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- Dwindling Party: By the merge, Zapatera were down to five members compared to Ometepe's seven. While they survived thanks to Ometepe getting rid of Matt before he could flip, there was no where left to hide and each member was voted off one by one. To make things worse, none of them came back into the game via Redemption Island.
- Epic Fail: Their decision to throw the third immunity challenge bit them hard, and snowballed into more losses after the fourth episode.
- Hufflepuff House
- Purple Is Powerful: Averted to hell and back!
The Sole Survivor
"Boston" Rob Mariano - Marquesas
- The Ace: This is Rob's fourth time playing, so he's skilled in every aspect of the game by now.
- Action Dad: By the time of filming, Boston Rob had his first daughter, Lucia.
- Affably Evil: Charming, friendly, funny, and seems to be a genuinely nice guy. But heaven help you if he ever decides you've become a liability.
- Anti Villain with Good Publicity
- The Bad Guy Wins: Though this time around he was hardly the villain he'd been in prior seasons. In fact, Jeff even went so far as to label him a "hero"! (Well, he is less of a villain than Russell...)
- Badass Moustache
- Big Brother Instinct: Towards Natalie, which leads to the Pet the Dog moment below.
- Boring, but Practical: His gameplay this particular season. Even people who think he deserved it thinks this was one of the most boring seasons to watch because he had an entire Cult Worshipping him and nobody thought of removing him until it was too late.
- Born Lucky: Gets dealt the equivalent of the Five of a Kind in Survivor. Comes back knowing the game from the previous three times he's played it, gets put on a tribe full of players willing to pledge Undying Loyalty, manages to have the producers conveniently forget the "Russell factor" when hiding idols despite filming it after Nicaraguanote also has the luck to be put on one of the most imbalanced tribes evernote , combined with the challenges that he had to compete in being mostly puzzles, and it's easy to see how he won.
- The Bus Came Back: For the fourth time.
- Came Back Strong: In Heroes vs. Villains he had his weakest performance ever, coming in 13th place after just 18 days and not even making the merge.note In this season he dominates the game from the beginning and walks away the winner.
- Character Development: Just compare this Rob with the smarmy, overconfident Smug Snake from Marquesas.
- The Chessmaster
- Cult: Turned Ometepe into one, at least according to Zapatera. Rob himself preferred to a military metaphor.
- Determinator: To the point of collapsing after an Immunity Challenge win.
- Disproportionate Retribution: See "Stop Having Fun" Guys below.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: After four seasons and 117 days, the guy finally wins the game.
- Even Evil Has Standards: This interview quote in regards to Julie's speech sums it up best:"I didnt like the way she ripped into Natalie. She said Natalies parents wouldnt be proud of her, but at the same time, what kind of example are you setting for your daughter?"
- Felony Misdemeanor: Takes serious exception to Matt's behavior early on, reading both his relationship with Andrea and his good sportsmanship as strategic moves for down the line. Odds are they weren't.
- Flawless Victory: Much to the chagrin of some of the fanbase. About as close as you can get without having a No-Damage Run or a unanimous jury.
- Four Is Death: Averted and Defied. He is originally from the fourth season and this is his fourth time playing the game.
- Happily Married: To his Survivor sweetheart Amber. The two share two daughters by the reunion show.
- Magnetic Hero:
- Manipulative Bastard
- Mr. Fanservice
- My Greatest Failure: As he'd already chosen his final opponents, he really did seem to regret having to vote out Grant when he did.
- My Greatest Fourth Chance: Finally gets the win many claim he'd deserved a long time ago.
- Nice Cap: As always.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: "Boston Rob!" they cheered as he jumped off the chopper.
- Pet the Dog: When Natalie was being berated by the jury for her decisions, Rob quietly assured her that things were going to to be fine after the game was done.
- Sole Survivor
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: While Phillip ended up taking more of the screentime, Rob got a pretty large amount for himself too.
- "Stop Having Fun" Guys: Votes out Matt for shaking hands with the other tribe. Apparently you can't be a good sport!
