A super idol denial leads to another jaw-dropping tribal council in Survivor: Kaôh Rōng’s best episode yet.
In the run up to Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, we counted down the 50 Best Survivor Episodes of all time. While the list features many classic episodes and fan favorite moments, it’s almost a shame that we did it before Survivor: Kaôh Rōng aired. The misfit season that nobody wanted to touch continues to deliver the goods. And this latest episode was up there with some of the all-time greats.
What made this episode so enthralling wasn’t just the explosive tribal council – although that was the delicious icing on the already delicious cake – it was all the little moments leading up to that climax. It wasn’t just a sub-standard episode elevated because of a great tribal council. It was an already very good episode cemented as a great episode because of the tribal council. There was a perfect mixture of tense challenges, humor, and some exceptional strategic maneuvering. All within a classic downfall edit.
The comeuppance of Kyle Jason and Scot Pollard has been long overdue. Even with the vote not going their way the past two weeks, they have still maintained an off-putting arrogance and sense of entitlement due to their possession of the Super Idol. Their egos only increased when everything seemed to be falling into place for them throughout the episode. Debbie Wanner had been voted out by her allies. Julia Sokolowski was still living out her favorite John le Carré novel and playing double agent. Tai Trang won an advantage (an extra vote), keeping it out the hands of their primary targets Aubry Bracco and Cydney Gillon. And Jason won the immunity challenge in an epic, all-dancing, all-spitting showdown with Aubry.
But the more things went right, the more their egos grew. They became blinded to what was going on around them, and what was going on around them was Aubry Bracco and the great Tai heist of 2016. Tai never looked comfortable alongside Jason and Scot, even when he went all darkest timeline and poured water on the fire last week. He struggled with whether to listen to his head or his heart. Aubry, who has been a keen observer and picker-upper of emotional nuances, recognized Tai’s dilemma and skillfully appealed to the human beneath the player. She offered him not only authenticity but logic; she used her head to get into his heart.
In the modern era of Survivor, which is overflowing with idols and extra votes and all sorts of twists and advantages, it was refreshing that good old fashioned talking dictated a blindside. Social skills and strategy were what tore Tai away from his captors, and it made the result all the more satisfying for it. Not that idols didn’t play a part in the excitement of the episode because they most certainly did. Oh, they most definitely did.
The initial reveal of the combo Super Idol was met with a heavy dose of skepticism, and rightfully so. An idol which can be played after the votes are read is unnaturally overpowered and can stifle game-play and take away the unpredictability that makes Survivor such compelling television. However, the twist of having to combine two regular idols to form the Super Idol paid off big time when those four votes for Scot poured in, and he looked at Tai expectantly, only to be met with a dead-eyed stare and the word “No.” Everything about the moment was perfect. From the position of Tai sat between Jason and Scot, Julia’s out of the loop confusion, and the smiles on the faces of Aubry and Cydney. When Scot held up Jason’s idol in his post vote-off confessional, it made the moment even sweeter.
Thirty-two seasons in and Survivor still manages to surprise and delight. Wow indeed.
Does anybody knows how the normal hidden immunity idol actually works? In this case, why Scot didn’t (or can’t) give back the idol to Jason?
If you are voted out with an idol in your possession the idol leaves with you. It becomes null and void.
“In the modern era of Survivor, which is overflowing with idols and extra votes and all sorts of twists and advantages, it was refreshing that a blindside was dictated by good old fashioned talking.”
Amen, brother, amen.
Tai made his biggest mistake during this last tribal council. Not only did he officially earn the right to be labeled as a “flipper” (and flipper’s never win) but he’s chances of getting to the Final Three actually decreased a lot.
Tai is now dangerous and unpredictable from the other player’s point of view; he’s a loose tie that must be fixed. I doubt that Aubry is really going to help him further on, maybe use him for the next couple of Tribal’s but that’s it.
The biggest move for Tai (surprisingly) would have been: sticking with Jason and Scott. Once in the Final Three he would easily get the jury’s vote by being the “less hated”.
I would agree with you, but counting the days and players left, (plus I believe Mark Burnett said in an interview that there were three medevacs this season), we could end up with a final two.
If that is the case, Tai might not make it to the final tribal council either way. At least this way he will feel better about himself when he looks back on how he played this game.
All of that aside, never count out what could happen. Cydney wasn’t Julia out. If Julia is gone Michele, may read the situation and realize she needs someone like Tai on her side. If Cydney is smart she may conclude that Aubry has a better chance of beating her in the end so she could flip to Michele and Tai.
All of this is speculation, but still very possible. And it puts Tai in a good position to get to the end.
It was dumm from Jason and Scot not to allow Tai making decisions. They didnt even ask him – nad Aubry said it smart – you are making the decision, Tai! Accually he made the wrong decision, now nobody would wote for him.
The thing is (and Idk if you stated this), Tai would’ve been voted out if the super idol was used. The rest of the votes would’ve likely gone to Tai.
The only reason that is, is because Tai voted for Scot. If he had stuck with them, the votes would’ve been 3 Scot, 3 Aubry, 2 Tai, and Aubry would’ve left. The move was great for entertainment, but a horrible move (in my opinion) for Tai.
[…] this episode first aired we were quick to declare it “one of the all-time greats,” and eight months later we still stand by that statement. It was an episode that dealt a lethal blow […]
[…] handed his idol to Scot before tribal council. It led to the craziest elimination of the season, as Tai did indeed to flip to vote out Scot, and went back on the plan to hand over the idol, leaving Scot shocked, and […]
Am I the only one questioning why they wanted to use a super idol? All they were trying to do was protect Tai and Scott since Jason already had immunity???? Why not just play both idols separate on Tai and Scott and they would be covered and Aubrey is out. Leading up to this tribal I couldn’t understand why the were so fixated on super idol since they knew the votes were coming and they didn’t have the numbers. Super idol would be best suited to save yourself from a blindside with help from your alliance to keep voting numbers up. Such a dumb move.
It was also a dumb move for Tai since the jury would’ve been kind to him against Scott and Jason considering the unprecedented animosity they generated against them. I guess this is where Tai earned his game changing title to make it on this years Survivor Game Changers. Tai has some serious issues with his end game strategy. Both seasons he gets such a nice collection of secret advantages and/or hidden idols. Then late in the game he will throw everything away on a poor decision driven by emotion which kicks himself out from almost guaranteed security. He was so set this season Scott loved Tai and Jayson also seemed to like him, there’s no way they were voting tie out before anyone else on that tribe.