Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 5 Recap: Orange Is Dead

Was this week’s episode of Survivor worth sinking your teeth into? I mean, it was no sizzlin’ fajita platter from Applebees or anything, but it was enough to fill you up, if your favorite dish is questionable game-play.

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 5 Recap: Orange Is Dead

As he pointed out in his closing testimonial, former NHL player Tom Laidlaw was the first Canadian ever to play the American version of Survivor, and so it’s also accurate to say he’s the first Canadian ever to be voted out of the American version of Survivor. At age 60, Tom was the oldest contestant this season, and the oldest competitor to appear on the show since Season 32, Survivor: Koah Rong, when it featured 72-year-old Joe Del Campo. Tom was a “straight-shooter” as was pointed out several times tonight, but it’s still head-scratching to me as to how and why he was voted out, and how and why Karishma is still in this game.

It was the second-straight week for me that ended in confusion. At least last week, with the blindside of Chelsea, you could understand that they targeted a budding show-mance, even if it didn’t seem to be in the best interest of those, like Missy, who “ordered the hit.” This week, it was summed up best by Boston Rob at Tribal when he said, “These guys are not going to win another challenge.” And if they don’t, it’s what they deserve. Sometimes the obvious vote is the correct vote, but somehow Karishma has managed to skate by, while a “not-an-immediate threat” like Tom gets sent packing. I even understand the logic – somewhat – if they vote out Dean, who Kellee pointed out shouldn’t make the merge, and whom others could see as a viable physical and social threat moving forward. But Tom? Come on, man.

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 5 Recap: Orange Is Dead

Nothing against Karishma as a player (and the show is doing its damnedest to make us like her, by showing her get emotional about her family early on in the episode), but she is not really contributing to the show. Not only has she been a disaster at the physical challenges, she hasn’t quite been on top of the social game either…and it’s not like she is getting by these votes by somehow strategizing or being some kind of mastermind. No, she is the goat right now being led towards the slaughter, the kind of player that others want to align with only because they know she has no shot of winning. And again, this isn’t to say that Karishma is “bad” or that she doesn’t have anything to give, but perception is king, and Karishma is perceived to be weak and problematic by the others, and that’s the only thing that matters. But even if “carried” to the merge, Karishma won’t have gained enough respect to be a real threat to win the game, so why as a viewer would we want her to stick around?

Trying to make sense of the move to vote out Tom, I did thing of something fairly interesting. Pulling back for a minute and looking at the bigger picture, could it be part of the original Purple alliance’s master plan? With the other tribe deadlocked at four each, ALL of original Purple has a better shot at making the merge if they vote out those on the tribe where they have the clear majority. By keeping Karishma around, they might be handicapped in challenges moving forward…but maybe that’s good? We hear them guessing that the merge would probably come in three or perhaps four more Tribals, and if the current Purple tribe were to go to Tribal, they could risk (by way of drawing rocks) losing their overall majority. They can still lose two (Dean and Karishma) before they’d have to turn on each other, but they’d be awfully close to the merge at that point. I don’t know…thoughts?

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 5 Recap: Orange Is Dead

Episode Take-Away: I did at least like that this season’s first “tribal shake-up” resulted in some interesting new tribes…it will be great to see the 4 vs. 4 if they do eventually go to Tribal. I also think that it was very strange – and beneficial – for Dean, that he would just so happen to know someone that Kellee knows. Those of us that just got done watching Big Brother know that it is incredibly powerful to have an ally in the game that you feel somewhat connected to out of the game, so that is a major development that just had a seed planted tonight. I also think future players need to take note of Aaron‘s socks…what a great idea, to have faces printed on your clothing! I think more players will be doing this in the future!

This week also saw The Island of the Idols twist take a backseat, and I for one didn’t miss it at all, and had forgotten about it altogether until I saw Rob and Sandra in their spy shack at Tribal. It’s clearly going to come back into play next week I’d imagine, but as far as I’m concerned, I feel like it’s an unneeded distraction away from the main game at this point…maybe they’ll figure out a way to make it a bit more interesting moving forward.

Voted out this week: Tom Laidlaw

Won Immunity: New Purple

Vote: No advantages or idols were played. 5 – Tom (Karishma, Kellee, Jamal, Jack, Janet), 2 – Karishma (Tom, Dean), Noura had no vote due to losing on Island of the Idols

Survivor: Island of the Idols Episode 5 Recap: Orange Is Dead

Next Week’s Episode: It sure looks like the Purple Tribe might be going to Tribal, because there’s an awful lot of talk and scrambling about what would happen in case of a tie, and who might flip.

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