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.
We use a different color scheme than traditional Edgic. We wanted the bigger character ratings, the OTTs and CPs of the world, to stand out. So we made all of these colors bolder and brighter. Simultaneously we wanted the less important character ratings, particularly the UTRs, to blend into the background, as the characters do on the show. So we made these colors duller, more gray and brown. We also looked at the tonal dimensions — negative to positive — and wanted to make it visually consistent whether a character was portrayed positively or negatively. To that end, we reserved all variations of red and pink for the negative ratings, and all the positive ratings are variations on green.
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The recap started with the Jeff Probst voiceover telling us, “The minority were hopeless and desperate,” as we saw clips of Andrea/Cirie and co congratulating each other. The “desperate” was tagged to Sierra, who was shown telling Andrea and Cirie she’d vote however they want her to. “I’m willing at any moment to throw Brad, Tai, and Troyzan under the bus.” That was clearly a pieced together soundbite given how awkward the “Brad, Tai and Troyzan” part fit into the sentence.
“Until Andrea threw the game off the rails.” Andrea was shown talking to Aubry and Michaela and suggesting getting rid of Zeke. “But Michaela and Sarah wanted to keep the majority intact.” Michaela was shown talking to Sarah telling her, “I don’t like that.” This obviously set up the episode with Michaela considering flipping on her alliance.
“At tribal council, the minority voted one of their own.” Brad, Sierra, and Troyzan were shown voting for Tai, setting up the Michaela/Tai plot for the night’s episode. “And Andrea got her way.” Andrea was given the major credit for getting rid of Zeke, painting her as one of the main decision makers.
Under The Radar
I’m running out of things to say for Troyzan. He’s had one good edit across 12 episodes, and that was back in Episode 3. No confessionals AGAIN. Outside of the loved ones interaction with his brother, he had one short scene with Sierra and then was part of the group chat in the water. He’s only ever mentioned in the context of other people’s games. There is just nothing of substance here. With a double-boot episode coming up, edit-wise it could make sense for Troyzan to go next, although it wouldn’t surprise me to see him the finale episode. Either way, there isn’t going to be any fanfare over Troyzan’s exit.
Aubry‘s Edgic strip is just sad – especially for someone who was such a big presence in their first season. What are Aubry’s motivations? Who does she see as her closest allies? What are her endgame plans? We’re going into the penultimate episode, and we haven’t been told any of this stuff. Yes, she was included in a couple of brief strategy chats at camp and had her moment with her sister, but that was it. She even won the reward, but we didn’t get any scene of her at the reward with her sister. Aubry is another one that seems a good bet to leave in the double based on her subdued edit. If you remember last season, Will and Sunday were voted out in the double, and both of them had quiet edits.
Middle of the Road
This post-merge has had a real low energy and if anything exemplifies that it’s Tai‘s edit. Tai has always been a larger than life character, enthusiastic, raw, emotional. Before the post-merge, he hadn’t gone a single episode in both seasons without a confessional. But over the last three episodes, Tai has become subdued, reduced mainly to background character status. That kind of tells you the tone this season has taken.
His edit this week was actually a little better than it has been. He at least had a story, even if Michaela was given leading role in that particular arc. We saw him questioning his allies at the start of the episode on who they voted. He asked if they all voted for him and Sierra just laughed and said “Yeah.” Brad worried that he’d lost Tai. It all set up Tai’s conversation with Michaela later in the episode when the two of them recognized their position within their alliance. They realized they could work as a pair and swing to whichever side they wanted. Again, Michaela was the one narrating all this in confessionals, hence why Tai is MOR and not CP.
After the immunity challenge we saw Tai talking with Aubry and Andrea, then he went to reconvene with Michaela at the water well where they discussed who they wanted to vote for out of Andrea or Sierra. “The original five say Sierra is the one to vote off tonight, but Sierra, Brad, and Troyzan want to vote Andrea, so I’m weighing my options. Right now, I’m closest to Michaela and strategically, both groups want us. They both need our number.” There’s an argument for CP-lite here, but I went with MOR just because Michaela was more vocal in the strategy and narration.
Tai and Michaela originally settled on Andrea, but their vote ultimately landed on Sierra, after Sarah talked to Michaela. The fact Sarah went to Michaela and not Tai is another mark against his edit and position within the game. So while it was good to see Tai get this little story, he still seemed like a secondary character within it. But the fact he is now portrayed as more aware and knows that he is pretty much alone in the game is perhaps a good sign that he will play his idol(s) soon.
