This week’s “Survivor” began with the fallout of the previous double Tribal Council. Knowing she was separated from her No. 1 ally, Tommy, due to the twist that sent two castaways home, Lauren was worried that the other castaways would take advantage of the opportunity to vote him out. She told the audience how relieved she was to see him return.
Tommy and Lauren are arguably the strongest duo remaining in the game, now that Missy and Elizabeth have been split up. Since the other castaways failed to vote Tommy out when they had the chance, their decision could easily come back to bite them.
The castaways had to unanimously choose someone to go to the Island of the Idols. Karishma knew she was on the bottom and in danger of being voted out, so she wanted the opportunity to earn an advantage. However, the majority alliance elected Lauren to go, and Karishma complied with their decision with the hope of not increasing the target on her back.
Once she arrived, Lauren was told that her lesson from Rob and Sandra would center around situational awareness. They told Lauren the details of the upcoming immunity challenge and that she had the opportunity to bet on a castaway who she believed would win. If she guessed correctly, she’d earn an immunity idol. If she was wrong, she’d lose her vote at the upcoming Tribal Council. Rob also told Lauren that the challenge would have an “eat or play” component, meaning that the castaways could choose to compete for immunity or forfeit their spot in the challenge to have a food reward.
Lauren acknowledged that with nine people left in the game, her chances of correctly guessing were slim. Historically, when castaways were given the option to eat or play, almost everyone plays. When he sensed her hesitation, Rob told Lauren that he’d increase her chances of correctly guessing by giving her two castaways she could bet on.
This prompted Lauren to take the chance. She chose to bet on Elizabeth because her two alliance members were both blindsided in the previous episode, and Lauren believed that would prompt her to play in the challenge rather than sitting out to eat. She also bet on Noura because she's a vegetarian and may be less tempted by the food. Noura’s also proven herself as a threat in endurance challenges.
Lauren choosing to take the chance so late in the game was a risky decision. Losing the chance to vote at the final nine could easily send a castaway home or change the course of the game, so her willingness to take the chance illustrates how comfortable she felt about her position in the game.
At camp, Dean discussed the fake legacy advantage Jamal gave him in a previous episode. He was unsure as to whether or not the advantage had any real power, and as the viewers know, it doesn’t. The fake advantage showed Dean that he could play it at either the final nine or final six, and as there were nine castaways remaining, he wanted to play it.
As Dean believed it was real, he made a fake legacy advantage replica that he played at the next Tribal Council. This led his tribemates to believe he didn’t have the real one anymore, removing the target from his back. This permitted him to hold onto the real advantage until the final six. Little did Dean know, neither advantage had any power.
Lauren told Tommy about her experience on the Island of the Idols. She explained that she’d receive an idol if Noura or Elizabeth were to win, so Tommy and Lauren spent the day trying to convince everyone — with the exception of Elizabeth and Noura — to sit out of the challenge and eat.
At the immunity challenge, the castaways had to stand on a platform while pressing upward on a bar. If they released pressure, a ball would fall, and they’d be eliminated. The last person standing would win. Additionally, the castaways had the opportunity to sit out of the challenge to eat breakfast food rather than compete. Surprisingly, everyone opted to sit out of the challenge except for Noura, Elizabeth and Karishma.
Karishma was almost immediately out of the challenge, and Noura ended up winning immunity after a short showdown with Elizabeth. As she correctly predicted the winner, Lauren received an idol when she returned to camp that was valid for the next two Tribal Councils.
Elizabeth was in danger of going home, but, in typical fashion, members of the tribe considered sending Karishma home as well. Karishma ended up cluing Elizabeth into the fact that she was in danger, which prompted the majority alliance to switch their votes to her.
At Tribal Council, Karishma played her hidden immunity idol, successfully negating the seven votes that were cast against her in the most exciting idol play of the season. Lauren also played her idol because her vote was nullified, and she was unsure of who’d end up leaving. Everyone voted for Karishma except her and Dan. Karishma put her vote on Janet, and Dan voted for Elizabeth, which resulted in the first tie vote of the season.
The castaways then had to revote between Janet and Elizabeth, and Elizabeth was unanimously voted out of the tribe. After receiving 17 votes so far this season, Karishma is poised to break the “Survivor” record of most votes cast against someone in a single season.
Contact Connor Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org. For more on the culture, arts and lifestyle of the JMU and Harrisonburg communities, follow the culture desk on Twitter @Breeze_Culture.