Edgic is a weekly feature analyzing each player’s edit, mapping characters to their story-arc. Note that our focus is not solely to determine the winner, as is typical of other Edgic sites. For more information on how Edgic works and rating definitions read our Introduction to Edgic article.
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As it was a double episode with two sets of ratings, instead of ranking the players by rating, I will instead list them alphabetically.
As Alec entered the merge he was given a boost in complexity and became a more active participant in the game. But his edit was riddled with red flags. There was a lack of consistency in his relationships and he often undermined his own statements. Alec always told us he wanted to move away from the Goliath-strong mindset, but when push came to shove, he didn’t follow through.
Last week, we continually heard from Alec (and Alison/Kara) that it was time for the Goliaths to flip to the Davids; otherwise, they would miss the boat. In the end, they went back on their word and stuck with the Goliaths, and lo and behold it blew up in their face. This episode was all about Alec trying to save face with the Davids (as Probst said in the Previously On segment) as he scrambled to stay alive. And he was CP in the way he went about it. He tried to charm Christian and Gabby over to his side, comparing it to his work as a bartender flirting with the customers.
However, it was too late for Alec. As Gabby pointed out, “of course” the Goliaths wanted to work with the Davids now that the power had shifted. There were multiple times Alec could have flipped, but all he gave was false promises, and now the Davids had no reason to work with him. And the reason we knew this was coming was because none of Alec’s relationships were fleshed out. They all popped up out of nowhere (his bond with Alison & Mike, his connection to Nick). That let us know that Alec was not a central character and his relationships weren’t important to the overall narrative.
His only option to survive was to win Immunity, as he stated in the episode, but his challenge strength was also what made him such a threat. He called himself “the star of the show” after the Reward Challenge victory, and that was exactly why Carl targetted him. He later put in an incredible showing in the Immunity Challenge, where he was praised as a “beast,” but as he said in his follow-up confessional, his impressive performance only helped “seal his own fate.” Alec was unable to manage his threat level or slow himself down (perfectly demonstrated at the reward when he ate too many wraps and made himself sick). In the end, his game caught up to him.
I gave Alec P-tone for this episode because it did feel like he got a warm exit. He did seem a little cocky at times during the Immunity Challenge, especially towards Gabby, but he also had lots of PSPV from Christian and the tearful confessional afterward combined with the whole “never give up” attitude. His send-off at Tribal Council was also positive. So the P-tone felt right. However, when looking at Alec’s season as a whole, I decided toneless MOR was the most appropriate. His edit was fairly even between UTR and CP, and so I split the difference and gave him MOR. He wasn’t a major character (we never learned much about him personally) and didn’t really have a place in the driving narrative, but nor was he completely irrelevant. Alec was a solid mid-tier character who didn’t capitalize when he had the chance.
Alison was in the same boat as Alec for most of this episode; the boat that missed the shot and was now hopelessly drifting out to sea. However, over the course of the two hours, Alison was able to find a lifejacket, jump off the capsizing ship and make it back to shore. It wasn’t easy, and she needed help to do it, but she got there eventually.
There wasn’t much from Alison in Episode 10. She didn’t have a single confessional. But we did get a couple of camp scenes. The first of which was her explaining to Angelina that her name was “a contingency plan” and then later at the reward promising Christian and Gabby that she was committed to them (plus later throwing up/doing yoga after eating too much). As I said, her content was similar to Alec’s, except that because this was his boot episode, he got the majority of the focus. But the story was the same: Alison blew her chance to work with the Davids and was now on the outs. The set up was there for Alison to leave right after Alec in much the same fashion.
But in Episode 11, the game turned around for Alison. As soon as the second hour started, a tearful Alison took the blame for the position she had found herself in and recognized she was the next biggest physical threat. She couldn’t save her ally, Alec, and compared it to her work in the hospital when unable to save a critically ill patient. “I’ve been talking with Davids about making a move, and I didn’t do it, now look where I am,” she said. Her only option now was to “pray” that Christian and Gabby still wanted to work with her. “Or did I miss my opportunity?” she wondered. That was the big question of the episode. Had Alison missed the boat just like Alec did?
