'Survivor: Island of the Idols' recap: Kellee Kim and Jamal Shipman voted out at separate Tribals after harassment allegations rock tribe
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 11/14/2019
Survivor: Island of the Idols merged Lairo and Vokai into a new Lumuwaku tribe, which voted out Kellee Kim -- with two hidden Immunity Idols in her pocket -- and Jamal Shipman at separate Tribal Council sessions after discussions about harassment and discomfort rocked the tribe during the two-hour episode of Season 39 Wednesday night on CBS.
Kellee, a 29-year-old MBA student from Costa Mesa, CA, who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA, was voted out of Lumuwaku on Day 22 with two idols in her pocket through an 8-5 vote instead of Dan Spilo, a 48-year-old talent manager from New York, NY, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
"I think honestly I'm kind of in shock. Ugh! I am my own worst enemy in this game! Finding two idols is great," Kellee said in her final words.
"But if you find two idols and don't know how to use them, you might as well of not have found two idols. It's kind of crazy I let the people that I did trust around me kind of lull me into security. I obviously should have played an idol."
And on Day 24, Jamal, a 33-year-old college administrator from Jersey City, NJ, who currently resides in Providence, RI, was sent packing in a 5-3-2 vote instead of Karishma Patel, a 37-year-old personal injury lawyer from Philadelphia, PA, who currently resides in Houston, TX, and Janet Carbin, a 59-year-old chief lifeguard from Neptune, NJ, who currently resides in Palm Bay, FL.
Karishma received three votes, while Janet had two votes thrown her way. Jamal had lost his vote for this Tribal Council following a visit to the Island of the Idols that backfired on him.
"This will have all been a waste of time if anybody comes out here and doesn't look for ways to grow as a person, and as much as you put into the game, the game is willing to reflect that back to you and give you an opportunity to be a better version of yourself," Jamal said following his ouster.
"So I think I accomplished some important steps in my own personal growth out here."
The Survivorbroadcast began on Night 19 following Jack Nichting's vote out.
The Vokai tribe after a swap was comprised of Dan; Elaine Stott, a 41-year-old factory worker from Woodbine, KY, who currently resides in Rockholds, KY; Tommy Sheehan, a 26-year-old 4th grade teacher from Bayville, NY, who currently resides in Long Beach, NY; Lauren Beck, a 28-year-old nanny from Bakersfield, CA, and Rochester Hills, MI, who currently resides in Glendale, CA; Elizabeth Beisel, a 26-year-old Olympic medalist from Saunderstown, RI; Missy Byrd, a 24-year-old Air Force veteran from Decatur, GA, who currently resides in Tacoma, WA; and Aaron Meredith, a 36-year-old gym owner from Uncasville, CT, who currently resides in Warwick, RI.
The Lairo tribe post-swap was made up of Kellee; Jamal; Janet; Karishma; Noura Salman, a 36-year-old entrepreneur from London, UK and Bethesda, MD who currently resides in North Potomac, MD; and Dean Kowalski, a 28-year-old tech salesman from Westfield, NJ, who currently resides in New York, NY.
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Jamal was upset he had wasted his idol on Noura and his pal Jack went home. Dean felt he owed Kellee a lot for saving him with her idol, and he just pretended like he went along with someone else's plan.
Noura admitted to her tribe she felt obligated to write Jack's name down because someone had cornered her into believing she was in trouble, and then Jamal demanded Noura tell them the culprit or mastermind behind it all.
Noura initially remained silent as to not throw Kellee under the bus, but she also felt indebted to Jamal since he had used his idol on her and proven his loyalty.
"Kellee, I'm sorry," Noura announced in front of the whole tribe. "Kellee, I love you. You know that."
Janet and Jamal found the news "sickening," so Kellee believed she had no other option than to pull her two closest allies aside and lie to them.
Kellee flat out denied having spoken with Noura before Tribal, and she broke down into tears in front of Jamal and Janet. Jamal said something didn't add up although Kellee appeared to be overwhelmed with emotion.
"I think Kellee, the savvy Survivor player that she is, was trying to play an underground game that came to the surface -- because she tried to do it with Noura," Jamal told the cameras with a laugh. "You never try to play an underground game with Noura."
