Lairo camp.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

Kellee, who hasn’t used her idol and has a final opportunity to do so tonight, has an epiphany (YAS) while delivering a confessional. Not wanting to waste the idol, she devises a plan to give the idol to Dean so he plays it and saves himself, but also get Noura to vote the person she wants to go, in case Dean chooses to vote someone else other than who Kellee tells him, possibly even Kellee herself. But if she can instill fear in Noura that Dean might have an idol, Noura might just go with it and vote for either Jack or Jamal as a contingency plan. Kellee reveals the plan to Dean, and it’s music to his ears and he’s down for the idea. This potentially buys her Dean’s loyalty, eliminates a threat to her game, and pulls off a big move without getting any blood on her hands for it. That’s only if it works.

At Tribal Council, the fear of an all-women alliance is a big talking point. With many voices surrounding women and this fear sounding off. And I really agree with both sides of the argument. While, yes, the fear of a female alliance is a huge part of the game that never really comes into fruition, looking at the makeup of all 38 seasons of Survivor, four have resulted in an all-female final three (One World & San Juan Del Sur as Final Tribal Council final three’s, and Marquesas & Micronesia as final two’s with a female as the final juror), but only one season has seen an all-male final three (Nicaragua). So yes, women have stuck together statistically more often than men. (Thanks to Twitter user @AndyVogl for that fact). It’s a really great discussion so I implore you to watch it again or watch it for the first time if not, as it really reflects society and the current social climate we’re in, as well as pissed off a few Facebook fans who threatened to, once again, never watch the show again because it’s too ‘political’. Yeah, okay. Funny that for a social experiment.

The Lairo tribe sits at Tribal Council awaiting the next elimination.
IMAGE: CBS

Game discussion isn’t too prevalent in the Tribal because of this, although Dean calls Noura out for targeting Jamal, creating a bit of tension between the two, I’m sure under Dean’s plan. And before long, it is time to vote.

When Jeff returns with the urn and asks for idols, Dean stands up and plays an idol (Kellee’s), and Kellee has the perfect surprised reaction appropriate for the moment. Jeff confirms the idol, and just before he can continue Jamal stops him in his tracks. He stands, and plays his idol, but for Noura, in a surprising move. She’s thankful, and it’s a big move on his part. Jeff then proceeds to reveal the votes, and while five land on Dean that become negated, there are still two that are thrown Jack’s way, as he is voted out. But it’s not entirely bad news, as Jack becomes the first member of the jury, instigating what will be the biggest planned jury (Edge of Extinction was determinant) in history, with 11 jurors.

Jack is the seventh person voted out, and the first member of the jury, as his torch is snuffed by Jeff at Tribal Council.
IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

REVIEW

I can break down this vote: Dean voted Jack, under Kellee’s advice. Noura also voted Jack, in case Dean voted someone else to Kellee’s plan, or voted for Noura herself as it was otherwise believed to be. It was the contingency plan. With Jamal believing Dean would be the only vote for Noura, he was attempting to negate all votes cast and force a revote, probably with the intention of blindsiding Karishma, the other Lairo. But it didn’t matter, Jamal lost his closest ally, and KELLEE DID THAT!

Kellee’s sheer power in the game is extremely threatening and I’d love for her to win this season after an already excellent pre-merge portion of the game, but I don’t think she’ll be able to Kim Spradlin it and fly completely under the radar while dominating so maybe an eventual downfall is imminent. Let’s hope not. Her ally Dean, we’ve been shown quite a bit of their relationship and I can’t imagine it ceases just right now. Plus, no one knows they are close because she gave Dean the idol before Tribal, so I can see them endeavouring to protect one another as we progress.

Jamal made a terrible mistake at the last Tribal, and without his main man Jack I’d say it’s only a matter of time before he sees his elimination. For Noura, I now see her lasting a long while and I’d even go as far as to say she manages to make the Final Tribal Council. I don’t think she’d be the goat, but it’s likely everyone else sees her as such so she does come in third. And then for Janet, it’s hard to really define where she might go, but she’s the oldest woman to ever make the merge on Survivor, and she’s extremely perceptive of the game and how she’s playing, so maybe she’ll go fairly far.

Lauren and Tommy are not looking good. They NEED to regroup with their Vokai folks because y’all know Missy ain’t gonna keep them together. Speaking of Missy, girl is showing some major strategic game and I’m expecting her to be finale bound. She’s just such a great player, and probably is pretty safe for now. Once we hit Final 9, she might need to pull some strings if my prediction is to be right, but I think she’s capable.