Alison’s prayers were answered, but the edit didn’t present her as the driving force behind the vote. Unlike Alec, she didn’t have these CP confessionals and strategy scenes. Instead, the emphasis was on Gabby and Christian. Gabby called the shot on Carl and told us that she wanted to work with Alison. Gabby approached Alison about the move. Alison’s confessionals were mostly reactions to the moves going on around her. “It’s music to my ears that Gabby wants to work together and take out a threat in this game,” Alison said, adding that the timing felt right to make a move. “The clouds are parting, the sun is shining, we are gonna do this,” she said, perhaps a callback to the Tiva scene where Gabby and Alison (plus John) watched the sunrise. There was a scene later in this episode when Alison exclaimed “There it is, the sun,” as we cut to Gabby and Christian on the beach plotting the move to save Alison and boot Carl.
“The fate of my game rests in the hands of Kara, Christian, Gabby, and Mike,” Alison said before Tribal Council, in what sounded like a stitched together confessional. This was again to show us that Alison did not have agency in the vote. She was merely a passenger praying that those at the wheel would let her hitch a ride. Alison got that ride and avoided the same fate as Alec. Edgically speaking, we should have known Alison would have a better chance at survival than Alec because at least she had the Gabby relationship set up pre-merge – and it was followed through in later episodes. Alec didn’t have that consistency and therefore had no Edgic lifeline.
Angelina had a mixed week with at least one hugely memorable scene. Her role in Episode 10 was fairly minimal, though we did hear from her at the start of the episode and she was a part of several group scenes. Then, of course, she had the big negotiation scene in Episode 11, which might have appeared OTT on the surface, but Angelina explained herself enough for a MOR in my opinion.
In Episode 10, Angelina wanted to know why her name came up at the last Tribal Council. Alison told her it was a “contingency plan.” Angelina then took that information to Christian and explained to him that the only reason the Goliaths voted for her was to save face with the Davids (backing up what Probst said in the Previously On). She said she is not a “scorned woman” and can handle a blindside, but she wanted him to know that the Goliaths were talking BS. The fact that Angelina got this info and correctly surmised what happened and used it to her advantage felt enough for a MOR.
Her confessionals in Episode 10 didn’t expand enough on her strategy for a CP. It was all about how the Goliaths had betrayed her and how she couldn’t wait to get her revenge. “Without hesitation, I will write any of their names down as quickly as I can,” she said. “The Goliath tribe is dead as dead can be…. They don’t know how vicious I can be, but they’re gonna find out very soon.” All of this explained why Angelina jumped ship to the Davids and voted for Alec and Alison. As we heard at the merge, Angelina was happy to ride the Goliath wave until it was no longer stable, she now had proof that the alliance was on shaky foundations.
I did consider N-tone for Angelina in Episode 10 for her sitting out of the Immunity Challenge to eat nachos and the criticism she took from Alison at Tribal Council regarding “calculated decisions.” But it didn’t feel like quite enough, especially as Angelina got to point out that Alison (plus Alec and Kara) made a calculated decision themselves at the last Tribal when they wrote down her name. Also, there was an emphasis placed on Angelina and Carl not winning any rewards (plus Angelina’s emotional confessional last week about not winning the veggie burgers), so it seemed like there was an Edgic precedent/justification for her to choose the nachos.
Episode 11 was a much bigger episode for Angelina, who is now one of only three players remaining to have at least one confessional in every episode (the others being Christian and Nick). In terms of the game, Angelina was shown to have made the wrong choice. She was correct when she said she’d replaced Gabby in the Davids alliance; confirmed by Gabby herself later in the episode. But this move did not work out for her. She said that Gabby has become so close to Alison that she’s going to go right down with her. That didn’t happen, at least not in this episode, although there is a chance Angelina’s comment was foreshadowing for later in the game.
The bulk of Angelina’s content revolved around the Rice Negotiation. She was the one that recognized that the tribe’s rice supply was quickly depleting, which was later confirmed by others, and decided she would step up to negotiate with Probst at the next challenge. There were different reactions to this sequence, and it all accounts for the Mixed tone. Angelina gave us some personal info about how she took an Advanced Negotiations class while studying for her MBA at Yale. We then saw her discussing the potential first offer with the tribe. In confessional, Mike compared Angelina to Tracy Flick, the overachieving high school student from the book/movie Election. “In a way she’s right, but she’s still aggravating every step of the way,” Mike said, which is essentially Mixed SPV.
