Welcome to the historical bracket. In this bracket we focus on those tribal councils that were historic for one reason or another. Whether because they were the first final tribal, they had a unique quirk of the game or because Jeff needed a blackboard to describe what we just witnessed. Welcome to the historic tribal councils, now make history by picking which is the best.
- 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 most historic tribal to represent the Historical 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. Snakes and Rats vs 9. The Outcasts Have Spoken
Snakes and Rats – Borneo, episode 13 “The Final Four”
Our number 1 seed laid a beat down in the first round on the All-Stars final tribal. And what else is there to say? This is the final tribal that cemented that the show was a sensation. We reach the end of the line, we see the jury talk for the first time since they were voted out, and damn did we get fireworks. This jury had everything, the drama, the humor, and the triumph. While one of the funniest memories was Greg asking them to choose a number between one and ten, the reason everyone remembers this is because of Sue’s snakes and rats speech. It was cruel, it was mean, it was also pure drama. Who doesn’t remember Sue saying “But if I would ever pass you along in life and you are laying there dying of thirst, I would not give you a drink of water. I would let the vultures take you and do whatever they want with you with no ill regrets”. And then we capped off with Rich winning, setting the template for winners forever. This is the epitome of a theatrical tribal council.
The Outcasts Have Spoken – Pearl Islands, episode 8 “What the…?, Part 2”
The Outcasts solidly beat the Varner tiebreaker in round 1, but they have a tougher task this round. This was the culmination of the most unexpected twist in the history of the show. The Outcasts came strutting back in, won the challenge and at the end of the episode they have the chance to vote two of their own back into the game. This was the first second chance the show ever handed out and everyone wanted their shot to get back into the game. And in the end Burton comes back as the one everyone else admired, and Lil came back because (allegedly) the other Outcasts couldn’t stand her and didn’t want to spend their vacation with her. No matter the result, seeing it all laid out there, only 2 of the 6 people able to reenter the game, this was pure drama, seeing which two would reenter the game and have a fresh chance at the million dollars.
- 1. Snakes and Rats (93% Votes)
- 9. The Outcasts have spoken (7% Votes)
Total Voters: 329
4. The Purple Rock vs 12. The Voluntary Tribal Council
The Purple Rock – Marquesas, episode 13 “The Soul Survivor”
In a show of podcast allegiance (I assume) the purple rock won its first match handily. So look just vote for this. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I’m supposed to be impartial, I’m supposed to describe each great tribal council, but screw that. Paschal got screwed by a tie breaker that wasn’t even supposed to be applied to this situation, and was voted out without ever receiving a single vote. But that description takes away from why this moment is so historic. And that is because this is our blog’s namesake. This is the purest moment of luck and chance in the history of the show! This is the purple rock. Vote for the purple rock.
The Voluntary Tribal Council – One World, episode 4 “Bum-Puzzled”
It may surprise you that this won its first round match up, but that may be because the season is coloring your view of this tribal. Look One World isn’t the greatest season, and Colton was a vile contestant, but the voluntary tribal was just about the weirdest damn thing you’ll ever see. My favorite moment was Probst’s double take when the men come walking in after winning the challenge. In case you forgot what that looked like, look at this.
Whoever on the production team decided not to tell him beforehand did their job so damn well. And the rest of the tribal? Well we got some racism from Colton, some mocking of Bill’s choice to be a comedian, and the “bum-puzzled” Jay Byars who seemed like the only person who didn’t want to vote to give up the immunity, something even Bill and Leif who were on the chopping block, acquiesced to more readily. In the history of Survivor, there have been all types of tribal councils, but this one is perhaps the weirdest and most nonsensical. It never should have happened, and Probst’s reaction says it all.
- 4. The Purple Rock (73% Votes)
- 12. The voluntary tribal council (27% Votes)
Total Voters: 329
2. No Votes Count vs 7. Stephen Screws Up the Advantage
No Votes Count – Cambodia, episode 14 “Lie, Cheat and Steal”
It shouldn’t be a surprise that this one won by so much in the first round. For the strategy nerds this tribal had everything. For people who watch to be surprised this tribal had everything. For those who like to see Jeff Probst pull out a blackboard, this tribal had everything. To recap, one alliance voted for Jeremy, the other for Kelley, both played their idols. No votes counted. And that was only the beginning. With those two immune, and Spencer immune for winning the challenge that left only Keith, Kimmi and Tasha to be voted for. Then when the vote was split between Kimmi and Tasha is where it got complicated. If they could all agree on who to vote out that person would go out, if they couldn’t then those two would be immune and all the people who weren’t immune would pick a rock. But at this point the only person who wasn’t immune was Keith, so there was no luck to the draw, if Keith didn’t agree to vote out Kimmi along with everyone else, then Keith was going home. And then after we saw that all that chaos, we had the sublime moment where Jeff Probst breaks down what we just saw happen on a blackboard as if he were Glenn Beck. It was a glorious case of what if come true.
Stephen Screws Up the Advantage – Cambodia, episode 11 “My Wheels are Spinning”
Stephen’s screw up beat Dan’s screw up in the first round, but he has a much tougher match this round against his fellow great Cambodia tribal. I think the reason that this tribal is great though is two fold. For one, Stephen is fully aware of how cool his move would be if it works. And he is absolutely reveling in that. Of course, this sets up his fall even more, because his excitement for his success, instead comes off as a classic case of hubris. The other reason this tribal is great is because Stephen could have made this work! He split the vote here and used one of his votes, and Jeremy’s vote on Joe, and had they piled on Abi, boom Abi goes home. It is how close he came to succeeding that made his failure all the more compelling.
- 2. No votes count (92% Votes)
- 7. Stephen screws up the advantage (8% Votes)
Total Voters: 334
3. Kelley Wentworth Negates 9 Votes vs 11. Steph and Bobby Jon Fire-Making Challenge
Kelley Wentworth Negates 9 Votes – Cambodia, episode 8 “You Call, We Haul”
We are on a Kelley roll right now, as yet another Cambodia tribal rolled to a first round win. This crucial idol play by Kelley canceled out the most votes by idol in Survivor history. The key was how secret Kelley kept her idol, allowing her to lull the other side into piling on all their votes onto one person rather than splitting the vote as eventual victim Andrew Savage suggested. And seeing the alpha-dog Savage was the perfect end to such a shocking list of votes that did not count. Kelley struck back against the leaders of the other alliance and shocked them to the core. But it is just embodied by all of those voted for Kelley that just did not count.
Steph and Bobby Jon Firemaking Challenge – Palau, episode 8 “Neanderthal Man”
Steph and Bobby Jon narrowly squeaked by the Cook Islands fire challenge, much to my dismay. But despite my personal opinions, we have the first firemaking tiebreaker in Survivor history. Steph and Bobby Jon entered the challenge as the only two remaining members of Ulong and after the challenge, Steph went home to Ulong beach…alone. It was a startling image to see one member of a tribe remaining, and one that will never be repeated. And it is that image of Steph alone, that makes this tribal compelling.
- 3. Kelley Wentworth negates 9 votes (65% Votes)
- 11. Steph and Bobby Jon fire-making (35% Votes)
Total Voters: 337
The Rest of the Bracket
Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan