As Survivor: Island of the Idols draws to a close, I think it’s worth taking a look at the final five in more depth. Janet? Tommy? Lauren? Dean? Noura? Only one can win, so who will it be?
There are many factors into the game of Survivor that influence winners and how they are shaped to ultimately become the Sole Survivor. But adapting to the modern game elements that influence the show are often integral to Survivor. Let’s see everyone’s status so far.
Individual Wins: 0
Tribal/Team Wins: 5 (1 Post-Merge Reward win with Tommy)
Island of the Idols: Declined (Only person to decline)
Idols Found: 2 (1 currently)
Idols Played: 1 (Negated only 2 votes)
Correct Votes at Tribal: 5/9
Votes Against: 4
Individual Wins: 0
Tribal/Team Wins: 9 (1 Post-Merge Reward win with Janet)
Island of the Idols: Never Visited
Idols Found: 0
Idols Played: 0
Correct Votes at Tribal: 7/9
Votes Against: 2
Individual Wins: 1
Tribal/Team Wins: 8
Island of the Idols: Won (Received a hidden immunity idol)
Idols Found: 1 (From Island of the Idols)
Idols Played: 1 (Negated 0 votes)
Correct Votes at Tribal: 6/9
Votes Against: 0
Individual Wins: 1
Tribal/Team Wins: 2
Island of the Idols: Won (Received an idol nullifier)
Idols Found: 0
Idols Played: 1 (Given by Kellee; Negated 5 votes)
Correct Votes at Tribal: 8/12
Votes Against: 5
Individual Wins: 2
Tribal/Team Wins: 4
Island of the Idols: Lost (Lost vote at next Tribal Council)
Idols Found: 0
Idols Played: 1 (Technically played by Jamal; Negated 0 votes)
Correct Votes at Tribal: 7/10
Votes Against: 6
Looking at these statistics, notably Lauren has yet to receive a vote, and given there’s only one ‘voting’ Tribal left at the final five, it’s quite likely she finishes the game without a vote. She and Janet are also the only players to find and play an idol for themselves, as Dean did not technically find his one from the final pre-merge Tribal Council. Also, Dean has correctly voted 8/12 (3/4) times, but the four Tribals he didn’t vote the person who was sent home, he voted Karishma. Had Kellee have not given him her idol, he would have been the first juror, and is thus far the only person who needed an idol to stay in the game. Tommy and Janet have yet to win an Individual Immunity Challenge, but both have proven physically capable in different areas of Challenges, like Janet in swimming and Tommy in beast mode physicality. Noura, contrastly, is the only person to win Immunity more than once, both in endurance tests. She is also however the only person to lose their vote by losing the Island of the Idols test from Rob and Sandra.
Depending on how the jury wants to look at these elements that can be controlled by players, along with some luck, it’s possible Lauren and Dean are in the best spots for the idol and Immunity win. Maybe Noura, for the most Immunity wins. Janet has found two idols, but no Immunity wins, so it’s possible her game status is in higher regard, depending if idols are of a higher value than Challenge wins. Tommy on the other hand has lacked both at the merge, so unless something changes in the finale, he’s probably on the weaker side for this part of the Survivor experiment.
Maneuvering through targets and being privy to plans are paramount in Survivor, although forming ideas and beliefs in others are equally essential to making a case in front of the jury. Let’s see how everyone has managed to take hold of the strategic prowess of the game.
Janet has not been a strategic driving force in the game, but she has put her hand in a fair amount of Tribal Councils that got her to the end. She was first pivotal in deciding if Tom, Karishma or Dean should go at the first post-swap Tribal Council. Electing to vote out Tom with the rest of her tribe, she weighed up the decision of keeping the older man around with her. It is unclear however that if she were to go a different route if the rest of the tribe would join her. At the merge, Janet was vocal in her decision to make a move that would harm her game, but support the tribe and women by voting out Dan after there was talk of inappropriate behaviour. This however was turned against Janet and her allies, as the swapped Vokai alliance (and Dean) chose to vote Kellee out instead. Janet was isolated from the tribe after this decision, but quickly found an idol and regained some standing after mending the bridge with Dan, and successfully blindsiding Aaron. This put her back into the majority with Tommy, Lauren and Dan, and she has consistently stuck with this alliance until now. Janet has considered blindsiding others, but is also known to be a threat to win, so hasn’t been enabled to make a big move as much as probably anticipated. With an idol in her pocket going into the finale, perhaps something might seal Janet’s strategic case.
