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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What Does This Episode Tell Us?
Before I get into the individual character write-ups, I wanted to share something I posted on the Unspoiled Edgic forum a couple of days ago relating to this season. After four episodes, I think I’ve worked out David vs. Goliath’s main theme and how it could potentially tie into the overarching story and winner’s edit. It’s something I briefly touched on in the premiere write-up but has since grown into a much more significant theme.
The post was made in response to a conversation about Kara’s edit, but it could apply to a few different characters:
“During the marooning, when Probst talks about how Survivor is a game of “social politics that often revolves around the underdog versus the favourite,” he says that one of the forms of that story is “the socially awkward versus the naturally charming.”
When he says “socially awkward” the camera closes in on Gabby. When he says “naturally charming” the camera closes in on Kara.
As we know, that wasn’t the last we heard of this theme of “social awkwardness,” which ties directly into the season’s nerd theme. It’s been primarily a part of Gabby’s story – as we saw this week in how she talked about being awkward around the Goliaths, not fitting in, having self-doubts, etc. But we’ve also seen Christian talk about this, we’ve heard Davie talking about not fitting in certain groups (around white people), and even John, in this episode, said he has social awkwardness “big time.” Then there is Natalie, who doesn’t see herself as socially awkward but has been told by others that she very much is.
So lots of carry-through on the social awkwardness theme. But the marooning wasn’t the last time we heard about being “charming” either. That word has come up in every episode so far, and it came up again in the first confessional of the very person the camera landed on when Probst first said it on the boat… Kara.
“[Dan]’s hilarious, and in my life, I was an NFL cheerleader. I’m a real estate agent now. So it’s a part of me to be charming, and it’s clear that he’s drawn to me, which of course makes it impossible for me to not be drawn to him too.”
In the second episode, we heard that word “charming” again, this time from Alec, and who was he talking about? That’s right. Kara.
“In my mind, Kara’s playing Dan. She’s been charming him ever since she got on this damn island. I think he’s blinded by Kara’s good looks.”
In the third episode, the word “charming” was used by Angelina in relation to Jeremy, she used it as a reason he should go home. His ability to charm others was seen as a threat.
And, of course, in episode four, the damn episode was titled “Time To Bring About The Charmpocalpyse.” It was used by Christian when talking about how he had to work his way into the new tribe. He had to go on the “charm offensive.” And his charm was shown to be working. Gabby said that Christian is “so much better at being charming and likable” than she is.
So what do we know? We know that Kara is charming. We know that Gabby struggles with being charming due to her social awkwardness. Could these two end up at Final Tribal Council and Kara beats Gabby because she’s able to charm the jury? That might be a stretch. But if Kara is a winning edit, then I think this socially awkward versus naturally charming thing is the big tell.”
I want to expand on that a little more. As I said above, that post was made in regards to Kara’s edit, but as other users on Unspoiled pointed out, there are other characters that the “socially awkward versus naturally charming” theme could apply to and other ways this story could play out. And I agree.
There are seven characters that stand-out in regards to this particular theme: Gabby, Kara, Christian, John, Davie, Natalie and to a lesser degree Elizabeth. Gabby is socially awkward and doubts her ability to charm. Kara is charming and knows it and so do others. Christian, John and Davie have been shown to balance their charm and social awkwardness. Natalie is socially awkward but oblivious and doesn’t care about charming others. Elizabeth’s edit hasn’t directly used these terms but she has been presented as somewhat of an underdog outsider but with lots of social charm.
The story could shoot off in lots of different directions but given the consistency of the “socially awkward versus naturally charming” theme so far, I feel confident that this is one of, if not the most important narrative of the season. And I believe those seven characters are significant. It wouldn’t surprise me if the winner came from this group… except for Natalie, obviously, that would be one of the biggest Edgic shocks of all time.
So when you’re watching the season, I want you to keep an eye out for this theme and the characters most directly linked to it.
Also, while we’re here, I thought it worth mentioning that so far, of the five eliminated castaways (Pat, Jessica, Jeremy, Bi, and Natalia), only Pat had an intro in the premiere. The other four did not receive a confessional or a Probst questioning during the opening segment. That keeps us on track for the majority of those intro-getters reaching the merge, as suspected.
