In desperate need of a great season, Survivor: Cagayan breathed life back into the franchise with an overwhelming season of strategy, fun, excitement, and most importantly, chaos. In fact, one of the castmates, Kass McQuillen, was nicknamed “Chaos” during the show for blowing up voting blocks and bouncing between alliances at the drop of a hat.
The reason why this season was so successful was because of the abundance of characters that knew how to play the game and made for great television, with an incredible 30% (six) of the cast being brought back for future seasons.
Spencer Bledsoe burst onto the scene during this season and quickly became one of America’s favorite players due to his sometimes harsh and blunt critical analysis of players and his superior knowledge of the game. Jeff Probst told him before the season started he had “zero chance of winning” and during the finale proclaimed that he had “never been more wrong about a player than Spencer.”
McQuillen and Bledsoe were feuding pretty much the entire game, which made for great viewership, but it was Tony Vlachos, as previously discussed in Winner’s at War, that captured America’s heart with his stealth operations, crazy antics, the construction of a “spy shack,” and his uncanny ability to talk his way out of any mess he made. Vlachos found three idols, including a “super” idol that granted him immunity after the votes were read.
Woo Hwang, the runner-up, made what is considered one of the dumbest moves in Survivor history by winning the final immunity challenge and deciding to bring Vlachos with him to the end over McQuillen, who was seen by the jury as a “goat” for all the poor social decisions she made throughout the game.
It is well documented and discussed that Hwang would have easily beaten McQuillen in the end if he picked her, and that just solidified this season as the most chaotic that Survivor had ever witnessed.