Survivor: David vs. Goliath cast assessment: Pat Cusack is the season’s muse

Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Photo: Robert Voets/CBS Entertainment ©2018 CBS Broadcasting, Inc. All Rights Reserved. /

Reportedly the inspiration behind Survivor: David vs. Goliath in the first place, Pat Cusack is going to work hard to earn that big paycheck.

Usually, the casting team behind Survivor argues they don’t go into a season’s theme ahead of time before finding the final group of individuals that will comprise their 18-20 castaways. Things were a bit different this time around, as Jeff Probst has regaled the tale of meeting Pat Cusack and working the rest of their casting decisions surrounding the David vs. Goliath theme the season would eventually produce.

It may seem like Pat is a quiet, reserved guy when it comes to his CBS bio, but you can tell he has more going for him than the straight-up family man that Carl Boudreaux speaks of himself. For example, even though he’s your blue-collar, hard-working, run-of-the-mill dude who would only take a picture of his wife and kids to the island, he compares himself to John Cochran and Richard Hatch.

It’s common for players to compare themselves to winners all the time, but for Pat Cusack, the heavily-tattooed man, to compare himself to Cochran over his chameleon-like tendencies is surprising. He does think he is funny, too, as evidenced by his Instagram account where he lovingly calls his followers “f—erfaces” when sharing videos.

Survivor represents growth for Pat, as evidenced by his interview with The Hollywood Reporter. Much like Donathan Hurley’s first trip out of Kentucky with Ghost Island, flying into Los Angeles to go to casting finals was the first time Pat stepped on an airplane. Him swimming in the Pacific Ocean for his cast introduction video is another first.

It’s clear that Pat is heading into the game knowing how the show works, as evidenced by his strategy. Building relationships with people he’s comfortable with, first and foremost, is a good idea, especially considering the tribe dynamics. Pat is looking to be one of the second or third-strongest people on his tribe, and that’s exactly where you want to be if you want to get far.

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He seems to be aware of the social dynamics and has a story he can share that speaks to the David underdog story the season is based on. Having worked every day of his life to support his family, his paralyzed mother and have a family life with a father who wasn’t around much at home (working two jobs to support the family) speaks to the character of the player.

He’s in a good position early on to make it far in Survivor: David vs. Goliath’s tribal stages, but I’m not quite sure where his level of game awareness is at this time. Lauren found herself in a good position with a similar gameplan as Pat; work with people you care for, find advantages and not stick your nose where it doesn’t belong. It was one major blow-up and a fumbled trust in others that cost her.

I could see Pat follow that same path past the merge; get on everyone’s good side, coast through, provide hilariously pointed confessionals but stumble when the game starts to see alliances turn on themselves and him get caught in the crossfire.

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One thing’s for sure; I’m sure Pat is going to be a prominent character of the season, no matter how long he’s in the game. He has a fire in his belly and a sharp, quick-witted mouth to spit that fire, and I hope we get as fun and jovial a player as we can see on social media.