Look… I did not think I was going to like this show as much as I do. I couldn’t stand the rain, so I decided to start watching Survivor – just to see what all the hype was about. I started on Season 28, the most recent on Netflix, which hosted three groups: Brains, Brawn, and Beauty.
Eventually, Brawn and Beauty wiped out Brains in a series of challenges, diminishing their size against the other two, leading to the first merge: each member drew a color and was assigned to a new tribe, some with nearly complete strangers, others with their whole group staying as a collective with some stragglers.
Tony, Woo, and Spencer were some of the most interesting players. Woo, a taekwondo instructor, played with the most integrity I have ever seen. Never once did he maliciously lie, cheat, or steal in order to pull himself to the top two: he brought himself up on his own by being a reliable player with respectable loyalties.
Tony bled into the opposite end of the spectrum: he played a ruthless game and sabotaged every single person at camp in order to get there, except for Woo. He swore on his badge as a police officer, his wife and children, and his father’s grave: and he still broke them. He had no respectable characteristics except for his sheer hustle to get into the top two.
While Spencer didn’t make it to the top two, I have to give credit where credit is due. Even the host of the show didn’t think he’d make it as far as he did. He strategized with other players as often as he could and as efficiently as he could, and he knew when to make the moves that other players didn’t want to. My favorite thing that he said was at the beginning of the game when he was forced to vote a fellow member of the Brain tribe out. He said something along the lines of, “the fact that you have a PhD in nuclear engineering scares me,”
In the final episode, Tony and Woo faced the jury, consisting of members that had been voted out beforehand. With an overwhelming number of votes, Tony won Survivor: Cagayan, and rage has never filled my body so quickly.
Personally, I believe that Tony was a backstabbing, two-faced liar who didn’t even deserve to make it as far as he did. The entirety of the finale led to an entirely too drawn out discussion of whether you should vote for the player who played the best game or the player who made it the farthest without stabbing anyone in the back. If it were the latter, Woo most certainly should have won.