For reference, the other characters not to receive an intro in the premiere are Alec, Carl, Daniel, Davie, Kara, and Mike. And it’s worth reiterating that while Lyrsa did get a Probst question, it came only after she was picked for the challenge, so could have been circumstantial.
Alison‘s edit is on life-support at this point. In a season where, for the most part, the edit has been fairly balanced and almost everyone has had a decent chunk of air-time/personal content, Alison is drifting away on her own cloud of invisibility.
A swap episode is often quite telling in regards to which characters receive content and who gets to comment on the new tribe dynamics. Alison got nothing, other than one brief moment before the Immunity Challenge where she looked across at Angelina and made eye contact. I considered for a while whether this was enough for an UTR1 but ultimately didn’t think it was enough. For a non-Edgic viewer, the moment would have completely passed them by.
However, for us Edgic readers who do look into every detail, I do find that Alison/Angelina moment interesting. Those two have been subtly connected from the start. They had the chat about women not finding enough idols in the premiere. Alison was the first person we saw Angelina talking to about the vote last week. And now this tiny little acknowledgment across tribal lines. So while the edit has made it clear that this season isn’t about Alison, and she is not significant to the overall narrative, I do think she still has a possible part to play in Angelina’s story.
Under the Radar
Lyrsa has Probst to thank this week for her UTR1 rating. If it wasn’t for the way he said her name at the tribe swap, she would be INV for sure. I don’t usually count Probst name-checking a person at a tribe swap as visibility (because everyone gets it), but the way he did the “Lyrsa… hands on her hips” gesture and how Lyrsa responded with her own little hand movement turned it into a small character moment, rather than a simple check-in.
Other than that though, Lyrsa got nothing. And this is coming off the back of an INV rating last week. It’s not a good omen. She’s also on the tribe with one of the Davids (Nick) that previously wanted her out. So that could be a story thread that is picked back up should the Purple tribe head to Tribal Council anytime soon. There is just no substance to Lyrsa’s edit, no forward momentum and no real idea of what her game is about.
As suspected after last week, Bi left the game due to her knee injury. I feel like I really nailed Bi’s edit this season. Ever since that Episode 2 “pep-talk,” I felt this sense of irony to her edit. There was an element of delusion and hypocrisy to that pep-talk at the time given that Bi herself played a large part in the tribe’s challenge loss – and was voting Lyrsa based on challenge strength. Then, after her injury last week, she didn’t get the positive, soaring music, she got a sort of comical, dodo style music.
All of that culminated in this moment where Bi quit the game. And Probst made it clear that this was a quit. All her talk of strength and “don’t give up” and “we can do anything” was ironic foreshadowing to this moment. I still gave her light positive tone though because of how her tribemates reacted, both on the David tribe and the Goliath tribe. But even then, it felt underplayed. It certainly wasn’t the OTTP-style exit that Pat received. Taking Bi’s overall ratings into account, I’ve balanced things out at a MOR for her season rating. Her edit was a mixture of contradictions and heart.
Angelina had a decent swap episode. She didn’t have a lot of content, and what she did get was mostly narrational and about other players, but the fact we got to hear from her in a swap episode where her tribe didn’t attend Tribal is a positive.
When Bi quit, it was Angelina who Probst turned to first to get a reaction. She talked about how people work so hard to get here, to live their dream, and that it must be one of the hardest decisions to make to leave the game. It wasn’t anything complex but it showed emotion and it told us Angelina is a character whose thoughts the edit values. The next time we saw Angelina she was getting bossed around by Natalie. In confessional, Angelina told us that Natalie was doing what she does best, sitting on her throne and telling the peasants what to do. Again, it was mostly narrational, but it was nice to get the check-in.
It’s worth pointing out too that Angelina got credit for the Jeremy boot in the Previously On segment. If you remember, Angelina pushed for Jeremy over Natalie because she said that Natalie is an easy next one out and would be less of a problem at a swap. It’s interesting then that Angelina ended up on a swapped tribe with Natalie and that her edit this week revolved mostly around Natalie. For a brief moment, I wondered if Angelina could be a pre-merge victim due to underestimating Natalie. I think it’s possible, even though I previously saw longevity in both Angelina and Natalie’s edits, but maybe it wasn’t longevity, maybe it was just that their stories are intertwined in a strong pre-merge story.