I guess I should just give up on predicting where Andrea‘s edit is going? I’ve been predicting her downfall the past couple of weeks, and it’s still yet to happen. I thought she was following the pattern of the pre-boot spike in visibility and complexity, but obviously, there’s something else going on. I still doubt she can win because of that terrible pre-merge edit, but maybe she makes it to the finale (watch her get eliminated in the next episode the first time I haven’t predicted it).
Andrea was still presented as a big threat and one of the key decision makers in her alliance, but she lacked the complexity of the past three weeks. Instead, players like Michaela, Sierra, and Sarah were given the meatier stuff when it came to the strategy and game talk. We saw her reassuring Michaela about the Zeke vote at the start of the episode. In fact, the majority of Andrea’s content in this episode related back to Michaela. After the reward challenge, Andrea said: “Michaela was completely defeated, but Michaela’s very smart and knows that this is a game, so we’ll give Michaela a day. She’ll get over it, and we’ll be back on track.” However, we saw Michaela back at camp plotting against Andrea.
She was portrayed as the one running the show and the biggest threat. Sierra outright called her the biggest threat in confessional and at tribal council. Michaela told Sierra that Andrea was making the decisions. Brad told his wife Monica that Zeke was voted out because of Andrea. So there was a lot of talk about Andrea but not as much talk from Andrea. Her only other confessional was very basic: “Before the challenge, we were planning on taking out Brad, and Brad ends up winning immunity. So it does kind of limit our choices.” It’s for this reason Andrea is MOR rather than CP.
Andrea’s story right now is the big game threat. She is continually targeted by the others and talked up as both a challenge and a strategic threat. The question is, will they be able to get her out before Final Tribal Council? My reading of the edit says they will, but I’ve been wrong on Andrea previously.
Brad dropped a little bit in complexity this episode. He wasn’t a main strategic force but, as always, the edit kept him relevant, popping into the story to give his thoughts and opinions. The likability to his edit also continued. Even though Brad has been on the wrong side of the numbers and out of the loop, the edit has made sure to keep him aware-looking and positive as possible.
He got his moment with Monica at the reward. Obviously, Monica has been a big part of his arc this season (#WWMD). The reunion here would have been a perfect place for his story to end, and certainly, could have gone that way had he not won immunity. The fact that he lives to fight another day suggests there is more to his story. Brad was also one of the two people to get focus with his loved one at the reward itself (the other was Cirie). We saw him game talking with Monica; getting her advice. She told him that Michaela would likely flip. Brad followed that up in a confessional: “Hopefully Troyzan and Sierra are back at camp trying to convince Michaela to flip and get in alignment with us. Otherwise, I have to win immunity for me to be able to make it another day.” He delivered on winning that immunity!
The above confessional, coupled with his other two confessionals, make him MOR rather than CP. The one above was about hoping others were putting in the work – we never saw Brad approaching Michaela/Tai later in the episode. His first confessional was about being surprised the minority survived, but he did show awareness when he said, “I don’t know that I have Tai anymore.” And his other confessional was just about being fortunate that his loved one is also a former player. Nothing too in-depth.
I still believe Brad is the only real competition for Sarah (with an outside shot of Cirie). In a way, Sarah and Brad’s edits have flipped. Pre-merge, Brad was very much a central focus, with lots of CP and game talk, while Sarah wasn’t as in-your-face but still carefully included at crucial moments. Now Sarah is the major focus with all the game talk, and Brad is the one a little more in the background but given time to air his thoughts and feelings. I go back and forth on Brad and Sarah, and it will probably remain that way until midway through the finale – which, of course, is the editorial intent, they don’t want the winner to be too obvious.
Cirie had some great content this episode. It wasn’t as complex or strategy focused as previously, but there was a definite positive bent and once again a focus on family (more blatantly this time obviously due to the loved ones visit).
She laid out the goal at the start of the episode -“If the pair of Sierra and Brad stay together long enough and they can convince enough people to come back to that side, we’re back in trouble. So we gotta split that up.” It was fairly basic, but it showed that Cirie still had a hand in calling the shots, and because Sierra went home, she achieved her goal of splitting up that pair. The rest of her content was focused mainly on her family. She was picked to take part in the reward with her son. The reason I gave Cirie positive tone for this was because there was increased focus on her story.
