Survivor: Talkin' Hidden Immunity Idols
Let's talk immunity idols.  There's been a certain backlash against the existence of the hidden immunity idol on Survivor over the past couple weeks, stemming from its poor utilization by both Jason Siska and Ozzy Lusth over the last two Survivor: Micronesia episodes.  The basic argument against the hidden immunity idol is that it's extremely difficult to use correctly, and that if anyone else knows a specific person holds the idol, that person immediately becomes the biggest target in the game.  This is exactly what happened the last two weeks – Jason and Ozzy were outed as idol holders and were quickly blind-sided.  Has the hidden immunity idol run its course as a useful piece of the Survivor game? 

I'm of the opinion that the hidden immunity idol can be used correctly.  The key is keeping it a secret.  Ozzy was only outed as the idol holder because he placed a fake idol in the original's hiding place.  While this is a clever move that kind of worked out, it also was integral in his elimination.  Would he have been voted off anyway had no one known he had the idol?  Maybe, but he also would have had an easier time catching wind of the plot to vote him off and could have actually used the idol to save himself.  That's easier said then done, however.  Going back to last season, James held two idols and was still voted off.  That was largely user error – James was greedy.  Poor use shouldn't be the reason for deeming the hidden idol pointless. 

The truth is, there are plenty of ways to leverage the possession of the idol to advance your place in the Survivor game, but it's always going to be a risky endeavor.  It's near impossible to keep it a secret if you have it.  My solution would be to stop hiding the idol on Exile Island and go back to having it hidden around camp.  Whenever that's the case, it's easier for whoever finds it to keep it a secret and therefore easier to use it effectively.  Yul Kwon is the only person that used his idol en route to winning a million dollars.  He never had to use it at tribal, but the mere fact that he owned it kept others from voting him off. 

It's one of those things that adds a little excitement to the game and doesn't take much away.  Survivor players learn lessons from every season that airs before theirs – from now on, I guarantee future players will learn their lessons from Jason and Ozzy.  And, if we ignore the unfairness or flaws of the hidden immunity idol that you think might have been exposed over the last two weeks, you have to admit that it made the last two episodes very entertaining.  Isn't that the only thing that really matters?

-Oscar Dahl, BuddyTV Senior Writer
(Image Courtesy of CBS)