Survivor: Island of the Idols had many great castaways in spite of one

Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS 2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Monty Brinton/CBS 2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Survivor: Island of the Idols wrapped up last week and will likely go down as one of the worst seasons in the show’s 19-year history despite a great cast.

Survivor season 39 wasn’t necessarily bad because of gameplay or lack of interesting characters, but rather because of the situation with Dan Spillo and how poorly it was handled. When we all look back at this season (if we even choose to rewatch it), we won’t remember Noura’s odd antics, Elaine’s one-liners, or anything about the Island of the Idols twist.

No, instead, this season will be remembered for Dan Spillo being a creep and repeatedly touching women inappropriately. If production had done what they should have done and removed him earlier on, it’d have still been a big storyline, but it wouldn’t have tarnished the end of the season as much as it did when he was still in the game.

It’s a shame, too, because Island of the Idols had some truly memorable castaways who I’d love to see return and play again.

I mentioned Noura, Elaine, and Tommy already who were interesting and unique characters (especially Noura – I could watch an entire season of just Noura), but there was also Jamal, Janet, Lauren, and I’d even throw Dean in there, too. He became a much more interesting player near the end of the game and showed that he could make a few moves and play the game.

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Elaine was someone who we could always count on for a quirky line in every episode and would be a hoot to have back on a future season someday. Janet was such a pleasant surprise since older women usually get voted off early on, but she won’t be remembered for her athleticism. She’ll be remembered for trying to do the right thing and almost quitting because of Dan.

While I don’t see the show punishing the rest of the players from returning for a future season, we’ve seen how the situation with Dan has already scared some contestants off from wanting to be associated with the show. Elizabeth and Jack didn’t show up to the reunion, and Elizabeth definitely could have been someone who would have been an interesting returnee.

With her and Missy ultimately using the stuff with Dan as a way to advance themselves in the game, it’s doubtful we’ll ever see either one again. Aaron can be grouped into that category, too, for his lack of sympathy on the topic.

Production probably couldn’t wait for this season to end, and it wouldn’t be shocking if we didn’t hear much about Survivor’s 39th season ever again, but I’d hate to think some of these contestants will be tossed to the side because of Dan’s issues. That’s not fair to some of the more intriguing castaways.

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No matter how many exciting characters Island of the Idols gave us, Survivor: Island of the Idols will always have a dark cloud hanging over it, and that’s too bad.