Ultimate Survivor Tribal Council Bracket – Blindsides Division Round Two

No upsets in this region last round, which is a little surprising for a bunch of blindsides. Maybe we just need to make them feel secure before we bury the knife in their backs.

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Voting criteria:

  • You decide what makes a Tribal worthy of your vote. Was it your favourite? The best? Most memorable? Most dramatic? It’s up to you. We’ve organized them by theme, but you’re under no obligation to pick the best blindside tribal to represent the Blindsides bracket.
  • Tribal Council is defined as everything that happened in episode from when the tribe gets to Tribal Council through to the Final Words of the eliminated contestant. Things that didn’t make the air were out of bounds for consideration when putting the list together.
  • For Final Tribal Councils, the reveal of the winner is out of bounds (except for the first Final Tribal). This takes place at a different time and place and is aired on a different episode.

Voting ends on Tuesday, March 22nd.

1. Fall of the Horsemen vs 8. Dreamz Keeps Immunity

The fall of the Horsemen – Fiji, episode 10 “It’s A Turtle”

Over the summer, I wrote just under 2000 words describing how awesome this tribal council was and how influential it was to the history of the show. I theorized then what I’ll put into practice now – all I need to do is post this gif:

Read more about this moment in our 30 from 30 series.

Dreams keeps immunity – Fiji, episode 14 “You’ve Got That Puzzled Look”

Dreamz has been understandably vilified in the Survivor community, given that he was instrumental in the ouster of one of the most beloved figures in the history of the game. I could never be that angry with him, as his struggle with the decisions of the game were so evident – especially in this tribal council. He was a young man from a VERY different socio-economic background from those in the game around him and in the history of the show. That’s what governed his decision-making, particularly the one that lead him down this path. Someone was offering him a free car, not out of the goodness of his heart, but because they wanted something and knew his need was a card to be played. And you could see that he WANTED to do it. But he also wanted to stay in the game. Because a million dollars is a lot of money to anyone, but most especially him. Hell, the extra four figures for lasting longer in the game was real money to him. So there was real drama in this tribal: what would Dreamz do? Would Yau-Man survive, and thus win? And once he makes his decision? Then we get an Earl reaction only surpassed by the GIF above.

I just won Survivor.
I just won Survivor.

1. The Fall of the Horsemen vs. 8. Dreamz keeps the necklace

  • 1. The Fall of the Horsemen (75% Votes)
  • 8. Dreamz keeps the necklace (25% Votes)

Total Voters: 327

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4. Tyson Votes Himself Out vs 5. James Goes Home with Two Idols

Tyson votes himself out – Heroes vs. Villains, episode 6 “Banana Etiquette”


No matter how many times I think about this, I can never justify it. Erik giving up his necklace? I can justify it (it’s not a good justification, but still). JT and the love letter to Russell? I can justify it. The tribal it’s competing with? I can justify it. But Tyson screwing up the vote split to get rid of Russell or Parvati and instead leading to his own demise? I… just… can’t. Even if you believe Russell is just voting for Parvati anyway, then your vote doesn’t matter. If you think Russell is playing his idol for himself, then your vote doesn’t matter. The only thing Tyson switching his vote to Parvati could possibly accomplish is exactly what it did. But damned if it wasn’t memorable. So memorable that it almost overshadows the other highlight of the Tribal Council: Russell playing his idol to save Parvati. That’s a lot of drama for one segment of television.

James goes home with two idols – China, episode 11 “Ready to Bite the Apple”

Now, I can only justify this a bit. Because not playing one of two idols at one of the three tribals remaining you can play them at? Bad idea jeans. (Obviously the slight justification is that he was clearly hoping to play them on his way to the end. So there’s a logic there, even if it’s flawed). Of course, one of the best things about pre-banana etiquette James is that after falling victim to one of the most epic blindsides ever and making one of the biggest mistakes ever, he takes it in stride and delivers self-effacing final words. He really was one of the best jury members ever.

Read more about this moment in our 30 from 30 series.

4. Tyson votes himself out vs. 5. James goes home with two idols

  • 4. Tyson votes himself out (61% Votes)
  • 5. James goes home with two idols (39% Votes)

Total Voters: 337

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2. The Black Widows Blindside Ozzy vs 7. Amanda Plays an Unknown Idol

The Black Widows blindside Ozzy – Micronesia, episode 10 “I Promise”

I’m the site’s Micronesia curmudgeon who single-handedly lowers its spot in our season ranking. My basic argument is that it’s unprecedented series of dramatic Tribal Councils were more a feature of the extreme power imbalance between Fans and Favourites than it was a genuine feat of strategic play. Basically, Micronesia was the Harlem Globetrotters vs the Washington Generals. But this tribal council? GLORIOUS. Because the Black Widow Brigade taking down Ozzy is at least in theory them taking down someone on their level. That is until they prove that Ozzy is so not on their level. Vote for this for the reaction shots of the vote reveal alone.

