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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Alec pulled another disappearing act this week. The Vuku tribe only had the one camp scene in this episode, and of the four tribe members, Alec was the only one we never heard from. There has been no follow-up since his “big move” in episode four and we have no idea what his plans are going forward. He is a purely circumstantial character with no shot at winning. There is not much else to say at this point.
Under the Radar
John has had one of the better edits of the season so far, there is no doubt about that, but this episode knocked the Mayor of Slamtown down a few pegs. One UTR could be considered an intentional cooldown, but two UTRs back-to-back suggests a lack of relevance. And I think, looking at John’s post-swap edit overall, there has been a real absence of depth, particularly in regards to his strategic game.
Before the swap, we learned a lot about John, mostly personal content, but also some strategic insight. We found out he’s a pro-wrestler with this larger than life character, but that behind the gimmick is a smart, socially aware guy who wants to find himself and develop those “old school” human connections. We saw snippets of his alliance with Angelina and we knew he wanted to keep Natalie around. In the swap episode, we heard John talk about his insecurities and social awkwardness, and he connected with Christian. But since then he’s drifted into the background, merely a part of Christian’s story, which in itself is part of Gabby’s wider story.
John’s post-swap function has been as a member of the Brochachos alliance; in this episode, Christian fed him food in a humorous little scene. John’s the least vocal member of this group, which could be a good thing or a bad thing. I think a negative point against this whole Brochachos grouping is that we never heard about it until Christian came on board. And yet it appeared that Dan and John had been pushing the Brochacho thing for a while based on how they talked about it to Christian. Why didn’t we hear about this alliance back on the Goliath tribe? Why didn’t we see how tight John and Dan were? It’s stuff like that that sets off alarm bells.
There was a brief but interesting chat between John and Christian in this episode about dancing, which could double as a metaphor for this game. “The biggest thing that makes dancing cool is misdirection,” John told Christian. “And the best example of that is the moonwalk. If someone’s having a sweet routine, the whole crowd pops when they do something unexpected.” In my read of the edit, this whole Brochachos thing is misdirection, and the crowd (viewers) are going to pop (react in a big way) when it unexpectedly blows up, probably when one of them flips – most likely Christian flipping on Dan (which I’ll go into more in Dan’s write-up).
John still has time to recover at the merge, and perhaps the edit has been somewhat protecting him by not having him as the main Brochacho cheerleader, especially if that alliance falls apart. But we don’t really know where he stands in the game or what his plans are. He looked slightly annoyed at the Reward Challenge when he saw Natalie was gone, so perhaps not having that number could come back to haunt him. John needs a strong merge episode and to give us an update on who he considers his main allies going forward.
Dan pretty much just recapped his game so far in this episode. I had considered MOR originally, but he didn’t offer any new insights or elaborate on his plans. It was essentially a bullet point list of the usual Dan trademarks. He misses Kara. Thinks he’s playing an amazing game. He has two idols. He has Christian “indoctrinated.” And he doesn’t trust Gabby. Basically, a rinse and repeat of last week, and so I felt UTR was more appropriate.
There was a lot of playful metaphors and double-meanings in this episode and Dan’s scene was one of the best. Dan wanted to eat a pepper. Gabby warned him that “the littler are usually the spicier” and yet he ate the little one anyway. “I don’t know how I could be playing the game better right now,” he said in confessional, while at camp, his pepper eating blew up in his face. “Oh my god! Don’t eat the peppers,” he said. “I’ve indoctrinated Christian with me and John; made him one of the Brochachos,” he continued in confessional, immediately followed by him declaring “That was a bad idea” back at camp. “I trust [Christian] a lot more to protect me and cover my back than I do Gabby,” he ended his confessional, even though it was Gabby that warned him about the spicy peppers.
The whole scene was brilliant and dripping in double-meaning. The editors are extremely careful about what they show. They have literally thousands of hours of footage and so everything that makes the show has a purpose. The way that scene matches up and undercuts what Dan is saying in confessional is too perfect not to be intentional. It feels like Dan is going to get burned by Christian, and little spicy Gabby is going to play a big part in that. If that doesn’t end up happening, then this is obviously an over-reach, but I’d be very surprised if that’s not the end result of Dan’s game – it just fits too well.
