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.
Okay, I’ve just finished the episode, and I’m having a hard time piecing this vote together. What the hell happened that caused Chelsea to be the boot here? It surely can’t just be the fear of a potential showmance with Dean? Can it?
Here’s what is confusing me. All episode, Karishma seemed like the easy vote… rightly or wrongly, that is what was presented to us. We saw pretty much the entire tribe agreeing that Karishma was the next one out. Then Aaron started to worry about Dean and Chelsea getting close, and coupled with multiple poor challenge performances, Dean ended up in the hot-seat (and it was nice to see the young guy being called out for underperforming for a change).
Okay, so far, I can make sense of that. Then Elizabeth got cold feet about taking Dean out, and she found that Elaine felt the same way. In their mind, at least Dean contributed to life at camp, something they couldn’t say for Karishma. Right… so the vote is back on Karishma, right? No, wait, Chelsea?
When did it go from “Karishma is the easy next vote” to “no one wants to see Dean OR Karishma go”? Missy sold it as if nobody could agree to either vote, and I don’t think that was explained in the episode at all. I kind of get why Missy wanted to keep Karishma, because she clearly thinks she has her in her back pocket. But that still doesn’t make sense why she (and the rest of the women) would then target Chelsea—a member of the women’s alliance which we’ve heard about ad nauseum for the past four weeks. Why not vote out Tom? Or the “sneaky” Aaron? Was the Dean & Chelsea duo really that threatening? It came out nowhere.
Not to harp on it, but I do think this is a fault of the Island of the Idols twist eating up such a significant chunk of each episode. Lairo barely received any screen-time before the Immunity Challenge because we were over on flashback island. I think even an extra 5-8 minutes could have helped flesh out the dynamics a little more.
It sucks for Chelsea, a self-confessed superfan who appeared to be in a solid group and who clearly had no idea the shot was coming her way—she left with an idol in her pocket just like Vince last week! But as we’re told over and over, “perception is reality” in Survivor, and even Chelsea herself alluded to those that sleep together in the shelter are perceived as an alliance.
I’m not sure this is a good move for Missy, either. She obviously has a lot of sway on the Lairo tribe, but she underestimates Karishma. She said she has Karishma’s vote on lock, but calling her out at Tribal is hardly going to warm someone towards you. The first chance Karishma gets to flip, she will (and that could be next week given the tribe swap), and Missy could well be the one she flips on. Props to Karishma for that “chaos is a ladder” quote too.
The Island of the Idols was in pure flashback mode this week. Poor Erik must have PTSD for the number of times Survivor has rolled out his Immunity Necklace blunder. I hope he’s at least receiving royalty checks.
As for the rest, this felt to me like a refresher for the upcoming all-winners season. The choices of clip seemed intentional, right? Parvati… Yul… Amber. It was like saying, “hey, casuals, remember these people? You’ll be seeing them soon.”
Look, I like that Survivor acknowledges its past and has this history that now goes back almost 20 years. But it’s also frustrating when there are 20 new castaways that we could be spending this time getting to know. How do you build up new history-making moments when you’re so stuck in the past? As a wrestling fan, it reminds me of current WWE, which is so reliant on “legends” that it struggles to build new stars for the future.
Oooh boy. Noura continues to blow my mind. You know, there was a brief moment in this episode where I thought she’d actually come up with a flash of brilliance—that lasted about as long as it took her to agree to the IOI test.
So Noura’s Island of the Idols lesson was all about “the art of persuasion,” and her test was to convince her tribe to let her be the caller in the upcoming blindfold Immunity Challenge. Okay. Got it.
When Noura came back to camp and said that she earned a tribe advantage that would allow them to know the upcoming challenge in advance, I was momentarily impressed. It wasn’t perfect, but it was something tangible that was just about believable.
Then she kept talking. And talking… and talking. She told the tribe that for her to reveal the details, they all had to agree then and there that she would take a specific role in the challenge—this despite them having no idea at this point what the challenge entailed. Anyway, she bulldozed them into agreeing before revealing that it’s a blindfold challenge, and she would be the caller. She then proceeded to demonstrate her calling “skills” and basically sent her tribemates on a collision course with the nearest trees.
This lie made no sense. And it’s frustrating because if she just stuck to her original lie—that she won info on what the challenge was—I think she could have pulled it off. Then she could have actually just tried to sell herself as to why she should be the caller. All this about how they had to agree to give her a specific role and whatever was overcomplicated and quite clearly the ramblings of a mad person.
It was all worthwhile, though, for the moment where Vokai ended up sitting Noura out. After all that! NOURA SAT OUT OF THE CHALLENGE. You couldn’t make this s**t up! So she didn’t even receive her advantage (a vote blocker) and instead will lose her vote at the next Tribal she attends.
Other Bits & Pieces
-Jamal got his hands on an idol while the rest of his tribe went rafting, or, in Jason’s case, on an afternoon stroll in the jungle. Where WAS Jason going? Why wasn’t anyone suspicious this time about him walking off into the jungle alone? Why did he only come back with one piece of wood? THESE ARE THE QUESTIONS WE NEED ANSWERING!
Anyway, Jamal used the time wisely to bag himself an idol—and he didn’t even have to do any dumb test. There was some nice personal stuff here also, which gave us a more rounded impression of Jamal. A man building himself back up after a broken relationship and trying to live in the moment. However, idols appear to be cursed so far this season, so I worry for Jamal.
-There’s another idol holder on Vokai too—Kellee. She was worried about Noura’s IOI visit potentially exposing her lie… thankfully, Noura’s nonsense completely threw any suspicion off of Kellee. The “smashing urns” lie is seeming better by the minute.
-An impressive performance by Jason in the Immunity Challenge. He kept his calm and led his tribe to victory. He’s really made quite the turnaround from where he was back in the first three days. He’s no longer a target and appears to be meshing in quite well.
-“Of course I know who you guys are!” Noura exlaimed as she approached Rob and Sandra. It sounded about as convincing as her IOI lie.