Over the coming months, Inside Survivor is undertaking its biggest list ranking yet, as we count down the 100 best episodes of Survivor ever. As always with these kinds of lists, it’s entirely subjective, and we’re sure many fans will have different opinions. This is simply Inside Survivor’s ranking. Join us each weekday for a new entry.
Episode: “The Beginning of the End” (Episode 12)
Broadcast Date: May 1, 2013
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“You’re a sneaky, sneaky little girl, always ready to blindside someone, but I don’t think you’re ready for this one.” Brenda Lowe has such a way with words as she seals Andrea Boehkle‘s fate in this episode of Survivor: Caramoan. The season known for Brandon Hantz’s meltdown, Dawn Meehan’s teeth, and John Cochran’s unanimous win isn’t always a comfortable watch, but it has some seriously underrated moments, including many from this episode.
This two-Tribal episode really kicks off with the aftermath of Reynold Toepfer’s elimination. Instead of relaxing and being thankful that they all survived another Tribal Council, a blindside-hungry Andrea continues to pitch to Cochran to take Brenda or Dawn out of the game at the next vote. Andrea has been playing hard for most of the season, making up for her more passive gameplay in Redemption Island. But her eagerness to blindside her fellow competitors is juxtaposed by Cochran’s de-stabilizing ability to break those same plans down.
The surprise is when Cochran actually goes and spills the beans about Andrea’s plan to Brenda and Dawn, propelling this two-part episode into an all-night saga. Brenda vows to seek revenge on Andrea and is determined to get her out as soon as possible. While Brenda’s overall edit is underwhelming in Caramoan, especially compared to her more prominent visibility in Nicaragua, watching her passion for getting out an enemy is nothing short of brilliant.
Following an Immunity Challenge won by Erik Reichenbach, who physically dominates everyone else in a classic “escape run,” the scheming back at camp kicks up a notch. Assuming her plan is set in stone, Andrea informs her confidante, Eddie Fox, that Brenda will be going home tonight. As the last surviving member of the Three Amigos, Eddie is thrilled that he isn’t the target and is even happier that he knows who will be voted out this round, having been blindsided himself multiple times by this point in the season. Oh, poor, innocent Eddie.
Andrea comments about Brenda that she “feels bad for the kid,” comparing it to her own blindside in Redemption Island and the pain that came with it. As far as Andrea is concerned, she’s in the best spot in the game. She’s about to take out her biggest enemy; she has a solidified Final 3 alliance and a Hidden Immunity Idol in her pocket (that Erik found and handed to her in the first part of this episode). But as confident as Andrea is in her position and plans to take out Brenda, the Nicaragua alum feels the same way. Both of these women are taking huge leaps of faith with the tribe, and for the audience, it isn’t quite clear which direction the Tribal will go.
The tension is thick at Tribal Council as Jeff Probst asks both Andrea and Brenda questions relating to “big moves” and “blindsides.” It’s clear that something is about to go down, and both women believe it will end with the other having their torch snuffed. The showdown continues into the voting booth, where Andrea notes Brenda’s threat status during the balancing challenge, and Brenda calls out Andrea’s sneakiness. Now all that is left to do is read the votes and reveal the moment of truth.
As Jeff reads the votes, confusion comes across Andrea’s face. After a second “Andrea” vote pops up, she lets out a shocked, “WHAT?!” It soon dawns on her that her plan has failed, and, even worse, she didn’t play her idol to save herself. The tension builds further as the vote ends up 2-2-2 (Andrea / Brenda / Eddie) with one vote remaining. And as Jeff turns the final vote for Andrea, she smiles, shocked, yet still respecting the tremendously cunning gameplay. “Oh, you guys!” Andrea exhales as she takes the walk of shame towards Jeff, while Brenda winks to the jury, showing that she got her way.
This is certainly one of the more memorable blindsides in modern Survivor history. From Dawn & Cochran’s control to Brenda’s snarkiness to Andrea’s rise and fall to the jury’s reaction, it all combines into a truly epic Survivor moment.
Check back tomorrow when we reveal which episode placed at number 75. You can check out the previous entries here.