Before the Immunity Challenge, Angelina made her offer to Probst, which the host described as “the most well laid out presentation of a lowball offer.” Angelina told him “You always start low.” The scene was fun and mostly played for laughs. Probst then made a counteroffer, for someone to give up their shot at Immunity in exchange for rice. Angelina volunteered to sit out and she explained her decision in confessional. “I wanted it to be me because it’s a big moment for my Survivor story and resume,” she explained. “It shows I’m a risky player that is willing to make big moves and big sacrifices to make things happen.” Angelina received PSPV from her tribemates who thanked her and told her “great negotiation” and “good job.”
Despite some of the fan reaction online, the negotiation was not presented as a failure in the edit. Angelina got the rice and received compliments from her tribemates. This continued when the tribe returned to camp and found the new bag of rice. Nobody trashed her negotiation in confessionals. And yet, despite Angelina’s success with the rice, her game did not go as well in Episode 11. “I’m leaving feeling like I won because I was able to close the deal with Jeff and we can take Alison out,” she said after the Immunity Challenge. While theoretically, they could take Alison out due to her not having Immunity, that isn’t what happened, and Angelina ended up on the wrong side of the vote yet again. She lost her new ally in Carl, the man she toasted “To the future” in the previous episode.
Where does Angelina go from here? I still feel like Angelina is in this for the long-haul. I expect her to still be around come finale night. She has one of the biggest edits of the season, and even when things don’t go her way, the edit always allows the time for her to set the record straight. Her theme is pretty much how Mike described her in this episode: “In a way she’s right, but she’s still aggravating every step of the way.” That’s her story. Angelina is smart, but people find her delivery offputting. Perhaps the remaining three episodes will be about whether she can overcome that or if it will end up being her downfall.
The double-episode was essentially the Rise and Fall of Carl. He’d fulfilled his main narrative function last week by playing the Idol Nullifier, and so now it was time for him to bow out, and he went out in grand fashion, beer-swigging and nacho-belching all the way to Ponderosa. It was a grand OTT send-off for a character who has been straddling the mid-tier for most of the season.
I rated Carl OTTN for both episodes. He wasn’t quite as extreme in Episode 10 as he was in 11, but I still think his overall content lacked complexity, and in a way, the first episode impacted the second. In Episode 10, Carl was living the high life. He’d pulled off a big move with his Nullifier and taken control for the Davids. He talked about burying the Goliaths and riding off into the sunset. He focused his target on Alec due to his challenge strength. But he wasn’t subtle about it. He revealed the plan to Kara, who questioned his move in confessional. “Carl is very confident,” she said. “When you’re overconfident in this game, I know for a fact as a Goliath it doesn’t always go in your favor.”
Carl’s decision to tell Kara became a major point of contention. He hadn’t informed Gabby about it and that caused tension between the former Davids. Gabby referred to Carl as a “controlling player” and the “Godfather” and questioned why he would reveal the plan to Kara. “It’s like, don’t tell Kara, who is an ally of Alec, that’s infuriating! Do you not know what game we’re playing?!” Carl called Gabby “too emotional” and “paranoid,” but this reflected badly on Carl because we had seen Kara informing Alec that he was the target and trying to help flip the vote. Christian also backed up Gabby’s read, referring to Carl as “increasingly problematic” and a “personal liability.”
If all that wasn’t OTTN enough for the beer-loving Truck Driver, there was an excessive focus on food and drink. He cried because he was hungry (this was in the same episode he called Gabby “too emotional”) and sat out of the Immunity Challenge so that he could scoff on nachos. The close-up shot of Carl burping during this scene sealed his OTT rating in my eyes.
