'Survivor: Island of the Idols' recap: Elaine Stott voted out, Dan Spilo removed from game for "another incident" off-camera
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 12/12/2019
Survivor: Island of the Idols voted out Elaine Stott and removed Dan Spilo from the game due to "another incident" during the one-hour Season 39 broadcast Wednesday night on CBS.
Elaine, a 41-year-old factory worker from Woodbine, KY, who currently resides in Rockholds, KY, was voted out of the game on Night 35 through a 5-2 vote at Tribal Council instead of Noura Salman, a 36-year-old entrepreneur from London, UK and Bethesda, MD who currently resides in North Potomac, MD.
"Other than winning the million dollars, I've experienced everything you can experience inSurvivor. When you come out here, you have to look yourself in the eye, and sometimes people don't like what they see. I'm just the opposite. I love me!" Elaine said following her ouster.
"So, it feels good to come out and reconfirm a lot of things I already thought about myself. I'm proud of me, man, I really am. And it's something I'll always remember."
In addition, Dan Spilo, a 48-year-old talent manager from New York, NY, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA, became the firstSurvivor castaway ever to be removed by producers from the game. (Past players who left the game had been medically evacuated or chose to quit on their own accord.)
At the end of the Survivor broadcast, the screen faded to black and the following statement appeared: "Dan was removed from the game after a report of another incident, which happened off-camera and did not involve a player."
While the vague statement did not provide any additional details about the off-screen incident, the phrasing suggested Dan was involved in another incident of inappropriate touching.
Fellow Survivor castaway Kellee Kim had complained about Dan's behavior earlier in the game, resulting in producers warning him about his behavior on Day 22, according to a statement broadcast on the season's eighth episode.
The Survivor broadcast began on Night 32 at the Lumuwaku tribe following Karishma Patel's vote off.
The players remaining in the game at this point were Elaine; Dan; Noura; Lauren Beck, a 28-year-old nanny from Bakersfield, CA; Tommy Sheehan, a 26-year-old 4th grade teacher from Bayville, NY, who currently resides in Long Beach, NY; Janet Carbin, a 59-year-old chief lifeguard from Neptune, NJ, who currently resides in Palm Bay, FL; and Dean Kowalski, a 28-year-old tech salesman from Westfield, NJ, who currently resides in New York, NY.
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Tommy said Tribal Council was crazy because no one had told him he was in trouble until Dean warned him votes were going his way. Tommy pointed out Dean had saved his game because Noura, Karishma and Elaine were all planning to write his name down.
Tommy told Lauren, Janet and Dan the person they were supposed to be able to trust had betrayed them, and that person was Noura.
Noura, however, insisted she was never going to write Tommy's name down, and she apologized for waiting until the last minute to let him know he had been the other side's target.
Noura said Dean had presented her with a plan right before Tribal Council to take Tommy out but there was "no way" she was going with it.
Noura pleaded for Tommy's forgiveness, but he was so agitated with her that he just wanted nothing to do with her.
And Noura was also furious at Dean, who had completely thrown her under the bus. Noura therefore stuffed Dean's nice sneakers into the top of their tribe's flag, where other belongings from "lost souls in the game" had also been placed.
On Day 33, Elaine admitted she was upset she had played her hidden Immunity Idol at the previous Tribal Council. Elaine therefore went looking for another idol because she had a feeling she'd be the one going home if she couldn't save herself at the next Tribal.
Everyone else was then shown waking up early and going idol hunting as well, and in the end, Janet found one. The last time Janet can use the idol is when five players are remaining, and she was ecstatic about the idea of making the Final 4 and potentially winning the whole game.
Janet shared with Tommy that she had found an idol. Dean and Elaine from a distance could see that Janet was showing Tommy something, so it became apparent Janet had an idol.
Although Dean really wanted to find the idol himself, he noted knowledge is power in this game, so he was at least happy with that.
On Day 34, Elaine told the cameras Noura was "a basket case," but she joked, "Who doesn't love a crazy woman?!"
Elaine said it made sense to get rid of Noura just "for peace of mind," but she realized no one wanted to sit next to her in the end. Elaine therefore intended to make moves so she could get herself to the end.
Elaine then spoke to Lauren about how neither Dean or Dan wanted to sit next to her in the end. Elaine suggested that at the Final 4, she would probably be forced to make fire.
"If you think they're going to let Tommy drag his little friend along, you're mistaken," Elaine told Lauren.
