Survivor Island of the Idols: 10 ways Jamal could’ve used his paper and pencil

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

Could Jamal have done anything with his blank piece of paper that would have kept him in Survivor? We consider 10 different ways he could have played it.

There’s no doubting that Jamal was given a tough blow from production by losing his vote for simply grabbing an advantage. On top of that, he had to come back from the Island of the Idols with nothing but a pencil and a blank piece of paper. Jamal decided to draw up the Survivor Legacy Advantage and gave it to Dean in front of the entire tribe.

Although it was well thought out, Jamal’s big public stunt backfired, not helping to shake the target off of his back. I don’t blame Jamal for the difficult situation he was put in, but maybe there was a way to use that piece of parchment to actually survive that Tribal Council. Here are some logical and some bizarre tactics Jamal could have used.

1) Create a fake clue to a Hidden Immunity Idol

It’s true that Jamal’s “lesson” was about sabotage, but preservation was more important in his position. He had to come back to camp with a story that would be good enough to ease the target off of his back. What better way to do that than creating a fake idol clue.

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He could’ve shared the clue with the entire tribe and insist that he wanted to be honest about his Island of the Idols visit. I think that would’ve put less of an emphasis on Jamal and more of a focus on idol hunting and other tribal issues. Plus, if someone decided to go off on their own to find this idol, that might have led to a new target instead of Jamal.

2) Claim he lost a game of chance and showcase the blank piece of paper

Another way for Jamal to prevent his name from coming up would’ve been to show legit proof of his unsuccessful Island of the Idols visit… which doesn’t include a strip search. He could have said that he lost a game of chance or chose the wrong chest, giving him a blank piece of paper instead of an advantage. That convincing piece of evidence might have been enough for the majority to trust Jamal’s story and not suspect him of holding an advantage or idol.

3) Crinkle it up and throw it at Boston Rob

Would Rob and Sandra have given Jamal an actual advantage or idol if he resisted the pen and paper? Possibly. But do we really expect Jamal to know that the mentors are withholding helpful details and advantages from him even though they’re supposed to be there to help? If Jamal did act on his first instinct about the pencil and paper being a joke, maybe they would have given him a legit advantage that could have saved him from Tribal Council.

4) Recreate David Wright’s Sole Vote advantage

During the Edge of Extinction preseason, David Wright revealed an incredible idea for a fake advantage. This “Sole Vote advantage” allows a castaway to end a Tribal Council midway and get to select who they want to go home. It’s a brilliant idea that David wasn’t able to execute, but could have really caused confusion in Island of the Idols if Jamal planted it for the right person.

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5) Draw up an advantage for the next Reward Challenge

An advantage for an Immunity Challenge can be threatening, but who would care about an advantage for a Reward Challenge? They don’t even air some of them anymore. If Jamal wrote a believable message about winning an advantage for the next Reward Challenge and showed it to the other players, they might have accepted that he isn’t an immediate target.

6) Invent a Vote Voider advantage

No matter what Jamal wrote, there’s no way the castaways would have thought that his piece of paper is a Hidden Immunity Idol. That said, he could have created an advantage that can block a certain amount of votes for only the next Tribal Council. Figuring that the majority would split votes, if Jamal revealed that his advantage could void four votes, they might have decided to write down somebody else’s name this time instead of taking a risk with Jamal.

7) Use it to prevent someone from voting

I did like the idea of Jamal physically giving his piece of paper to someone on the tribe, but I feel like reading it in front of everyone lost its effect. If Jamal wrote a convincing message saying that you have lost your vote for this Tribal Council and gave it someone to read in private, it may have actually worked. Would have this saved Jamal? Maybe, maybe not, but it could have lessened the concern that he had an idol and made him less of a target.

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8) Use the paper to bluff about having an idol

It almost never works when a castaway bluffs that they have an idol and are going to play it. Contestants nowadays are smart enough to see through that. However, Jamal could have bluffed without saying anything. If he came back from Island of the Idols claiming that he got nothing, the others would have been suspicious.

Jamal could have used his piece of paper to write out the standard message you receive when you find an idol, but make it good for only one Tribal Council and leave the note in his bag. That note would have been discovered in no time since Dan and others have been readily examining people’s bags this season. That way, if someone else found it, there’s a good chance they would have thought Jamal definitely had a Hidden Immunity Idol and that it didn’t make sense to write down his name this time.

9) Try to set up Missy or Dan

Before Kellee got voted out, Dan and Missy were two names that were heavily considered. Jamal could have used his piece of paper to sabotage one of their games by creating a very powerful advantage. If Jamal could replicate Pete Yurkowski’s well-planned stunt from Survivor: Philippines and discover Missy or Dan’s “secret advantage” in front of several other players, that could have raised serious suspicion and swayed the votes.

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10) Create absolute paranoia and chaos

As more of a desperate and theatrical ploy, Jamal could have ripped his piece of paper into a few segments to create several secret notes. Writing suspicious and creepy messages on each one, he could have then planted them in a bunch of castaway’s bags. This would’ve definitely brought confusion, paranoia and maybe even given Jamal a crack to exploit.