In Episode 11, everything came crashing down. Carl was even more overconfident after getting rid of Alec, which he didn’t even get credit for, as Gabby & Christian were presented as the swing votes. He took his place in the hammock and called the shot on Alison, telling everyone there was no need to scramble. But again, he slipped up by telling Kara, in one of the most OTT scenes of the season. Carl knocked back several beers during his first reward trip and told Kara that the next vote was Alison. “It’s unbelievable you think I’m gonna be fine with yet another Goliath, another person on my alliance, to go home,” Kara said in confessional.
Kara continued to bury Carl with NSPV in her next confessional. “Carl’s error is his confidence that he can say whatever he wants and everyone’s just going to go along with it,” she said. “He’s getting drunk. Drunk off power in this game. Confidence is flowing out of his beer bottle.” That was Carl’s edit across these two episodes: “Drunk off power.” He believed he could pick the Goliaths off one at a time. But we’ve seen numerous times throughout this season that overconfidence is a death knell.
I could go through all the other NSPV for Carl this episode, but it feels somewhat redundant at this stage. In short: Gabby questioned how he treats people, Mike called him the “annoying don mafia,” and Christian made similar comments about being dictated to by someone “half-sloshed.” Carl was being hit with NSPV from every angle and remained completely oblivious, thinking that the vote was going to be simple and that he could use the likes of Angelina and Mike to do his bidding while leaving Gabby out in the cold. Then, at Tribal Council, he got Binged out of the game.
There is no doubt that Carl has to be OTT for the season, he will be remembered for three main things: Idol Nullifier, Bing! and beers. The debate was whether he should be N-toned or Mixed. I ultimately decided to go for Mixed because even though he had a ton of negativity in his final two episodes, I think the Idol Nullifier moment will be remembered in a positive light. Plus he had a couple of positive-tinged emotional scenes, like the one in Episode 3 after the Jessica boot where he cried about missing his family.
The double-episode was mostly great for Christian‘s edit. He had a huge showing in Episode 10 and some solid content in Episode 11. Throughout it all, he was presented as a strong social player who others rely on for moral support. And, for the first time in a while, we heard Christian talking about his individual game and what HE needs to do, rather than simply what’s best for his tribe/alliance.
Both episodes started with Goliath members approaching Christian for moral and strategic support. In Episode 10, Angelina pulled Christian aside to tell him about why the Goliaths voted for her. The conversation ended with a hug. This was mirrored in Episode 11 when a tearful Alison spoke to Christian about the Alec vote and how she wanted to work him going forward. Again, the conversation finished with a hug. Christian was also a shoulder to cry on for Gabby after her argument with Carl. In a season where social charm has been a dominant theme, this is a great look for the Robotics Scientist.
Christian had two significant scenes in Episode 10 that were steeped in positivity. The first was at the reward during the loved one’s letters scene. Christian was the only person to receive a confessional. “It adds motivation for me, to say, ‘Look, hey, I can win this,'” he said. He then talked about what he would need to do to make that happen. “It’s gonna be hard. It’s gonna require me to burn people. I’m gonna have to make hard decisions and make them confidently not tepidly. I wanna prove now, people shouldn’t underestimate me, that I’m a force in this game.” I mean, that was a VERY winner-y confessional.
The other massive moment for Christian in the first hour was, of course, his incredible Immunity Challenge win. This is what I mean when I say “excessive challenge focus.” Not only did Christian get PSPV for lasting such a long time in the challenge itself, but he got a ton of character content. We had the return of the time-lapse footage with Christian regaling Probst with his weird and wonderful stories. We had the tears and emotional back-and-forth with Alec about how he might never get an opportunity like this again. And after the challenge, he told us, “It had nothing to do with algorithms, I just wanted it more than Alec,” proving his earlier statement that he shouldn’t be underestimated and that he is a force in this game.
There would have been an argument for OTTP if not for all the game content Christian received pre-Tribal. Christian had a decision to make. Take out a big threat (Alec) or a personal liability (Carl)? He explained his thought process for both options. After the Carl vs. Gabby blow-up, Christian reminded us that Gabby is one of his closest allies and that Carl was becoming “increasingly problematic.” He recognized that Carl could become a “personal liability” for him at some point. On the flip side, removing Alec would “take another threat off the board.” And we’d seen how close Alec had come to winning Immunity.