Firstly, when she got picked the show focused on her crying about feeling bad for the others who couldn’t join. This demonstrated that Cirie is a caring and compassionate person (linking back to content we’ve seen in previous episodes). Secondly, she received follow-up focus with her loved one at the reward itself (only her and Brad received that). She talked about her son, how he’s a “city boy” and that this experience is good to see him open up to different things. She was tearful in her confessional and finished with another winner quote – “The only thing that would be better than that is for me to make it to the end and win for him.” All of this was framed in a very positive light.
Cirie wasn’t really seen in the rest of the episode after the reward. Nothing of her at camp before tribal council. It’s because of things like this why I don’t see her as high up in the contenders as Sarah at the minute. She’s kind of reaching Brad, but again, Brad’s edit feels more consistent overall. Cirie to me seems like the fan-favorite, journey type edit.
Last week, Sierra was shown to be desperate and willing to throw her allies under the bus (as shown in the recap). Her desperation was still the main story at play this episode – best exemplified by her telling Sarah about the Legacy Advantage.
Sierra was all over this episode, and we got to hear her thoughts and plans. She discussed her position in the game and how she was trying to work her way back into it. “It’s a weird feeling losing control in this game and feeling like you’re at the bottom because you have nothing to lose.” Her first attempt at doing that was by approaching Sarah. There was a particular focus on her friendship with Sarah. “Sarah has been my closest friend — not even alliance friend — while being out here, and I feel like I really got burned by her, but she might be a key person to get me further in this game.” This was further highlighted later in the episode when Sarah used their friendship to convince Sierra they were still good. Now, either this was set up simply for Sierra willing the Legacy to Sarah, or maybe it’s foreshadowing FTC with Sierra feeling betrayed by Sarah?
While Sierra’s plan seemed to work initially, it was later used against her, with Sarah taking that information to get her voted out. This made Sierra look bad (not in a negative tone way, but in a game sense). She also was portrayed as a little all over the place. First, she was willing to throw anyone under the bus, then she was saying, “I don’t want to turn my back on Brad and Troyzan, and so I’m hoping that maybe we can pull Tai back into our mix.” It played into her theme of desperation. She was looking for any path back into the game. She also looked bad when Michaela straight up told her: “Don’t get scared and pull something funny because then you’re gonna mess up the numbers and send yourself home.” But that’s exactly what happened, Sierra told Sarah the plan, causing her to lose the numbers, and got herself sent home.
Sierra had a decent edit throughout the season, but there were flaws. I said previously how she was portrayed as the villain post-merge, and those are the signs that usually tell you a comeuppance is coming. Overall, her season rating is CP. When people look back on Sierra’s game, they’ll probably remember as more game focused this time around and more involved in the strategy.
Sarah was lower in visibility this week but still very much a significant part of the episode. She’s really kicked into the “criminal” arc of her story now, fulfilling her premiere promises. Her plan this episode was to get Sierra’s Legacy Advantage while still voting for her. We got to hear her thought process and reasoning every step of the way.
We started the episode with Sarah agreeing with Cirie that Brad and Sierra needed to be split up and that Brad should go first. Then we saw Sierra talking about her close friendship with Sarah and telling her about the advantage. “Brad and Sierra need to be split up, and when Sierra told me about this advantage, it actually makes me want to keep her now because she’s given me information and she wants to work with me,” Sarah explained. So while Sarah still agreed with Cirie’s plan, we now had a reason for why Sarah would want to keep Sierra over Brad. However, Sarah got to tell us why she was suddenly okay with getting rid of Sierra. “Originally, I didn’t want to vote Sierra out, but Brad won immunity, and if Sierra goes, it is not all bad, because Sierra has told me about this Legacy Advantage and that she would will it to me if she leaves.” She was still committed to the original plan of breaking up the pair, and because Brad won immunity, it now had to be Sierra. And she also mentioned the added bonus of voting out Sierra.
“Now the only trick is, I need to confirm that Sierra thinks I’m good with her to ensure that she gives [the advantage] to me.” Sarah explained her next plan, which played into the scene where Sarah told Sierra “I love you” and called her her “IT girl.” She made Sierra believe she was on her side and that was what got Sierra to spill the Andrea plan, allowing Sarah to grab Michaela and flip her back to her side. All of this was very CP. Sarah had plans, explained them, and then put them into motion, and they worked! Although we did see Andrea looking suspiciously at Sarah at tribal council when Sarah was pretending to be shocked. Will Andrea question Sarah next episode?