On Day 20 at Lairo's camp, Kellee went looking for a hidden Immunity Idol, but she wasn't the only one. Since everyone anticipated the merge was ahead, all the castaways wanted to feel protected.
During Kellee's search near the shore, she ended up finding an idol in the sand. Kellee viewed her idol as a tool to hopefully advance her further in the game.
Both tribes were then asked to get into boats and gather on one beach, where the merge feast awaited them.
Dan wanted to reconnect with Janet and Kellee since they were close to each other on former Vokai, and Janet told Dan that Jamal wanted to work with him. However, Dan apparently had no desire to work with Jamal.
"Right now, I'm sitting in the middle seat. Do I go with old Vokai? We have 7-6, the numbers. So it's the easy route and we all know each other, or do I change this game up and go with my new friends -- Vokai 2.0?" Tommy said in a confessional.
The original Vokai members still standing who began the game together on Day 1 were Lauren, Janet, Kellee, Noura, Tommy, Jamal, and Dan.
Elizabeth explained the Vokai 2.0 plan was to stay seven strong and bring in Janet and Kellee. The "seven strong" would be Elizabeth, Dan, Elaine, Tommy, Lauren, Missy, and Aaron in that case.
Elizabeth acknowledged Lairo was down on the numbers so having a backup plan -- with another alliance -- was advantageous.
Kellee, however, thought the Vokai 2.0 plan was "so dumb" because she said a new alliance of nine really only helped the four original Lairo members.
The four original Lairo members who began playing the game together on Day 1 that she was referring to were Elizabeth, Elaine, Missy and Aaron.
"All of those old Lairo need to go," Kellee reasoned. "I think they're the most dangerous players in the game... I think they're legitimately good players."
Tommy was annoyed Kellee shot down every idea he had, but he insisted his alliance was going to best serve himself and be a mix of original Lairo and Vokai members if necessary.
The merged tribe called themselves "Lumuwaku," and on Day 21, Missy and Kellee discussed how people's minds were wandering.
The two girls clicked over the fact Dan had been "extremely inappropriate" since Day 1. Kellee hated how touchy-feely Dan allegedly was with her, and Missy totally agreed and wanted him gone.
Kellee, who claimed Dan would try to hold her around the waist, said Lauren and Elizabeth were on the same page as well, and there was clearly a pattern.
Kellee realized she wasn't overreacting since a handful of girls felt the same way, so a producer was shown telling Kellee he could step in because producers didn't want anyone feeling uncomfortable. Kellee, however, believed Janet was going to handle the situation.
Meanwhile, Tommy vented to Lauren about how Kellee scared the hell out of him and she suddenly seemed really close with Missy. Tommy noticed the two girls had sat on the beach for hours talking, and he said Kellee downplayed her intelligence so much that no one viewed her as a threat.
Lauren always felt like she and Kellee were on the same page, but she began doubting and second-guessing herself about whether she could sincerely trust Kellee. Lauren viewed Kellee as dangerous as well.
Janet wasn't sure whether Dan's actions were intentional or harmless because she's admittedly a physical person who bonds through the sense of touch, but she felt the need to have her girls' backs regardless.
"On the off chance Dan is totally innocent, he's going to be devastated. It's a tricky thing to have 100 percent proof. You're never going to get it," Janet told the cameras.
Missy was then shown telling Elizabeth that their "only play" was to tell Janet how uncomfortable Dan made them feel so they could target Dan and take him out. Missy had seemingly turned Kellee's feelings about Dan into a strategy that would benefit her own game.
Elizabeth also wanted to get on the right side of the numbers, so she was willing to "play up that card."
Elizabeth and Kellee discussed going after Dan, but Kellee had a more elaborate plan in mind.
"As much as I feel disrespected and I feel disgusted by [Dan], I'm not going to make a game decision based off of those feelings. Look, I'm upset with the way he has been behaving and that is the fair thing to do. But this game is not fair. I'm not playing this game to be fair; I'm playing this game to win."
Kellee added, "So Dan makes sense as a decoy vote, but Missy is really the person we want to get out."
