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 read our Introduction to Edgic article.
|Name||EP 1||EP 2||EP 3||EP 4||EP 5||EP 6||EP 7||EP 8||EP 9||EP 10||EP 11||EP 12||EP 13||EP 14|
What Does This Tell Us?
As we can clearly see from the chart, Episode 4 was the Angkor show. All five members of that tribe had a visibility rating of 5. With so much action taking place at the Angkor camp, it didn’t leave much room to explore the narratives of the other cast members. We also had the elimination of Jeff Varner, which really throws a wrench in the works of the edit up until this point.
A character like Varner, who had such a big edit, leaving the show this early means we should reexamine those with quieter edits – perhaps we shouldn’t write them off just yet.
Last week we touched upon how Ciera’s narrative is still very much up in the air. She has had a solid UTR edit that has kept her just about bubbling under the surface. With her opening confessional about wanting to play fearlessly repeated in the third episode’s “Previously On” segment, it appeared that the editors were setting us up for more Ciera to come. Unfortunately, that didn’t arrive in Episode 4.
If Jeff Varner hadn’t gone home in Episode 4, then at this point I might have been writing Ciera off completely. However, if character’s with big edits can flame out early on, then that means characters with quiet edits could blossom later in the season. Does that mean that every person right now with an INV/UTR edit is going to end up becoming a huge character post-merge? No. So, we need to work out which of the quieter characters have this late-bloomer potential.
Despite her INV edit in this episode, Ciera definitely has late-bloomer potential. She had an opening confessional in the premiere* and was the first person Jeff Probst spoke to at the marooning. In fact, Ciera’s overall edit in the premiere was very strong. In the following two episodes she was kept quietly present, with, back-to-back UTR edits. Only this week did she turn INV, but when you think that the Ta Keo tribe only had one camp scene it explains a lot.
We talked in depth last week about how this season’s theme is all about change, and how players that demonstrate that change gain success. Ciera’s quest for change involves playing fearlessly, but as of yet she hasn’t shown us that. She’s actually done the opposite; playing safe within the numbers and sitting out of numerous challenges. Is the edit intentionally hiding her until she emerges as a fearless post-merge player (similar to her first season in Blood vs Water)? Or will she simply peter out because she continues to play it safe?
*Jeff Varner became the first person with an opening confessional to be eliminated this season. But still, 3 out of the 4 boots so far did not receive an opening confessional.
Kimmi continues to sink at the bottom of the editing pool. No confessional time, no camp scenes, and even as the caller in the immunity challenge she got basically zero focus. Does Kimmi have late-bloomer potential? Well, she, much like Ciera, had an opening confessional and a MOR2 edit in the premiere. That’s definitely a positive sign. But having two INV episodes in a row is certainly a knock against her.
However, if we listen back to Kimmi’s opening confessional it is quite telling. Unlike Ciera, she didn’t talk about wanting to play fearlessly or aggressively; she didn’t touch on a strategic style of play at all. She talked about her dream of “getting to the end”. She also compared the Angkor Wat temple to the game of Survivor; how you can take on a little bit of damage, but build yourself back up – still standing afterwards.
Kimmi’s edit doesn’t point at her suddenly becoming an aggressive player that drives the narrative foward. But she doesn’t have to be. She could sit in cruise control and float all the way to the end without lifting a finger and she would still have accomplished her goal laid out at the beginning of the season. And she could do that even with her fair share of UTR and INV ratings; like a Susie in Gabon or Natalie in Redemption Island.
Under The Radar
Keith is another character that has followed a similar path to Ciera and Kimmi. MOR2 in the premiere and then a series of UTR and INV edits. He would have been INV again this week if he didn’t get such a focus in the immunity challenge due to is inability to hear Kass. The fact that the edit focused on Keith’s difficulty in the challenge paints him as comic relief, and even then he’s used very sparingly.
Could Keith be a late-bloomer? He didn’t have the opening confessional in the premiere unlike Ciera and Kimmi, which certainly hurts his chances. We don’t know his long-term plans or his goals or what he wants to change. Actually, in the premiere Keith specifically said that he wasn’t going to change a lot, but instead just maybe “tweak a little bit”. In a season constructed around the theme of change, Keith is not giving the editors what they want, and therefore it isn’t a big surprise that he has been kept in the background.
Much like with Kimmi, it is highly unlikely that Keith will suddenly turn into an aggressive, strategic threat. Could he cruise along further with more UTR edits? Definitely. But his edit suggests he won’t be cruising as far as Kimmi. Keith’s most likely path is to float into the merge while providing more humor amongst the hardcore gaming and drama.