However, my gut still says that Angelina will be around a while. There are too many loose threads that need to be picked back up. Her connection to John, plus Kara and Dan and that whole alliance (which may now be dead with Natalia’s vote out), and the subtle Alison alliance.
Another UTR2 rating for Daniel. His edit has slowed down significantly after those first two episodes. And I think it’s because there is little change in his narrative. His key story points are Kara and the idol. And we continue to be reminded of those things in every episode.
At the tribe swap, Dan received a confessional and it was all about how disappointed he was not to be with Kara. We didn’t hear anything from Kara about her thoughts on being split from Dan. At the Purple tribe, Mike informed Nick about Dan having the idol. In a season that has told us “information is the advantage,” and in an episode that introduced the Idol Nullifier, I’m starting to see the potential foreshadowing of Dan’s fate in this game. Why constantly show us people finding out about Dan’s idol? Could it be that he has the Nullifier played on him when he eventually goes to use it?
Dan had another confessional in this episode and it was about Christian. He talked about how Christian wants to help and is willing to put aside his ego and listen to others. This felt more like it was part of Christian and subsequently Gabby’s story than it did Dan’s. Also, the entire episode had a communication theme and this just felt like an added commentary to hit home that recurring motif. While we saw Dan helping Christian chop the bamboo, we didn’t learn anything specifically about Dan and where he sees his game going.
Middle of the Road
It’s been no secret that I’ve struggled to place Carl‘s edit this past couple of weeks. He’s kind of drifted in and out of significance. But after this episode, I think I have a better bearing on Carl’s edit and what his role in this story is, and it’s mostly to do with the Idol Nullifier.
Carl had the ultimate circumstantial edit this week. He got sent to Exile and he found a brand new advantage never seen before in Survivor US. There was no way he wasn’t getting airtime. And yet, for the discovery of a new advantage, by a player previously on the outs no less, the moment felt distinctly toneless. Yes, he shed a couple of tears and talked about using the Nullifier the same way David used the slingshot to take down Goliath, but the majority of Carl’s content was straight narration. I didn’t feel there was intentional P-tone here, especially when compared to past idol/advantage discoveries. Even Davie’s idol find felt bigger than this.
However, Carl finding the Nullifier begins to explain his edit so far. Having an advantage, especially a new one, and one that could have a major impact on the game, all but guarantees airtime for the holder. But it doesn’t necessarily result in the most nuanced edit. That person just needs to be relevant enough that a casual viewer would remember their existence. And that can be achieved by a mostly MOR edit with a couple of CP spikes along the way (think Jessica Lewis, who had the first Legacy Advantage, in MvGX). That person will also most likely have a slight positive-leaning edit (even if it’s not overt), especially if they use the advantage successfully.
This is why I think Carl’s edit has been up and down so far this season. I think having the Nullifier gives him a purpose in the game, even if he doesn’t have a larger role in the narrative itself. And therefore, the edit plays hot and cold with him. It will be interesting to see if he uses the Nullifier as a slingshot to take out a Goliath as he said. If he does, the likely victim right now is Dan, who we have been consistently reminded has an idol which almost everyone knows about.
John‘s edit was exactly what I expected it to be this week and that’s a good thing. He had a nicely timed cool-down after his big CP edit last week, but he didn’t totally disappear. He followed through on connecting with Christian which the edit foreshadowed last week. And he ticked off the “socially awkward/nerd” theme box when he opened up about his insecurities and self-doubts.
As soon as the tribe’s swapped, we saw Christian and John talking about Slamtown. That bond continued to develop back at camp with Christian asking John all about the logistics of Slamtown and its citizens. In confessional, John described Christian as a “quirky guy” and revealed that he is the same. Despite his confident public persona, John explained that he can sometimes feel awkward in smaller groups and has self-doubts and insecurities. “A little bit of social awkwardness – for sure I’ve got that,” he said, “big time.” It’s a really good look that last week John was shown to have tons of social charm and this week he revealed his inner self-doubts and awkwardness. It puts him in the nerd camp and the charm camp.
That was all we got from John in Episode 4, but it was all we needed. He is still on track to be a long-term, important character to the season and certainly in the winner contender bracket. Again, all that personal content about how the real John is different from Mayor of Slamtown John could be pointing towards a journey edit, but he has lots of game connections too.