Along with Tommy’s social game, his strategic ability with Lauren has allowed him to be crucial to several moves and Tribal Councils. He appeared to be a big decision maker in the first Tribal Council that sent Molly home, as his alliance with Jamal and Jack were costly to making the move against their ally Molly. Tommy did manage to seemingly rebuild trust with the men again however. Tommy managed to survive his second Tribal Council, as the Lairo alliance blindsided Jason. At the merge, Tommy was pivotal in eliminating Kellee as he dismissed the plans they had to progress further. Without informing Lauren and the alliance of Kellee’s wavering loyalty and strategic capability, Kellee may not have gone home. There was a slight hiccup at the split Tribal Council, where Missy and Elizabeth were targeting Tommy for his relationship with Lauren. But his social prowess with Elaine and Karishma sealed his spot in the game, as the two trusted Tommy moving forward more than Missy. Tommy has since been central to each vote, with many of the Tribal Councils situated around his majority alliance and the decision making by himself and his allies. If not for his connection with Dean, Tommy also may have been blindsided only two Tribals ago, but only as the right hand man to Lauren. Most recently, Tommy has shown a desire to blindside ally Lauren because their games are similar and she would be perceived favourably by the jury. While he has yet to execute this plan, there is still time for Tommy to defeat Lauren and become the sole player that has been in the most strategic conversations at the Final Tribal Council.
Sharing many similarities with Tommy, Lauren proved integral to the votes of Molly and Kellee, and even was seen doing much of the heavy work to bring in allies for these votes. Despite voting Karishma at the Tribal Council where Jamal was voted out, she was a part of the split vote plan that was orchestrated by Lauren and her allies, in case either Janet, Jamal or Karishma had an idol (which Janet did). Lauren was also a large voice in blindsiding Aaron over Janet, before showing some strategic work in the split vote plan between Karishma and Elizabeth, and then the eliminations of Karishma and Elaine. Lately, Lauren has been looked at as a threat, and she’s considered voting people to benefit her game rather than her alliance’s game. Many have perceived her as a jury threat and this proves that her social and strategic capability is much stronger than Tommy’s, at least to the player perspective. Perhaps Lauren has failed to keep it under the radar as otherwise intended. One problem that catches me is that, when hearing that Tommy may betray her to move forward with the men, she did not voice any plan to eliminate Tommy, but instead to keep bigger threats than her in the game (Elaine). If Lauren is more loyal to Tommy then he is to her, she may find herself lacking in this strategic area to blindside a close ally and thus may not even reach the Final Tribal Council. There are not many chances to secure a top three position now, so Lauren will have to work hard to ensure she stays until the end.
Dean has had a very up and down game. Early on he seemed to be in a decent position amongst the tribe, but was quickly turned against when others were weary of his growing relationship with Chelsea. Thankfully, he was spared, but he didn’t find much more strategic standing after the swap as he was again in the minority of the numbers. He was saved by Kellee who chose to give him her idol, preventing him from exiting the game. Without building any strategic trust with her, he would not be in the final five. He did quickly turn against her at the merge though to better his position further in the season. Otherwise relatively quiet, Dean has spoken up about the rising of the goat army, an army that he has otherwise been roped into by viewers and players alike. He was given the fake legacy advantage by Jamal, which he assumes is real, and even considered getting votes on him at the final six to play it correctly. This of course, would send him home, if not for Dan’s ejection from the game. He did play a fake-fake legacy advantage, to throw off others to him holding the original one. This is a clever and strategic move, but would hold much more ground against a jury if the original one was real. He openly declined to play a part of a plan to eliminate Tommy and thus formed a secure relationship with the only other male left in the game. He now has an idol nullifier and perhaps his game will sky rocket strategically in these last few days of the season.
Saved at her first Tribal Council, her alliance with Jason was sitting at the bottom of the original Vokai tribe. Never visiting Tribal Council again until the swap, Noura was crucial to the Vokai alliance that would send Tom home, albeit unable to vote at that exact Tribal Council. Before the merge, Noura took the advice from Kellee to vote Jack out in case Dean had an idol, and even managed to secure her own safety thanks to Jamal who played an idol on her in the fear she may have gone home from Dean’s believed sole vote. Noura did reveal this plan by Kellee to Jamal and Janet, showing that she was unable to keep the secret that may have propelled Kellee’s game further. At the merge, Noura was out of the plan to vote out Kellee and instead voted with her swapped Lairo tribe mates to vote for Dan. She then played considerably under the radar, also protected by the two Individual Immunity wins in the ninth and tenth episodes. Often seen as a number to the Vokai alliance, Noura was heavily involved and prepared to blindside Tommy with Elaine, Karishma and Dean. Showing some strategic capability, Noura correctly identified she was at the bottom of the totem pole and needed to make a move to better her resume and chance to reach the end. Unraveled by Dean however, this plan failed and she lost a lot of trust with many allies, now firmly being classed as a goat with a pretty secure position in the final three. If she is voted out, it is likely a continuation of the idea that keeping threats are better to get someone else further in the game, as Noura is a spot taken up by someone else. Noura has lost her footing with making strategic calls with others, and despite showing that she’s very much capable of playing a good strategic game, others have let her down and she hasn’t been able to make a solid move that could hold any credit solely to her. There is a chance at the final five, and without Noura, many other votes may have failed. She has not just been a number but she has sat in places that put herself forward in the game. If she can make a convincing case to the jury, I do think there is a chance she can win. But she’ll no doubt have hurdles to overcome.
