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- The Ace
- Five-Man Band
- Configuration 1.
- Configuration 2.
- Four-Philosophy Ensemble: The final four.
- Ethan = The Optimist.
- Kim J = The Aphatetic.
- Lex = The Cynic.
- Big Tom = The Realist.
- Four-Temperament Ensemble: The final four again.
- Ethan = Leukine.
- Kim J = Phlegm.
- Lex = Choleric.
- Big Tom = Sanguine.
- Intergenerational Friendship: The (original) tribe members are notably not in the same age group yet they get along really well, most notably the Power Trio of Ethan, Lex and Big Tom.
- Team Spirit
- True Companions: Ethan, Lex and Tom are all very close friends fifteen years after the game's end, and they are still considered one of the tightest alliances in the history of the game.
- A House Divided
- Divided We Fall
- Dwindling Party
- Five-Man Band
- Configuration 1.
- Configuration 2.
- Law of Chromatic Superiority: Subverted.
- Teeth-Clenched Teamwork
- We ARE Struggling Together: They spend more time in-fighting than sticking together against Boran.
The Sole Survivor
Ethan returned for All-Stars and competed on The Amazing Race 19 with Jenna Morasca
- Brutal Honesty: When Brandon asked Ethan which jury member would be least deserving of being in the Final 2, Ethan bluntly says "You".
- Informed Judaism: He obviously looks the part, but any religious beliefs Ethan may have are never mentioned outside of his inability to eat ham.
- Intergenerational Friendship: His trio with Lex and Big Tom. The former was in his 30s while the latter was in his 40s. Ethan himself was 27 at the time.
- Messianic Archetype: Very early on in the season's airing a message board poster famously predicted his win with a theory based entirely on a perceived prevalence of religious imagery in the edit, with Ethan being positioned as a Christ figure. Whether the theory was accurate or just Epileptic Trees, Ethan fulfilled part of it by becoming the first Jewish winner, the first universally liked winner and one of the most charitable winners post-game.
- Nice Guy: The first universally liked winner because of this.
- No Damage Run: Received no elimination votes and was the first winner to win by more than one jury vote.
- Odd Friendship: With Big Tom and Lex specifically.
- Sole Survivor: The third.
- Vitriolic Best Buds: Ethan references this trope directly when talking about his friendship with Big Tom.
- Cool Old Lady: Kim was the oldest person by Birthdate to make to final tribal council.note
- Graceful Loser: She picks Ethan because she would lose no matter what.
- Never Mess with Granny: Outlasting Lex and Ethan in terrible heat and physical exhaustion during the last Immunity Challenge, despite being respectively twenty and thirty years older than them.
- One Steve Limit: With Kim Powers. The first instance in the show's history.
Lex van den Berghe
Lex returned for All-Stars
- The Ace: He won five individual challenges(three immunities and two rewards), and even when he didn't win, he still got to go on most of the rewards as a tag along. Jeff lampshaded this when Lex won the reward where he got to go to the Massai Mara National ReserveJeff: It seems like every time I turn around, I'm handing you something. Now I'm handing you my Visa card.
- Berserk Button: Teresa voting for him instead of Clarence gives the viewers their first real glimpse at Lex in a much less flattering light than he'd been portrayed before that point; he goes into a paranoid rage, vowing to figure out who voted for him and get rid of them immediately (and doesn't even get it right).
- The Charmer: One of the reasons he was so threatening. Most of the contestants who've played with him have said that he's very persuasive and likable when he's not too busy being a paranoid Jerkass.
- Death Glare: Not intentionally. He just has really intense looking eyes when he's frustrated.
- Diabolus ex Machina: Getting sick at the second to last day, during the final immunity challenge!
- Idiot Ball: During the merge, Lex gave up a 6-4 lead for his Boran tribe by voting out Clarence, and almost gets voted out himself in the next round because Kelly was sick of him and wanted to defect to the Samburu's. In a very close vote(5-4), Kelly left instead of Lex, but only because Brandon was holding an even bigger one by becoming a defector to Boran.