The potential red flag for Christian is what he said in his conversation with Alec and his subsequent confessional. Christian worried that if Alec was gone it would make his road to the end tougher. “I’ve always believed, in order for me to survive, I have to keep threats around, or I’ll be only threat remaining,” he explained. Does this mean that getting rid of Alec was a mistake for Christian? We’ve heard Christian referred to as a threat on multiple occasions and even Christian himself has admitted to making a mistake at the marooning when he drew attention to his threat-level.
Despite his worries about becoming a threat, Christian remained a force in Episode 11. The move to take out Carl was credited to him and Gabby; in fact, both moves, the Alec vote and the Carl vote, had Christian & Gabby presented as the decision-makers. Gabby was given most of the credit and the complexity in Episode 11, but Christian still gave solid MOR content, telling us why Carl was a liability to the alliance and convincing Mike to jump on board. Interestingly, and perhaps a red flag, Christian didn’t talk about how the vote would impact his Mason-Dixon alliance with Nick.
The story for Christian going forward is, can he manage his threat level or has he hindered himself by becoming too big of a target? My read of the edit leads me to believe a woman is winning (most likely Gabby or Kara), but if a man was to win, Christian is the top contender. But I’m starting to see similarities between Christian’s edit and David Wright’s in Millennials vs. Gen-X. David started as a player who was underestimated but grew into a social and strategic force to the point where he became the biggest threat to win. David was clipped just before the end, and I could see a similar path for Christian, the “David” that became a Goliath and was eventually toppled.
There wasn’t a lot of Davie in either of this week’s episodes. The question is in working out whether that is editorial protection or editorial irrelevance. He certainly appeared to be shielded from the negativity of the Carl boot in Episode 11, but is that enough to excuse his poor content in Episode 10?
Davie felt very circumstantial in the first episode. It was all idol narration and even worse it was mostly narration for Nick’s benefit. Davie helped Nick search for the idol clue and then later in the episode acted as the lookout for the Public Defender as he went to retrieve the idol in the middle of the night. “Me and Nick want to have as many advantages as we can in this game,” he said, “mainly for me because I suck at these damn Immunity Challenges.” Davie didn’t find the idol for himself though – and he won Immunity in the second episode, undermining his own statement.
His visibility was low in Episode 11 too, but his scene was more memorable because it was full of personality and character. He talked about proving himself as an athlete after slam-dunking his team to victory at the Reward Challenge. He had a funny scene about how his friends back home are always taking away his “black card” because he isn’t good at sports. “I’ve never been able to do any of that, at least in my mind,” he said, linking back to his self-doubt confessional in Episode 10. “It was like ‘Come on man, you got this stuff in you dude’,” he said, realizing that he had underestimated his own abilities. It was like his own mini-David-to-Goliath story and OTT in nature.
But in terms of strategy and alliances, Davie was nowhere to be seen. I can understand his absence is the Carl-boot because Davie has generally being portrayed as a positive character and so the edit may have wanted to shield him from any negativity. But to not hear his thoughts on the Alec boot either? I don’t know. It doesn’t fill me with confidence. As I’ve said before, there are big gaps in Davie’s edit. I don’t feel like I know what he’s thinking in regards to his gameplan and allies. And that to me says that those things aren’t important to Davie’s story-arc, therefore it’s unlikely he is the winner. I think of Davie’s edit as being similar to the wacky neighbor in a sitcom – he pops in to bring a bit of excitement and goofiness when there is a lull in the episode.
I thought this was a really good set of episodes for Gabby. She had her own story that built across the two episodes. She hit upon her key themes. She shared her thoughts on the game and why certain moves would benefit her. Her actions were always justified by the edit and she ultimately got her way with the vote. The big question now is if her narrative has changed, and if so, has it changed for better or worse?
But first, let’s look at Gabby in Episode 10. Her first confessional came at the reward scene as she reflected on the past, took note of the present, and looked to the future. She talked about how previously the Goliaths had all the power and could “jerk the Davids around” as long as they wanted. But now the power had shifted to the Davids and forced the remaining Goliaths, such as Alec and Alison, to work with them. Gabby didn’t just look at this from the Davids’ perspective though, she talked about how it would benefit her individual game because it gave her “more options.”
