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Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 3 – Instant Reactions


Quick thoughts and feelings on tonight’s episode…

Photo: CBS

Welcome to Instant Reactions, a new weekly feature where I’ll be giving my immediate thoughts on the latest episode. These are unedited, unfiltered feelings on the episode, mostly written during the commercial breaks.

Not Invincible

Oh, Vince. That’s got to sting. And I’m not talking about when he slipped on his ass during his reconnaissance mission. Going home with an idol in your pocket is a Survivor player’s worst nightmare—I imagine that’s the terrible dream Tommy was having over at the Vokai camp.

It’s easy to get duped on Survivor, so I don’t want to hammer Vince too hard, but his idol was only good for two Tribal Councils. It just seems like the safe play would have been to use it—especially having just come back from the Island of Idols and knowing that people would be suspicious of him.

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Was the IOI paranoia the reason Vince got voted out? That appears to be the main story here. We’ve heard a lot so far this season about the paranoia tied to the mysterious island and its promise of idols. But Elizabeth has also been to the island and seems to have escaped suspicion. The women are in charge right now though, so I suspect that is what is shielding Elizabeth… Vince didn’t have that same protection.

Personally Injured

Karishma was doing so well with her “cool, calm, and collected” approach, but this week she suddenly turned into Abi-Maria, wishing death upon her fellow tribemates. Look, nobody likes stabbing themselves, unless you’re a masochistic, but you’d think Karishma had amputated a limb the way she reacted. In reality, it looked more like a gnarly papercut—I guess a personal injury lawyer is always going to exaggerate.

I do like Karishma, though. As the first Indian-American woman on Survivor, she is putting herself out there. Her confessional about her Indian background and how she is in a situation where her actions could be frowned upon in her culture was heartfelt. And the reaction from her tribemates to to her injury, serious or not, was pretty lackluster. But I also think she’s getting into her own head about these things.

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From what we’ve seen, the women seem to like Karishma and consider her part of the alliance. Karishma doesn’t sense that, and her paranoia, coupled with a poor challenge performance on the puzzle, almost talked herself into getting voted out. Even at Tribal, where she got up and did some last-minute scrambling, she was talking about not feeling part of the women group because she’s older. Not only is she not the oldest person on the tribe… she’s not even the oldest woman on the tribe!

Not to get all Edgic here, but this episode definitely seemed to be setting up Karishma splitting from the women’s alliance soon, especially with the likes of Missy and Chelsea talking about how voting Vince out could be handing power to the men.

Dum-Dum Dean

I bet Dean was wishing he was still hidden behind a veil of purple. Imagine your first on-screen moment being a shot of you tripping over in the sand and then suggesting a split vote in front of the entire tribe. I suppose, to his credit (very limited credit), the split vote plan did happen… but yeesh, this was not a great introduction.

Still, welcome to the show, Dean!

Wild Card Jamal

There was some interesting fallout on the Vokai tribe following last week’s Tribal Council—a lot of different dynamics. Tommy tried to get Jack and Jamal back on side. Dan tried to convince everyone to play the next vote safe and just take out Noura. And Jamal was ready to go rogue and flip things on Dan, who he described as a used car salesman (shoutout Brian Heidik).

What I find the most interesting though, is how well-positioned Janet is. She seems to be in the center of the tribe. Everyone comes to her with the plans. She’s like the voice of reason. It’s a pleasure to see the older woman—an archetype often targeted early in Survivor—set up so well.

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Vokai won the Immunity Challenge, so all of these plans are put on hold for now, but I don’t think wild card Jamal did himself any favors by pushing for Dan. He was blindsided last week, and the safe Noura plan was a chance to slide his way back into the majority. I guess he doesn’t want to play in first gear anymore, eh?

Teeter-Totter

Big fan of this week’s Immunity Challenge. I feel like Survivor US routinely gets beaten in the challenge department these days by Australian Survivor, which tends to go bigger and badder (also animal charades). The American series often relies on the same challenge builds season-to-season. This teeter-totter balance beam was a nice twist on the familiar.

Literal Survivor Bootcamp

Just when you thought you’ve seen it all on Survivor, Sandra starts army crawling along the beach in front of a giant statue of her own head. I swear the Island of the Idols gets more ridiculous by the week—from trivia night to undercover midnight missions. Seriously, what the hell is this?

This wasn’t even a lesson, was it? It was just Rob and Sandra f**king with one of the players for sh**s and giggles. It reminded me of Heroes vs. Villains when Rob and Sandra made the $1 dollar bet over whether Coach could climb the coconut tree or not.

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I mean, Sandra hiding behind a palm frond was a hilarious image… but come on. Since when does any Survivor player ever need to sneak into the opposing tribe’s camp to steal fire? Unless they’ve changed the rules of the final four fire-making challenge. At least last week there was a lesson about the social game and how important it is to listen to people. This was just, how do Rob and Sandra amuse themselves? I also laughed at Rob’s “You don’t know where you’re from?” while Vince was having an emotional moment.

What’s next week’s lesson going to be? Are Rob and Sandra going to create a jungle catwalk and see who has best Jeff Probst cosplay?


Martin is a 31-year-old writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider, previously ET Canada and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull.



  • UKDanJames

    Hi Martin – do you think that the women not coming to help Karishma when she was injured is a bad sign for their winner potential in the game? I noticed the camera lingering on people like Missy and Chelsea when Karishma was lamenting about how nobody was comforting her

    • I think that was probably setting up Karishma turning on the women. That’s how I read it anyway.