Survivor David vs. Goliath: Best and worst idol hiding places

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Survivor: David vs. Goliath was a season that had one of the most diverse hiding places for idols and secret advantages.

Production went all out in Survivor: David vs. Goliath when finding ways to insert idols and advantages into the game. From chasing coconuts on Exile, to hiding an idol in a challenge, to even digging up a ladder in order to reach an idol. We’re going to go through and grade each hiding place to determine the good, the bad, and the ugly of productions’ tactics.

Episode 1: Dan’s first idol – Under a rock wrapped in a purple string

Grade: C

The first Hidden Immunity Idol of the season was found by Dan while every Goliath member was out looking for the idol as well. Dan found a large odd-looking rock, and he spotted a smaller rock on top of it that had a purple string around it. It didn’t look as obvious as my description sounds, but as soon as you see a foreign material like rope or a bright color, you know you found something. I think it would have been fairer for this to be an idol clue as opposed to the actual idol.

Episode 2: Davie’s first idol – Attached to an orange string, wrapped along a fallen tree

Grade: B-

This idol was hidden in the same manner as Dan’s, however, a fallen tree branch in a rainforest is a little tougher to spot than a big ugly rock. Also, the orange string wasn’t openly exposed as it was hidden by the foliage of this large tree branch. It wasn’t a bad spot to hide an idol, but I still don’t agree with using a bright string that makes these idols easier to find.

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Episode 4: Carl’s Idol Nullifier – Chasing coconuts on Exile

Grade: A

Survivor: David vs. Goliath brought back Exile for the sole purpose of planting the Idol Nullifier. Carl was given a clue to a secret advantage, which he quickly deciphered, realizing that he had to chase coconuts along the shore to find one that was specially marked. This created an exciting scene that saw Carl racing against the tide to inspect every coconut he could find.

This was definitely one of the coolest and most creative ideas production has come up with. The only thing I didn’t like is that the coconut the Nullifier was sitting in was dry, on the beach and didn’t appear to be in any danger of being dislodged by the water.

Episode 5: Dan’s second idol – Grabbing it mid-challenge

Grade: A

During the first episode following the tribe swap, Dan reasoned that there must be an idol at their new beach. Similar to the first two idols, Dan saw a branch that was wrapped in green rope, only this time it was a clue. The clue revealed that the idol was hidden under a station during the next challenge. The idea of hiding an idol in a challenge is nothing new, but it’s still a brilliant idea that adds another layer of excitement to any challenge… and Dan nailed it!

Episode 8: Nick’s Vote Steal – Under a tree, wrapped in a blue ribbon

Grade: C+

Davie and Nick are walking around in the jungle when they spot a blue ribbon. It turns out to be a clue, with an image of a palm tree hanging over the shore. With the help of Davie creating a distraction, Nick found a blue ribbon under a tree that looked like the image on the clue. At least it wasn’t an idol, but I cringe once again at production using bright colors to make these advantages easier to find.

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Episode 9: Christian’s idol – Wrapped in blue yarn on a tree

Grade: B-

This was another case of an idol being decorated by a colorful string. Christian employed his “breadth-first search” strategy to find this idol that was tied to a large tree. Similar to Davie’s idol, it wasn’t the easiest thing to find, but blue yarn gave it away.

Episode 10: Nick’s idol – Sneaking out at night

Grade: B

Davie and Nick were on early morning idol patrol once again, and Nick was able to find a clue hidden in a tree. This time there didn’t appear to be any ribbon or string, it was just Nick looking at the right place at the right time. The clue required Nick to sneak out of camp during that night, walking along the beach until he came across a few torches. This idol is nowhere near as difficult as nabbing an idol mid-challenge, but Nick still had to be discreet and quick to return.

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Episode 12: Davie’s limited-time idol – Returning to the spot of the merge feast

Grade: B

After Davie didn’t buy Nick’s fake idol plan, he thoroughly searched the island for an idol. Barley sticking out of a short dead tree was the clue! This looked like one of the hardest clues to find of the season. The clue required Davie to sneak out to the location of the merge feast. Once he was there, Davie found the spot and was dealt with the same scenario Chris Noble was in during Ghost Island.

He was guaranteed an idol that is only good for one Tribal. However, he could extend the life of his idol by one Tribal Council each time he selected the correct urn. If he chose the wrong urn, he would lose his vote for the next Tribal. Davie walked away not wanting to risk his vote. This is an interesting idea that allows us to see how a castaway deals with this dilemma, but I really hope they don’t overuse this type of idol.

Episode 13: Angelina’s idol – Uncovering a ladder and climbing a 50-foot wall!

Grade: A+

Production saved the best idea for last. Or maybe it was just Angelina’s antics that made this idol find so entertaining! Similar to the previous two idols, Angelina found her clue partially hidden in a tree. This clue required Angelina to scale the rock wall behind the well to find the idol. In order to reach it, she had to dig up a decently sized ladder.

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After getting help from Nick and Mike, Angelina discovered the idol behind a loose rock in the wall. The idea of making a prop (in this case a ladder) necessary for finding an idol is absolutely brilliant! Not only was the idol located in a common area, but it also forces the castaway to use a ladder that can’t be hidden in a matter of seconds. I loved it and I hope production uses this idea again.