'Survivor: Island of the Idols' recap: Tom Laidlaw voted out by new Lairo tribe after tribal swap
By Elizabeth Kwiatkowski, 10/24/2019
Survivor: Island of the Idols featured a tribal swap and then the new Lairo tribe voting out Tom Laidlaw during Wednesday night's Season 39 episode on CBS.
Tom, a 60-year-old former NHL hockey player from Ontario, Canada, who currently resides in Greenwich, CT, was voted out by his Lairo tribe on Night 14 of the game in a 5-2 vote instead of Karishma Patel, a 37-year-old personal injury lawyer from Philadelphia, PA, who currently resides in Houston, TX. One player on the tribe had lost her vote.
"I guess I naively felt Karishma was the one who was going home tonight. It's clear she was holding people back in our challenges, but there's all kinds of strategies to the game, and obviously they have a strategy as to why they kept her," Tom said following his ouster.
"But I loved playing Survivor and I'm totally proud of myself. I'm taking credit for being the first Canadian to play, and I guess if I'm going to take credit for that, I have to take credit for the first Canadian to be voted out as well."
At the beginning of theSurvivor broadcast, the Vokai tribe was made up of Jamal Shipman, a 33-year-old college administrator from Jersey City, NJ, who currently resides in Providence, RI; Jason Linden, a 32-year-old personal injury lawyer from New York, NY; Noura Salman, a 36-year-old entrepreneur from London, UK and Bethesda, MD who currently resides in North Potomac, MD; Kellee Kim, a 29-year-old MBA student from Costa Mesa, CA, who currently resides in Philadelphia, PA; Lauren Beck, a 28-year-old nanny from Bakersfield, CA, and Rochester Hills, MI, who currently resides in Glendale, CA; Janet Carbin, a 59-year-old chief lifeguard from Neptune, NJ, who currently resides in Palm Bay, FL; Jack Nichting, a 23-year-old graduate student from Newport News, VA, who currently resides in Harrisonburg, VA; Tommy Sheehan, a 26-year-old 4th grade teacher from Bayville, NY, who currently resides in Long Beach, NY; and Dan Spilo, a 48-year-old talent manager from New York, NY, who currently resides in Los Angeles, CA.
Over at the Lairo tribe on Day 12, Dean Kowalski, a 28-year-old tech salesman from Westfield, NJ, who currently resides in New York, NY, admitted he was completely blindsided by the Chelsea Walker vote out. He felt left out and ostracized and definitely had a wake-up call.
In addition to Tom, Dean and Karishma, the Lairo tribe was also comprised of 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; Aaron Meredith, a 36-year-old gym owner from Uncasville, CT, who currently resides in Warwick, RI; and Elaine Stott, a 41-year-old factory worker from Woodbine, KY, who currently resides in Rockholds, KY.
Dean was trying to play detective and figure out the motive behind the Chelsea vote, and he was pointing fingers at Elizabeth, Elaine, Missy and Aaron.
Dean wanted to figure out who was "the mastermind" behind switching the whole tribe's vote from Karishma to Chelsea because that person was "super good" atSurvivor and was dangerous. That would be the person Dean wanted to target next.
Dean had trouble getting to the bottom of things, but he was skeptical of whether he could trust Missy because she had mentioned his showmance with Chelsea being threatening, and he was right because Missy had been the person to spearhead the plan.
Dean told Missy if she continued to be allusive with him in conversation, he wouldn't be able to work with her going forward. Missy vented to the cameras how Dean shouldn't bite the hand that feeds him.
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Both tribes met with Survivor host Jeff Probst, who asked everyone to drop their buffs for a tribal swap.
The new Vokai tribe had four former original Vokai members -- Dan, Jason, Tommy and Lauren -- as well as four former Lairo members: Aaron, Missy, Elizabeth and Elaine.
Elaine felt lucky because she ended up on a new tribe with her old alliance and the tribe was also comprised of strong, physical players.
The new Lairo tribe consisted of five former Vokai member: Noura, Kellee, Jamal, Jack and Janet. The three original Lairo members on the tribe were Tom, Dean and Karishma.
Karishma liked the faces she was seeing and said she felt good vibes from them. Dean was excited for a change, but he was not happy about landing in the minority of a 5-3 split.
It then became time for a Reward Challenge, which required the players on each tribe to work with their feet tied together and their hands bounded by their side. They had to slither through a series of obstacles on their stomachs, race to the finish, and the solve a fire puzzle.
The first tribe to get the job done would win Reward in the form of Applebees serving smothered fajitas, quesadillas, spinach and artichoke dip, brownies, beer, and Shark-Bowl cocktails in Fiji. The fajitas would be served with steak, chicken, and shrimp, as well as buffalo chicken wings on the side with all the fixings.
Jason and Aaron worked on the puzzle for Vokai, who got off to a big lead in the challenge. Noura actually had to drag Karishma to the finish while they were moving in the sand for Lairo.
Jamal and Kellee worked on the puzzle for Lairo, but they were so behind they didn't have much of a chance to catch up.