- He saw it as Matt trying to forge bonds with the other tribe in anticipation of a merge, but seeing as Matt is just ridiculously nice it was almost certainly an innocent gesture.
- Tall, Dark, and Snarky: "Government jobs... stressful!"
- Took a Level in Kindness: Technically it happened in Heroes vs. Villains but this is the first time since All-Stars that we see him in power and he handles it with much more grace. In All-Stars he gloated to the camera about betraying Lex, one of his best friends both in and out of the game, but here when he's forced into a similar situation with Grant he makes several apologies to Grant in confessionals making it absolutely clear that it something he hates having to do.
- The Unreveal: When his tribe won a picnic on a volcano he tells the Confession Cam that he found another clue to the whereabouts of the hidden immunity idol. However, since he's already found said idol, he remarks that him reading the clue would be entirely pointless - and then promptly flings the clue into the volcanic crater
- Bald of Awesome
- Berserk Button: Why did he shout down Julie during her Jury Speech? Because she insulted his skills as a father.
- Although ironically, he took Julie's trick and used it on Brandon Hantz in a later season.
- Beware the Honest Ones: His first Tribal Council, where he revealed the entire plan of his alliance.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Boston Rob calls him the craziest person he's ever played against. Post-Game, Coach actually admitted to Philip via e-mail that he was crazier than The Dragon Slayer.
- Even the Subtitler Is Stumped: His occupation throughout was listed as "Former Federal Agent?" Including the question mark.
- The Reveal: At the reunion show, Phillip's dad confirmed that he was indeed a former federal agent.
- Fun with Subtitles: Phillip would like to remind you that he is a former federal agent.
- It Is Pronounced Tropay: Could not pronounce Francesca's name despite being told repeatedly (referring to her as "Francesqua"), and putting the wrong emphasis on Andrea's name (Ondray-ah). He was only called on the latter once, but did it as least once more.
- Jerkass Has a Point: Prior to the first Tribal Council, he calmly asked Kristina just how she planned to gain the upper hand against Rob when his alliance was twice as big as hers. It's hinted that he anticipated Rob would split the vote (which Kristina clearly did not), which may have played a role in his tirade at Tribal Council.
- Large Ham: I WAS A SPECIAL AGENT!
- The Nicknamer: Dubs Rob "The Mentalist," and Grant "The Assassin."
- Obfuscating Stupidity: This was his claim for how he got Boston Rob to take him to the final three. However, he handled Final Jury the exact same way he handled everything else up until that point, though a post-game interview indicated that he was worried that if he tried to explain himself it would come across as pandering to the jury.
- Odd Friendship: With Ralph (the only juror whose vote wasn't for Rob).
- Older Sidekick
- Poor Communication Kills: As mentioned above, he had a rather poor jury performance.
- Red Baron: "The Specialist."
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Ended up taking the bulk of the screentime this time around.
- Aloof Dark-Haired Girl
- Hiccup Hijinks
- Kid Hero: One of the only people to compete on Survivor before their 20th birthday.
- Lazy Bum: Encouraged by Rob.
- Living Prop
- The Load: Not to the level of Chet or Dan Lembo. Only reason she got to the finals is because everyone thought they could beat her (and probably misplaced trust in Ashley's case).
- Male Gaze: There's even a camera shot where she's seen showing off her butt in front of her mother while happily giving it a gentle slap.
- Ms. Fanservice: Possibly unintentionally, but the cameramen sure liked her. Continued post show as a Los Angeles Clippers dance squadmember.
- Naïve Newcomer
- Nice Girl: Hands down the nicest (albeit also the most naive) contestant this season.
- Quiet Young Naive Girl Has a Point: See Wrong Genre Savvy below; coming off the heels of Russell's back-to-back losses and Rob's own loss in the first All-Stars to Amber, it was actually a reasonable assumption that the strategist would take the fall and the nicer finalist could pull off the win.
