Jeff Pitman's Survivor 39: Island of the Idols recaps

The ending was a good start

Episode 14: The ending was a good start

Published: December 26, 2019

 

After a troubling season produced hopefully helpful new procedures, Jeff takes a close look at what's working (and a lot of what's not) with Survivor's core game, which mostly boils down to: Too much heavy handed production in some areas, too little in others.

 
Stumbling to a muted finish

Episode 13: Stumbling to a muted finish

Published: December 16, 2019

 

One. More. Episode.

 
Laissez fail

Episode 12: Laissez fail

Published: December 9, 2019

 

Jeff makes the case that this episode's chaotic, largely rudderless Tribal Council was emblematic of the season as a whole: seemed fun at first, but ultimately a letdown, with no discernible guidance from production.

 
Karishma and the power of negative thinking

Episode 11: Karishma and the power of negative thinking

Published: December 4, 2019

 

As we grasp for positives in the closing episodes of Island of the Idols, one standout has been Karishma's gravity-defying rise in prominence, despite having seen her name written down so many times. Is her path to the end sustainable?

 
How to move forward from here?

Episodes 8-9: How to move forward from here?

Published: November 20, 2019

 

A previously great season allowed an uncomfortable incident to become in-game strategic fodder, and in mere minutes, Survivor: Island of the Idols went from a fun adventure to a bleak, miserable miasma. Is there a path forward for the show as a whole, or the season? Eh, maybe.

 
The story that gets told

Episode 7: The story that gets told

Published: November 11, 2019

 

Female contestants have had a major impact on this season so far, and Jeff dives into the degree to which this has been facilitated by the show itself, plus a look at Kellee's big move, and is there a chance for an older winner?

 
Congratulations!

Episode 6: Congratulations!

Published: November 4, 2019

 

If last week's episode felt a bit like setting up the chess pieces for a big play, this week's episode made that investment of plotting time worthwhile. From the camp life to the blindside, an apt demonstration that 39 seasons in, Survivor can still deliver can't-miss television.

 
Early swap results: mixed

Episode 5: Early swap results: mixed

Published: October 28, 2019

 

Survivor dusted off some old concepts this week — swapping from two tribes to... two(!), corporate sponsors, no Island of the Idols — and the Survivors dusted their oldest contestant. It was... fine? Except maybe in prematurely burying some of the strategy.

 
A watermelon toast to the Island

Episode 4: A watermelon toast to the Island

Published: October 21, 2019

 

As more time passes, it's becoming clear that the optimal role of Island of the Idols is not instruction, but rather entertainment, and maybe that was the plan all along? Either way, Jeff Pitman is totally fine with that. (Also, the vidcap gallery returns.)

 
Live by the Island, die by the Island

Episode 3: Live by the Island, die by the Island

Published: October 14, 2019

 

This week's Island of the Idols segment took on a larger role within the episode, and Jeff makes the case that at least in this instance, it worked, because it gave us a chance to meet Vince in greater depth before he left. Even if it may also have contributed to his leaving.

 
Tracking the story with inconsistent narrators

Episode 2: Tracking the story with inconsistent narrators

Published: October 7, 2019

 

While the second episode of Island of the Idols included a major blindside, it also felt a bit disconnected from the premiere, narrative-wise. Jeff looks at this, sleeping, smartypantses, and a potential smokescreen of fire previews.

 
Everyone here has a story

Episode 1: Everyone here has a story

Published: September 30, 2019

 

The premiere of Survivor: Island of the Idols bounded with depth and energy from its new cast, even if the central twist for which it's named was a bit of a mixed bag. Jeff Pitman looks at what worked and what could use improvement with the new season.

 
Giant heads: The TDT Island of the Idols contestant draft

Pre-season: Giant heads - The TDT Island of the Idols contestant draft

Published: September 23, 2019

 

The True Dork Times writers (Ben Martell, Dan Otsuki, Pat Ferrucci, Ryan Kaiser, and Jeff Pitman) congregate and try to pick the winner of Survivor: Island of the Idols based on almost zero evidence. But that's no reason to avoid making what are probably ludicrously inaccurate hot takes.

 
Who are these non-jackasses?

Pre-season: Who are these non-jackasses?

Published: September 20, 2019

 

Jeff attempts to sort the consistently compelling new contestants of Survivor: Island of the Idols into tiers of likelihood of winning. Which turns out to be pretty difficult, because they're all really good this time.

 
Running the Survivor numbers: A how-to guide

Pre-season: Running the Survivor numbers: A how-to guide

Published: June 3, 2019

 

A brief explanation of the trove of Survivor scoring spreadsheets made publicly available for viewing and/or download this weekend. All with the goal of spurring new innovations in numerically based Survivor analysis.

 

Jeff Pitman's recapsJeff Pitman is the founder of the True Dork Times, and probably should find better things to write about than Survivor. So far he hasn't, though. He's also responsible for the Survivometer, calendar, boxscores, and contestant pages, so if you want to complain about those, you can do so in the comments, or on twitter: @truedorktimes

Other TDT recaps:

Jeff Pitman has been writing about Survivor for far too long. Here are some options for further reading...

 

Survivor: Winners at War | Island of the Idols | Edge of Extinction | David vs. Goliath | NZ: Thailand | Ghost Island | Heroes v. Healers v. Hustlers | Game Changers | Millennials vs. Gen X | Kaoh Rong | Cambodia | Worlds Apart | San Juan del Sur | Cagayan | Blood vs. Water | Caramoan | Philippines | One World | South Pacific | Redemption Island | Nicaragua | Samoa | Gabon | China | Fiji | Cook Islands | Palau | Vanuatu | The Amazon | Thailand | Marquesas | Africa

 

See also: The full True Dork Times index of past seasons.

ADVERTISEMENT