Survivor: Cagayan — “It’s Do or Die”

Tony on Survivor: Cagayan
Survivor: Cagayan (Photo: CBS)

Survivor: Cagayan ended its season Wednesday night with the final four—Kass, Spencer, Tony, Woo—battling it out for the title of sole Survivor.Going into Wednesday’s Survivor finale, I realized that there was not going to be a satisfying conclusion. Tony winning would be anti-climactic, because it would be him regardless of who he sat next to. Looking at any other final two combination did not provide solace. Spencer would have annihilated Woo, Kass and Woo would have been a painful jury, and Kass versus Spencer would have probably resulted in the first unanimous abstention vote.

Kass won the first immunity challenge of the evening in a stunning come-from-behind finish, all in front of the final four’s loved ones. Though Spencer tried to convince Tony he would have an uphill battle against Kass and Woo, Tony decided to get rid of his biggest competition.

The final immunity challenge (which means we have a final two for the first time in FOREVER) featured a ginormous maze of turnstiles. The players had to run through and gather four medallions, which would be used to open a crate of puzzle cogs. Once assembled, the cogs will crank a flag and guarantee a spot in front of the jury. Woo was the first to gather his medallions, but Kass was able to close the gap in the puzzle. Woo and Kass were so close, they were racing in their cranking. Woo finished half-a-second ahead of Kass, giving him a tough choice that evening. At Tribal, Woo stopped all conversation and called the vote before Tony and Kass could plead their cases. Woo decided to bring Tony with him.

The jury turned out to be surprisingly bitter this season. Jefra opened her spiel by saying “I’m not bitter,” then entered into the standard bitter juror tactic of asking the target to parrot back what she says or she might not vote for him. Trish wins the Sue Hawk Award, tearing into her former ally not for voting her out, but for using the soul and memory of his dead relatives to get one day farther in the game. Spencer closed out the jury segment urging his peers to vote for the guy who played the game the strongest—specifically Tony. Woo did his best to appease the jury, even explaining that he brought Tony because he wanted to play against the best. Woo’s argument received one vote; Tony received the rest.

I do not agree with Probst’s claim that this was one of the best season’s ever, but Survivor: Cagayan would rank in the top half. I enjoy the seasons that begin with multiple tribes, and I think the distinction of brain/beauty/brawn actually paid off. The unending supply of immunity idols was ridiculous, particularly with the original recipe idol coming back into the picture. There were a good mix of challenges, though the abundance of puzzles seemed to favor the Brains members in the latter stages.1 I noticed that in most episodes a whole day would be skipped so we could get more of Tony’s elaborate/cartoonish/unnecessary scheming, which was disappointing.

The lesson I hope future contestants take away from this season: STOP TALKING. Woo made it to the end because he kept his eyes open and his mouth closed. Tony made it to the end partly because everyone else would not shut up and he absorbed everything. If more people let Tony run his mouth, they may have wised up enough to vote him out. Now he has a million dollars.

  1. I’m willing to give that a pass since that kept Tasha in the game.  

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About Mike McComb 669 Articles
Mike has been writing about TV online since 2008, when he started the blog WTF Little House on the Prairie? The blog was a project to practice writing about television analytically prior to getting an MA in Television-Radio-Film from Syracuse University, or as he likes to call it "TV Camp." After a lengthy stint at TVLatest, Mike wanted to launch a site that brought in classic TV, diamonds in the rough, and the shows everybody watches. E-mail: