Survivor Island of the Idols episode 5 presents a surprisingly late tribe swap

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

For the first time in several seasons, Survivor has gone four full episodes without a tribe swap. We explain how rare that is and how it impacts the game.

Ever since Cambodia (Second Chance), it feels like production has jammed in as many tribe swaps and expansions as possible. Although it does help to blur tribal lines and stimulate strategic play, it starts to get old when every Survivor season has that same format. Thankfully, production has decided to mix it up a little for Island of the Idols.

For the first time in three years, there won’t be a tribe swap until the fifth episode! Below is a record of swap dates for the past ten seasons.

Must Read. Let’s Rank the Survivor Seasons by Their Locations. light

Island of the Idols  episode 5 (Day 11/12)
Edge of Extinction – episode 4 (Day 9)
David vs. Goliath – episode 4 (Day 10)
Ghost Island – episode 3 (Day 7)
Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers – episode 4 (Day 9)
Game Changers – episode 3 (Day 7)
Millennials vs. Gen X – episode 5 (Day 13)
Kaoh Rong – episode 5 (Day 12)
Cambodia – episode 3 (Day 7)
Worlds Apart – episode 5 (Day 12)

From season 30: Worlds Apart and earlier, tribe swaps occurred around episode 5 and later. So we get the point that Island of the Idols has a late swap, but why does that matter?

First of all, having those extra episodes to learn about each tribe is essential when you have a theme like Island of the Idols taking time away from the new castaways. Although there’s still a few players from Vokai that we haven’t seen too much of, the edit has done a decent enough job of allowing the viewers to get to know the contestants.

When looking at this list above, an interesting pattern catches my eye. Kaoh Rong, Millennials vs. Gen X and David vs. Goliath are all widely viewed as some of the best Survivor seasons of the decade, and they all have fairly late tribe swaps compared to the current average. So Island of the Idols is in good company with this late swap.

Next. Survivor: Ranking the best Survivor seasons ever. dark

I’m not saying that the time of the first tribe swap will determine the quality of a season, but it’s hard to overlook the correlation. With the relationships and alliances already in place after four episodes, a swap should bring some entertaining gameplay to Island of the Idols in the coming weeks.