- Satellite Character: No big moves, just Rob's minion
- Tagalong Kid: The Youngest finalist at the tender age of 19 and was considered one of the biggest goats in Survivor History.
- Those Two Girls: With Ashley.
- Wrong Genre Savvy: Attempted the Natalie White-perfected tactic of hiding behind the aggressive strategist and then win because the jury didn't want the one that cut their throats to win. It failed because she didn't appear to make the effort to get to acknowledge, let alone befriend, anyone who wasn't specifically in her alliance. By contrast, an instrumental part in Natalie White's victory was building bonds with the former Galu.
- Action Girl: When she puts her mind to challenges, she really can win them! She's almost like the female Brett in this regards. Speaking of which...
- Alpha Bitch: Of the Ometepe alliance.
- Crouching Moron, Hidden Badass: Turned out to be a much stronger competitor in challenges than Boston Rob anticipated. Especially since she appeared to be Too Dumb to Live and was literally Out of Focus along with anyone not named Rob, Phillip, or Matt.
- Distaff Counterpart: To Brett. Both are players who spent the most of the season Out of Focus before emerging from the shadows of the Spotlight-Stealing Squad and showing that they are not the Living Prop they were edited to be early in the season. Likewise, this causes the people in control of the game to think Oh, Crap!. They also finished in final four and became a Shocking Elimination (in her case, she was shocked).
- 11th-Hour Superpower: The reason she was Brett's Distaff Counterpart.
- Hypocrite: Throughout the season, she would talk about how much fun it was to blindside another contestant. When she was eventually blindsided, she was less than a Graceful Loser about it.
- Informed Ability: Zig-Zagged. She was supposedly good in challenges, yet all the time we saw her pre-merge, it was Grant and Rob carrying the team with her in third or fourth, then getting out-performed. Rob also thought of her as a threat, when all she seemed to do is just whatever Rob said and then laid around at camp next to Natalie. Then suddenly, she actually starts winning. Rob immediately thinks Oh, Crap!.
- Foreshadowing: If you look in the early challenges, you can see that Ashley actually isn't doing bad, even at challenges that are slanted towards the physically stronger Grant or Zapatera tribe. Later on; she winds up becoming Rob's second obstacle in the season.
- Lazy Bum: Encouraged by Rob.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Out of Focus: Until the end when we had a surprising repeat performance of Brett Clouser.
- Spanner in the Works: Came the closest of anyone to completely upending Rob's plan.
- Those Two Girls: With Natalie.
- Worthy Opponent: One guess.
- Action Girl
- Back from the Dead: But like Matt, it ultimately means nothing because she's voted out immediately after being unable to do anything about the stranglehold Rob had on the game.
- The Cutie
- Defeating the Undefeatable: Outlasted Grant, Matt, and Mike, who were all very physical competitors. It should be noted that she did it in an endurance challenge which traditionally favors women, but even still.
- Farm Girl: Complete with stereotypical Farmer's Daughter getup.
- Fatal Flaw: Waiting too long before making a move against Rob - had she flipped to Zapatera when Matt came back, chances are she would have done better.
- Genki Girl
- Genre Blind: While she could be considered so blind as to be Too Dumb to Live...
- Ms. Fanservice
- Only Sane Woman: Between Rob planning out every single move of the game, Ashley and Natalie hanging around camp not doing much, and Phillip just being himself, she generally comes off as this (which isn't so Genre Blind).
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: A pattern this season.
- Genius Bruiser: Was strong in any challenge, including puzzle-based ones. Given that he's an Iraqi War Veteran, it's safe to say that detail shows!
- The Hero: For the Zapatera alliance.
- Last of His Kind: He was the first Zapatera voted out after the merge, but becomes the last Zapatera in the game through Redemption Island.
- Meaningful Name: Just look at the guy!
- Mr. Fanservice
- Religious Bruiser
- Retired Badass: Mike was a former Marine.
- Tall, Dark, and Handsome
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Probst barely spoke to him at all.