Even though most of Gabby’s content was MOR in the first episode, this early confessional gave us a sign that she was ready to step up her game and start making some moves of her own. This was highlighted in the words she read out from her loved one’s letter: “A lot of people just think and talk, you actually do.” That was a major motif for Gabby across these two episodes. While we’ve seen the Goliaths “thinking” and “talking” these past few weeks, none of them ever followed through on the “doing” part. Gabby, however, lived up to her promise to form a cross-tribal alliance and make a move.
The P-tone in Episode 10 mostly comes from the Immunity Challenge. Gabby was one of the last three players remaining and there was an excessive focus on her fighting spirit and determination, even though she ultimately couldn’t hang on until the end, and lots of positive reinforcement from her watching tribemates. I didn’t think the scene back at camp with Carl effected her tone because, as I mentioned in Carl’s write-up, he was portrayed as negative and in the wrong. Gabby’s paranoia about Kara was justified by both the edit and Christian. She was correct in that Kara could potentially spill the plan to her close ally Alec – which is what happened.
Gabby’s big scene with Carl was set-up for the following episode. She recognized him as a controlling player; the “Godfather” calling all the shots. Gabby, along with Christian, was presented as the crucial swing vote in both episodes. She told Christian at the well that they have the power to choose which alliance they go with and that it was time for them to “pendulum swing” back and forth together. All of this was building towards the strike against Carl in Episode 11.
While the move against Carl had many different moving parts, the edit gave the majority of the credit to Gabby. In Episode 11, she was the first person we heard directly throw out his name as a target and explain why the move would be beneficial. She told Christian that if they kept going along with Carl, they wouldn’t get any credit at the end. She wanted to have agency in the game and take out the perceived shot-caller. As if that wasn’t enough, Gabby tied the move into her job and the season’s theme of “information is the advantage.”
“My job as a Technical Writer is to look at a whole bunch of information and synthesize it and figure out what is actually needed,” she said. “That’s what I’ve been doing with Carl. Gathering info. How he treats me. How he treats others. How he acts in the alliance. And I’m not just gonna sit on that info, I’m gonna act on it.” A fantastic CP confessional that delivered personal details, hit on the “information” theme and tied back to the statement in her loved one’s letter of not just talking and thinking, but doing.
And then we saw Gabby doing. She approached Alison and told her what she wanted to happen. “I want it to be a blindside on Carl… you, me and Christian have to lock it down, get Kara, get Mike, and then it’s like schzoop!” She outlined the plan, all while Carl was plotting his move against Alison and purposely leaving Gabby out of it. The others were underestimating Gabby, which has been one of her key themes from the start. And so when Gabby later found out she was being kept out of the loop, it not only proved her suspicions about Carl correct, but it justified her decision in making the move against him.
All of this is great for Gabby, but with her final confessional, I do wonder about where her story goes next. “If Carl goes home tonight, I’m gonna feel so vindicated that this whole time I’ve been seen as an emotional young woman, seen as hysterical, all these insults flung my way. I’m going to feel so proud that I broke free from those perceptions and showed that I’m not gonna be an underdog in this game anymore,” she said. That almost sounds like the kind of winner confessional you would get in the season finale… except it’s come three episodes too soon. What does that mean?
Gabby has been portrayed as the underestimated underdog all season, but this episode almost feels like a conclusion to that particular arc. She made the move against Carl and it worked, so by her own admission, she has shown that she is no longer the underdog. I’m very intrigued to see Gabby’s edit in the next episode and if it will change at all now that she is a top dog – and if so, how that will affect her winner chances, which right now look really good.
Kara also had a brilliant pair of episodes and finally received that elusive Tribal Council question! She wasn’t presented as a decision-maker like Gabby and Christian, but we still heard her thought process through most of the episode. And, in a season about information, Kara was seen gathering a lot of it across these two episodes, and ultimately used it to her advantage.
