Who is going to win Survivor Cagayan?


Yep, got busy again, and I couldn’t post my analysis of Episode 12 in a timely fashion. Had it been any other episode, I guess I’d have to simply skip it, but as the finale is coming our way and that it’s my last chance for unfounded predictions before the end of the season, I couldn’t pass the opportunity.

Instead of analyzing the remaining contestants’ behavior during the previous episode (I’ll do that too), I’ll try to analyze their chances to win it all.

So, let’s try to find out who is going to win Survivor Cagayan?




tribal council



– Kass McQuillen: Well, it’s pretty simple. As Spencer predicted the day that she betrayed him: she has zero chance to win the game. We haven’t seen such a perfect goat in a very very long time. Here is the problem with Kass: self-awareness. In that, she’s actually more similar to Hantz than Tony will ever be. See, her “Chaoskass” antics are pretty revealing. Yes, they are strategical, no questions about that. Yes, they reach their goal, mostly creating tensions or even conflict between the other contestants, no doubt about that. The thing that she is totally missing is that she also makes people really mad at her. Maybe in a courtroom, creating chaos help her winning cases, I don’t know. The part she is missing is that in the courtroom it doesn’t matter if everyone hates her, it’s not about her. Here it is. If you instigate chaos, other people must not know it comes from you. Yes, you may attain your goal of breaking bonds and alliances, but people will resent you for it, and will not want to give you one million bucks.
That’s why her shit eating grin is kinda sad in a sense. She’s smiling thinking she’s genius manipulating everyone the way she does, except that she’s not aware about how people perceive her and not just each other.
Honestly at this point of the game, whatever the final configuration is, I don’t see how she could win.

– Spencer Bledsoe: Spencer on the other end has the perfect story. He hasn’t made a single enemy. Even his rivalry with Tony, and the fact that they’ve been gunning at each other for a while, stays within the context of the game. There is no animosity between these two. Also, while Spencer has managed to be manipulative at times, it is never perceived as such by the others. On top of that, he has an amazing narrative to sell himself. When the Brains tribe started to self-destruct, he ended up in the bottom quite quickly, and was almost voted out third. From that moment, he had to fight an uphill battle pretty much constantly (he was in a situation of power pretty much only once, when they voted Alexis out). After the merge and Kass’s betrayal, he managed to survive vote after vote after vote without making enemies, and not only by being smart but also by winning immunity (which, he gained points in the jury both with those who value strategy and those who value competitiveness). The only hurdle now is that he pretty much has to win immunity until the final tribal council if he wants to get there. For Spencer, the situation is pretty clear: if he makes it to the end, he’ll win against anyone, but the other remaining contestants know that too, and they’ll do anything they can to prevent him reaching that final tribal council.

Tony Vlachos: He’s in a very delicate situation here. While I gave him some shit at times for making some terrible moves, I’ll give him all the credit he deserves for playing as hard as he did, and in recent weeks, he hasn’t made that many mistakes even if the super-idol helped him greatly as he knew he was not going home anytime soon. Now, he has made enemies along the way. Quite a lot (Sarah, Morgan, LJ and Jefra are very unlikely to vote for him). He’ll have to make some pretty amazing moves in the time remaining to get some respect from the jury if he hopes to win that final tribal. He started to do so though. At first I was quite perplexed as to why he had voted Trish out. It actually made perfect sense. Trish is loyal to him almost to a fault, and what he did in sending her to the jury was getting one more jury vote. Watch him probably do the same with Woo next.
Well, here is the thing here. We need to start talking about whether we’re going to get a final three or a final two (apparently, CBS latest promo – which I haven’t seen – strongly suggested a final two). In a final three situation, Tony is in trouble and doesn’t have much chances to win. If he goes to the end with Spencer, Spencer wins. If he goes with Woo, Woo could win because of pissed off jury members. (Kass being in the third position in both cases). He could go crazy and go to the end with Spencer and Woo, hoping the votes get more or less evenly divided and that he manages somehow to get more. A bit farfetched though.
In a final two situation, he’ll win against Kass no doubt. He should lose against Spencer, but could win against Woo.
We’ll see.

Yung “Woo” Hwang: Can Woo win? Not sure. He’s well like by pretty much everyone, but I’m not sure many people respect his game play much. Well, he’d win in a final two against Kass, that’s for sure. In a final three against Tony and Kass, he could also hope for something. I don’t think he can win any other configuration.


Next time on Survivor:

We’ll get a winner for what was an amazing season.
Please casting I hope you took note: cast people with personality and who want to win, not just be on TV.


