2014 Survivor winner comes down to a cop vs. martial arts expert

SPOILER ALERT: In one of the most satisfying seasons that featured a new cast made up of true die-hard competitors, it came down to brains vs. brawn as Spencer and Cass (brains) and Woo and Tony (Brawn) battled it out in the final four. The 2014 Survivor winner was Tony Vlachos, a 38-year-old calculated cop from Jersey City, New Jersey, who backstabbed and blindsided his way to the top swearing over his badge, wife, baby and dead father as he outwitted his competitors masterfully to win Survivor: Cagayan. While his only regret was having to blindside his Boston bestie Trish [who gave a scathing inquiry during jury deliberations, although she still managed to vote for him], he was able to walk away with an 8-1 victory, with only Tasha voting for Woo.

2014 Survivor winner Tony VlachosWhile many fans were hoping that the “neurotic” Spencer Bledsoe would master an amazing victory comeback (he did get to final four!) that obviously didn’t materialize, however, he can be credited for helping secure Tony’s fate. Spencer dismissed his opportunity to ask questions during jury time and instead made a convincing and honorable case that defended why Tony should win the game. “Love him or hate him, Tony played his ass off out here,” the 21-year-old Spencer almost shouted to his fellow jurors. “Tony was behind every great strategic decision.  . . . He took a slew of goats deep, he put some on the jury . . . He played with a ferocity this game very rarely sees . . . Vote for the only guy sitting there that actually played the game and played it in a way that honored it.”

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After that Woo didn’t stand a chance. Woo had an opportunity to take control of the game and potentially win it — he had won the final immunity challenge and was the sole decision maker on who he would take to the final tribal council and ultimately compete against him for the $1 million. While Cass gave Woo all the intelligence on why it made no sense (no sense!) to take Tony to the finals, Woo didn’t follow his gut and instead made what most of us believe to be the million dollar mistake or, as what he believes, the more honorable path and took his long-time alley and friend to sit next to him.

“Taking him just felt right,” Woo said, defending the martial arts principals in which he was schooled in and how honor and integrity is far more valiant saying if he went up against someone who wasn’t “as talented as I was, the victory wouldn’t be as sweet.”

In Woo’s pre-interview for the show, he was asked what Survivor contestant he was most like and responded: “With my martial arts experience, my game is very strong, humble, grateful and respectful, much like Ozzy.” And that he proved.

Here are the final standings for the 2014 Survivor: Cagayan season:
Tony Vlachos (Brawn Tribe)  WINNER!
Yung “Woo” Hwang  (Brawn Tribe) Runner Up!
Kassandra “Kass” McQuillen (Brains Tribe) (16th Voted Off, Jury)
Spencer Bledsoe (Brains Tribe) (15th Voted Off, Jury)
Trish Hegarty   (Brawn Tribe) (14th Voted Off, Jury)
Latasha “Tasha” Fox (Brains Tribe) (13th Voted Off, Jury)
Jefra Bland (Beauty Tribe) (12th Voted Off, Jury)
Jeremiah Wood (Beauty Tribe) (11th Voted Off, Jury)
LJ McKanas (Beauty Tribe) (10th Voted Off, Jury)
Morgan McLeod (Beauty Tribe) (9th Voted Off, Jury)
Sarah Lacina (Brawn Tribe) (8th Voted Off, Jury)
Alexis Maxwell (Beauty Tribe) (7th Voted Off)
Lindsey Ogle (Brawn Tribe) (6th Off, Quit)
Cliff Robinson (Brawn Tribe) (5th Voted Off)
J’Tia Taylor (Brains Tribe) (4th Voted Off)
Brice Johnston (Beauty Tribe) (3rd Voted Off)
Garrett Adelstein (Brains Tribe) (2nd Voted Off)
David Samson (Brains Tribe) (1st Voted Off)

For fall 2014 Survivor will return with a second installment of Blood Vs. Water and will head to Nicaragua for Survivor: San Juan del Sur, the 29th season, where it will be all new players paired with loved ones. Damn, that ruined my guess about that envelope Jeff Probst gave Spencer during the Survivor Reunion Show – I thought it was an invite to participate in the next season. Hopefully we’ll see Spencer back!

photo credit:  ©2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc.