Survivor: Island of the Idols
Episode 12: Just Go for It
By Kim Hollis & David Mumpower
December 15, 2019

You were done dirty, Elaine.

Previously on Survivor, Karishma’s lucky rabbit’s foot developed gout. In Dan’s mind, all of the weakest players are gone, which is a pretty strong hint at how bad Dan is at this game.

Oh, right! Noura lost her mind even by Noura standards. She lied in front of everyone, including her allies, the jury, Rob and Sandra, and even the dessicated corpse of Jeff Probst. This led to a Tribal Council where Probst didn’t get to talk at all. Instead the various contestants chattered and whispered to try to make some sort of plan.

Tommy is super annoyed and although Noura tries to throw someone else under the bus, she tries to do so while she is still under said bus. She blames Dean, but Tommy isn’t having it. So, Noura goes and puts Dean’s prized Nike shoes on a sign where they place clothing left behind by others who have been voted out. We’re sure it makes sense in her head.

Having just played the idol at the previous Tribal Council, Elaine is out searching for a new one. At the crack of dawn, Janet wakes Tommy so that they can also go looking. Eventually, Janet is the lucky beneficiary. She shows it to Tommy, which gives Elaine and Dean the opportunity to catch them at it. Dean thinks knowledge is power. We think numbers are power.

On the beach, Noura is twirling, twirling, twirling towards freedom.

“Who doesn’t love a crazy woman?” Elaine asks, presumably rhetorically.

Recognizing that she’s in a tight spot, Elaine decides to make a move. She talks to Lauren about her position in the game, suggesting that if she gets to the four with Tommy, Dan, and Janet, she’s the bottom of the pack. Lauren worries, and apparently rightfully so. Despite Tommy’s reassurances that they’re in it to the end, he actually has a secret alliance with Dan and Dean to go to the final three.

Next, a boat arrives to take someone to Island of the Idols. This time, they pull a name out of a bag. It’s Dean. (How do we know that every name in the bag isn’t Dean?) We can’t help but notice that he has his prized Nikes around his shoulders. Noura’s dumb stunt meant nothing.

Once he arrives, Rob offers Dean some fish that he’d just caught and cooked. First thing Dean does, other than talk about the fact that he’s actually aligned with Tommy, is show Sandra and Dean his “Legacy Advantage.” He asks them if they can confirm whether it’s real or fake, and they say they cannot. Dean goes on to say that he’s thinking about getting everyone to vote for him so he can use the advantage and blow everyone away.

Rob reminds us all (in confessional) that it is terrible strategy to try to put votes on yourself. Sandra’s essential plan in every season that she has played is to avoid having her name written down. Dean is a dummy.

Dean’s lesson for the day centers around jury management. Rob asks him whether he understands that the game is not only about getting to the end, but also convincing the jury want to vote for him. Rob and Sandra say it’s about telling a story and differentiating oneself.

His test today is a simple game of chance. Dean is risking his vote at the next Tribal Council to win an extra vote, an Idol nullifier, or an immunity idol he can give to someone else (but not use himself). It’s a simple coin flip. Dan wins, and he chooses the Idol nullifier, because he knows that Janet has just found and Immunity Idol.

To his credit, Dean is thinking about how he would convince the jury to give him $1 million. To his extreme discredit, he lies to the group when he returns. He says that he did a coin flip and lost both the flip and the vote. Why this lie? Dunno.

He does tell the alliance he wants to join about his nullifier, but all that does is make Tommy nervous about Dean’s game. He previously thought Dean was just a dumb guy who sat around camp. Now, he worries that the guy has strategy.

Probst sighting. It’s an Immunity Challenge, and immediately Elaine says, “Oh, words.”

The first part of the challenge requires contestants to spin and spin and spin. Noura’s beach practice (weird) didn’t prep her for this. After the spinning, they have to walk on a balance beam. It’s tough work. After some deep breathing, Noura gets her bearings and is starting her puzzle. The other six are right there with her.

The answer to the stupid puzzle is “This game will mess with your mind,” something Probst loves to say.

Elaine has it mostly figured out, but she’s bad with words. Dean sees what she has and he copies her for the win. So, he’s safe tonight AND can nullify an idol if he so chooses.

For her part, Elaine is voting for Noura. If the Survivor Gods are smiling on us, the rest of the Survivors will, too.

Unfortunately for Elaine, she’s the big target tonight. Since Lauren is paranoid, Elaine understands that she can try to get under her skin for a different plan. Although the big alliance wants to split the vote between Elaine and Noura (with Elaine getting most of the votes), Lauren now wants to work with Elaine and vote Noura.

So, Lauren approaches Janet to suggest Noura. Janet is agreeable, but also weighing her odds carefully. Yes, Noura is crazy and unpredictable, but Elaine is good at challenges and people like her.

Once the group arrives at Tribal Council and sits down, Rob and Sandra immediately notice that Dean has won immunity. Also, Dean is flexing his muscles. Seriously. Rob hilariously comments on this and mimics him (and we can’t do it justice by recapping it. You’d have to watch).

We wish we could just fast forward to the Rob/Sandra parts of the show and skip the rest.

On the other hand, Rob does compliment the fact that Dean is playing to the jury tonight. There’s some discussion of math, which Tommy mansplains to the group.

Dan uses an earthquake analogy to explain the solidity of his alliance. Elaine says if that’s true, she’s a homewrecker. She also tells the group that they should choose Noura instead of her, because Noura is unpredictable and wacky. Rob and Sandra are super proud again.

After a bit, Elaine gets emotional. Her mother passed away three months before appearing on the show, and she’s not ready to go. A lot of people cry after she speaks.

“You’re crazy as hell,” she says as she writes down Noura’s name. Unfortunately, the group sticks to the plan and sends Elaine packing. She asks Probst to hug it out, and he is actually sincere.

“I love her,” says Sandra. Everyone on the jury is pretty grim.

But wait! There’s some bonus footage. Probst walks up with news. Dan has been removed from the game. He’s gone and will NOT be on the jury.

Text on the screen says, “Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player.”

Too little, too late. This whole thing has been mortifying. A whole bunch of people are on the jury who maybe wouldn’t be if they’d done the right thing in the first place.