Another UTR for Davie gives me the same concerns that I had with John. He’s starting to drop into that second-tier of importance. His only confessional was about Elizabeth fixing the shelter and how that was a “whole day project” not a “half-day project.” He then confronted her about chopping the bamboo and the two got into a little back-and-forth over the whole situation. That was essentially his edit this episode.
I said it last week, but Davie feels somewhat disconnected from the larger narrative, and this episode didn’t do anything to change that perception. Davie is getting by on the goodwill of his first couple of episodes; that early positivity and theme-ticking. He never completely disappears, like an Alec or an Alison, so I think he does still have a role to play, but there certainly isn’t the consistency seen in bigger edits like Christian, Nick or Gabby.
A strong merge episode could boost him back into contention, and he does have lingering connections to Christian and Nick, which could be the start of a new, more in-depth post-merge story. But right now his main story is this back-and-forth with Elizabeth, which I guess started ever since they voted differently in the first David Tribal Council, but came to the forefront in episode four and was present again this week. That could be set to continue in the coming weeks.
I thought Kara had a decent, well-placed confessional in this episode but not enough to warrant a MOR, even though I considered it for a while. I rewatched the episode three times and this Vuku segment in particular even more than that, and my ultimate takeaway was that Kara had “minimal game relevant development” and “a role in the story but kept out of focus,” both of which fall under the original UTR definition.
Here’s the thing, an UTR isn’t automatically a bad thing in of itself. It’s all about context and the type of UTR. Yes, sometimes UTRs are just people the edit doesn’t particularly care about. But there are also intentional cooldown UTRs (and Kara was coming off the back of a CP4 last week). And there are deliberate UTRs used to represent a character’s game. Kara’s game right now IS under the radar. She has straight up told us that now is not the time to be making big moves. Instead, she is working her charm behind the scenes and the majority of her castmates don’t see it.
“With the Davids, I certainly thought they’ve got this cowboy hat connection, but apparently there’s some kind of rift there,” Kara said after the Elizabeth vs. Carl & Davie argument. “So as much as I hate conflict between two people, it also makes me just sit back and eat my popcorn, knowing that it’s not going to be me.” It was a good confessional, and once again, it shows us that the edit cares about Kara, but she didn’t elaborate on any wider strategy, it was just: “There is a conflict, so yay, it’s not going to be me.”
I think what is more important than the confessional are the little background scenes of Kara. Her massaging Elizabeth and helping her with the bamboo and later going to check on her after the argument. It continues to show us that Kara is following through on her plan to charm, and it’s especially pertinent that it’s Elizabeth we see her with, the one person that wasn’t buying her charm last week.
There is such a consistency to Kara’s edit. She’s had a confessional in every episode. And as I said last week, her archetype does not usually have this kind of edit. We wouldn’t be constantly checking in with her if she wasn’t relevant. She wouldn’t have been protected from the Goliath negativity and the Dan negativity. At this point, based on the edit, I’m starting to think the only outcomes for Kara are either shock merge boot (less likely but given Survivor likes to build-up the merge boot these days, Kara could just about fit), losing finalist or the winner.
Middle of the Road
Carl continues to drift in and out of relevance. After he was snubbed by the edit last week, the Texan truck driver rolled back into town this episode. He was part of the Vuku scene where he and Davie argued with Elizabeth over the whole shelter situation. It was fairly circumstantial but we did hear Carl specifically name Elizabeth as his next target and he told us why (clash of personalities, doesn’t like “know-it-alls”), which was just enough for a MOR-lite.
I did briefly consider light N-tone for Carl. And while I ultimately decided against it, I certainly wouldn’t be opposed if others had him rated such a way. It depends if you look at Elizabeth’s “stupid and lazy people” speech as a direct attack on Carl, and it could have been, given that the edit showed him sleeping in the shelter during the day (never a good sign) and he even outright said that he was woken up from his sleep. When it comes to winner contenders, the edit likes to show them working, definitely not napping during the day, and so if Carl’s winner chances weren’t already shot, this certainly didn’t help his case.