Aaron has had a great edit, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he won. We’ve heard his emotional story, aligning with many former winner edits. He’s also playing very well, although at times has shown to be impulsive and untrustworthy, so it’s also quite likely he is targeted sooner rather than later. Elaine probably comes down a peg at the merge. She’s still a threat, and I don’t think she’ll manage to go all the way, but I’d say she’s safe for now. And Elizabeth, yeah, I think she’s actually now gotta be worried about being targeted for a physical performance. I actually would think she might be the merge boot, because she is capable of winning Individual Immunity Challenges. It might not be next week, but very soon I’d say.

And finally we’ve got Karishma and Dan, and I love Karishma so I hope she lasts a while and I do think she will. I do actually think she could be targeted eventually though. Perhaps her willingness to flip and go with other plans, not establishing much loyalty with anyone, will eventually come back to bite her hen someone catches wind of her deception. Final 8 or 7 I’m thinking. And Dan, his number’s up. His edit has been weak and what we have seen is that he’s sneaky and touchy. Two qualities you don’t want to win a million dollars and a strategic and social game. They’re gonna go after him soon, and I wouldn’t be surprised if it was an emotional move rather than a strategic one. And quite frankly, I’m not upset about it.

Rob and Sandra continuously bring up the goods for us each week, although Rob’s role is quite obviously larger than Sandra’s as he’s always the person introducing the test for the week to the castaway. I can’t wait to see what role they play as we continue, and how they influence the Final Tribal Council (because you just know there’s gonna be something there).

A couple of other notes, this week’s quote is in honour of the original title said by Kellee, before it was changed to one said by Rob. Kellee deserves it. Also, an unaired challenge?! WTF?! This is why we need 90-minute episodes. So much is happening that they cut a whole damn challenge. Who won? Lol.

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

KELLEE KIM well, how could you not add/keep her in the top five? She’s dominating the strategic and social aspects of the game, and she’s all class about it too. She’s not cocky about it, she’s not overt about it. Her subtlety is key, it’s a big advantage to her overall game. So prayer circle for Kellee to stay in the game, because she’s actually excellent at manoeuvring her way through the game. And the move of the last Tribal is something we’ve never seen before in Survivor, so she’s making history at the same time too.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

LAUREN BECK has a good handle on social relationships. Even when Missy identifies she has strong relationships on the other tribe, Missy was still prompted to keep Lauren for this reason and target Tommy. So despite Lauren being the presumably bigger social player, she’s still in the game. Now I have no doubt Missy would target Lauren eventually, but for her to not target Lauren now, it tells me Lauren has a great handle on these bonds as opposed to Missy who isn’t confident she can make them. If Lauren has her old allies with her, she’s back with them, not Missy. So for this whole scenario, Lauren remains in the top five this week.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

ELAINE STOTT is just one of those players that’s so precious you can’t help but want her to go all the way. But not only has she been likable and a good social player, but Elaine’s got strategic capabilities. She knows what she has to do and while at times she might not get there, she’s thinking all the time. I’m loving what she’s giving us and she’s just gotta sit quiet right now. Don’t be the merge boot. Just do what you gotta do and when it’s time to pounce, pounce. And I think Elaine knows this, so I’d say she’s safe for a couple more weeks.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

TOMMY SHEEHAN my boy is losing his grip! Please let the merge be the saviour we need for Tommy. He’s been called out as a threat, and targeted, so Tommy needs those old allies to join forces with him. It’s paramount. He’s an excellent player but not perfect. That target I was talking about last week, that’s here. They’re coming for him. And there have been a couple of deficiencies in his game, as he wasn’t able to close the deal with Aaron. We had such a strong start from Tommy, so let’s hope it returns soon. The merge is the perfect opportunity, so give us a good episode from the guy.

IMAGE: ROBERT VOETS/CBS

MISSY BYRD finds her comeback to the top five for figuring out that Lauren and Tommy were throwing Dan under the bus solely because they are a tight duo. Sure. Maybe it was all four or there’s more stories behind it, but Missy was given credit for it in the edit so that’s counting for something. Her extremely social game has led her to sit in good spots continuously throughout the season. And I don’t think the merge will be any different. If she makes a big mistake though I could see her scrambling to fix it and failing ultimately with a big vote at Tribal Council. So no mistakes for Missy and I’m feeling good about her potential!

Elizabeth and Dean are probably seventh and eighth. Karishma and Jamal aren’t far behind them. Noura and Janet next. And Dan, firmly on the bottom.

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Survivor: Island of the Idols continues at 7:30pm on 9Go! in Australia, otherwise check your local TV Guide.


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One thought on “Survivor: Island of the Idols – “A Moment Of Inspiration”

Add yours

  1. Gee the immunity Challenge was close this time, it was great that Kellee used her immunity for Dean which meant she thought she was going to be safe and to be able to do it without some of the others knowing
    I am enjoying these reviews and to see the leaderboard and how the points are achieved

    Liked by 1 person

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