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.
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Under The Radar
Sebastian‘s post-merge edit has been a real dud. Zero complexity, absent for most of the episodes, very few confessionals. There was no change for the kooky fisherman this week. He had some focus at the loved ones visit, but as long-time Edgic readers will know, I don’t include the loved ones segment as editorial manipulation. Everyone gets a positive moment with their family, so unless the focus is excessive, I don’t count it towards tone or visibility. Outside of that, Sebastian got nothing. He won the challenge, but at the reward itself, the spotlight was all on Domenick and Donathan.
It’s unclear where Sebastian fits into this story. There is no follow-through with his edit. At one time he looked close with the Kellyn, Chelsea and Desiree group, then he had the connection with Jenna, and now he’s suddenly lumped in with the guys. Who are his true allies? Who does he want to go to the end with? It’s impossible to know because the edit doesn’t feel the need to tell us. I wouldn’t be shocked if Sebastian was the next one out or perhaps the first boot on finale night. His edit does not have end-game upside.
Angela‘s edit wasn’t much better than Sebastian’s this week, but she was at least present in some of the strategy scenes. She was part of the conversation post-reward challenge with the three other women when they discussed blindsiding the guys. That continued later in the episode before Tribal Council when we heard Angela pushing for the Wendell boot, saying it was going to be “epic.” The problem is, Angela never received a confessional to elaborate on her thoughts. It was all Kellyn and Laurel and then one perfunctory Chelsea confessional. As I said last week, Angela is just a number, not an important character leading the narrative.
I did toy with giving her P-tone for the scene with her daughter. It did feel slightly more focused on than the other loved ones segments, but it wasn’t quite enough to sway me. It did hit Angela’s previous themes though – family and military. Out of all those that have had subpar edits this season – Chelsea, Sebastian, Jenna, Libby, etc – I do feel like we know the most about Angela, and part of me wonders if that means she makes the finale.
The good news – Chelsea finally received her first post-merge confessional in this episode. The bad news – it was also the episode where she was eliminated. It was only a matter of time, Chelsea didn’t have the foundation to her edit to carry her into the finale. All we knew about her was that she was good at challenges, and as I said last week, that would likely be the reason given when it came time to boot her. Lo and behold, what did Domenick say this week? “It’s important that we get these challenge beasts out of the way, so we don’t have to worry about them later down the line.” The edit gave us the bare minimum explanation for Chelsea’s elimination.
I initially considered MOR for this episode, but on a rewatch, there was just no depth at all. Her one confessional was as basic as could be and essentially amounted to ‘Wendell is smart and good at challenges, we need to blindside him tonight.” Like Angela, we heard from Chelsea briefly in some camp strategy scenes, but it was always Kellyn, Laurel, and later Donathan, that got to express their thoughts in greater depth. Overall, the editors gave Chelsea the bare essentials of a boot episode edit, and it sums up her edit of the season – barely present and unimportant to the narrative. I rated her UTR overall, which might even be generous, in the past I’ve rated people INV for this kind of lackluster edit, but I guess I’ve softened somewhat on that recently.
It’s no surprise that the five most significant characters of the season (or at least of the post-merge) all received CP edits this episode. As far as Wendell goes, he was back in focus, mainly due to a Ghost Island visit. I find it interesting that after the reward challenge we didn’t go straight to the loved ones picnic, instead, we followed Wendell to Ghost Island. That puts importance on Wendell’s story.
His decision to turn down the visit with his dad for a chance at an advantage was met with criticism from Kellyn and a couple of the other women. Kellyn was the primary source of Wendell’s negative SPV (second-person visibility), saying that he wrecked the family reward for everyone. But I’m not so sure we were meant to be siding with Kellyn, and Wendell got to explain his choice, saying that he was here to win and that his dad would have told him to do the same thing. Also, Domenick backed Wendell up, saying that he was at GI doing “work” on behalf of the alliance. Not to mention Chelsea claiming that Wendell is “smart” and “great at challenges.” When looking at that as a whole, I felt mixed tone was more appropriate.
