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​Survivor Season 39: Island Of The Idols Episode Recaps: A Castaway Impresses Rob And Sandra

The battle for Sole Survivor—and $1 million—is on once again, with new episodes every Wednesday at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.
Posted on Nov 7, 2019 | 10:00am
Survivor is back for its epic 39th season, Island of the Idols, wherein 20 brand new castaways will compete for the coveted title of Sole Survivor—as well as the whopping $1 million prize.

But they're not alone in their quest! This season, the castaways will be mentored by Survivor legends "Boston" Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine as they try to outwit, outplay, and outlast one another.

READ: Meet The Castaways Of Survivor: Island Of The Idols

With so much at stake and so many players, we're tracking every major event, episode-by-episode, in this one-stop recap. After each episode airs, return here for the latest action to take place on Island of the Idols.

Of course, that means there are spoilers within! Survivors ready?

STREAM: Full Episodes Of Survivor: Island Of The Idols On CBS All Access

"I Was Born At Night, But Not Last Night" (Episode 7) / Island Of The Idols: Janet / Voted Off: Jack
Lauren felt betrayed by Missy regarding the Jason vote. 

On Night 16, there was a torrential downpour and Lairo struggled to restart their fire, which led to some conflict between Jamal and Kellee.

Noura also got frustrated with Jamal when he made a comment about her eating too much of the rice. Janet, Karishma, and Noura talked about voting for Dean. 

Janet was sent to the Island of the Idols, but was worried that it would put a target on her back. Rob and Sandra tried to teach her a lesson about calculated risk. 

The reward for taking on Rob and Sandra's challenge would be an advantage that would allow Janet to leave one Tribal Council—thus having safety—that would be valid up until seven players remain in the game.

However, Janet declined the offer, which made Rob and Sandra proud because she actually thought through the scenario and made a smart, calculated decision. 

Janet lied about her experience on the Island of the Idols to her Tribe, remaining consistent with Kellee's story from earlier in the season. 

At Vokai, Lauren and Tommy tried to strategize about getting back on top and throwing Dan under the bus. They then started spreading a rumor that Dan was trying to get Aaron out, but Missy saw through the lie. 

At the Immunity Challenge, the rain poured as the castaways had to compete. Vokai thought they finished their puzzle first, but Jeff determined it was incorrect. In a very tight showdown, they managed to fix it seconds before Lairo completed theirs. 

At Lairo, Jamal, Jack, Janet, Kellee, Noura, and Karishma talked about voting out Dean. Jamal felt confident in his position. Dean presented his concerns to Jack and Jamal, who told him that Noura was the vote. 

Kellee considered giving her Hidden Immunity Idol to Dean, since she felt safe and the Idol was only good for one more Tribal, while trying to blindside Jamal or Jack.  

Kellee told Dean he was the next vote, but then told him she wanted to give him her Idol and make a big move. 

Noura spoke freely about her opinions and motives at Tribal. Jamal expressed his concern over a women's alliance, which Kellee found to be sexist, and that led to a larger conversation about gender in Survivor. 

The Tribe voted, but before Jeff read the votes, Dean unveiled the Immunity Idol he was given from Kellee. But then, Jamal also played his own hidden Immunity Idol... for Noura. 

Jeff read the votes, but most were for Dean and did not count. In the end, it was Jack who was voted off with only two votes

"Suck It Up Buttercup" (Episode 6) / Island Of The Idols: Elaine / Voted Off: Jason
After Tribal, Noura approached Dean, who was feeling blindsided once more, about aligning. Dean was skeptical and told Jamal about Noura's plan. 

At Vokai, Elizabeth freaked out about a tarantula. Elaine became concerned about how Tribal would go if the Tribe lost Immunity, and Aaron seemed to be targeting her. 

At the Reward Challenge, the two Tribes found out they were competing for chickens. Elaine was chosen to sit out for Vokai—which also meant she was being sent to Island of the Idols. Vokai wound up winning the Reward Challenge. 

At Island of the Idols, Rob and Sandra were using their free time to build the ultimate Survivor shelter. Elaine arrived, and immediately accepted the challenge of the mentors without knowing what it was. 

