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?
Last week we talked about how the lack of MOR ratings meant that the game and strategy was becoming more complex and interesting. We began to see cracks in the majority alliance and it signalled a momentum of change. However, this week we saw an abundance of MOR ratings. What does this mean? It means that while the strategy has indeed changed, the edit of the most recent episode told the story in a very straightforward way. Yes, the majority alliance finally turned on each other, but there wasn’t a lot of scrambling. The only CP edits were Jeremy and Stephen, and the strategy was told from their perspective. Stephen dictated the vote, while Jeremy continued his arc of being the game’s true threat. Everything else was ancillary to these plotlines. Hence, everyone else (the ancillary characters) got MOR and UTR ratings.
Under The Radar
The queen of Under The Radar, Kelly Wiglesworth, has finally had her torch snuffed. Two weeks ago we talked about how Wiglesworth was either going to have the most boring boot episode of all-time or the most boring final tribal council speech of all time. While it wasn’t the most boring boot episode in history, judging by the fan reaction to Episode 9, it was probably the most boring boot of the season so far.
Even in her boot episode she only received one very short, generic confessional. We were told, mainly by Stephen, that she was a social threat, despite seeing very little evidence of this throughout the season. Does that mean the edit had intentionally left out footage of Wiglesworth’s impeccable social game? Or was something else going on here?
The edit of Episode 9 was less about Wiglesworth and more about Stephen and his decision making. It didn’t matter why Wiglesworth was voted out; what mattered was whether Stephen was making the right move or not. As an audience, we were being misled to understand the vote. Stephen told us that Wiglesworth connected with everybody but in reality, we were shown that she only linked to a few.
Despite being told that her social game was flawless, we were shown (and it was reinforced) that she was only tight with Joe, Kimmi and Keith. Stephen called it out as if obvious, but Abi pointed out that Wiglesworth had “…relationships with everyone… but us (Abi, Ciera and Wentworth)”. Wiglesworth herself was shown saying to Joe that she only trusted him, Kimmi and Keith. So the real reason she was voted out wasn’t because she had too many connections but because she didn’t have enough connections. She just had a few very tight ones that made her threatening to everyone outside of those tight connections (namely Stephen).
Jeff Probst had the perfect quote for Kelly’s game at the immunity challenge when she didn’t take her foot off the podium in time: “Too late. Kelly took too long to make the transition. She’s out.” That’s exactly why she was booted; she didn’t adapt to the new game in time.
Abi-Maria has firmly settled into her role as the negative Greek chorus of the post-merge. She continues to make fun of people. The last episode she made fun of Stephen and Savage, and this episode she mocked golden boy Joe.
She cuts people down when they at their lowest. Calling Stephen a “Debbie Downer” when he was upset about losing the reward challenge, sarcastically mocking Savage as he had just been voted out, and this episode laughing at Joe as he was freaking out and trying to find the idol.
Abi is the mean-girl, and while her cutting remarks are now mostly played for humour, the edit won’t let us forget the emotional drama she caused pre-merge. Stephen referred to her as “boil” in his witches analogy and described her as “hot-headed”. Her edit in Episode 9 doesn’t tell us anything new, it simply reconfirms that she is irrelevant to the on-going strategy and will only be used as a cartoonish villain.
Episode 9 was an episode full of supporting characters, and while they didn’t say much, every one of them got at least one generic confessional. Except for Keith. He was the only person in the episode that we didn’t hear from.
Two weeks in a row Keith has been on the wrong side of the vote. “I’m not thinking straight,” he told Jeff Probst at tribal council. While he certainly had a good reason for this due to the pouring rain and lack of sleep, it was purposefully left in the edit to tell us that Keith’s head isn’t in the game.
As we said last week, he is comic relief, with his dead fish-like pratfall in the immunity challenge and jokey retorts to Probst. As the more strategic players take hold of the narrative, the further Keith falls into the background.
Middle of the Road
Tasha was dangerously close to being UTR again if not for her line at tribal council about how the voting bloc with the strongest alliance will win. Her edit in Episode 9 put her on the outside of the game and left her in a vulnerable position.