Terry has had a mixed edit so far. He started pretty strong in the first two episodes, from MOR2 to CPP4, but in Episode 3 he was hit by the UTR bus and hasn’t been able to get out from under it. For someone that didn’t receive an opening confessional in the premiere this isn’t a great sign.
In Episode 2, it appeared that Terry was following this season’s key narrative of change. He had developed somewhat of a social game and it helped secure him an alliance. But last week Panama Terry returned. He was back focused solely on strength and challenges, and he didn’t go away in Episode 4. This week was even more challenge focused. In fact, Terry only gets the bump in visibility due to running the Hero challenge.
If Ta Keo does continue on a massive winning streak then perhaps that is the reason for Terry’s devolution. Either way, the edit is telling us that Terry is becoming less important to the overall season narrative.
Joe is on a similar downward trajectory to Terry. Very big edits in the first two episodes and now all aboard the UTR train (yes, there is bus and a train). We touched last week on how Joe is unchanged from Worlds Apart and therefore his edit is strikingly similar to what it was that season. Strong start before disappearing into the background. He’s like Keith, in that he isn’t providing the editors with their narrative of change, so now all he’s getting is focus at challenges (albeit highly positive challenge focus).
The interesting thing with Joe though is his opening confessional in the premiere. Similar to Kimmi, it wasn’t about winning the game or changing anything about himself personally. It was about making it to a certain point. For Kimmi, she dreamed of getting to the end. For Joe, he dreamed of making it to the family visit so that his dad could come out to the island. He missed out on that in Worlds Apart but this is his time to make it happen.
If he is unable to change then he will not be rewarded. That is what the theme of the season is. Does that mean he once again just misses out on the family visit? He needs to somehow change his game if he wants to achieve that goal.
Kelly Wiglesworth is like that one-hit-wonder pop star that had an amazing first single but then every subsequent release has failed to chart. She had such a strong opener in the premiere but since then has been unable to escape UTR mediocrity.
You can’t even say she has the potential to become a late-bloomer because there is nothing of real substance in her edit to suggest that. Plus she already started with an OTT edit; you can only go down from there. Also her opening confessional did not reveal any long-term goal or quest for change. She talked about how she was stronger and smarter than she was in Borneo. Again, not providing the editors with change this season will get you a first class ticket to the background.
Jeff Varner proved this week that just because you received an opening confessional it doesn’t mean you are immune from the early boot. And because Kelly’s confessional was one of the least substantial, that could mean her time is almost up. Unless she releases a comeback single?
Stephen is the last of this week’s UTR edits, but he has less to worry about than the others. It was his first UTR rating of the season and he was still given a decent amount of visibility for someone on a tribe that didn’t attend tribal council.
What does this tell us about Stephen? He definitely still has a role to play in the narrative but it is increasingly more and more likely it will simply be a supporting role. Last week, with the new tribe formations, it was Jeremy and Spencer standing out with their CP edits. The only other person in the picture on Bayon was Stephen with his MOR edit. On paper, Jeremy and Spencer are the stars; Stephen is the support act. And this week Jeremy confirmed Stephen’s supporting role when he referred to himself as Stephen’s new J.T, and how Stephen can take second place.
The Stephen and Jeremy (plus Savage) saga has been the only consistent narrative on Bayon, and it suggests unfinished business between them. The edit right now tells us that something big will happen between these two characters but perhaps not until they meet back up with Savage.
Middle of the Road
Monica finally jumps off the UTR train and increases her visibility with a decent MOR edit in Episode 4. She received an extended confessional in this episode and we actually got to hear where her head was at strategy wise. But while the content had more depth than previous weeks, did it actually help increase Monica’s chances of becoming a significant character?
We talked earlier about which of the quieter edited characters have the potential to become late-bloomers; Ciera is definitely one of those. Is Monica? Nothing in her edit so far suggests to me that she will become a significant part of the season arc. She had no opening confessional in the premiere – in fact, she was practically invisible in the premiere, and then actually invisible in Episode 2. Nor has she talked about what she wants to change about herself or her game.
Her confessional in Episode 3 was generic; we deemed it the Captain Obvious edit. Her confessional in Episode 4 was a little more revealing but equally stated the obvious. She talked about wanting to keep the women around “…not only to keep the girl count up in the hopes of maybe doing a girls alliance, um, also to keep the boys count down.” Thanks for the explanation, Monica.
