This Reunion Episode Was the Most Dramatic in ‘Survivor’ History

When it comes to Survivor, there’s plenty of drama to go around. Personalities are bound to clash, especially when castaways are exhausted, hungry, and possibly feeling tossed around by the elements. It’s easy to see how tempers might start to fly. But that’s part of the game. Dealing with challenging personalities is one of the steps to becoming the “sole survivor.”

However, there was one season with a reunion episode that gave new meaning to the word drama. Here’s what went down.

What set ‘Survivor: All-Stars’ apart?

Jeff Probst
Jeff Probst | CBS via Getty Images

Survivor: All-Stars was the first of its kind on the famous show. All-Stars was a season of firsts. This was the first season to feature a roster of only returning players. It was also the first season to feature an expanded castaway size, with 18 contestants. Additionally, the game started off with three tribes for the first time in the show’s history. To top it all off, contestants had to make do with fewer starting supplies — they were given only a pot and a machete.

Two big personalities go head to head

Rob Mariano and Jeff Probst
Rob Mariano and Jeff Probst | CBS via Getty Images

With an all-returner cast, it’s no surprise that we’d see a few clashes. These folks are all well-known for their strong personalities and gameplay styles. When the Reunion episode aired, it gave many of the castaways an opportunity to air grievances.

“Boston” Rob Mariano and “Big” Tom Buchanan got into a heated argument. Survivor fans might recognize these two names. Both players are well-known for being outspoken personalities. Jeff Probst asked them what’s going on between the two of them. Mariano replied by asking Buchanan, “I’ll do it right here right now. Did you have an alliance with Lex before the game even started?”

“I had an alliance with Rob and Amber,” replied Buchanan. Mariano repeated his question and added, “Yes or no?” Buchanan replies testily, “Don’t yes or no me! I’ve heard your mouth the whole time we was out there, and I’m sick of it. And I just wanna tell you this. Big Tom played a game with Amber and Rob. Rupert will tell you right here, I never wavered. All the lies were said about this and that. … On the very first day I did a handshake deal with you, and you.” Buchanan indicated Rob and Amber.

The two continued to argue, with the live studio audience breaking in with laughter and applause. Until one other castaway interrupted the pair.

Jerri Manthey gets booed off stage

Jerri Manthey, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz
Jerri Manthey, Sandra Diaz-Twine, Parvati Shallow and Russell Hantz| Jim Spellman/WireImage

As Mariano and Buchanan continue to argue, castaway Jerri Manthey decides to interject. Manthey is known for being one of Survivor’s villains, playing a cutthroat game. However, fans seemed displeased with what she had to say. And, oddly enough, Manthey wasn’t even a part of the disagreement to begin with.

“This entertainment is coming at a price. What it has cost us is our friendships, our feelings, our pain, our suffering. For entertainment,” said Manthey. As Manthey spoke the crowd erupted into jeers and booing. During a commercial break, Manthey left her seat and didn’t complete the reunion episode.

Mariano makes a proposal

Throughout the season, it seemed as if Rob Mariano and castaway Amber Brkich were hitting it off well. There were questions as to whether or not the romance was real, or if it was just a strategic ploy. Brkich put those questions to rest by wearing an “I love Rob” shirt to the reunion episode.

Mariano took things one step further. Just before the votes were read, he made a surprise proposal. “Well you know what Jeff, regardless of what happens tonight with the vote, I feel like I already won. I have the most special girl in the entire world sitting next to me. If you don’t mind, I’d like to say something to her. Amber, we came a long way in this crazy game. I’ve seen you at your highest high and your lowest low. And between it all, we worked together as a team to accomplish so much. It was really crazy, and in the end, I ended up falling in love with you. You’re the most amazing person I’ve ever met in my entire life. And I want to spend the rest of my life with you.”

Mariano then got down on one knee, and asked Brkich to marry him. She accepted. The two are still married today and have four kids.