Kara had an intriguing edit this week which could lead one of two ways in the episodes to come. It’s hard to call right now because we really need to see next week’s episode to tell whether Kara is about to take off on her own story or be buried for being blindsided in this episode.
The former NFL cheerleader got a ton of personal content in Episode 4. After landing on her new tribe, Kara was asked about her cheering career by Davie, which suggests Kara has made some sort of impact on the David tribe despite never having officially met them. Kara then bonded with Elizabeth about their Christian faith and love of horse riding. A lot of this was to highlight Natalia’s paranoia, but it was still a nice insight into Kara’s life outside the game and an example of her charm working on other players.
In terms of strategy, Kara’s mindset was to stay loyal to the Goliaths. She didn’t elaborate on her game in a deeper way or talk about her plans going forward. It was simply, Goliath strong. She told us she was concerned about Natalia’s paranoia, but explained to us and Alec that flipping would be pointless and the plan was to figure out who should go first out of Davie and Elizabeth. “Screwing this up would be dumb,” she said. She reiterated this in her post-Challenge confessional when she said: “Tonight’s Tribal Council is really just pick Davie or Elizabeth.”
The question is, does Kara look bad for being blindsided at the vote? Does that reflect poorly on her edit? As I said earlier, the answer to that can’t truly be revealed until next week. Here’s the thing, Kara kind of disappeared after the Challenge. She didn’t get a confessional during the pre-Tribal scrambling. It was all about Davie and Elizabeth fighting for their lives, Natalia being paranoid and annoying people, and Alec trying to figure out whether he should stick with the Goliaths or make a big move. You could read that as the edit protecting Kara or that she was irrelevant to the story.
Alec’s move has given the Davids a majority, and so, on paper, it looks like a bad move. Kara argued that flipping would be stupid and so she stuck to her guns. Therefore, if Alec’s decision comes back to bite him next week, then Kara’s edit here is fine. If the move is presented as a smart choice and Alec has stronger connections to the Davids than we knew about, then it makes Kara look unaware and out of the loop. However, based on the edit so far, that seems less likely.
The important thing will be whether this kickstarts a new story for Kara because, despite her positives (look at how she didn’t get blamed for the Challenge loss) and the “charm” theme, her main story is still tied to Dan (he mentioned her again in his swap confessional). To see Kara as a top contender I would need to see more of an individual story outside of the Dan showmance and the loose connection to the women’s alliance, which is now effectively dead. Next week is going to be a big episode for Kara in determining her role in the season.
Over The Top
Natalia is another character whose edit I think I had pretty spot on from the start. There was always this air of arrogance, bossiness, and negativity (though not through SPV) to her edit. Even back in the premiere with her complaints about Natalie being bossy – the edit undercut her statements by using footage of Natalia herself giving out orders. That all culminated in this episode with an OTTN exit.
Almost immediately after the tribes swapped the edit presented Natalia as being overly paranoid. She worried about Kara getting too close to Elizabeth to the point where it started to rub Kara and Alec the wrong way. Natalia became adamant on voting Elizabeth out and needed constant reassurance from Alec and Kara. Alec said that Natalia always has to have it her way and that his opinion isn’t heard.
Natalia was later shown in the shelter telling Davie that if he didn’t vote with them then he had “no future” in the game. She also told the group to “shut up” and “go back to sleep.” Alec described Natalia’s actions as “bullying” Davie into voting. In confessional, he said his former Goliath tribemate was “bossy” and “barking orders” and it was starting to “piss him off.” Sound familiar? All terms previously used to describe Natalie and most of them by Natalia. The editors really love their ironic foreshadowing this season.
It was always bad news for Natalia when she said “the girls” were in control back in Episode 2. And extra bad that despite being linked with Alec, we never saw a great deal of evidence that those two were tight, and never heard Alec’s thoughts on Natalia until this episode. The OTTN rating mostly comes from how Natalia exited the game. Her negative reaction upon being voted out was prime OTT material. But overall I think MORN works best for her season rating. While her spicy exit was memorable, I don’t think the majority of people will remember Natalia as an OTT character. She was a mid-tier premerge boot with an overall negative feel to her edit.
