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.
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What Does This Tell Us?
With the Angkor tribe finally winning an immunity challenge, it meant that we got to see the dynamics of the Bayon tribe for the first time. We also had a small glimpse of strategy talk at new Ta Keo. We finally got to hear from some of those characters we called potential “late-bloomers” last week and whether or not our readings were accurate. This episode also cemented the season’s key characters.
Under The Radar
Kelly Wiglesworth was on the chopping block in Episode 5, and she still didn’t get a confessional. That is bad… real bad. Her “2” visibility rating comes primarily from others talking about her as a potential boot choice. Remember last week we talked about SPV (second person visibility)? Well, that was the main component of Kelly’s edit this episode.
While Episode 5 helped to cement some of the season’s key characters, it also wrote off others, and Wiglesworth was one of those people. Her consistent string of UTR edits tells us that she is insignificant to the overall season narrative. She isn’t there to be a strategic force or a story-teller. She is there to feed people, make their house and home, and kill their bugs. It says that when she is booted (or even if she makes it to the Final 3), she will remain irrelevant.
Kass had a great CPP edit in Episode 4 but this week she took a nose-dive back to the UTR ranks. While she was included in the new Ta Keo five-person alliance, we didn’t get to her hear thoughts on it at all. We heard from Keith, Kelley Wentworth, and Joe, and Ciera was the person to suggest the alliance – so of the five, only Kass was left out.
What does this mean for Kass? Well, she is not the one making the decisions or running the game. Her edit and her arc is all about personal growth and changing people’s perceptions. We have yet to hear any positive SPV about Kass though. In fact, the only SPV we have heard relating to Kass was from Wentworth last episode, and it was negative. There is still the lingering question of whether Chaos Kass will return at the merge, or will Compassionate Kass sneak through the game with under the radar kindness?
Ciera was one of those people we said had late-bloomer potential last week. Another non-confessional UTR edit this episode, though, and we almost have to write her off. Her one positive is that she was the first one shown to suggest the five-person alliance. That does remind us that Ciera has strategic capabilities.
But overall? There is nothing to Ciera’s edit for us to get our teeth stuck into. Could she pull off a move or two somewhere down the road? Sure. But it is such a middling edit; it doesn’t fill us with the hope that Ciera will become a big time player or character as we get closer to the second half of the season. As for her wish to play “fearless” this season, we just aren’t seeing it so far.
We talked last week about how Episode 4 was Andrew Savage’s victory lap. He achieved hero status and completed his personal arc. What else was there for him to do? Well, judging by Episode 5, not a great deal.
Savage’s edit in this episode solidified our reading from last week. His personal story arc is done. He accomplished the goals set out in his opening confessional in the premiere. He didn’t receive any confessionals nor any particular focus at the challenges. His main scene was at camp with Tasha when he referred to her as his “little sister”. That is Savage’s role now – the big brother. He’s a supporting character for Tasha, and if he does reunite with Jeremy and Stephen, it seems likely he would be a supporting character in their storyline too.
Middle of the Road
As Ta Keo continues to win, Terry continues to devolve as a Survivor player. The social and strategic game that he talked about needing so much back in Episode 2 has gone completely out of the window at this point. Terry the challenge beast is alive and well, but that is not a good thing.
“This is like a tropical camping trip,” Terry said in his confessional. That is pretty much all he sees the game as. He is happy and in a good place mentally, but the edit continues to undermine him. Terry went to play in the water while the big kids were back at camp gaming and forming a five-person alliance – which Terry was most certainly not included in.
“Winning has been the elixir,” Terry stated, but will he be able to keep winning until the end? That is the only reason Terry made it so far in Panama, and it appears it is the only way he could make it far again this time. The edit tells us that as soon as Terry loses, he will be in danger.
Kelley Wentworth continues her streak of MOR2 edits. She isn’t a primary character yet, but she is gifted confessional time every episode to tell us her thoughts on what is happening in the game. That means that the editors don’t want us to forget about Wentworth – she has a role to play this season, even if her edit so far is very situational.
Working out what exactly that role is is the tricky part. Last week we discussed how the majority of Wentworth’s scenes had been centered around the idol. This seemed to suggest that her arc was leading to a big play with the idol, rather than a story of personal growth or a journey edit. But it was pointed out by readers of Inside Survivor that Wentworth has had non-idol related scenes – like her Vytas confessional in the premiere and her “go with the flow” confessional in Episode 2. And of course this week there was no mention of the idol at all.