Rob revealed that during the Immunity Challenge, she would have to grab a Secret Advantage hidden in the course that would allow her to block a vote at Tribal. And if she failed to do so, she would lose her vote at Tribal.

Jamal and Jack had a meaningful conversation about race after Jack made a comment he regretted

Elizabeth and Elaine talked about the Island of the Idols, and Elaine told her about the mission. At the Immunity Challenge, Elaine was able to find the Secret Advantage. Even though she almost dropped it, she managed to recover. In a close contest, Lairo squeaked out a victory and finally won Immunity. 

Elaine told Missy and Aaron about her block the vote advantage, but Aaron continued plotting against her. Elizabeth was convinced it was going to be a huge battle between old Tribal lines. 

Tribal was heated, with old Vokai declaring they were prepared to go to rocks if the vote was a draw. However, Elaine revealed her block vote advantage, which she used on Jason

The Vokai members started whispering to one another that the vote would still go to Elaine. Lauren got emotional. 

Jeff read the votes and revealed that Jason was the latest person to be voted off. Before he left, he told his former Tribe not to trust Aaron, who everyone knew had flipped his vote. 

“Don’t Bite The Hand That Feeds You” (Episode 5) / Voted Off: Tom
Dean felt blindsided by Chelsea’s exit and started to investigate who was responsible.

At the Reward Challenge, Jeff told the Tribes to drop their buffs—it was time for a Tribe Swap.

After the buff draw, Vokai was evenly split with four Vokai—Dan, Jason, Tommy, and Lauren—and four former Lairo: Aaron, Missy, Elizabeth, and Elaine.

However, the new Lairo was stacked in Vokai’s favor, with former Vokai Noura, Kellee, Jamal, Jack, and Janet joining original Lairo members Tom, Dean, and Karishma.

Jeff revealed the Reward Challenge would be for an Applebee’s lunch. The new Tribes had to work together to crawl through sand and solve a puzzle, and in the end, it was Vokai who would be eating good in the neighborhood.

The new Vokai enjoyed their reward as they got to know one another.

Meanwhile, Karishma was excited to be a part of a new Tribe, but didn’t feel good about her performance in the challenge. Dean and Kellee hit it off after realizing they had a mutual friend.

Karishma opened up to her new Tribe about her personal life. At Vokai, Tommy and Aaron made a bond.

At the Immunity Challenge, the new Tribes competed in an extremely physical competition, and it was Vokai who came out on top, winning Immunity.

Morale was low at Lairo, who was sent to Tribal for the fourth time. Karishma tried to pitch herself to the Tribe, offering to flip from her former Tribemates.

Noura was a little nervous because she lost her vote after her failure at the Island of the Idols, but felt the former Vokai still had the numbers.

At Tribal, Dean and Karishma were put in the hot seat as tensions of the new Tribe started heating up. In a surprising vote, it was Tom who was voted out of the game.

"Plan Z" (Episode 4) / Island Of The Idols: Noura / Voted Off: Chelsea
Karishma felt targeted after the surprising Tribal.

Elaine tried shipping Dean and Chelsea, but Chelsea declared she wasn't interested in a showmance. Missy was concerned that Chelsea's potential relationship Dean was jeopardizing the women's alliance.

At Vokai, Jamal decided to go look for an Idol instead of going fishing with the rest of the group, feeling like he was on the outside after being left out of the Molly vote. Luckily, he was able to find one.

Soon after, Vokai was tasked with sending someone to the Island of the Idols. Noura wound up volunteering and went to meet Sandra and Rob.

The mentors revealed that Noura's lesson would be about the art of persuasion.

As a test, Noura had to persuade her Tribe to make her the caller in their upcoming Immunity Challenge where they would be blindfolded. If she succeeded, she'd be given the ability to block one vote at Tribal Council. As always, her failure would result in her loss of voting power.

When Noura returned to camp, she limited the amount of information she revealed in order to secure her role as caller, which the Tribe found suspicious.

Vokai tried to practice for the challenge and struggled with Noura as the caller. As a result, at the actual challenge they made her sit out completely, thereby secretly causing her to lose her vote at Tribal. It ultimately worked out for them, however, as they took home Immunity.