Lauren, however, then ran back and told Missy the real plan was to vote her out. Lauren blamed the plan on Kellee, saying Kellee had tried to make her feel comfortable and confident by talking to her for two hours.
Missy seemed totally shocked, and she wasn't sure whether she could trust Lauren and Tommy to save her.
Lauren therefore advised Missy to win Individual Immunity, and Missy had no intention of going out like a punk.
According to an on-screen graphic, the following morning, producers met with all the players, both as a group and individually.
"They were cautioned about personal boundaries and reminded that producers are available to them at all times," read an on-screen graphic. "Based on the outcome of those discussions, the game continued."
"In addition, producers met privately with Dan, at which time he was issued a warning for his behavior. Producers continue to monitor the situation."
On Day 22, Lumuwaku met Survivor host Jeff Probst for the season's first Individual Immunity Challenge.
Each castaway was instructed to hold onto two poles connected to a table with three balls ontop.
Every time a player lowered that table, it would lock into a new position, making it more difficult to hold it up. If the table got too low, a ball would drop. If all three balls rolled off a castaway's table, he or she would be out of the challenge.
The last person left standing would win immunity and be safe from the next vote, while the next person voted out of Survivor at Tribal Council would be the eighth person out of this game.
Noura was the first castaway out of the challenge, followed by Kellee, Dean, Janet, Elaine, Lauren, Dan, Karishma, and Tommy.
After 15 minutes and dripping sweat on people's faces, Missy dropped out, and then Elizabeth couldn't hang in there any longer. The challenge came down to a showdown between Aaron and Jamal, who both had two balls left at the same time.
Following 25 minutes of gameplay, Jamal's body was completely shaking and quivering. Jamal therefore quit the challenge and fell on the ground, allowing Aaron to win the first immunity of the season.
Jamal's tribemates helped him to his feet, and then Kellee pointed out how Missy needed to go home. Kellee said while she would have loved to work with Missy, it was just too late for them to join forces.
Later that day, the tribe congratulated Aaron on his win, and Missy was disappointed because she said she really needed that safety necklace. Missy and Lauren planned to go after Kellee, along with Tom, and so the group attempted to get Dean onboard.
Dean was therefore put into a tough spot because Kellee had saved his life in the game by giving her an idol. Tommy told Lauren, Dean and Elaine the five Lairo, Dan, Noura and himself could work together.
Elaine gushed about loving the plan, and then Tommy pitched the idea to Aaron, who said he was "down."
Jamal, however, wondered whether Noura would make a move with him because Dan had allegedly talked badly about him behind his back and put his name out there. Jamal wanted Dan out on "a personal" level, and Noura was really excited about the idea.
Jamal told Noura to contain her excitement, and then he quietly spoke to Janet about the plan. Janet felt a great deal of relief since many of the women felt uncomfortable; however, she admitted she really liked Dan as a person and was going to miss him.
"I have a personal and emotional need to make these girls feel okay, so I'm going to do what's best for them," Janet told the cameras.
Janet then told Elizabeth to tell all the original Lairo members to vote out Dan. Elizabeth, however, was convinced Janet had been lying to her face and Missy was their real target. Elizabeth called all the Dan talk "smoke and mirrors."
Elizabeth said Dan had never really made her feel uncomfortable or else she would have asked him to stop. Elizabeth therefore planned to write down Kellee's name, and she hoped seven other people would as well.
Elizabeth shared her wisdom with Elaine, who warned Dan that Janet was gunning for him. Elaine advised Dan not to get squirrelly, and he insisted he trusted her and Missy. Dan couldn't "fathom" why Janet would target him because he wanted to go to the end with her and protect her.
"What she's doing is reprehensible," Dan said.
Jamal then suggested to Kellee they vote for Dan because he had accumulated enough votes. Kellee was worried and feared something was off. Kellee said the vote had been switched from Missy to Dan, but she was growing more and more nervous.
Kellee had an idol, but she decided to look for another just to better her odds of getting what she wanted.
Jamal pitched the idea to Tommy to take out Dan, and Tommy couldn't believe how nuts the merge turned out to be. Tommy wasn't sure whether he was going to target Kellee or Dan, but he was excited to have power.
