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- Amnesiac Lover: Has memories of meeting a woman he doesn't know, in a place that he knows was destroyed before he was born then she shows up alive.
- Amnesia Missed a Spot: Jack has dreams of New York before the Scav invasion, despite his memory wipe to maintain secrecy.
- The Collector of the Strange: Collects a variety of pre-war memorabilia artifacts he managed to scavenge, keeping them in a secret cottage he built in a somewhat-untouched grotto.
- Commanding Coolness: The real one, in any case. He was the commander of the Odyssey mission. Beech takes some particular delight in saying "Welcome Back, Commander" when he decides to help them.
- Doppelgänger Replacement Love Interest: Julia hooks up with Jack 49 the night after she learns that he's just a clone of her husband. Then at the end of the movie, three years after Jack 49 sacrifices himself to save humanity, it looks like she's gonna get together with Jack 52.
- Fan of the Past: He keeps old objects in his secret retreat, such as old vinyls, sunglasses, old books and his NY Yankees cap (which Tom Cruise seems to love in real life, he wore the same in War of the Worlds). He also likes to remember and re-enact the very last Super Bowl that happened more than 60 years ago.
- Genetic Memory: The biologically grown clones seem to share original Jack's memories about loving Julia (at the least) which the alien A.I. tried to erase. The 49th Tech clone of Harper goes as far as to blow himself (and the Tet) up to keep her safe, while the 52nd clone (who gets distracted by Julia during his fight with the 49th) goes looking for her sometime after meeting her, finally finding her three years later.]]
- The Hero Dies: Jack himself (or at least the clone we've been following for most of the film) dies taking out the Tet to save mankind.
- Heroic Ambidexterity: He uses rifles left handed, but when switching to his sidearm, will always use that right handed.
- Identical Twin ID Tag: Jack Harper 49 acquires a cut across the bridge of his nose, while 52 wears a gray bandanna.
- Odd Couple: With Victoria. Jack is a maverick while Victoria is a by-the-book worker who struggles with his antics.
- Also qualifies as Actor Allusion, as Tom Cruise has played his side of that couple to many love interests over the years...
- Shirtless Scene: Gets three during scenes at the tower.
- You Are Number 6: Jack Harper is Drone Tech 49. Later it gets revealed that the number corresponds to his number in the line of clones.
- Affectionate Nickname: Jack calls her "Vika".
- Betty and Veronica: The visual part anyway. Victoria has red hair while Julia is a brunette.
- Catchphrase: "Another day in paradise." It's what the original Victoria said in the Odyssey.
- Death of the Hypotenuse: Is killed less than a day after Julia comes back into the picture. Bonus points comes from it being her own fault, as she inadvertently sics the Drone on herself as well as Jack.
- Heroes Want Redheads: Victoria is a redhead, and presented as a Love Interest. It turns out that both her and Jack are repeatedly cloned and made to work together.
- Green-Eyed Monster: Moved by jealousy, she refuses entry to Jack in the house, and then reports everything to Sally, probably believing this will simply cause Jack to go away. Except Sally has other ideas on how to deal with teams that are no longer effective.
- Kick the Dog: Jack brings Victoria a flower from the surface as a gift. She takes one look at it then dumps it over the side without so much as a thank you, then chews him out for risking the mission over a flower. This is actually foreshadowed shortly before it happens; when Jack is reading the book he found, he hides it when Victoria comes in, evidently knowing she'll make an issue of it.
- Love Makes You Evil: The flashback scene hints that Victoria was attracted to Jack even before they were cloned. Although she refuses to reveal whether (like Jack) she still has memories of her human life, it likely (subconsciously or otherwise) fuels her instinctive dislike of Julia and her betrayal when Jack reveals that she is his wife — she'd rather have a false reality where she and Jack are together as lovers than the truth.
- Mission Control: Acts as this for Harper while following orders from Sally.
- Obstructive Bureaucrat: She is much more obedient to mission control than Jack. She refuses to go down to the planet with him, and believes everything mission control says - even ratting him out by saying they are no longer a good team.
- Sexy Silhouette: Used when she strips to go Skinny Dipping during the night.
- Stepford Smiler: Just watch how quickly her personality changes the second Jack does anything to remind her of Earth. It gets really bad after she betrays Jack.
- Woman Scorned: Doesn't betray Jack when he brings Julia back to the tower, but she does when she catches the two sharing a moment through the Bubble Ship's camera. When Jack explains that Julia is his wife, she rats them out to Sally.
- Dissonant Laughter: Gives a high-edged laugh when Jack lays out the 'official' version of the war and she sees Victoria holding hands with him.
- Girl in a Box: Kicks things off when her escape capsule lands on Earth and Jack investigates.
- Girl of My Dreams: Subverted. Jack has Recurring Dreams of a girl he doesn't know the name of. He eventually meets Julia in person but she turns out to have been the wife of the real Harper Jack-49 shares his memory with.
- One-Night-Stand Pregnancy: Julia has sex with Harper one time and gets pregnant that night.
- Sole Survivor: Is the only survivor from the space ship Odyssey's crash site.
- Expy: The Scavenger grunts look a lot like the Helghast, and their leader looks like a cross between the Predator and Darth Vader. This is to deliberately mislead the audience into seeing them as the bad guys when they're actually the human resistance.
- Mysterious Watcher: We see shady figures observing Harper through binoculars. They are later revealed to be part of a group of human survivors.
- Redshirt Army: Aside from Sergeant Sykes and a female subordinate, the Scavenger soldiers are wiped out to a man during the second drone attack on their base, to the point of only Sykes and his subordinate are left to fight off the much bigger third wave. Good things the drones are a Keystone Army...
- Helmets Are Hardly Heroic: After The Reveal none of the Resistance wear helmets while fighting the drones, despite their usefulness re stealth.
- The Remnant: Subverted. While Jack 49 and Victoria are told the resistance are the last, and still fighting, survivors of an Alien Invasion, the reality is that they work for the actual invader, an AI stealing Earth's resources.
- La Résistance: The remaining scavs after the war, led by Malcolm Beech, who live underground the wasteland Earth.
- Big Bad: The mysterious leader of the Scavengers, an alien race that invaded Earth and are hunting the surviving humans, including the protagonists. It turns out that said leader is the human Malcom Beech, who explains that everything was a lie cooked up by "Sally", the Tet's A.I. who is the real alien invader looting Earth of its resources - the Scavengers, actually humans, are trying to stop her.
- Cool Old Guy: His first scene is him smoking a big cigar and somewhat hammily interrogating and giving exposition to a captured Harper. He also mentions having fought on the war and having survived the devastation of Chicago. His biggest desire is down there in Foreshadowing.
- Cool Shades: His goggles make him look badass.
- Die Laughing: While Beech gets his wish to see the Tet's reaction to its impending demise, Jack flippantly tells "Sally" off with a Precision F-Strike. Beech expresses his mirth at the quip... right as the fuel cell nuke in his lap lights off.
- Mr. Exposition: He explains to Harper in detail what happened during the Alien Invasion.
- Wasteland Elder: A wise leader of a group of survivors of the planetary destruction.
- Wicked Cultured: The first thing we hear of Beech is hims citing from "Horatius". Subverted when we learn that he is not the Big Bad.
- Worth It: Confidently states that he would gladly accept a one-way trip if it meant getting to see the look on Tet's face moments before it's destroyed, and he gets his wish.
The spherical drones Jack repairs for a living.
- A.I. Is a Crapshoot: They seem almost as ready to shoot Jack as they are to shoot Scavs. He has to identify himself, sometimes repeatedly, to get them to back off. That's because the drones are actually designed to hunt and kill humans.
- Attack Drone: They are heavily armed and tough as hell, programmed to kill all remaining humans.
- Attack Its Weak Point: Have several such points (like cameras, energy core hatches, etc). Toyed with in that they are small targets on a highly-mobile weapons system, those who try to shoot it use big guns and try to do so when the drone's standing still (and are virtually point-blank), and it still has a high chance of not working.
- Cyber Cyclops: The drones only have one red eye◊.
- Hell Is That Noise: The sounds they emit are unsettling, to say the least.
- Keystone Army: After the Tet gets blown up, the drones immediately deactivate.
- Noisy Robots: They constantly emit very loud electronic noises. They probably have built-in loudspeakers to scare off the Scavengers in this regard.
- Red Eyes, Take Warning: You didn't expect the HAL 9000-eyed drones to be up to any good, did you?
- Robo Cam: The POV shots of the drones with indicators for cleared and terminatable targets.
- Sentry Gun: They have two double-barreled guns that can turn 360 degrees, allowing them to shoot in several directions at the same time.
A tetrahedral space station orbiting the earth.
- Big Dumb Object: Just hangs there in orbit and looks mysterious.
- Cores-and-Turrets Boss: The space station and the water processing plants.
- Dilating Door: The entrance to Tet is a door with three dilating parts.
- Hoist by His Own Petard: Ends up cloning Jack Harper too precisely like the original. (At least the tech-workers; Beech describes the invasion soldiers as being mindless killing machines.)
- Only Known by Their Nickname: Is named after its shape and is never given an actual classification. Other than "God," that is.
- People Farms: Inside Tet we see a breeding stock of hundreds of Jack and Victorias.
- Sinister Geometry: Serves as a Foreshadowing. The ominous orbiting tetrahedral space station is supposed to be human-made. Turns out it's actually an alien intelligence that cloned and brainwashed the protagonist. And destroyed the world.
Tet's central A.I.
- Big Bad: Mission Control at the space station Tet is, in fact, the Big Bad using clones of Harper and Victoria for their own ends.
- Broken Record: Her overused Catchphrase "Are you an effective team?". One of the first signs that something is pretty wrong.
- Evil Sounds Deep: Once "Sally" is revealed to be the villainous Tet, her transmissions are occasionally distorted into a deeper tone. When Jack meets her face-to-face, so to speak, the distortion is constant to make her sound that much more imposing.
- A Form You Are Comfortable With: The Tet always communicates with Jack and Vika with manipulated footage and the voice (even with distinctive dialect) of "Sally", the original Jack and Vika's long-dead NASA Mission Control. When Jack confronts the Tet face-to-face, he continues to address it as "Sally", and it maintains using that voice.
- A God Am I: Calls itself Jack's God since he was created by it. Jack doesn't accept that logic.Tet/Sally: I created you, Jack. I am your God.
- Hive Mind: Possibly. The way that "Sally" ripples and moves in a cloud of pixel-like shapes while talking to Jack inside the Tet (not to mention its voice while doing so) suggests that it might be a colony of many smaller mechanical organisms rather than a single entity. If so, it's never explained whether "Sally" is the only one around and comprises the entire leadership of the invasion force, or if there are others on a homeworld somewhere near Titan.
- Kill All Humans: One of Sally's goals is eradicating the last surviving pockets of humanity.
- Lie Detector: Is able to sense via voice analysis that Harper is lying.
- Stepford Smiler: Sally is almost constantly smiling, even when talking to Jack about how she just killed Victoria.
- Treacherous Quest Giver: Mission control at the space station Tet is, in fact, the Big Bad using clones of Harper and Victoria for their own ends.
- Voice of the Legion: During the final confrontation, "Sally's" voice is layered with a very robotic voice.