My worry is the same as last week. Is the edit highlighting these betrayals because they are going to come back to haunt her in the end? “I don’t want to vote her out, but this isn’t about making friends. This is about winning a million dollars,” she said regarding Sierra. That could be both a winning quote or a losing quote. The question is whether this season is about making friends or if it’s solely about making “game changing” moves. Sierra talked up her friendship with Sarah a lot, and it could play a big role if Sarah is sitting at the end. Or it could turn out to simply be a one-episode arc. Right now, the edit is all in on Sarah; I’d be shocked if she doesn’t make it to FTC.
This was a big episode for Michaela and easily her most strategic focused episode of the season. She had a clear story, explained her thoughts and reasoning behind her moves, and had a mixture of tone.
Right from the start of the episode, Michaela’s story was set up. “Tribal Council was a heartbreaker. For some reason, we decided to acquiesce to Andrea. The majority turning on each other after one vote just means there’s nothing solid in a big group,” she said. Straight away we knew she wasn’t comfortable with her alliance, worried about their willingness to turn on each other after just one vote, and we also saw that Andrea was her main target. When she wasn’t chosen for the reward, it furthered this arc. Back at camp, we saw Michaela forming a new alliance with Tai. “I saw a huge opportunity to move myself forward in the game. Tai is awesome to work with because he has no one.” Michaela correctly recognized that Tai was on the outs of his alliance too. She was given the key role in this alliance, leading the conversation in the water with Tai, Sierra, and Troyzan. “I put Tai and me in a wonderful position. The stars aligned for us. We’ve got options,” she said.
One of the positive signs here is that Michaela was focused on her game. “We’ll (herself and Tai) come to that decision whenever it’s time to come to that decision, but at the end of the day, this is about Michaela and what Michaela is trying to do in this game,” she said. While players such as Aubry and Troyzan are only ever mentioned in the context of a “we,” Michaela here is presented as her own player with her own motivations. Michaela was also correct after Brad won immunity: “I think Sierra is in trouble, I think Andrea is in trouble, and it’s funny ‘cause everybody thinks I’m voting with them. So a couple of people are going to be blindsided tonight.” It was indeed Sierra and Andrea in trouble, and both sides did believe Michaela was voting with them.
In the end, Michaela (and Tai) voted out Sierra, even though the initially told Sierra they were voting for Andrea. The episode gave credit to Sarah for flipping Michaela back, but Michaela still got to give her thoughts on the matter before tribal council. “Initially, it was just get Andrea because she might win everything, but the fact that Sierra has an advantage further convolutes what’s the best move to make right now,” she said. “Sierra is a good person to get rid of, but we would like Andrea gone sooner than later. The question is, “Is now the best time?”” The idea of “timing” was brought up, which is always worth taking note of because it can often be foreshadowing – like making a move too soon or too late (see Zeke). “It’s a great thing when the decision is in your hand as long as you make the right one because if you make the wrong one, you’ll end up on the jury looking stupid.” That was the line that ended the pre-tribal footage. We won’t know how it plays out until next episode, was this decision Michaela made the right one or will she end up on the jury looking stupid?
Regarding tone, I decided on mixed because there was a negative slant to the reward loss (when Michaela was shown kicking the box in frustration). Again, it ties into her main story of struggling to bottle her emotions. The perfect example of this was when Sarah was picked for the reward, Michaela was visibly frustrated and upset while simultaneously clapping for and congratulating Sarah. That one scene summed up her story. But there was positive tone too, with Andrea calling her a “smart girl,” and the scene with Tai in the water had a positive edge to it. The overall feel of her episode was mixed, the negative reaction at the reward, to the turn-around in the second part of the episode where she improved her position and delivered the killer “‘We’ can become a ‘Me'” quote.
Where is her story going? I highly doubt Michaela is winning; her edit just doesn’t seem built in that direction. Could she make the FTC? It’s possible. Out of those remaining she has one of the clearest story arcs. But maybe this was the wrong move and she’ll end up on the jury like she foreshadowed?
Main Stories In Play
-Michaela and her expressions – still present, particularly at the reward when she let out her frustrations, but then back at camp she held her feelings in and focused on her game.
-Sarah in the Criminal – Sarah turned on yet another ally, this time swiping their advantage from them in the process. Will this style of play continue or will it catch up to her?
-Cirie’s growth – Cirie seems to be going on a journey edit based on the very emotional content she’s been given throughout the season. Again, lots of positive focus on her playing for her family this episode.
-Shielded Brad – Brad continues to be the best edited of the minority alliance. He didn’t get a huge positivity spike at the loved ones like I expected, but still definitely made to look like a good guy.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.