This week’s Island of the Idols action was hard to watch, but the Immunity Challenges proved to be a bright spot, still giving that classic Survivor feel to a deep double episode.
This article discusses the events of the merge episode from Survivor: Island of the Idols.
A lot happened in the Island of the Idols merge episode that doesn’t normally happen in a Survivor season. However, for this article, our focus is on the two Immunity Challenges. So let’s get right into our first challenge.
Final 13 Immunity Challenge
Each castaway has to hold a table up at just the right level to prevent their three balls from falling. If they lower their table too much, a mechanism will lock and poles underneath the table will begin to push the balls off of their crevices. The last player standing who has a least one ball still on their table wins Individual Immunity. You can have another look at this challenge below.
It didn’t take long for castaways to start losing some of their balls, leading to Noura and Kellee being the first two out of the challenge. Then a string of other castaways eventually lost their three balls including Dean, Janet, Elaine, Lauren, Dan, and Karishma. Not too long after, Tommy’s hand slipped taking him out of the competition.
Fifteen minutes into the challenge, the two remaining women; Missy and Elizabeth, dropped their balls, leaving only Jamal and Aaron. These two physical powerhouses lasted 25 minutes with two balls still balancing on their tables. Jamal finally gave out, crowning Aaron with the first Immunity Necklace of the season.
Although this isn’t the most revolutionary concept for a challenge, this exact setup is a first on Survivor. Having to struggle with that balance between not lifting too high, or dropping too low is always an interesting element, making for a satisfactory Immunity Challenge.
Immunity Challenge Rankings
Entertainment Value: 3/5
Final 12 Immunity Challenge
As if the last battle for immunity wasn’t painful enough, the twelve castaways faced another tough challenge. They have to hold onto a handle behind their back which is connected to a rope, while hanging above the ocean. Every so often, Jeff will make it harder for the castaways by cranking his torture contraption, forcing them closer to the water’s edge. At least this time both a man and a woman will win immunity. You can watch it again below.
When the challenge began and Jeff said “let’s make it interesting”, I thought for sure he would come out with a dish of peanut butter or a plate of nachos. Instead, he went straight to the crank. Right out of the gate Lauren expressed how uncomfortable she felt in this unnatural posture. She dropped out even after Elaine tried to encourage her to push on, and Dan followed soon after.
Then, Jamal was wincing out in pain before he hit the water, while Elaine took this opportunity to somersault into the ocean. After Jeff cranked the rope, Karishma gave out, followed by Janet and Dean. Twenty minutes and several cranks in, Noura dove into the water after looking so strong, and then Tommy dropped, giving Aaron his second straight Individual Immunity win!
That left the tight Lairo duo, Missy and Elizabeth to battle it out for the female necklace. Eventually, Missy lasted longer and won immunity without even getting wet. This particular challenge variation has been used a few times before, beginning in One World. Unfortunately, it’s nothing more than a serviceable but forgettable Immunity Challenge.
Immunity Challenge Rankings
Entertainment Value: 2/5
These two endurance challenges shed light on the physical strength of some of these castaways. Missy and Elizabeth both performed stellar in each one, demonstrating their fierce determination. Aaron has emerged as the prototypical challenge beast, which isn’t the greatest thing for his game. As soon as he losses an Immunity, his name will at least be brought up. Elaine’s hilarious comments and actions continue to bring character to each challenge.
I got to say, I was surprised by Karishma’s performances. Although she didn’t get close to winning, I thought she would perpetually be the first or second player eliminated from a challenge. Instead, she beat out seven people in the first challenge and four in the second. Karishma also tried to set the example by sprinting out to Jamal after he hit the ground hard during the first challenge. That said, Aaron, Missy, Elizabeth, and Tommy are still the four biggest challenge threats in this season.