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
Angela sneaks into the season finale with an edit that barely scraped past an Invisible rating this week. The UTR1 is only because of a very brief camp scene (where she was taking direction from Dom) and the focus on her confusion at Tribal Council. In this episode, Angela went running back to Dom and Wendell. That has become a trend in her edit. She tries to make a move against them; it fails, and then she scurries back to her old family. She looked utterly lost at Tribal Council, looking to Wendell for guidance, and he gave her nothing but a shrug. Angela’s whole edit is a shrug. Her only plus point is that she has received some personal content at various points throughout the season. But there is no way she wins, and I’d be surprised if she made Final Tribal Council. I could easily see her as an idol victim early in the finale.
Middle of the Road
If Sebastian hadn’t visited Ghost Island and won an advantage would he have been shown at all this episode? Probably not, seeing as that’s where the majority of his content came from. He had a brief moment at the start of the episode when he told Kellyn he didn’t think she was next – WRONG! His suckerfish confessional was a good one, borderline OTT, but he applied it to the game well enough that I felt it warranted a MOR rating. It’s the kind of confessional he needed about six or seven episodes ago. Coming here, one episode before the finale, isn’t going to do anything to change the fisherman’s fate.
It feels like Sebastian is the kind of character that could have had a much bigger edit. From the little bits we’ve seen of him, he has a goofy sense of charm and could have been a solid comic relief type of personality. The fact that he’s been pushed to the sidelines for the majority of the season tells us he’s not important. The editors didn’t even use him for comedy value, which must mean he is completely irrelevant to the narrative and the end-game. The question going into the finale for Sebastian is whether he will “reverse the curse” of the Extra Vote, but given his edit, all signs point to no.
Over The Top
Last week I said that Donathan‘s actions at Tribal Council were presented as erratic. Even though his intention was likely to get Wendell to play his idol, the edit never gave us that reasoning, and so the editorial purpose was just to make Donathan look like he was losing it. That set us up for this episode in which Donathan’s edit went full OTTN. And, again, Donathan’s actions do make sense if you read between the lines. As viewers, we can understand his frustration with others not wanting to make a move against Dom and Wendell, and, at the start of this episode, he explained his reasoning for “playing for himself”reasonably well. He was definitely trending CP for the first half of the episode until it all blew up in the second half.
Donathan was portrayed as overly paranoid. He was constantly questioning his alliance and stirring up trouble. He wanted to pit Dom and Wendell against each other, but he only ended up bringing them closer together, and against him. Dom said he was acting like a “kamikaze” and “blowing the entire game up.” Kellyn called him “unpredictable.” Wendell said he was “volatile.” Before Tribal Council, Donathan aired his suspicions when Dom passed Wendell something from his bag. Again, I think it’s reasonable for Donathan to be paranoid, but the edit made him seem bonkers. Dom and Wendell assured him it was nothing to worry about, but then Donathan charged off into the woods, scrambling to switch the vote against Dom. He continued this aggressive approach at Tribal, not even allowing Dom to speak. Donathan was so sure he was going home that he started collecting his belongings. And then he stayed. He was wrong.
For weeks Donathan has wanted to make a move, and in this episode, he finally got tired of waiting. However, his approach became erratic and suspicious, and he ended up doing more damage to his own game than anyone else’s. But with Kellyn gone, the narrative needs a new antagonist to go up against Dom/Wendell in the finale, and Donathan is apparently taking over that role. I think we’ll continue to see Donathan attempting to bring down the dominant duo in the finale, but it won’t work because as the edit has told us over and over, the opposition waited too long to make a move.
What a weird ending for Kellyn‘s edit coming off a string of negative-leaning episodes. She left the game on a positive note. The tears at Tribal and the gracious exit were definite P-tone, and other players also praised her as a big threat due to her likability and challenge strength. It felt tonally at odds with the rest of her edit, which rarely focused on her interpersonal relationships – suddenly we were meant to believe she had a bunch of friends on the jury, even though we rarely, if ever, saw her interacting with Chris, Libby, Jenna and Michael.