Right before Tribal Council, Kellee found a second hidden Immunity Idol. The last thing she wanted, however, was to be voted out with two idols in her pocket.
On Night 22, the merged tribe met Jeff, and the first member of the jury -- Jack -- was welcomed to listen in.
There were 13 people living on one beach, and Dan said there was a strange game of shuffling parties happening. Dan said trust would outweigh deception in this game, and Missy and Lauren agreed given trust must be gained in order to deceive.
Kellee revealed her vote was going to be about trust, and Janet said tribal lines had seemingly softened -- even though there were many more original Vokai members.
Dean announced he was looking to build trust with some people that night, and Missy said the votes would prove who's good at the game and who's not.
When votes were being cast, Kellee asked Lauren if they were "okay," and Lauren nodded her head that everything was fine.
After the players voted to oust someone from Survivor: Island of the Idols, Kellee decided not to play one of her two hidden Immunity Idols.
Jeff then read the votes aloud in the following order: Dan, Kellee, Dan, Kellee, Dan, Kellee, Dan, Kellee, Dan, Kellee, Kellee, and finally Kellee.
Kellee appeared shocked and couldn't help but laugh at herself over the outcome. When Kellee walked up to Jeff to have her torch snuffed, Dan was shown whispering, "Yeah, put that torch down."
"Well, as much as you want to believe in trust, you always have to worry about deception," Jeff noted.
Noura, Karishma, Jamal, Kellee, and Janet voted for Dan, while Missy, Dan, Elizabeth, Dean, Aaron, Elaine, Lauren and Tommy voted for Kellee.
After Tribal Council, Janet admitted she was shocked by Kellee's blindside. She said the vote was supposed to be based on standing up for what is right, not on the game. Janet had voted for Dan in order to take care of the girls in her tribe, so she felt very betrayed "on a moral level."
Janet said she was willing to jeopardize her game since the other women "were in panic," and so she didn't know whom to trust anymore. Janet then learned both Tommy and Lauren had voted for Kellee.
Lauren told the cameras she didn't feel comfortable voting Dan out for the reasons other people wanted to vote him out. She explained that Dan's behavior was never an issue for her.
Janet then shared with Dan how Missy, Elizabeth and Lauren had all complained and "freaked out" about him -- only to vote Kellee out instead. Janet insisted she was trying to protect him, and then Dan said, "It's the most absurd accusation on the history of mankind."
Dan told the cameras he had never been faced with such allegations in his life and couldn't believe the women viewed him in such a negative light. Dan said, "That's not who I am," and Janet felt totally betrayed as well.
Dan therefore apologized to Elizabeth and Missy for ever making them feel uncomfortable, but both women argued they would have stood up for themselves and demanded he stopped his behavior if they truly felt uncomfortable.
Elizabeth noted Dan had never put her in a position that she didn't like and it was probably wrong of the girls to joke about it since it snowballed into this huge deal.
It also became apparent Missy and Elizabeth were starting to feel guilt over the situation because Dan reminded them accusations could ruin his life. Elaine agreed snippets of stories had been misconstrued, and then suddenly, Janet got blamed for using the women's concerns as "a tool" in the game.
Dan turned on Janet because Missy and Elizabeth insisted they had never voiced genuine complaints to her about him.
"I never felt unsafe. It was never serious to me; it was always gameplay to me," Elizabeth explained in a confessional. "My vote was based on the game of Survivor and the fact I was going with the numbers."
Elizabeth basically admitted the women had exaggerated their issues with Dan in order to paint a target on his back. But in attempt to disprove what Janet had told Dan, Janet now looked like the bad guy -- someone trying to get Dan on her side by throwing the other women under the bus.
Regardless of who viewed Dan as what, Dan told the cameras he had been nothing but loyal, kind, comforting, honest and decent. He said the vote proved everyone wanted to continue playing the game with him.
Dan then confronted Janet about Missy and Elizabeth's claims they had never spoken to Janet before about alleged concerns they had about Dan. Dan said the girls expressed how they adored him and had no problem whatsoever.