She was also shown to be wrong. Her doubting Spencer’s information about Kelly Wiglesworth was to show us that Monica does not have a great read on the game. We as viewers know that Spencer was telling the truth; Wiglesworth was aligned with Varner, Terry and Woo. Monica wanting to form a girls alliance and take Spencer out is so out of nowhere that it can only be a short term story. There was no previous clues or indication of this to lead us to believe it will become a season long arc.
Last week we mentioned that someone had to pay for getting too comfortable with the numbers. Ciera, Monica, Stephen and Terry all talked about feeling safe in their new tribes. Only one of them received a confessional this week and it was Monica – and she seemed to be setting herself up for a downfall.
Spencer takes a break from his streak of CP edits (no emotions in Episode 4) and rests comfortably amongst the MOR edits. Everything Spencer did in this episode was correct; except for maybe talking to Monica but the edit made her look worse off in that situation.
His edit was almost beat-for-beat the same as Kelley Wentworth’s last week. Both outnumbered 4-2 on their new tribes and both gently throwing their former tribe member under the bus. Spencer just had more visibility due to two scenes at camp and a significant focus on the immunity challenge.
Spencer is still on the same track as last week. Everything looks good for the young lad. Perhaps Monica will try to take him out, but the edit has invested so much more in Spencer’s emotional journey that it is hard to believe that she will succeed in accomplishing that goal any time soon – even in a post-Varner world.
We need to talk about Wentworth. On the surface everything seems to be going swimmingly for Kelley Wentworth. She is riding this wave of MOR edits and receiving a small but significant chunk of screen-time each week. She is afforded time to reveal her thoughts and discuss her strategies. We know what her quest for change involves – she wants to make big moves and have a better game – and so far she is delivering. But something isn’t quite right.
Some people have suggested that Wentworth’s assumption about Kass and the “fake idol” painted her in a negative light. Wentworth told us, the viewers, that she believed Kass was making a fake idol. But she later found out Kass was actually being sweet and making her a belated birthday gift. Like Monica, Wentworth was proved wrong, and that isn’t a good thing. We also never got a follow up confessional for her to admit her mistake.
But for me, I saw this entire sequence with the bracelet as a set up to make Kass look like she was up to her old tricks. We didn’t get a confessional from Kass explaining what she was doing, so as an audience we were meant to be thinking exactly the same as Wentworth. I’m not sure about everyone else, but I certainly believed Kass was being shady. Wentworth was the conduit for the audience in this segment – she was speaking for us. It didn’t make her look bad, because the scene was much more about Kass and her perception (which we’ll get to later) than it was Wentworth.
No. That isn’t what concerns me. What concerns me with Wentworth’s edit is… the idol. Almost everything the edit has given us so far with Wentworth relates back to the idol. In Episode 1 she finds the clue and grabs the idol at the challenge; obviously her edit had to be idol focused. In Episode 2 she opens the idol and talks about it. In Episode 3 she throws Terry under the bus… for looking for an idol. And in Episode 4 she accusses Kass of making a fake idol. Idol. Idol. Idol.
What does this mean? It suggests that Wentworth’s arc this season is leading up to a big idol play. While characters like Jeremy and Spencer have received personal and emotional growth alongside their strategic development, Wentworth has been strictly game and idol focused. The edit hasn’t allowed us to get to know her personally.
It isn’t a huge problem because Wentworth’s quest for change never involved emotional growth; it was simply to be a better player that made big moves. Survivor has a long history of equating “big moves” with finding and playing idols. To fulfill her change and complete her arc, all Wentworth needs to do is play her idol, and for now that is all her edit is focused on.
Rounding out the MOR edits for the week is Woo. While he was significantly more visible this episode than he has been in the season so far, it still wasn’t enough to push him into the CP leagues. He received two confessionals, the least of his tribe, and his narration of the events was very simple. He didn’t expand on his strategy of how he was going to deal with Abi-Maria.
We talked last week about how Woo is always playing catch-up and that in a season about change he needs to actively find a new strategy in order to gain success. He was still on the back-foot this week; having to beg for his life in the game at tribal council. While the edit portrayed Woo as having fight and passion, and that may have gotten a “wow” from Jeff Probst, the substance of Woo’s edit is still rather hollow. He is still severely out of the loop.
His plea to Abi for her vote, after having voted against her twice, harked back to Shirin’s approach of Woo for his vote back in Episode 2. Back then we thought Woo was changing by showing some backbone, but instead it was the opposite. He was rigid about not changing and about staying honourable to his alliance. That was Woo’s game in Cagayan and it has been his game in Cambodia. But it has punished him by placing him on the bottom. And what was his offer to Abi, Tasha and Savage during his plea? His honour and his loyalty.
