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- Divided We Fall: Because there were separate alliances in Maraamu, there was very little harmony inside the tribe, which led to members being voted out one by one.
- Dwindling Party: Before we had Ulong as our official Failure Tribe, we had Maraamu.
- Epic Fail: Before Ulong came around, Maraamu was considered as the worst tribe due to losing all but three challenges (one of them being their only immunity challenge), and had three members make it to the merge.
- Humiliation Conga: They only won ONE Immunity challenge. ONE. WITH ONE ORIGINAL MEMBER OF THE TRIBE LEFT!
- Slobs Versus Snobs: Rob, Sean, Vecepia, Sarah(Slobs) vs Hunter, Patricia, and Gina(Snobs)
- Badass Crew: Before Koror, Rotu is the most dominant tribe to have existed in Survivor at that time.
- Team Spirit: At least until Rob, Sean, and Vecepia showed up.
- True Companions
- Worthy Opponent
The Sole Survivor
Vecepia "Vee" Towery
Tribe: Maaramu —> Rotu
From: Hayward, CA
Occupation: Office Manager
- Breaking Old Trends: When an alliance is down 7-2 they usually lose, same with being down 1-4. Vecepia's survival is incredibly notable for beating these odds alone.
- Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Betrayed Kathy at the final three immunity challenge by making a deal with Neleh (right in front of Kathy even!) and letting her take it, which at the time was one of the most underhanded and despised moves the game had ever seen.
- Dark Horse Victory: The first person to win the game when their tribe entered the merge in the minority.
- Face–Heel Revolving Door: Depends on who the narrator is, but is also accompanied by her constant flips. She was with Hunter's alliance until the rowdy upstarts kicked him off. Then she distanced herself from the underdog Maaramus in the hopes that they'd leave before she did. She teams up with Sean, who becomes the season's hero after John's elimination, before going heel and betraying Kathy during the FTC.
- Guile Heroine: The very first under the radar winner.
- Hypocrite/Holier Than Thou: Certainly in the eyes of Tammy.
- I Did What I Had to Do: This was ultimately why she chose to betray Kathy at the final three, as the only person she could beat was Neleh.
- Manipulative Bastard: Besides backstabbing alliance members effectively, she also mentioned starting fights between tribe members that she would stay out of to keep pressure on the other players in the game.
- Older Than They Look: From a line Mario Lanza's writing archives about Survivor's Marquesas,
- I think people really forgot Vecepia's age during the season. She was 37. Neleh was 21. A lot of people kind of thought of them as sisters, but are you aware that Vee could realistically be the same age as Neleh's mom? Vee looks amazing for her age.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Vee"
- Out of Focus: Played under the radar, especially when in contrast to early alliance mates Rob and Sean. It caused a lot of uproar at the time when a "nobody" or "unknown" won the game over a Final Four including people with much more screen time.
- The Quiet One: Especially with Boston Rob and Sean
- The Quisling
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Blue to Sean's Red.
- Sole Survivor
- True Companions: With Sean. They were both devoutly religious, both African-American, both had similar upbringings, and both were the only two original Maraamu members to make it to the jury stage. His vote for her was basically guaranteed.
- Wham Line: At the final immunity challenge
- “I'll give you Immunity, I'll drop off, if you take me to the end with you, okay?
Tribe: Rotu —> Maraamu
From: Layton, UT
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Basically what Sean accused her of being.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: Was completely incapable of answering jury questions at the Final Tribal Council in a way that didn't sound like pandering to the jury, which led to 3/4ths of the Rotu alliance voting for Vecepia (who was fully willing to admit that she played the game and had a strategy from day one).
- The chewed mint scene, she offers a chewed mint to the other tribemates after a reward trip with Paschal. While her intentions are pure and sweet, it felt insulting and condescending to the other tribemates.
- Gosh Darn It to Heck!: "Oh my Heck".
- Hypocrite: Basically how her actions came off to the jury, condemning them for lying and forming alliances while doing the same thing.
- The Ingenue / The Cutie: Fulfills this season's sweetheart role. Neleh belongs to the Ingénue archetype of which Colleen Haskell was the prototype.
