Survivor Island of the Idols episode 10 recap: Rushing through

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Photo: Screen Grab CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

A dark cloud lingers over Survivor: Island of the Idols ever since the dark matters of the merge. Episode 10 tries to rush past it with two more vote-outs.

The terribleness of the Survivor: Island of the Idols merge lingered for many heading into episode 10 because the primary victim who spoke up and the ally in societal issues were voted out, the accused has been shielded from tangible in-game effects, and people extrapolated legitimate, actualized concern into gameplay strategy.

It gave us an awkward tone to try to enjoy the episode with Janet reeling in her isolation after a very rocky Tribal Council. The depressive mood reflected in life at camp, with a horrific downpour and being removed from most people’s paths to the end, was not going to get Janet down, even if it was a terrible night that shook Elizabeth, Missy, and Karishma to the core.

Karishma’s inability to handle the elements is not lost on the rest of the tribe, as even the manic Noura was calling her lack of involvement at camp and general laziness as “crazy.” It gave her just the cover needed to go searching for a Hidden Immunity Idol, as she quickly turned the “dead woman walking” trudge of death into a moment of optimism, as Karishma seems to have at least one trick up her sleeve.

The Immunity Challenge came early into Survivor: Island of the Idols for a good reason; the merged tribe was split into two groups forcing two separate Tribal Councils, with the winner of each group winning immunity for their group. The last player standing overall gets to bring their group last, and one of those groups was split into six.

The five-person Tribal Council featured Tommy, Missy, Elizabeth, Elaine, and Karishma on the orange challenge while Janet, Aaron, Dean, Lauren, Noura, and somebody who should have been removed already competing in the purple challenge. With an oddly dextrous challenge that you would see in, perhaps, a county fair, it put the more athletic players at odds.

Surprisingly, Noura was the one in the purple group to win immunity, yet she dropped the challenge immediately, much to the chagrin of the purple group. That meant her group would go to the old Lairo camp with basic supplies and go to Tribal Council first. Somehow, Elaine outlasted them all to win immunity for orange, balancing out the imbalance of having a five-person tribal.

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Aaron has bad memories of the old Lairo tribe, as he just wanted to make things simple with a Janet vote-out. However, though things were bleak just days before for Janet, she had a glimmer of hope with the majority of others sharing an open discussion of voting Aaron out. Finally, it seemed as though something would go tangibly right for a woman who has experienced so much wrong lately.

Dean saw the forest for the trees with an Aaron vote-out; it would leave him as the primary “meat shield” that would likely be picked off next. That’s why he worked with Dan to try to get the target back onto Janet, as even though Dan “made up” with an apologetic Janet (yuck), it proved just how well Janet is at the social game and re-integrating.

While Dan hoped things would be more simple over at the Lumuwaku camp, Karishma proved to be the wild card once again. Despite being an obvious vote for close to three weeks within the timeframe of the game, Karishma’s role as the swing vote put her between two camps; Missy’s plan to vote out Tommy and establish a women’s majority group or to stand up for her self-image and go with Tommy and Elaine in voting out Missy.

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With a Hidden Immunity Idol in her pocket, Karishma was a bit more indignant in standing up for herself, not wanting to be talked down to by Missy; a 24-year-old woman several years her junior. She did give off some extreme “ok boomer” vibes while Tommy re-wrote history and pretended that working with Karishma for one vote showed he’s willing to stand up to Missy’s “bullying.”

As six players arrived at the first Tribal Council, and Dean appropriately rolled up his sleeves, Dan tried to pivot the conversation towards the inevitability of Janet going home. Aaron felt confident in his alliances, but even he could recognize that this is the first “opportunity” for his group to showcase the faith he has in them to keep him going in the game.

Unfortunately, winning out immunities to start the individual game is a losing Survivor strategy, as Aaron received everybody else’s votes and was sent immediately to the jury awaiting the next Tribal Council. He has suffered through enough to get to this point, having no time to wallow in his loss, but now he has to sit with a clean-cut jury as he just stinks up the place.

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The sight of Aaron on the jury shook Elizabeth and Missy to the core, as it seemed like no told them life was gonna be this way (*clap* *clap* *clap* *clap*), which Jeff Probst called out on Missy as if she was dictating how the game was supposed to go. The focus quickly shifted to how Missy and Karishma had been butting heads the entire day only to come together when the time was right.

It was all a decoy tactic to get Missy comfortable once again, as just before getting voted out by Elaine, Tommy, and Karishma, she reflected on the fact that two African-Americans had the joyous moment of celebrating individual immunity wins at the same time; a feat worthy of attention for the general populace. Unfortunately, it also reflected a moment where those same two people of African-American descent were voted out in the same episode, leaving a shaken group of nine remaining and just one or two possible winner candidates left.

So that’s how Survivor: Island of the Idols episode 10 went; Janet found redemption, “made amends” with Dan, and two Lairo players were taken out in two-straight Tribal Councils. This twist has, yet again, taken out vulnerable players in smaller groups, as two players from merge-minority original tribes have been voted out just like in Ghost Island.

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Most importantly, barring Janet trying to make it up to Dan and Dan guiding the conversation at Tribal Council, Survivor acted like the game is back to square one without taking time to address the elephant in the room properly. Someone who has demonstrable evidence of indecency shown to the audience gets to move on in the edit as if it was an unfortunate misunderstanding. We didn’t get closure, and I don’t think we ever will.