‘Survivor’ Castaway Tony: “The Writing Was on the Wall and It Was in Plain English”

Tony Vlachos (CBS)

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Gordon Holmes: I feel terrible.
Tony Vlachos: Oh…man!
Holmes: You broke my heart.
Vlachos: Oh, I’m sorry. I really am.
Holmes: This is going to hurt, but we’ve got to do this.
Vlachos: (Laughs) I know. I know.
Holmes: Did you know you were done for when you were heading into that Tribal?
Vlachos: I knew I was done. Right before Tribal I was trying to talk to Caleb. “Let’s do this. Let’s play this game.” But there was just a blank face. Malcolm, same thing. We were supposed to vote for Aubry, but Malcolm lied to me. He just walked away. Jeff Varner, he gave me the thumbs up from a mile away when I tried to talk to him. Troyzan said, “I’m just trying to have a zen moment on the beach, I don’t want to talk right now.” Aubry told me, “I’m going to let fate take its course.” Michaela says, “Tony, I’m on the bottom here. I’m going to do what they told me and that’s vote for Aubry.” The writing was on the wall and it was in plain English. I tried my best, Gordon. But, I really didn’t think Sandra would want to go against me. Why would she want to stay with non-threats like Hali, Varner and Troyzan? I was pitching that to her. “They’re not threatening enough to protect you. You need me, Caleb, Malcolm…”

Holmes: It seemed like you two were going to work together until that moment where Sandra and Troyan walked up while you were working on the Spy Bunker™.
Vlachos: What happened was, we moved our camp closer to the water well. Which made it harder for me to work on my Spy Bunker™. It was 50-75 feet away. So I didn’t have much of a chance to build my bunker that I desperately needed. Every chance I got I’d start digging on it. At night was my best chance. I’d wait for everyone to go to sleep. I’d watch them until they’d close their eyes. So, I see Sandra and Troyzan walking by and I said, “Oh snap.” I crawled away and was hiding when I heard my name. That’s not a good sign. It doesn’t matter what they said, but I heard my name at four in the morning. I bum rushed them, cause if they’re lying to me I’ll catch them off guard. That’s what I did. Troyzan tells me he’s looking at the tide. Sandra tells me she’s talking to Troyzan about a crate being too close to a fire. I thought, “I’m done. It’s over for me.”
Holmes: You couldn’t repair that rift after that moment?
Vlachos: No, that was it. Once they saw that, whatever they said didn’t matter. I thought they were gunning for me, maybe they weren’t at that point. But, Sandra got a little spooked by me. He can’t be looking me in the eyes and interrogating me. She started scrambling on her side, and I needed to get my troops together. And, she got the best of me.

Holmes: A lot of people don’t understand why Sandra has been so successful, but last night there was a moment where you pressed Sandra to join in a strategy conversation and she responded with something along the lines of, “You tell me who you’re thinking of targeting and I’ll give you my thoughts.” That’s next-level gameplay.
Vlachos: I always had respect for Sandra’s game. You can’t win a game like that two times unless you play a good game. I knew she was a good player. I asked her to tell me what she’s thinking and she avoided it. And we were clashing then already. But again, kudos to her. To pull Malcolm and Caleb away from me. We had three strong guys and we wanted to keep the tribe strong. She was still able to do it.

Holmes: There was a lot of animosity as you left. Was there any of that before the vote or did it start when you told people to be wary of her?
Vlachos: She looks like she takes things a lot more personal than I do. It’s a game. I don’t take things personal. I burned so many people in Cagayan and they didn’t take it personal with me. I knew my time was up. And I said, “Sheep being lead to the slaughter.” I was thinking, “C’mon, Malcolm. You’re going to let her lead you around? Caleb…Aubry? You’re going to let this lady manipulate you and vote off this big shield? Come merge time you’re going to need me.” They did it like it was nothing. I was very surprised. And Sandra started running her mouth, “That’s what you get. That’s what you get.” I give her the props. She’s the queen bee. I got stung by the queen bee.

Holmes: Were there any other cracks that you tried to exploit? Were there people who weren’t getting along?
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon? There was no malice. Nobody was gunning for anybody. Michaela and Aubry were on the bottom, but I couldn’t make it happen. I tried to get them to give me a chance.

Holmes: Alright, word association time. Let’s start with Sandra.
Vlachos: Queen bee.
Holmes: Malcolm?
Vlachos: Thoroughbred.
Holmes: Ciera?
Vlachos: Sneaky.
Holmes: Troyzan?
Vlachos: Awesome dude.
Holmes: Caleb?
Vlachos: All American boy.
Holmes: Hali?
Vlachos: Invisible.
Holmes: Varner?
Vlachos: Smiley.
Holmes: Aubry?
Vlachos: I guess…laid back.
Holmes: Michaela?
Vlachos: Unknown.

Holmes: I wish I had told you this before the show started, but when you arrive on tribe beach, don’t go running into the woods screaming that you’re going to find an idol.
Vlachos: What was I supposed to do, man?! All eyes were on me, I couldn’t even go pee. I was like, “You know what? I’ll get in their face and make a joke of it.” And you know behind every joke lies the truth. Let me rewind; we took a field trip around the whole campsite. We saw where treemail was, we saw where the water was. And when we were walking together like a big happy family, I saw the mail had a lot of props there. I thought, “Wow, there’s got to be an idol there.” When we got back to camp I was itching. I wanted to look at the mail. And nobody was letting me walk nowhere. I said, “You guys play nice, I’m going looking for the idol.” And that’s exactly what I did. Nobody came behind me, so I took my time and looked everywhere. And I didn’t find anything. And because a typhoon had hit before we got there, every tree was knocked down, there were palm fronds everywhere. There were so many places to look. I was looking non-stop for six days.

Holmes: When we spoke before the game and you said if you lost you would never play again. That is absolutely unacceptable.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Just because you said something in a pre-game interview does not make it legally binding.
Vlachos: You know what, Gordon man? I got voted off and I said, “I’ll never play this game again.” Two months later I said, “I want to go back for a third time.” Last night after I watched it I said, “I never want to play again.”
Holmes: Damnit, Vlachos!
Vlachos: I’m a roller coaster. You know that.
Holmes: I came into this interview fully prepared to spend all fifteen minutes of it begging you to come back.
Vlachos: (Laughs)
Holmes: Word association be damned.
Vlachos: In another three months I’ll be calling Jeff begging him to come back.

Any Questions? Drop me a line on Twitter: @gordonholmes

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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