There was a couple of winner/end-game quotes from Wendell in this episode. He mentioned being here for the win when explaining his GI choice and then after he received the advantage he said, “I gotta sit in the Final Three, and this puts me one step further.” There is a stated destination in Wendell’s edit and that is a good thing. Something else worth mentioning is that his loved one was his dad and not his girlfriend Nicole, who he’d talked about earlier in the season. I said before about how out of place and intentional that girlfriend scene seemed at the time, and now it stands out even more because it didn’t pay off here. It looks like it was included to highlight Wendell’s social game and that could be what decides the winner when all is said and done.
In terms of strategy, Domenick was still presented as the one in the driver’s seat. He was the one making deals at the reward and explaining the plan back at camp. He did ask Wendell who he wanted to go, and Wendell suggested Chelsea, but it was then Dom shown as the driving force behind the vote. Wendell was also hesitant about Donathan, but Domenick assured him Donathan was cool and with them. While Donathan did stick with the alliance, for now, he did try to stir up trouble at Tribal and has been considering flipping for a while. So perhaps Wendell is right to be cautious? Wendell also said that after Chelsea is gone they could pick the others off one-by-one. It will be interesting to see if that happens because Wendell has made a few incorrect calls this season. Either way, it seems like a sure bet that Wendell will make the finale.
Kellyn‘s edit has really shot up in the past few weeks, not just in visibility, but tone. In a way, she has become the antagonist of the season, and perhaps there were always signs of that from the days she was stonewalling the Malolos back at the swap. I didn’t feel outright N-tone quite fit here, though. While her post-reward challenge temper tantrum definitely had a negative slant, she did receive some back-up from the other women. She also explained herself and her strategy enough to avoid the one-dimensional OTT rating.
All season long Kellyn has been pushing the “Naviti strong” mantra; finally, she abandoned that and tried to switch up her game. It’s the “divorce” from her old life that we’ve been waiting for since the post-merge hit. “The four of us can finally start playing to win,” she said to the three other women. Kellyn put forth a plan to blindside the boys and she was the one that received the majority of confessionals about it. It makes sense that Kellyn was the mouthpiece – since the premiere she has received significant focus, far more than Angela or Chelsea ever have or had. The problem is, Kellyn’s plan failed. She didn’t sway Laurel and Donathan to come over to her side and didn’t take out her desired target. It’s a sign that she waited too long to make a move. Her Naviti mindset meant she neglected the Malolos and didn’t form the kind of relationships needed to pull off such a vote flip.
The fact Kellyn has had such a significant edit means there is a chance she can bounce back from this predicament. At the very least she might be able to knock out Sebastian, which isn’t exactly a massive achievement, but given that he was weirdly placed on the side of Dom and Wendell this week, the edit would likely present it as a small victory. Based on her edit up until this point, I would say Kellyn will make the finale, though winning is almost definitely out of the question.
Laurel‘s edit has hit this repetitive beat where she is consistently in the middle with the option to make a move against Domenick or Wendell. And then never does. Yet, she always explains her reasoning. She puts all her thoughts on the table and lets us know her considerations. That was the case again this week after the women presented a plan to blindside the boys. Laurel told us that it was hard to completely trust Kellyn because she’d burned her at the last Tribal, but also said they could be “mutually beneficial” to each other. However, she explained her hesitations with the move – the fact that she knows Dom and Wendell have idols and didn’t want the move to blow back on her.
Once again, we had another scene of Laurel and Donathan discussing their options. This pair was set up in one of the first scenes of the season premiere and here we are two weeks from the finale with both of them still in the game and positioned as the pivotal swing votes. As has been the case for the past couple of weeks, Donathan was the one leaning towards flipping and making a big move, while Laurel was more cautious about the timing. She said if they take out Chelsea now, they could still be an opportunity at the next vote to take a shot at Dom and Wendell. Donathan felt like tonight was the right time to make the move, worrying that they’d regret it if they didn’t go through with it. And that’s the big question, for both Laurel and Donathan, did they miss their shot?
