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?
This season has already had a couple of episodes which were unusual from an editing perspective – like last week’s episode with the long Debbie/Cochran scene and the Sandra send-off. It’s made it harder to get a grasp on each character’s individual story. This week’s episode was the biggest anomaly yet due to the very serious subject matter dealt with at tribal council.
I won’t be covering Edgic in quite the same depth this week because I truly believe the majority of the content had little to no bearing on future arcs. The show presented a growing relationship between Jeff and Zeke, and an episode of Jeff scrambling; fixated on voting out Ozzy and seemingly gaining some traction with Sarah and Andrea. Tribal council shifted gears when Jeff abandoned game mechanics and went personal. It was ugly, and he was abruptly shut down and kicked out of the game. Tribal council was a story about humanity and growth, a departure from in-game goings on. As such, I won’t be examining tribal council because it did a great job of laying it all out there and speaking for itself.
The recap started with Jeff Probst reminding us of Debbie’s Exile “lap of luxury” where she met Cochran and gained an Extra Vote advantage. We then checked in with the Mana tribe, where “Brad was working his way to the top.” We were shown the scene with Brad talking to Troyzan, telling him “I’m in with Sierra” and “You just gotta stick with us.” Both those lines were subtitled but there was something off about the “I’m in with Sierra” line, it didn’t sound natural – like it was stitched together from two different conversations, and we didn’t see Brad’s face on screen when that line was spoken.
Then we jumped over to the Nuku tribe, where “Varner and Sandra were on the bottom.” We cut to the scene of Ozzy telling Zeke, “We’re gonna have to blindside Sandra and Varner.” “But Tai became paranoid,” the Probst voiceover reminded us. “There’s always a chance they might blindside me,” Tai said in confessional. “At tribal council, Tai tried to shift targets by throwing Ozzy under the bus, but in the end, Sandra was too big of a threat.” While it still seems likely the whole “let’s vote Ozzy” thing was a ruse (it was kind of joked about back at camp), the edit made it seem like Tai was paranoid and against Ozzy, which could be setting up future storylines.
Under The Radar
I could see an argument for rating Michaela invisible this episode, but there was one close-up shot that seemed intentional. It was during the Mana tribe cry-fest when everyone was emotional and bonding over the toll the game takes. While everyone else was crying, the camera focused in on Michaela, stone-faced, flicking sand. It was a contrast to everyone else going on this emotional journey. For that, she just scrapes an UTR1.
It also plays into her theme and story of being unable to control her face. She didn’t try to fit in and join the sobbing. It was classic Michaela – completely real and funny but also demonstrating how she doesn’t fit into this group. Her edit certainly doesn’t suggest a winner, but she could have a role as an antagonist for the main alliance at the merge.
Troyzan is another one that is teetering the line between INV/UTR. The only reason I rated him UTR1 instead of INV is because once again he was namechecked by Brad as part of his alliance and shown in a group shot as Brad was talking about it. Other than that, nothing.
“Troyzan, Sierra, and myself have already got a good connection. So I think it solidifies the five people that I have on this side as far as whom I want to go with,” Brad said. The fact Troyzan continues to be mentioned as part of this alliance is probably a good sign for his chances of going far. It’s one of the only proper alliances that has been set up. His major problem is that he seems secondary to Brad. Troyzan will need to start getting more CP content starting at the merge if he is to be a winner contender.
Sierra is kind of similar to Troyzan in that she’s continually present but playing second fiddle to Brad. However, she got a little more content here than Troy did this episode, as she got to talk about how hard it was coming back out to play and the physical and emotional effect the game can take on a person. She cried, and it set the others off crying. This whole scene was framed in a positive tone.
“When we lost ten whole pizzas, I tried to hold my head high, but I am exhausted,” she said over a shot of her with her head down in her knees. “I haven’t ate for three days. I can’t sleep at night. I feel like I’ve lost a crap-ton of weight. I mean, it is a 100% real right now.” What followed was a 100% real scene where Sierra, Aubry, Cirie, and Brad all cried and poured out their feelings. “It’s so much more than the hunger,” we heard her say, which showed this wasn’t just crying over lost pizza. It also provided some much-needed tone for Sierra.
Much like Troyzan, Sierra seems set to go deep in the game due to her alliance been established well in the edit, but she could really do with a solid CP edit at the merge to put her back at the top of contenders.
Hali is another one that just slipped past an INV rating. She was barely in the episode except for having an excessive focus at the challenge. She was the one shown suggesting the word “metamorphosis” which turned out to be correct. The camera then lingered on Hali with the rest of the tribe high-fiving and hugging her. This accounts for her light positive tone.