Read more about this moment in our 30 from 30 series.

Amanda plays an unknown idol – Micronesia, episode 12 “I’m Gonna Fix Her”

Who was the fourth Black Widow? Was it finalist Amanda, who joined reluctantly and had to play an idol we didn’t even know she had to stave off being eaten by her own? Or was it Alexis, the one who fell victim to Amanda’s play, and thus was outlasted by the Widows’ most spectacular victim? It’s tempting to say that Alexis was the Pete Best of the group, leaving before they recorded their masterpiece. But her heart was more into it than Amanda’s ever was.

2. Black Widows blindside Ozzy vs. 7. Amanda plays an unknown idol

  • 2. Black Widows blindside Ozzy (67% Votes)
  • 7. Amanda plays an unknown idol (33% Votes)

Total Voters: 328

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3. The Pagonging Begins vs 6. Natalie Anderson Puts on a Show

The Pagonging begins – Borneo, episode 7 “The Merger”

If you haven’t watched this one in awhile, you really should. Over the summer, I even made the argument that the very concept of Survivor strategy was born in this tribal council. This is when the power of an alliance defeated the concept of “worthiness”. This is when the blindside was born. This began the strategy of picking off your opponents one-by-one and gave it its name. Historically, it’s hard to beat. But it’s also pretty great from an entertainment standpoint: the bizarre clash of styles between Pagong still fighting over petty squabbles vs the business-like approach of Tagi is fascinating. And when Gretchen realizes it’s her? One of the great elimination reactions of all-time.

Read more about this moment in our 30 from 30 series.


Natalie Anderson puts on a show – San Juan Del Sur, episode 14 “This Is My Time”

Natalie probably would’ve won without this bit of grandstanding. She had the relationships, and wasn’t really in danger of losing to Baylor or being voted out. I think it was a good play to improve her margins by eliminating the THREAT of being voted out by the mother/daughter team, but it might not have been necessary. But as a piece of theatre? Particularly one for the only audience that mattered (the jury)? PHENOMENAL. She probably didn’t need the boost, but it certainly didn’t hurt to clinch the admiration of the jury. Our admiration was a nice little bonus.

3. The Pagonging begins vs. 6. Natalie Anderson puts on a show

  • 6. Natalie Anderson puts on a show (61% Votes)
  • 3. The Pagonging begins (39% Votes)

Total Voters: 330

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The Rest of the Bracket

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Strategic Bracket

Theatrics Bracket

Historic Bracket

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Co-host of the Purple Rock Survivor Podcast and the Canadian of the group, Andy has been watching Survivor continuously since the very beginning and likes to treat that as some kind of virtue to lord over others.

Favourite seasons: Heroes vs Villains, Cook Islands, Palau, The Amazon, Cagayan
Favourite players: Boston Rob, Kim Spradlin, Tony Vlachos, Cirie Fields, Yul Kwon, Rob Cesternino
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22 thoughts on “Ultimate Survivor Tribal Council Bracket – Blindsides Division Round Two

  1. The Pagonging versus Natalie’s idol play is a true Sophie’s choice. Both are great, but in regards of true blindsides, you need to have the first major blindside in the final four.

    1. Natalie’s might be my favorite tribal council moment ever, but I think it might be up against the bracket winner here.

      1. I am a big fan of Natalie Anderson putting on a show but for me the 1 and 2 seeds are too strong. Edguardo’s blindside and Ozzy’s blindside are two completely magnificent moments

    2. If it’s a true Sophie’s choice then wouldn’t she just tell Albert to come over here and make the choice for her?

    1. Indeed it was. Thanks for pointing it out. Forgot to edit after copying and pasting the blurb.


  2. Choosing between the two Fiji tribal counsels is very hard for me. I think ultimately I vote for Dreamz betrayal, in part in deference to the cast of Fiji. Fiji’s final tribal is so focused on rehashing the question “Dreamz, what were you thinking?” And not just in a sanctimonious way (though definitely in a sanctimonious way)- the cast of Fiji is utterly fascinated by the turmoiled turnings of Dreamz’ mind.

    1. If it was my personal bracket the Dreamz tribal council would win.

      And I don’t even laaaahhhkkk Fiji.