With Lairo headed to Tribal, conversations began around camp, with Karishma once again concerned about her safety. Meanwhile, Aaron took aim at Dean, which surprised Elizabeth and Elaine.

Missy recognized that no one was super into Dean or Karishma as an option, so threw Chelsea's name out instead.

Tribal Council was pretty contentious, with most of the Tribe agreeing that Karishma hadn't been pulling her weight in the game.

But when Jeff read the votes, it was revealed that Chelsea was the next person voted out of the game in another stunning blindside.

"Honesty Would Be Chill" (Episode 3) / Island Of The Idols: Vince / Voted Off: Vince
Jason celebrated still being in the game, but Jamal and Jack struggled to deal with the blindside. Tommy tried to patch things up with Jamal, who said he would forgive—but never forget.

The women of Lairo bonded in the water, while the men began to grow suspicious of the clear women's alliance.

At Vokai, Dan decided to lead the campaign against Noura, which most of the other Tribe members were on board with. However, Jamal was uncomfortable with Dan's pitch and talked with Elaine about targeting Dan instead of Noura. Tommy and Elaine considered voting out Jamal.

At Lairo, Karishma accidentally cut herself while husking a coconut and was upset when nobody on the Tribe tried to help her. She took it as a sign that nobody wanted to play the game with her.

But then a visitor showed up at Lairo and revealed that Vince would be going to the Island of the Idols. After Vince left, Dean blurted out, "Let's split the vote," which rubbed people the wrong way and made Karishma worry that she' be the one to leave if Vince returned with an Idol.

Vince met Rob and Sandra on the Island of the Idols and got emotional about meeting some of his heroes. Rob told Vince that his lesson would be about staying calm under pressure—by sneaking into the Vokai camp and stealing fire. If he succeeded, he'd take home an Idol. Vince agreed to the task.

Sandra used her military training and taught Vince how to low crawl and be stealthy. Vince attempted to sneak into the Vokai camp despite the pitch black and rain—which meant there was no fire to steal! Instead, Vince collected ash from the firepit as proof of mission accomplished.

Rob and Sandra were impressed by his success and ability to adapt, and rewarded him with an Idol.

At the Immunity Challenge, the castaways had to compete in a physical competition to unlock puzzle pieces that they'd have to solve. The winners would also receive some comfort items to take back to camp. In the end, it was Vokai who won.

At Lairo, the men tried to target Karishma, but the women's alliance had other ideas, weighing the options of voting out Tom or Vince.

At Tribal Council, Tom and Aaron placed the blame for their loss on Karishma's failure to complete the puzzle, which spawned a lager discussion about how a Tribe member can display their value.

Before voting began, Karishma got up to whisper in Elizabeth's ear, but Tom voiced that he thought it was a ruse to make people nervous.

Jeff tallied the votes and revealed that Vince had been voted out. Unbeknownst to his former Tribemates, Vince left the game with an Idol in his pocket.

"YOLO, Let's Play!" (Episode 2) / Island Of The Idols: Kellee / Voted Off: Molly

Lairo talked with Aaron about the vote, who was pretty upset about being left out of the decision making.

Noura was rubbing Vokai the wrong way with her complaints about others not contributing to camp life, particularly targeting Molly. Jason tried to talk her down a bit and they bonded over feeling like the underdogs versus the "popular kids" Molly, Jamal, and Jack.

Molly and Jamal talked about trying to take out Noura if they wound up at Tribal Council.

Lairo was struggling to make fire until Chelsea stepped in and did it with ease. And then when Chelsea was out collecting firewood, she stumbled across a Hidden Immunity Idol.

Back at Vokai, Noura tried to lead the Tribe in yoga exercises. A boat showed up at their camp and gave the Tribe a piece of parchment, declaring that Kellee had to board and head to the Island of the Idols.

Kellee showed up at the Island of the Idols and met Boston Rob and Sandra, who bombarded her with seemingly pointless questions and personal details. The point was to teach her about how listening and social skills can be applied to her game on Survivor.

The mentors offered her a test in exchange for an Immunity Idol, but if she lost, she'd lose her vote at Tribal. Kellee managed to answer Rob's questions correctly and won herself an Idol.