She wasn’t a big presence in Episode 10, not really appearing until the post-Reward scene. Weirdly, she was kept out of the post-Tribal drama with Angelina/Alec/Alison, despite voting for Angelina at the previous Tribal Council. Kara didn’t appear to get any blowback for that move, in fact, Angelina still seemed open to working with Kara, asking her if she would be willing to vote out Alec after Carl broached the subject. This is a testament to Kara’s social game and how she is able to use it to gain info. “We’re really talking this out loud in front of me? You know I’m closest to Alec at this point,” she said in confessional.
Her confessional, where she pointed out Carl’s overconfidence, and how as a Goliath she knows for a fact that that “doesn’t always go in your favor,” wasn’t particularly complex, though it did show self-awareness. Actually, just looking at the confessional on its own, I would say it’s UTR. But because Kara was the inciting incident that caused the Carl versus Gabby story, an UTR rating just didn’t sit right, especially compared to the other UTRs in the episode (Alison, Davie, Mike). She might not have had a significant role herself, but her name was involved in the plot, and therefore, MOR felt like an accurate representation of her edit.
As I said earlier, Kara wasn’t portrayed as a decision-maker, the vote was all in the hands of Gabby and Christian. In fact, Kara wanted Alec to stay, and we did get a couple of scenes of her encouraging him to save himself. However, in the end, she voted him out. Now, that would have been a red flag had she not been given a chance to explain herself in Episode 11’s Tribal Council. She described the Alec vote as a “sacrifice” to show the Davids that the Goliaths wanted to work with them, and she compared it to her job. “It’s like real estate, you say you wanna work with somebody, but nothing is official until you sign the contract,” she explained.
That Tribal Council answer was the final piece of what was an excellent episode for the former NFL cheerleader. Earlier in the hour, she had an incredible set of confessionals during the reward. “It’s a great time to reconnect with Carl and Davie who I came back from Vuku from,” she said, taking advantage of the situation. “So if we could get even closer, no matter what, it would take me even further in the game.” And Kara did get close, as Carl was “comfortable” enough with her to spil the Alison plan. “I’m just gonna pretend that we’re together going forward,” she explained. “And I’m glad I have Mike there with me because we can keep getting intel.”
Kara capped this reward scene off by reiterating what she said in Episode 10 – talking about Carl’s overconfidence and how that was his fatal error. “It really solidifies that I’m just a pawn in Carl’s grand scheme and I didn’t come here to play a pawn,” she said. While Davie and Mike got short confessionals during the reward, the entire sequence was about Kara and her game. She had a confessional at the beginning, middle, and end (and yes, I did take note of her “To the winners!” toast). And to sum up, she said: “It was great for my game because now I know where [Carl’s] head’s at.” Much like Gabby, Kara was gathering info and working out how to use it to the advantage of her own game.
All of the above was superb, however, after the reward, Kara kind of disappeared from the action. While Gabby took her info and formulated a plan of action, Kara sat on hers and waited for the game to come to her. We saw her in a couple of brief camp scenes with Alison and Mike where she talked about wanting to vote for Carl. But she almost became like the fifth wheel in the plan. Gabby and Christian were the pushers, Mike was presented as the swing, and Alison was the target that was praying it would all work out in her favor. We didn’t hear from Kara in confessional at all during the whole pre-Tribal sequence. We know she wanted Carl out, but we don’t yet know her thoughts on this new cross-tribal coalition.
If I had to highlight another potential red flag for Kara, it’s that the majority of her relationships lack depth. For example, last week, Kara was suddenly wanting to work with Alec and Alison to take out Dan. We had never seen Kara interact with Alison prior to that episode, and the last time she was shown with Alec she was throwing him under the bus on Vuku. It’s not a major problem, sometimes post-merge connections are a little bit tenuous, but it’s worth mentioning. Overall though, Kara continues to receive focus and protection not usually afforded to someone of her character archetype.
A mixed bag for Mike this week. Almost Invisible in the first episode and then a big, complex showing in the second. There isn’t really anything to say about the School of Rock writer for Episode 10. He had one short scene reading the letter from his dad and a small moment pre-Tribal where Alec tried to bring him on board the vote Carl plan. That was it.
