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The Tribes




The Sole Survivor

    Ethan Zohn

Ethan returned for All-Stars, Winners at War, 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". He did lose Brandon's vote because of that, but it didn't hurt him in the long run.
  • Good Is Not Soft: A distinctly nice character, but her organized throwing the challenge in order to boot Silas.
  • 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.
  • The Lancer: With Lex as the most prominent voice of the tribe, Ethan was his closest ally and his number two.
  • Lovable Jock: He's a professional soccer player and was pretty good in the physical challenges. He was also an all around nice guy, which is probably the reason why he won.
  • 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.
  • The Quiet One: One of Kelly and Brandon's criticisms of him is his introversion, especially compared to the much more outspoken Lex.
  • Sole Survivor: The third.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Ethan references this trope directly when talking about his friendship with Big Tom.



    Kim Johnson

  • Chekhov's Gun: Kim's luxury item was a set of acrylic paints. They would be used in the SOS Challenge, giving Boron their first immunity win.
  • Cool Old Lady: Kim was the oldest person by Birthdate to make to final tribal council.note 
  • Cool Teacher: Her job before retiring.
  • Down to the Last Play: The only reason Tom and Lex were the fourth and third placers was because she somehow won two clutch immunities.
  • Graceful Loser: She picks Ethan because she would lose no matter what.
  • Lethal Chef: According to Big Tom, the mush she made was inedible. Ethan says it's not good, but it being inedible is really just a Tom problem.
  • 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.
  • Out of Focus: Despite being a finalist, she doesn't get as much content as Lex or other, much more dynamic personalities despite outlasting all of them.
  • Plucky Girl: The moment T-bird was eliminated, Kim found herself at the bottom of the Boran alliance, but she managed to make it to the final two,

The Jury

    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 Reserve
    Jeff: 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.
  • Control Freak: His outburst when he learned someone voted for him, doing everything he can to find out who it was and eventually getting Kelly eliminated for the mere suspicion of her voting him out.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Tattooed Crook: Subverted. According to his AMA, he was almost not cast because his personality didn't match his appearance. He is a loving family man that's intelligent and complex instead of a thuggish brute.
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: His viewpoint that people are smarter than CBS gives them credit for, because they believed that people would find Lex too confusing on account of the above. Not only was CBS proven wrong, Lex became one of the more iconic players of the series.
  • Witch Hunt: He started one after receiving a vote against him that he wasn't expecting. See Berserk Button above.
  • Worthy Opponent: Both finalists agree that Lex definitely deserved a spot as a finalist and didn't hesitate when asked about it.

    "Big" Tom Buchanan

Big Tom returned for All-Stars.

  • Big Fun: The funniest person on the season.
  • Can't Take Criticism: Though he was always going to vote for Ethan, his diatribe towards Kim reeks of this. She had previously said that he was misogynistic and that she didn't learn anything from him and he got really mad, despite not showing any animosity previously.
  • Cool Old Guy: The oldest male on Boran and later Moto Maji and and is a Big Fun.
  • Dirty Old Man: Waxes philosophic about pulling a tick out of Lindsay's butt before slapping it, openly states a not-so-wholesome attraction to Teresa and splashes water on Kim P's chest repeatedly while showering with the whole tribe.
  • Drunken Master: Ethan accredited Big Tom to carrying him to the end.
  • Innocent Bigot: "HE'S A JEW, HE CAN'T EAT HAM!" Ethan doesn't really care, though.
  • 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.
  • Noodle Incident: The time he walked into a gay bar not realizing it was a gay bar.
  • Racist Grandpa: There is a lot of racist undertones regarding his treatment of Clarence. Calling him boy (something he doesn't call the others), wanting to shoot him and giving him a "warning vote" at a time when votes heavily determined whether or not you're leaving a tie.
  • Take That!: His jury "question" which was pretty much just a shot at Kim's cooking.
  • The Unintelligible: Because of his thick accent
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: With Ethan and Lex.
  • Younger Than They Look: Tom was 45 during Africa. Does he look it?

    Teresa Cooper

Teresa was an Candidate for The second Chance season but failed to get enough votes to return.