"I'm not lying," Janet insisted. "And Elizabeth was the one who said how uncomfortable she was -- not Missy. I was told that from the others."
Janet promised Dan that Elizabeth had said that to her face, and Dan apparently didn't know whom to believe.
Janet asked to speak with Missy and Elizabeth out of frustration in front of Dan, and then Elizabeth finally owned up to having said she was uncomfortable in Dan's presence. Elizabeth, however, told Dan that they were fine.
Elizabeth whispered to Dan once Janet left that she had said things she didn't mean just to get Janet off her back.
"I feel sexual [discomfort] has nowhere, no place, in a joking environment, in a game environment, in anything. It's its own entity. It's a very powerful, powerful thing. Lives can be destroyed," Janet told the cameras.
"The girls let it fly that Dan is a problem, and I'm upset about that because he wasn't my initial vote and I changed it to support them so they could feel better at camp. It's a damn shame."
Janet said lives can be destroyed even if one is falsely accused, and she was absolutely disgusted by how the girls were defending themselves.
In the middle of the night, Aaron and Missy went idol hunting, and Janet attempted to follow them. However, instead of giving up, Janet looked on her own because she felt she was in trouble.
Much to her surprise, Janet stumbled upon a hidden Immunity Idol, and she was ecstatic.
On Day 23, Karishma complained about how she and Jamal had been left out of the vote. They found themselves in the minority, but while walking around the island, the pair stumbled across a note hanging from a tree.
Karishma saw it first, but Jamal walked up and grabbed it. The script explained Jamal must take this letter to the Island of the Idols with him, and Jamal promised Karishma that if he ended up receiving an advantage, it would be an advantage for them both.
Jamal then headed to the Island of the Idols via boat and he was so excited about what was to come. When former Survivor winners Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine walked out of their shelter, Jamal was totally shocked and a little star-struck.
Jamal then read the note he had found out loud.
"You just learned a tough Survivor lesson. If it seems too good to be true, it usually is," Jamal read. "The minute you grabbed this note, you lost your vote at the next Tribal Council."
Rob told Jamal everything in Survivor must be earned and there are "no free lunches." Jamal learned a lesson in sabotage, but then Rob wanted to put Jamal's knowledge to the test.
Rob told Jamal he could try to fool someone else, and the Sandra handed Jamal a piece of blank parchment and a pencil. Sandra and Rob told Jamal that he had a lot of power and could write down anything he wanted.
Fans, however, were not able to see what Jamal had decided to do and write down.
Jamal was shown returning to Lumuwaku's camp, and he said he was able to use the art of deception to "get someone else." He apparently wrote up a fake "Legacy Advantage," but it had no power.
However, Jamal had to try to sell it. He therefore told his fellow castaways he played a 50/50 chance game and won it. But Jamal said the advantage was not for himself -- he was instructed to give it to someone else.
Jamal said it was only fitting to give the advantage to Dean since it was his birthday. Jamal called it "an olive branch." Dean pointed out he could barely read the advantage, but Jamal said he had to copy down on a piece of paper what a board said so that it could become a physical item in the game.
Dean told the cameras Jamal had put a huge target on his back by giving him that advantage. The castaways started to wonder if the advantage was fake, but Dan said it was "too detailed" to be fake.
However, Noura argued to Dan, "There's a saying, 'When someone has too many details, it's not the truth.'"
Dean didn't know why Jamal had selected him, and Aaron admitted it was "a death sentence" rather than an advantage for Dean. Aaron noted Jamal was clearly the playing the game and was a threat and so he had to go.
On Day 24, the Lumuwaku tribe met Jeff again for the season's second Individual Immunity Challenge.
The castaways were required to hold onto a handle over the water, and at regular intervals, the players would be lowered closer to the water. When the pain became too much, a player would fall into the water and be out of the challenge.
Jeff explained the last woman and the last man left standing would both win immunity, and so there would be two people safe at the next Tribal Council session.
Lauren was afraid of hanging over the edge and dropped out first, and then Dan quickly followed. Jamal was out next, and then on his heels were Elaine, Karishma, Janet, and Dean.
After 20 minutes, the following castaways were still in it: Missy, Tommy, Elizabeth, Aaron, and Noura.