Natalie‘s edit this week was ROUGH. This was the first time where I seriously considered her edit could be leading to a pre-merge elimination. Up until now, despite the negativity, I’ve always felt the edit has subtly backed her up, and I saw signs of longevity too. But in Episode 4 she was completely buried, and I think Natalia going home also hurts her.
After the swap, Natalie told us in confessional that she wants the Davids gone and that she can’t even be bothered to get to know them. She feels comfortable that the Goliaths have the numbers and are in control. We’ve seen time and time again in Survivor, and this season in particular, how overconfidence is a death knell. That was a huge red flag for Natalie. This cocky confessional was then followed by Natalie barking orders to the tribe on how to start the fire, while she sat watching. Unlike in previous instances, there were no underlying subtleties. It was just here is bossy Natalie.
The former Davids immediately picked up on Natalie’s attitude and asked the tribe if this is how she always is. Angelina said it was the “mellow version” and in confessional described Natalie as sitting on her throne and telling her peasants what to do. Nick described Natalie as bossy but said it gave him a crack to work his way into on the new tribe. We then saw Nick bonding with Mike who restated that he “can’t stand” Natalie, something we’ve known for a couple of weeks now. This is all ominous stuff for the 57-year-old CEO.
Perhaps the one saving grace for Natalie is that she is following through on what she said last week about staying “Goliath strong” at the swap. That could still point to longevity if this tribe loses and decides to vote down old tribal lines. Because even though Mike made his alliance with Nick, he did say in confessional that there is more risk for him because the Goliaths have the numbers. But with Natalie’s adversary, Natalia, going home this episode, her only potential long-term connection in the game is John. Is that enough for her edit to hang on? It’s a little worrying.
Gabby had an edit this episode which reminded me of Aubry’s in the premiere of Kaoh Rong. An emotional breakdown at camp caused by her self-doubts and insecurities and needing to be comforted by a fellow tribemate. And then rising above it at the Immunity Challenge to help bring home the win for her tribe.
I debated on a number of ratings for Gabby this week. Did she explain her emotions enough to warrant a CP? Maybe a MOR? Or was the reaction so big that it fits easier into the OTT category? And did it have tone? Was the breakdown positive or negative? These are all questions that were running through my mind, and quite frankly, still are now. Ultimately I decided to go with toneless OTT. It’s clear now that Gabby has the edit of an emotional character. That’s just the personality that is being presented. And so you can’t award tone every time that somebody cries. You just have to accept that Gabby is an OTT character at both ends of the spectrum, her down moments are REALLY DOWN and up moments are REALLY UP.
What is undeniable is how important Gabby is to this season and its main narrative. The entire segment at the Green tribe was about Gabby. I mean, other characters were involved and we got their insights too, but it was all leading up to Gabby’s scene. When Christian was bonding with Dan and John, the camera kept cutting to shots of Gabby’s face to get her reaction. This was build up to Gabby admitting she suffers from self-doubt over whether people truly like her or not. She opened up to Christian about how she feels on the outs and how he is so much more charming than her. She said she envies him for how easy he finds it to be himself and connect with others. It was a prime example of this “socially awkward” theme we’ve been seeing from the very start.
Gabby found support from Christian who told her she is doing fine. He described them both as two peas in a pod. In confessional, Gabby said she feels like the Goliaths are the “cool kids at the lunch table” and she is asking to sit with them. “I feel like I’m in a desperate position,” she said. It was all about how Gabby felt awkward and didn’t know how to communicate with her new tribemates. That low moment was contrasted beautifully at the Immunity Challenge where “communication was key.” Gabby took on the role of communicator and controlled her tribemates perfectly, bringing home the win for the Green tribe.
Is that going to be Gabby’s season story? A character that starts out unsure of herself and her ability to communicate, only to blossom into a player that is able to take control of the game and overcome the odds to make it to the end? Maybe. Or is she going to be a player whose social awkwardness and insecurities get the best of her? Possibly. Either way, Gabby’s edit points to her being in it for the long haul, especially as we still have lingering stories left with the whole Christian/Nick/Gabby triangle that can’t be solved until all three are back together.
Christian had a fantastic swap episode. He had confessionals at important moments. He followed through on storylines set up in previous episodes. He thoroughly explained his strategy and intentions. And he had a bunch of positive SPV. There is very little, if anything, to fault in Christian’s edit right now.