- Innocently Insensitive: Most Notably during the Chew Mint scene.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Paschal in arguably the tightest alliance in Survivor's history.
- Nice Girl: She was generally this.
- Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Flipped on the Rotu 4, lost three of their votes.
- Smarter Than You Look: Sean said that there was definitely a strategic mind underneath her sweet and charming exterior.
- The Only One I Trust: With Paschal.
Tribe: Rotu —> Maraamu
From: Burlington, VT
Occupation: Real Estate Agent
- Character Development: Kathy starts this season as being seen by her tribe as "that blonde, bitchy person"(her own words) and ends it by being seen by the jury as the overall best player who just missed the cut (at winning) after being betrayed by Neleh and Vee.
- Cool Old Lady: One of the best character development arcs on the show, and surprisingly good at endurance challenges.
- Defeat by Modesty: At the final immunity challenge, Neleh tells her that her bra is hanging off and she instinctively covers herself up, losing her balance and the competition.
- Genki Girl: She seemed to be the most excited at being there.
- Graceful Loser: Although she was rather shell-shocked afterwards.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Gabe and Gina.
- Jaw Drop: When seeing that Gabe was voted out over Boston Rob and Sean.
- Never Mess with Granny: Ended up being the most pivotal player when it came down to just the alliance that formed to get rid of the Rotu alliance. Sean putting words in her mouth at Tribal Council when she was the swing vote sealed his fate, and the knowledge that she wasn't going to be able to break up Paschal and Neleh's alliance led to Pappy's Shocking Elimination. She's also won the most individual challenges with four(2 immunities and 2 rewards).
- Plucky Girl: On the outs of the original Rotu, then a potential candidate for elimination by new Maraamu, then on the outs again after the merge, yet she keeps on trucking.
- The Pollyanna
- She Cleans Up Nicely: At the Reunion, she looked like a completely different person. Lampshaded by Rosie O'Donnell (the Reunion host), who said she went from looking like "a Unabomber-type person" to "the cover of Vogue magazine".
Tribe: Rotu —> Maraamu
From: Thomaston, GA
- Cool Old Guy: Highly respected among his peers. He was still able to win a challenge.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Arguably had the best chance of winning but was screwed by the purple rock.
- Dirty Old Man: He says that he's in heaven being the lone man among three women. However, his scandals involving younger women may make his relationship with Neleh suspect.
- Face–Heel Turn: The thirteenth episode had him and Neleh throw Sean and V under the bus for something they didn't even do.
- Four Is Death: The fourth placer in this fourth installment, and was eliminated most controversially ever.
- Honor Before Reason: Almost threw his chances away when he about to stick with John. And again he doesn't vote out Neleh and he was eliminated by the Purple Rock.
- Hypocrite: He wanted Sean and Vecepia to be split up because he assumed that they were so tight that they would never vote against each other. Not only is this a baseless accusation, as V was perfectly alright with placing both Sean and Rob on the chopping block, he and Neleh had the same agreement and they explicitly informed the other members about it.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Gabriel and especially Neleh. The latter to the point that they were inseparable on the show.
- No-Damage Run: Had zero votes thrown against him throughout the entire game, yet ended up going home fourth.
- Non-Gameplay Elimination: The first victim of the Purple Rock
- Patriotic Fervor: The American flag was his luxury item and goes on a tangent in one episode about how much he loves his country
- The One Guy: After the tribe switch for Maraamu. He also became the last man standing.
- Racist Grandpa: When you read between the lines, he definitely comes across as this. While circumstantial, he says that he would have never thought of interacting with Sean. Later on, he assumes both V and Sean are really tight, purely because they're black. Though in the Final Tribal Council he said he would be proud to have Vecepia as his daughter so this is uncertain
- Southern Gentlemen: Outright stated to be this.
- The Only One I Trust: to Neleh
- Team Dad: For everyone.
Tribe: Maraamu —> Rotu
From: Los Angeles, CA
- Badass Boast: As he made his vote against John and kicked off the downfall of the Rotu alliance:
- "Checkmate, bro. Thought you had me. Tell you any time you go to Vegas, bet on black."