Kellee returned to camp and lied about what the Island of the Idols was, hiding the Immunity Idol in her hair in case her Tribemates wanted to search her belongings.

At the Immunity Challenge, Jeff revealed that the castaways would also be playing for spices as a reward. The two Tribes had to swim underwater to untie knots that would release a ladder, which they'd climb to release a bag of balls, that they'd then use to compete in a game of skill.

Lairo was the first Tribe to finish, winning Immunity and reward, sending Vokai to Tribal.

Back at Vokai camp, Noura tried to avoid talking strategy with Jamal and Jack, who were trying to get votes against Noura and Jason.

Meanwhile, Lauren floated the idea of voting out Molly to Kellee and Janet, and they presented the idea to Jason, Noura, and Tommy.

Tommy was conflicted about making a movie like that so early.

At Tribal Council, Jason spoke up about feeling targeted for allegedly having a Hidden Idol, while Noura and Molly talked about butting heads a bit. Jamal was confident in his position in the game, which Lauren clearly disagreed with.

The Tribe voted, revealing that Lauren's plan worked—Molly was the first member of Vokai sent home.

"I Vote You Out And That's It" (Episode 1) / Island Of The Idols: Elizabeth / Voted Off: Ronnie
Host Jeff Probst introduced "Boston" Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, who would both serve as mentors during Survivor: Island of the Idols.

The 20 castaways were divided into two Tribes, Lairo and Vokai. The Tribes arrived in confusion, wondering where the traditional Survivor elements were and why there was no introduction from Jeff or even a marooning.

Lairo got to building shelter and getting to know one another. Missy revealed she survived a brain tumor and quickly bonded with Elizabeth.

Vokai also got started getting to know one another and putting their camp together. Janet tried to display her value by making fire with bamboo.

At Lairo, Tom, Elaine, and Vince formed bonds based on their work ethic, but the seven other members decided to team up against them.

Meanwhile, at Vokai, Tommy and Jack hit it off, while Jason went off in search of an Idol, leaving the other Tribe members suspicious and rallying against him. However, Noura felt for Jason and told him about the bad impression he made on the rest of the Tribe.

Missy pitched a women's alliance to Lairo, telling Elaine about the rest of the Tribe's suspicions around her closeness with Tom and Vince.

Back at camp Vokai, some tensions started to form between Dan and Kellee.

Ronnie secretly targeted Elaine and lied to her face about an alliance, but she didn't fall for it.

At the first challenge of the season, the castaways finally met Jeff. The challenge was not only for the Immunity Idol but also for flint. The challenge was neck and neck until the end where the Tribes were tasked with a puzzle, at which point Vokai took a huge lead and went on to win.

After the challenge, Jeff revealed to Lairo that one of their members would be going to the Island of the Idols. By random draw, Elizabeth was chosen to go.

Upon her arrival, she was shocked to find massive statues of Boston Rob and Sandra—and even more surprised to see the legendary players themselves, who revealed they'd be offering the castaways leadership.

Rob and Sandra taught Elizabeth how to make fire with flint. They offered her a test: a fire-making competition. If she won, she'd receive an Immunity Idol good for two Tribal Councils, but if she lost, she'd lose her vote for that night's Tribal.

She weighed her options and hesitantly decided to accept the challenge, only to lose quickly. The lesson learned: always trust your gut. Before she left, Elizabeth chose the name of the opposing Tribe member who would visit Rob and Sandra, to be revealed to us later.

Back at Lairo camp, Vince, Tom, Chelsea, and Elaine talked about getting rid of Ronnie. Meanwhile, Ronnie tried to campaign against Elaine. She confronted Ronnie and his allies and tried to convince them otherwise. Aaron told her that they were planning on voting out Vince.

Elizabeth returned to camp and lied about what she encountered on the Island of the Idols. She kept it secret that she lost her vote and listened as both sides of the Tribe pitched to her on how she should vote at Tribal.

Tribal was emotional as Lairo's castaways told their personal stories and of their journeys to be on Survivor. Rob and Sandra watched from behind the scenes.

The Tribe then voted and, much to his surprise, Ronnie was the first player voted off the island.

Don't miss all-new episodes of Survivor: Island of the Idols at 8/7c on CBS and CBS All Access.