Stephen hammered home the idea of “voting blocs” and emphasized how important they were to this season. The voting blocs in this episode were “the witches’ coven” of Abi, Ciera, and Kelley Wentworth, the flippers Jeremy, Spencer and Stephen, and then Keith, Kimmi, Joe and Wiglesworth. This was confirmed for us many times. Wiglesworth explicitly spelled out whom she trusted. Tasha was not part of this group.
Also, Tasha was shown talking about Wiglesworth as a threat. This is the first time she has really ever spoken out against anyone in her alliance this whole game. The rational thing to do then would be to include her in the decision to vote out Wiglesworth – but nobody did, not the “witches” or her former Bayon mates Jeremy and Stephen. In a season about bonds and connections, it seems that Tasha’s bonds weren’t strong enough.
Tasha is now the biggest outsider in the game. At tribal council, she said the bloc with the strongest alliance would win. That meant the bloc with the strongest bonds. But we are left wondering if she has any after being left on the outside of the vote. Will that make her an easy target or an easy swing vote? Only time will tell, but what we do know is that Queen Tasha of Angkor is no more.
Kimmi was given credit for coining the term “witches’ coven” for the three girls; which was also the title of the episode. She pushed for one of the “witches” to go all episode and for that reason alone it digs her out of the UTR ranks.
However, we were never shown her explaining her reasons for mistrusting the girls, other than, the longer they stay, the more powerful they become. It was like Kimmi believed, as if by dark magic, the girls would suddenly rise from the bottom and take control.
Her efforts to bad-mouth “the witches” only helped to name and identify them as a potential voting bloc for someone else to use, while loudly pushing herself firmly into the corner of her own bloc. All she did was draw attention to the hierarchy that everyone kept saying didn’t exist.
We have spoken each week about how Kimmi’s edit never pointed at her becoming a strategic threat. This was the episode that finally proved that reading correctly. While she could name her targets, she was unable to explain why they were threatening nor how she could stop them. She was in the supposed majority but couldn’t pull a move.
When Monica was booted in Episode 5, Kimmi talked about keeping Bayon strong and we were shown her opposing an attempt at a female alliance. At the time, we asked whether Kimmi was right to turn on Monica and if she was putting too much faith in Jeremy and Stephen. With Jeremy and Stephen turning on her with this vote, I think that question is answered with an emphatic yes. And lest we mistake Kimmi for the power player back in that episode, it appears that it was always Jeremy and Stephen in control. Kimmi was simply a tool for the men, and she continued to be blinded by them throughout this episode; instead she wrongly focused once again on disposing other women.
Spencer had a very odd edit this week. Even more so than his sudden dip into UTR in Episode 8; at least that could be explained away as a breather episode. This episode, his edit seemed very confused, which I guess was the main takeaway regarding the young lad.
“I’ve never been more confused by any economics, calculus, statistics problem than I am about this one.”
That was the only confessional we received from Spencer in Episode 9, and it was all about his confusion regarding the Wiglesworth vote. He mentioned how he would love to remove her from the game but that he didn’t know how to make it happen. The edit is telling us that Spencer is not in charge of the vote.
He was told he was on the bottom by Stephen, and he reacted with surprise. That is a bad sign. He was skeptical that he could get the three girls on his side. Bad sign. He was confused more than calculus. Bad sign. And we saw him just barely missing the advantage. “Clearly one millisecond not quick enough.” Bad sign.
But after all that, Spencer was on the right side of the vote and included in the plans. Good sign. So what does that say?
“Can I make it happen in a way that doesn’t destroy my game?” he says in regards to taking control. In this episode, we are left wondering, what is Spencer’s game? Is the edit referring to his strong bonds which he has been building throughout the season? It wasn’t as obvious this time because Spencer was back to talking about numbers and statistics, which was very Cagayan Spencer.
Spencer’s original strategy of focusing on building bonds appears to be working, but he seems unsure of himself when making a decision. Will Spencer be one millisecond too late in making a decision to get him to the end?