Perhaps I jumped the gun a little on the idol edit, but still, her edit is very game-focused. Her opening confessional goal was to “…have a better game”. She is succeeding at that. While other characters are intentionally trying to play a more emotional and personal game, Wentworth is purposely playing an emotionless game. This could prove beneficial to her in the long-run when the game becomes more cut-throat. A prime example of that emotionlessness is when she admitted she should have written her dad’s name down in San Juan Del Sur.
Terry, the man that has talked about his children on the show and that has been with Wentworth all game, is the closest thing to a father-figure to her. And he is taking the brunt of her game-focused, emotionless play; she continues to throw him under the bus while he remains unaware. Terry even “crowned” her this episode when she asked him “where’s my crown?” A line that could be taken one of two ways: 1) As her crowning victory over Terry (slaying the father-figure) or 2) a potential foreshadowing of her being crowned the sole Survivor.
We finally got to hear from Keith this episode and what his long-term plans are. They weren’t particularly mind-blowing. Keith stumbled his way into a five-person alliance, and he talked about how this could get him to the end.
Keith hasn’t changed a great deal from the first time he played. He is still amazing at ball related challenges, and he is still fairly clueless when it comes to strategy. Except now he has an alliance. He talked in the premiere about how he didn’t need to change his game too much; he just needed to tweak it a little bit. I guess this is that little tweak. Even though he got a bit more screentime this week, Keith’s edit doesn’t suggest he’ll be anything other than a passenger in somebody else’s story.
Joe managed to get out of his UTR slump this week into an MOR rating (which was almost a CP-lite). He told the audience that he is playing a better game than last time, but he didn’t go into detail about how or why. He did talk about needing numbers around him going into a merge, which gave us a very basic idea of his long-term plans, but nothing of real substance.
But Joe’s game and edit are still very by-the-numbers. He reminds his tribe-mates and the viewers that he was perceived as a threat in Worlds Apart and that he is still a threat now. He may be included in the five-person alliance, but all he did was help warn them of how much of a physical threat he will become at the merge. A very bizarre strategy. Joe may talk about changing his game but in reality, nothing has changed that much; even though the edit presented it to us like change.
Whether this is actual change or not then becomes irrelevant. If the edit portrays it to the audience as change (even if it isn’t in actuality), then Joe is allowed to be rewarded. The one thing he has going for him is his opening confessional where he talked about wanting to make it to the family visit to see his dad. That is the only hook to Joe’s story. It doesn’t suggest a growth arc or a winner’s story, but it does give us a destination and perhaps Joe can make it there. That will be his reward for changing.
Jeremy has finally broken is cross season CP streak! Even though a healthy amount of CP ratings is the best bet for a long-term story arc and a potential winner edit, Jeremy’s edit was hovering dangerously close to his San Juan Del Sur edit, and that could have led to the same downfall. Stepping back into an MOR edit this week is a great omen for Jeremy.
We’ve also touched on in previous weeks Jeremy’s constant mentions of his wife Val and how that could once again be his distraction from the game. But two weeks in a row now and no mention of Val. It seems more and more likely that the introduction of Val into Jeremy’s arc was to give him a personal connection with the audience, and a way to introduce the bond between himself and Spencer which this episode further demonstrated is an important relationship this season.
The Bayon tribal council was centered around Monica, Spencer, Kimmi and Wiglesworth mainly, but we still got to hear Jeremy’s thoughts concerning the boot. Kimmi went to Jeremy with her information about Monica, and we also saw Jeremy leading strategy talks with Monica and Stephen at camp. “How cool would that be?” Jeremy said when learning he could remove a potential threat without getting blood on his hands. He also had positive SPV from Spencer when he called Jeremy a “very real and straight up guy.”
While there was plenty of drama going on around him, the edit made sure to present Jeremy in a stable position with control over his own game. After all, at tribal council, Jeff Probst asked Jeremy, nobody else, what the vote was based on. Make no mistake; the edit is telling us that Jeremy is in charge.
Over The Top
Woo has really stepped up in visibility the past two episodes and Episode 5 was perhaps his most positive episode to date (or at least tied with his episode in Cagayan when he won the reward to visit the school kids). He was put in the hero position in both challenges and brought the win home for the previously dejected Angkor tribe, and he opened up about his mother’s heart attack.
The swelling hero music that accompanied his confessional about the challenge win and the story about his mother was definitely OTTP. “The victory was great both morally and spiritually for us,” Woo said. He compared his mother’s recovery to his second chance in the game. Never give up. Keep fighting. These are Woo’s mantras and pretty much sum up his arc. He may not be clued into what is going on around him, but he will always fight to survive.
