‘Survivor 40: Winners at War’: Fans Are Living for Tony Vlachos’ Ladder Scene

In one of the most entertaining scenes of Survivor 40: Winners at War so far, returning winner Tony Vlachos designed an unstable 20-foot-ladder to reach breadfruit in the trees, and fans are living for it.

*SPOILER ALERT* This article contains information revealed in Survivor: Winners at War Episode 2.

Tony Vlachos
Tony Vlachos | Timothy Kuratek

Tony Vlachos’ ‘Survivor’ career

In 2013, New Jersey-based police officer competed in Survivor: Cagayan (Brawn vs. Brains. Vs. Beauty) initially as part of the Brawn tribe. He played an extremely aggressive and flashy game and is known for creating a “spy shack” where he eavesdropped on his tribemates.

Additionally, Tony frequently flipped on his allies and found multiple hidden immunity idols, specifically one with “special powers.” He then convinced Woo Hwang to take him to the Final Tribal Council over Kass McQuillen, who is someone Woo would have beat.

Due to Tony’s clearly dominant game, he won in an 8-1 vote. He returned for six seasons later for Game Changers and immediately tried to play the same ferocious game.

The Cagayan winner then attempted to build with an alliance with the returning winners, but two-time champ Sandra Diaz-Twine convinced the tribe to vote the police officer off of the island on Day 6.

Tony Vlachos returned for ‘Survivor: Winners at War’

As one of the most entertaining winners, Tony came back for his shot at $2 million and another sole Survivor title. In the premiere, he claimed he was on “probation” and would not run around looking for idols to lower his tribemate’s suspicions of him.

It didn’t work for All-Stars winner Amber Mariano who felt like Tony was still up to his old ways, but they voted her to the Edge of the Extinction during their first Tribal Council.

His tribe won the immunity challenge in the second episode; therefore, he avoided elimination again. Even though viewers didn’t get to see Tony at a Tribal Council, the show included a segment of him retrieving breadfruit for his tribemates.

Fans are living for Tony Vlachos’ ladder scene

After the tribemates unsuccessfully tried to reach the breadfruit, Yul Kwon finally got one by carefully constructing a long bamboo stick with a rope around it. On the other hand, Tony built a nearly 20-foot-tall ladder that Sophie Clarke described as bamboo tied together with a “flimsy piece of twine.”

He then had a few tribemates march it from the shelter to the woods, and leaned the unstable creation against a tree. Sophie and Tyson Apostol thought he was joking, but they soon realized Tony genuinely believed it would work.

When the police officer stepped on the first rung it broke, and he hilariously asked someone to give him a hand. After a little boost, Tony “simply” walked up the ladder, “simply” threw the breadfruit down to his tribemates, and then “simply” walked back down to camp.

Several fans on Reddit called the scene “pure gold” and reiterated how much they “love” Tony and his antics, even though they’re doubtful he’ll win.

Others noted they appreciated the ladder scene because they enjoyed it as opposed to watching 15 minutes of contestants finding advantages. Edge of Extinction fan-favorite, Rick Devens, weighed in on Twitter, writing, “Tony is the gift that keeps on giving.”

Superfans believed it is a metaphor because the Cagayan winner’s “ladder shouldn’t work. It’s tenuous, dangerous, built with just enough smarts, a heaping amount of blind hope, and a little bit of string.” Even so, Tony “wills his way to success.”

Additionally, they enjoyed watching the differences in how Yul and Tony approached the breadfruit because how reminiscent it is of their different yet successful game strategies. Watch Survivor 40: Winners at War on Wednesdays at 8 p.m. EST on CBS.