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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What Does This Episode Tell Us?
A swap episode is usually a good indicator of who the main contenders and characters of the season are. When the dynamics of the game change, you expect to hear from the important characters, whether their importance relates to a short-term boot arc or a season-long deep run/win. For example, at this stage in Cambodia, the three people with the most confessionals at the swap (four each) were Jeremy, Spencer, and Tasha – the final three. We also checked in with Kelley Wentworth’s thoughts on her new tribe’s dynamics, and she, of course, made it to Final 4 and was a prominent character of the season.
That doesn’t mean those without a confessional at a swap will be out soon. Of the five people who didn’t receive a confessional at the Cambodia swap (Kass, Keith, Kelly, Kimmi, and Woo), four of them made the merge, and Keith and Kimmi were in the final episode. But Keith and Kimmi had very quiet, mostly UTR edits for the majority of the season and were not main characters. When looking at Game Changers, the two people who didn’t have confessionals in this swap episode were Aubry and Sarah.
What does that mean for Aubry and Sarah? It suggests that we won’t be following their narrative this season. At best, they will play a role in someone else’s story, but they won’t be the lead character. If we were to see this season from their perspective, we would expect to hear their thoughts on their new tribes. It’s not quite as damaging for Sarah as it is Aubry because Sarah had some solid content both personally and strategically in the first two episodes, whereas Aubry had a relatively lackluster premiere too. There’s a chance the edit was intentionally hiding Sarah (silent assassin), but Aubry’s edit doesn’t have that excuse.
In terms of those we did hear from, we heard the most from JT, as he was part of two of the episode’s biggest scenes (the stranding and goat debate), and we also had a fair amount of content from Malcolm, Troyzan, Brad, Jeff, and Sandra. Because we heard a lot from these players, you would expect at least half to make the merge and for their narrative to play a major role in the season. On the flip side, there is probably a couple within this group being set up as upcoming boots – kind of like how Jeff got a lot of air time in the Cambodia swap before he was booted the next episode.
As for the rest of the players, their content could go either way. We will look deeper into their edits in the individual write-ups.
In the recap, the Jeff Probst voiceover told us that “the Mana tribe was on a losing streak” while we saw clips of Michaela looking visibly annoyed. “Facing tribal council, it was a battle between Survivor royalty, and only one could keep their crown,” was followed by a clip from Sandra’s confessional where she said, “You know that saying, you’re only King until the Queen arrives? I’m here.”
“At tribal council, nobility took a back seat, as Sandra slayed her nemesis and kept her title.” We saw clips of Sandra bad mouthing Tony as he left, and Probst finished off the recap by asking “Can Sandra keep her empire intact?”
Sandra was the focus of the recap and was portrayed in somewhat of a villainous light. The evil Queen in charge of her pawns. The story it set up is whether she will be able to remain in a position of power.
Under The Radar
Aubry didn’t have much to say this episode, so, unfortunately, we don’t have much to say about Aubry. She was part of the snorkeling and goat scenes and had a couple of audible sentences, so she just barely scraped an UTR1 rather than INV. But other than that Aubry all but disappeared.
As we said in the intro, it’s not a great sign to have no voice at the swap, especially in Aubry’s case where she got votes last week and was seemingly next on the chopping block. You would expect to hear Aubry’s thoughts on surviving the last tribal council or what the swap means for her game or what it’s like to still be with four other Mana tribe members. But nope. We didn’t get any of that. It’s even more surprising given that Aubry is one of the most popular recent characters who was known for her strong, narrational confessionals. For her to be ignored is rather telling.
We said last time that Aubry’s quiet premiere might have suggested her story doesn’t start until the swap, but there was still no sign of a story here. If Aubry’s story doesn’t start within the next couple of episodes, then her chances as a winner contender or as an important character in the narrative are pretty much dead.
Sarah had just as quiet an episode as Aubry. Her only real content was her reaction to Tony being voted out, “I can’t believe this,” and her brief conversation with Andrea on Tavua where she said they cannot let Troyzan find an idol. Just enough for an UTR rating, but barely.