While this is all positive from a character stand-point, there were also damning quotes that could spell bad news for Woo’s chances in the game. “Second place to us is first place,” was the first quote that set off alarm bells. We all know Woo is the Cagayan second placer that could have won if he picked the right person to sit next to. Him accepting second place, even in the context of a reward challenge, is a negative slight against his game. Combining that with his quote from last week about how the game is “…all about being able to outlast one another”, it shows that Woo still has a very simple, short-sighted idea of what the game is about.
“Woo will take walking orders like a minute before tribal and be cool,” Tasha said, another damning quote that solidified that Tasha is in charge and Woo is just a soldier following blindly. Much like Savage last week, Woo got his moment in the spotlight in this episode, and it is difficult to see where else his story has to go from here.
On the opposite side of the coin, we have Abi-Maria, who returned to her most comfortable spot on Survivor – the OTTN edit. Even with less visibility Abi still came across as a huge villain. In fact, the less visibility did more damage to her character than her more visible episodes. There was nothing positive or redeeming for her in Episode 5.
She questioned Woo’s motives and doubted the sincerity of his story about his mother. She then laughed and compared her tendon surgery to Woo’s mother’s heart transplant. She also dropped her line “if he writes my name down again, he’s dead to me” which has now gone beyond parody.
Abi is the villain and perhaps this season’s only true villain up until this point. The edit never lets us forget that.“Villains have more fun,” was what Abi said in her opening confessional, and while I’m not sure if she is having fun, she is definitely playing the villain.
Tasha described her as “time-bomb” that she might have to cut loose for her own “sanity”. This paints Abi once again as an insane, overly-emotional, liability. The question is can Tasha keep her under control? Or will she get rid of her before the time-bomb explodes in her face?
Speaking of Tasha, she continued her CPP streak in Episode 5. Once again she was shown to be in control of the Angkor tribe and was able to appease the volatile Abi. Savage described her as his little sister – positive SPV. She also received a significant amount of airtime despite not going to tribal council.
“In a merge situation, it’s gonna be twice as hard to maneuver with Abi,” Tasha stated. This appears to be the crux of Tasha’s current story. Does she cut Abi before the merge? Or does she risk taking her further into the game? There are pros and cons to both scenarios, and the edit is definitely playing this dilemma up.
These are the questions we need to ask regarding Tasha and Abi: Will Spencer’s assessment of Abi as the “cancer” come true yet again and kill Tasha’s chances (just like it did Shirin, Peih-Gee, and Varner)? Or will Tasha succeed where others failed and master the Brazilian dragon like some sort of Survivor Daenerys Targaryen? Can she make it to the end with the biggest goat in Survivor history? And if she does will people reward her or hold it against her? The Tasha/Abi story could go many ways but the positive for Tasha is that she has been shown to be aware of that fact.
Stephen finally stepped away from the bumbling, do-do edit (even in an episode where he hit the other tribe’s target) and moved closer to his Tocantins strategic side-kick edit. His confessional was the most strategically aware confessional of the night, and he was present in all the key strategy conversations at camp.
Stephen explained the positives and negatives of voting out Monica or Wiglesworth and why it is dangerous for either of them to stay in the game. It was straightforward, strategic, and made sense. He also expressed fear of another swap or a merge. Which could be foreshadowing that this vote has big consequences later in the game for Stephen and/or his Bayon tribe mates.
He also had the winning line at tribal council when he said “Strategy is based on emotion. Gotta form real bonds to form real alliances”. It is very similar to the ideology that Spencer has been pushing all season, except Stephen is having much more success with it, as he was in on the vote whereas Spencer was watching from the outside. Stephen still feels like somewhat of a supporting character, but he is now a supporting character with depth.
Spencer’s growth edit continued in strong fashion in Episode 5. John Cochran won Survivor: Caramoan with a similar edit, and while there are differences in the details, there is a precedent for winning with a growth arc. Spencer consistently has great content and complexity to his edit that fits perfectly with the second chance theme.
The one key difference between Spencer and Cochran’s edits, however, and the one that could be the determining factor in Spencer’s chances, is that Cochran was rarely, if ever, shown out of the loop. Spencer has been playing catch up a lot this season, and once again, at tribal council, he was on the wrong side of the numbers making his best confused “Woo face” impression. This tells us that while Spencer is growing, he has still yet to translate that into strategic control.