- Badass Teacher: Not only has he won a teacher of the year award, but he's also one of the biggest challenge threats of the season.
- Be Yourself: Stated this in the 8th episode.
- Cool Teacher: In Real Life.
- Dragon Ascendant: Closely aligned with Boston Rob right up until his elimination, after which he had a big hand in forming the five-person alliance with V, Kathy, Paschal, and Neleh to oust the Rotu 4.
- Everything Is Racist: While he does make very valid points about the nature of implicit bias and that it's heavily implied is the reason why Paschal distrusted him and Vecepia, he also uses this for comedy. He pretended to be Reverend Al Sharpton when Hunter said black no-no flies are worse than the white ones.
- Forgotten Friend, New Foe: Subverted, there was a false rumor that he and Gabriel met knew each other before the show started.
- The rumor was fueled when Gabriel was confirmed to have worked as a bartender at a tapas bar in West Hollywood (which, coincidentally, was owned by Mike "Boogie" ), and Sean just happened to be photographed with some friends at that very tapas bar.
- Gasshole: At the beginning of episode 8.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: His Achilles heel, and one of the main reasons he was voted off over Vecepia.
- Heroic Build: Rosie O' Donnell points this out in the reunion show.
- Large Ham
- Lazy Bum: In the first few episodes, but this could generally be argued as societal perceptions of black men at the time coloring the lenses of his tribemates. Maraamu, prior to the merge, is seen as really chill compared to the worker bee Rotu members. By comparison, both Rob and Sean appeared to be this.
- Playing the Victim Card: Throughout the penultimate episode, he accused Paschal, Neleh, and Kathy of racism for thinking he and Vecepia were in an alliance on the basis they were both black. Even though, they had been on the same tribe from the start (during the time in the game where alliances were usually along tribal lines), frequently voted together, and spent more time with each other than with any other castaway.
- Plucky Comic Relief: Filled this role from time to time, particularly with The Morning Show in the first few episodes. He even did a Dr. Evil impression during his final Tribal Council vote.
- Red Oni, Blue Oni: The Red to Vecepia's Blue.
- Religious Bruiser: Sean was a devout Christian and as well as a decent challenge competitor, the first words from his mouth after winning the car challenge.
- Smarter Than You Look: He was awarded for his skills as a teacher. Not only that, but he is also incredibly socially aware and is the first Survivor to bring up the notion of implicit bias as a possible disadvantage.
- Title Drop: In episode 11, The Princess while describing Neleh.
- True Companions: With Vecepia. He even became a godfather to Vecepia's son after the show.
- Wham Line: In the Eighth Episode of the season during the first 3 strikes challenge, pretty much signalling that the Rotu 4 can become unstoppable.
- Sean: “This is the order, how it’s gonna go?”
Robert "General" DeCanio
From: College Point, NY
Occupation: Limousine Driver
- Bad Liar: After John's demise, he attempts to distance himself from the group by saying that he never gave his word and that he was going through the motions. Aside from the fact that the new five alliance doesn't buy it, the audience knows for a fact that what he's saying is not true.
- The Big Guy: To the Rotu alliance.
- Cool Shades
- Last of His Kind: Ends up being the longest-lasting member of the Rotu 4 Alliance, as John was targeted first due to being the group's leader, Zoe was next despite trying (and failing) to distance herself from the alliance, and Tammy was taken out because she was the only viable candidate left when Robert won individual immunity for himself.
- Made of Iron: Robert cut his toe with John had to cut the injured pieces of. Despite the pain, Robert said you had to deal with it. It's pretty much a non-issue after the episode it was introduced.
- One-Steve Limit: With Boston Rob.
- In-Series Nickname: The General, which is how the two Robs are differentiated.
- Real Men Wear Pink: Subverted. It turns out that Robert hated the fuchsia merge buffs that everyone had to wear.
From: Mesa, AZ
Occupation: Crime Reporter
- Action Girl: She won two consecutive immunity challenges.
