A Game of Blindsides: Audience, Player or Both? – Part 2


Everybody loves a good #Blindside and they're frequently the highlight of a Survivor episode when at tribal all the planning and plotting either comes together or falls apart spectacularly as the votes are read. Today Ivan Ornelas once again teams up with a group of fellow Ozlets to get their opinions on five brand new Survivor blindsides and whether they were shocking to the audience, player or both. Read on and join in as we play a game of blindsides.

For Part 1 of A Game of Blindsides click here

Time for the return of a game I like to call “Blindsides: Player, Audience, or Both?”. Since the 39 days of a typical Survivor season is edited down to 13-14 episodes, sometimes we see events in the game different than the players do. With the help of the participants, Ozlets Nick Chester, Cable Brandon, Patrick Gustavson, and Tom Shembrey, we’ll test out where these differences lie. Once again I’ve selected 5 blindsides from throughout the Survivor series and they must decide whether they think it’s an audience blindside (did we see it coming?), player blindside (did that player see it coming?), or both (were we surprised along with the player?). If there’s a tie, I’m the tiebreaker. Once we go through all five, we would love to hear what you readers feel about our decisions. Let’s begin.

Blindside #1: Edgardo Rivera voted out in Survivor: Fiji


Going into this vote, there was a lot of concern as to whether Mookie or Alex had the idol. Then Stacey suggested they vote out Edgardo since the three horsemen would not expect that. The plan worked, the idol was incorrectly used, and a shocked Edgardo became part of the jury.

Nick: There’s no doubt that this was a blindside for Edgardo and his horsemen alliance – that much is clear from the way the broad smiles slide off their faces as the votes are read. They thought they had come up with a perfect scheme, only to have Dreamz blow up their whole plan. Was this unexpected for the fans? Its been a while now but yes I do believe this came as something of a shock for us. Although the plan was discussed by Earl’s alliance, it was a quick scene and there seemed to be a lot of uncertainty about playing around Dreamz and whatever his plans were. BOTH

Cable: When this episode premiered at the time, I remember not being to sure about Dreamz and his intentions playing both sides. But his vote meant nothing as Stacy came up with the plan to vote Edgardo. This was an epic blindside for the four horsemen and looked amazing on tv, while the result was somewhat up on the air going into tribal, it was obvious it would be Cassandra or Edgardo. PLAYER

Patrick: This has to be one of the best blindsides of all time, in my opinion. Part of what makes it so great is the constant change in dynamics, with five different people being the target at some point. The horsemen initially tried to vote Earl, believing they had Stacy, but were forced to use the idol when it appeared they did not have her. However, Dreamz was acting as a middle man, feeding the opposing alliance. The horsemen then shifted the idol from Mookie to Alex, which was picked up on by the opposing alliance, prompting them to target Mookie. But it was Stacy Kimball of all people to suggest voting for Edgardo, the most unlikely of the three to possess the idol. I can’t consider this an audience blindside because it was well established that the five were voting for Edgardo, and barring a huge shock, he wouldn’t be playing the idol. But it was definitely a player blindside, with all four horsemen (even Dreamz), being stunned. Even though it was known what was going to happen, it didn’t make the blindside any less satisfying from an audience standpoint. PLAYER

Tom: Both; the four horsemen were completely oblivious that Earl and co. knew their plan as they thought Dreamz was with them. The audience was bamboozled as the vote seemingly changed from Mookie to Alex to Edgardo over and over again. It was obvious the four horsemen were 100% #blindsided. BOTH

Verdict: I will act as tiebreaker. You never know with those last minute fleeting scenes like when Stacey mentions Edgardo as an option whether or not they hold any relevance. Even though strategically it was the safest bet, a lot more of the storyline focused on Mookie and Alex so I would say it’s BOTH. So it’s both an audience and a player blindside.

Blindside #2: Erik Cardona voted out in Survivor: Samoa


Galu made the merge with an 8-4 advantage. However, their one trip to Tribal Council prior to the merge eventually exposed divisions within the tribe and Erik was among those Galu members that others in his own tribe were concerned about. Erik was hoping Galu would stick together and begin the quick pagonging with Jaison, but instead he was voted out with an idol in his pocket.

Nick: Erik’s blindside is one I felt was actually pretty well signposted to the audience. Erik was most definitely surprised by it but I think there were enough clues in the episode to suspect he was in trouble. Also, a lot of time had been dedicated to the Foa Foa four and building up their story so it seemed nonsensical that they would just be taken out one by one by the Galu tribe. PLAYER

Cable: Re watching this episode and still can’t believe how many players names were on the chopping block; Monica, Jaison, Laura, Russell, Shambo and finally Erik. Erik was stunned and had no idea he was going; otherwise he would have played an idol and probably wouldn’t have been so outspoken and arrogant at tribal. To be honest, I’m not one that generally analyses the edit enough to determine who’s going, (but Erik’s edit, did give away his potential boot) but I thought maybe Galu would stay loyal and vote out a Foa Foa member. The plan hatched by Erik to get rid of Monica, never eventuated and votes go Jaison’s way. Obviously Erik changed his mind!? Player blindside 100%, Audience Blindside; the edit savvy fans would have seen it coming but rest may have been surprised! BOTH

