Back from a highly discussed and analysed episode that incorporated several societal issues over two hours, Survivor seemed to sweep it all under the rug this week. Was that the wisest decision however?
SPOILER ALERT! This recap and review will contain spoilers about the latest episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols.
EPISODE 9 RECAP
The night of Jamal’s elimination, Janet informs us that she truly considered quitting the game, but didn’t because she didn’t want her family to see her quit an adventure like Survivor. She’s questioning where to go next, because she’s idol-less, ally-less, and sitting on the bottom without a way to look in. Later in the night, as the players are sleeping, Karishma is attacked by a mouse who leaps onto her (with her claiming it was in her mouth), before bursting into tears.
In the morning, a wet and cold night really gets to Elizabeth who describes the night as the worst night of her life. She acknowledges it’s what she signed up for, but really cements home that this game is tough. In the shelter, a large group of players discuss Karishma and Noura tells us she’s lucky to still be alive in the game because she doesn’t assist around camp at all. She even calls Karishma crazy. And if Noura is calling you crazy, then there’s something definitely up. We then get Karishma’s point of view, and she describes how she thought she’d be able to make friends easily but has failed to do so thus far. She’s visibly distraught and upset at her position in the game and the lack of careness for her. She believes she’s seen as a goat, but proves to us that it may not be the case because she manages to find the rehidden immunity idol, a chance to take power and do something with her game that might even ultimately spell out a win.
As she returns to some of her tribemates, Noura questions her on where she was for an hour (finding the idol), and plays up that she is feeling sick to fool everyone from even considering she’s found some safety. She even believes the tribe is trying to get her medically evacuated by asking her to see the doctor. Hilarious, I know. And god I hope Karishma’s joking.
An early Immunity Challenge can only mean one thing, a big Tribal Council. In fact, it’s two Tribal Councils because Jeff informs the castaways that there will be two groups going to Tribal separately, each with their own Immunity winner, and elimination. They must compete in an endurance challenge, and whoever is last standing overall from both groups will win a team reward of PB&J sandwiches for everyone in the group. Randomly, Dean, Aaron, Janet, Dan, Lauren and Noura all form the purple group of six; and Elizabeth, Tommy, Karishma, Missy and Elaine form the orange group of five. Karishma’s first to drop, unable to grab hold of the mechanics of the endurance test, which sees players spinning a ball round a disk, attempting to maintain momentum. Elizabeth drops next, and then Tommy, leaving only Elaine and Missy on orange. Aaron, Dan and Lauren subsequently all fall out of it, leaving Dean, Noura and Janet for purple. Janet drops next, leaving four total people in the challenge. Dean then drops his ball, and Noura, unaware of the reward, celebrates by throwing her ball in the air. This gives up the chance for anyone on purple to gain the reward, with Dean notably calling out, “stupid”. LMAO! Missy and Elaine now battle for Immunity after already winning the reward. Missy manages to pull off a few saves after she slips in momentum a couple of times, but isn’t able to keep it, granting Elaine the Immunity win.
Both groups are separated as the purple group returns to the old Lairo camp, while orange stays at the Lumuwaku camp. This well and truly leaves some suspense in which group will target who and for what reason.
Purple returns to the Lairo camp, where Aaron talks about the bad memories that he has from his time on the Lairo tribe. He’s ready to get out of the camp, visit Tribal, and go back to the Lumuwaku camp. He’s also a little concerned about not holding Immunity for the first time since the tribe had merged. However, with Karishma and Janet split in both groups, it’s an easy vote on both sides to eliminate the outsiders. Noura wants to strike against Aaron BECAUSE he’s vulnerable, and talks with everyone else, including Janet, about the plan. Janet’s loving the idea and even manages to patch things up with Dan and turn a new leaf into exploring their future together as allies. Um, no thanks.
There is one person who’s not so sold on the Aaron plan though, and it’s Dean who’s worried about who will become the next physical threat once he goes (Dean). He talks with Dan about the possibility of the girls forming an alliance, and that eliminating Aaron doesn’t give the many kind of numbers advantage whatsoever. Dan’s now considering taking out Janet because she is a jury threat and has started to work her way back in after what would have been an easy unanimous vote against her only hours prior.
Over on Lumuwaku, the orange group is enjoying the sandwiches and Missy talks about the super simple plan of taking out Karishma. But that’s NOT the plan (sike). Missy pitches to Elizabeth about taking out Tommy for Lauren is dependant on the two of them. Having Tommy out opens up Lauren, eliminates a threat to win, and gains Karishma on their side. But when Missy pitches the dictated plan to Karishma, Karishma can’t get away fast enough. She isn’t happy with being the decoy vote and isn’t wanting to just listen to what Missy is saying. Missy’s trying to reason with her, but Karishma just walks away. She believes Missy is being a bully by talking at her and not with her. ANd she’s right. Missy isn’t opening up the plan and discussing it. She’s blatantly telling Karishma what’s happening, and that’s a massive Survivor mistake that is still being made 39 seasons in… Anyway Missy tries to approach Karishma again, and asks her when they can talk again. Karishma responds by saying, “I don’t have a watch”. LOL. What’s with these iconic funny moments this season?
Karishma and Elaine discuss this dictatorship by Missy, and Elaine wants to work with Tommy and Karishma to blindside Missy. This now puts Karishma in the swing position, and Elaine takes the compassion and understanding approach to lure Karishma on her side. Elaine speaks with Tommy about this, nicknaming him ‘Big Red’, and while the plan is awesome for Tommy. they do realise it all hinges on what Karishma wants to do. Tommy does see Karishma as a victim to bullying, and genuinely wants to work with her as a person and not as a goat like he believes Missy is. This is apparent when Missy delivers a confessional showing that her care factor to any apology to Karishma is at zero, “blah blah blah,” in fact. Karishma, despite the adversity, does tell us she will look at voting out Tommy because the opportunity is perfect but that Missy is untrustworthy to work with entirely.
We return to the purple group. Aaron talks about his certainty that Janret knows she’s going home. He talks with everyone, and everyone agrees him that Janet has to go. Lauren lets us know that Janet and Aaron are both great choices to go home, but the ultimate decision won’t be revealed until we get to Tribal Council.
At Tribal Council, purple is first (Noura, Janet, Dan, Lauren, Aaron and Dean). The twist for this episode is discussed, as many tell Jeff that the lack of relationships formed on one side aren’t here to help on this side. Everyone is trying to position the Tribal as a Janet boot. But, it’s almost too obvious and I think it’s pretty clear Aaron’s going to go. Trust and loyalty is brought up however, so maybe, given Aaron has proven loyalty to the vast majority of the group before, he will indeed stay and Janet will go.
Jeff returns with the votes, and as no one on the tribe has an idol, we learn that Aaron is in fact blindsided in a unanimous 5-1 vote, with Aaron voting Janet. His torch is snuffed, and he takes a seat with the other jurors to watch the incoming Tribal Council of the orange group.
Orange rocks up to Tribal Council (Karishma, Missy, Tommy, Elizabeth and Elaine) and there’s a lot of shocked reactions to Aaron’s elimination. Karishma and Missy talk about their rivalry and that they consisted butting heads while trying to work out who’s going home. Missy isn’t all too happy with being labelled a bully, as she tells Jeff she has been. Jeff quizzes Karishma on this, and Karishma agrees that at times, she does believe Missy is a bully. Tommy lays it out as two different worlds between Karishma and Missy, which allow them to clash often. Before we go to vote, Missy brings up to Jeff that Aaron and Missy were never mentioned as being African-American Individual Immunity winners. Saying representation matters, she wants to inspire her family and people like her. Jeff tells her he didn’t think to bring it up, adding that he doesn’t think he would mention it even if he did notice because it would imply the accomplishment as something unachievable.