Laurel’s final confessional of the episode perfectly sums up her predicament. “On one hand I have the guys who I feel like I can trust, but I feel like I know I can’t beat. And, on the other hand, I have the ladies, who I feel like I could beat if I got to the end, but I don’t know I can trust them to get me there.” That’s a great complex confessional, and it makes us an audience understand Laurel’s dilemma. There is a lot of truth in what she said. However, it’s the final part of her confessional which I find the most concerning. “Plus I know that Domenick and Wendell have a ton of protection in idols, so it’s probably the last chance to take a shot at one of them when they’re not expecting it. Donathan and I control not just tonight, but the direction for the rest of the game. This decision is everything.” Doesn’t that suggest Laurel missed her chance to take the shot? It sounds like foreshadowing that when they eventually make the move, Dom and Wendell will be expecting it and be prepared with their idols. Laurel may have put herself in a no-win situation.
Donathan is in the same repetitive pattern as Laurel. He’s stuck in the middle with a chance to take a shot at Domenick and Wendell. While Laurel tends to be the more cautious one of the partnership, Donathan is the one pushing for a big move. He has said for weeks now that he wants to take a strike at the strong guys because he doesn’t feel like he could beat them at the end. He reiterated that this episode during the family reward.
During his discussion with Laurel, Donathan said that Dom and Wendell are the two biggest threats to win the game and tonight is the night to aim for one of them. “My biggest regret will be not doing it when we had the chance,” he said. “I just feel like we’re not gonna have a gameplan after this if Domenick and Wendell are just gonna keep steamrolling everybody.” As with Laurel, the big question for Donathan is whether or not he has missed his shot. I believe the answer in yes. Especially after Donathan’s actions at Tribal which seemed somewhat erratic – realistically he was likely trying to force Wendell to waste his idol, but we didn’t get any explanation of that in the edit. It just seemed like Donathan was acting like a loose cannon. It feels like the story is leading to Donathan making a move, but the edit tells me he won’t be successful because he waited too long.
Domenick continues to be the main figurehead of the strategy talk. He is always presented as in control and aware of his surroundings. In this episode he took the lead strategically at the reward, telling the family members that he was loyal to the guys to the end. He also vouched for Wendell putting in work on their behalf at Ghost Island. He asked Wendell who he wanted gone, and while Wendell replied “Chelsea,” it was Dom who received the confessional explaining why she should go next – “a challenge beast.”
Before Tribal Council, Dom assured his alliance that everything was good. Wendell was worried about Donathan, but Dom persuaded him that Donathan was “cool” and on their side. While Donathan did vote with Dom this episode, part of me wonders if this is a potential blind spot, as we do know that Donathan wants to make a move against the alliance. Although, after Donathan’s behavior at Tribal, Dom said he was “shooken up,” which means he’ll probably have his eye on Donathan going forward.
The one thing that is worth noting is the lack of family focus. Obviously, Dom had the scene with his wife during the loved ones segment, but there was no extra attention paid to this relationship at the reward itself. Given his previous confessionals about playing for his family, this seemed like a prime opportunity for personal content. Instead, Wendell got the confessional about his dad and tied that to winning the season. Does this mean anything in the grand scheme of things? It could just be that they didn’t have time to fit in a Dom family confessional. Or maybe there’s something more to it? As I said, it was strange how after the reward challenge we followed Wendell to GI and didn’t go straight to the family picnic.
Right now, Dom is the one positioned in front strategically, but Wendell has these intriguing personal/social moments – like the girlfriend scene, like the dad scene – which provide him with some added depth. Either way, the season is pretty much a two horse race between this dominant duo.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic!