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.
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.
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