  • Beneath Suspicion: She had a clear motive for voting for Lex (voting for Clarence would have been dishonorable), but no one connects the dots that she might have done it because she's so sweet and trustworthy.
  • Cassandra Truth: She brings up the idea of voting Ethan out, knowing that his kindness and physical prowess would probably grant him the victory. She's ignored and Ethan ends up winning.
  • Deus ex Machina: The first ever tribe switch. It doesn't let her win the game, but she goes a hell of a lot further than if she were still in the Samburu tribe. She managed to outlast the Mall Rats after they did their best to pick them off.
  • Expy: Casting seems to have chosen her to fill in Tina Wesson's role as the Southern Mother archetype. She also has a very good understanding of the game, being nice to take the heat off of her and sowing dissent to get the heat off of her. The only reason she didn't win was because Brandon's boneheaded move took away their numbers and Kim Johnson chose to honor her original alliance even though she was at the bottom of the totem pole.
  • Last of Their Kind: She's the final Samburu member.
  • Mile-High Club: During the merge icebreaker game, she admits that she has done this.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname: Referred to as "T" and/or "T-Bird" way, way more than her actual name.
  • Plucky Girl: By the time Brandon was voted off, she tried to do everything to stay alive in the game, knowing that she was on the chopping block by virtue of being on Samburu.
  • 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.
  • Team Mom: Of the original Samburu tribe. She later shares the role with Kim Johnson in the combined Maji Moto tribe. Ethan even calls her his safe space during the Final Tribal Council.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: Not for herself, but she sowed the seeds of discord when she voted Lex instead of Clarence during the latter's boot. She did it because Clarence was an honorable man, but this drove Lex into a paranoid frenzy which got Kelly booted.

    Kim Powers

  • Runaway Fiancé: She considers this to be her greatest accomplishment, but her mom thinks otherwise.

    Frank Garrison

  • 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. For example, in a game of I Never, the raunchiest thing he could think of was dishonoring a handshake.
  • 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.
  • Deus ex Machina: Though all it accomplished was letting him reach the jury stage, he would have been the next on Samburu's hit list had the tribe swap not happened.
  • Establishing Character Moment: His comment about being in the American Freedom branch immediately pegs him as a patriotic conservative.
  • 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.
  • Gun Nut: On his boot episode, he becomes uncharacteristically chatty and starts talking about gun control and how liberals are stupid for wanting to take away their guns. It makes everyone, particularly Lex, uncomfortable.
  • Informed Flaw: Downplayed. Though he's obviously a right-leaning political, he's primarily depicted as just old-fashioned. However, the new Samburu believe that he'd cast votes on Brandon on principal and Brandon himself tanked his own game because he didn't want to be associated with somebody as hateful as Frank. It was only on his boot episode that the extent of his fanaticism was shown, when Teresa of all people talks about how uncomfortable he makes everyone.
  • 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.
  • No Social Skills: What gets him in hot water with the rest of the tribe, being a loner. He even notes that he's much better with animals than with people.
  • Odd Friendship: Him and Teresa, and Big Tom as well.
  • Old Soldier: Aside from multiple references to his military past, he is notably militaristic, conservative, and a gun nut.
  • Seinfeldian Conversation: There was a somewhat lengthy segment on how Frank doesn't know what the term "brunch" means.
  • Team Dad: Fills this role in the original Samburu tribe, being their provider.
  • Unusual Euphemism: "Linda's so solid, she's buried at the bottom of the Hoover dam."

    Brandon Quinton

  • 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.
  • Honor Before Reason: one of the reasons he tanked his game was because he hated Frank's beliefs and refused to continue working with him.
  • 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.
  • Nice Hat.
  • 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).
  • Spanner in the Works: Pretty much screws over Teresa's, and by extension Samburu's, chances at winning the game by flipping over to Boran despite Kelly being the swing vote of a 4-4 split.
  • Stop Being Stereotypical: He revealed during the reunion show, that the wanted to dispel the stereotype of the flamboyant gay guy who parties all the time. He was disappointed that he wasn't able to do so.
  • Tempting Fate: See Be Careful for what you wish for.