  3. I swear, if Edgardo’s vote out doesn’t win this bracket, there is something wrong here. I like just about all of the contenders here, but this is possibly my favourite tribal council ever. These guys wrote about it better, but trying to explain my love for this tribal council can only be close to adequately explained by that gif. That drop in Edgardo’s face when he sees his name is fucking gold. In fact, that whole build up to the blindside is amazing. Credit to Stacy for coming up with the idea. Amazing that each side was counteracting each other’s moves. Alex wasting an idol. And of course, the build up in the reading of the votes–first Cassandra’s, then the Mookie vote (thanks, Dreamz), hinting that something is up, and then the first Edgardo vote. The ‘oh shit’ looks, Earl’s ‘oh yeah’ smile, and then vote after vote after vote for Edgardo. And even that is not enough to explain my love for this tribal council.

    On the Micronesia end, I voted for Amanda’s idol play because no one knew she had it, not even the viewers. Plus, I really enjoy her swinging the idol around and singing, “I got it!” I remember re-watching that episode and they didn’t show her finding the idol. A true blindside for the players and the audience.
    Imagine if they didn’t show us when people found idols. How different would seasons and players be presented?

    1. I think the one knock against the Edgardo tribal counsel is that it’s ultimately not necesarily all that much of a game changer within the context of Fiji. Even had the Horseman played the idol correctly, the next few votes would be likely to play out more or less like the fall of the Beauties in Worlds Apart after Jenn’s idol play. Awesome moment (though not Edgardo-boot awesome)…but then the Pagonging commences. The Four Horseman were already down to three, and bouncing Cassandra doesn’t make them LESS of a threat, or more appealing to Dreamz/Stacy/Boo. Maybe Mookie manages to wheedle his way into the Dreamz spot, but the “what might have been” is not all that inspirational.

      Now if the Horseman had stuck with the plan to target Earl (or pivoted to Yau Man)…it would basically be the perfect tribal.

      1. Given that context, I can see your point. If it had been played correctly they still likely would have been down numbers and then get Pagonged anyway. But what makes it more satisfying for me is how they thought they were in control of the game even with the numbers down. They thought they knew how tribal was going to shake down and They. Did. Not. It wasn’t so much a game changer for the audience, ’cause we saw it all coming, but for the Horsemen? They realized when the first Edgardo vote came up, they were screwed. It changed the game for them, because it was at that moment they knew they would not get to the end, not if the rest of the tribe had anything to say about it. (Also, as a sidenote: I like thinking (even though there is nothing to support this) that this vote is basically revenge for voting out Michelle, ’cause I love Michelle–though that would mean that they should’ve voted out Dreamz for that)

        I find that a comeuppance blindside (one that we see coming, but the ass (of their own doing or by association, no pun intended) who gets blindsided doesn’t) is always very satisfying to watch (Drew(che) in San Juan del Sur comes to mind). Dreamz keeping the immunity necklace was not as satisfying for me. I would feel bad either way if he kept it or not, ’cause I didn’t hate Dreamz when Fiji first aired, even after he kept it and they voted out Yau-Man (I still don’t hate him, though that may be because there are at least 5 other people from that season who are way worse than him). It sucked that he didn’t give it to Yau-Man, but I understand why he did that. Plus this tribal gives everyone on the jury too much of an excuse to shit on Dreamz (not to mention the crap Cassandra got–don’t even get me started on Lisi or Alex’s jury speech), which is something I’m not a fan of.

  4. Am I alone here in my complete and utter shock that Gretchen is losing? I mean, Natalie’s play was cool, and I loved it, but the Gretchen moment was the first true blindside in history. Not only was it historic, but it KILLED me when it happened. I’m calling recency bias. Again, I LOVED the Natalie moment, don’t get me wrong. But I wouldn’t put it anywhere near the Gretchen blindside.

    I also am surprised that Tyson is beating James, but I am significantly less upset about that. I get that one.

    1. I am guessing that the majority of readers of this site did not watch Borneo when it first aired (I didn’t, started with Australia), and if they watched it at a later date (which all of you should, for historical purposes), Gretchen getting voted out was not that much of a shock since they probably knew how the season was going to go and who was going to win (SPOILER: rhymes with “batch”). So for those viewers, it probably wasn’t that important of a blindside.

      Just my 5 cents (Canada doesn’t have pennies anymore).

    2. Rewatching Borneo in 2014 for the first time was a true revelation because of the fact that I got why they targeted Gretchen. She was the heart and brain of Pagong. By getting rid of her, the Tagi 4 was able to pick the rest of them off since they weren’t connected to each other without Gretchen. I am still shocked that Natalie’s idol play crushed it so hard.

  5. I submitted a comment when this article was first created when it was WordPress comments, and now I’m getting emails whenever anyone posts any comment here.

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