The question for Woo is, can he change? Is he now in the loop with this alliance and if so, can he use that to change up his game and position himself at the top rather than at the bottom. His edit is still open for that possibility but he needs to begin putting it into action.
Over The Top
The only OTT edit of the episode and it goes to Angkor’s Andrew Savage. The edit for Savage in Episode 4 was so ridiculous it was bordering on insulting. It was like his final victory lap before walking off into the sunset. Except he hasn’t yet walked off into the sunset – he is still there talking about his gorgeous super model wife and his college football career.
The Hero challenge became the Band-Aid for the Outcast twist; covering up the scars made by Lillian Morris ten years ago in the Pearl Islands. He even described his challenge win as one of his best moments on Survivor and personal “vindication”. As far as an edit goes, that almost seems like the perfect place for Savage’s arc to end. For Savage, his goal has never been about winning the game – he never talks about that – it’s about being the hero.
“I am living the dream. I have the perfect wife. My kids, they’re amazing. I’ve got a great job. I don’t have any bad things in my life except… Pearl Islands. My exit– it’s haunted me for twelve years and I’m not over it. And to cure my Survivor pain, I need to give it a thousand percent. I’m gonna leave everything I got in this game and it’ll be epic.”
That was Savage’s equally OTT opening confessional from the premiere. His life is perfect except for Pearl Islands, and in this episode he talked about finally feeling vindicated from that. He talked about curing his Survivor pain by giving it a thousand percent, and there is no doubt that he gave it his everything in the challenges in Episode 4. He became the hero he always wanted to be. Woo called him a “legend”.
Savage has his Band-Aid and he has his legend title. What else is there for him to achieve in Survivor? The only lingering question from his edit is his part in the Jeremy and Stephen arc. He may very well still have business to take care of there, but the edit seems to point at that being Jeremy’s story rather than Savage’s. His personal arc is complete.
The streak of CP edits continued for Jeremy in Episode 4. This episode he opened his idol and put forth a strategy involving Stephen. He sent Fishbach out to look for the already discovered idol and reeled him into his alliance, in the hopes that Stephen will watch his back in the future. This was all from Jeremy’s perspective. We didn’t get a Stephen confessional; which suggests this is Jeremy’s story (again, Stephen is the support act).
Last week we touched on the fact that Jeremy kept mentioning his wife Val, and how his focus on Val was what he claimed led to his downfall in San Juan Del Sur. In a season where change is rewarded, it wasn’t a positive sign that Jeremy kept bringing his wife up. But this episode there was no mention of Val. That was definitely a good thing for Jeremy’s outlook this season.
So what was all the Val stuff about in the first three episodes? Well, it could have been a way to emotionally bond Jeremy with Spencer; the edit seems to be suggesting that that will be an important relationship. Or it could simply have been to give Jeremy emotional depth and make him more rootable. After all, what was his goal this season?
“Now, I want the money for Val more than for me.”
That was from Jeremy’s opening confessional. Is that a winner’s quote? Is Jeremy going to win the money for his wife and new baby? Or is the focus on his wife going to lead to his downfall again? It is still very much up in the air, but this episode was a very good edit for Jeremy.
Kass is having a great edit. She went UTR briefly in Episode 3, but she was back with a CPP edit this week and everything is looking sweet and dandy. At least, it is on paper. Kass is evolving. She is showing emotion and compassion and kindness. She is aware, much like Spencer, that she needs to improve her social game. And she is definitely doing that.
But is it working? In Edgic there is something called SPV which means “second person visbility”. This means analysing what characters say about other characters, and whether what they’re saying is positive or negative. It helps better define a character’s tone and overall edit. For example, so far we have heard lots of positive SPV about Joe – which explained his early one-dimensional OTTP edit. And we have heard lots of negative SPV about Abi – explaining her constant N ratings.
Why is this important for Kass? Well, in her opening confessional from the premiere, she said that the only thing that needed to change was people’s perception of her. So while Kass may be actively trying to change her social game, is the actual perception of her from the other players changing? Up until this episode we haven’t had any SPV about Kass, either positive or negative, making it very hard to read her overall edit. But in Episode 4, Wentworth gave us her thoughts on Kass, and her perception was that Kass is sneaky and untrustworthy.
