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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Under the Radar
A really quiet episode for Mike this week. He was the only character who didn’t receive a confessional. He was, however, part of an alliance-building scene during the loved one’s reward, which could prove important, but we never heard his personal thoughts on this matter.
I will touch briefly on Mike’s loved one’s visit. As long-time Edgic readers will know, I don’t usually count the loved ones section towards tone or visibility because it is something that has to be shown. Every player gets a moment with their loved one, and they’re almost always emotional. There is no specific editorial manipulation going on. However, there are still little moments within these scenes that can include foreshadowing (Gabby’s “I’m almost done” springs to mind here). I found it interesting what Mike said about his actions “impacting a whole world of people” and then apologizing to his tribemates for anything he’s said or done. “I hope it doesn’t destroy my game,” he concluded.
What was all that about? Mike made it sound like he’d been playing this ruthless, unforgiving game. I guess it ties back to something he said at a recent Tribal Council about how he went from caring about the feelings of those he was voting out to wanting to see more “bloodshed.” Maybe this is about Mike playing the middle. That was what he kept telling us last week. And he told his boyfriend the same thing during the reward this episode. “I’m working the middle; everyone thinks I’m on their side,” he said. Is Mike eventually going to get caught out for playing both sides? Or is it something that will be held against him if he achieves his goal of “making it to the end?”
Mike also told his boyfriend that the four on the boat (himself, Angelina, Davie, and Nick) might make a Final 4 deal. Angelina and Nick shared a similar sentiment. Davie was the only dissenter. It would have been nice to hear a confessional from Mike here, just to get a better understanding of where his head was at, but the fact we got a Final 4 scene, a mention of the Jabeni 3 (Mike/Ang/Nick), and a later callback to the Rock Stars alliance, makes Mike at least feel somewhat relevant to the end-game. I don’t see Mike’s edit as a winner contender, he has been undermined too much (even in this episode he told Alison the vote for Christian was “gonna be easy”). But I could certainly see Mike accomplishing his “just wanna make it to the end” goal, however, that is probably the best he can hope for.
Alison had one rather generic confessional this episode and a couple of brief camp scenes. Much like last week, she didn’t have any real agency in the vote, she was merely part of someone else’s plan and she just had to hope it was the right plan. It has never felt like the narrative of this season has been told from Alison’s perspective.
There wasn’t much to report about Alison’s scene with her mom. It was standard loved one’s affair about how she’s living her family’s dream and pushing herself outside of her comfort zone. The rest of Alison’s content revolved around Gabby’s plan to take out Christian. Alison was the first person Gabby approached, and she was immediately on board, reiterating that “not a soul” could beat Christian at the end. But we never got a confessional from Alison during this scene nor the follow-up scene with Gabby and Kara.
Alison’s single confessional came after the Immunity Challenge and she told us she liked the way Gabby was thinking. She told us now is the time to take out Christian and that she is “cautiously optimistic” that the plan would succeed. However, unlike in the past, she wasn’t overconfident, she was aware that things could easily go wrong. “We’ve tried to get Christian out before,” she said, “what’s to say he doesn’t pull something out of his hat this third time as well.” Replace “hat” with “shoe” and Alison was spot-on with her apprehension.
I did find it interesting that Alison said she walked away from the last Tribal Council as “more of a threat” due to staring down Grim Reaper Probst and surviving. I’m unsure whether we’re supposed to see Alison as this big threat, especially as Angelina immediately undermined her by saying not everyone is an equal threat. However, we have heard the likes of Christian and Mike refer to Alison as a big threat in the past. So perhaps we are meant to look at her as a threat, and if that is the case, that could be the set-up to explain why she is eliminated before the end – as I do not see Alison’s edit pointing towards Final Tribal Council.
Side-Note: Yes, I noticed the close-up of Alison starting the fire at camp, and that could very well be foreshadowing her participation in the Final 4 fire-making challenge. But those kinds of things can also be misleading, so I don’t want to make too big of a deal out of it at this stage.
Kara‘s edit is in a really tricky place right now. I’ve been high on her chances for the majority of the season due to her consistent screentime, editorial protection and frequent chances to explain herself. But this week her edit took a hit, not just because she had a weak showing within the episode itself, but Gabby being voted out really hurts her too.
