The 50 Best Survivor Episodes (No. 28)

“Hot Girl With A Grudge (Pt 2)”

Cagayan, Episode 2 (Air Date: February 26 2014)
by Ian Walker

Survivor: Cagayan was a huge season and, coming off a string of returnee-heavy seasons, proved that we needed this batch of all new players. While the season began with a two-hour premiere, it’s really the second hour that kicked the season off with one of the biggest bangs out of any premiere, and at the center of all the action was the Luzon tribe.

Having been designated the Brains of the Brains/Brawn/Beauty that gave the season its theme, they were decidedly un-brain like in the first two challenges, completely blowing the challenge-ending puzzle and costing the team the first two victories. When stacking up everybody’s challenge prowess, it looked like J’Tia Taylor would be the one to go, since she was deemed the weakest.

Garrett Adelstein was especially on board with this plan, so much so that he took on the role of tribe babysitter. He instituted a no side-conversation policy, literally forcing the rest of his tribe to stay in the shelter and not wander off with the intent of not letting J’Tia out of his sight. However, just like their efforts in the challenges, the Brains turned out to be brainless. While the four other tribe members took a quick trip down to the beach, leaving J’Tia unattended back at camp, Ms. “I Love Nerds” went into Brandon Hantz mode and dumped out nearly the entire supply rice into the campfire. Anybody watching at home would surely bet that J’Tia would be sent home after that serious bit of tribe sabotage, and they would be wrong.


That’s because Garrett’s attempts at stifling strategy talk bothered the other women on his tribe. Tasha Fox was especially rankled; having established a pretty decent relationship with J’Tia at this point, she turned to Kass McQuillen about possibly voting Garrett out. Kass had already been set up as the swing vote, with J’Tia and Tasha on one side and Garrett and Spencer Bledsoe on the other, and she could see the bad path that this tribe was on, so sending J’Tia home was a very appealing option. Contrast that with Garrett’s increasingly overbearing presence, and it looked like Kass had a tough decision on her hands.

At tribal council, however, it all became clear for Kass. Garrett put his foot in his mouth so many times, carelessly naming who and who wasn’t in the alliance and not choosing his words carefully, that Kass decided to pull the trigger to keep J’Tia and vote out Garrett. It’s an especially embarrassing look on Garrett, who gets voted out with a hidden immunity idol in his pocket to boot.

Speaking of hidden immunity idols, this episode also had one of the greatest idol discovery scenes in the history of the show. Tony Vlachos, one of the most improbable winners ever, embarked on his quest for an idol. After he had found it came one of the most instantly quotable lines in Survivor history, as he unwrapped the idol and trembled with anticipation and said the now legendary line of, “This is huge, I needed this.” That moment, combined with the construction of his first spy shack, helped establish the beginnings of Tony’s blistering run to the end and great Survivor legacy, contributing to making Cagayan one of the best seasons in the history of the show.


[Credit to for GIFS]

Ian, from Chicago, Illinois, graduated with a Communications major and an English minor and is now navigating adult life the best he can. He has been a fan of Survivor since Pearl Islands aired when he was 11 years old, back when liking Rupert was actually cool.

  • Zachary Chong

    YES. Great choice.

  • José Zepeda

    Garret was so hot but so duuumb.
    Being a poker player, I really thought he would do more.

  • Dutch

    Fantastic choice. This premier was amazing. J’tia was a train wreck. Scrap that, that whole tribe was.

  • Darren

    This was a great episode, but Tony’s idol discovery being one of the best in the history of the show? Really? And I wouldn’t call his line “legendary.”

  • Whistler

    One of the greatest first episodes ever. But why only part two. It’s just one episode, not two in one.

    • Martin Holmes

      It’s essentially two episodes stuck together. Rather than say Heroes vs Villains premiere which is just one two-hour episode with one boot. 🙂

  • Erin

    Great episode for sure, but some of these later ranked eps could easily usurp this ranking imho.

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