Survivor: Island of the Idols
Episode 9: Two for the Price of One
By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis
November 27, 2019
Previously on Survivor, well, it wasn’t pretty. A dude inappropriately touched several women. One of them got voted out for saying something about it. And she had two idols.
Afterward, like six contestants turned heel. Several of them have since posted public apologies on social media, while Probst is screaming “No comeuppance!” to anyone who will listen. Then, some dude who hadn’t inappropriately touched anyone got voted out, yet the villains remain. Hoo boy, it’s gonna be one of those seasons.
The episode starts at Lumuwaku, which is apparently the local word for “evil idiots.” Janet, the knight in shining armor last episode, is understandably upset. She can’t believe that she stood up for several of the recipients of unwelcome touching, only for those women to manipulate her for their better positioning within the tribe.
Overnight, Karishma bolts awake, screaming that a rodent has touched her mouth. No, it’s not Dan. Well, that time. Karishma proceeds to cry the tears of tens of thousands of former Survivor viewers, all of whom are sitting out this episode after last week’s ick. She just got the plague on network television, and nobody saw it but us.
Elizabeth, last week’s worst villain, says some stuff. We’re still pissed, so we don’t care what she says. We have to laugh moments later when Noura claims that Karishma is lucky to be there. It’s like Donald Duck calling Wile E. Coyote prone to mishaps. And these two, whom we totally despise, aren’t among the worst villains anymore.
Dan asks Karishma to axe with her. We’ll leave it at that.
The point of this segment seems to be a demonstration that Karishma is weak and lazy. She admits that her status in the game is in jeopardy. The show’s producers whistle innocently and kick an idol at her feet. Well, that’s the cynical evaluation. The “unicorns are real” crowd will believe that she somehow innocently stumbled on an idol without looking for it.
When Karishma returns to camp, the other people ask her where she’s been for an hour. Desperate, she feigns illness, a strategy in keeping with her recent behavior. It works so well that the others decide to call the medical staff for her.
Karishma tells them that it’s not up to them, utterly these words: “My body, my choice.” Great, let’s debate abortion on Survivor this episode as a sequel to #MeTooWednesday last week.
We skip right to a Probst Sighting. Or, as everyone’s calling him right now, the guy who can’t admit he’s wrong on Twitter. Oh wait, that’s everyone on Twitter. Do we sound bitter? We might be bitter.
The immunity challenge this week is inventive. Yes, we can still be positive about Survivor! The competition splits the 11 remaining players into two groups of five. Once the challenge ends, each group will vote off a player. It’s a clever way to negate at least some of the influence of alliances at this juncture, although the editing thus far all but screams that Karishma’s going home with an idol. Not coincidentally, she’s also the first people to lose in the challenge.
Speaking of which, each player receives a small hula hoop-ish object. It’s circular in shape with an interior track that allows a ball to spin inside. The players must spin the ball without allowing it to fall to the ground. Imagine a mouse wheel in perpetual motion. If anything goes wrong, your mouse dies. You get the gist.
Dan’s so bad at this that he can’t get the ball spinning. We can’t believe that Karishma loses ahead of him, even though she’s technically in the other group. All eleven players are standing side by side. Probst announces that the overall winner will win a significant advantage for their team. The victor and their group with get peanut butter and jelly sandwiches plus the ability to watch the other team’s Tribal Council.
Yellow only has five players in its group. The final two are Elaine and Missy, who will have a lot of work to do to win. All blue players are still eligible at this point. However, three players on the blue side drop out only seconds later.
Just before Probst makes the competition more difficult, our heroine, Janet, loses, leaving Noura and Dean. During the elevation in difficulty, Dean loses his ball. Then, something hysterical happens. Noura, who isn’t that bright, spikes her hoops and starts celebrating her immunity. Dan is heard yelling at her not to do it, as Noura has just blown the potential reward for her group.
Meanwhile, Elaine and Missy keep plugging along. Eventually, Missy’s natural bouncing causes her trouble. Elaine, who is stable throughout the challenge, wins and simultaneously earns a pair of rewards for her tribe.
Mentioned without additional comment: Noura asks for Probst’s consent before hugging him.
The first voting group includes Noura, Dan, Dean, Aaron, Lauren, and Janet. Speculation immediately centers on Janet, but she’s relieved to hear that Aaron is in the crosshairs. She deftly moves to make amends with Dan, who claims bygones. Dean selfishly recognizes that when Aaron leaves, he becomes the strongest physical threat. So, he goes to Dan and tries to change a settled mind.