Much like Alison, Kara’s loved one’s scene didn’t stand out in any particular way, and her one confessional was similarly generic, though better placed than Alison’s. She couldn’t believe Gabby wanted to blindside Christian, but she was happy to jump on board. “I’ve been trying to get Christian out for a while, he’s a really good player, so I’m all for this plan,” she said. And then, that was kind of it for Kara, even after winning the Immunity Challenge, we didn’t get any follow-up confessional or pre-Tribal scenes. She didn’t even get a generic Tribal question about winning Immunity.
Could this be protection? Kara ended up blindsided due to Christian’s idol play, so maybe they didn’t want to show her going gung-ho for the plan? It’s possible, but a stretch. There are only so many times you can excuse lack of pre-Tribal content as protection. Plus, Kara had already told us she wanted Christian gone, so if it was true protection, we probably wouldn’t have even heard that.
What I find most worrying for Kara’s edit is Gabby getting eliminated. Even though I acknowledged that Gabby’s story could have concluded with the Carl vote, a part of me still expected her to reach the finale. I felt like the whole “social charm versus social awkwardness” theme related mostly to Kara and Gabby, and that if Kara were to win, it would most likely be against Gabby in a Michele v Aubry-style showdown. The fact that Kara and Gabby started working together last week made this trajectory seem even more likely. And now Gabby has gone, so where does that leave Kara?
I’m struggling to see where Kara’s story goes from here. The edit hasn’t presented any strong connections for her since Dan left and she doesn’t feel relevant to the main narratives. With just one episode before the season finale, that is concerning. And yet we can’t forget all her strong content from earlier in the season. The next episode is make or break for Kara. She needs something big that gives her agency within the narrative, otherwise, she could be going the way of Gabby.
Middle of the Road
This was a solidly decent episode for Angelina. She was part of the alliance-building scene at the family barbecue and was the only one to get a supporting confessional, outside of Davie who got a confessional disagreeing with the Final 4 plan. She was also featured in a camp scene discussing the vote with this same group of people.
Angelina’s loved one’s visit wasn’t anything too out of the ordinary, but it did contain one humorous moment when she told her mom about the rice she won for the tribe. “She’s got a lot of love,” her mom told the other castaways. “Now mom’s working the game,” Probst commented. This continues a recurring theme in Angelina’s edit of her pandering to her tribemates whether it be for jackets or idols or jury votes. She also told her mom that she has “gotta fight to win, just like you taught me,” and went on to win the Reward Challenge.
On the boat, Angelina said she was with the exact four people she wanted to be with in the end. “It worked out perfectly for me because the group of four that went is actually who I want to be in the final four,” she said. She told the same thing to Davie, Mike, and Nick, explaining that she wanted to go to the end with people she respected and would be happy to see win if it’s not herself. While this was forward-planning content, things never got quite in-depth enough from Angelina to warrant a CP.
As I’ve said numerous times over the preceding weeks, I would be very surprised if Angelina doesn’t make it to the finale episode. She has had such a big edit (confessionals in every episode) combined with an opportunity to explain herself even in moments of negativity. The fact that the Jabeni alliance was brought up again here is also a good sign for her longevity. Remember back in Episode 6, there was so much talk about how that Lyrsa vote would have a monumental impact on the game. It felt a little bit weird at the time, but now that this group is back in focus, perhaps we will understand that foreshadowing a little more. Also, it would be perfectly fitting for Angelina to end up at Final Tribal Council begging for jury votes.
This is Davie‘s first CP rating since way back in Episode 4. That’s a long drought. In that time, Davie has drifted in and out of relevance, often providing colorful moments of OTT. But we’ve never really known where Davie’s head was at in terms of his individual game. This was the first time in a long while where we got to hear Davie speak about what is best for him.
The scene with his mom was fun and hit on the “Davie Crockett” adventurer theme. We heard stories about how Davie was always an “explorer” as a kid, bringing various insects into the house to show his mother. During the boat barbecue, we heard him tell his mom that he caught an octopus. This was all great, consistent character content for Davie. He is the fun-loving Devilish Davie having the adventure of a lifetime. The difference is, in this episode, he also got to talk game.
When the former Jabenis were all toasting to a new Final 4 deal, Davie looked extremely cautious, and he explained why in confessional. “They’ve all spent much longer with each other than I have because they were all on the Jabeni tribe together,” he said. “So I’m starting to feel a little bit on the outside; I don’t think this alliance is the smartest move for me.” Davie gave us solid reasoning why he wasn’t comfortable with this alliance, and he continued to expand on his thoughts later in the episode.
