With the cast of Survivor Kaoh Rong revealed last week and the premiere less than a month away, the hype for the upcoming season is really starting to build. As part of the pre-season build up Jeff Probst revealed a new twist regarding the way hidden immunity idols will work in the show's 32nd season. In today's feature article Ozlet Tom Shembrey gives his opinions on the idol twist and discusses how it could impact the game. Read on to see how it might all play out in Kaoh Rong.
Note: 31 is shorthand for season 31 Cambodia Second Chances, 32 for season 32 Kaoh Rong Brains vs Brawn vs Beauty 2. Those titles can be a bit tedious. HII is the hidden immunity idol.
The following article contains spoilers revealing the new HII twist for the upcoming season. Continue reading at your own discretion.
Entertainment Weekly has come through with the goods again, unveiling a surprising alteration to the hidden immunity idol 20 seasons after its inception that only Redmond could have suspected. In summary, two hidden immunity idols can now be combined to form a Panama idol, a yul kwon/terry dietz idol or more recently the cursed and loathed Tyler Perry idol. A player finds one idol, then acquires another idol through trickery, trading, searching or blackmailing. He/she can then put the two idols together, and they click in to make one “super idol” which can be played after the votes, rendering that player just about invincible. The idols can be played individually but must be in the common fashion, pre-vote reveal. Just like 31, the players won’t know this going into the game, and it will come down to the players to spread this new secret or hide it from their enemies. This new rule will be with the paper the idol is hidden with.
Although it shouldn’t alter the game to a great degree, as despite 31 it is rare for a person to have two idols, it challenges the castaways in a new way and raises new questions about trust in an alliance, and also raises the importance of each idol. If you have an idol, it would be foolish of you to eliminate another idol holder, as that will remove that idol from the game, eliminating your ability to make a super idol. This could lead to a situation where the two idol players (in opposing alliances or the same) call a truce and agree not to vote each other out. Interestingly though, this could result in an agreement across allied lines or within a ‘voting block’: “if you get voted out with the idol, I’ll give you my second half to save yourself in exchange for ____ (probably a jury vote).” That then opens the door for blackmail and treason of the highest order. In this game where you can’t trust your allies, can you trust an enemy to give up his game-saving protection for you? New gameplay/strategy could be unlocked, however the game could be locked down by two idol players very quickly as they are even more powerful.
Another aspect of the game has been reinvented. Since about season 25-26 we have seen reluctance in players to share whether they have the idol, something once common in middle school survivor. In the latest seasons we have seen players maintain secrecy about their secret salvation for record number of days (shout out to Mama C.) Logically this new twist should buck the trend; your idol is more powerful now that people know you have it, as you can raise up or tear down a power player in the blink of an eye. This then leads to interesting dynamics of trust and loyalty, as we saw following from the early days of the idol. Thankfully we can be assured that this twist is not simply a knee jerk reaction to 31 and dual idol finders success rate in Cambodia. As we know, 32 shot before 31, this producers had no idea how the idols would be played in Cambodia and that the HII would be found four times by just two players. (Side note- what would Jeremy have done if this twist was active while he had two idols? Give me your thoughts in the comments)
It’s pleasing that this will add a new layer of strategy and intrigue to 32. While I grew tired of the repetitive and almost ceaseless strategy chat in 31, I don’t want to swing back to a boring season characterised by medevacs. It seems apparent this twist will enhance the strategic side of the game, making it more cut-throat against the brutality of the elements and hopefully more character moments. But I digress. It’s question time.
I assume the idols can’t all look different this season as other wise they wouldn’t fit together. That also assimilates with the chronology, as that twist came into play after 32 had happened. This will also probably reduce the effectiveness of fake idols, as they no longer can be used to plant a (Russell) seed of doubt in a power player/idol holder’s mind, because it’s obvious it’s not real when the two idols don’t fit together. They could still be used to intimidate a player who hasn’t encountered an idol yet. Whether the HII will be hidden at challenges, I do not yet know but I assume not. That would be twist overload. I wonder how obvious it will be to the players that the two pieces can fit together (e.g. two halves of a yin yang) or whether only those who have read the idol’s rules (once the idol is found) will understand the new nature. I am almost certain that the players will not be expecting this. Perhaps the super fans may suspect a super idol, but never a 1+1=2 idol. Surely this will happen as otherwise why would the producers/CBS explain it to us preseason? The only shadow of doubt I have is that maybe the actual double idol won’t be played this way however it could be used to strong arm other players into giving up idols.
Overall I approve of this twist, however similarly to 31, I believe we will see the true exciting-ness of this twist in S33 and S34, the convergence of all these new HII twists, and this should result in pure chaos. Is the idol at a challenge, at camp, in camp, on the island at all? Is this half an idol, a super idol or a fake? How powerful is my idol, and how does it relate superficially to the others? Most importantly, how am I going to use this? This also explains Probst’s smug little smile at the end of 31: “You thought Cambodia was crazy? You think this season is going to be just medevacs and no gameplay? Survivor is dead? Think again.” I predict a crazy tribal and the return of probst-coach-cam at the reunion. Lastly, what do we call this new idol? Will it be a tribute to its first player, like the Dan Foley vote doubler? Double idol? Super idol? Although it’s a bit lengthy, the 1+1=2 idol is my favourite name, as I came up with it.
P.S. I bet James Clement wishes he had played while this twist existed.
What are your thoughts on the new idol twist? Are you a fan of it or not? How do you think the twist will play out? Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts!
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