Next to go:

Spencer if he doesn’t win immunity. If he does, Woo may go home.



You want to read more about this week’s episode:

8 Responses

  1. QuackerPacker says:

    I thought Tony should have voted out Woo instead of Spencer at the F4, since atleast Spencer would have been likely to follow up on his F2 offer to Tony if he won immunity, since Spencer believed he could beat Tony. Spencer is also physically weaker and less a threat to win immunity. I guess he knew Woo was so gullible and easily manipulated he would take Tony to the end if he won immunity though, and unlike Spencer was no threat to beat him.

    • David Billa says:

      Honestly, In the final four, Spencer was the biggest threat to win. He had the better story.
      Woo could only win against Kass, and even against her, I don’t know if anyone respected his game (and by bringing Tony instead of Kass to the end he indeed showed that his game didn’t deserve respect).

      • QuackerPacker says:

        Yeah I think Tony was too scared of Spencer (with good reason), and considering not only did Spencer play a great game and was generally well liked, but Tony had screwed over many more people than Spencer who had been forced to come from the bottom of alliances and unable to control anything vs Tony who was blamed for numerous blindsides, lies, and betrayals, and against Spencer, Tony would be in huge trouble. He probably knew Woo was kind of pathetic and he could easily mindfuck him to take him to the final against all sanity even if he won immunity, so in the end it was smart not going along with Spencer just in case Spencer won the final immunity.

        I think Woo would probably beat Kass, but if Kass really killed it in FTC and Woo dropped the ball (which could easily happen) even she could have stolen it.

  2. Grant Mattos says:

    I was looking for a final episode review of this season but I guess there isn’t one. Not to make you feel bad about that, as you do an incredible amount of good work with this site. It is a good read for any Survivor fan.

    Anyway regarding Kass and your guys comments on her one thing about a goat is they lack self awareness. A good example is Nat T from my season. She didn’t even realize she wasn’t a jury threat, and admits to me in our post game lives that she fed into all Rob was telling her all game that she was the next Amber/Natalie White (although she doesn’t hold it against him, and unlike me has remained friends with Rob in her post game life). It wasn’t until the got to final tribal and was addressed the way we jury members addressed her she realized despite that Rob did not break a promise to her like he did to people like myself and Ashley, she too had been manipulated. She was a goat all along, and Rob knew it, and all of us knew except Nat T herself. In her defense she atleast now knows that was her role in the season, unlike many others who don’t even seem to realize in the aftermath, especialy if like Kass they don’t reach final tribal for it to be emphatically proven. Not that she should be upset with Rob either, without him she would have been possibly the first boot, and now she is very active in the Survivor community, which is something she loves, and made possible only due to Rob. Phillip is a rare exception in that he didn’t lack self awareness, he knew he was a goat, and was fine with it.

    I think Kass falls into that category too. I didn’t sense she realizes what a major goat she was. Now in fairness to her she almost got to the finals with what was still her best chance to win. A final vs Woo. I still doubt she would have won even that one, but it is impressive she somehow nearly got to the best possible final for herself to possibly win, when she had no real allies or friends in the game at all it seemed. I don’t sense she was completely aware how much people hated her though. That or she somewhat sensed some level of dislike, but she also thought they respected her game play much more than they really did by the videos of people in Ponderosa that were posted online. As often is the case with goats she totally lacked self awareness to how she was perceived, and the low level of respect she had amongst her peers by the end. I think the way she looked at her game was each time she betrayed someone or switched alliances without warning, or caused people to turn on each other largely due to something she said, lied about, or did, it was a “big move” and that is all the jury was thinking, “ooh another big move by Kass.” A very narrow scoped perspective on reality, and completely forettting the first rule that Survivor is first and foremost a social game. If you are going to cut a strategic path to the end you have to remember not all moves are smart moves and look good to the jury, but also if you are being an asshole and hurting people you had better have some even bigger goats than yourself still around you know you can drag to the end (as Rob had with Nat and Phil). Long before this point, and in fact barely into the merge, such people didn’t exist for her anymore. Woo was the closest, and her chances vs him would still be almost nothing.

    • David Billa says:

      Yes, since about the end of Cagayan, my “schedule” has made it more difficult to blog regularly about Survivor.
      I write several blogs, but the other ones I can write whenever. This one, I have to write, pretty much the day after an episode. And for the past year or so, writing on Thursday nights (Japan time, that’d be Thursday morning in the US) or even on Fridays has been very difficult, hence the lack of activity since the end of Cagayan. During Worlds Apart, I could have posted irregularly, but I don’t know if it’s a good thing to not post weekly.
      The other option is to write on the week-ends, but I feel it’s a little too late, as most people are interested to read blog posts on the next day or so after the show (according to my traffic stats).