- Worthy Opponent: Rob stated in the torch walk that he was glad Mike didn't win the final duel because he was legitimately afraid to have had to compete against him and sit against him in the finals. He was also one of the few people in the Rites of Passage who the final four didn't deliver a Take That! to.
- Back from the Dead: The first person to return from Redemption Island, though he was immediately voted out once again.
- Being Good Sucks: Boy, does it ever.
- Break the Badass: Andrea notes in her AMA that he had a puppy-like zest for life at the beginning of the game. The constant isolation wore him down.
- Broken Bird: The longer he stayed on Redemption Island, the worse and worse he got.
- Determinator: His run on Redemption Island was nothing short of incredible, surviving ten duels before losing his final one. That record has yet to be matched.
- Honor Before Reason: He trusted Rob's alliance at the merge, despite having been blindsided by them earlier in the game. The result is him being blindsided once again.
- Identical Stranger: When assessing the cast, Jeff points out his resemblance to Fabio but notes that their personalities are (near) completely different.
- Mr. Fanservice
- Religious Bruiser: Matt was very highly religious and strong in challenge. The main reason for his 7th place finish was because of Redemption Island
- Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Don't deny it - along with Phillip and Rob, he was the star of this season. He even almost beat Rob in the fan voting.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Towards Russell.
- Too Dumb to Live: After deciding that he's going to remain loyal to the Ometepe tribe even after they blindsided him (which was pretty dumb already), he outright tells Rob that he was planning to vote him off if he flipped. Three guesses who goes that night.
- Warrior Monk
- Worthy Opponent: To the Zapatera alliance.
- Badass Beard
- The Dragon: To Boston Rob.
- Genre Blind: Did you really think Rob was going to take you to the finals? Not once did he even think that Rob had done everything for his tribe and that'd likely win him the game, but was again surprised he was voted out.
- Worthy Opponent: Rob saw him as this. Truth be told, he's from the NFL - and during the tribal game (When the challenges were mostly physical or teamwork oriented), it really showed since he and Ashley were carrying their tribe.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Yet another one.
- Badass Beard
- The Big Guy: To the Zapatera alliance.
- Cloud Cuckoolander: Finds an idol by looking for rocks. What?
- Cool Old Guy
- Farm Boy
- Plucky Comic Relief
- Self-Deprecation: Calls himself a "self-proclaimed dumbass" at least once.
- Spell My Name with an "S": Inverted; he went with deliberately weird spellings of names at Tribal Council, apparently for the hell of it. Notably he spelled Russell's name "Ressell," Krista's name as "Krasta," and Phillip's name as "Philite."
- Strange Minds Think Alike: The only one to recognize Phillip's playing style for what Phillip thinks it is. He is also the sole member of the jury to vote for Philip as a response.
- The Unintelligible: Not quite on the level of Big Tom, but pretty close.
- Call-Back: Uses Rob's betrayal of Lex in All-Stars as proof that Rob has cut his close allies loose before, and can easily do it again.
- Cool Old Guy: The oldest male on Zapatera.
- Fatal Flaw: Hating Russell so much that he took his eye off the million and threw the Immunity Challenge to get rid of him, which at the very least may have cost Zapatera a possible numbers advantage going into the merge. While you could blame much of the Zapatera Alliance for this, post-game Steve's been the only one who's really defended that decision whereas both Julie and David regret it.
- Only Sane Man: Of the Zapatera once Mike was gone.
- Out of Focus: started off making one think he might get far... but he slowly drifted Out of Focus. We did get to see him give more than three confessionals, though.
- Team Dad: To the Zapatera Alliance.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Right after Matt's second blindside, he mutters "Let the fireworks begin."
- Foreshadowing: When the idea to throw the challenge comes up, Julie is the sole dissenter of the alliance, pointing out that throwing challenges could give the other tribe momentum. Not only does this build up to her being the swing vote at Tribal Council, it also foreshadows Ometepe chain-winning immunities after Zapatera threw the challenge.
- Hypocrite: In Rob's eyes.