In that sense, Kass is currently failing at her quest for change. But the one positive is that Wentworth was proved wrong. But we didn’t get a follow up confessional from Wentworth admitting that she was wrong about Kass. So right now, as far as her edit goes, Kass hasn’t changed her perception. Will she last long enough to eventually change people’s perceptions? Or will her failure to do so bring about the return of Chaos Kass? That seems to be her story arc.
Tasha is owning the game right now with her back-to-back CPP5 edits. At the start of Episode 4 we saw Tasha talking to Woo and assuring him that he was safe. Her target was Jeff. Meanwhile, Abi was dead set on taking out Woo for writing her name down twice (twice!). While at tribal council it was Varner versus Woo in a battle for survival, the real battle of the episode was between Abi and Tasha. Who would get their way? Who was really in control?
The answer was Tasha. Not only did Tasha win the battle but she became the first person to keep Abi on side two weeks in a row. She also got Abi to vote against her better judgement. For all of Abi’s delusions, she was right to want to target Woo over Varner. Varner had in fact shown more loyalty to Abi than Woo ever had. So for Tasha to get Abi to vote out one of her stronger allies is a major plus point for Tasha and her edit.
The concern for Tasha is whether or not she can continue to keep Abi under control. The edit has played up the theme of “Abi – cancer or a tool?” since the start, and with Varner’s exit, the man who originally called her a tool, it confirmed that she is indeed a cancer to an alliance. Other than Vytas, every single person that has gone home so far was at one time aligned with Abi. Will Tasha be the person to beat the cancer? Or will it end up eating her too?
Abi-Maria managed to avoid an OTT edit in Episode 4 by explaining her reasons for wanting to vote out Woo. Under the surface of all the craziness, Abi actually had sound reasons for wanting to take out Woo, and the edit allowed her time to put forward her arguments. This gives Abi her first CP edit of the season even though a lot of her actions are still OTT in nature.
Her tone was still significantly negative. Not only did we see her confronting Tasha mere minutes into the episode, but her SPV was bad. Everything that the other character’s had to say about Abi this episode was negative: “deep-rooted insecurities,” “paranoia,” “unpredictable,” “contrary.”
Yet Abi continues to survive. But not by her own doing. As we said with Tasha, the episode was a battle for control. Abi was adamant that she wanted to get rid of Woo: “And if the decision was up to me, he’s (Woo) gonna be the next one going home.” But Woo didn’t go home. Abi doesn’t have control; she can’t even control herself.
Jeff Varner’s elimination certainly turned Edgic upside down and made us all re-evaluate what came before. Varner’s four episode arc and edit is an anomaly. You’d be hard pressed to find any player that had this kind of edit and only lasted four episodes. It has no precedent which makes it very difficult to judge.
Varner’s string of highly visible CP edits was more akin to a “journey edit” or a “mastermind merge boot edit” than it was an early boot edit. He was not only visible, he was dominant, he was a narrator, and he was introducing the themes of the season. So what happened? Were the editors intentionally tricking us just to keep us on our toes? Or was Varner simply providing so much TV gold that they couldn’t NOT feature him so heavily? That is certainly possible.
It is worth looking back at Varner’s arc and working out what his original goals and motivations for this season were. What was his quest for change?
In his opening confessional he said: “This is my opportunity to rewrite my own story. I’m more mature, I’m a lot smarter, and I’m not jumping off anything for peanut butter.” An opportunity to rewrite his own story. Well, he did that. In Australian Outback he was the player that had plans and potential but never got to show it. In Cambodia, he showed that he could strategize and manipulate and control a vote. He also never jumped off anything for peanut butter – meaning, he gave it his all and never gave up.
Also in the premiere he stated: “It’s not about a midlife crisis, it’s about a midlife quest, and the second half of my life begins with Survivor: Second Chance.” When you look deeper at the content of his edit, you realise there wasn’t lots of focus on winning or making it to a certain point in the game (unlike say a Kimmi or a Joe). His “midlife quest” wasn’t specifically about winning Survivor, it was about kick-starting the second half of his life – beginning with Survivor.
“In terms of the life adventure. In terms of the charge to move forward with the second half of my life; I absolutely got what I needed.”
Those were Varner’s own words from his post-exit confessional. So, while his elimination may have initially seemed confusing and out of leftfield based on his highly visible complex edit, it actually made a lot of sense in relation to what he wanted to accomplish from the experience. It tied his explosive four episode arc up nicely. It also makes a nice little highlight reel for a future return.
That is it for Week 4 of Survivor Second Chance Edgic. Please let us know in the comments how you would have rated each castaway based on Episode 4.