      I’m still debating how to do this for Second Chance, as I definitely want to blog weekly this coming season. Luckily, Thursday is the day I go home the earliest, but for some reason, it’s also the day I’m the most tired after work.
      I guess I’ll try to blog on Thursdays, but if I can’t I’ll do it on the weekends, too bad if it’s a little late.

      Yes, I see what you mean about Natalie. Once again, I blame her young age and naivete. I didn’t know she was very active in the Survivor community, although, that makes sense now, once in a while, I see her face popping up on a Survivor’s Instagram or Twitter and I’m always surprised.

      And yes, 100% yes about Kass. The whole time she assumed that people thought that she made big moves, when she just alienated them. That’s also why I hope she lasts a little longer than one episode or two this season, now she’s a aware of that, how does she change?

      One thing I keep on wondering about Phillip is his goal this whole time? Was he just happy with second place (that’s still some good money)? I even wondered whether his first season, realizing early he couldn’t win, he just played to make sure he gets invited back and actually play the game the second time around (which is kinda what happened in Caramoan)? Do you have any thoughts on that?

      • Grant Mattos says:

        I think early in the season Phillip had the goal of winning the game. He tried getting Boston Rob out early. He approached me about. He also approached Andrea and Ashley and others about it. When he realized he had no real support on the idea, and no real allies, he then switched to the “play the goat” game to get take to the finals. At that point, no he was no longer playing to win. Really once the merge hit he was 100% playing to make the finals as a goat only. Probably in the back of his mind also make an impact with his crazy behavior and get invited back. Now I wish I had taken him up on his offer and gotten the Rob out sooner, but oh well. Yes though I think he met his goal, to get invited back, and how he played in Caramoan is more indicative of how he would have played on Redemption without needing to suck up to Rob and relegate himself to being Rob’s biggest goat to survive due to all of Rob’s many blind minions like myself.

        It will be interesting to see how Kass changes her strategy if she does last longer. She knows she has to come across more personable and likeable to people to have any shot to win should she made the end (probably not easy with her natural personality). She also has to change her strategic play though, and find a way to make big moves without burning people as badly, or without many of the moves looking stupid and not garnering her respect from the people she is helping to vote off. She needs to be a game changer (I am sure that wont change, that is her style), while still maintaining a strong thread of loyalty. The good news for her is she is a lawyer and for all her faults she is very smart. I am sure she will have gone over this all in her head, and come up with some revised plan of attack. As you said if she survives a couple votes offs atleast, hopefully she can even make the merge. She will need to gain peoples trust quickly for that to be possible, and show she is a changed player in that sense.

        • David Billa says:

          I remember noticing Phillip becoming even goofier after the merge. It all makes sense now…

          Kass is probably the smartest players of Second Chance (well, a lot of them are), but her baggage is just too big. There has to be some huge twist or something for her to survive more than one vote.

          • Grant Mattos says:

            She also has been quiet on social media since coming back which isn’t a good sign, but who knows there might be a surprise. Then again with her she would probably only be going crazy if she won or made the finals and we knew she wouldn’t do that (barring a miracle), so she still might last long enough to make it interesting and perhaps show a new playing style of sorts. She will be forced to almost be a subservient though since she will have to beg people to align with her, and while I would like to see her play differently, I am not sure I would see her reduced to that. Then again if she gains enough trust with some allies and survives a couple vote offs, she could start to open her wings and make some big plays again, but hopefully taking a different method to her madness if she reaches that point.

            I am visiting Los Angeles this whole week. It has been amazing seeing my friends and family who I have missed so terribly again. I moved to Toronto, Canada at the end of April. It has especialy been hard being away from what I call my family (don’t get me wrong, my real family is amazing) at Moda Yoga where I worked. Here is me with some of the staff and a couple of my students before my move:


            Here is a video of me and my 2 longtime best friends already drunk and silly a bit this week:


            I miss them so much. When I lived in Los Angeles I was used to seeing them all the time. We nickname ourselves the 3 Calmigos (since Amigos is so standard and overused, and Cal for California). They have come to visit me a couple times in Toronto since I moved already though. Change is hard, but I don’t want to be one resistant to change, even when it isn’t necessary, but I have had a tough time at times dealing with the whole transitional process of my life. I have kept American citizenship btw, so I am still eligible for Survivor.

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