At the swap itself, we heard from Christian a couple of times. He told John he was excited to learn all about Slamtown. He also caught the map before it hit Gabby in the face (“Thank you,” she said. “You’re welcome,” he replied.), which was a nice little moment of symbolism in an episode where Christian became a sort of protective figure to Gabby. He had a confessional too, talking about how the tribes had been “gerrymandered” in the Goliaths favor and how collectively the Davids are in a lot of trouble. Hearing from someone at the swap is a strong sign of importance and so it’s no surprise we got insight from Christian.
Christian was then the first person we heard from at the new Green tribe. He deferred to John and Dan when it came to their bamboo chopping skills, demonstrating a willingness to listen and learn, something which Dan backed up in confessional. Christian explained how he was going to work his way into the Goliaths good graces. He wanted to contribute as much as possible. He needed to be on top of his social game and turn on the “charm offensive” to bring about the “charmpocalypse.” We then saw evidence of him putting this in action as he bonded with John over the laws of Slamtown. In confessional, John talked about Christian being a “quirky guy” and how he could relate. It followed through on the scene with Christian talking about Slamtown last week. Again, all plus points for Christian.
The main takeaway from this segment though was the scene with Gabby. Christian bonding with Dan and John led to Gabby’s emotional breakdown and feelings of self-doubt. Christian comforted her and talked about how the two prop each other up when they are feeling low. He said he was there to dry her tears and keep her head in the game. Gabby described him as charming and likable and at ease with himself (all accounts for his P-tone). It was a strong scene that continued to place importance on the Christian/Gabby relationship which has been central to the season since the premiere. But it also showed that Christian can balance the charm and social awkwardness. He recognised that the Goliaths have vulnerabilities too but “they just don’t like to show it.” That was backed up by John’s earlier confessional about having insecurities behind the wrestling persona.
Christian’s edit is pretty much perfect. Maybe too perfect? It’s hard to spot the flaws. He is obviously an essential part of the season and hits a number of the main themes. He also has connections with several players, including Gabby and John on his current tribe, but also Nick on the Purple tribe and Davie on the Orange tribe. I expect Christian to be around a while and if the winner of this season turns out to be someone who can balance both the social awkwardness and the charm, then he is a frontrunner.
Mike‘s edit stayed consistent with last week’s. A solid CP-lite episode where he delivered some decent narration and explained where he’s at in the game currently and where it could be going in the future.
There was an immediate red flag though in his first confessional of the episode. After arriving on the new Purple tribe, Mike said that the group is like “the Davids of the Davids of the Davids,” pointing to how weak the tribe looked in a physical sense. He said that he thinks he’s going to be seeing Tribal Council a lot in the next couple of days. And yet he was wrong. The Purple tribe won Immunity. It’s not the worst content in the world, I believe Wendell said something similar last season, but anytime a statement is straight up wrong it’s worth taking note.
Mike was shown bonding with his new tribemates about School of Rock and his screenwriting career. He then formed a relationship with Nick and said he was happy to be in the “Rock Stars” alliance. He opened up to Nick about not liking Natalie and told him about Dan having the idol. Remember it was Mike who originally said “information is the advantage,” and so he could have just handed a big advantage over to Nick and the Davids. But while Mike said he hopes the Rock Stars alliance bears fruit, he recognized the potential risk of giving up the Goliaths numbers. That felt enough for a CP-lite in my eyes.
While Mike has a consistent edit, I still don’t see him as a central character in the season’s overall narrative. It was nice he built the new alliance with Nick, but he has a lack of long-term connections. There is nobody from the opposing tribes that Mike is directly linked to. His stories are contained within his current tribe: his beef with Natalie, his alliance with Nick. That means those stories could easily burn out pre-merge.
Nick is the only player this season to be CP in every episode up until this point. We always get to hear his thoughts on the game and his strategy moving forward. This episode he was back to his crafty old tricks, making alliances and giving them goofy names. And on top of that, he received a sprinkling of positive SPV courtesy of Mike.
