Survivor: Examining four new advantages from the Island of the Idols

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

Besides idols and nullifiers, the Island of the Idols featured a few new ideas and advantages that would be fun to see in future Survivor seasons.

Similar to Ghost Island, Survivor: Island of the Idols gave exiled castaways the opportunity to win an advantage of some sort. In four out of the ten visits, a temporary Hidden Immunity Idol was offered. However, the six other visits gave production the opportunity to tinker with more creative gadgets that we shouldn’t be quick to forget about. Here’s a refresher of some of the cool ideas they came up with.

Safety without power advantage

During Janet’s visit to the Island of the Idols, Rob and Sandra presented her with a unique prospect. If she successfully completed the mentors’ test, she would have the power to leave Tribal Council before casting a vote. This would have given Janet the benefit of hearing out Tribal, while still having the power to avoid being voted out.

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Janet became the only castaway to reject a mentors’ challenge, but it still leaves us with an intriguing twist. Leaving Tribal Council could greatly affect the result as there’s not only one less person to vote for, but also one less person to vote with. This is an advantage best suited for someone in serious danger of receiving votes, although it would be exciting to see play out regardless of the situation.

An idol that you can’t play for yourself

If I’m not mistaken, Island of the Idols is the first time we’ve seen an idol that has to be played for someone else. That’s not including the temporary idol Ryan Ulrich willed to Chrissy Hofbeck in Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers since his tribe wasn’t going to attend Tribal Council.

This idol was offered to Dean, who had three options to choose from and decided on an Idol Nullifier. I would love to see this advantage return and have a longer time frame, as it adds another layer to a typical Hidden Immunity Idol. Having to play an idol for someone else forces the holder to think outside of the box and can even be used as an effective bargaining tool.

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Block a Vote advantage

This is a simple but powerful advantage I talked about in a more detailed article, so I won’t get too in-depth here. It took aspects of the Vote Steal advantage and became the inverse of an extra vote, formulating a useful new tool in the process. It would be nice for production to sprinkle in more Vote Blockers instead of just extra votes.

Paper and pencil

Jamal got sabotaged in his Island of the Idols visit. He lost his vote and was given a blank piece of paper and a pencil to make him feel better. Even though he did end up getting his torch snuffed that Tribal Council, his fake Legacy Advantage lived on! The fact that most of the players seemed to believe that this advantage was actually real, underscores the power pencil and paper can have. This isn’t an advantage that I’m dying to see again, but if the right person gets their hands on it, this could be a fun one to watch!

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Whether you enjoyed the Island of the Idols twist or not, production did brainstorm a few fascinating new gadgets. The success of an advantage often stems from how effective the castaway uses it, but all four of these production ideas have the potential to make for a memorable Survivor moment.