Survivor Island of the Idols: Tommy Sheehan is episode 13’s MVP

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

Tommy continues to prove why he’s one of the best social players in Survivor: Island of the Idols as he continues to get his way without raising any eyebrows.

In a season that has broken the record for the most idols found, it’s relieving to still watch social gameplay shape the outcome. Ever since the opening days of Survivor: Island of the Idols, Tommy Sheehan was dedicated to building tight, genuine relationships to help advance himself in the game.

His work has paid off big time, and that was especially evident in this week’s episode. This is the time in Survivor where the last few big threats are targeted like crazy, but Tommy was able to evade all attention while eliminating a threat of his own. Despite being surprised by his name being brought up after that live Tribal Council, Tommy didn’t let paranoia get the best of him.

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It would have been easy for him to jump on Noura and vote her out for betraying him. However, Tommy proved to be smarter than that, not allowing his emotions to get in the way of playing a smart, strategic game. He realized that Elaine has a great shot at winning over the jury if she made it to Final Tribal Council. He would definitely rather sit beside Noura, that’s for sure.

As simple as this plan sounds, Elaine’s strong gameplay made this move difficult to pull off. We learned in Elaine’s exit interview on RHAP that she literally spent hours at Tribal Council trying to convince everyone to vote out Noura instead. Elaine’s reasonable arguments even got Lauren and Janet considering if they should change their votes.

There was one key reason that explained why they stuck to the original plan. That reason is Tommy. Elaine mentioned that when she thought she was gaining ground on Lauren and Janet, they looked to Tommy for confirmation. He was the trigger man for this vote, and his calm demeanor helped his alliance to stick with his plan and take out a serious contender for the million.

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Tommy hasn’t won any Individual Immunities, nor has he found any advantages or idols to protect him. He hasn’t even been to Island of the Idols yet! He’s gotten through 36 days on his social game alone. Consider this: who is Lauren’s closest ally? Who is Dean’s closest ally? Who is Janet’s closest ally? Three of the four remaining players feel that their number one ally is Tommy. With Elaine out of the picture, nobody has better odds of winning it all than Tommy.