The one consistent theme of Kellyn’s edit though was her “gut” and how that applied to her life following her divorce. She has tied that real-life experience into the game many times over the course of the season and she returned to that well in this episode. “After my divorce, I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted to go, but I had this idea that maybe if I just trust my gut, I’ll get out on the right side,” she said. “And that’s kind of how I feel right now in this game.” The problem is Kellyn’s gut steered her wrong many a time this season, most significantly during the Desiree vote and the Michael vote. It took her too long to realize the Naviti-strong mindset was hindering her game, trusting her gut instead of her head, and as with many people this season, she paid the price.
Overall, I’ve rated Kellyn CPM for the season. She was one of the few characters, especially female characters, to receive a significant amount of visibility and tone. It felt like we saw many sides of Kellyn throughout the season, from her strategic side, emotional side, her frustrations, excitement, anger, happiness, etc. The edit gave us a rounded view of who Kellyn is as a person and player and will be one of the players remembered from Survivor: Ghost Island.
Another episode of Laurel turning down the opportunity to make a move. This is her story now. She is an enabler of the Dom and Wendell power march to the end. The same sequence of scenes played out. Laurel and Donathan talked about making a move. Laurel was hesitant and gave us her reasoning in confessional. She later said she was willing to cut their throats, but then when it came down to it, she backed away and refused to do it. And this was the most damaging episode yet. Whereas previously Laurel’s reasoning was about trust and numbers, this time she told us repeatedly that she didn’t want to cut Dom and Wendell because they are her friends.
“The problem is they’re two of my best friends out here,” she said. “I mean, Dom and Wendell have protected me, and they could have picked me off long ago, and they haven’t, so it’s risky.” Laurel has lost sight of her own game and the reason for being there. When Dom and Wendell chose her for the reward, she told them that she wanted to go to Final Three with them and hope they split the votes. In confessional she said, “I think that’s what they’re banking on, but I’m here to cut their throats.” Then what happened after the Immunity Challenge? Laurel was safe and in a prime position to make a move. “I’d been thinking we gotta get Wendell out of here tonight,” she said. “But I wanna do it the right way….” She was referring to the challenge controversy where Wendell almost won but didn’t, and rather than seeing that as another reason why Wendell is a threat, she used it as an excuse not to make a move. She didn’t want to ruin their friendship. As Donathan pointed out, “She keeps changing her mind and it’s frustrating.”
It’s difficult to see Laurel turning on Dom and Wendell at this stage. Her edit seems destined for Final Tribal Council where she will face the music from the jury for not having got rid of Dom and Wendell earlier. Even if one of Dom or Wendell leaves before Final Tribal Council, I don’t think that will help her, just like it didn’t help Ken in Millennials vs. Gen-X when he finally cut David. Laurel’s story is that she had multiple chances to pull the trigger on Dom and Wendell but didn’t have the courage to go through with it, and that is what will cost her.
Wendell or Domenick. Let’s face it, that’s what this season is coming down to. You don’t need to be an Edgic wizard to figure that one out. The question is, which one of them will ultimately prevail? Wendell has had some great content across the season, but also a few questionable moments. He and Dom continue to be shown as the ones in control, and that was no different in this episode. While Domenick receives more strategic content, Wendell is still a vital part of the relationship, he always offers his thoughts and lets us in on his plans. For example, after Donathan started acting sketchy, Wendell told us about his fake idol ammunition idea. That was just to set up the scene of Donathan’s paranoia, but it still let us know that Wendell is thinking about every aspect of this game.
He also weighed up his options between booting Donathan or Kellyn. He was worried about Donathan’s “volatile” behavior and how that could mess things up, but he also told us that Kellyn was a “super strong competitor” and a “super threat” which he needed to knock out to increase the odds. “Every move, every decision you make has to be super strategic at this point, and that’s what I’m trying to do. The end is in sight, and it’s time to sprint to the end.” Wendell’s edit is focused on the end and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him sitting at Final Tribal Council. Does his talk about needing to take out “super threats” mean he’ll try and take a shot at Domenick? It’s possible, but I’m not sure the edit has put enough emphasis on that. If anything, it would be the other way around, with Dom turning on Wendell, as we saw Dom considering this a couple of episodes back.
