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
In all of my Edgic analysis, I never would have predicted that Christian would exit the game with an UTR2 edit. I said last week, win or lose, this season was about Christian. I still stand by that. He is the character that the majority of the audience was rooting for. And he’ll be the first person that comes to mind when people are asked about this season in a year from now. That said, much like Gabby, I fully expected Christian to reach the finale. So what happened?
I’ve talked a lot about editorial protection: a player that is hidden in the edit to shield them from potential negativity. Well, I believe this was editorial protection for the viewing audience. Christian was quietly shuffled off screen like a security team discreetly guiding a famous popstar out the back exit after a concert. It was like the edit was softening the impact of Christian’s elimination by downplaying his involvement in this episode. I imagine if he had been the focus of the episode, the outcry of the viewers would have been even bigger.
The Robotics Scientist only had two confessionals, and both came early in the episode and both related to Nick. His first was about surviving the last Tribal Council and how he is still a target of some people, in particular, Nick. His second was simply reacting to Davie wanting to take out Nick; something Christian was on board with because it would make sure another threat went ahead of him. That was pretty much it for content, at least directly from Christian. His name was mentioned by others, especially Mike, as being a huge threat.
That is ultimately what Christian’s story came down to. He was unable to manage his threat level. Ever since he gave his algorithm speech at the marooning, Christian has been battling the perception of a smart player who could win it all. He even acknowledged he made an error in managing his threat status. In the end, it caught up with him. And, in some nice retroactive foreshadowing, he did tell Gabby last week as she was leaving that he would “see her soon.”
I’ve rated Christian as CPP overall. He had the most P-tone of anyone this season. He was portrayed as a smart, funny, socially charming player that was able to get along with everybody. He was a shoulder to cry on, he was a fun-loving brochacho, and at times he was a challenge beast. Christian was edited as the star of the season and will undoubtedly be back on the island again at some point.
Middle of the Road
Alison teetered on the MOR/CP-lite line for me this week. She did talk briefly about her own game but it was short and not particularly elaborative. When compared to the more fleshed out thoughts of Davie, Mike, and Nick, it felt more appropriate to rate Alison as MOR for this episode.
Right from the very start of this season, Alison’s story has been about whether or not the timing is right to make a move. Remember back on the Goliath beach when the group was discussing whether it was better to take out Natalie or Mike? Alison said there was no need to make a decision just yet because it was so early. On Tiva, she talked about wanting to take out Dan, and when the right time to do that would be. At the merge, there were several weeks in a row where Alison considered flipping to the Davids and making a move, but she always stuck with the status quo. This is still happening for Alison as we head into the finale.
“All of sudden, I’m no longer pressed up against the wall, but perhaps making a move,” she said after Kara told her that Davie wanted to take out Nick. She was presented with an option to make a big move and acknowledged that. All she had to do was not tell Mike. And then what did she do? She spilled the beans to Mike. To her credit, she did get to explain why she decided to tell Mike. “I want to demonstrate with Mike that I’m genuine when I say I want to work as a pair, and I think by providing this info to him, I am proving that.” However, that ultimately meant that Alison went back on the Nick plan and ended up helping take out Christian.
The reason I think this is bad for Alison is because for the past three or four weeks we have heard her referred to as a big threat. The only other person talked about as more of a threat than her was Christian. Now she has lost that shield. And, much like Christian, Alison hasn’t been managing her threat level well at all. Not only has she been performing well in the challenges (Nick used that as a reason to target her this episode), but she has talked up her position as a threat at Tribal Council in front of the entire tribe.
Alison has had the quietest edit overall of the remaining six players, and to me, it doesn’t point to a seat at the Final Tribal Council. That means she will be heading to the jury within the next three votes and I think the story will be that she didn’t make her moves at the right time and therefore left herself vulnerable as a big threat to be taken out.
Kara, much like Alison, was someone who I went back and forth on this week in regards to whether she should be MOR or CP-lite. She did mention her own game, and she was a little more visible than Alison, but again, her statements didn’t really go into the same kind of detail as the other CPs (Davie, Mike, Nick). Kara is someone that tells us something is good for her game but rarely explains the details of why exactly that is.
A positive for Kara is that she is portrayed as a social player who people trust with information. We saw that again this week when Davie picked her for the Reward, referred to her as a “friend,” and shared with her the info about Nick having two idols. That has been part of Kara’s theme from the beginning, ever since Dan shared his idol find with her. In a season where we’ve been told “information is the real advantage,” Kara has succeeded to consistently get information from the other players.