The question after Episode 8 regarding Kelley Wentworth was whether her arc had reached its natural conclusion with the idol play or whether it was just another step in cementing her as a serious player and contender.
There is certainly an argument to be made that Wentworth has now completed her arc. If you remember her goal from her opening confessional in the premiere it was to have a better game: “I can take this second chance, and I can make the moves that I wanted to make and have a better game.”
Fast-forward 21 days and listen to her confessional at the start of Episode 9: “I feel like I’ve come so far from Blood vs. Water to where I am now here. I just feel like I’m a different person. I wanted to take risks and make moves. It’s like the best feeling I’ve had out here in 21 days.”
Her subtle maneuvering through the game, socially working her way into new alliances despite being the underdog, and her successful idol play have all contributed to her better game. Her fellow tribemates were surprised by the move but were quick to heap praise on her. “Badass”, “savvy at this game”, “building her resume”. She is now recognised by others as a great player and therefore she has achieved what she set out to do.
If Wentworth had been voted out this episode she would still have accomplished her goal. But she wasn’t voted out. Not only was she not voted out but she received a sizable amount of visibility and was on the right side of the vote. Unlike say, Jenn in Survivor: Worlds Apart last season, who after her idol play became insignificant to the narrative, Wentworth continued to be spoken about in a positive light and featured purposefully within the story.
We saw this happen with Savage. He met his goal, but stayed in the game for quite a while longer before he was booted, and still as a big character, too. However, the very episode after he had achieved his goal, he suddenly went quiet/UTR. Kelley, on the other hand, has been present in every episode this season, never registering as UTR yet, and unlike Savage, she did not go quiet in her post goal-achieved episode. Will she have more big moves to come?
In his “witches” analogy, Stephen described Ciera as “toil”. Someone who toils is someone who is a hard worker, and since the merge we have seen Ciera working her butt off to stay in the game. Stephen further cemented this view of Ciera when he said “Wentworth, Abi and Ciera, they are working harder than the dominant alliance ‘cause they’re desperate. So, I mean, those are the ones who deserve to be here.”
But even though we saw Ciera working this episode, it wasn’t an overly complex edit. We didn’t receive much insight into her long-term plans; hence the MOR rating. She described how important rewards are for private talks with a smaller group – strategic, but straight-forward. Her second confessional was about how now that Wentworth had played an idol, people were willing to start playing – again, strategic, but not complex. She also called out Jeremy as the biggest threat during the reward, and this was later validated by the edit when he found his second idol.
So, Ciera had lots of positives this episode, but overall she was playing a secondary role. “In order to save our own asses, we’ll write down whatever you tell us to write down.” She kept on toiling, but she was just a supporting character in Stephen’s big move.
Joe’s edit in Episode 9 was just a toned down version of his Episode 8 edit but with less complexity. He continued to portray himself as the game’s biggest threat and target, even when the surrounding evidence didn’t quite support that.
“Gotta find that Hidden Immunity Idol because now people are really going, “Okay, Joe’s won two immunities. He’s gotta go. He loses, he’s gotta go.””
Even though Joe keeps telling us that everyone is coming after him, it was still only Stephen that was on the “must vote out Joe” bandwagon. When Stephen suggested to Ciera that “everyone wants Joe gone”, she responded “Well… eventually”. For Ciera, eliminating Joe immediately did not seem to be the major priority that both Joe and Stephen seem to think it is. This was reinforced by Kimmi later in the episode: “Joe won immunity, which is fine because I really need the witches to start getting voted out.” Kimmi didn’t care about Joe winning immunity because to her it isn’t an immediate priority to get rid of him.
The edit is telling us that Joe, and his belief that he is the biggest threat, is arrogant. Stephen says about Joe and Wiglesworth: “They have a sort of shared arrogance about how awesome they are.” The edit quickly corroborates this by showing Wiglesworth telling Joe “People want me gone just as much as you.” As we said above, and in Wiglesworth’s section, that isn’t true – only Stephen views them as threats, and the edit supports his opinion regarding their arrogance.
