Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

Another life lesson from Boston Rob and Sandra, and these players are no better off. Yes, as I was told when I wanted to be a star Major League Baseball player at a young age: You can work hard, you can think harder, and you can out-hustle them all…but God-given “talent” is not something that can be taught, or acquired through hard work. In other words, you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make it drink. Relating this to this week’s episode of Survivor, Rob and Sandra can try to instill all the knowledge in the world, but the recipient still has to have “that certain something” in order to get it to work for them.

As I do at the beginning of every recap, please heed the following: Remember that this recap assumes that you have already seen this week’s episode of Survivor: Island of the Idols. If you have not and don’t want to be spoiled, please come back later! It’s important to add that while we WILL hit on all of the important developments of the episode, this is not a linear “blow-by-blow” recap. It is more of a discussion and reaction of what we just witnessed together.


Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

I apologize for leading this week’s recap off with some metaphoric nonsense about my dreams of becoming a Major League-r…I am admittedly on very little sleep as I write this, having just flown back to Detroit from Vegas (and boy are my arms tired! Heh, heh…ahem). But I said last week that I would give this whole “mentor theme” one more week before passing judgment, and I do think I’ve reached a verdict: I don’t like it. At least in parts. Heck, I love Rob – and Sandra even a smidge more – and watching them provide commentary on Tribal Councils from a hidden Spy Shack has become a surprisingly entertaining joy…I think they should let them do this every season! (I joke).

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And I have liked the “challenges” a bit more and more each week, as it has already evolved from the semi-lame “challenge Rob at fire-making” challenge, to last week’s “sneak-into-camp” challenge and this week’s “persuade your tribe” challenge. But on the whole, I think the segment drags the episode down…they’re dedicating a chunk of the show each week to this, and it just isn’t all that interesting. Worst of all, these nuggets of “wisdom” from these Survivor “legends” are just “obvious-isms” that, as we saw this week, don’t really mean all that much depending on who is the student.

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

And that brings us to sweet Noura. The kind of player that is so good for TV and for entertainment purposes, but who has no real shot of actually winning the game show she’s competing on. So far she’s reminiscent of two-time player, Debbie Wanner (Kaoh Rong and Game Changers), in that she’s fun, eccentric and annoying to those in the game. First, she volunteers to go to the Island of the Idols, even though it was flatly stated that everyone was worried about how they’d be perceived to do so (not Noura!).

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Then when she gets to the island, she doesn’t even think about accepting the challenge, whereas other players might have more thoughtfully considered the options (not Noura!). Then after learning from our two Survivor “masters,” she concocts one of the worst and implausible lies in the history of the game, one that her entire tribe obviously saw through right away, as they quickly and unanimously voted her to sit out the challenge. Noura! Was that convoluted plan the best you could come up with? But my goodness, was that fun to watch, in an uncomfortable, squirmy sort of way.

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

It doesn’t usually take me a few paragraphs to get to a major blindside, but with Noura playing this season, there might be an occasional exception. We witnessed Chelsea get absolutely blindsided in who was really, if you think about it, a preposterous target for a blindside. She becomes the fourth person to get voted out this season, and the SECOND to leave with a hidden Immunity Idol in her possession. Yikes.

Following the blindside of Molly a few weeks back, Chelsea is yet another strong woman who seems to have had every tool needed – if Survivor history is any measure – to win it all…she was smart, savvy, strategic and social. What’s not to love about Chelsea, or Molly for that matter? But in today’s game, this player “type” puts up all kinds of red flags. I love Missy and she’s clearly one of the biggest threats this season and has been running things thus far, but was targeting Chelsea a bit of “over-thinking it” on her part? I think so. Here’s why.

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

Chelsea was a strong member of the cursed “all-female” alliance, and booting her at this point I think will come back to bite Missy on the butt. Kudos to Aaron for working his way back into the tribe’s good graces where he looked dead-in-the-water a few weeks ago, but if Missy was really thinking things through, she would have tried targeting someone else. I get it, that there was not real consensus as to who to vote out so it somehow switched to Chelsea.

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But again, what does it say to the other women, if Missy would so easily turn on their “all-female” alliance so early in the game? And did you notice that Missy didn’t go directly to Elaine to try to sway her, instead relying on Elizabeth to do so? Missy could have really swayed this in any-which-way direction, but she somehow ended up taking out a person that might have gone far into the game with her as good strategic ally, and a person whose social skills might have been a good source of information around camp moving forward. Plus, she had an Idol! So on one hand, I get it, Chelsea is dangerous. But on the other, this was not the right time for such a big, bold move.

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 4 Recap: Blind Faith

Episode Take-Away: Like I said, I’m about at the point where I’m going to give a big heart-felt “thumbs down” to the Island of the Idols theme…there are elements of it that I like, but on a whole, I’m not sure it’s doing the game any good. We saw two Alpha-Males take major leaps forward this week, with Aaron (aforementioned) and also with Jamal, who ended up finding an Idol when his camp left him all alone for a few hours. On the surface that may appear to be a good thing, but the other two players to have found an Idol thus far have both been voted out, with Idols in their pockets. So be careful what you wish for Jamal!

I’m excited to see the new mix of players that will result after next week’s swap (shown in the preview of next week’s episode)…also, as the game progresses, word has got to eventually get out about Boston Rob and Sandra being at the Island of the Idols, and I’m very curious to see how this affects the game, and how it affects the perception of players like Kellee, who they will eventually know lied about the Island’s secrets.

RELATED: Cast Of Survivor Season 39 – Island Of The Idols – Revealed!

Voted out this week: Molly

Won Immunity: Purple Tribe

Vote: No advantages or Idols were played. 6 – Chelsea (Elizabeth, Missy, Tom, Aaron, Karishma, Elaine), 2 – Karishma (Chelsea, Dean)

Next Week’s Episode: Dean just had his showmance broken up and isn’t too happy about it. But he doesn’t have too much time to sulk, because a tribe swap is on the horizon.

Quick Note! I appreciate that you are reading this recap! Those that have followed me also know that I am a RottenTomatoes-approved film critic, and I encourage you to check out my weekly movie reviews as I am the film critic and Executive Producer of the TV show, “Movie Show Plus,” the #1-rated local program in my Detroit-market (episodes are also available online at the website, As always, the easiest way to get all of my Survivor coverage and movie reviews is to follow me on Twitter – @tomsantilli – or on Facebook.


Photo Credit: CBS/Monty Brinton/Robert Voets/Timothy Kuratek/Jeffrey Neira/Michele Crowe/David M. Russell