Davie was present when Gabby approached them with the plan of voting out Christian, but while Nick was all for it, Davie again showed reluctance. He believed Nick was taking things personally and acting out of revenge. “Even though Christian blindsided me twice, I don’t take it personal, that’s part of the game,” Davie said, which solidifies the sentiments he has expressed after the John and Dan blindsides. We have heard him telling the tribe not to take things to heart and remember it’s just a game. Davie’s attitude was held in contrast to Nick, who took Christian’s betrayal as deeply personal.
“I’ve shielded myself so far by hiding behind people seen as a big threat, but who’s gonna be my shield if I get Christian out?” Davie asked. This was a great little confessional which helped explain Davie’s strategy of the season. We then saw him putting his words into action by approaching Christian and warning him about Gabby and Nick. Even though Christian showed reluctance to believe Davie in confessional, he did ultimately play the idol for himself. Davie voted for Christian to keep up the ruse but he got the result he desired.
In a vacuum, this episode looks really strong for Davie. But in the wider context of his whole season, it’s hard to see it changing anything too much. The Invisible rating in the merge episode is a real killer, and his lack of in-depth relationships makes it difficult to see how that would translate into a winning game. It feels like this CP-episode might have just been a circumstantial one-off to explain how Christian knew to play his idol.
Before I get into Gabby‘s write-up, I want to quote the final two paragraphs I wrote about Gabby in last week’s Edgic:
“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.”
Ignoring that last sentence, I feel like that was almost spot on! Gabby eliminating Carl was the conclusion to her story arc. She went from the underdog to the top dog, and so there was nowhere left for her to go. I also forgot to mention last week that there was a bunch of foreshadowing to Gabby & Christian turning on Carl. Remember the scene back on the David tribe when Gabby & Christian were discussing the logistics of Slamtown, and it kept cutting back to an annoyed looking Carl in the shelter? Or the moment when Gabby told Carl that the best strategy is to let the competition think you’re weak and pathetic so that they underestimate you? There was some great storytelling leading up to this blindside.
That said, even though I recognized the possibility that Gabby’s story could be coming to a close, I did still expect her to reach the finale, simply due to how much screentime she had received across the season, plus the protection and consistency to her themes and relationships. But I have a good feeling about why Gabby received such a significant edit, which I will get to in a moment. Firstly, let’s look at her content in this episode.
This episode was all about the new Gabby. She started by telling Nick not to underestimate anybody; showing a new sign of confidence. Gabby was no longer unsure of herself. She was now playing with “gumption,” as she said at Tribal Council. Her next big move was to take out her number one ally, Christian, and as always, she got to explain her reasoning in great detail. The loved one’s visit made her realize that Christian has been her comforter, the one that has always looked out for her. “I can’t let myself get lured into that sense of security of ‘oh Christian is looking out for me.’ I need to play for me,” she said.
Gabby was focused on the win and to achieve that she needed to destroy the perceptions people had of her in the game, just like how she explained last week’s Carl vote. “People have seen me as Christian’s sidekick, and I’ve been struggling to fight that perception,” she said. “I want respect in this game, so what better way than to slay my number one ally.” As with all of Gabby’s moves, the edit never portrayed this vote as personal, she related it to her strategic game. She had to take out her ally, who was not only the biggest threat to win, but the person getting all the credit for their moves.
While Gabby had newfound confidence, the move wasn’t presented as villainous. Compare it to Nick, who wanted to get rid of Christian out of revenge. “I’m nervous and excited and I’m sad because it means betraying someone I’ve been close with for so long,” Gabby explained. “But I need to remember that Christian doesn’t want me to win… so I have to do it if I wanna win this game.” For Gabby, it was time to “go big or go home,” and sadly for her, it was time to go home. There was some brilliant foreshadowing earlier in the episode when she told her mom: “I’m almost done.”
I considered giving tone to Gabby for this episode, but on rewatching, it didn’t really feel like there was anything specific. Nick called Gabby & Christian “dumb,” but given that Nick himself was N-tone, I don’t consider his words to affect Gabby or Christian’s tone. Nobody else spoke about Gabby in either positive or negative terms, and the vote against Christian was presented as a logical big move.
Overall though, I have given her a CPP rating for the season. Gabby had one of the biggest edits out of all the characters and one of the strongest 8th place edits in Survivor history. She was a complex character who wore her emotions on her sleeve but never let those emotions get in the way of her strategic gameplay. Unlike many of the players around her, when Gabby said she was going to do something, she did it, as her loved one’s letter said last week. We saw evidence of that at the Carl vote and again with this Christian vote. And this is one of the reasons I believe Gabby had such a significant edit. The producers love players who not only give a lot of themselves character-wise but who are willing to make big moves. Gabby provided that and was rewarded with an incredible edit for someone who finished in 8th place.
