When Tony loses the Final Immunity Challenge in Cagayan, it looks like his game is over. Given his dominant performance throughout the season, it’d take a miracle for Kass McQuillen or Woo Hwang to bring him to the end. And yet, somehow, someway, Tony convinces Woo to do the unthinkable. Whether you put it down to Woo Hwang’s naivete or Tony’s persuasion skills, the fact is, this move won Tony the game.
Tony is thrown for a loop in Winners At War when Natalie Anderson extorts him for six Fire Tokens, which if he doesn’t pay up, means he loses the chance to play for Immunity. Tony’s reaction and subsequent hustling for tokens is not only hilarious but ends up paying dividends. Tony wins Immunity, and, in doing so, feels empowered to a make a big move. In a last-minute switch, Tony pulls off a crazy 4-3-2 vote, blindsiding the cerebral Sophie Clarke.
Tony made a lot of wild, crazy moves over his Survivor career, but his trademark will always be the Spy Shack and its many variations. Invented in Cagayan as a stealthy way to eavesdrop on his tribemates, the Spy Shack became an effective tool in Tony’s game. In Winners At War, Tony took the Spy Shack to new heights, literally, as he built it atop a tree. (The less we talk about the Spy Bunker the better.)
What we think
There is nobody else quite like Tony in the history of Survivor. He’s a frantic ball of energy who can succumb to fear and paranoia, and yet, he’s also one of the most cunning and creative players ever. Finding idols, building spy shacks, and speaking llama, Tony is a larger than life personality and a fantastic strategist. The fact he won Cagayan in such dominant fashion and then did it again against a field of all winners is more than worthy of a spot in the Island of Icons.