Survivor Island of the Idols episode 11 recap: Winners and others

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

Survivor: Island of the Idols has gone hard with its gameplay, taking out winner favorites from the start. Episode 11 sees the goats strike back.

It’s hard not to see the changing winds in Survivor. What was once a game built upon early alliances standing strong until the end has evolved into something of a meta-awareness level of jury threats, with the very best being taken out left, right, and center. I’ve never seen so many people with compelling cases to win the game as I’ve seen in Island of the Idols at the Final Nine.

We start with the fallout of the last Tribal Council, with the split tribe reeling after getting rid of Aaron and being unaware of what happened. It was kind of a shock for all that Missy was voted out, as Karishma now has options and her idol. Elizabeth was on the very opposite end of things, having to scramble without both of her closest allies.

With Tommy and Lauren on the verge of losing their grasp on Survivor: Island of the Idols, they seemed to set their eyes on getting rid of Elizabeth, who voted for Tommy. However, Dean perceived the forest for the trees, saying that Karishma and Noura were the kinds of players to assemble a goat army to vote out the big threats like Elizabeth, Tommy and … himself? It was odd to think of Dean as a threat, and it’s only brought up by him in a confessional.

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It was fairly early in the episode that we saw Island of the Idols rear its face once again, as Lauren, who once opted out of wanting that kind of target, stepped up to request her shot at an advantage. Situational awareness was the challenge, as Lauren had a shot at picking who won the next Immunity Challenge. If she guessed correctly, she could win a two-round idol or lose her next vote.

An added bonus to this trip was that Lauren learned would the Immunity Challenge would entail and how that would factor into her guess. We got a complete rundown on Lauren’s thinking progress, which, admittedly, seems like the first time since the Molly blindside that the show has been building her into a potential winner candidate.

With that information in hand, she picked Noura and Elizabeth as players to win the Immunity Challenge, as Boston Rob’s offer of picking just one potential winner was sweetened to two thanks to Lauren’s indecisiveness. It seems more like Boston Rob will extend powers on Island of the Idols if someone doesn’t jump head-first into the opportunity, which seems counterintuitive.

Hilariously enough, several of the players left in the game still think Jamal’s fake Legacy Advantage, which lasts at Final Nine and Final Six, is real, based on the shoddy pencilmanship. Thankfully, Dean is ready to play 4D chess while everyone else is playing checkers, as he used the merge tribe flag paint to craft a fake Legacy Advantage to play at tonight’s Tribal while holding onto his “real” Legacy Advantage (which is fake). These people came to play (fake advantages)!

Lauren sold her Island of the Idols visit as an option to turn the Immunity Challenge into a possible breakfast sit-out option, as she “earned the right” for others to sit out for bacon, pancakes, and mimosas. For the entirety of the day, after filling in Tommy that she gets an idol if Noura or Elizabeth win, she and Tommy politicked like the best, convincing others to revitalize their systems.

Lauren proved her word was strong, as the Day 30 Immunity Challenge harkened back to Ghost Island with players holding a ball in place with a pull-up bar. Additionally, nobody reacted to the fact there was breakfast tempting them to sit out. Only Karishma, Noura, and Elizabeth opted to compete for immunity, as two-thirds of the merge tribe was convinced to sit out and eat and drink their hearts out.

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To the surprise of very few, Karishma held onto the bar for a short time before her body gave out before her will did. More and more, it seems like the game of Survivor continues to beat against Karishma’s mind, but she keeps on swinging, taking what she can from experience, and continuing to stay strong. Being so isolated from the rest of the tribe strategy and sticking strong is something to admire, even if you’re not the biggest fan of Karishma.

It also meant that either Noura or Elizabeth were going to win immunity, securing Lauren’s idol and a very anticlimactic battle of endurance between Elizabeth and Noura. The former looked to be going strong, and we didn’t even get a timer going for this challenge before Elizabeth slipped in concentration, and Noura won her second-straight Immunity Challenge.

It was like a cold open for Saturday Night Live, the way without music or sound cues did Lauren run towards her Hidden Immunity Idol. All that Tommy and Lauren knew was that either Elizabeth or Karishma was going home that night and that the idol would be likelier to have an effect in the next round.

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Even Elaine wasn’t going to stick up to get Karishma voted out, as the latter proved to be a wild card. Dan told her the voted was split between Janet and Elizabeth, which caused Karishma to immediately move over to Elizabeth and try to come out with a counter-strategy to upset the balance of the game. The way she did so without tact proved more than enough from the rest of the tribe.

Tribal Council felt more like jockeying to explain why they opted to sit out or compete for immunity, as you could tell that Missy wanted another shot to play while others sat out. Meanwhile, Karishma was selling herself as an option down the line, as even if there’s a solid six or seven right now, only three (sometimes two) can sit together at the end.

We really didn’t have much to glean from Survivor: Island of the Idols’ episode 11 Tribal Council, as it seemed like we were rushing to get to the (just) desserts. With Dean playing his fake (fake) Legacy Advantage, Karishma felt like the time was right to play her Immunity Idol as a means of resetting the game. With Lauren hesitant to become another woman in this game to leave with an idol(s) in her pocket, she immediately played hers to stay safe.

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With Karishma nullifying seven votes, a tie between Elizabeth and Janet, of all people, reset the votes, where everybody threw their second votes onto Elizabeth, making her the sixth member of the jury. We’re now at the Final Eight and, despite the swelling of the goat army, another capable player in the strength category was taken out of the game outside of their influence.