After 39 days of intensive competition, the 39th Sole Survivor has been crowned and the champion of Survivor: Island of the Idols has been named.
Ever since the beginning, everybody had been coming to him with information, strategy, and secrets. Without having to find or play a Hidden Immunity Idol, an advantage, or confer with the mentors, Tommy Sheehan was voted as the most deserving of the title of Sole Survivor, given a million-dollar check and crowned the winner of Survivor: Island of the Idols. He won in an 8-2-0 vote over Dean and Noura, respectively.
Tommy Sheehan, a 4th-grade teacher from Long Beach, NY, tried to lie low in the early going, playing a key role of an alliance member to those willing to make flashier moves early on. He was part of the plan to blindside Molly, Jamal, and Jack at the first Tribal Council, and, like much of what happened on Vokai, he had everybody else’s ears in the game.
It was only when Elaine went to the Island of the Idols and obtained a suspiciously timed Block-a-Vote advantage where Tommy was first vulnerable, as he and Lauren were pegged as threats to the old Lairo members on Vokai 2.0. However, thanks to Lairo’s continued implosion, the purple players at large formed the majority group heading into the merge.
After some heinous real-life actions got turned into gameplay, Tommy stretched his social skills in order to bring Elaine and Karishma onto his side for a sudden five-person Tribal Council. It only made sense for Tommy to go home with four original Lairo members, but with Elaine giving him a head’s up and using a tender, more refined voice, he got Karishma to pull rank.
From there, Tommy maintained the numbers by being a charming, affable guy to ensure that he was in the know at all times. It wasn’t until the Loved Ones visit where he and Janet took all Vokai players but Noura to the reward that a plot was enacted to get him out. Even then, his relationships spread so wide across the game that Dean filled him in, allowing for the plan to vote out Karishma to succeed.
It was at the Final Eight and Final Seven where Tommy started to plan on getting Lauren out of the game, as she was the biggest threat to win. However, with Elaine being part of a group that had almost blindsided him and being a general jury threat overall, she was taken out at the Final Seven. Dan’s removal on Day 36 meant that Tommy had received just two votes at one Tribal Council. He was never targeted again outside a gimmick Tribal Council.
Heading into the Final Five, Tommy Sheehan hadn’t visited the Island of the Idols. It was only when the remaining castaways went to the island as a group for their final test. Tommy noticed differences on his new buff that led to a series of clues, including a coconut with a red interior. He called upon Dean to help him due to his color blindness, but after finding the first two clues, Dean found a Hidden Immunity Idol for himself.
The Final Five Immunity Challenge saw Dean sneak past Tommy and win his second-straight immunity, and suddenly, Tommy was finally put in a place where he wasn’t in control of the vote. Dean did get his flashy moment in nullifying Janet’s idol, but Tommy ultimately did get what he wanted without having to upset Janet in the process. Once again, Dean was playing Tommy’s game.
An excellent flex of Tommy’s social game was him angling for Noura to take him to the Final Three if she wins the Final Immunity Challenge before she even went off and won it. That secured his spot at the Final Tribal Council, but even after he was made safe, he helped Dean learn how to make a fire and gave Lauren bad advice to secure a more optimal path to winning.
With Noura and Dean his final competitors, Tommy didn’t let up on his social strategy. While Dean typed out his Survivor winner resume, Tommy socially engineered Noura to take down Dean at the Final Tribal Council. In effect, he was making two cases for himself to win while Dean had one pro-Dean voice and one anti-Dean voice working against him.
At Final Tribal Council, Tommy shined by owning his social gameplay, including notes about how information flowed through him. He talked about how he didn’t need to win immunity or powers to wield power of his own and only flourished in the eyes of some of the jury when it came to outplaying others. However, he argued that his social game was strong enough to work as gameplay, and enough of the jury saw it as true.
Congratulations once again to Tommy Sheehan for becoming the winner of Survivor: Island of the Idols and doing so with one of the purest old-school games imaginable.