Again, as we said earlier, not the best thing being hidden at a swap but unlike Aubry, Sarah had a relatively strong premiere. In the first two episodes, we got an introduction to Sarah, her season, her job, her thoughts on how others would play this season, and her approach to playing this season. We know she intends to play like a “silent assassin” and a “criminal.” Because we are aware of those things already, it doesn’t make this nearly INV swap episode quite as damaging as it could have been. She said she wanted to be the “silent assassin” and so this silent edit fits that role. She didn’t look great when Troy found the idol, after just saying they cannot let him find it, but Andrea took the brunt of that heat.
Where does Sarah’s story go from here? If she continues on this low UTR path in the next couple of episodes, then she’s probably not going to be an essential character driving the narrative. But with her strong premiere, there’s enough for her story to pick up again next week, and she would be back on track as a contender and critical narrative player.
Michaela also had a relatively quiet edit this episode. But given that Michaela had a very visible premiere, her UTR isn’t as harmful as it is to say, Aubry. This UTR seems like classic cool down edit.
The Nuku tribe didn’t go to the tribal council/lose the challenge, so Michaela’s story wasn’t really in play. Her story revolves around hating to lose and being unable to keep her feelings bottled when it comes time to vote. As neither of those elements played a part in this week’s episode, we didn’t need a lot of Michaela. But the edit still gave us just enough to remind us of Michaela’s presence. She was part of the goat scene, telling the tribe they still had “five chickens” and other food. She also had a short confessional where she said, “Sandra was a villain for a reason.” Perhaps sewing the seed for Michaela to abandon Sandra at some point, or it could have just been used to show how everyone disagreed with Sandra wanting to kill the goats.
There’s not much more to say about Michaela right now. Her edit is on hold until Nuku lose.
Zeke’s edit was kind of similar to Michaela’s. His tribe didn’t attend tribal council and therefore there wasn’t much for him to do but we checked in with him briefly just to keep us aware that he’s on this season.
While Zeke seemed MOR initially, after looking deeper at his content it was all very basic and narrational. His one and only confessional just described the new camp and that Troyzan was on the outs. We saw a very brief scene of him and Cirie where he asked her “We’re all good, right?” but then Cirie took over the focus. He fit the classic UTR definition of “narration is uncomplex and can be talking about camp life, things others are doing, upcoming game events like challenges, or even talking about the very basic plans of a larger group they are a part of.” That summed up Zeke’s edit in this episode.
Much like with Michaela, his story is on hold probably until Tavua lose.
The good thing for Andrea is that she actually got some screentime this episode. Lots of shots of her during the tribe swap and she got a confessional talking about the new tribe/Troyzan. Unfortunately, the content she did get was on the negative side. Not overtly negative in the “she wants to eat a baby goat” sense, but there was an express editorial intention to make her look bad.
Troyzan asked Andrea if he had “the plague.” Andrea told him he didn’t and said that she “didn’t know all the relationships.” She stated in a confessional that the tribe was going to get rid of Troyzan if they lost and so they “have to try and make him feel comfortable.” Like with Zeke, this was very basic UTR strategy talk. But Andrea didn’t make Troy feel comfortable because we then heard a Troy confessional calling her “a little devil” and “not as clever as she thinks she is.” That alone isn’t enough for the negative tone, but then the edit went out of its way to back up Troy’s assertions. Andrea told Sarah, “We really do have to be on him (subtitled); like watch Troyzan,” when we just saw Andrea was the one that left him on his own. “Yeah because we don’t want him finding an idol,” Sarah replied. Then, of course, Troy found the idol.
While all of the Tavua tribe looked slightly bad for letting Troy go off alone and find the idol, the edit seemed to go out of its way to make Andrea look the worst. They didn’t have to show that conversation with Troy nor did they have to show her being the one to say “we have to be on him.” Will Andrea get outplayed this season? Will Troy idol her out? It didn’t help that it was also Andrea at the challenge staring directly at Troy as he nabbed the idol right in front of her. It seems to suggest Andrea will be one step behind this season.
Middle of the Road
We said last week that with Tony leaving, Caleb was without a story. “Does he become an underdog? Maybe, but the amount he talked about becoming a target once Tony is gone causes some concern.” In this episode, Caleb became both an underdog and a target.
There was no real complexity to his edit. We never saw him fighting or strategizing to stay in the game. Tai took the lead in their conversations. His two confessionals didn’t offer much expansion on his thoughts and strategies. His first confessional was about Tai, “It’s a great feeling because we have a really good, close friendship, and I hope that we can continue what we had before.” Basic. His second confessional was after the challenge where he said he hates losing and “the only thing on my mind now is, you know, are they going to go strong with this tribe and keep me and give me another life in this game?” He was putting his hopes on others to keep him. He did fight a little bit at tribal council, which got him his MOR rating, but this was a whimper of an edit to go out on.
Caleb’s overall season edit is MOR, some insights into his thoughts and strategy, but not detailed enough for CP.
Sierra didn’t have a significant part in this episode until after Mana lost the immunity challenge. But the positive for her edit is that she got to comment on the vote, where her head was, what she thought of the relationships and the pros and cons of the move. All of that accounted for Sierra’s MOR rating. It wasn’t deeply complex, but it was more expanded than UTR.
We saw a scene of her discussing the vote with Tai and Debbie, and then we got to hear her actual thoughts on the matter. “The two names that are on the chopping block tonight are Hali and Caleb.” That was correct. She then reminded us that she played on Worlds Apart with Hali but that they have no relationship. Then she explained why Caleb is a threat, “Tai and Caleb, I mean, they scare me. They’re close. There would have to be some underlying alliance there.” Which, again, we knew to be correct. And then she got to put forward the negative of taking out Caleb, “obviously if you target a strong player such as Caleb, your chances of winning challenges gets smaller and smaller.” With Caleb gone, we will have to see if Sierra is correct and Mana continue to lose.
The edit didn’t make it seem like Sierra was running the vote, Brad got that credit, but it ensured that she had a voice in the discussion. All of that speaks well to Sierra’s longevity in this game.
Debbie continues to get decent content which is game focused rather than the OTT kookiness of her first season edit. We got to hear about her relationships, her perspective on the vote, and how it would affect her game. Not complex enough for CP but a definite MOR.
“This is a dictatorship, majority rules. So we will have a brief negotiation, whether it is Caleb or Hali, and I believe we’re rock solid sticking together.” I’m not sure if the first line was meant to be played for laughs, given that majority rules does not a dictatorship make, but there was no musical cue to undermine it. As for her belief that “we’re rock solid sticking together,” that was proved right. She then later expanded on her thoughts regarding the vote, “I got Caleb and Tai from Kaôh Rōng that I could potentially work with, but Tai, Caleb have a history,” which was highlighted in the episode.
“One thing I’ve learned from playing before is past relationships absolutely matter, and you’re a fool to discount them.” I wonder if this line is foreshadowing? Perhaps past relationships play a big part later in the season – maybe involving Debbie and the Kaoh Rongers or someone else entirely? Regardless, Debbie has a solid edit so far which suggests she will be around a while and involved in the season’s narrative.
Jeff has been Mr. Consistency so far this season, three back-to-back MOR3 ratings. It isn’t as in-your-face as his Cambodia edit, but he is a solid narrator who gets to comment on the goings on of the tribe and the strategies within it. He also seems to have his finger on the pulse.
He was the second person we heard after the tribe swap, telling us “Whatever I’m dealt with, I’m going to make the best of it. And it’s an exciting time, I think. I love it. I’m ready to go.” This is the kind of confessional that was missing from Aubry and Sarah’s edit this episode. It tells you that Jeff has a voice in this story and a part to play. It also lets us know that he is ready for anything that comes his way. He was then shown to be aware of JT’s idol plot, calling it “brilliant” but concluded that it didn’t matter because either way “JT is screwed.” With Nuku yet to attend a tribal council, we don’t know just how reliable Jeff is as a narrator. If Nuku do go to tribal council and JT is voted out, we know we can trust what Jeff says, but if JT somehow survives, then Jeff becomes an unreliable narrator.
Later in the episode, Jeff was one of the people that voiced his opinion on not wanting to kill the goats. All of this is to show that right now, Jeff has a good perception of the dynamics of the game and the people within it. His edit is kind of similar to Debbie’s, in that they both have consistent solid content that keeps them in the picture but nothing too OTT. Expect Jeff to be around a while with his role increasing as the narrative rolls on.
Over The Top
Oh boy, Sandra is getting the villain edit! Even though Sandra was a member of the Villains tribe in Heroes vs. Villains, and she’s certainly done villainous things in past seasons, her edit has always been the underdog that tells it like it is and fights against those even more villainous than her. But this season, so far at least, Sandra is the main villain, and that probably suggests she is there to be toppled.
