Russell's Zapatera Alliance is an alliance that was formed during Survivor: Redemption Island.
Despite being led by one of the show's most notorious characters, the alliance was quickly targeted and ultimately eliminated before the merge.
Russell Works His Magic
When Jeff Probst announced that both Russell Hantz and Rob Mariano would be playing alongside the new castaways, everyone was immediately polarized by Russell's notorious reputation. However, Stephanie Valencia was excited to see Russell, viewing him as a one way ticket to the Final Three. Russell joined the Zapatera tribe and immediately proceeded with his "Dumb girl alliance strategy", aligning with Stephanie and later Krista Klumpp on Day 4, charming them with promises of the Final Three.
While Russell worked his magic over the two girls, the other members of Zapatera suspected Russell was up to his old tricks. Their suspicions were raised further when Russell and his allies were caught with a clue to the tribe's Hidden Immunity Idol after the Day 5 Immunity Challenge. Concerned by Russell's growing boldness, the six other Zapatera members created an alliance, with one common goal of getting rid of Russell.
Zapatera Throws The Challenge
With a two-member lead over the Ometepe tribe, the Zapatera Six decided to purposely throw the Day 8 Immunity Challenge in order to get rid of Russell and stop him from gaining momentum in the game. However, Russell was fully aware that his tribe threw the challenge, and began to scramble before Tribal Council.
After the challenge, Russell and Stephanie tried to sway Julie Wolfe to join their alliance in voting for Ralph, promising to take her to the final four. Russell's appeal gave Julie a dilemma. While she didn't want to betray her original alliance, Julie also realized that she could go from a guaranteed sixth to a guaranteed fourth with Russell.
When it came to Tribal Council, Julie stayed loyal to the Zapatera Six, helping them split their votes between Russell and Stephanie in case Russell had found the Idol. Russell's alliance still voted for Ralph, creating a 3-3-3 tie between Russell, Stephanie, and Ralph. On the revote, the Zapatera Six (now knowing that Russell did not have an Idol in his possession) voted out the notorious villain, sending him to Redemption Island.
The Super-Villain Goes Down
Upon arriving at Redemption Island, Russell vowed to return to the game and exact revenge on his old tribe. However, he lost his first duel against Matt Elrod, permanently eliminating him from the competition. Before leaving, an emotional Russell revealed the Zapatera tribe's alliances and leaders to the Ometepe tribe members present at the duel. He also revealed that Ralph had an Idol, which he tried to deny.
With Russell eliminated, Krista and Stephanie alienated themselves from the rest of the Zapatera tribe, knowing that they'd be next to leave if Zapatera lost again. However, the two held out hope for a merge, where they planned to defect to the Ometepe tribe. Thus, at the Day 12 Redemption Island duel, Krista and Stephanie declared their intentions to Rob, who told them to "hang in there." Following Zapatera's next loss, the girls attempted to vote out Steve Wright for his weak performances during challenges, but the Zapatara Six stuck together and voted out Krista in a 6-2 vote. She would later go on to lose to Matt at Redemption Island.
Now completely alone, Stephanie isolated herself from the rest of the Zapatera tribe. However, she eventually found an ally in David Murphy and the two conspired to vote off Sarita White. Unfortunately, they couldn't convince any more of the Zapatera Six to vote with them, and thus, Stephanie was voted out 5-2 at the next Tribal Council and would later be eliminated at Redemption Island.
- This is Russell's only unsuccessful alliance.