‘Survivor’ Idol Fake Was Genius

Joe’s DIY immunity idol on last night’s episode was the best twist in ‘Survivor: Worlds Apart’ to date. Here’s hoping we’ll see that crafty game play (pun intended) repeated in future episodes.

Joe Anglim, a jewelry designer, forged an idol imposter out of a broken crate and beads and string from his torch. Ultimately the Arizona native’s con did not work but it definitely should set a new, exciting precedent in a game where much of the strategy is borrowed from past players.

The genius of his plan is it isn’t necessarily the idol that trumps elimination, but the fear of an idol.

Where Joe failed is how he played the fake.

Survivor idol fake image1a

(Photo: Flickr Creative Commons/ Matthias Ripp)

His trade with Mike tipped off that idol wasn’t real. After all if you know a blind-side is coming, why not play the idol for yourself?  What he should have done was kept his exchange with Mike short and sweet. “Hey, I just wanted to let you know I got the idol so good luck with tribal tonight.” Then scurry off. Just the vagueness of the statement would have sent Mike back to the drawing board.

Joe said it himself “At this point in the game, the more confusion you can throw, the better.”

If Mike pushed him to talk more, Joe could have followed up with “Look I’m here for the long haul now, so why not make a secret final four alliance with me?”

Just because it failed for Joe doesn’t mean that the counterfeit idol shouldn’t become a new tactic used in future seasons.  After all, Joe’s very elimination proves just how important precedent is to the game. In every season, competitive players have been among the first to go home. It is a strategy every Survivor contestant learns from the previous season.

Survivor idol fake image2

                                      (Photo: Flickr Creative Commons, Mick Marineau & Barb Jensen)

Why do they keep up with this tradition especially when there are people like sailing instructor Jenn Brown who is begging to be sent home?

If ever there was a competitive player who deserved to stay in the game, it’s Joe. He genuinely loves Survivor, watched it with his family as a kid, and always dreamed of becoming part of the show. Joe is also a nice, honest player compared to Rodney and Dan.

However those traits are also justifiable reasons to vote him off the island. If left in the game, Joe could have won more immunity challenges, drawn some more players to his side and made it to the final round where he would undoubtedly be a favorite.

Jenn, by comparison, would be the perfect pawn and if she were to make it to the end, her past pleas to leave the game would probably keep her from winning. Here’s another precedent: Passionate players win Survivor.

When it comes to Survivor, the old ways are always best.

I really hope Joe’s forgery is copied in a future season. It is a really great maneuver just waiting to be discovered by a master player.


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