The recap brought Sandra’s story into focus. “Can Sandra keep her empire intact?” That seems to be her arc right now, the Queen in charge of her pawns, but how long can she keep them in line before her empire crumbles? This episode further highlighted that story. We started with a Sandra confessional commenting on the swap, “I was leading the sheep to slaughter. So I am in a good spot with Mana, but now there’s a swap and I hope I’m on the right side with the strongest people.” The first line obviously has a double-meaning which we’ll get into in a second, but right away the story is set up as “can Sandra keep her numbers?” After being swapped onto a tribe with four of her fellow Manas, the answer right now is yes.
But let’s get back to “I was leading the sheep to slaughter.” Not only a line that describes Sandra’s game but it became almost literal later in the episode with the goats (in place of the sheep). Sandra directed her pawns JT and Malcolm to capture the goats, she then carried the baby goat away, literally leading the goats to slaughter. The reason JT caught the goats was to appease Sandra, he felt if he could feed Sandra it would buy him some good will. “Sandra wants to eat a goat and she’s running the show,” JT said. But then came the part that suggests Sandra might not be able to keep her empire intact. She held a vote regarding who wanted to kill and eat the goats, she was almost acting as Jeff Probst, as the tribe sat around her at camp. But Sandra didn’t win the vote, everyone else agreed that they couldn’t do it and wanted to set the goats free. Does this suggest Sandra will meet a similar fate the next time she attends tribal council?
In terms of her OTTN rating, it’s rather obvious. Everyone else on the tribe was shown to feel compassion towards the momma goat and her baby. Whereas Sandra was the only one pro-goat killing. Michaela said that Sandra “is a villain for a reason.” Malcolm said, “Sandra doesn’t give a damn, which is just Sandra’s M.O. about life.” JT said he wasn’t going to kill the goats because he’s not “a savage beast.” Sandra was clearly painted as the OTT goat murderer. That is what people are going to remember about this episode. When someone is painted as a villain in the edit like this, it’s often so the audience root for their comeuppance, which probably means Sandra’s empire will eventually crumble.
That said, Sandra has had an OTTN before and seeing as her character is known for speaking her mind, it would be unwise to write her off because of this one episode.
Cirie didn’t get as much air time as last week, but that’s to be expected in an episode with three tribes to cover and not going to tribal council. But what she did get was solid and enough for a light CP rating.
She just had the one confessional this episode but it told us a lot. We got to know both where she was and where she’s going. “I wasn’t on the right side of the numbers in the old Nuku tribe, and I think Ozzy is still a little skittish of me,” an accurate recap of the past episode. She continued, “…but I’m trying to cultivate a relationship with him, so I need to take advantage of this new start. I’m hoping that’ll help me later on down the line.” A well-explained mission statement for her current situation and how that will hopefully help her game in the future. We then saw her putting this into motion with her chat with Ozzy at camp. All of this amounts to Cirie’s light CP episode.
The slight negative for Cirie is that her story continues to be tied to Ozzy. Which is also a problem for Ozzy, which I’ll touch upon in a minute in his write-up. We don’t have a great sense of Cirie’s thoughts on the game outside of an Ozzy context. Even when she was trying to form allies last episode, it was because of her awkward relationship with Ozzy. I think if either of these two were to be winner contenders, they need to break away from each other or at least start some side-stories with other players.
Ozzy’s edit was pretty much a carbon copy of Cirie’s except he was also trying to prove he still has survival skills. But for the most part, his goal this episode was the same as Cirie’s, and we saw him putting it to work. Again, a light CP.
“I’ve got to take the lead because I’ve got like 115 days on Survivor, more or less. I am one of the veterans in this game,” Ozzy gave us a little background on who he is as a Survivor player. “I have played this four times now, and this is a chance, you know, to let my tribe know that I still got the skills and that they can’t get rid of me yet.” I half expected this to be followed by a montage of Ozzy building a mansion-style shelter and climbing coconut trees and deep sea diving for fish. We didn’t get that, and even though Tavua won the challenge, Ozzy wasn’t the primary focus there either. Is this to say Ozzy isn’t as valuable to the tribe as he thinks? Or we’re just meant to take Ozzy at his word because we know Ozzy is capable at those things?
