Lauren Beck received the fewest votes of any player in Island of the Idols, a testament to her social and strategic game. Should she return to Survivor?
Many Survivor seasons tell the tale of the winner, while many others tell the tale of how the person seemingly destined to win came up just short. Often, these stories are determined by who of a duo ends up winning, but with Lauren Beck, she became the clear-cut favorite the same day she lost Island of the Idols. That determinant, as well as many external affairs, made her story fairly convoluted.
That’s not to say she wasn’t a determined strategist throughout Island of the Idols, as she was integral to flipping the script on Molly and establishing dominance early on Vokai 1.0. She, Kellee, Janet, and Tommy seemed to be unflappable until they were split by the tribe swap, although she built new bonds with Aaron and Missy in hopes of breaking up Lairo bonds.
Unfortunately, a suspiciously timed Island of the Idols visit by Elaine, one that gave her the exact kind of power she needed, saw a 4-4 tie on Vokai 2.0 broken, and Jason voted out. That forced Tommy and Missy to throw Dan under the bus, although it seemed like the Lairo majority on the tribe new her and Tommy’s influence as a duo and feared their abilities at the merge.
Fortunately for Lauren, she and Tommy both made it to the merge, seeing that Kellee had the potential to interrupt their potential to take over Lumuwaku. That’s where Lauren saw a lengthy conversation between Kelee and Missy, to which Lauren correctly let Missy know that Kellee was making Missy comfortable ahead of a blindside. She couldn’t know the real-life repercussions that would follow, as she had no idea the actual topics discussed concerning Dan Spilo.
She was able to get Kellee voted out and mostly stayed removed from the fallout in the following Tribal Council. After seemingly having the support of Aaron at the tribe swap, it only made sense to get revenge at the first of two same-night Tribal Councils, as he had won every individual Immunity Challenge opportunity prior.
The next day, Lauren demonstrated just how well she understood the game of Survivor in her Island of the Idols test, volunteering for the opportunity successfully. She risked an idol on hoping either Elizabeth or Noura winning an endurance balance and, with Tommy, convinced everyone but them and the worst challenge performer, Karishma, to sit out the challenge to eat breakfast food instead. It was bad timing that Karishma had played an idol for herself that night, with Lauren doing the same to save herself.
If there’s something that undercuts Lauren’s level of game awareness, it’s her underestimation of Elaine’s abilities. She seemed really blindsided at the 4-4 vote, and she felt like those who didn’t go on the Loved Ones reward couldn’t form an insurrection. Thankfully, she was correct, as Dean spilled the beans, and Karishma finally went home. She wouldn’t have been voted out anyway, as she won an Immunity Challenge on Day 32.
With Elaine voted out on Night 35, it seemed as though Lauren was poised for a very strong chance to make the Final Tribal Council. However, with everyone’s goat, Dan, removed from the game on Day 36, and Janet needed to be voted out via nullifier on Day 37, there were few shields left in the game. This meant she needed to beat challenge beast Noura, rising threat Dean, and Tommy to secure a seat on Day 39.
The biggest threat to win on Day 37 was Janet, but her exit meant all eyes were fixed on Lauren for Day 38. Noura was tricked into taking Tommy to Day 39, meaning Lauren had to make a fire on her own to survive. She fell just short, proving that you can outwit and outplay the competition, but outlasting requires all tenets of the game, including survival skills.
Lauren played the game hard from start to finish, receiving just one vote from Janet on Day 37. Despite her threat level to win late in the game, she was never truly targeted until it became an inevitability. Vote here in our straw poll to let us know if she should return to Survivor in a future season.