MY THOUGHTS ON THE FINAL FIVE
Finally, I’ll bring back my thoughts from the Review to guide the way I’m going heading into the final five.
JANET CARBIN a really great presence to the season who has just been monumental to represent women on this show. She’s one of three women to find multiple idols! And also the oldest woman to make the merge, and the finale! Janet’s making waves and I’m wondering if that fire starting scene from the premiere is going to come up again this finale and see her make the final three. We know she’s capable. What scares me? Dean’s idol nullifier and knowledge she has one. I actually think Janet might go home with Dean making the big move to send her home. Here’s hoping not, because Janet would be the greatest winner after the events of this season. Someone who truly deserves it, not to discount the other four.
TOMMY SHEEHAN the only person to stay in the top five each week, he’s my pick to win edit-wise, and he’s got the great social game to back it up. Even if you discounted the edit, the eyes are on Lauren, Noura, Janet and Dean. Tommy was not mentioned as a threat or target AT ALL this week. So he’s gotta be making the run to the end. He’s also the only person yet to visit Island of the Idols, so perhaps he’ll be the one to nail the final test that all five visit to take on. I think his sheer social resume will be the ticket to him winning, but no idols or Immunity wins (finale pending) may come to bite him. I love Tommy, I don’t know why Reddit think he’s boring. He’s just normal lol! If he does win, I love the finish but it was obvious since Day 1, I wish the other four were edited better to make me truly believe they have a chance.
LAUREN BECK really has played a strong social game, probably stronger than Tommy. She’s also picked up an idol, an Immunity win. I think she really is a solid winner if she makes it to the Final Tribal Council. And I think that’s the problem. I think she will miss it. Just like Kara in David vs Goliath, Lauren has not received a single vote but I can see an emotional exit at the final four with the fire twist screwing her over well and truly. A lot of those personal moments from Lauren, not really seen. We know she’s game savvy and exceptional at that. But we’ve heard the teaching story from Tommy, the lifeguard adventure from Janet. Why did the editors allow this injustice for Lauren? I really hope I’m wrong, because Lauren is amazing. But the target on her back from the last two episodes leads me to believe she’ll miss the end and be a robbed player at that. Please, Survivor Gods, prove me wrong!
DEAN KOWALSKI has long been the goat expected even from Day 1 where he was the only person to not get a confessional. The fact he was pretty invisible early on makes it hard for me to believe he’s the convincing winner we’re supposed to believe he will be. Although, we saw Chris Underwood slay the game and win in three days, maybe Dean will too. He’s had some good content, and I can see an Immunity run. He’s got the idol nullifier so he might play it correctly (and probably rob Janet) and therefore he might have some great end-game moments that spell his victory at the end next to the right amount of people. Is there a bit of overconfidence though? I detect it. I just don’t know if the edit or game is enough for Dean, so I’d like to be proven wrong. But I’m not seeing the triumphant finish Dean might have been expecting at this point in the game.
NOURA SALMAN the underdog! My dark horse pick to just sweep the floor with everyone and become the greatest victor ever. I love Noura, I’ve grown to love her and I’d just love to see her take this final out. I really, really do. But. I’ve seen this story before. She’s been talked about being easily beatable and really reminds me of Angelina from David vs Goliath and how she was a great character and a pretty fine player, that just doesn’t earn the respect of the jury. It has been a season of women though so perhaps Noura is the big winner we didn’t expect but walks home with it all. I’m not sure how this’ll pan out for her but she’s been a true delight to have this season and I’m here for Noura to comment on future seasons because I have no doubt it’ll be AWESOME.
Island of the Idols Winner: Tommy; Advantage in the next
Final Five Immunity Winner: Tommy
Tribal Council: Janet blindsided (4-1); Janet plays her idol
but Dean plays his nullifier. Janet votes for Dean.
Final Four Immunity Winner: Dean
Saved: Dean saves Noura, Lauren and Tommy compete in fire.
Tribal Council: Tommy defeats Lauren in fire. Lauren is
the final juror.
Final Tribal Council: Tommy wins (9-1-0); Noura receives
Jamal's vote, everyone else votes Tommy.
Honestly, I’m expecting none of this to be accurate. All five have a case I believe, and I think this will be some of the most important endgame moments we’ve seen. So I could be entirely wrong. But that’s why we make predictions lol. Good luck to the final five!
Also, thank you to Noura for inspiring the idea of this post!
Who are you rooting for to win?
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Don’t miss the finale on Thursday on 9Go! at either 12pm or 7:30pm in Australia! Not Australian? Check your local TV Guide!
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