I should also touch upon the challenge moment. I assume some people might have given this N-tone, but I really don’t think that was the editorial intent. It didn’t show Wendell throwing a tantrum or anything like that, he made his point, Probst was kind of embarrassed, and Wendell accepted that he lost. Laurel then thanked him, both to his face and in confessional. If anything, that was to show Wendell as gracious in defeat. That’s why I decided to keep his tone neutral for this episode. If they wanted to make Wendell look negative, I feel they could have piled on a lot more.
Can Wendell win? According to Donathan in this episode, if Wendell is against Dom, he wouldn’t have a chance. Do we take that at face value? The edit can sometimes mislead us with those kinds of things, and Donathan wasn’t exactly on the money in this episode with his game-reads. But it wouldn’t be the first time the show has tipped off the winner in this way. The parts of Wendell’s edit that point in his favor are the small personal/social moments that otherwise seemed unnecessary – the girlfriend happy birthday scene, bringing Sebastian his favorite shell, the make-up scene with Chris on Yanuya. If the game comes down to who had the better social play, then perhaps those scenes were kept in to explain why Wendell is rewarded over Dom. The negative aspect of his edit is a number of incorrect calls – wrongly predicting challenge wins, misreading Angela, incorrectly suspicious about Michael’s non-idol. Those moments also felt unnecessary.
If Wendell and Dom both make FTC, which seems likely, it will come down to what the jury/edit regards more highly – strategy or social game? If it’s social based, I think that tips it in Wendell’s favor, but I’m not sure that is the way the edit is leaning.
Domenick or Wendell. As always, Dom is positioned ahead of Wendell strategically, edit-wise at least. He almost always has higher visibility and more extended confessionals explaining his strategy. It always seems like Dom is the one leading the game talk and calling the boot. In this episode, he was the first one we heard in confessional questioning Donathan and how he smelled a big move brewing. He was also the first one to give us the reasons why Kellyn should be the next target. Yet he’s also shown to be cooperative. He asked Wendell, Laurel and Donathan for their suggestions at the water well. It never seems like he’s bulldozing the game.
At the reward, Dom was the one who narrated, talking about the children and their excitement and how it reminded him of his own kids back home. I mentioned last week how it stood out that Dom didn’t get a lot of family focus at the loved ones reward. He got to spend time with his wife and so it felt like the perfect time for a strong family-orientated confessional – something often present in a winner edit, especially in recent seasons. Dom has mentioned playing for his family a couple of times, back in the premiere even, but there hasn’t been the significant focus one might usually expect of a potential winner. So this little moment talking about the kids was a good look, even if it was minimal.
As I said above with Wendell, the story will come down to what is valued more, strategy or social. Dom has the strategy side of things going for him. The edit has very rarely undermined him, apart from that fake idol moment with Chris way back when. But since then he’s always been on the ball. He’s correctly called the threats. He’s been able to read people – the Michael non-idol moment being the stand-out. He’s been able to counter any strikes against him. He has taken out everyone he’s targeted – other than Angela back in Episode 3. And he’s always one step ahead. In that scene with Wendell a couple of weeks back, Dom told us that he would be willing to cut his bond with Wendell if it meant winning. We never heard that from Wendell. In terms of the edit, Dom appears to be the biggest threat and the one playing the hardest.
If it comes down to the stronger social game, then maybe Dom loses. We HAVE seen Dom make relationships in this game, but I can’t recall any scene which was as editorially forced as the ones mentioned above in Wendell’s section. No shell sharing and happy birthday nonsense. The reason for that could be to explain why Dom ultimately loses. While his strategic game was near flawless, maybe his relationships weren’t as strong with the jury as a Wendell? If that is the case, then that could be the reason for the lack of family content and the high-vis early in the season – as touched upon a few weeks ago, Dom had insanely high vis pre-merge for a player that hardly attended Tribal Council, which is unusual for a winner edit.
Heading into the finale, the edit clearly wants us to be up in the air about Dom or Wendell. Unless we’re in for the shock of a lifetime, I can’t see any of the other four standing a chance; the edit hasn’t done them any favors. It has been the season of Dom and Wendell and how after their mishap in Episode 3, they resolved never to let that happen again. Since then they have dominated the game while everyone else has waited too long to make a move. If I had to pick, then my gut slightly favors Dom over Wendell, who I think has more flaws that can’t be as easily explained if he wins compared to Dom. Then again, we know where trusting your gut can lead in this season.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.