The problem for Kara is that her edit lacks agency. Other than the episode where Dan was booted, it seems like she only pops up once she is brought into someone else’s plan. And she is often shown to be surprised with what is going on around her. She talked about being “shocked” and “surprised” when Carl told her to vote Alec and then Alison. Her “mind was blown” when Gabby suggested voting out Christian. And this time she was “shocked” when Davie told her about Nick having two idols. It doesn’t present her as someone with a strong read on the game dynamics.
“I’m like drooling at this idea. This sounds like a feasible plan that is absolutely gonna take my game to the next level,” she said when Davie brought her into the blindside Nick plan. That was the line that had me debating MOR or CP. But there was no explanation of why voting out Nick would take her game to the next level. What is her plan to get to the end? Who are her closest allies or dream Final Tribal opponents? None of this information has been shared with us viewers. And on top of that, Kara didn’t get her way. She told Mike she wanted Nick out, but in the end, she voted out Christian.
I don’t think it’s completely out of the realm of possibility for Kara to win this season. But I’m way less high on her chances than I was three or four weeks ago. She just hasn’t really had a story since Dan left the game. Yes, she still touches on the “charm” and “information” themes, but are those enough to constitute a winning edit? I feel like by now we should know more about Kara’s relationships with those left in the game, but we just don’t, and that is worrying. And as I said last week, Gabby going home really hurt Kara’s chances. Maybe she makes a big move in the finale that will make sense of her unusually protected and consistent edit, but as it stands, I’m struggling to see how this edit translates into a win after her recent content.
Over the Top
This was the edit that sealed Angelina‘s fate. All season long, Angelina has been presented as the antagonist. However, she always got a chance to explain her actions, and many times, she was right in what she said (she made correct calls again this episode), that allowed her to avoid the one-note OTTN edit and led to CPN/CPM ratings. That wasn’t the case here.
In the penultimate episode of the season, Angelina received her first OTTN. Where in the past Angelina has been able to subdue her OTTness with reflective confessionals, here she was presented as vengeful and emotional. She was “truly angry” that Davie didn’t choose her to go on the Reward and made that clear several times back at camp and in confessional. She was “fuming” and “legitimately pissed” and took out her anger by boiling the biggest pot of “revenge rice.” There was some humor to this scene too, but it was still OTT, especially because the edit kept showing her harping on the “I got everyone rice” thing.
Despite this OTT negativity, Angelina was still shown to be right. When she said that Davie chose Kara because he was “playing the field” and “keeping all his options open,” we knew that to be true. Davie told us last week that he wasn’t on board with the Angelina/Mike/Nick (plus himself) final four plan, and he specifically chose Kara to plot his move against Nick. So when Angelina said, “It could be a million dollar mistake,” we have to wonder if that will also hold true. After all, Davie ended up on the wrong side of the vote in this episode. On top of that, Angelina was also right when she told Nick that he didn’t need to play his idol.
I’ve felt like Angelina was making the finale since very early on in the season. She had such a significant edit, lots of consistency, and a complexity that suggested longevity over early boot fodder. While a win was always unlikely, there was certainly a chance, especially with this season’s more unusual editing, that she could have pulled off a miracle. But for that to happen, she needed some softening to her edit this week. The fact that she received an OTTN all-but ends those hopes. It feels like all this focus on begging (whether it be for jackets, jury votes, rice or rewards) is leading to Angelina begging the jury at the end.
This was a big episode for Davie, his biggest since the Natalia boot back in Episode 4. He had a ton of screentime, multiple confessionals, and he explained all his moves and why he was making them. It was almost as if Christian handed over his edit to Davie to carry on into the final episode of the season.
Davie was shown to be very perceptive throughout this episode. While everyone else fell for Nick’s fake idol plot, Davie was the one person to show hesitation. “I was born at night, but I wasn’t born last night,” he told us. Davie correctly called that Nick could have pulled a stunt with the idol to stop people from looking, but that it wasn’t going to stop him. “You never know what god has out here for you,” he said. There has a been a background theme of Davie calling on signs from god this season and it really came to a head in this episode.