Patrick: Another very chaotic move. It appeared the Foa Foa 4 had pulled in enough numbers to get Laura off, but this was thwarted when she won immunity. Russell was an obvious target due to his scrambling and known possession of the idol, and it appeared he wanted to target Monica to weaken Laura. We then see John tell Erik the same thing: that it needs to be Monica. Then Erik is the one who is displaying the plan to Brett and Dave Ball, who think it was his idea. Erik then digs himself into a deeper hole when he arrogantly tells Natalie, Jaison and Mick to vote for Monica, and not tell Russell in order to flush his idol. Natalie then pulls off her big move by informing Laura and Kelly, which leads the charge against Erik. Just prior to tribal, there is a scene with massive amounts of scrambling, leaving the vote a mystery. However, this changes at tribal, when Erik suddenly becomes the cockiest jerk in the world, talking down on the Foa Foa four, saying they have nothing to offer. This sealed Erik’s fate from an audience standpoint. Based on Erik’s previous comments, not playing his idol and his reaction, he was certainly blindsided, making this only a PLAYER blindside.

Tom: Player; I think the audience saw a lot of the machinations which led to Erik’s removal from Samoa. We saw Natalie White moving in the background to oust Erik, however he didn’t see it coming, indicated by his vindictiveness to his fellow tribemates from the jury. PLAYER

Verdict: Numbers wise this didn’t make sense and prior to his boot episode you’d think he’d be around much longer, but enough hints were dropped during the boot episode. 3-1, PLAYER BLINDSIDE.

Blindside #3: J.T. Thomas voted out in Survivor: Heroes vs. Villains


JT’s decision to give Russell his Hidden Immunity Idol remains to be one of the dumbest moves in the history of this show. Not only did it shift the power to the Villains in what would’ve been an even struggle in the merge, it got himself eliminated. It certainly is a unique blindside.

Nick: In hindsight, its easy to say this was obvious as JT had a bit of a downfall arc over 2 episodes, from giving his idol away to having it used against him, and this is such an iconic moment, it can be a little bit difficult to remember exactly what the audience thought of this moment, but its very clear JT himself never saw it coming. I would say the viewers were blindsided by it – the whole episode still makes no sense to me and I don’t know how the Heroes didn’t figure out what the Villains were up to when it seems so obvious from our privileged position on the couch. BOTH

Cable: JT was nervous going into tribal and his faith in Russell was misplaced, but he was still gobsmacked when he copped all the remaining votes after Parvati’s double idol play. At the time I thought going into tribal that Parvati, Jerri and Sandra were in trouble and it was all about the idol play. I was somewhat blindsided by the double play. PLAYER

Patrick: The real question heading into this one was who Parvati would play her idol(s) for or whether or not she would even play them. It was obvious that Russell was not with the Heroes and would target JT, so it all relied on Parvati. The Heroes’ plan was to attempt to flush Parvati’s idol and target Jerri or Sandra, but Sandra was the name mentioned. Amanda tried to convince Parvati she was in trouble, in a manner that was not so convincing that both Parvati and the audience could see right through it. Even though she read right through it, there was still question as to what she would do, so I am going to call this both a player and audience blindside. BOTH

Tom: 100% both. A top 5 tribal council of all time, JT was clueless as to the true power balance on the Villains beach and thus his elimination by one of Parvati’s idol would’ve come as a complete shock. As to the audience, nobody could’ve predicted a double idol play, thus this took the audience by surprise also. BOTH

Verdict: The clear part to the audience and maybe to JT was that he was in trouble. However, the chaos with Parvati’s idols definitely kept us guessing. 3-1, BOTH audience and player blindsided.

Blindside #4: Phillip Sheppard voted out in Survivor: Caramoan


With a 7-3 advantage, it seemed like not only would the three amigos be gone soon but that Phillip had a decent chance to make it to the end again. However, the use of two Hidden Immunity Idols confirmed the three amigos would eliminate the special agent. They even said they were voting for Phillip, although their true intentions were not confirmed until the votes were read.

Nick: I can’t call this a viewer blindside. Any fan who saw a commercial in the week leading up to this episode knew that seriously crazy stuff was about to go down at tribal council so none of it was a surprise (yet it was still very entertaining). In terms of Phillip being blindsided, I think it was more of a grey area. He never expected it heading to tribal council, but by the time Malcolm got both idols out, Phillip knew the score and what the worst case scenario. So yes, it was a PLAYER blindside, but not in the traditional sense.

