As those who have stayed current with Season 38 of Survivor know, Lauren O’Connell was successful during her hunt to search the Manu camp’s beach for a hidden immunity idol. Instead of keeping the idol on her person or with her possessions, she made the decision to hide the idol in a different location by burying it in the sand.
As Entertainment Weekly reminds us, making the decision to hide the immunity idol somewhere else instead of keeping it on your person or with your possessions is a trend players started adopting because it is not uncommon for their tribe mates to just start looking through each other’s stuff to see if anyone has a hidden immunity idol or game advantage.
The media outlet goes on to note the act of re-hiding an immunity idol instead of keeping it with you does pose a different question from the viewers at home. Namely, fans of the CBS reality TV series want to know what happens if a different castaway finds an idol that has already been discovered and hidden by a different member of their tribe.
Entertainment Weekly caught up with Jeff Probst – who has been hosting Survivor since it kicked off back in 2000 – to ask what happens if a re-hidden idol is discovered. According to Jeff, it isn’t something viewers or castaways have to worry about.
Probst explained that once an idol is discovered by someone, it belongs to them. While the castaway does have the right to give their idol to someone else, it cannot be forcibly taken or stolen by another member of their tribe.
According to Probst, the production team who is always onsite would step in to prevent the castaway who discovers the re-hidden immunity idol from trying to claim it as their own.
Probst continued to reveal the production team does interfere, but only to a point. They do not actually inform the individual who re-discovers the immunity idol who it belongs to.
“They could place the idol back where they found it and use their spy techniques to see who returns to that spot. Now they know who has an idol. Or, they could waltz into camp and say ‘Look what I found?’ Sooner or later the rightful owner would have to claim it and now it’s out in the open, thus reducing its impact,” Probst said as he explained the options a castaway has when they discover a hidden immunity idol that already has an owner.
While the immunity idol still belongs to Lauren and she has control over how it is used, uncovering an idol already belonging to someone else still gives the castaway the power of information. In some situations, knowing someone has an immunity idol can be just as powerful as having one yourself if you use the information in the right manner.
Jeff added as he continued to explain the options a player would have in this situation: “Or, you could choose to go to individual players and secretly ask them if the idol belongs to them. If you strike gold, you now only have valuable information, and you might have a new alliance.”
New episodes of Survivor: Edge of Extinction air every Wednesday night only on CBS.