Survivor is a show that is constantly evolving. The sole reason that Survivor has endured all the years is because it changes things up each season. Survivor adds new twists all the time and Survivor: Kaoh Rong has had another curve-ball thrown into the proceedings. There were Hidden Immunity Idols, but now there a Super Idols. While the Hidden Immunity Idols can be played before the votes are read and save a person from elimination, a Super Idol can be played after the votes are counted, ensuring safety. In no uncertain terms, this new twist is totally stupid.
No More Hidden Immunity Idols
Maybe this is an unpopular opinion but the Hidden Immunity Idols themselves have always been problematic. They aren’t quite as bad as other “new” twists like Redemption Island and Exile Island. These twists were so unpopular and/or boring that they were quickly dropped after introduction. Hidden Immunity Idols aren’t that bad. In their defense, they have created some great Tribal Councils. The pinnacle of the twist, and one of the great Survivor moments, is when Parvati Shallow used multiple Idols to save all the members of her alliance and voted out the completion. Hidden Immunity Idols aren’t dreadful, they are just disappointing and Super Idols will only exacerbate the problem with them.
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The issue with the Hidden Immunity Idols is that they take time out of the more interesting aspects of Survivor. Hidden Immunity Idols don’t focus on what are the best parts of Survivor. They don’t involve social interaction or a physical/mental challenge. They might add a layer to them, especially the social game, but they aren’t really involved. The customary search for a Hidden Immunity Idol at the beginning of each season is so boring and repetitive. The best thing that can be said is that once the Idol is found, things are done. Now that there are Super Idols to be located, the searching is going to extend for that much longer.
It Takes the Strategy Out
Super Idols also ignore one of the good things about the Hidden Immunity Idols. The crazy tribal council where Hidden Immunity Idols were used aren’t deemed great because of the use of the Idol. It was the strategy that went into the decision to use the Idol. Parvati Shallow didn’t know for sure she was going to save her entire alliance when she blew her stack of Hidden Idols in one Tribal Council, she just did. In Survivor: Second Chance Jeremy Collins and Kelley Wentworth had no idea that their use of Hidden Immunity Idols was going to make no votes count at Tribal Council. Hidden Immunity Idols ensure safety but they’re also a gamble.
There is no gamble with Super Idols. It is not really an “unfair” advantage. Contestants still have to find both parts of Super Idol but it is too much power. It is the same reason why Redemption Island was so unpopular. It is taking one of the core ideas of Survivor, that votes matter, and polluting it. When a contestant finds a Super Idol this season, and it is almost bound to happen, a lot of the tension is going to be taken out. They are guaranteed safety. This safety might be for only one tribal council but it is too much for one contestant, especially considering that Individual Immunity and Hidden Immunity already exist.
Make Super Idols Be a Super Achievement
This is, of course, just my initial reaction to the Super Idol. I’m probably never going to come around to the idea in general but Survivor could sway me into enjoying them if one criteria is met. The Super Idol needs to be incredibly difficult to complete. Ideally I’d like it to be impossible for anyone to get a Super Idol pre-merge. In other words, both parts of the Super Idol are not in the same camp. The only way to get a Super Idol is for one holder of a Hidden Immunity Idol to pair up with another. I doubt that is how it will happen because there are three tribes so that makes the number of Idols uneven but it is possible.
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At the very least, I hope the second part of The Super Idol is hidden like Hidden Immunity Idols were in Survivor: Second Chance. I loved that Survivor: Second Chance hid the Hidden Immunity Idols inside other challenges so castaways were forced to take them in plain sight. It is already disappointing that the original Idols weren’t hidden in the same way but hopefully Super Idols will.
Though I will say that it is perhaps unfair to judge Survivor: Kaoh Rong too harshly on that front. Survivor: Kaoh Rong was filmed and completed before Survivor: Second Chance so the idea to hide Idols inside challenges might not have been born yet. The bottom line is if Super Idols are as easy to find as the regular Hidden Immunity Idols, then it is going to be a real cause of anger.
But what do you think of the new Super Idol? Is it terribly exciting or just plain terrible? Do you think anyone will complete a Super Idol?
Survivor Kaoh Rong airs Wednesdays at 8pm on CBS.
(Images courtesy of CBS)