Cable: This is one that the player and the rest of his alliance didn’t see coming. Tribal council was crazily entertaining and with Reynold already immune, then Malcolm landing a one two knockout punch to protect Eddie & himself, the specialist copped a bullet to the brain. While a big play by Malcolm, it wasn’t necessarily a big shock and their target was openly discussed. PLAYER

Patrick: In all honesty, at one point in tribal council, it is literally revealed that Phillip is going to be voted out, and he even accepted it to an extent, so it is impossible to call this a player or an audience blindside. What I’m going to do is base it off of what occurred before tribal council. The plan was to split between Malcolm and Eddie, before and after Malcolm found the idol, and there was seemingly no mention of whom the three amigos would be voting for. So, based on what occurred before tribal council, the thought of Phillip going home came out of nowhere, so I will call it both a player and audience blindside. BOTH

Tom: Player. This is a tough one. The three amigos notified the whole tribe of their intent, yet it was still dubious as to whether they would stick to their word(s) or if it was a red herring to pervade mistrust through the majority. I don’t think Philip saw it coming, as he insisted his allies maintain their planned votes. It is possible the audience saw this coming though. So probably just a PLAYER blindside.

Verdict: While Phillip didn’t seem to be in any danger until Malcolm pulled out his second idol, the Three Amigos revealing their target raised a red flag. Though they could have lied, based on the edit, no one else besides possibly Andrea would have made sense. 3-1, PLAYER blindside.

Blindside #5: Kelly Wiglesworth voted out in Survivor: Cambodia


After the first swap, we did not see much of the Borneo player. So fans were left waiting for her to get some significant screen time which would inevitably lead to Kelly’s dispatch from the game. But instead, she had one of the quieter boot episodes in recent memory.

Nick: This was a surprise both to the player and the audience. Kelly herself was clearly shocked and disappointed, and its hard not to agree as the move still seems something of a head scratcher from Stephen and Jeremy’s perspective. I guess the reason I considered it a bit of a surprise for viewers was the lack of any real setup quotes from Kelly – its pretty rare that when a player, even a lower key one is about to be voted out and you don’t get a good few soundbites from them on the way out the door. BOTH

Cable: Kelly, Tasha, Kimmi and Joe had no idea Fishbach & the Witches coven had concocted a plan to take out a social threat. Kelly was so confident at tribal, that she was one of the players that didn’t raise her hand to say she was worried. Going into tribal the audience would have known Wentworth, Ciera and Wiggles were on the block, it was whether Spencer & Jeremy would vote with Stephen. I wasn’t super confident in Jeremy or Spencer upsetting the apple cart and going that way so I was a tad surprised when Kelly’s torch was snuffed. BOTH

Patrick: This was a pretty obvious blindside. Throughout the entire season, Kelly hardly had any airtime. However, all of a sudden in this episode, she is grouped together with Joe as a huge threat. People were calling her so likeable that she could win, and she was even called arrogant, which was so far out of the blue, especially considering her edit prior to that point. Cambodia was filled with game bots, who only looked to make big moves, particularly Stephen, who was trying to put this together with Jeremy, Spencer and the three witches. It would have been more surprising if they had went with the status quo and voted out one of the three girls on the outs. All of this was topped off with Kelly stating that she felt confident at tribal. This to me, as a viewer, was no shock, therefore, I will label it as only a PLAYER blindside.

Tom: Player. A touchy subject here at Survivor Oz, I think this was just a player blindside, as the edit in this episode signified the snuffing of Purple Kelly Mark.2. To the majority of the audience, as soon as Wigles got a confessional she was toast, and the heavy emphasis on the strategy behind this move was also very indicative. PLAYER

Verdict: This is an instance that can leave even the most devoted of edit followers scratching their heads. Personally for me, I stand by how very little we saw from Kelly this episode. Even other purple characters such as Leif and Sierra had more of a downfall or the writing was already on the wall. So with me breaking the 2-2 tie, this is BOTH a player and audience blindside.

Do you agree with the Ozlet’s choices? What would you classify each blindside as? What blindsides would you like to see analysed in the future? Leave a comment to let us know your thoughts!


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9 Comments on A Game of Blindsides: Audience, Player or Both? – Part 2

  1. ladundercover22 // February 15, 2016 at 1:57 pm // Reply

    THE THREE AMIGOS!!! damn malcolm is the best…if only they’d had time to think about it and actually taken out cochran instead…

  2. There’s no way Wiglesworth was an audience blindside; it was one of the most obvious votes that season from my perspective. As soon as she got a confessional I knew she was gone. Even without that, she was getting a pretty standard boot setup that episode so I had little doubt going into tribal council that she was gone.

  3. The Artist Formerly Know As Jeff Probst // February 16, 2016 at 5:45 am // Reply

    Can anyone help think of just audience blindsides?

  4. Jake Borucki // February 16, 2016 at 5:57 am // Reply

    The Gretchen Blindside in Borneo or Jeff Kent in Philippines maybe. Gretchen going home was a shock to many especially since it was the 1st season and the only reason she was voted out was for being a leader of Pagong, and we got no strategizing prior to that vote.

    And Jeff Kent going home was a shock because that Tribal
    Council was just crazy!

  5. Never mind those are also player blindsides. haha

  6. How SJDS Jeremy boot was not mentioned?

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