Nothing changes too much for Carl. I believe he is a mostly circumstantial character that is kept just relevant enough due to having a new advantage in the game. Like Davie, his current storyline is tied to his clash with Elizabeth, and that could continue into the merge.
With all the ironic foreshadowing this season, I should have known that when Lyrsa said she “just wanted to make the merge” last week, that she would end up going home one vote shy of that goal. I got too focused on the Vuku storylines and kind of neglected what would happen should Jabeni lose again.
Looking at the overall edits of the characters on the purple tribe, it was obvious Lyrsa would be the one to go, she had the least depth and consistency. The episode did well to misdirect and make us believe Angelina was in danger – but taking the pre-merge edit as a whole into account, Lyrsa had a much weaker edit. She was only introduced at the marooning AFTER being picked for the challenge and she went INV/UTR in two important episodes (the episode after she received votes at Tribal and the swap episode).
Lyrsa had some fun content in this episode, but I didn’t feel she expressed herself enough to warrant CP. A lot of her early content was about having “more lives than a cat” and throwing NSPV on Angelina for the jacket stuff. And it was that focus on the jacket which became Lyrsa’s downfall. After the Immunity Challenge, Angelina told us she was willing to work with Lyrsa, but Lyrsa was having none of it. She was too stuck on the jacket to consider working with Angelina, and therefore she lost her vote and the tide turned against her. Lyrsa said her life in the game was hanging by a thread and Mike was the one holding it and we did see her making her pitch to Mike. But it never went beyond MOR for me.
I think MOR overall works best for Lyrsa’s edit. She was a solid character who gave fun confessionals and got involved with the strategy when it was necessary (basically in episodes where she attended Tribal). But she never had the complexity and personal content that suggested she was a pivotal character to the season.
Christian continues to be portrayed as this ultra positive character. His edit is in this hard-to-rate position where he gets a mixture of OTT and CP-lite content. There’s stuff like the fishing scene or feeding vegetables to the Mayor of Slamtown that are clouded in this goofy OTT positivity. But then there is the Cochran-like confessional about his personal self-improvement and how that’s helping him fit in. It’s why in the end I just separated the difference and went for MORP.
The fishing scene was mostly played for laughs – the awkward flipper walk, the squished nose in the snorkel mask, falling over in the ocean. But it again showed us how Christian thinks about things in a methodical manner. There was also more potential double-meaning in the line: “Everything looks close, but in reality, I gotta find a way to sneak up on them better.” The Brochachos look close, but in reality, is Christian going to sneak up on them? If this was Christian’s only scene for the episode, I would have rated him OTTP for sure.
However, the post-Reward Challenge confessional had way too much personal content and explanation that an OTT just didn’t feel quite right. And yet it wasn’t enough to warrant a CP, as Christian still didn’t really explain how this applies to his strategic game or what his plans are moving forward. He talked about transitioning into this “cool guy” that people want to talk to. And how he’d always feared being ostracized or left out of the loop. “I’m becoming this Goliath-like figure from these David origins,” he said. As he stated, it was validation that his work had been paying off.
What does that mean for Christian’s story? Well, it was nice that he finally got his own personal story and it obviously tied into this nerd/socially awkward meets charm theme. Worryingly though, it almost feels like the end of a story. The socially awkward David that was afraid of being ostracized has charmed his fellow tribemates and become a Goliath. Where can you go from there? Does Christian becoming a Goliath mean he is now set up to be slain by the underdogs? It’s definitely possible.
Also, once again, Christian’s big personal scene led directly to Gabby and how his actions affected her. And Gabby’s content was more CP level strategic and foreshadowing. So I still believe the edit is presenting Gabby’s story as more important than Christian’s. However, Christian is heading into the merge with plenty of connections and lingering story-threads. There is his Mason-Dixon alliance with Nick. There is a tenuous link to Davie from the post-Jessica boot episode. There is the Brochachos grouping. And, of course, his relationship with Gabby. Christian is going to be a vital part of the early post-merge for sure.
