Survivor Island of the Idols finale: The Final Five exit interviews

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

The Final Five castaways of Survivor: Island of the Idols shared many fascinating details about their season in their post-finale interviews.

This article will discuss the events of the Survivor: Island of the Idols finale.

Having only five contestants to focus on in a three-hour finale made a big difference for Island of the Idols. Due to all the chaos with Dan’s inappropriate touching, this season of Survivor took a step back after an exciting pre-merge game. That said, the pacing and solid gameplay in the finale guided season 39 to a slight recovery.

Even with the nice pace of the finale, there are still several details that the edit couldn’t convey. Thanks to Rob Cesternino’s video interviews, as well as and EW’s post-finale coverage, we got a ton of exit content with the Final Five. Here are some of the most revealing details the cast shared.

Tommy was throwing challenges

Coming into Island of the Idols, many fans including myself believed that Tommy could play a good game, but thought he probably wouldn’t last too long because he would be seen as a physical threat. Surprisingly, the only challenge Tommy won was the family reward.

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It turns out that Tommy was actually throwing Individual Immunity Challenges early in the merge. He wanted to do all he could to minimize his threat level, and having that restraint helped him to lay low. It wasn’t until the Final 8 when Tommy began to put all his effort in challenges despite his unsuccessful results.

Janet is still pissed about the Idol Nullifier

At the start of the finale, Janet looked like she way guaranteed Final Three. She had a Hidden Immunity Idol, plus her incredible fire-making skills meant there was no way she was going home at four. And then the Idol Nullifier came and threw all of her plans upside down.

Janet’s argument is that an Idol Nullifier has no place that late in a season. She believes it’s a different story when there are more people in the game as we saw in David vs. Goliath, making this advantage more balanced. Janet does have a valid point, especially since there turned out to be only two Tribal Council that Dean could use the Nullifier.

Dean regrets his social gameplay

After looking like a potential goat, Dean changed up his game and had a late surge that got him close to winning the million dollars. I love when castaways are aware of their gameplay and can learn from their mistakes, and Dean noticed that his social game was hurting.

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He deeply regrets completely isolating some people. For example, he never made an effort to talk about any strategy or gameplay with Janet or Karishma. That limited his options and made it harder for him to sway their minds on the jury.

Lauren wouldn’t change anything about her game

It was interesting to learn that some players during the season, including Dean, believed that Lauren was the biggest threat to win it all, even more than Tommy and Janet. Lauren herself feels that she played a tremendous game for being a city girl. From her point of view, she was the one who was making the moves and deciding the votes, while Tommy was more submissive to her requests. That’s why she wouldn’t change anything about her performance.

Noura was disappointed with her performance at Final Tribal

Noura might have appeared to be the goat of the Final Three, but her three Individual Immunity wins legitimately made her a wild card. She did feel like she had an opportunity to gain some votes but wished she was able to better convey her gameplay to the jury.

Tommy was thrilled to beat season 39’s theme

Along with not winning an Individual Immunity Challenge, finding an idol or receiving any advantages, Tommy never visited the Island of the Idols until the Final Five’s camp was moved there. Tommy was excited to say that he won by his own means. He didn’t need season 39’s theme or Rob and Sandra’s advice to earn the title of Sole Survivor.

Would Janet consider playing again?

Thanks to her hard-nosed and good-hearted personality, Janet became one of the most likable and respected castaways of the season, earning a generous Sia Award. We might look at Janet and think that because she’s now 60-years-old, we won’t be seeing her again. However, that might not be the case.

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Janet told Rob Cesternino that she’s strong enough physically to play again. As long as her husband and lifeguard family is ok with it, Janet would be in for another Survivor adventure! My favorite part of all five interviews was when Cesternino asked Janet how she would change her game. Janet didn’t want to give him an answer because she doesn’t want anyone to know her new strategy in case she does return!