His second confessional echoed Cirie’s mission statement. “On the original Nuku tribe, I didn’t have a strong alliance with Cirie,” accurate check in with the past. “But here we need each other, so this is a crucial time for me to build trust,” and put forward his plan for the present. We then saw the two of them cementing this plan. Again, their stories are intertwined, and they need to pick up some other content if they’re to be main contenders.
One other thing for Ozzy this episode, he was one of the Tavua’s heard talking about how they couldn’t let Troyzan find an idol. “He’s smart enough to know we’re all watching him…” But they weren’t watching him and Troy did find the idol. That isn’t a great look for Ozzy.
If it weren’t for Hali’s words at tribal council, she’d probably be MOR for this episode. The bulk of her content was fairly basic, and we never saw her fighting to survive at camp. But the way she defended herself at tribal and talked about how she is a better player to have in the game going forward just scraped her a CP.
Hali’s first confessional explained that Caleb and herself were on the bottom of the new Mana tribe. But she recognized what could possibly keep her safe, “Caleb and Tai could get back together and put a big target on their back, and so all of a sudden, maybe I’m not the most obvious target.” That showed some decent perception even if she didn’t put a plan forward of how to save herself. Later, after the Mana tribe lost the challenge, Hali said, “A miracle will happen if I’m to be here tomorrow.” She was putting her game in the hands of a miracle rather than actively trying to save herself. This was backed up by images of both Hali and Caleb standing on the beach doing nothing while everyone else was plotting.
The episode gave very little credit for Hali saving herself, instead, the ex-Nuku members were presented as the ones calling the shots, in particular, Brad. But at tribal council, Hali did receive a lot of focus and was given time to put forward her case. “I think I’m a good person to take forward in the game more than a big, strong player in a lot of multiple dimensions,” she argued. “I’ve just been myself and I intend to continue that with these people and hopefully these relationships can take us places throughout the rest of the game.” All of this accounts for her CP rating, she showed forward-thinking. Brad even said she was “doing well.” The question is, will Hali’s words come true? Will she be a better player to take forward rather than Caleb? Or will Mana struggle even worse in challenges with Caleb gone? And will Hali, the cobra, eventually strike out against them?
Hali doesn’t have the greatest edit, she’s only really used when necessary, but there’s enough there to suggest she’s one to keep an eye on.
Tai continues to be a big presence this season and while he got to reveal his thought process in regards to the vote, he was portrayed as being wrong a lot in this episode.
The story was very similar to Tai’s arc in Kaoh Rong when it came to the Scot vote. Does he vote with his head or his heart? “Last time I played with my heart, but this is Game Changers. I got to think clear,” he said. His dilemma is always about whether or not he can betray someone. We saw hints of it last week when he tried to warn Cirie about Ozzy because he said he liked Cirie and didn’t want to be put in a position where he was told to vote her out. Here the situation was ramped up because it was his real life friend Caleb. Their friendship was a main focus of the episode, Probst brought it up at the swap, Caleb even gave Tai a kiss on the cheek. But it was also presented as the reason for Caleb’s exit.
Initially, Tai told Caleb that he’s good and that Hali would be going home. He repeated this a couple of times throughout the episode. But that didn’t end up being the case, Tai even voted against Caleb. Even though he got to explain where his head was at, “If I protect my buddy, I have to betray Brad. So I’m weighing the risk. Either way, it’s going to hurt,” he was often shown to be wrong. That tells us that Tai isn’t a reliable narrator. Also, Tai’s decision was presented as Brad’s decision. “Right now I don’t want to be the chief, so I would like Tai to make the decision,” Brad said before we watched the scene of him on the beach with Tai. Even though I’m sure a lot more went down, the episode wanted us to see this as Brad manipulating Tai.
So far Tai seems to be continuing his Kaoh Rong story-arc, we had the stuff with the chickens last week, and this episode his struggle between playing with his head or heart. Right now, it appears this story will continue, and perhaps Tai will burn more past relationships and he goes on (calling back to Debbie’s “past relationships absolutey matter”).
After a lackluster premiere, JT had a fantastic edit this episode. He was shown as a rounded individual, explained all his motivations in the context of the game, but then also showed his human side in his compassion for the goats.
