Survivor Island of the Idols episode 11: Justifying Lauren’s idol play

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

We explain why Lauren’s decision at the Final Nine Tribal Council wasn’t a bad one, especially considering what’s happened in Survivor: Island of the Idols so far.

Even in this advantage mania era of Survivor, a Hidden Immunity Idol is still a coveted tool. Us viewers sometimes can’t comprehend how difficult it is to know whether or not they should play an idol. With only one point of view to go on, it’s not an easy task to determine when to play an idol and can sometimes lead to wasting this precious tool.

So far in Island of the Idols, there have been nine Hidden Immunity Idols in play including temporary ones, which puts this season on pace to surpass the all-time record. We’ve seen a balance between idols played correctly, incorrectly, and not played at all. This week’s episode saw Lauren get in on the idol action.

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After her Island of the Idols visit, Lauren confided in Tommy about what she needed to happen in order to get a temporary idol. These two strong social players worked together masterfully to convince everyone but Karishma and Lauren’s two winner predictions to sit out of the Immunity Challenge. This tight duo did all this work to get an idol, and then Lauren played it that same episode when she didn’t even have to.

On the surface, Lauren’s decision may seem pointless and selfish. Instead of using her idol as a safety net for her alliance with Tommy, she panicked and used it for herself. However, there’s a lot more to it than that. Having a strong measure of control in this game, Lauren understood the situation entering into Tribal Council.

She knew that basically everybody was putting their vote on Karishma and that it wasn’t going to be a split vote. With that context in mind, you could see how nerve-wracking of a situation it would have been when Karishma played her idol. Since she’s negating the majority of the votes, it’s up to Karishma to decide who she wants to send home.

In this season so far there’s already been four idols gone to waste thanks to castaways being too confident in their game. Lauren had a different mindset. In no way did she want to get her torch snuffed when she could have saved herself. It’s definitely smarter to use an idol unnecessarily than to go home with one, and when someone negates seven votes, you never know what the final result could be. You can’t blame her for making a cautious decision.

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Thankfully for the majority alliance, Dan threw his vote on Elizabeth, forcing a tie vote instead of Janet getting the boot. With Lauren’s idol out of the way, there won’t be anymore suspicion about her Island of the Idols visit and whether or not she still has an advantage of some kind. Although it would have been great to have that safety net for another Tribal Council, you always want to outlive the life of your idol, and that’s exactly what Lauren did.