After the vote, Jeff returns with the urn. Karishma doesn’t play her idol, and very soon are the votes split 2-2 on Tommy and Missy, with the final vote heading Missy’s way in a 3-2 blindside. She’s shocked, but doesn’t leave immediately, and quite aggravatingly has a word with everyone left. Tommy says, “you came after me”. And Missy responds with, “I didn’t come after you”… Right after two votes were placed on Tommy… Yeah, ok Missy. She’s shocked to learn Elaine voted her, and tells Karishma she was going to keep her until the end. As Rob (yes, the idols are still here) points out, everyone’s taking Karishma to the end. And finally, her hug with Elizabeth is plagued with a detailed plan for her to target Elaine, “slowly and methodically”. Big thank you to Sandra for whispering for Missy to hurry up because her game is over. With multiple screams and shouts of frustration, Missy (finally) leaves Tribal Council.
I, much like almost every viewer returning to Survivor from last week, am really surprised we didn’t see any remnants of last week’s topic entering into this episode. Sure, maybe it was no longer discussed. But even giving Dan as much screen time, and positive screen time at that, just seems really stupid to me. So many people are pissed off with his actions, as they rightfully should be. If there’s ever a time to give someone a purple edit (known as an edit where the player is practically invisible), it’s Dan and it’s now. I don’t wanna see this guy on my screen. He doesn’t know the definition of ‘no’.
That’s that on that. Let’s talk about the episode. I absolutely love that Karishma is doing a 180 on her edit and game and really possibly becoming the underdog we all deserve. She’s got an idol, she’s not putting up with nobody’s crap, and she’s got some power going into the final nine. I find her really entertaining, for the vast majority of the time. Adding to that, how iconic is it when Survivor has a tribe split like this, with two easy votes on both sides, and yet neither go home. Janet and Karishma survive, and Aaron and Missy fail to thrive. Poetic justice, yes. Great TV, yes. They were some great Tribal Councils!
I feel for archetypes like Aaron, that go on the Immunity run and then go home. But I have to ask, if Aaron throws those first two challenges, is he still targeted? Maybe he would have survived if didn’t have much bearing on the idea that’s a physical threat. In contrast, Missy, who was also a physical threat, wasn’t taken out for that reason but for being too much of a strategist and targeting Tommy. And unfortunately again for Missy she just didn’t have a dialogue with Karishma, and instead a monologue. It’s got to be hard trying to get something to go your way without blatantly telling someone what to do. But the fact of the matter is, you’ve got to be open with everyone on everything at all times. Missy really should have opened up to Karishma and try and get her to pitch any idea about Tommy rather than telling her straight up. I read something the other day, and I wish I could credit who it was, but it’s that you should always treat everyone with mutual respect because you never know when you might need that person down the road. Karishma, who has been on the bottom for so long, proved useful tonight, and Missy’s failure at extending an olive branch from Day 1 to Day whatever it is now showed why she’s sitting on the jury and why someone like Tommy, who Karishma has only known for less than 10 days, is more trustworthy to her game.
Now that Missy’s gone too, I’m calling a Tommy win. I love Tommy, and I’m only against his win because it seems too obvious. This happened with Rick last season, as, while I really liked Rick, I hated how obvious his edit pointed to him winning the game. Thankfully, I was wrong. So please let me be wrong again. Other possible contenders, Karishma, Noura, Lauren, Janet and Elaine. But even then, Elaine seems too much of a threat for anyone to realistically keep her around, especially considering people were targeting her on Day 3 for being a jury threat. Janet had a quiet pre-merge, so I don’t think her edit would be realistically enough to clinch a victory. Lauren, while I think is playing on par with Tommy, hasn’t really received the edit to show it (I cry internally, yes). And really Karishma and Noura would be my picks solely because the chaotic crazy winner edit might just hold up for once. I’d love to see that!
As we stand, not one person left has had a confessional in every episode they appeared. So we love the evenness of the editing, for the most part. Elizabeth and Dean I don’t think have the game to even get to the end, let alone win, and Dan, I refuse to imagine a world where he wins, sorry.
