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For Survivor Kaoh Rong, another hidden immunity idol change

For Survivor Kaoh Rong, another hidden immunity idol change
Survivor Kaoh Rong hidden immunity idols will reportedly take the shape of the half of a yin-yang, and when joined, they become one powerful idol. (Illustration by Shutterstock)

Survivor Kaoh Rong will introduce yet another change to hidden immunity idols. The all-powerful post-vote Tyler Perry idol will return, but with a twist: two individual idols can be combined into one super-duper idol that’s played post-vote-reading, and allows the person who played it to essentially nullify the results of the tribe’s vote.

EW’s Dalton Ross has the story from CBS and Jeff Probst, who explained, in part that

“an idol has two separate powers. If you find an idol, it has the regular powers of a normal idol, But when put together with another idol—two can actually fit together—they can be used as one super idol that can be played after the votes are read.”

Probst calls that a “free pass,” which, of course, it is. To recap, the Tyler Perry idol is basically back, it just has to be formed from two separate idols.

Inside Survivor says this the combined idol will be yin-yang shaped, with halves marked with symbols for each tribe: a crocodile for the brain tribe, a tiger for the brawn tribe, and a snake for the beauty tribe. (It’s not clear if only halves with matching symbols can be joined.)

Thoughts about the new super-duper hidden immunity idol

I have five reactions to this new Survivor twist:

  1. NO NO STOP WITH THE POWER IDOL UGH.
  2. Okay, stop overreacting, Andy: When it was reintroduced into the game, the Tyler Perry idol didn’t end up having a major effect, just like the last two attempts at giving people extra votes at Tribal didn’t do much except send that person home that very Tribal Council.
  3. At least players have to work to create a power idol, and work together. It’s not as easy as finding the neon sign pointing to the idol in the weird-looking tree.
  4. We just came off an outstanding season that didn’t need super-power idols. Yes, regular hidden immunity idols played an integral role, and that’s great. The decision to hide them in challenges was a smart iteration—it didn’t change their power, it just changed the process of acquiring them (and made for some great television).Because Survivor Kaoh Rong was filmed before Survivor Second Chance, I can understand why production wanted to introduce another new twist. They didn’t know how well Second Chance would work, and didn’t know that plain old hidden immunity idols can do just fine by themselves.
  5. Two idols that have to be joined to make one idol is, yes, a really interesting idea. I’m not sure this will happen, but it’s especially interesting if halves were hidden at opposite tribe beaches. The possibility of joining them creates an interesting incentive to confess the presence of a single idol, although joining them together means one person has to effectively give up their idol, i.e. their own protection and safety. There’s a lot of trust and potential intrigue involved there.

As with all Survivor twists, it’s fun to (over-)react to them, but the last few seasons have shown that, on paper, the twists seem very different than they do in the game. So I’m looking forward to seeing how this plays out.

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  • Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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