Elaine pitched the idea of an all-boys alliance to Lauren, and Lauren realized Dean wanted to be close with Dan and Tommy. In fact, Lauren believed Dean wanted to be closer with Tommy than Tommy was with Lauren.
Elaine's advice prompted Lauren to ask more questions, so she confronted Tommy about having a Final 3 deal with Dean and Dan. Tommy explained to Lauren they couldn't take Janet to the end but she was definitely in his Final 3; however, he was lying.
"She's an amazing person, but that's the reason why I need her out of this game," Tommy said in a confessional. "She's going to win."
Tommy promised Lauren no one was gunning for her, and he admitted lying was fun for him. After Dean had saved his butt, Tommy felt loyalty and a sense of friendship with Dean.
Tommy then voiced to Dean and Dan that they couldn't bring Lauren to the end or she would win it all. Dan agreed, and so the boys decided to send Lauren home before the Final 3.
It made perfect sense to Dan to be in a Final 3 with Tommy and Dean, but he wasn't convinced Dean was going to stick to the plan.
Later on, the tribe received a bag from someone on a boat. There was a scroll that explained one person would be headed to the Island of the Idols, and Dean's name was written down on a separate scroll.
As a result, Dean headed to the secret island, and he was "so excited" about potentially changing the whole course of his game. Dean finally felt luck was coming his way.
Dean also still thought he had a "Legacy Advantage" to play, but little did he know that advantage had been created by Jamal Shipman and was fake.
Once Dean arrived on the Island of the Idols, he flashed the Legacy Advantage at Sandra Diaz-Twine and Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano, who attempted to keep a straight face. Sandra and Rob could not confirm whether or not that advantage was fake.
Dean explained he thought the advantage was real so he had previously painted a fake "Legacy Advantage" to make his tribemates think he had already played it and flushed it out of the game.
"Dean made a fake of the fake Legacy Advantage, and we're like, 'This dude is brilliant, like, who thinks of that?'" Sandra told the cameras.
But then Dean told Sandra and Rob he wanted to convince everyone to vote for him so he could play his advantage and impress the jury about being crafty enough to play it with six people remaining in the game.
Rob, however, told the cameras it's never a good idea to try to put votes on oneself -- even if the person has a real "Legacy Advantage," which Dean didn't have.
Rob and Sandra then gave Dean a lesson in jury management. Rob asked Dean whether he had a story to share with the jury that would make them want to award him $1 million dollars in the end.
"It's not only getting to the end but how you get there, and once you get there, can you get respect from the people to write your name down?" Rob explained to Dean.
"Make your moves known. You have to tell the story in a way that makes them feel like you played the game the best."
Dean's test ended up being wagering his vote for one of three possible advantages -- an extra vote, an Idol nullifier, or an Immunity Idol good at the next Tribal Council that could not be played for himself.
If Dean passed the test, he could choose his advantage. But if he lost, he would lose his vote at the next Tribal Council session.
The test was a simple game of chance -- a coin flip. The coin said "yes" on one side and "no" on the other. If Dean won the coin flip, he could impress the jury by taking a huge risk in order to get ahead in the game. Rob explained the game is all about risk vs. reward.
Since Dean thought Janet had found an idol already and risking his game on a coin flip would be a good move in the jury's eyes, Dean realized it was almost necessary to take the chance.
As a result, Rob flipped the coin and Dean won! Dean chose the "Idol nullifier" in order to have power over others going forward. Rob told Dean playing this game could be the difference in swaying one jury vote in his favor to win.
With seven people left in the game, Dean said he already had a clear plan of how to win over the jury for $1 million.
Dean arrived back to camp later that day, and he was definitely a little bit nervous about what to tell his tribemates. Dean intended to be sneaky and crafty.
Dean told his tribemates that he had to risk his vote in order to play a 50/50 game of chance. Dean said if he won, he got to choose between an extra vote that would last until Final 6 or a hidden Immunity Idol to be played for someone else.
Dean -- who left the "Idol nullifier" out of his story -- said he chose the extra vote but then flipped the coin and lost.
Dean, however, came clean with Dan, Lauren and Tommy so the guys would trust him and feel even closer to him. Dean explained he must choose a person before the votes are read.
"Dang, Dean can play more than I thought! To be honest, I thought Dean was just a goat and I thought I could just take him to the end and he would make no moves," Tommy told the cameras.