While Davie didn’t initially find the idol, he was still being proactive, approaching Christian to formulate a plan against Nick. He reasoned that if Nick DID have two idols then he could “go all the way and beat us all,” and so it was time to take out his “best frenemy.” Davie put this plan into motion at the reward, purposefully choosing his “friend” Kara to join him so that he could give her the information. He told her that he only wanted the vote to be them plus Alison & Christian and that Angelina and Mike couldn’t know about it. Davie was right to want the plan contained because when Alison spilled it to Mike later in the episode, it all went to hell.
A big reason for Davie’s high visibility was his idol find. Despite not finding anything earlier, Davie did not give up on his search, he still had “hope” that something was out there. And it was. He found a clue to a game of chance. Most of this content was idol narration, but we did get a time-lapsed montage of Davie discussing his options, and once again he asked god for a sign. He told us that he had a plan to take out Nick and that he couldn’t risk losing his vote and messing that up.
Things did get messed up, however, after Nick came clean to Davie about the fake idol stunt. “Now he’s told me the truth, I don’t want him out the game anymore,” Davie explained. Now the target was back on Alison, and Davie told us he would be playing his idol, which was only good for the next Tribal, and “hoping” that everyone except for Alison was voting Alison. At Tribal Council, Davie did indeed play his idol, and negated two votes against himself, but he didn’t get his desired result. Instead of Alison going to the jury, he lost his closest ally Christian, leaving himself in a vulnerable position.
Even though Davie had a really solid episode, once again, a lot of it felt circumstantial. Davie only has these big edits when he is directly involved in Tribal Council drama or a big move. He played a significant role in the Natalia boot way back when, and he had a big edit to match. He had high-vis when he played his idol for Christian at the John vote. A solid CP edit last week when he warned Christian to play his idol. And now a huge episode when he found and played an idol and tried to make a move on Nick which ended up backfiring. When Davie isn’t directly involved in the game, he either disappears into UTR (or INV in the merge episode) or low-vis OTT character content.
It feels to me like Davie is now set up to be the rootable underdog heading into the finale, taking the place of Christian in the casual audience’s rooting interests. But much like Christian, I’m not sure if Davie will be able to escape the target at this stage. He has told us in the past that he’s tried to play under the radar and hide behind bigger threats like Christian, now not only has he lost his shield, but he played another idol and was caught trying to turn against Nick, making him a huge target. Davie splitting from that final four deal could be his undoing, proving the words Angelina said at the challenge true: “Once they separate, you’re screwed.”
This might have been Mike‘s best episode of the season. He was fairly quiet in the first half, but post-Immunity Challenge he was a central focus, with the decision of the vote coming from his perspective. He wasn’t undermined like in previous episodes, at least not to the usual extent, and he gave solid reasoning for his decisions.
Mike bounced into action this episode after Alison told him about Davie’s plan to blindside Nick. The School of Rock writer said he recognized Nick as a “big threat to win,” but he was torn because of the bond he had developed with Nick since they met on Jabeni. He said he wanted to “surprise himself” with what he would do at the next vote. He then won Immunity and that gave him the confidence to “swing from the hip” and “do what will serve his game the best.” For Mike, that was getting rid of Christian: “This is what you come to Survivor for, is to like have an impact on the game, and I’m thinking Christian is still the biggest to win, so I gotta get the votes to get Christian home tonight.”
Back at camp, Mike made the rounds to plead his case for getting rid of Christian. Alison and Kara both told him they’d rather take out Nick. He then approached Nick, saying that Alison, the alternative target, was “easily beatable” at the end, whereas Christian would win. Nick told him he would “think about it.” At this point, Mike was shown to be unsuccessful in marshaling the votes, and he recognized that. “I have an immunity necklace and I have a lot of people that listen to me, but no one is budging,” he said. “It shouldn’t be that difficult.”
It could be a slight on Mike’s edit that he was shown failing at rounding up the votes, but in the end, he did ultimately get his way. “I feel like I just gotta lay out all the cards because that’s the only way I’m gonna be able to get Christian out the game,” he explained. Mike ended up telling Nick about Davie’s (now abandoned) plan to blindside him. Initially, it seemed like this made Nick want Davie out more than anyone. While Kara told Mike that there were too many votes going to Alison and she didn’t think it was possible to save her. The talk of Christian was downplayed. But I feel this was mostly to create tension for the vote. We did see one brief scene of Mike telling Angelina that she, Kara and Nick should vote Christian, which is what ended up happening.