After a confusing premiere, Nick has become one of the most straightforward, easy to read edits. He is following the mantra he set out in Episode 2 – “I’m either gonna win or die trying.” And there is no doubt he is trying. On the new Purple tribe, Nick immediately went to work in finding a crack and he found it in the shape of Natalie. He recognized that her bossiness was grating on everybody and explained that he could use that as a way into the Goliaths. We then saw him approach Mike, who validated that Natalie gets on his nerves.
Nick revealed that his initial plan coming into the tribe was to “chill out” and try not to play “too fast and too hard,” but he reasoned that “there’s no way a David is gonna win this game playing with only Davids.” That could become a crucial statement in the long-run. He used that reasoning to build his relationship with Mike. The two agreed to form an alliance and Mike gave Nick some PSPV in his confessional, calling him “unpretentious” and “salt of the earth” and admitted that he likes him. Now, that could potentially be to highlight Mike buying into Nick’s deceitful charm, but it still counts as PSPV in my opinion.
The two made the Rock Stars alliance and played the air guitar. Nick was also able to gain information from Mike in regards to who has the idol from the Goliath tribe. Interestingly, Nick told Mike that he doesn’t think anyone from the David tribe found the idol, which we know to be wrong, as Davie has it. That’s a potential red flag to Nick’s edit for being incorrect. There is also a definite element of Nick overplaying with all the alliance names. It feels like the edit is setting that up to come back and bite him. But it doesn’t take away from his “win or die trying” storyline.
Nothing really changes for Nick this week other than having a new ally to play with. His storyline is still in motion and he has loose threads with Christian/Gabby/Davie to pick back up at a future date which suggests he will be around a while longer.
Welcome to the season, Alec! After a string of low-vis UTR ratings, Alec finally pops into action with his first high-vis CP rating of the season. It doesn’t really help his lackluster start, and it feels mostly circumstantial, but at least there is content worth discussing this week.
Alec started this episode “super amped” about having the numbers on the new Orange tribe. He loved his new camp and the new tribe breakdown. But as the episode moved on, Alec became less happy with his situation and ended up feeling “pissed off.” What we have to look at is, did Alec come to his own decision to flip? Was it made simply because of Natalia’s attitude rubbing him the wrong way? Or was he hoodwinked by Davie and Elizabeth?
The first person we saw talking to Alec about flipping was Elizabeth. She called him “the better option” of the Goliaths. She talked to him about building a resume and how he could lead the charge. Alec listened and showed an awareness of what flipping could mean for his game going forward. He recognized that it would say a lot to the other tribes and shows his cards. So at that point, it seemed Alec was still intent on sticking with the Goliaths. But when he pitched voting Davie (“the bigger threat) to Kara and Natalia, he felt like he wasn’t been listened to. “Natalia has to have it her way,” he stated.
Natalia continued to freak out and Alec continued to get annoyed. He told us that he feels Natalia doesn’t really trust him. And when Natalia “bullied” Davie to vote their way in the shelter, that seemed to be the final straw for Alec. Davie took advantage and talked to Alec in the hammock, pitching an alternative plan to vote for Natalia as Elizabeth originally wanted. Alec, again, recognized the risk, he talked about how Carl coming back would give the Davids the numbers advantage if he voted out Natalia. And he acknowledged that making the move could blow up his entire game.
And so that is Alec’s story heading into next week – Was this risk worth the reward? Or has he just blown up his game? Because the edit made it seem like Alec got sucked in by Davie and Elizabeth due to his personal dislike of Natalia. At Tribal Council, it was after Elizabeth’s speech about how this move could determine who sits at Final Tribal that Alec got up and started whispering – as if Elizabeth’s words finally convinced him to flip. Based on the lack of attention his edit has received across the first three episodes, I don’t think this will ultimately end well for the surfer.
Elizabeth had a nice comeback after her near INV edit last week. It seems that when Elizabeth goes to Tribal Council she shoots into action and succeeds in getting what she wants. She got to explain her strategy and received some much-needed personal content and some light PSPV.
As soon as the new Orange tribe arrived at camp we heard Elizabeth telling her tribemates that she’s married with three kids. In confessional, she told us she’s not afraid of hard work and was going to pull out all the stops and do everything she could to find common ground with her new tribemates. We saw her telling Kara about her family and bonding over their shared faith and love of horses. Now, this could have just been there to play into the Natalia paranoid story. Or maybe it was laying the groundwork for a potential relationship between Elizabeth and Kara down the road.