Probst’s voice-over in the Previously On… segment told us “Joe continued to win.” That is essentially Joe’s storyline. How long can he continue to win challenges? While Ciera saw the reward as a chance to talk strategy, Joe viewed it strictly from a challenge point of view, “Going into an Immunity Challenge, it’s a competitive edge over everybody else that we have a little more in the tank.”
Every time the episode shows him doing something strategic it is quickly undercut and mocked. Last episode it was the goofy clown music and the girls laughing at him. This episode, his idol search was played for humour, with Abi interrupting him to use the bathroom. She then re-told the story to Wentworth who responded by, once again, laughing at Joe and his situation.
Last episode, Joe told us that “Stephen, apparently has more connections in this game than I realized,” and this episode, Stephen used those connections to plot his move against Wiglesworth. This was probably Stephen’s best overall edit this season so far, as the entire move was explained from his perspective.
There was some nice juxtaposition between Stephen and Kimmi in regards to the “witches”. To Kimmi, the “witches” were inexplicable dark magic (shallow understanding of the game – it’s “magic”). To Stephen, the “witches” were Shakespeare (complex literature). To Kimmi, they were a negative that needed shunning. To Stephen, they were a positive that needed nurturing. Kimmi showed an unwillingness to work with the “witches”, whereas Stephen was willing to work with anybody and work those connections. Stephen then used the “witches” to turn on Kimmi. In the words of Jeff Varner, “How poetic.”
The concern with Stephen is whether or not this was the right move for him. He is still laser-focused on taking out Joe. His removal of Wiglesworth was a case of going after the “next best thing” because Joe was immune. Stephen sees Joe as the new J.T that he must get rid of in order to win the game. But the edit has told us time and time again that Joe is not the biggest threat; he is not the new J.T. In fact, there is only one player that has described himself as J.T this season – Jeremy Collins.
Is Stephen’s obsession with Joe blinding him to the real threat in this game? While he has been plotting up ways to take down Joe, Jeremy has been out finding idols for himself. While he is telling anyone that will listen how big of a threat Joe is, Ciera was informing us that if Jeremy gets to the end, he will win.
Stephen has connections, and his biggest one is with Jeremy, but has he connected himself to another J.T? Is Stephen about to become a two-time runner-up?
Speaking of the new J.T, the best edit of the episode went to Jeremy. He returned to the CPP ranks where he was in the first three episodes; back when he was leading the charge on Bayon and sharing with us his strategy and personal story – Val and her pregnancy.
All of those things were present again in this episode but turned up to an even bigger extreme. Jeremy was the only person to receive tone in this episode, and an overly positive one at that. Originally, the mentions of Val seemed like a distraction, like Jeremy was falling into the same traps that ruined his first game in San Juan Del Sur. This is what he said in his opening confessional from the premiere:
“Last time when I played with my wife, half my mind was always with her. It’s emotional, you know, with Val. I really love her and I care about what she’s doing. I wasn’t focused so I was blindsided by my own alliance. I went home, took it hard. Now, I want the money for Val more than for me.”
On first glance it seemed to mean that his attachment to Val was what lost him focus and caused him to be blindsided by his alliance. Therefore, any mention of Val seemed to be a negative. But that is not what he was saying. It’s always been about Val. Except this time she isn’t a distraction, she is his motivation. Jeremy was the only person to mention the money in his opening confessional, but he didn’t talk about wanting the money just for himself, it was for Val.
When he said “I just want Val to win, you know? I just want Val to win. Like, she deserves it more than me, you know?” in this episode, that wasn’t evidence of Jeremy becoming distracted from the game, that was him and the edit reaffirming his goal. The idols are for Val. The money is for Val.
“I gotta figure out when I can use these idols ‘cause I gotta use them at the right time.” Even in his emotional confessional about Val and his children, Jeremy never lost sight of the game. Every mention of Val serves as a reminder to stay aware and alert at all times.
That is it for Week 9 of Survivor Second Chance Edgic. Please let us know in the comments how you would have rated each castaway based on Episode 9.