Over the Top
This was a rough episode for Elizabeth, especially right before the merge. Up until now, Elizabeth has been a level-headed player who makes logical decisions and displays social/game awareness. Here, the edit portrayed her as an emotional person with bottled up anger.
Now, Elizabeth did get to explain herself; she talked about her back pain, how she hasn’t been sleeping and that people have promised to fix the shelter but nothing has been done. But I don’t think the explanation was enough to erase the overall OTT feel of the edit. The entire Vuku scene was dedicated to this back pain/shelter argument. Elizabeth was shown chopping bamboo and waking up Carl. Then later dragging bamboo through the camp and almost knocking Carl into the fire. Davie and Carl both gave her NSPV. And even her “I don’t like lazy and stupid people” confessional with the wild facial expressions had an OTT vibe.
Despite all that, I still didn’t think her edit was straight N-tone. Yes, Davie called her out, and yes, Carl called her a “know-it-all,” but because Elizabeth got to explain herself (even if in an OTT manner) and apologize, it never felt like the audience was supposed to be completely against her. “Sorry for being a jerk about it,” she said, which demonstrated a sense of self-awareness. Also, Kara never gave Elizabeth NSPV, she was actually helping Elizabeth with her back pain and the shelter, and even went to check on her after the blow-up. So it wasn’t as if she pissed off the entire tribe. Therefore, Mixed tone felt a more natural fit to me.
Where does Elizabeth go now? Well, this OTTM just before the merge is a little worrying, it provides reasons for why she might be targeted, especially if the likes of Carl and Davie flip. Also, losing Lyrsa, one of her early game connections, is a bad sign too. Elizabeth’s only pre-swap connection is Nick, and that is only based on one scene in the premiere, albeit a named alliance scene. She does have loose connections to Alec and even Kara, and so there could be long-term storylines there should Elizabeth survive next week. Elizabeth is heading into a big episode which could cement what her role is in this season.
Alison finally got on the CP board this week; she was the only remaining player besides Dan that had never had a CP rating. Does it make up for her lackluster string of UTRs so far? No. But it’s a decent sign that she could at the very least have an “Andrea Boehlke in Game Changers”-style upswing in the post-merge before her inevitable elimination.
The role for Alison in this episode was as a new support system for Gabby. It wasn’t until Gabby said that she needed to take her game into her own hands that we heard from Alison. That’s fine, at this point we know Alison’s editorial ceiling is a supporting character at best. In confessional, Alison talked about how Gabby’s emotional plea “cut to her core” and referenced her career as a doctor and how it’s her job to show empathy and alleviate suffering. It was a small but decent bit of personal content from a character who has all but been neglected for the pre-merge.
What made Alison CP is that she also discussed her game. She told us that Gabby is someone she could trust “long-term.” In her conversation with Gabby, she said the game is no longer David vs. Goliath, it’s about “who can you trust,” which echoed the sentiment over on the Jabeni tribe. She then suggested blindsiding Dan, telling Gabby that her “head and heart” say to go with Gabby and Christian, who are all “cut from the same cloth.” She reiterated this in her second confessional, talking about how Dan is the “biggest threat” because of the boys’ club and the idol in his pocket. “The question is becoming less, ‘do I blindside Dan?’ and more becoming, ‘when?'” she concluded.
Do I think Alison is going to become a vital part of the season narrative now? Not really. I think her role here is to compliment Gabby’s arc and set up what is probably going to be an early post-merge story revolving around Dan and his idols/potential blindside. Also, remember how Alison and Angelina had their “women don’t find enough idols” talk right before Dan was shown to have already found it? It’d be kind of fitting if Alison was part of Dan’s downfall.
A strong episode for Gabby this week. She continued to receive focus despite not attending Tribal Council and started to take the game into her own hands. It’s no secret that her story has been directly tied to Christian’s for the majority of the pre-merge, and it still was here, but she showed early signs of moving ahead on her own path.