JT ended up down 5-1 on his new tribe, but he never gave up hope. “Always has a bad side of things but always ends up good. We’ll be alright,” he told Probst after the swap. Right away, JT was shown to be positive, and that tone stayed throughout his edit this episode. Even though he recognized he was likely a “sitting duck,” he continued to come up with ways to keep himself safe. The first was his idol hunt where he stranded his tribe in the ocean. None of this was given a villainous tone. It had a sense of fun to it. The other tribe members laughed and complimented JT’s strategy. “Brilliant!” Jeff exclaimed. And JT got to explain every step of the way what he was doing and why he was doing it. “It’s never over til it’s over. And I’m not giving up… everybody knows that.” All of this was a great look for JT edit wise, even if he is “screwed” in the game.
Then JT played a significant role in the goat scene. Once again, he applied it to his game, “If I can feed Sandra and make her happy, then I think Sandra will probably love me to death, and that will probably keep me safer in this game.” All of this stuff amounted to his CP rating. And even though JT was the one that caught the goats, he explained that he wasn’t on board with killing them. “I’m not a savage beast, and there’s no way I’m going to kill that mama goat and her baby. I just can’t do it.” It portrayed JT as a compassionate person and backed up his words in Episode 2 when he said, “Tai and myself, both of us love animals.” I considered last week whether JT would kill the goat, and that would then cause further tension with Tai down the line, but perhaps the opposite of that will happen. Maybe JT saving the goats will buy good will from Tai should the two meet again.
Where does JT go from here? It’s hard to say. Even though this was a great episode for the good ole country boy, his lack of content in the premiere is still alarming. And a lot of his content still revolved around animals. But what we do know is that JT is a fighter. Not only that but he managed to save the goats, despite the Queen’s wishes. Does that mean JT will usurp Sandra from her throne? We could be heading for another champion vs. champion battle, and we’ll see if JT’s “Sandra won’t be the only two-time winner” prophecy comes true.
Malcolm also had a great edit this week and continued his streak of CP ratings. Like JT, he was shown to be a complex, three-dimensional human with thoughts and feelings.
He was the third confessional of the episode and gave a pretty thorough narration of what it was like to join the new Nuku camp. This confessional wasn’t about strategy or the wider game, so realistically anyone could have had this confessional, but again, they gave it to Malcolm which suggests he’s important. Then in the snorkeling scene, Malcolm, along with Jeff, picked up on what JT was doing and laughed about it, which shows Malcolm as both perceptive and good humored.
During the goat scene, Malcolm was again one of the principal narrators. He explained how they were able to capture the goats, “the only reason we caught it was because it was a mama goat and it didn’t want to run away from its baby.” He showed compassion, “we won’t kill him because we have a conscience.” But also showed some insight into the game and dynamics of the tribe, “But I have to be very careful what I say to Sandra, because Sandra desperately wants to eat the goat, and in a game like Survivor, there’s no need to make enemies or cause angst in this camp.” We got a rounded view of Malcolm and who he is as a person and player. He ended the goat scene by saying, “It made sense, like, in our hearts to let it go, and it’s going to be much better for this tribe moving forward.” They did come together and win the challenge but it will be interesting to follow whether this continues to be the case.
The slight negative that is still nagging when it comes to Malcolm’s edit is from last week. His argument going into tribal council was “we need to keep the strong people who are good at challenges around as long as possible or else we’re doomed.” He also said earlier in the episode, “I need camouflage, and the more targets around, the better.” But he voted out Tony, and we never heard a reason why he changed his mind. Caleb was in a similar situation, and he went home this episode. So there is a worry that Malcolm’s prediction of doom could still be haunting him despite his positive look this episode.
Troyzan was one of the players with the worst premiere edits just in terms of screen time and importance to the narrative. But he soon shot back here with his strong CPP edit. The problem is that it was an idol find edit and those things are always difficult to judge.
Just like JT, Troy was swapped to a tribe where he was down 5-1 in numbers. Probst brought it up at the swap and Troy said, “I’ve gotta look for the silver lining somewhere.” He then found that silver lining in the shape of a hidden idol. There was a definite underdog vibe to his edit but was that purely situational due to his swap predicament and the idol find? Maybe. The interesting thing is that not only was Troy given the underdog edit but he was portrayed as perceptive. Andrea told us that she wanted to make Troy feel comfortable and we then heard Troy call her out in confessional, seeing right through her. All of Tavua were made to look bad when they were stood together talking about not letting Troy out of their sight, meanwhile, he was off finding the idol.