- Ineffectual Death Threats: He threatens to (literally) slit the throat of whoever votes against him at several points(to be fair though, one of these threats was during a confessional). Thankfully, he never follows up on any of these threats.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With Ethan (20s) and Big Tom (40s). Lex himself was 36-37 at the time of the competition.
- Mean Character, Nice Actor: Lex is arguably the primary antagonist of the season and stirs up a lot of conflict but he's well known for being a very nice guy outside of the game and was a very popular friend within the alumni. It bites him in the ass in All-Stars where he tries to play as a Manipulative Bastard but gets derailed by his very close friendship with Boston Rob.
- Moral Myopia: Has no problem with voting for anyone else however he wants, but the moment he got even one vote cast against him he had a huge Freak Out.
- Narrator: Lex has the most confessionals out of anyone with 85(though not excessively like what you find in recent seasons), and is pretty eloquent in them too.
- Older Than They Look: Lex is in his late thirties during Africa.
- Sanity Slippage: He gets increasingly paranoid as the game goes on, to the detriment of his relationships with his alliance. In his Reddit AMA he said that after the game he had trouble sleeping indoors, was haunted by nightmares for weeks and had difficulty trusting the people around him, including his family.
"Big" Tom Buchanan
Big Tom returned for All-Stars.
- Big Fun: The Funniest person on the season.
- Cool Old Guy: The oldest male on Boran and later Moto Maji and and is a Big Fun.
- Drunken Master: Ethan accredited Big Tom to carrying him to the end.
- Intergenerational Friendship: With the Ethan (late 20s) and Lex (late 30s).
- Large Ham: Especially when it comes to ham!
- Mooning: During the S.O.S Message Immunity Challenge, Tom moons everyone with a black feather stuck up his butt.
Teresa was an Candidate for The second Chance season but failed to get enough votes to return.
- Expy: She was clearly cast to be a Tina Wesson type character, and while she was to a degree, Teresa had enough individual quirks and genuine sweetness in her, to make her a unique character.
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Referred to as "T" and/or "T-Bird" way, way more than her actual name.
- Southern-Fried Genius: In terms of game strategy she was deceptively cunning and never stopped trying to come up with ways to break up the Boran alliance even when she was the last Samburu tribe member left.
- The Chick: To her Samburu "Mall Rat" alliance.
- Et Tu, Brute?: Kim was shocked that Brandon flipped on Samburu.
- Ms. Fanservice: Considered the hot chick of the season.
- One Steve Limit: With Kim Johnson.
- Butt Monkey: He's anti-social and a little rough around the edges, and in a social game like Survivor, you do not want to be this.
- The Comically Serious: Occasionally filled this role.
- Crazy Survivalist: In one episode he said that if he weren't playing the game for his friends or family, he would dump all the water and food that wasn't his own so the younger, brattier members of his tribe would suffer. Also, in one interview post show, he said he regretted that he wasn't able to hunt on the national preserve they were stranded in.
- Deadpan Snarker:Carl: Hey Frank, what branch of the service were you in?"Frank: I was in the American branch. It's called Freedom.
- Hidden Depths: Both supported and subverted. Frank at first came off like a two dimensional Fish out of Water curmudgeon with conservative values, but in later episodes it was obvious that there was a lot more nuance to his personality (like when he waxed philosophic when he watched the sunrise).
- Hilarity Ensues: During his movie date reward with card carrying Camp Gay member Brandon.
- Jaded Washout: To his tribe. Off the show, he seems to be pretty happy guy, well adjusted and has a nice family.
- Knight in Sour Armor: Especially after Carl left and the Mall Rats(an alliance of the younger tribe members) took over Samburu.
- Be Careful What You Wish For: In His Boot episode, Brandon said he rather be voted next than be in an alliance with Frank. Guess What happened.
- Camp Gay: To be fair about it though, Brandon wasn't weak in the challenges and stood up for himself. His personality though was as gay as a three dollar bill.