As with the previous two weeks, Gabby watched Christian bro-ing down with John and Dan and talked about how that puts her in a scary position. This time she told us she “needs to find a way to take the game into her own hands” and she did that by approaching Alison. “I don’t just wanna lean on hope; hope that we will win. Hope is not a strategy,” she said in confessional. We then saw her emotional plea to Alison where she talked about needing Alison and how Dan never talks strategy with her. She did mention still trusting Christian “100%,” but she recognized the need to branch out beyond that. Gabby’s pitch was shown to have worked when Alison told us she could trust Gabby “long-term.”
We’ve followed Gabby’s story every step of the way from early in the premiere. And despite her high emotions, the edit has never undermined her or painted her as irrational. Her fears and paranoia are justified every time. We’ve heard Dan outright say that Gabby is on the outs and next to go. And so her worries are thereby validated. Now she is starting to make moves to improve her position and that could be the start of a big post-merge story. I think to continue Gabby’s upward trajectory, it would be nice to see her move even further away from Christian and build her own story with different allies. That would certainly increase her winner chances.
Overall, Gabby is still one of the season’s biggest characters and I don’t expect that to change post-merge. Her story with Christian and the push-and-pull between the Brochachos plus the soon to be reformed Mason-Dixon alliance is a significant narrative to the season. And now she has a new connection with Alison. I fully expect Gabby to be still around come finale night.
This was a much better edit for Mike. At least on the surface. Unlike last week, he was presented as the swing vote and given real agency in the vote between Angelina and Lyrsa. He got to explain his reasonings while also having slight P-tone for his emotional reaction after the Immunity Challenge where he apologized to his tribe and expressed his genuine sadness of having to vote someone out.
There is an underlying worry for Mike though relating to his decision to boot Angelina over Lyrsa. Even though he got to explain his reasons, it seems like the edit is showing us that he’s not playing based on his connections with people — and that’s always a bad thing in Survivor. He is voting based on labels. For example, at the start of the episode, we saw Mike talking about Angelina with Nick and Lyrsa. He called her “bats**t crazy” for the jacket stunt and agreed with the former Davids that she is “fake” and willing to “flip on a dime.” He reiterated this later in the episode when he said: “I really trust Lyrsa in a way I just don’t trust Angelina. This is not a player to be taken lightly. She is here to win. She is the kind of person who could turn on you and you would never know.”
And yet, Mike voted Lyrsa out and kept Angelina. His reason for this was because of the perception from the other former Goliaths on the opposing tribes. He felt like the Goliaths were unhappy when they saw Natalie had been voted out and he didn’t want to screw every Goliath by voting out Angelina too. That is CP reasoning, but in an episode that continuously told us that David vs. Goliath was over and the game was now about “who can you trust?”, it is a red flag that Mike based his decision on old tribal lines.
I feel like Mike has some solid pre-merge content, even if somewhat lacking in an overall story. His alliance with Nick has now been well-established and could be set up for a post-merge run. However, I worry that Mike made the wrong decision this episode and the edit was letting us know. His choice to keep Angelina could end up being the “fatal mistake” that he hopes it isn’t.
Nick has been CP in every single pre-merge episode. That is kind of incredible. We always hear from him. We always know what he’s thinking about his own game and his fellow players. He is undoubtedly a significant character to the season. And yet, for the second time now this season, Nick didn’t get his way at Tribal Council.
At the start of the episode, Nick was celebrating a “perfect Tribal Council” where Natalie went home and “Angelina looked a fool in front of everybody.” He was banging the drum for why Angelina should be the next to go. “If she’d do that for a jacket, imagine what she’d do for a million,” he worried. He called her a “sketch-ball” and said if they go to Tribal again they can get rid of her and it “won’t be any skin off our backs.” He continued this line of thought post-Immunity Challenge. “I don’t have any desire to work with [Angelina] because I don’t trust her as far as I can throw her,” he said. And yet, he ultimately voted out Lyrsa and kept Angelina.
This is now twice this has happened. Back in Episode 2, Nick told us, and Christian, that he’d prefer to take out Lyrsa over Jessica. And yet he voted out Jessica and we never received a follow-up as to why. In this episode, he told us, “My agenda today is to convince Mike that it’s a good move for both of us to get out Angelina.” He wasn’t able to convince Mike. It’s interesting because a lot of Nick’s content has been about finding his “sheep” and how easy he finds it to manipulate people. He brings them in with these goofy alliance names and thinks he has control. But the results show us that Nick is unable to herd his sheep – and that is a red flag.
