Elaine stepped up her game both physically and strategically in last week’s episode, proving that she’s much more than a likable Survivor personality.
When players attend Tribal Council in small groups, blindsides tend to happen more often. All it takes is one or two people to flip to make a majority. Episode 10 of Survivor: Island of the Idols presented a double Tribal twist where the eleven castaways were split up into two groups. But even before Elaine made her move decision to vote out Missy, she came up clutch in the Immunity Challenge.
Elaine was up against a gym owner who has won the past two necklaces, a super athletic ex-military basketball player, an Olympian, a jacked fourth grade teacher, and a former high school and collegiate basketball star. This group of contestants is full of physically gifted people, but that didn’t matter to Elaine.
She was consistent and calm in the episode 10 Immunity Challenge, swinging the ball around her track at leisurely pace. One by one, these strong athletes dropped their ball, while Elaine just kept on rolling. Not only did Elaine win Individual Immunity, but she also won peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for her group, and she made it look easy doing it.
Having the security of an Immunity Necklace, Elaine was more free to make a move. Missy and Elizabeth told Elaine to vote for Tommy so they can take out a massive threat, but she realized that there might be a better option out there. Although Elaine has spent the entire game with Missy and Elizabeth, she’s always been near the bottom of any Lairo alliance.
Aaron even mentioned in his exit interview that if she didn’t find the Block a Vote advantage, the other three Lairo members would have written her name down. Plus, she felt that Missy made the decisions in this alliance, and Elaine was urged to go along with it instead of voicing her own opinion.
Due to her great social awareness in this game, Elaine realized that Lairo was stringing her along as a number. She built up a strong relationship with Tommy since the swap and believed that she could have more control if she voted with him to take out Missy. More than simply joining Tommy, she also had to get the numbers to make this blindside happen.
Karishma hasn’t been the easiest player to align with this season, especially with the way she’s been treated. Elaine saw the aggressive way Missy talked with Karishma that day, and wisely decided to take a more human approach. By connecting with Karishma on a genuine level, Elaine succeeded in convincing her to write down Missy’s name, showcasing her strong social presence.
The fact that Elaine was able to completely blindside probably the most strategic player in Island of the Idols is a testament to her brilliant performance in this episode. She is continuing to play a great social game as well as executing smart strategic moves at the right time, making Elaine a favorite to become the Sole Survivor.