    Kelly Goldsmith

Voted Out

    Clarence Black

  • The Atoner: By the time he got voted out in 10th, he'd more than redeemed himself for his earlier transgressions regarding his appetite.
  • Being Good Sucks: Decides to feed Diane because she wasn't feeling good and it bites him in the ass, placing him at the bottom of the totem pole when the merge happened.
  • 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: Is the very first person eliminated after the merge.
  • Nice Hat
  • You Lose at Zero Trust: Subverted. A pretty big deal was made over him eating extra cherries and a can of beans. Normally, that would be cause enough to kick most people out but he was a physical asset. When his time came, he'd made up for his mistakes and they acknowledged that he'd grown as a person. He wasn't kicked out because they couldn't trust him, but because he was a physical threat.

    Lindsey Richter

  • Alpha Bitch: Was very condescending towards the older tribe after Carl's vote-off and she often liked to brag about being up for anything. She got better, though.
  • Chekhov's Boomerang: The votes against her in her first Tribal Council, with Silas use it to keep the other tribe members safe and with her friends trying to protect her.
  • Go Out with a Smile: She spent her last moments hugging and kissing everyone before she left.
  • Ill Girl: She had severe dehydration, giving her renal pain so severe she wanted to die. This was the reason she received four votes against her.
  • Know When to Fold 'Em: The moment she and Tom were tied, she started saying her goodbyes before the revote, knowing she already had four against her.
  • Lady Macbeth: As Silas rose to power, she became his right-hand woman and her cruelty towards the older Samburu rose to a head.
  • Redemption Equals Death: Or at least having a tribal swap and subsequent vote off equals redemption.
    • The Scapegoat: This was the period were ties were resolved based on previous votes against you. Lindsey already had four, so Silas wanted her to be a lightning rod of votes so that no one else would be at risk when the merge happened. This didn't work out for three reasons: the older people thought Silas was duplicitous and cast votes against him, Brandon and Kim P. wanted to draw attention away from her to keep their numbers, and she was ultimately voted off pre-merge.

    Silas Gaither

  • 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!
  • Diabolus ex Machina: He was a dominant leader of Samburu until he became the first ever victim of the tribe swap. He had no way of trying to rectify his situation. Granted, he did put himself in that situation.
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Was one of the main antagonists in the first four episodes, only to get voted off in the fifth after a tribe swap.
  • 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".
  • Nice Hat
  • Small Role, Big Impact: For how well he's known by the fandom, you wouldn't really expect him to be a fifth boot.
  • Stepford Smiler: Had a habit of grinning really wide when something pissed him off.
  • Tall, Dark, and Handsome
  • Tempting Fate: "There's not an event in the future that could surprise me."

    Linda Spencer

  • Armor-Piercing Question: Silas and the younger people noted a split in their tribe and the older people were getting picked off. He wanted to direct all of the older tribe's votes towards Lindsay to use her as a scapegoat, until she asked "What's in it for us?" They older tribe then voted him so that he'd be in a precarious position in case he ever had a tie vote against him.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: The younger tribe noted that she had two sides to her. One was a kindly mother figure, the other was a crazy woman. The latter facet often surfaced.
  • Defiant to the End: She and the rest of the old people were on the chopping block and Silas wanted them to follow his instructions to keep the rest of the tribe safe. They refused to do that because he was an asshole and, on her boot episode, wrote down his name despite him being completely safe.
  • Holier Than Thou: Averted, although she did often bring up her belief that the gods were invoking bad luck on her tribe for it's disharmony.
  • Inspirationally Disadvantaged: According to her Bio Linda Beat out Cancer.
  • Sanity Slippage: According to Brandon.

    Carl Bilancione

  • Sacrificial Lamb: His elimination started a chain of events that divided the Samburu tribe and that pretty much handed the loyalty of Frank and T-Bird to Boran.

    Jessie Camacho

  • Action Girl: She's a cop in Real Life.
  • Cool Shades
  • Dead Star Walking: Jessie had one of the highest pre-show scores in the popularity poll on, 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.
  • Ms. Fanservice
  • Token Minority: The first Hispanic castaway in the series.

    Diane Ogden

  • Cool Shades
  • Ill Woman: Over-exerted herself leading the tribe to camp, leading to her getting sick in the first few days.


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