Survivor Island of the Idols: Why Karishma Patel is still in the game

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

Karishma Patel has been on the chopping block for most of Survivor: Island of the Idols, but there are a few good reasons why she’s still in the game.

When a castaway is not meshing well with their tribe and also not performing well in challenges, that’s almost a certified death wish in pre-merge Survivor. However, despite receiving votes in each of the last three Tribal Councils, Karishma Patel is still alive. We explain what exactly has enabled her to stay in this season.

Big play mentality

In this era of Survivor, strategy has taken over the survival aspect, and even the social part of this game. For many years, the common pattern was to vote out the weakest member of the tribe, but Survivor has evolved beyond that. More and more castaways have started to understand that these “weakest links” are desperate and can be used as loyal alliance members.

Instead of voting someone like that out, the focus has shifted to getting rid of threats. We’ve already seen that several times in Island of the Idols so far, including breaking up an alleged power couple, taking out Vince after his visit to the island, and Molly getting blindsided because of her Parvati vibes.

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At this point, Karishma isn’t viewed as a threat at all. That perception allows her to float under the radar while everyone else is aiming for the bigger targets.

Tribe swap gives her life

Karishma was in a rough position with her original Lairo tribe where she couldn’t really trust anyone. A swap gave Karishma the perfect opportunity to flip on her tribal line to join the majority. Now she’s with a group of people who appreciate her loyalty and will be happy to keep her as a vote for the time being.

What’s great about Karishma’s situation is if she can make the merge, her challenge performance won’t negatively affect other players any longer. If she can survive the next two to three episodes and make it to the merge, then she could last deep into this game.

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Although it might not seem like it from the past few episodes, we learned in her pre-game interviews that Karishma is a super fan that understands this game well. Beyond being a player that other castaways like stringing along as a number, Karishma does have the potential to make her own individual moves. We’ll have to see if Karishma can survive the tribal phase and prove to shake her current standing as a goat.