Matt Quinlan thought his muscles would make him invaluable on Survivor: One World, but he was wrong.
Quinlan, 33, believed his alliance of alpha-males would dominate but the “Misfits” had other plans. After the women won their first immunity challenge of the season, the attorney from San Francisco was the first person evicted from his all-male tribe.
Following his eviction, Quinlan spoke to PEOPLE about gaining respect for his tribe mate Colton, how the tide is shifting after the women’s first win and why the battle of the sexes twist ruined his strategy.
Did you have any idea you would be going home?
I walked in [to Tribal Council] and said, “I’m either going to be set with a new, dominant alliance or I’m going home.”
When we started talking at Tribal, it became pretty obvious to me that it didn’t take and that’s probably why you saw me get frustrated and agitated at Tarzan.
Were you surprised the tribe didn’t keep your muscle around for challenges?
Everybody realized that because it was men vs. women the challenges were going to be a lot of balance and puzzles and I think everybody in our tribe was equally capable at those.
The advantage a big guy like me would have normally was taken away. It gave them the opportunity to get rid of a big threat in the game right off the bat. I was scrambling from day one.
You changed strategies quickly after losing the challenge.
I had spent a lot of time that day or two before tribal trying to create a new reality with Troy, Jonas, Mike and Jay. We were going to try and get out Colton and his idol. I was optimistic but I understand it’s Survivor and people lie to each other.
You seemed to have it out for Colton.
Colton wasn’t getting along with anybody but he had power. His vote was important, so everybody kind of dealt with Colton because they had to. He was the swing vote for the better part of the week so he always had value. And then he had the idol.
It’s easy to hate Colton but at the end of the day he was playing a pretty good game.
Did you ever think of allying with him?
He put himself in a pretty good position. [It shows that] just because they are playing a different way than you would play doesn’t mean they’re doing a bad job.
I totally underestimated Colton the first few days and once I realized that he was this alpha male that was actually playing a good game, it was kind of too late because he had already slid over to the other guys.
Should the men be scared now that the women have won two challenges in a row?
We were just tearing them apart in the beginning. The tarp was critical [for us] given the rain and then we were up two tribe members while they had inferior shelter and no fire.
But their wins were a morale boost. I don’t know if the fishing gear [they won] was a game changer for them but it definitely a boost and now they aren’t going down nine to six. They’ve got some momentum. What they can do with it remains to be seen.