Noura dropped out of the challenge seemingly out of nowhere, and then Tommy dropped as well. Aaron therefore won his second Individual Immunity, leaving Missy and Elizabeth fighting for victory.
Once Elizabeth's body gave out, Missy won Individual Immunity.
Missy told the cameras Jamal, Janet and Karishma were all targets, but it was unclear who should go in what order and at what time.
After the challenge, Janet asked Jamal to "reconnect," and Jamal was worried castaways were suspicious of him and his advantage. Jamal really felt like he was in danger of going home.
Janet predicted there would be a split vote. Meanwhile, the tribe discussed how the girls should vote for Jamal and the guys should vote for Karishma.
"And we tell Karishma [it's] Jamal to get him to play something, if he has it," Aaron noted.
The tribe locked down their votes, with Tommy saying the targets were obviously on the bottom and there was fear Jamal had an idol.
Tommy promised Janet that she wasn't going home, and then he told her to vote for Jamal. Janet wasn't sure whether she should play her idol, knowing she had to put trust in people who were angry at her.
Tribal Council then commenced, and Jeff welcomed the two members of the jury -- Jack and Kellee.
Janet admitted she thought everyone was voting for Dan at the previous Tribal Council and had therefore made "a moral decision" because of how some of the girls had felt. Janet attributed the mess to "miscommunication," but Missy called Janet out on targeting her when people had planned to vote for Dan.
Janet owned up to pitching Missy's name, but she explained the vote had changed so she could "help people" within the tribe and calm them down. Janet said she should have listened to her own gut and was "wrong" for getting involved.
Aaron accused Janet of playing "the victim role," and Aaron argued if there was a genuine concern about Dan's behavior, he would've heard about it, along with the rest of the men in the tribe. However, Jamal pointed out the men were not entitled to know how the women were feeling and they had every right to voice their issues quietly amongst themselves.
"Just because you don't know doesn't mean you should've been told. It could be something very personal that somebody doesn't want to share and still be true," Jeff told Aaron.
Aaron said that's 100 percent true in the real world but he suggested the game of Survivor was a little different. Dan said it was super upsetting even if there was just a hair of truth to the allegations towards the beginning of the game. Dan didn't want to make anyone feel badly.
Karishma defended Janet, saying she had perceived things in a certain way and it wasn't her fault for interpreting previous events as she did.
Jamal said men shouldn't speak on behalf of women and they have a responsibility to listen to women and hear women out when they're ready to tell their stories.
Dan was desperate for Jeff to let the conversation go, but Jeff refused to back down. Dan explained most of the people he works with are women and he feels if he ever made a woman feel uncomfortable, for even a second, he'd be "horrified" about it "and terribly sorry."
Dan acknowledged they were forced to sleep in tight, crowded shelters and crawl around each other in the game and if he ever laid a hand on someone inappropriately, it was not intentional. Dan viewed himself as a kind and gentle person, but he wasn't going to discredit how he might've made someone feel, even if he didn't think it was true or accurate.
Janet then broke down into tears and wondered if she should quit the game. She said she never wanted to create a problem with this platform she was given.
"I feel the hatred. I feel so alone," Janet shared.
"No one could feel that from their heart for you," Lauren insisted, as others agreed.
Janet therefore decided she was still in, and Jeff told the group it was possible multiple stories were true at once and Janet might have dealt with things on a personal level while others were still playing the game on a different level.
Jeff noted that's why Survivor is so complicated, but Lauren tactfully explained all the castaways were in it together.
After votes were cast, Janet decided to play her hidden Immunity Idol for herself.
Jeff then read the votes aloud in the following order: Janet, Janet, Karishma, Karishma, Karishma, Jamal, Jamal, Jamal, Jamal, and Jamal.
Jamal seemed pretty devastated on his way out of the game, and he didn't even say goodbye to anyone.
The episode's closing credits later showed that Lauren, Elizabeth and Elaine voted for Karishma; Karishma and Missy voted for Janet; and Tommy, Aaron, Dean, Noura, Dan, and Janet voted for Jamal. Jamal did not have a vote.