The last person to leave the game, the person so close to the end they can taste the money but has their opportunity to plead their case taken away at the very last moment. That person becomes ingrained in their respective season as the final recipient of “The Tribe Has Spoken” and earns a place in a very special group in Survivor history: The Day 38 Club.
Inside Survivor contributor Ian Walker continues the countdown of the updated and revised Day 38 Club rankings. The list takes into account the strength of a player’s game, character, and the power of their story.
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No. 10 – Kass McQuillen (Cagayan)
Nobody in Survivor history has ever quite embraced being an agent of discord like Kass McQuillen. The self-proclaimed “Chaos Kass” seemed to relish throwing wrenches into other people’s plans for her own amusement, just as much as for the (alleged) betterment of her own game.
Throughout Survivor: Cagayan, Kass unabashedly avoided the “older mom” archetype so many women her age find themselves in, wanting to play a more devious game than players in that role typically do. And boy, did she succeed! Kass screwed more than her fair share of people’s games and had fun doing it, all the way up to Day 38.
Kass made her most infamous move at the merge, helping to create one of the greatest merge episodes in Survivor history. Her tribe merged up in the numbers 6-5 and looked primed to wipe the minority alliance out on by one. However, one of her tribe members, Sarah Lacina, had ties to both tribes and openly flaunted her power as the swing vote.
Never having trusted Sarah in the first place, Kass was not content to let Sarah so obviously play the middle; believing her own spot in the alliance was crumbling while the rest of her allies were catering to President Lacina. So, she set about to change the situation. After chatting up some of the people on the other side, Kass decided to flip, sending Sarah out of the game and dooming all of the other members of her former alliance.
Whether Kass made the right move for her game at that moment is ultimately irrelevant in the grand scheme of the season. It’s Kass’s resolute belief that she made the right move, and having the fearlessness to pull it off, is what makes her such a great Survivor character.
That fearlessness also came into play with her personal relationships, as Kass was not afraid to get into it with anybody. What was remarkable was that during any confrontation, Kass was an expert at staying calm, only flashing her signature Kass smirk as she stood her ground. Kass had two main nemeses she liked to engage with in this way. Spencer Bledsoe, whom she picked on like the neighbor kid until he threw his hands up in the air in despair, and Tony Vlachos, whom Kass provoked so much he memorably blurted out llama-speak in agitation.
Kass just had this polarizing effect on people, alienating them wherever she went, which seemed to make her an ideal Final Tribal Council goat. She seemed like such a slam dunk easy opponent to beat that it would have taken a huge blunder on the part of somebody else for her to end up on the jury. Unfortunately for her, that blunder happened.
Tony, Survivor madman that he is, pulled off one of the craziest con jobs ever by convincing his apprentice Woo Hwang, who had won the final Immunity challenge, to bring him to the Final 2. Woo’s mistake took Kass’s presumed Final Tribal spot away from her and sent her out of the game on Day 38.
While it would have been great to see Kass argue her game in Final Tribal, she still had an incredible run and helped make Cagayan into the top tier Survivor season that it is today.
Stay tuned to Inside Survivor as the Day 38 Club rankings continue over the coming days. Check out the previous entries here.