Elizabeth continued her “never give up” storyline after the Immunity Challenge (remember, this has been Elizabeth’s key theme since the premiere, the David fighting spirit). She told us she wasn’t going to quit and that it’s not going to be easy to get rid of her. Elizabeth then went on a fruitless idol search and told Davie the backup plan is to vote Natalia. While Davie initially threw Elizabeth under the bus, he did end up voting Natalia with her in the end.
After her idol search came up empty, Elizabeth then approached Alec and tried to convince him to flip. She explained that she needed to split the Goliaths and that Alec was her best option. She pitched to him on the idea of a big move and building his resume. When it seemed to be hitting a brick wall, she acknowledged the need to write Davie’s name down. And yet at Tribal Council, Elizabeth ultimately got her way (this is also where she got her PSPV from Davie when he talked about her being a mother of three and having a great story – yes, it was partly strategy, but he clearly meant it to).
Elizabeth continued pitching the big move until the very end and that is what finally inspired Alec to stand up and take the risk. She definitely gets partial credit, along with Davie, for that move. But where does she go from here? I think she hits the charm theme quite nicely but not as strongly as some others. And because she all but disappeared in a non-Tribal episode, it makes me believe she isn’t quite as important as some of the more consistently featured characters. Her “never give up” story could feasibly give her an out at any time. Even if she is voted out, she will go out fighting.
This episode saw the birth of Devilish Davie. Up until now, Davie has felt kind of separated from the strategic game. Yes, he has been shown to be a provider, and he found the idol, and he fits nicely into the nerd theme while also displaying social charm. But we haven’t heard a lot about his alliances and approach to the game overall. Here at the swap we finally got a taste of what Davie is capable of.
Davie was a big presence throughout this episode. Probst asked him a question about Bi’s quit and how it relates to the David theme. Davie talked about how the Davids sometimes doubt themselves but they have endurance and things like Bi’s quit just make them stronger. Davie’s words echoed loudly in Carl’s and Gabby’s story this episode, but it could also point to a wider season arc. Davie also got the first swap confessional, he talked about how it’s now time to really start playing and that he can’t wait to backstab, lie and turn people against each other. “That’s Devilish Davie, I’m ready to do all of that,” he said with a smile.
Davie certainly succeeded in living up to that mantra in this episode. One moment he was throwing Elizabeth under the bus and later he was turning Alec against the Goliaths. But Davie explained his thought process throughout. Upon arriving on the new Orange tribe, he said he had to change his strategy now that the Goliaths have the numbers. He explained how his plan was to get in with the Goliaths and we saw him immediately asking questions to his new tribemates and bonding with Alec on the beach.
Not only did Davie talk about his strategy, but he added in some personal details and reemphasized his “black nerd” theme. He talked about not having many white friends because he’s been around black people his whole life. But he said because of his nerdiness and the fact he drives a “PT Cruiser,” he is “the black guy that white people love to approach.” It was a funny little moment but also an example of Davie working his social charm and demonstrating his ability to fit in. And he did fit in. Before he realized there was a crack in the Goliaths, he had agreed to vote with them to take out Elizabeth and they appeared to be on board, at least Natalia and Kara.
Now, Davie did momentarily become a target after Elizabeth talked to Alec. He was described as “the bigger threat,” but Alec’s pitch to vote for Davie was shot down by Natalia and that obviously caused all the drama. Davie was able to recognize the tension and he took advantage. Remember a big theme of this season is working out what the advantage is and using it to get ahead. Davie acknowledged that the Goliaths don’t seem as tight as he thought they were and he approached Alec with another plan to vote out Natalia. He told Alec that he was with him and to give him eye contact at Tribal if he was on board. And that is what happened. Combined, Davie and Elizabeth got Alec to flip.
So where does Davie go next? His edit has serious longevity. He fits snuggly into the “social awkwardness/nerdiness versus socially charming” theme and has loose connections to Christian and Nick on the opposing tribes. He had a connection with Carl from the premiere which could reemerge now that they are on the same tribe. And he has a potential new alliance with Alec. Not to mention the running storyline with the idol and how he’s kept it a secret. I think we’re going to see Davie playing a fun, devilish game and causing some chaos for quite a while.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic! As always, leave your thoughts in the comment section below.