Other than the challenge, Hali had nothing. She wasn’t mentioned as part of Brad’s alliance. She wasn’t an active part of the crying scene at Mana. She didn’t have a single confessional (much like last week). It suggests that Hali will be on the opposing side of this Brad alliance at the merge but not a stand-out character.
Ozzy continued to be talked about as a big threat in this episode. His edit has never really deviated from the Ozzy we’ve known in the past. He’s appreciated when providing for the tribe but feared when it comes to a merge. Everyone on Nuku except for Varner received positive tone for how they handled tribal council, hence Ozzy’s UTRP rating.
There’s just not a lot of depth to Ozzy’s edit. His one confessional was about winning pizza – “At this stage of the game, it’s very important for the tribe morale to win something like that because the game is just starting to wear on people and that extra boost is the most important thing right now.” He viewed the reward win as the most important thing, but it was after this when members of the tribe started plotting against him. Meanwhile, on Mana, the tribe actually came together on a more emotional level due to NOT winning the reward. So which was really the most important?
I said last week that Ozzy’s story with Cirie needed a conclusion and so both were likely to make the merge. Now the merge is coming next week, Ozzy’s story could come to an end anytime soon. Multiple people talked about him as a threat: “Ozzy is a threat. He will win all the individual immunity,” Tai said. Maybe it could be foreshadowing an Ozzy immunity run, but it seems more likely to be following the pattern of the big threats being taken out.
Andrea just can’t break out of UTR even though her reaction at tribal council was very positively toned. We saw an emotional side to Andrea that showed both passion and empathy. But outside of tribal she was barely in the episode. She had a short scene with Sarah where Sarah was “irate” about Zeke throwing them under the bus to Jeff. Andrea told Sarah she was mad too but that Zeke was with them for now at least. It hinted that Andrea is more loyal to Zeke than Sarah.
Not much else to say on Andrea. She’s not going to be the winner or the character driving us through the merge. It still seems like she’ll end up on the opposing side of the Brad alliance.
Middle of the Road
Aubry finally broke out of her four-episode UTR streak. Her story so far has been as an outsider unable to break her way into the majority. In this episode, she finally seemed to be included. It’s interesting because I previously considered whether Aubry was so UTR in an effort to protect her (the edit not wanting to show her so out of the loop). Her strongest edit of the season coming in an episode where she gets into an alliance can’t be a coincidence.
She was part of the Mana crying scene, offering her thoughts and feelings on the game’s effect on your mental state. “When you get to a certain point on Survivor, your mind goes to places you don’t think it’s gonna go, and when you get home, it’s really, really hard to explain what you’ve been through.” We saw her crying and bonding with the tribe. All of this accounted for her positive tone. Aubry was then shown approaching Brad and thanking him for opening up. Brad followed up with a confessional saying he felt his relationship was now stronger with Aubry and considered her part of his five. All of this made Aubry MOR for the episode.
The negative here, and why Aubry still seems like a secondary character this season, is that she seemed to be used as a cheerleader for Brad. “I am consistently amazed at Brad Culpepper and his ability to open up. Like, Brad is to me the most genuine person that I’ve met out here.” She did finish talking about her own game – “It’s the first time I feel like I think I have a person working with me” – but just like Sierra and Troyzan, Aubry’s story seemed to revolve around Brad rather than vice versa.
Cirie‘s edit was very similar to Aubry’s. Her one confessional set up the Mana camp scene, “I’m from Jersey, I’m as tough as they come, but certain things you break down. It’s been 17 days and you– it’s rough. It’s taxing on you physically, emotionally.” We saw examples of that in the next scene when Cirie, Aubry, Brad, and Sierra all broke into tears. The scene was a bonding experience, cemented by Cirie (and Aubry as mentioned) approaching Brad afterward and solidifying their relationships.
Just like Aubry, Cirie’s MOR rating and positive tone come from the Mana crying scene and the events that immediately followed. Her tears and involvement in the group bonding session gave her her tone, and her private chat with Brad solidified her MOR rating. Brad said of the situation that it “…really galvanized my relationship between those two (Cirie and Aubry)” and that “it solidifies the five people that I have on this side as far as whom I want to go with.” This is good for Cirie because her only real previous story was to do with Ozzy. Having this alliance now gives her more breathing room for potential stories going forward.
While Cirie’s mostly quiet edit can be partly blamed on not attending a single tribal council pre-merge, it still seems too subdued to be a winner or main character (for example, Michele Fitzgerald didn’t attend tribal council pre-merge yet felt more crowbarred into the story). It would take a really strong CP merge episode to convince me that Cirie is anything but a periphery character with a B-plot.
