Why Tina Wonby David Bloomberg -- 07/10/2002
When you’re done reading this article, make sure you check out the other Survivor wrap-ups here: Surviving the Outback, Episode 14: Better Player or Better Person?, Why Keith Lost, and Why Colby Lost.
So we have a winner! And, unlike last season’s winner, she was well-liked among both the fans and most of her fellow players. However, like Rich Hatch, she was a great schemer and plotter, and was described as several jury members as the “mastermind” behind the Ogakor alliance.
She played everything pretty much as I had suggested in my earlier article, What Future Survivors Need to Learn. Let’s go down the list.
First, obviously, Tina schemed and plotted with the best of them. Heck, she was the best of them! She got into the main Ogakor alliance early and never left. Along the way, she let Jerri think of her as a follower, not a leader. But the whole time, Tina seemed to know exactly what she was doing. She managed to pull Colby away from the Dark Side to get rid of Mitchell, but then went back in to the alliance for the merger. She was the one who pushed the decision when the time came to plunge the knife into Jerri’s back, and soon took out Amber as well. This points also to the fourth rule, which says you should stab people in the back until it’s absolutely necessary. As much as she disliked Jerri, she knew she had to keep the witch around long enough to solidify the voting bloc. So she held off acting on her personal feelings.
Just as obvious is the fact that she didn’t overdo the scheming. She did exactly what was necessary, when it was necessary. The people who voted for Colby didn’t do so because they felt she was too much of a schemer (which was why many voted for Kelly over Rich in the previous season); they did it because they felt Colby had earned the right to win. Yet those who did vote for her admired her strategic abilities.
She followed the voting strategy I had pointed to pretty much to the letter. Even in the Survivor II Field Guide, Tina had said her plan would be to first get rid of the weak people and then, after the merger, booting the strong. Along the way, she said she planned to “kick off all the mean, hateful, snotty, nasty people.” And she hadn’t even met Jerri yet! She went into great detail about her plans, saying, “We start out with two tribes. I think it’s important to survive as a tribe, so we have to kick off the weakest people athletically, or those who would cause us to lose Challenges. Then, when we combine the tribes, and it got down to it, and we couldn’t vote off the mean, hateful, snotty people, then I would probably try to vote the people that were a threat to me in Challenges.”
We got an early glimpse of this when she voted against Maralyn just minutes after Maralyn had talked about how much she trusted Tina. Yes, Tina had been Maralyn’s friend. But Maralyn was a weak link and had to go for the good of the team. Tina saw that and acted on it.
The fifth rule says the players must pretend to be nice. Tina didn’t really have to pretend, as that appears to have been her natural personality. Still, she had to put on her game face in situations where she was friendly with a person but knew they would be next in line for the vote. When she got rid of people, it wasn’t with malice, but just part of the game (well, except maybe for Jerri). She kept emphasizing this point in the final Tribal Council. But unlike Rich, who also made similar points in his final words to the jury, she sounded sincere. Both still ended up winning, but Tina didn’t have the luxury of being up against a backstabbing liar who had pissed off several former teammates like Rich did. For this season, it was nice vs. nice in the end.
My sixth suggestion was to avoid forming emotional bonds. Perhaps a better way to state this would be to say it’s okay to form them, as long as you avoid acting on them. Tina seemed to really be Maralyn’s friend. But when the time came to get rid of her for the good of the tribe, off she went. Tina seems to have been close to Rodger and Elisabeth, too. But she knew they had to go so she could move up to win. While there is no way to be sure, I suspect she would have kept Keith for the final two if she had won the immunity challenge. As she stated in the final episode, she didn’t go through all of this just to give away the prize. It’s lucky for her that Colby decided to play nice and bring her along, but I don’t think she would have done the same.
Finally, we have the rule that you shouldn’t be lazy, and should do your best to help provide food. Tina did fish quite a bit when it was still possible (before the river muddied up). She certainly was never lazy in doing chores or helping out. This was not a breaking point either way for her.
So, when it comes down to everything, Tina pretty much followed these guidelines at every step. She came in understanding how she would need to vote and what she would need to do to stick around. Her strategy even earned the final votes of Jerri and Alicia. She stuck to her plan, voted with her head instead of her emotions, but used her personality to win over her fellow contestants. In the end, it was that combination of brain and heart that led her to take home the million-dollar prize.
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