The other group involves Karishma, Elaine, Missy, Elizabeth, and Tommy. Karishma seems like the logical choice, but last week’s villains, Missy and Elizabeth, strategize to ditch Tommy. Yes, we’ve reached the stage of the game where weaker players get dragged along, which is why we said early on that leaving Noura and Karishma in the game would prove costly later.
Right on cue, Karishma shuts down Missy, when the latter woman tries to tell her what to do. From Karishma’s perspective, Missy has bullied and disrespected her throughout the entire game and only has this conversation due to self-interest.
Karishma returns to camp while Missy is left stunned and angry. The conversation continues at camp, as Missy wants to know when they can talk. Karishma is much more interested in talking to Elaine, who is displeased to hear that Tommy’s in trouble. Elaine places the target squarely on Missy’s back, asking Karishma and Tommy to vote for her.
Folks, it’s two against two with Karishma as the swing vote. Missy and Elizabeth work hard to earn her trust. We’ll be surprised if it works. Karishma is a 37-year-old trial lawyer who feels like Missy is an upstart 24-year-old first-year who doesn’t respect her.
FYI: Cocky Karishma isn’t a good look.
Meanwhile, Aaron and Janet each believe that the other one is the primary target. Lauren respects her game and wants her gone for that reason. The men view her as a useless old woman, which demonstrates how stupid young alphas are in this game. Janet’s much more dangerous than Aaron, and we’d absolutely vote her out first.
At Tribal Council, Rob observes something interesting. Dan rolls up his sleeves to show off his muscles. It’s an odd quirk that might be a tell, but we haven’t identified anything reasonable as an explanation for it.
Probst also recognizes an oddity with the first group. Both Dan and Aaron answer confidently about how the vote will go smoothly and as expected. At this point, Rob predicts that Aaron will go home while Sandra expects Janet to get voted out. So, they’ve figured out the two dancing closest to the flame. It’s just a question of which of them is right.
Rob is correct. Aaron gets voted out of the game. The tribe should have taken this opportunity to eliminate Janet. They won’t get many more. Aaron suffers the ultimate indignity and an unprecedented one at that. Probst tells him that he can walk straight over to the jury. Ouch!
PS: Everyone but Aaron voted against him.
Aaron’s embarrassment is even greater than we’d appreciated. The remaining players watched Tribal Council but not the vote. They gaze at Aaron with shock as they walk by. He grows actively agitated by their behavior. It’s glorious.
Amusingly, two people are even more upset by Aaron’s elimination. Missy and Elizabeth show dismay at the loss of their key ally. If this vote goes the way that it should, two of the three manipulators from last week’s disgusting episode will get eliminated tonight. Please let that happen.
Missy states, “That’s not really how the jury should be looking.” That’s…a terrible public statement. Frankly, the Missy/Elizabeth/Aaron alliance was always doomed to fail because they’re all too arrogant about their own abilities and too dismissive of the skills of others.
The best alliances in this game involve people from different backgrounds who have different world views. Missy and Elizabeth can’t even get their story straight about how their conversations with Karishma have gone. Missy recoils at the idea that she’s a bully and then oddly counters by asking whether Karishma even likes herself as a person. Without hesitation, Karishma firmly states that she does. Sandra comments to Rob that the two women simply cannot co-exist, which is correct.
Before the vote, Missy points out to Probst that two African-Americans won the immunity challenge. She adds that it’s a rarity and feels disappointed that he didn’t highlight it more. Probst smiles at this. He later states to her that he hadn’t thought of it and loves that she brought it up. He adds that he wouldn’t have felt comfortable mentioning even if he had for fear of describing the accomplishment poorly.
The first two votes are two for Missy and two for Tommy. The swing vote, the Karishma vote, goes to Missy. Surprised, she leans in, smiles, and asks, “Yo, who did it.” WHO DO YOU THINK?
Seriously, if you can’t answer that question, you don’t belong in this game. There’s five people involved in this vote. You know who you and Elizabeth voted out of the game. Who does that leave? It’s just math. Come on!
Tommy actually delivers the perfect killshot here: “When you bring up my name, you pack your bags.”
Okay, if Elizabeth gets voted out next week, we will have eliminated all of last week’s manipulative users in a matter of two episodes. Make it happen, Lumuwaku!