"Because really, Dean doesn't talk around camp. He just kind of sits there and smiles and puts his hand through his hair. But at this point, he has the Legacy Advantage and an Idol nullifier... I'm a little scared because I was underestimating him, and maybe he's got to go."
Dean then pitched the idea of taking Noura out.
It then became time for the seven castaways to compete in an Individual Immunity Challenge on Day 35.
Survivor host Jeff Probst explained each castaway must spin to unravel a coil of rope, make his or her way through a series of obstacles while collecting one puzzle piece, and then solve a Survivor word puzzle.
The first to finish would win immunity and be guaranteed a one in six shot of getting to the end.
Noura and Dean were the first two people to begin working on their puzzles, but the puzzle proved to be complicated and the castaways looked at each other's work.
In the end, it came down to Dean and Elaine -- and Dean pulled out the victory by spelling out "This game will mess with your mind" first.
Elaine was so upset because she said she "had it" but couldn't figure out how to switch the top letters around.
"I almost won! I knew what it was but I didn't solve it fast enough. It makes me so mad," Elaine vented. "I really needed to win today, I'm pretty desperate... [but] I'm voting for Noura."
After the challenge, Elaine assumed her tribe was going to vote her out, but she had no intention to quit.
While Elaine was taking a swim in the ocean, Tommy, Janet and Lauren told Noura they should all just put their votes on Elaine.
Tommy, however, informed viewers that Plan A. was to get Elaine out but Plan B. was to put enough votes on Noura so that if any idol was played, Noura would go home instead.
Janet, Tommy and Lauren then discussed putting one vote on Noura just in case, and they decided Dan should be that person.
But Lauren had decided she's "too much of a threat," and she acknowledged everyone might want to take Noura to the end because she's be easy to beat. Lauren started wondering if Noura needed to go in order to secure herself one of those three spots with hopefully Tommy and Dan.
Lauren told Elaine that she might write down Noura's name, and Elaine was excited to potentially live another day in the game.
Lauren then asked Janet if she'd vote for Noura as well, which would definitely send Noura packing since Dan was already voting for her.
Lauren thought about making big moves so she could be more like iconic players in the past, such as Sandra.
Janet liked the idea of removing Noura from a possible Final 3 scenario, and she thought keeping Elaine around would diminish her own "threat level" going forward.
"[Elaine] can start fire probably as fast if not faster than I can, she can win immunities, and she's a likeable player. That makes her dangerous, so tonight's a tricky vote... and Lauren and myself are in charge of making the decision," Elaine shared in a confessional.
That night at Tribal, Dean played to the jury by making them think he had been responsible for a lot of their exits.
And Elaine announced it made sense for her tribemates to keep her around in order to shield themselves from one more vote since she's arguably a bigger threat. Elaine also declared she was voting Noura out because Noura was a likely person others would want to take to the end.
"If she goes to the end, then Janet's out. If she goes to the end, then Lauren might be out. So by voting me out and keeping her, you're maybe taking a seat away from yourself," Elaine said.
Noura, however, insisted no one would want to sit next to Elaine in the Final 3.
"But it would be better to go with me because you know I'm going home," Elaine said, adding that Noura was a wild card.
Noura suggested Elaine was grasping at straws.
Towards the end of Tribal Council, Elaine broke down into tears. Elaine shared her mother had passed away three months prior and she came to Survivor trying to work through those emotions.
Elaine explained she wanted to continue fighting but the Survivor experience was more about learning about herself and finding adventure than it was about just winning money.
"Dreams are still alive -- until you snuff my torch," Elaine told Jeff in tears.
When it became time for Jeff to read the votes aloud, no one played an idol. He then revealed the votes in the following order: Elaine, Noura, Elaine, Noura, Elaine, and Elaine.
Lauren and Elaine embraced before Elaine left the scene, and Lauren apologized in tears. Elaine promised her that everything was okay because it was just a game.
After the castaways returned to camp, Jeff suddenly -- and seemingly out of nowhere -- approached the tribe on Day 36 at their camp.
The castaways were totally in shock to see Jeff, and Lauren admitted she was "so confused."
"Alright, I need to share some news," Jeff began.
The tribe automatically assumed it meant bad news for Dan since Dan was nowhere to be found.
"I just spoke privately with Dan, and I want to update you guys. A decision has been made and Dan will not be returning to the game. He won't be coming back to camp; he won't be on the jury. He's gone," Jeff explained.