- Brainy Brunette
- Cat Smile
- Determinator: Tammy stated she isn't giving up unless her name is called out at tribal council. The Rotu 4 down to the Rotu 2, she was fighting a losing battle and kept on fighting.
- Ice Queen
- The Lancer: Of the Rotu alliance. She was often referred to as a "pitbull" because of this.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Just like Susan and Kelly Goldsmith she opts to rant about everything she hates about the final two. Lampshaded during the reunion show by Rosie O'Donnell, who remarked that she was giving Tammy the "Sue Hawk Award".
From: Monhegan Island, ME
Occupation: Fishing Boat Captain
- Alliterative Name
- Backstab Backfire: Attempted to ditch the Rotu alliance once John was voted out, and claimed she was never loyal to them. She still got voted out next.
- Bad Liar: A few times after the switch. One example is when Kathy asks her if she's going to vote Kathy out, Zoe pauses for over ten seconds. Then she says no. Oops.
- The Big Girl: Or as Rob says, "the toughest guy on the tribe."
- Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: After John's elimination, Zoe declared she never liked Tammy.
- Graceful Loser: The only member of the Rotu alliance willing to admit that Neleh could beat her. As a result, she's also the only member to vote for Neleh to win.
- Out of Focus: Zoe was the first person to make the merge and be voted out with less than ten confessionals.
- Professional Butt-Kisser: Made jewelry to get in good with the new majority.
- The Quisling: In Episode 8 she betrays the Rotu 4 by voting for John, seemingly for no good reason.
- Shout-Out: She references Kon-Tiki(the famous raft used to demonstrate that indigenous people from South America may have settled in Polynesia at one point) in one episode.
- Tomboyish Ponytail: How she often wore her hair.
From: Omaha, NE
- Ascended Fanboy: He applied three times to get casted(ever since Season ''One''), and this is the lucky time he made it on.
- Big Bad Wannabe: Establishes a pecking order based on what he believed to be the blind allegiance of the original Rotu members, who severely outnumbered Sean and Vecepia once the merge hit.
- Drunk with Power: What happens after the Gabriel blindside.
- Evil Cannot Comprehend Good: He found it so hard to believe that Gabriel genuinely wasn't interested in cutthroat strategy that it put him into a paranoid spiral that culminated in voting Gabriel out.
- Fatal Flaw: Pride. His overconfidence that everybody is willing to bow down to him to the point of outright gloating is what convinces Paschal and Neleh to flip.
- Fingore: Happened twice in episode 3. A gets stabbed by a sea urchin the first time, then his finger tip gets split in half by an eel. The first one leads to the infamous peeing scene.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Attempted to be the mastermind behind an alliance that would take him to the end, and had some early success (most notably getting rid of Boston Rob immediately after the merge). He then got cocky about it and paid the price immediately, as everyone not in his alliance formed a counter-alliance against him.
- Kick the Dog: Voting out Gabriel under a baseless assumption that he would align with the new Rotu members after the swap.
- Manly Gay: You wouldn't know about his sexuality until Rob outs him on live television.
- The Medic: Being the a nurse, they come to him when the General peels off a large portion of his toe.
- Out of Focus: Until the fourth episode, odds are you only knew him as the male nurse on Rotu that once got peed on by Kathy. After Gabe's boot, he becomes the season's Godfather who Sean and Rob need to overcome.
- Smug Snake: He was mostly a pragmatic villain, but he did make an incredibly arrogant comment about how Paschal and Neleh were rooting for his success(that they were willing to lay down their own chances at winning for him). He even blows a kiss to Sean, signalling his time was over.
- Tempting Fate: The Aforementioned comment about Neleh and Paschal.
- "Neleh and Paschal, I think, are really supporting my success in this game, and are really rooting for me."
- Toilet Humor: The Infamous Peeing Incident
"Boston" Rob Mariano
Tribe: Maraamu —> Rotu
From: Canton, MA
Occupation: Construction Worker
- Breakout Character: Rob became a Ensemble Dark Horse this time around and was invited back for All-Stars because of it.
- Decoy Protagonist: Rob gets the spotlight in the first half of the season and his rivalry with John is built up as something that will blow up into all-out war once the tribes merge. However, the conflict comes to a head immediately after the merge and Rob is voted out by John, leaving Kathy as the would-be protagonist of the season.