Nick receives consistent CP material, but he only sees the game from his perspective. He sees other people as easy to manipulate (wrong) and expendable. He has all these random pairings going on, but none are particularly deep or cohesive. The alliance with Elizabeth was never commented on by Elizabeth or followed up by the edit. The alliance with Christian looks surface-level good, but Christian’s relationship with Gabby has far more focus and nuance, and it’s set up in direct opposition to Mason-Dixon. His alliance with Mike is now perhaps the best established but even then, there isn’t this deep emotional connection.
I also just want to mention the SPV that Angelina gave Nick at Tribal Council. I was originally going to consider P-tone for Nick because of this, but it seems like that was all a strategic display. Angelina was buttering up Nick for his vote, and even if she was being somewhat genuine, the edit had shown us that Nick was not upfront and honest, as he’d been trying to vote Angelina out. I know it might be a controversial decision, seeing as I gave Elizabeth P-tone in an earlier episode for what Davie said about her at Tribal, and in hindsight, I can see I might have been off on that.
Angelina‘s villain edit is really starting to blossom now. There have been signs of it ever since the marooning and I think now we’re heading into the merge she is set up as the season’s major antagonist. She’s not an OTTN-style villain though, at least not yet, she is always able to explain herself and the moves she makes.
Even the Previously On segment told us what Angelina’s plan with the jacket was last week, despite it not actually featuring in the episode itself. And, as if that wasn’t enough, she again explained what her plan was back at camp to Lyrsa and in confessional. A one-dimensional villain does not get to give reasoning like that. It was the same later in the episode, Angelina told us she was “open-minded” when it came to working with Lyrsa, especially due to the Latina connection, but Lyrsa was unwilling to negotiate. That was backed up by the edit. Lyrsa was stuck on the jacket thing and that in turn made Lyrsa the “petty” one, talking about giving Angelina a holey sock on the way out.
Angelina then moved on to a new plan. She told Mike they had to work on Nick, and we saw her go to work. She told Nick she trusted him and wanted to work with him long-term. She continued this at Tribal Council, buttering him up with compliments (notice at the voting booth Lyrsa said Angelina was using her “charm” on Nick… not an episode has gone by without that word). Despite Nick and Mike continually saying they didn’t trust Angelina, she ultimately got her way, even if it was based more on Mike’s loyalty to the other Goliaths, rather than Angelina herself. But still, this was all solid CP content.
This was, however, the first episode where Angelina had undeniable, straight-up N-tone. The fallout of her attempted jacket heist was the big talk at camp and she received NSPV from Mike, Nick, and Lyrsa. Lyrsa called her “petty” and “really mean.” Nick said she was “fake” and a “sketch-ball” and Mike added that she is “bats**t crazy.” There was no escaping the N-tone this week for Angelina. That said, I still don’t think the edit completely buried her. Yes, Angelina is a villain, but she’s a villain the edit clearly values.
We’ve been consistently told that Angelina is a “force to be reckoned with,” by herself and others. That is how she introduced herself in her speedboat confessional in the premiere. In this episode, Mike said Angelina is “not the type of player to be taken lightly,” that she is “here to win” and “could turn on you and you would never know.” Mike’s confessional was intercut with footage of Angelina pretending to be asleep and opening her eye when Lyrsa got up to move – supporting Mike’s words about her being a cunning player. All of this suggests that Angelina is a big-time player that is probably going to stir up some chaos post-merge.
The question is, how far can the “Angelina the antagonist” edit take her? It could quite easily be over next week. Angelina has had a sizable pre-merge edit with just the right amount of negativity to be a big merge boot. But my personal read of the edit sees further longevity for Angelina. Between her double confessional intro in the premiere, to her largely CP pre-merge, to her lingering connections to the likes of John, Kara and Alison, I see more story potential for Angelina over the coming weeks.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.