Mike was much more visible in Episode 11 as he was presented as a crucial swing vote. He called himself a “free agent,” and much like Kara, he explained that he was using the reward to suck up to Carl and Davie. The thing is, other than bashing Angelina for her “Tracy Flick” style negotiation skills, he wasn’t really seen as anything more than the swing. Yes, he explained himself very well, but almost every scene and confessional was covering the same ground.
He was annoyed about Carl acting like the “Godfather,” making them “kiss the ring,” etc, but he was also okay with that because it meant Alison was next out and he was fine with getting rid of “Wonder Woman.” He told Christian he “could go left or right,” he told us in two separate confessionals that he was “in the middle,” and he said he was going to “make a decision on what serves [his] game the best.” Mike’s ultimate decision was mostly kept vague in order to create suspense, but he did say something in his final confessional which could be construed as a red flag.
“Alison’s the most competitive person out here, so it’d be easier for my game if Alison goes home,” he said. In comparison, his reason for targetting Carl was simply because he found him “annoying.” This isn’t the first time that Mike has gone against his better judgment. I pointed it out last week, but Mike has always made questionable moves that undermine his previous statements. And this one about Alison reminded me of what he said about Angelina back in Episode 6, how keeping her around could be dangerous because she is the type of person who would stab you in the back. Mike has survived a long time, longer than I honestly expected from his early edit, but I still see a history of editorial red flags that lead to an eventual downfall.
Nick also had a mixed bag of an edit this week. Lots of content in Episode 10 and then he all but vanished in the second hour. Perhaps for good reason. He never dipped as low as Mike though, even in his quiet episode, Nick still received one confessional, keeping his streak alive and joining Angelina and Christian as the only three to have at least one confessional in every single episode of the season.
The majority of Nick’s content in the first episode was tied to the idol, and so, you could view a lot of that as circumstantial. However, unlike Davie who mostly got idol narration, Nick not only narrated the scene, but he talked about his personal life, his gameplan, and even threw in a couple of winner-like quotes about the money. Nick reminded us that in real life he is an attorney, and then, in a Sarah Lacina-style statement, he talked about how it’s “fun to get out here and be a criminal.” But he also showed awareness, telling us he didn’t want to put his game in jeopardy by being mischievous, and so he took his time to think out his idol heist.
His confessional after he found the idol was his big CP moment of the episode. “I got power in numbers right now,” he said, “but eventually people are gonna recognize, ‘Hey, Nick’s taking out a lot of targets, he’s got a solid resume,’ so wearing this idol is amazing. I’m gonna be in the best position in this game for a long time.” He then hit on the season’s “advantage” theme. “I wanna take advantage of every second of this game, and play as hard as possible… That’s why I’m tryna win this game more than anything because when else do you have a chance at $1 mil?”
It looked like a great confessional on the surface, especially when you view Episode 10 in a vacuum. But there was a hint, or perhaps more than a hint, of arrogance in there. “I’m gonna be in the best position in this game for a long time,” he said, which obviously came back to bite him in Episode 11 when he ended up on the wrong side of the vote. This overconfidence continued at the start of Episode 11. “The Davids have swung the game completely in our favor, and we have all the power in the world now,” he said in his one and only confessional. He also told Carl that it’s “too easy.” This season has continually told us that overconfidence is a killer, and Nick walked right into that trap.
That said, after that opening post-Tribal scene, Nick pretty much went AWOL. He was present in a couple of group scenes when Carl was giving out his orders, and we did see him briefly check in with Mike to see if he was voting for Alison, but that was about it until his scrambled egg analogy at Tribal Council. He certainly wasn’t presented as the figurehead of the vote and we never saw him make bold statements about which way the vote was going to go. So in that way, Nick felt somewhat protected, even if he was shown to be a little overconfident earlier in the episode.
There is no doubt that Nick is a huge character and I expect him to make the finale. But ever since the second episode, I’ve seen him more as the “big gameplayer” rather than the “potential winner.” And I would need to see a major development in Nick’s edit in the upcoming episode for me to change my mind on that. He certainly needs to talk about the Mason-Dixon alliance and how he plans to move forward now that that relationship has seemingly broken down. I expect it will come back to the Nick/Christian/Gabby push-and-pull from early in the season and will hopefully tie up any loose threads left hanging over from those days.