The edit continued to portray Tai as confused this week while highlighting his concerns about Ozzy. I said last week that it seemed to be setting up Tai flipping on Ozzy and co at the merge and likely rejoining Brad’s alliance. That read hasn’t changed this episode.
He received his MOR rating for explaining his actions at the last tribal council. “Middle of Tribal, all the conversation confused me. I say, “Oh, my God. You know, I might be at the bottom right now, and Ozzy is the only name that makes sense.”” The focus on Ozzy here seems like deliberate foreshadowing. “Ozzy is a threat. He will win all the individual immunity. So I say it out loud ‘cause I think I need to go there.” It would shock me at this point if Tai didn’t vote Ozzy out or at least do something to turn against him. He also reminded us of his two idols: “In case my name is out there, I still have my two idols, but I’m nervous. Somehow this thing… grow– have its own life.” This continued his arc of being paranoid due to all the power he yields.
His positive tone obviously came from tribal council and how he reacted to the Jeff/Zeke situation. Overall, Tai continues to be a major presence of the season and someone that should play a significant role at the merge.
Like the rest of Nuku (bar Varner), Debbie got her positive tone for how she defended Zeke. As for the rest of her edit, it was solid, a much-needed comedown after the two previous weeks of OTT. Everything still points to Debbie having a key role in the post-merge game.
Her MOR rating came from her two early confessionals about Exile, and the camp scene later in the episode where she directed an impromptu vote on who the tribe wanted to get rid of. On its own neither a probably strong enough for MOR, but combined it just about scrapes past. Her discussion of the vote and listening to Sarah’s reasoning was very different from the angry, shouty Debbie we saw previously. Maybe it suggests some of Cochran’s words actually had an effect?
I said last time that Debbie’s story seems interlinked with Brad and that both would surely make the merge. We now know that is happening, so I expect the Debbie/Brad story to pick up once again and play a large role in the narrative to come. But I’m not sure Debbie will have a positive ending given how much the edit buried her the other week.
Brad has the best edit out of everyone remaining. His character is well-rounded and consistently visible. We know his long-term strategy, his alliances, his relationships, he has tons of personal content and positive SPV (second-person visibility), we know what he’s playing for and what his goals are. On paper, Brad has a clear winner edit.
In this episode, Brad continued to be the main focus on the Mana beach. Even though it was Cirie and Sierra that started the camp crying session, Brad soon became the highlight, as he broke down about how hard the game was on his wife Monica. The Monica mentions have been consistent from the very first episode and are either hinting at Monica appearing at the loved one’s visit or are a Jeremy Collins style winner calling card (or both!). “She’s been my strength and my compass, right on my arm,” he said as he showed his tattoo to the camera. It is strikingly similar to Jeremy’s edit in Cambodia with his talk about how Val was his drive to win.
Even better for Brad was that we didn’t just get a complex look into his emotions, but he received solid strategic content. His opening up about Monica secured him new allies in Aubry and Cirie who both approached him to share their thanks. Aubry said he was “the most genuine person” she’d met out there. “Cirie and Aubry both came up to me and just said it was so special you said that because they saw the real me and… surprisingly, made us feel closer and really galvanized my relationship between those two.” Brad was able to put this emotional moment into game context. “Troyzan, Sierra, and myself have already got a good connection. So I think it solidifies the five people that I have on this side as far as whom I want to go with.” We completely understand Brad’s game and who his alliance is and that he’s the leader.
In an episode about “metamorphosis,” Brad is clearly someone that has changed their game and perception. If that is what it takes to succeed this season then, of course, Brad should be a front runner. Other than the snoring in the middle of the camp in the premiere (which could have just been a red herring), there is very little to pick faults with regarding Brad’s edit. Does it come to a point where the only cause for concern is whether his edit it TOO good to be true? Is he being presented as the leader with such a strong focus because he’s going to be a shock blindside? It’s always possible, but right now the edit is telling us that Brad is the leading man of Game Changers and the top contender.
This was a very good edit for Sarah. Obviously, she had the big, positive toned speech at tribal council about the Jeff/Zeke situation and how it related to her own life. But she was also very present within the episode itself.
I said last week that there seemed to be a reason Sarah wasn’t shown piling on Tai like the rest of her old Nuku allies. I suggested it might be because she eventually jumps ship over to the Brad/Troyzan/Sierra alliance with Tai. That theory seemed to be backed up this week when Sarah was shown to be very open to the idea of targeting Ozzy. “I need to be careful because that’s a huge move, but I’m ready to prove why I am a Game Changer,” she said in relation to voting out Ozzy. Even though she was shown to be leaning towards Ozzy pre-tribal council, it doesn’t negatively effect that Jeff ended up leaving given the extraordinary circumstances of that tribal council.