For me, Mike has had one of the more difficult edits to read this season. I initially thought his early blunders were going to lead to an early boot. Then when he made the merge, I reevaluated somewhat, but he was undermined so much that I still felt like his boot could be on the horizon. It wasn’t until he gave that “I just want to make it to the end” speech that I realized he is probably finale bound and very likely heading to Final Tribal Council. This episode further cemented that Mike is most likely making Final Tribal Council. He is never mentioned as a target, and yet, much like Kara, people always bring him information. The difference between Mike and Kara though, looking back, is that Mike has had a much more consistent presence and far more complexity.
This was a real mixed bag of an episode for Nick. There were parts that felt really strong and others which made him look foolish (mostly everything that happened at Tribal Council). The trick is in working out what was intentionally manipulated and what had to be shown simply because that is what happened and there was no avoiding it.
I said last week that if Nick continued on his revenge kick against Christian then it would be an edit killer. That didn’t happen. Nick and Christian shared a laugh back at camp following Tribal and Nick said he appreciated how well Christian took the vote. While he was “bummed” he didn’t get Christian out, he didn’t deliver an angry tirade like last week, instead, he looked at the positives. He realized an idol would be placed back in the game and it was his mission to find it. This kickstarted his whole fake idol scheme which played a big role in the episode.
The fake idol stunt gave me mixed feelings. Firstly, Nick’s explanation of his plan was very CP. He told us what he was doing and the intention behind it. He wanted to plant a fake so that the others would stop looking. And when he “found” the idol under the raft, it did appear to fool Angelina, Mike, and Christian. Even if the plan itself was odd, it was shown to be successful on those particular people. But Nick also showed signs of overconfidence. “Can’t believe they fell for that,” he said. “It’s too easy”… “No one is gonna be looking except me.” The problem was, it didn’t fool Davie, who was also looking and who actually found the real idol.
It felt like the edit undermined Nick, and that was a bad look, but given what happened at Tribal Council, was it unavoidable? Nick played the fake idol at Tribal to try and get a read on his tribemates. That was always going to be shown regardless, and therefore, we had to see the previous scene introducing the fake idol for it to make sense in the narrative. But did they have to portray him as so overconfident? That is the question. Nick also told us that he wanted Alison out because she is a “huge physical threat” and that he was “worried and nervous” about the Goliaths outnumbering the Davids. And yet, in the end, he voted out Christian, a fellow David.
The biggest blunder, of course, was the botched idol play. After using the fake idol to get a read, Nick took out his real idol and handed it to Probst, despite Angelina telling him he didn’t need to play it. Angelina was correct, Nick didn’t need to use the idol. “I wasted it,” he said. In another nice double-meaning callback, at the reward, Nick said “I overdid it,” and that is certainly what he did at Tribal. Again, a scene like this is hard to judge because it was such a huge part of Tribal that it was always going to make the edit regardless of where Nick ends up. So while the initial reaction might be to hold it against Nick’s winner chances, you have to be able to step back and consider how the edit could have worked around that moment.
In terms of positives, I did like the scene with Davie in the shelter when Nick came clean about the fake idol. It comes back to this “give/take” theme which I talked about last week. A consistent motif in Nick’s edit, and the season’s overall edit, which I hadn’t given as much focus to as I perhaps should have. Nick gave Davie some information, and in return, Davie stopped targetting him. The only reason Davie wanted Nick out was because he thought he was withholding information and lying to him, once Nick told him the truth, he was back on board with his fellow David.
I think in a different final six, this would have been a pretty bad episode for Nick. But it’s not as if any of the other edits stand out above his, and with Gabby and now Christian out of the picture, Nick looks like the best candidate to win, especially with Kara’s dwindling edit and Angelina’s burial in this episode. Mike had a really strong episode, but I’m not sure it’s enough to counter the season-long undermining. And if Davie had had more consistency from that start, I’d be more willing to see him as a true contender.
Nick’s edit has a lot of flaws – and all the hallmarks of a losing finalist – but all the other finalist’s edits have flaws too. In the premiere, at the marooning, he told us that David not only beats Goliath in the end, but he also becomes King. In the second episode, after realizing he was extremely close to going home, he told us he was going to “win or die trying.” I’ve often felt throughout this season that “die trying” was his final destination, but at this point, with the other two big contenders (Gabby and Christian) out of the way, perhaps I was wrong and the conclusion to his narrative is to “win” and become “King.”
That’s it for the penultimate Edgic of the season! Thanks for reading.