Survivor Edge of Extinction: Lauren’s impressive early idol

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

Lauren became just the sixth female Survivor castaway to find a Hidden Immunity Idol within the first couple of episodes.

Just a season after Alison and Angelina spoke about the need for more women to find idols, Lauren went against the odds. During a tribe idol hunt in the second episode of Survivor: Edge of Extinction, Lauren found a Hidden Immunity Idol and didn’t tell anyone about it. Even though historically more men find idols than women, Lauren joined good company when she came across her idol.

Four out of the five female castaways that found an Idol within the first two episodes made the Final Four! Three of them even made it to Final Tribal Council. That’s definitely a good sign for her, especially in terms of getting deeper in the game. Let’s take a brief look at what happened to each of those five women who discovered an idol early, and what that might mean for Lauren.

Sugar Kiper (3rd place) – Gabon 

I don’t think Lauren and Sugar have anywhere near the same style of play. Sugar was definitely one of the most polarizing characters of her time, letting her emotions take over, which led to unpredictable behavior.

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But you can’t ignore the fact that she made it to Day 39 with a clean record, and she was on the right side of the votes every single Tribal Council. She didn’t even need to use her idol. Lasting that long and being isolated from her tribe on Exile Island five times is an achievement in itself.

Kristina Kell (16th place) – Redemption Island

Hot off of Russell’s trail, Kristina became the first woman to find an idol without a clue! However, while the other four women all ended up in the Final Four, Kristina didn’t quite share that same fate. She was voted out in just her third Tribal Council and lost her first challenge on Redemption Island.

Kristina’s situation showed us what could happen when you go against a returning player. First Boston Rob took out her number one ally. Then he went in a totally different direction, making Kristina use her idol needlessly. And when she had no cards left to play, he sent her to Redemption Island.

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Sabrina Thompson (3rd place) – One World

This early idol find comes with an asterisk. Although Sabrina came across this idol in the first episode, the One World twist burned her bad. She actually found the other tribe’s idol and had to give it up. That being said, she still made it all the way to the end and earned two Jury votes despite being carried by Kim.

Carolyn Rivera (Tied for 2nd place) – Worlds Apart

Out of the castaways on this list, Carolyn is probably the most underrated, thanks to a rather poor season. However, Carolyn’s smart, sound gameplay allowed her to make it all the way to the Final Three. She used her idol correctly, saving herself and stumping Dan’s Extra Vote advantage.

She also won two challenges, and in a typical season, she would have had a legitimate shot at becoming the Sole Survivor. The only problem is that this wasn’t a typical season. Against all odds, Mike Holloway was immune for the last six Tribal Councils! So even though Carolyn played a solid game, she couldn’t compete with someone who ran the tables to get to the end.

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Kelley Wentworth (4th place) – Second Chance

It’s funny that Lauren joins her Survivor role model not only in an alliance but also in the elite club of women to find an early Idol. No one used their Idol quite like Kelley did back in Cambodia, nullifying a record nine votes that went her way. On top of her two correct idol plays that led to shocking blindsides, Wentworth was able to win three Individual Immunity Challenges and narrowly miss out on a spot in Final Tribal.

Overall Rundown:

When you analyze these five castaways, it’s hard to find a particular pattern in their gameplay. Besides most of them making it far and none of them winning, the way they played the game is very different. So where will Lauren fit in?

I can’t see her playing a Sugar-type game, as she doesn’t seem like someone who’s going to let her emotions direct all of her decisions. Although Kristina played in a similar type of ‘limited returnee’ season, Lauren isn’t making enemies with any of the returning players that could put her head on the chopping block.

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Lauren’s gameplay meshes the most with Wentworth and Carolyn. She’s someone who can get along and play a good social game while still having the brains and guts to make a move. She might not end up winning, but Lauren has the ingredients to become a memorable Survivor player.