What it does set up though is future storylines for Sarah. We now know she is wary of Ozzy and Zeke having a close alliance. She even started to sound a little bit like Tai at the end when she said: “that (Zeke/Ozzy) really scares me.” With all her previous talk about playing like a criminal, there is enough set up for Sarah to betray this alliance. There’s also set up with Troyzan back at Tavua that must surely have a payoff. Sarah could “prove she is a Game Changer” by changing the course of the game at the merge.
Sarah has had one of the better edits of the pre-merge. She had a bit of dip in Episodes 3 and 4 but compared to many others remaining in the game her visibility has been consistent, plus she had a strong introduction and a decent amount of personal content. Right now she’s perhaps the only real competition for Brad. But, of course, the merge episode could change a lot.
Jeff receives the first ever CPNN in the history of Edgic. I don’t think we need to go into the exact reasons why he received double negative tone – his actions (and the reactions) at tribal council are self-explanatory. It’s one of the clearest examples of NN in the history of the show.
However, unlike all the other previous NNs, Jeff was given a CP edit as opposed to the usual OTT. Despite Jeff’s horrendous actions and the clear negativity it brought, the edit didn’t paint him as an outright, one-dimensional OTT villain. First of all, his confessionals and camp scenes throughout the episode were CP. He was fighting for his life and putting forward well-rounded arguments of why the group should vote out Ozzy. “If I want to save my own butt out here, I’ve got to find the way to throw the shade on somebody else. And Ozzy is well rounded; he’ll win this game. Ozzy is very strong. You let him loose in a– individual Immunity Challenges; he’ll win every single one of ‘em, so now’s the time to get rid of Ozzy.” We saw him in discussions with Sarah, Andrea, and Zeke. All of this accounted for Jeff’s CP. Also, while I don’t want to go into tribal council in detail, the fact Jeff even got time to try and explain his actions, and then reflect on them, also speaks to his CP rating.
Obviously, outside of the Ozzy stuff, his story this episode was to do with Zeke – it makes more sense now why Jeff’s sexuality was mentioned on-screen for the first time last week given the role it played here. From their opening conversation on the beach where Jeff said he’d bonded with Zeke, up until the terrible moment at tribal council. This was a unique Survivor story. It also calls back to the marooning when Probst said “you have to be willing to do anything, at any time, to anyone,” and Jeff was one of the faces we cut to during that speech. Overall, Jeff’s season rating is MORN. He was MOR3 for almost his entire time on the show this season, and this negative moment will be what is remembered, hence the N tone.
Again, I don’t think I need to go into why Zeke was PP tone, the way he handled himself at tribal council and the reactions of the others clearly demonstrate an overly positive tone.
Throughout the episode, Zeke was a big part of the strategic discussions. We saw his opening chat with Jeff about how he will try to do what he can to save him. But we later heard him explain why that wouldn’t be possible: “I want to save Jeff Varner– I think it’s very important– but I don’t want to lose Ozzy because the way that I’ve set it up is to have bigger threats out there than myself. So we’re in a precarious position.” Zeke explained his strategy and why keeping Jeff would be a risk to his game. This was light CP. His speech at tribal council about who he is and why he doesn’t choose to tell people of his trans background is what cemented the CP rating. He explained himself in a very eloquent, calm way in the face of adversity.
In terms of where his story arc is going, it’s hard to say. Zeke has had a bit of mixed bag of an edit throughout the pre-merge. He had a decent introduction with his talk of wanting to slay people and bathe in the blood of his enemies. Then he fell into the background post-swap, only to reemerge these past two weeks. There is a potential story to do with Sarah not trusting him and Ozzy, which could see him on the outside of the majority alliance come the merge. Whether the events of this tribal council will continue to play a role in the season as a whole is difficult to tell right now.
Main Stories In Play
-Brad the Leader – Brad has been set up as the clear leader of his alliance. That combined with his frequent mentions of Monica set him up as a key player heading into the merge.
-Michaela’s mouth – the story of Michaele being unable to hold her tongue. A small incident this episode with her flicking the sand when everyone else was crying.
-Debbie/Brad – the relationship between Debbie and Brad looks set to continue at the merge.
-Ozzy/Cirie – likely that this relationship will continue at the merge.
-Sarah the Criminal – no mention of playing like a criminal this week but her distrust of Ozzy and Zeke could cause her to backstab them.
-Will Tai flip? – Tai was shown to still be wary of Ozzy and paranoid over where he stands in the game.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.