Survivor Island of the Idols episode 1: Immunity/Reward Challenge

Photo: Michele Crowe/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Michele Crowe/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

The first challenge of Survivor: Island of the Idols is a typical obstacle to puzzle format, but it was done in such a gripping and entertaining way.

In a wonderfully paced season premiere, the first Immunity Challenge of Island of the Idols wasn’t anything mind-blowing, but it had just the right elements to be a solid one. The challenge was nearly ten minutes long, but it never felt like a drag. You can rewatch this first Immunity Challenge of Survivor: Island of the Idols on CBS’ YouTube channel here.

The challenge was a traditional obstacle course followed by an intriguing new puzzle concept. The tribes were tasked with traveling up and down one obstacle, then having to toss a hook to pull open a contraption.

That allows the tribe to advance to a steeper obstacle which required the castaways to make a human ladder in order to grab a rope to help them get to the top. Once everyone is up, they can start working on a puzzle which involved piecing together seven village-like huts.

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Both tribes were excited right out of the gate, and despite some painful-looking slides down the first obstacle, they both got to the grappling hook stage at the same time. While Dean Kowalski for Lairo had problems hooking his target, 59-year-old Janet Carbin nailed it on her first try!

Despite that slight lead for the Vokai tribe, Lairo was faster and more efficient at scaling their last obstacle, giving them the leg up heading into the final stage. That didn’t halt Vokai’s determination and good teamwork though, which allowed them to get over that steep wall not too long after, advancing them to the puzzle stage.

Dean, Chelsea and Vince were building the huts for Lairo and were able to get one built but could not figure out the second one for the life of them. As they squandered their lead, Vokai took advantage! Jamal, Noura, and Kellee figured out the pattern of the puzzle with ease, leading to a dominating win for the Vokai tribe, who also won flint in the process.

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Immunity Challenge top performers:

Every puzzle is different, but Jamal, Noura, and Kellee proved their ability to live up to the pressure of solving the first puzzle of the season. Earlier on in that challenge, Janet came up so clutch for Vokai! Who would have thought a 59-year-old woman would land a grappling hook way faster than a guy half her age? She showcased her toughness and grit in that challenge.

Jack Nichting also displayed his strong physical ability and his high challenge IQ. After the first obstacle, there was a pile of woodchips that the castaways had to wiggle through, and Jack was smart enough to urgently clear the woodchips for his other tribe members. He even played a pivotal role in getting people up that final wall, proving that he’s one of the strongest guys out there.

Besides those players, it’s hard to single out any other single performances. It was good to see that there weren’t any miserable performances that tribe members could hate on. Overall, the challenge was an exciting one even with the blowout win at the puzzle stage. The long runtime for the challenge allowed the edit to capture the real struggle of getting through each obstacle. If the challenges this season can replicate this formula, we’re in for a real treat!

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Immunity Challenge Rankings

Creativity: 2/5
Difficulty: 3/5
Entertainment Value: 4/5