Now there’s been a lot of backlash by some people for the political topics that keep coming up and I’m honestly over hearing it. I get the sentiment, Survivor isn’t a game you’d expect so many issues come up BUT it’s a social experiment, so you can’t be surprised when they do. This is the cast we were dealt this season, and they talk about what they want to talk about and that happens to be around racial and gender issues. Not to mention last week’s fiasco with Dan’s behaviour and how it was dealt with. You can’t just ignore footage. The fact people wish last week’s episode was edited to neglect all the issues surrounding sexual harassment is, quite frankly, disgusting. This is why these issues NEED to be brought up. Because if you’re ignoring it now, who’s to say you’re ignoring it when it’s really needed. Survivor is a great opportunity to educate and teach kids, adults, whoever, about some real issues. Rather than shunning the show for bringing them to light, accept it, and learn from it. ALSO. I don’t think it’s right to refer sexual harassment as a ‘political’ issue. I’m sure Kellee, nor any victim, nor any woman, nor most people would want their body, and what happens to it be labelled as ‘political’. This is a serious issue. And not one that politics or political correctness has anything to do with. It’s already borderline with me when people call the race and sex topics as ‘political’, but it is disgusting to think others are taking last week’s events as a ‘political’ agenda or lesson. That’s not fair to any victim of sexual assault or harassment, and extremely, EXTREMELY disrespectful.
On a lighter note, I love a majority of this cast, and first and foremost appreciate good gameplay. This cast is delivering almost all of the time with some good moves. I don’t want the experience of last week to dampen the future events. Anyway, let’s jump to the top five.
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.
LAUREN BECK my only issue with Lauren is actually nothing that she’s done. It’s that I can see her game playing out so well, and the allies she’s making and relationships forming. But she’s not getting credited for it! Editors? Why the damn hell are you sleeping on Lauren? We don’t often see her initiate any ideas in confessionals or discuss the beginning of a plan, like blindsiding Aaron. Instead, she’s left to explain after the fact why a move is good. This shows that someone like Noura gets the credit. And sure, maybe Noura deserves the credit. But given how Lauren has positioned herself so well over the last nine weeks, I find it hard to believe she just went along with it. She’s not a passenger, she’s a driver. So let’s see her actually behind the wheel! I love Lauren!
TOMMY SHEEHAN sees another top five appearance and it’s not just because he’s consistently been a big player, it’s because he’s playing pretty well. My favourite players are always social players and Tommy really has got that in his back pocket. He gave us a confessional about truly caring about Karishma and seeing that she is bullied in camp. Clearly, he did something right for Karishma to have some trust in him over Missy. And granted, I love Tommy, I certainly do think Karishma may have been better off working with Missy, because I think more people would blindside her down the line than I see others turning against Tommy. Back to relationships, he also got Elaine to stand by his side. He’s really good at these bonds but he’s being discovered for it. He has got to keep some allies really tight if there’s a realistic chance he makes it to the Final Tribal Council unscathed.
NOURA SALMAN finally sees a place in the top five after an admitted rough start of my perception on her. She’s just a true character in this game and I can’t get enough of her. She did manage to pick up the Immunity win this week and that’s such an incredible achievement. Literally laughed out loud though when she lost the reward for her tribe. Gotta love Noura. Her self awareness may still not be the best but she’s not being talked about as a target, nor as a threat. Has she transitioned into a valuable position? I’m excited to see what’s to come for Noura and I hope we see her for a little while yet.
KARISHMA PATEL I covered much of why I love Karishma in the Review section but Karishma in power is so much better than Karishma on the bottom. She’s just better entertainment, better television, and a better player (obviously). Please don’t let her fall to the idol curse this season of going home with one. I’m hoping at the very least we see her in the final eight. Come on Karishma pull through! You got this.
JANET CARBIN how could you not? She’s just so precious, so human, and so genuine. She still doesn’t regret her actions to target Dan. And really this top five spot is thoroughly deserved for her selflessness in last week’s episode. She knows what she wanted to do and that she trusted her gut based on the information given by the other women. She’s just a true hero and great performer for the season. A massive threat though, so I think her time’s up soon. Hopefully I’m wrong and we’ll see more from Janet. Maybe a revolt will begin and she can bring Karishma and Noura back together, and then find another pair to assist with progression of an underdog alliance. We’ll see what she can do. Good luck to her!
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Survivor: Island of the Idols continues in Australia on 9Go! at 7:30pm on Thursday.
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