Survivor season rankings: All Survivor seasons, ranked

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Photo: Screen Grab/CBS Entertainment ©2019 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /
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45. Survivor: Island of the Idols (Season 39)

There’s something cruel about leaving in a quote from Sandra Diaz-Twine where she bet that a woman will win the season as Boston Rob Mariano refuses to take that bet … only for a man to become the Sole Survivor. It’s not to say that Tommy Sheehan was a bad winner; the fact that he didn’t need immunities or advantages to win makes him one of the very best to play.

It’s just that disappointment, betrayal, and disgust litters Island of the Idols, for a variety of reasons. The focal point of desolation and despair comes at the inclusion of Dan Spilo; a man who unwantedly touched multiple women on the season and was removed from the game days later on Day 35. Even the merge became a two-hour deluge of the bad overcoming the good and gaslighting those who did nothing wrong.

For the first time since All-Stars, it felt truly disgusting to see how multiple people acted so brazenly awful, including those who used accusations of unwanted touching and ramped up their discomfort as a means of strategy.

That’s all without mentioning the fact that the Island of the Idols served as a way to cycle more unnecessary advantages and shoehorn two legends who were going to compete in the season afterward anyways, taking up precious character development for the newbies. The only real advancement came in the editing, with engaging storytelling advances still muddied by disturbing behavior.

Outside of a few standout cast members (including the show’s first Canadian citizen), Island of the Idols will be remembered as the season where almost everything that could have gone wrong did.