In the end, Gabby was a journey edit, rather than a winner edit. A player that came into the season unsure and insecure, often relying on others for emotional support, but who blossomed into a confident player who was willing to make hard decisions. I will leave you with what Gabby said at Tribal Council, as it pretty much spells out her entire story-arc for the season:
“When I came into this game, I needed a lot of reassurance, and that came from other people a lot of the times, and now I find reassurance in myself. That’s what my decisions going forward in this game with my votes are about. I’m going to do less ‘Do you think this is the right move? Can you give me reassurance?’ and now I’m saying, with confidence, ‘this is how I’m going forward.’ And if it gets me voted out, at least I did something with gumption.”
Another big week for Christian who remains the number one target on the Kalokalo beach. As I said last week, Christian’s current story is about managing his threat level, and right now he’s not doing a great job of it. The big question I have regarding Christian’s edit is, will he be the Ben Driebergen of the season who powers his way to the end despite being the biggest threat or the David Wright who is pipped at the post?
Christian was instantly under the spotlight in this episode for his move against Carl. Nick, in particular, was dumbfounded by Christian’s move and was out for revenge. As I said in Gabby’s write-up, I didn’t consider the NSPV from Nick to have a bearing on Christian’s tone because Nick himself was portrayed in a negative light, taking the game too personally. Christian tried to explain himself to Nick and told him they could take Alison out next. When Nick said Gabby had flipped to the Goliaths, Christian rubbished that suggestion, believing that Gabby was still with the Davids.
Of course, Christian was wrong about Gabby, and he remained unaware throughout the episode as his former number one ally plotted his downfall. It was similar to how Christian threw Gabby under the bus after the Jessica vote all the while Gabby had no idea what was going on. As always, Christian was touted as the biggest threat, someone who is too strong socially (represented here by the comforting scene with his girlfriend), and who would beat anybody at the Final Tribal Council. Christian wasn’t aware of any of this going on around him, and in fact, he didn’t receive a confessional until Davie informed him.
What followed was Christian coming to terms with the information he had learned and trying to formulate his best plan of action. He told us he was “flawed” and “stunned” that Gabby was trying to take him out and that he was “having a hard time believing it.” It’s difficult to know if this was meant to undermine Christian or if it was simply there to create tension over whether he would play his idol or not. I feel similarly about the scene with Nick. Christian told us he would prefer to save his idol and so his best course of action was to repair his relationship with his former Mason-Dixon partner. He thought that Nick still wanted to work with him and that he could “marshal enough votes for Alison.” But he was wrong. Nick told us he was just stringing Christian along, and Christian was the only person who voted for Alison at Tribal.
Is this a negative for Christian? Maybe. But it’s important to remember that the main crux of this episode was whether or not Christian would play his idol. The episode almost had to include these scenes of doubt to create tension. The standout line we should remember is what Christian said at the end of his last confessional. “I would rather not use my idol, but I’ll play it if I feel I have to, but hopefully I don’t have to, and so far, I’ve been right every time.” Ultimately, Christian was right, he read the room and correctly played his idol and saved himself. On top of that, he got a bunch of PSPV from the jury who called him “smart,” as well as from Gabby, who also heaped praise on him as he made the play.
With Gabby going home, and Kara’s edit taking a hit, it only improves the standing of Christian. This is undoubtedly Christian’s season, win or lose. He is edited as the star of the show, and ‘can Christian avoid the target?’ is the major story heading into the remaining two episodes. Perhaps the couple of blindspots mentioned in this episode suggest that Christian will eventually be snuffed, but it wouldn’t be any less surprising if he Ben’s his way to the Final Tribal Council.
Before I get into Nick’s write-up, again, I would like to quote something I said last week regarding Nick’s edit:
“[Nick] 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.”
Well, things most definitely came back to the Nick/Christian/Gabby dynamic, as those three were the central focus of the episode. In fact, I think one of the reasons we had three UTRs in this episode was because the edit wanted to give justice to this incredible story that had been building since the second episode of the season. Nick’s original aim was to get rid of Gabby so that he could have Christian all to himself. Christian eventually chose Gabby over his Mason-Dixon partner, blindsiding Nick with the Carl vote. Nick felt so burnt that he declared the Mason-Dixon alliance “dead” and sought revenge on Christian. However, with Christian’s idol play, Gabby became the collateral damage, due to a backup plan formulated by Nick, and so, in a weird way, he ultimately got Christian to himself. Brilliant.