- Hilarity Ensues: When Brandon and Frank won an obstacle course reward challenge and got to see the movie Out Of Africa together at a drive in.
- Idiot Ball: Defecting from Samburu by voting for Kelly, instead of sticking with his tribe and voting out Lex.
- Military Brat: According to his pre-game profile.
- Odd Couple: Brandon and Frank during the drive in movie trip they won together.
- The Quisling: He prevented his Samburu tribemates and Boran defector Kelly from having a shot at voting off Boran leader Lex out of a petty dislike for and refusal to work with Frank. He was then promptly voted out by everyone except for Lex.
- Smug Snake: Seemed deeply confident that he had a good mind for game strategy, and then he made probably the stupidest move of the entire game by turning on Samburu and joining Lex (whilst at the same time confirming to the other' members of the Boran alliance that he wasn't trustworthy at all).
- Anti-Villain: Only flipped because of Lex targeting her because he wrongfully believed that Kelly voted against him.
- The Cassandra: She was the first one to point out Lex's massive ego and hypocrisy when it comes to him voting out friends and allies at the drop of a hat but freaking out when he gets even ''one'' vote cast against him. No one listened to her, though nobody in that season really got it in the same way she did.
- The Chick: To her Boran tribe.
- Death by Pragmatism: When she realizes that she was getting the boot, Kelly did the only sensible thing and flipped to Samburu. However, Brandon's flip still gotten her voted out.
- Genre Savvy: Listed "Manipulating men" as one of her hobbies. She actually does not do this in the show and is a decent person - in fact the only reason she put it on there in the first place was so she would get cast.
- Large Ham: In her Final Jury vote.
- Misblamed: For voting against Lex.
- "The Reason You Suck" Speech: Took the Sue Hawk approach to her jury question at the final tribal council.
- The Atoner: By the time he got voted out in 10th, he'd more than redeemed himself for his earlier transgressions regarding his appetite.
- Big Eater: Half of Clarence's story arc revolved around him being hungry all the time and eating food whenever he could get his hands on it.
- The Big Guy: The reason why he wasn't voted out after eating the Beans is because he was capable in challenges unlike Diane and later Jessie.
- Black Guy Dies First: Subverted in one episode when Clarence is almost stomped to death by an elephant after said elephant walks into the area Clarence was defecating in. Also could be seen as Toilet Humor.
- Nice Hat
- Chekhov's Boomerang: The votes against her in her first Tribal Council.
- Redemption Equals Death: Or at least having a tribal swap and subsequent vote off equals redemption.
- Arc Villain: Of the first half of the season.
- Asshole Victim: Fell victim to a major twist, had his entire new tribe pretty much conspire to take him out by all but throwing an immunity challenge to get rid of him, and since it was Silas there wasn't exactly a huge uproar from the fanbase.
- Backstab Backfire: See below in Cosmic Plaything.
- Cosmic Plaything: In what is perhaps the ultimate example of Hoist by His Own Petard in Survivor, Silas was the first victim of the tribal swap, a twist he never could have predicted. What's worse was that the swap took place only a week after he betrayed the people he initially aligned with so he could be the leader of Samburu, and the people he got stuck with were the very people he betrayed!
- Do Not Call Me "Paul": Was originally known as Chip, but insisted before the game started that everyone call him Silas instead.
- Graceful Loser: For all his smugness, he did take his ouster very well especially when compared to later Survivor "villains".
- Stepford Smiler: Had a habit of grinning really wide when something pissed him off.
- Tempting Fate: "There's not an event in the future that could surprise me."
- Cool Old Guy: Carl was the oldest person on Samburu.
- Dead Star Walking: Jessie had one of the highest pre-show scores in the popularity poll on CBS.com, and was one of the players the commercials focused on most. Needless to say, her popularity dropped dramatically after the first episode showed her being sick and unable to actively compete in challenges and plot strategy back at camp.
- Token Minority: The first Hispanic castaway in the series.
- Ill Woman: Over-exerted herself leading the tribe to camp, leading to her getting sick in the first few days.