- Out of Focus: While she did have a decent amount of screen time pre-merge, her only memorable moments of the season were duping Russell and then stealing Phillip's shorts.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Delivered at the Final Tribal Council.
- Straw Feminist: Gave off vibes of this at the Final Tribal Council.
- Who Will Bell the Cat?: Once the challenge is thrown, her alliance prepares her for the task of gaining the trust of Russell's alliance and making them think she's the swing vote. Then Stephanie takes it Up to Eleven, and the vote is tied three ways.
- Badass Bookworm
- Determinator: Give him credit on his final Immunity Challenge performance; it required him to hang upside down by his legs, which favored the women due to weight. Not only was he the last man standing, he held out for so long that when his body finally gave out on him he could barely even walk.
- Graceful Loser: The only jury member perfectly willing to admit Rob beat him (especially when casting his vote).
- Hannibal Lecture: Amazingly, he delivered one to the other members of the jury, telling them exactly why Boston Rob deserved to win the game in very harsh, uncompromising terms.
- Informed Ability: He's supposedly really good at puzzles, but when we finally get to see him do them, he loses both times due to overthinking them and taking too long.
- Self-Fulfilling Prophecy: Tries his damnedest to win his final Immunity Challenge, fearing that he'll be the next to go. He is indeed sent packing that night... because Rob saw his challenge performance and thought he'd be a contender to take out Matt.
- Shout-Out: After a Final Jury that mostly consisted of the jury members berating the Final Three for how they felt they played the game, what are the first words out of David's mouth before he delivers his Hannibal Lecture? "And now for something completely different."
- The Smart Guy: Of the Zapatera Six, despite his Informed Ability.
- Worthy Opponent: His speech calls Rob this.
- The Load: Why was she voted out near the merge.
- Nice Hat
- Noodle Incident: She was apparently the person who made the pitch for throwing the challenge and getting rid of Russell, but the audience never sees this. It would explain why Russell targeted the physically stronger Julie to flip; when he normally targets girls who aren't physically strong like Sarita.
- Stupid Boss: Very much this for the Zapateras.
- Sympathy for the Devil: Subverted, as indicated by how she acted at the Matt-Russell duel, where she happily jumps up and down, cheering for Russell to lose.
- Team Mom: David outright calls her this at one point.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Had less screen time than the other members of her alliance, though this is partly on account of being eliminated pre-merge.
- Ascended Fangirl: as revealed in her campaign video for second chance campaign video, Stephanie was one to Russell Hantz..
- Be Careful What You Wish For: The moment Russell stepped off the plane she wanted to align with him, thinking she could get him to take her to the end game where she could easily beat him because he's Russell Hantz. It didn't turn out that way, partly because this time people knew whom he was.
- Character Development: We don't ever get around to seeing it, but she notably tones down her oppressive attitude just before her friend Krista goes out and as Mike gives them both a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, indicating that she actually learned something about keeping her arrogance down. Actually it is a pity we don't get to see that go further.
- Digging Yourself Deeper: As Survivor columnist Jayemel put it: "Did she not realize that her little tirade may have been what caused Julie to vote against her? Maybe Julie was on the fence and then decided she didnt want to risk her entire game by allying with Hope(less) and Associates."
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Diplomacy? What diplomacy?
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Until she has to try and do so too late in the game in the vain hopes of staying in over Sarita.
- Ms. Fanservice
- Poor Communication Kills: Wait, she says Russell is the only one who won't backstab the tribe? Talk about Digging Yourself Deeper!
- Spicy Latina
- A Storm Is Coming: Says it almost word-for-word when Russell's torch is snuffed.
- Too Dumb to Live: At points.
- Wrong Genre Savvy
- HeelFaith Turn: On Redemption Island, she's revealed as a deeply religious person and bonds with Matt, giving him her Bible when she leaves.
- Odd Friendship: Russell-acolyte Krista and Warrior Monk Matt.
- The Quiet One: It's been assumed this was her strategy, and it usually works. Unfortunately; she wasn't good enough in challenges so was dropped as low-man on the totem pole.
- Token Good Teammate: Easily the nicest member of her alliance with Russell and Stephanie. Chances are if those three were in the finals, she'd have won. That's not really saying much though.
- Alliterative Name
- Fatal Flaw: Hating Rob so much that she overplayed by looking for the idol, never considering the possibility that this would make her an early target, or even that Rob was going to split the vote and negate the idol's advantage.
- Negated Moment of Awesome: She fails to meet the requirements for being clever on account of her not realizing that Rob was going to split the vote.
- In fact, Probst more or less acts like her actions never happened. Despite how common finding idols without clues has become, even Russell Hantz, the original idol-hunter, never had one in his hands before the first tribal council.
- Too Clever by Half: Her downfall was playing the game too strong when she realized Boston Rob was on her team. Finding an idol in the first few days did not help her case.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: If you watched the reunion episode, you probably wouldn't even know whom she was, along with everyone else voted out pre-merge sans Russell Hantz. She only even got camera time when Rob was referring to her hunting for the idol. You'd think that finding an immunity idol before the first tribal council would deserve mention, but Probst didn't even look in her general direction.
Russell Hantz - Samoa
- Asshole Victim: And There Was Much Rejoicing when he was voted out and eliminated for good.
- Bald of Evil
- Beard of Evil
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In an interview before the season, he declared that this season would become "Survivor history." Indeed: it became the first season that he was voted out. And he was the first member of Zapatera to get the ax.
- Born Unlucky: This time, he gets put on the smart tribe who has the insight to get rid of him fast.
- The Bus Came Back
- Card-Carrying Villain
- Defiant to the End
- Fat Bastard
- Entitled Bastard: To the bitter, bitter, bitter end. He even wanted to sue the members of his tribe for daring to vote him off.
- He Just Doesn't Get It: He used virtually the exact same strategy that he'd played in his past two seasons note , only this time he was playing it with people that had the chance to see how he did things. When his tribe threw a challenge to get rid of him ("I'm dealing with a bunch of bitches!"), he failed to realize just what he did wrong.
- Identical Stranger: To Project Runway season 8 contestant Michael Costello.
- I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Briefly attempted to pretend that this wasn't true. It was a lie.
- Informed Ability: Again; we're told he's good at the game and he even says he's not going to be playing the same game he was before. Turns out, save for burning stuff, he starts doing the exact same thing. Right down to his alliance choices.
- It's Up to You
- Jerk With A Heart Of Jerk: Still belittles and insults his tribemates.
- Laser-Guided Karma: Finally goes out early after trying to play the exact same game for a third time.
- The Napoleon
- Never My Fault
- Nice Hat
- Small Name, Big Ego
- Smug Snake
- So Last Season: By this point, everybody knows Russell's game and strategy so they are very leary about him back. Zapatera chose to throw an immunity challenge just to get rid of him.
- Sudden Sequel Elimination Syndrome: Went from going into the final tribal council in his past two seasons, to getting voted out third and being the second person Matt beat in Redemption Island.
- Taking You with Me: After he lost the duel, and recovered from the below-mentioned Villainous Breakdown, he went into a tirade against the Zapatera observers and even managed to dupe Ralph into revealing that he had an idol.
- Tattooed Crook
- Team Killer: Only this time, the team knows what to do when he's around.
- Token Evil Teammate: To Zapatera.
- Villainous Breakdown: Starts to cry after Matt beats him in the duel.
- Worthy Opponent: Seemed to regard Rob as this at the reunion. Definitely saw Matt as this.
- Black Chick Gets Eliminated First: First person voted out and loses the first duel.
- Lovable Alpha Bitch
- Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: With Phillip.
- The Unpronounceable: For Phillip.
- We Hardly Knew Ye: Voted out first and eliminated first. Not even spoken to or even SHOWN on the reunion show outside of her knees.
- She did return in Caramoan, but unfortunately got voted out first again.