GOOD COP, BEST COP — Tony Vlachos wins Survivor: Cagayan – Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty

GOOD COP, BEST COP -- Tony Vlachos wins Survivor: Cagayan – Brawn vs. Brains vs. Beauty

Here’s everything you need to know about what happened in Survivor: Cagayan Episode 13 — “It’s Do or Die” – who won the challenges, who was voted of, who played well, and who is on the outs. Feel free to add your notes, thoughts, and questions.

Aired May 21, 2014, covering night 36 through night 39

First Immunity Challenge winner: Kass

First Voted Out: Spencer

Second Immunity Challenge winner: Woo

Second Voted Out: Kass

The Winner:

Tony – Like most people we would have been more than OK with a Spencer win (his story was waaaaaay better than Tony’s) but having a complete story that comes with a Tony win is still pretty great. Tony’s appeal was that he was dominating but he was a complete mess and even though he had a firm control of the game there were times where he just didn’t seem like it and seemed like he was about to completely fall apart and let it unravel.

Seeing him limp to the finish line was a good example of that. It showed that even great players who have vast influence over the game need a little bit of luck to make it.

Tony’s deal was sealed at Tribal Council after Trish’s impassioned  monologue, when he looked at her and, without flinching, answered her, “Yes.” Either answer can be wrong in that scenario if it’s not convincing and it definitely was. If there was any doubt that Tony deserved to win it was erased right there.

Everyone Else:


Woo – You can call Woo dumb for not taking Kass to the end and for choosing to go up against the best, but to do so and disparage his fundamental belief system is disrespectful and ignorant.

The problem is that it was still dumb.

The reason it was dumb is simple – Woo made the mistake of misunderstanding his own belief system and misapplying his standards. Why did Woo think that he wouldn’t be defeating Tony – the best player – by voting him off one vote early instead of the very end? Is he still not defeating him? And why didn’t anyone think to ask him about that? You beat the best by finishing him when you have power over him, not by trying to win nobility points by placing yourself in a situation in which you can’t win.

Furthermore, if Woo was so worried about keeping his integrity by sticking with Tony, why wasn’t it a problem to backstab Kass? Is lying to her different from lying to Tony?

Woo was funny and entertaining, but he wasn’t a smart player and mostly played the game on cruise control while swinging from Tony’s coattails. Misunderstanding what big moves are and how to make them demonstrated his ineptitude in this game and for that we’re glad he made the wrong move.


Kass – Our biggest annoyance with Kass was that she was being reckless and just doing destructive things that weren’t helping her game. She was all talk and aside from a couple of stray votes had little to do with the progression of this game. This is okay; not everyone can call the shots and some people’s role is to sit quietly and wait to make their move. But then Kass says things like, “Tony hasn’t had to do much because he was on a winning team all the way up to the merge” — was she asleep this entire game?! Was she so out of the loop that she had no idea that Tony won three Idols and nearly dictated the events of the entire two-thirds of the game? It was a recurring theme with Kass; she would complain that no one person should have power to steer the course of the game but then either delude herself into thinking she had control or complain that she didn’t. In the final episode she talked about “the loss of control of your (Woo’s) own fate” , but aside from her lone Immunity Challenge win, Kass hadn’t controlled her fate for one second in the entire game.

But in the last maybe three episodes Kass was able to get a grip on her game and started actually making influence in the game instead of talking about it. You almost even started to respect her. But her social game was atrocious and she just couldn’t put on a mask long enough to make herself tolerable to people. We would have loved to see her arguments in a final two because we can’t imagine what they could possibly be or that they would work (obviously they wouldn’t since we found she would have lost to Woo unanimously).

Spencer and Tony

Spencer – Jeff asked Spencer what one thing he might have done different and Spencer had an answer, but really – what could he have done different? What did he do wrong? Some players are dealt a crap hand in this game – that’s Spencer. His tribe was awful through no fault of his own but overcame, made friends, won challenges, and played every bit as hard as Tony did; there is basically absolutely nothing Spencer could have done better or different…it just was not his game to win.

We said “basically” nothing. If Spencer did anything wrong it was flexing that big brain of his in his last Tribal Council and showing how well he knew and understood the game by laying out an amazing series of circumstances for all to see. It might have been the final nail in his coffin by scaring Tony off and making him realize how smart and respected Spencer was.

Survivor is a story and it’s easy to forget that when you’re watching people running in mazes or screaming at each other in camp. This story was about Tony. Spencer may get his own story eventually like Cochran or Tyson eventually did, but it wasn’t Survivor: Cagayan.

Final Thoughts On This Season:

The Brain vs. Brawn vs. Beauty concept was OK but ended up being almost insignificant after about four episodes. Once the tribes merged the alliances still mattered but unlike Blood vs. Water, were the theme was central and important until the end, the categorizations of the players became meaningless pretty quickly.

Fortunately the cast was strong enough to overcome the lack of staying power in the season’s main gimmick and give us a great season. Was Tony’s win a little predictable? Sure, maybe (although he certainly proved us wrong), but the journey seeing him get there was a fun ride.

Other Episode Coverage:

Click here for Wikipedia’s episode summary

Click here for full episode video on (also available on CBS’s iOS app)

What are your thoughts on this episode? Share them in the comments below!

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