As for the idol find itself, he got the positive background music to match his tearful reading of the clue. Then the big, swelling hero music as he said “Troyzan’s back. I think.” It wasn’t quite as dramatic and emotional as say the Jeremy or Adam idol finds, but it was certainly given some gravitas which suggests we’re meant to be rooting for Troy. He got similar uplifting music at the challenge when he eventually grabbed the idol. Would anyone who found the idol have been given this music? It’s hard to say, but we will have to see how it compares when the next person snags an idol.
Does this put Troy in contention as a winner or major character of the season? Too early to say. His weak premiere edit causes some reservations, but the editors might have felt they could get away with a quiet edit last week knowing he was going to have a big week in Episode 3. But even so, if Troy were the winner I’d have expected his first confessional of the season to be of more substance than commenting on Tony. Next week should be a good indicator of just how big a role Troy will have in this season’s narrative.
Rounding out the CPPs (so many!) is Brad. Who would ever have thought? Brad Culpepper – CPP. Last week I mentioned how Brad’s mellow edit was much different from his Blood vs. Water edit, well this week it went even further away from the F-you Brad Culpepper days. He was portrayed as well-liked, in control, and capable of pulling off strategy.
He got the first confessional on the new Mana tribe, talking about “making this house a home” and informing us of his penchant for antiquing and home decorating. Not only was this accompanied by positive music but it was interspersed with scenes of him at camp putting up the “ornaments, ” all met with compliments by his fellow tribe mates, “Awesome, Brad!” This is what you call positive editorial manipulation. Unlike with Troy’s idol find, the editors didn’t have to show this. They could have just shown the end of that confessional where he said, “The four of us Nuku are going to stay together, and it’s going to come down to either Hali or Caleb,” which in itself is good content (perceptive and correct). We didn’t have to learn about Brad’s love for home decor, but in doing so, it made Brad more personable and relatable and therefore likable. The edit wants us to like Brad.
He also mentioned Monica again, which he has done every episode so far. I said last week that it had slight hints of Jeremy in Cambodia, but those other elements like showing Brad snoring made him less likely to be following the Jeremy arc. Yet his edit was so positive and well handled this episode that I might have to reconsider. In recent seasons the editors have shown that they’re more open to displaying negatives even in a winner’s edit (Adam last season is a perfect example). Brad snoring in the middle of camp probably doesn’t write him out of contention, although it’s still worth noting. The constant mentions of Monica could also be leading to her appearing at the family visit.
When it comes to strategy, we got to know exactly what Brad was thinking and why. He was positioned as the shot caller. “I wouldn’t mind getting rid of Caleb first. Caleb, Debbie, and Tai played together on Survivor: Kaôh Rōng, and that’s the threat. I’m trying to bring in Tai and Debbie closer to me than everybody else.” He got his way with Caleb going first, and he told us that he wants to bring Tai and Debbie closer to him. That’s worth following – could Brad be crafting his final three? There was one moment of concern when Brad said, “Maybe getting rid of Hali would be a better choice.” That could suggest getting rid of Caleb hurts them in future challenges (or the game itself). But he still got to explain why getting rid of Caleb was best for him.
The shark imagery also returned when Brad was discussing the vote with Debbie and Sierra on the beach. We saw the shark swimming in shallow water, then Tai walking into the ocean, then the three former Nukus talking about the plan. It suggests Brad is one of the predators and Tai is perhaps his prey. The edit certainly made it seem like Brad worked Tai over to go against his best interests. Could Brad be the winner? It’s certainly possible. I think what this episode did do is cement Brad as an essential character in this season’s narrative.
Main Stories in Play
-Sharks Are Circling/Blood In The Water – not as much shark imagery as last week but still present on Mana beach.
-Cirie and Ozzy – not so much “versus” anymore, now somewhat reluctant allies.
-Animals – chickens last week, big goat scene this week. It does seem like animals are a big part of the plot right now, and not just as good but in how they bring out people’s character.
-Sandra’s Empire – can Sandra keep her empire intact looks to be an ongoing story.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.