- Disc-One Final Boss: Serves as this for John and his alliance.
- Early-Installment Weirdness: Unlike his later seasons he wields very little power, is not particularly great at the challenges (stupidly getting himself disqualified at his first and only shot at individual immunity) and fails to get any schemes off the ground. He isn't even referred to by his famous nickname until his final episode.
- Evil Genius / The Smart Guy
- Iconic Outfit: His cap. Slight subversion, though, as his first time around he's wearing a New England Patriots cap instead of the Boston Red Sox cap more commonly associated with him.
- Jerk with a Heart of Jerk
- Manipulative Bastard: Successfully sows the seeds of distrust among the members of Rotu, starting with Kathy.
- Mr. Fanservice
- My Elimination Is Just The Beginning: He manages to plant just enough dissent to speed up John and the rest of the Rotu Four's downfall.
- One-Steve Limit: After he went to Rotu, he was on the same tribe as Rob DeCanio. His tribe mates used Location Theme Naming as a solution, thus named him "Boston."
- Only Known by Their Nickname: After the tribal swap, and he started sharing the same camp as DeCanio, they started referring to him as "Boston" Rob.
- Sacrificial Lion: One of the star players before his boot and he sows the seeds of discord that allowed John to be eliminated after him.
- Self-Proclaimed Liar
- Ship Tease: With Sarah. Strangely has one with Kathy on their night alone together, calling her the second Sarah.
- Smug Snake: Has little aptitude for the social aspect this time around.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: He calls Peter a fruit loop in the very first episode. After the switch, he makes his disdain for his new tribemates known by having a confessional dedicated to trashing them.
From: Gainesville, FL
Occupation: Nature Guide
- American Accents: She has a thick hearty southern one.
- Born Unlucky: Gina was stuck on Maraamu for all of her time in the game, having lost so many challenges in a row.
- Graceful Loser
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Kathy after the tribe switch.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Narrator: Has the highest average confessionals per episode.
- Only Sane Man: Gina saw herself like this when her tribe Maraamu voted out Hunter.
- Revenge Before Reason: After the swap, she let her dislike of Sarah get in her way instead of teaming up and allying with Kathy. She was eliminated soon after.
- Ship Tease: With Hunter.
- Surrounded by Idiots: She felt new life when most of her tribe was swapped over to Rotu because they made the decision to boot out their strongest member.
From: Los Angeles, CA
- Afro Asskicker
- The Bartender: His job at the time.
- Break the Cutie: His face tells a story of heartbreak and despair the moment he receives a unanimous vote. He cries during his final words and tells his tribe he still loves them.
- Diabolus ex Machina: The Tribe Switch brought the three people who brought the game with them.
- Even moreso, instead of booting those three people, his alliance voted for him for very little reason.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: When asked about what his game plan was, Gabe said he wasn't there to play the game. This would start the events towards his elimination.
- Everyone Loves Blondes: A male variant. Reportedly, the staff and crew cried after his elimination.
- The Heart: Of the Rotu alliance. After he's gone, they begin to implode.
- Hidden Depths: He helped write this story after the show.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Paschal.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Meaningful Name: Gabriel was the closest thing to an angel that had been on Survivor at the time.
- Nice Guy
- The Nicknamer: He dubbed Paschal "Pappy" and Neleh "Sweet Pea". John was called "Johnny Pots And Pans", but that may have been invented by someone else.
- The Pollyanna
- Sacrificial Lamb: His elimination is the impetus for Neleh's flip, signalling the beginning of the end of the Rotu 4.
- Shocking Elimination: With three players from the other tribe (two of which were not on good terms with the rest), few thought Gabe would be voted out.
- Small Role, Big Impact: Serves as one for the entire series. The Rotu tribe had zero reason to vote him out over outsiders Rob, Sean, and Vecepia. His elimination pretty much signalled not only John's need to feed his ego but the idea that it doesn't matter if you're great at challenges, a provider, the heart of your tribe or just an all-around good guy. If you're not with the numbers, you're gone.