But was this a good episode for Nick? I’m in two minds about it. The initial reaction is that he came off as hot-headed and angry. He was shown to be revenge-driven and taking the game too personally. Both Christian and Davie called him out for this in confessional. He was frustrated with Christian after returning from Tribal and made his grievances heard. “I regret saving Christian,” he said. “We burnt three advantages to get a David lead, and now he does this s**t… yeah I’m pretty mad.” He went on to say that “Mason-Dixon is dead” and that he wouldn’t hesitate to blindside Christian as soon as he got the chance. This wasn’t the best look for Nick.
That said, I never felt like Nick veered into OTT. Even though he did get some NSPV for taking things too personally, he did explain why he was frustrated and even admitted in a conversation with Christian that he didn’t know he’d be “such a sore loser.” So there was an element of self-awareness. But there is no doubt the edit portrayed him as a reactionary player. Even after the Immunity Challenge, Nick was still “pissed off” with Christian for betraying him. “At this point, Christian’s dead to me, and it’s time that he gets a taste of his own medicine,” he said, sounding like a Southern Abi-Maria.
Nick was also proven wrong. “Now I’m gonna manipulate [Christian], because if he’s convinced he’s got the Mason-Dixon back together, that’s just gonna make it that much easier to blindside him,” he said after the conversation with Christian on the beach. Initially, this looked bad for Christian, that he was buying what Nick was selling, but the idol play showed us that Christian ultimately didn’t believe Nick. Therefore, Nick’s manipulation didn’t work and it wasn’t easy to blindside the Robot Scientist.
That covers most of the negatives for Nick, now, onto the positives. Back in Episode 8, at Tribal Council, Nick talked about how Survivor is a game of “give and take,” it’s a theme which has cropped up a few times throughout the season. That came back in a big way at the loved one’s reward when Nick’s dad straight up said: “It ain’t about what you have or what you don’t have, it’s about what you give.” That sort of ties in with why Nick was so offended by Christian’s betrayal. In Nick’s eyes, he had given up his advantages to save Christian and got nothing in return. Nick also gave to Davie, bringing him on the reward because of a promise he’d made earlier in the game.
There is certainly a way you could reframe Nick’s edit as a player who has given a lot throughout the season. He wanted Lyrsa out at that first David Tribal Council, but in the end, he gave up Jessica, the person Christian and Gabby wanted out. He wanted Angelina out in Episode 6, but again, he gave up Lyrsa in order to move forward with Angelina and Mike, an alliance which may now be paying dividends. We’ve also seen him share advantages and give up information for his fellow alliance members. If the “give and take” theme is important, then that does put Nick in better standing than one might have originally thought.
Then, of course, we have the Final 4 deal. Nick told his dad that the crew on the boat (himself, Angelina, Davie, and Mike) could be the “final four.” He didn’t get a confessional following up on this, but he was part of the group scene toasting to this new alliance. What is interesting is that Davie, who wasn’t on board with the plan, brought up the Jabeni tribe. As I said earlier, back at that Episode 6 vote, there was a weird emphasis both at camp and at Tribal about how that vote was going to have a huge impact and shape the rest of the game. It felt weirdly hyperbolic, but all three are still in the game and have now just formed a final alliance, so perhaps it is important.
It’s also noteworthy that the Rock Stars alliance was mentioned again. I’ve criticized Nick’s edit recently for the inconsistency of his relationships, and the disintegration of the Rock Stars was one of his major flaws. The alliance just broke apart with no real explanation or focus. You could say that it suddenly popping back up speaks to that inconsistency, but given that I didn’t expect to hear about it again, it’s reappearance does seem to suggest at least some significance. Also, these final alliances that are made within the last few episodes do often bear fruit (Dom/Laurel/Wendell made it to FTC, Chrissy/Devon/Ryan made it to F4, Jeremy/Spencer/Tasha made it to FTC, Mike/Carolyn/Will made it to FTC, Gervase/Monica/Tyson made it to FTC, etc). It’s not an exact science, but there have been a lot of examples.
What I’m looking for from Nick now is how he’ll react upon returning to camp next week. Is his arc going to continue down this path of “butthurt betrayed victim that is hellbent on revenge”? Or will he reign that back in, put aside his differences with Christian and focus on the game? If it’s the former, then I don’t see that narrative translating into a win. If it’s the latter, then perhaps I’ve overlooked the “give and take” theme and how important it is to the season and specifically Nick’s story.