But he is building bonds. This episode again focused on the relationship between Spencer and Jeremy. “He’s a straight-up guy, and we can bond and actually become a close unit that could be a force later in the game.” This line from Spencer is a stand-out, as not only did it comment on their growing relationship but it also contained potential foreshadowing. This also harks back to Jeremy’s confessional in Episode 3 about Spencer: “I think he’s a stand-up guy…. I think we could definitely have a bond. I’m not sure how long we’ll keep him, but we can use him for right now.”
The edit is putting emphasis on the Spencer/Jeremy relationship. The question becomes, who is it benefitting the most? Even though Spencer had more visibility than Jeremy in this episode, it still appeared that Jeremy was the one in control. “I got you,” Jeremy says to Spencer as he holds the boat steady for him. Also, during the strategy discussions Spencer was always following behind Jeremy and Stephen – at one point he even stopped to let them walk in front of him.
Spencer may have been out of the loop this episode, but his talk about intentionally playing it cool and relying on the relationships he has built did, in fact, keep him safe. It wasn’t completely negative, and a lot will depend on Spencer’s reaction to the Monica boot in the next episode.
Last week we talked about how Kimmi has an edit that suggests she could potentially make it very far in the game but that she was unlikely to become a strategic force. Well, this week proved that partly wrong because we got more Kimmi than we have had in all previous four episodes combined, and she got involved in strategy in a big way. She led the charge in getting rid of Monica. But was that a smart decision?
Kimmi described Monica as a “liability”, a “loose cannon”, and a “flipper”. Yet it was Kimmi who flipped on Monica in this episode – voting out one of her original Bayon members. While Kimmi was losing her mind about Monica and calling her a snake and a “loose freakin’ cannon,” the camera focused on Monica resting peacefully on the hammock. It was obvious which of the two was the loose cannon in this scene.
“Monica is not playing for the Bayon tribe,” is perhaps the most damaging quote to Kimmi’s chances. It suggests that Kimmi is only playing for Bayon and not herself. “She will go and step on every single one of us thinking, like she owns us.” That is Kimmi’s view of the individual game. But we know this is ultimately an individual game. Not all of Bayon can win. Does this suggest someone from Bayon will eventually step on everyone else, including Kimmi, and “own them”? Is Kimmi putting too much faith in Jeremy and Stephen? “My whole entire ambition is to get to the end.” Kimmi once again repeats her opening confessional goal to get to the end. Not win. Did she make the right decision to achieve that ultimate dream?
Spencer also stated that it was still a tribal game and not yet individual. So on the one hand, he validates Kimmi about sticking with the tribe. On the other hand, unlike her, he acknowledges that it becomes an individual game. He knows when to switch mindsets.
“It stinks that I’m squashing somebody’s hopes and dreams. But I have to get over the emotional part. I came in here knowing that it’s a game, and I’m just going to keep going on the path that I’m playing.” While Spencer’s whole arc is all about playing the game less and showing emotions more, Kimmi is stating the opposite. She wants less emotion and more cold squashing of hopes and dreams to go far on her path in the game. Obviously, people can have different things they need to work on, but it does beg the question, can you just “get over the emotional part” or is the emotional part intrinsic to playing this game successfully? Spencer’s arc tells us it’s essential to going far, which is her goal.
The writing was on the wall for Monica ever since she talked about feeling safe in the numbers two weeks ago. We mentioned how one of those over-confident players (Ciera, Monica, Stephen or Terry) was going to pay for their words and unfortunately for Monica; it was her. Having such a minimal edit and then suddenly emerging last week was also a bad sign of things to come.
As we have said in the past, there was nothing in Monica’s edit to suggest a long-term season arc. Her edit was essentially a two episode show, starting last week with her incorrectly doubting Spencer, and then ending this week with a Drew Christy-lite downfall edit. Her girl’s alliance idea could have been smart, and even prescient with a number of alpha males still left in the game, but it was approached in the wrong way and delivered to the wrong person. The edit crucified her for it and revelled in her blindside.
The editors made no attempt to hide Monica’s negatives this episode. She was called out for being slow in the challenge by Probst, she was portrayed as wrong in the clams argument with Kimmi, and she was shown to be out of the loop and happy to go to tribal council. Monica’s minimal season edit turned into a big downfall edit.
That is it for Week 5 of Survivor Second Chance Edgic. Please let us know in the comments how you would have rated each castaway based on Episode 5.