- Even moreso, his elimination resulted in Neleh, Kathy and Paschal realizing something was very wrong back in Rotu (Neleh, in particular, was apparently on very good terms with them), and eventually played a major part in causing them all to decide to flip on the Rotu four, marking the first time people on the bottom of an alliance banded together with the outliers to seize control of the game. (Previously the majority alliance would Pagong the other tribe, with a rare alliance boot here and there until the endgame)
- Spanner in the Works: After Gabriel revealed that he had no interest in playing the game to get ahead, John became paranoid and thought that Gabe would become this to his alliance, so he orchestrated a blindside. That's why he was unanimously booted a day or two later. Turns out his elimination was the real spanner...
- Too Good for This Sinful Earth: Why he couldn't play the game.
- When He Smiles: In his final tribal council, Tammy notes that the mood always seems to lighten whenever he does his little giggle.
From: Newport Beach, CA
Occupation: Account Manager
- Diabolus ex Machina: The Tribe Switch. Sarah was separated from her alliance and was trapped with Gina (Sarah's biggest critic). The other people liked Sarah but not her lack of work ethic. Basically, she was screwed when Maraamu lost immunity.
- Establishing Character Moment: Her Cleopatra-like posing on the raft and her refusal to help row as her tribe made its way to camp on the first day.
- Four Is Death: The fourth person voted out in the fourth episode in the fourth season. When voted out, the vote was 4-1 and she was the fourth Maraamu to leave the game.
- Lazy Bum
- The Load: Because of being a Lazy Bum and Hunter thought she was distracting Rob. Even on the new Maraamu tribe, she didn't spend much time with the new members, leading to her getting eliminated.
- Ms. Fanservice: Sarah was the first woman to explicitly fill out this role.
- Power Hair
- Ship Tease: With Boston Rob.
- Tag Along Kid: She was the youngest person on Maraamu and was only kept because she was loyal Rob.
- The Tease: Her tribemates viewed her as this but she didn't really do anything.
- The Thing That Would Not Leave: The first-ever "cockroach" player, Sarah was on the chopping block her entire existence and, despite Maraamu losing all their challenges, somehow lasted as long as she did.
- Unwitting Pawn: Of Rob's, until the swap.
From: La Jolla, CA
Occupation: Ex-Navy Fighter Pilot
- The Ace: The physically strongest and most capable member of his tribe.
- Ace Pilot: He was a former Navy Pilot.
- Decoy Protagonist: All-American, blonde guy with a great body and is liked by damn near everyone. Along with a lot of confessionals, the guy could have been this season's Colby. Rob, however, put a quick stop to that.
- Hero of Another Story: In recent years, Hunter Ellis has appeared in several kick-ass ads for Atomic products like the Atomic Beam Flashlight, Atomic Lantern, Atomic Headlight and Atomic Lighter.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Patricia
- Mr. Fanservice
- Sacrificial Lion: Unfortunately for Hunter, he was at odds with Rob, who had absolutely no regard for his leadership, and once he got enough votes behind him...
- For the game as a whole, this marks an evolution in strategy. Usually, fit guys were kept until the merge because they are an asset in challenges. His elimination marks a power shift in Maraamu.
- Ship Tease: With Gina.
- Support Party Member: After the show, he once became part of the Survivor Dream Team, who test runs challenges before the contestants perform them.
- Two First Names
From: Lugoff, SC
Occupation: Truck Assembler
- Cool Old Lady: The oldest woman in the game.
- Cool Shades
- Graceful Loser
- Happily Married: Stated in her CBS Profile
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Hunter.
- My Beloved Smother: After she survives the first vote, she becomes this to her entire tribe!
- Team Mom: Attempted to be this, but she got as far as being naggy.
From: Millis, MA
Occupation: Bowling Alley Owner
- Cloud Cuckoo Lander: And HOW!
- Cool Old Guy
- Hidden Depths: His SurvivorOz interview is a force to behold, and it gives a lot of depth and humanity to "that one guy who talked about his holes."
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Sean. Also formed one with Boston Rob after the game.