Flipping the Vote on Mitchell
I’ve said before that this is one of the most underrated moves in Survivor history. It’s only the fourth vote in The Australian Outback, and it looks like Keith Famie is toast. However, Tina decides to flip, joining Keith and Colby Donaldson to vote for Mitchell Olson, thereby forcing a tie and taking the power away from Jerri Manthey. This was the first instance of someone going, “Hey, you know what? I don’t just have to follow the status quo,” and successfully changing the direction of a vote.
Colby’s decision to take Tina to the Final 2 over Keith is regarded as one of the most boneheaded moves ever. But it’s a testament to Tina’s social game that she forms such a strong bond with Colby that he takes her to the end knowing the risk. In doing so, Tina became the show’s second winner and the first-ever woman to become Sole Survivor.
Return from Redemption
After falling victim to the anti-winner sentiment in All-Stars, Tina returns in Blood vs. Water with redemption on her mind. She has a great showing here, especially as one of two former winners on the cast. She’s in a comfortable power position pre-merge but is then taken out early in the merge once the big alliance breaks apart. But Tina shows her perseverance by fighting back from Redemption Island, returning to the game, and essentially being one Immunity win away from becoming a two-time winner.
What we think
Tina is, without a doubt, one of the legends of Survivor. As the first woman to win the show, Tina set a benchmark for navigating a stellar social game with a sneaky strategic side. While she obviously fits into that “sweet mom” archetype, Tina is also a shrewd gameplayer who is always willing to make moves to advance her own game, seen in her blindside of Mitchell and, later, Jerri. Despite falling victim to the “get rid of the winners” mantra in All-Stars, Tina’s effort in Blood vs. Water shows just why she is regarded as one of the all-time greats.