Vokai therefore won the Reward and they were thrilled. Tom said Karishma was unable to perform in challenges and didn't contribute to the tribe physically.
Jason acknowledged the 4-4 split was very dangerous because there could be a tie at Tribal Council, which would result in drawing rocks and someone going home at random. Jason hoped he could steal one of the original Vokai members to work with original Lairo.
Karishma had felt bullied by her former tribe, but she admitted she did not perform well in the challenge and that was not a good look for her first tribe. Karishma therefore felt her only move would be to flip and join the other side.
Karishma immediately buddied up to Kellee, as Tom complained about how he wasn't Karishma's biggest fan and hated being down in numbers 5-3. Tom told Janet that Karishma would always be an easy vote to get out.
Dean and Kellee then discovered they had a mutual friend, Dean's only long-term girlfriend whom he had dated for over six years. The woman apparently went to business school with Kellee, so Dean hoped their shared friend and experiences would bond them together and put him in a better place.
After speaking with Dean, Kellee determined she could definitely work with him and Karishma would stay with them. Kellee said the three former Lairo members seemed to be at the mercy of the five former Vokai members.
Karishma felt like she was in a family with her new tribe, and she decided to be vulnerable about how her parents had forced her into an arranged marriage. Karishma cried about how her value in her parents' eyes became so much greater once she wed because she had spent 10 years in defiance.
Karishma admitted she eventually gave in to please her parents and she had been married for over four years. Karishma could relate to the original Vokai members, and she felt they understood her.
Meanwhile, Aaron pointed out Elaine still had an incredible social game and that's how the game is won. Aaron realized he needed to form real relationships and bonds with other people in order to stick around.
Aaron therefore talked to Tommy about his son, and the two guys promised to make the merge together and work with each other. Tommy hoped Aaron would be onboard with voting out one of the old Lairo.
Aaron spoke to Missy afterward about how he didn't want to draw rocks, and she agreed and felt ready to play.
On Day 14, the two new tribes met with Jeff again for the season's next Immunity Challenge.
The challenge required each tribe to swim out to a ladder, climb up the ladder and leap off it. A player on each side then needed to release three buoys, which two players must maneuver across a set of balance beams. At the finish, the three balls must be thrown into three targets with nets.
The first tribe to finish would win immunity and be safe from the vote, while the losing tribe must vote out the fifth person in this game.
Vokai had a lead in the challenge, allowing Missy to start shooting the balls like basketballs earlier. She nailed the first ball into its target, but then she struggled to make the other two. Tommy therefore stepped in and made a basket.
Meanwhile, Dean started shooting for Lairo and made two baskets quickly. The challenge became a close call, but in the end, Tommy won the challenge for Vokai.
No one was sent to the Island of the Idols in this episode.
Jack noted he had connected with Tom, Karishma and Dean on his tribe, but he wanted to win and believed Karishma -- whom the tribe was always waiting for in the challenge -- was holding them back.
At Lairo's camp after the challenge, Dean was upset he had blown his chance to win for his tribe given he's a Division I basketball player. He couldn't believe he lost to a "pale, red-headed, goofy-looking guy."
Dean had to explain to his tribe why he shouldn't go as a result, and he insisted to Tom they should "cut the fat" out of their tribe, meaning Karishma.
Jamal agreed with Tom and Dean it was clear Karishma needed to go home because she was a liability due to the physical limitations she had. But Karishma really wanted to work with Janet, Jack, and Jamal.
Karishma could only play up her social game.
Meanwhile, Janet discovered Tom was a real straight-shooter who simply said what was on his mind, but she worried she'd lose him come the merge because he seemed to have "a tribal mentality" and a connection to his old tribe.
Kellee was also very wary of Dean because he had earned her trust and she was impressed by his social game and charm.
Kellee, Janet and Noura spoke about how Janet had Tom and Kellee had Dean. Kellee also pointed out Karishma wanted to work with them "for sure." Noura thought the vote was going to be an easy one, but there was one problem -- Noura had lost her vote after her visit to the Island of the Idols.
Noura, however, was still thankful her former tribe had the numbers 4-3 when taking into account the fact her vote would not count. She felt "so lucky," and even though she didn't have a vote, she still had a voice and was analyzing the game.
Noura didn't know whether to take out the weakest people or go after a threat so they wouldn't have to deal with a dangerous player come the merge. Noura seemed to be referring to Karishma vs. Dean, but she could also see that Tom was a likeable guy.
At Tribal Council that night, Janet told Jeff her tribe needed to be strong and able to win challenges.
Noura explained some of her tribemates were more well-rounded than others in challenges. She said "some people" are physical, young and great at puzzles and shooting, while "some people" are older and may not have much endurance but they pull their weight around camp. She also said those older people aren't good at puzzles and don't like the water.
Noura pointed out Dean and Tom were the men Noura had been referring to. But Tom suggested in a confident manner he had character and leadership and the tribe needed to decide if they wanted him in their group or not.
Janet then admitted she had yet to make a connection with Dean, who made time to get to know everyone else. Rob "Boston Rob" Mariano whispered to Sandra Diaz-Twine behind the scenes "Dean is gone" before voting commenced.