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.
|Name||EP 1||EP 2||EP 3||EP 4||EP 5||EP 6||EP 7||EP 8||EP 9||EP 10||EP 11||EP 12||EP 13||EP 14|
Under The Radar
Libby has such a weird edit. Other than Episode 3, she’s barely been in the season. That remained the case this week, except out of nowhere she received this negative SPV (second person visibility) from Domenick. Still, we never heard anything from Libby herself, not a single confessional or camp conversation. Her low-vis came directly from Domenick, who said she is “a devil in an angel’s body,” that she’s “out for blood,” is “no good” and “she has to go almost as bad as Chris has to go.” I mentioned previously how when Domenick was forming his alliance with Laurel, we kept seeing shots of Libby and Chris together and how this visually put Libby on Team Chris. Domenick further cemented that idea here.
Domenick’s accusations of Libby being “a devil” and “Parvati 2.0” doesn’t exactly match up with the Libby we’ve been seeing (or not seeing for that matter). She seems completely passive in both the season narrative and the gameplay. Even in Episode 3, it was Libby going along with James’ idea, against her better judgment (she didn’t want to vote Morgan out). But Domenick’s words echo Morgan’s departing statement: “Don’t trust the cute blonde.” I guess that is Libby’s story; it’s not so much that she is this ruthless, cutthroat player, but more that others perceive her that way. The fact this sprung up all of a sudden makes me think Libby is in imminent danger or at least will be a decoy boot in the near future. However, the lack of content from Libby herself doesn’t give me hope for her as a pivotal character either way.
This is the closest Chelsea has come to personal content so far this season. I mean, we still didn’t learn anything about her or her life, just that coffee reminds her of home. But at least there was some light positive tone here. And I mean light! It might be pushing it to describe this scene as P-tone, but the tears and her confessional about having the energy to keep fighting was just about enough, even if it did feel like a much cheaper remake of Donathan’s emotional coffee scene from last week. Chelsea has stepped up ever so slightly in visibility the past couple of weeks, and Bradley mentioned her in his confessional in regards to having her on his side. Part of me wondered whether Chelsea’s light P-tone was there to contrast with Bradley’s obvious N-tone. Maybe she eventually splits from him? But that might be giving too much urgency to Chelsea’s story, which doesn’t really exist within the edit. She continues to be a bit part player in the more prominent narratives.
It’s interesting how in both swap episodes Donathan has dipped to UTR2. Quite often the significant characters step up in visibility and content at a swap; the edit likes to check-in with where they’re at and where they’re going. So that does give me a slight cause for concern when looking at Donathan as a potential winner edit. However, it wasn’t as if he was completely absent from the episode. It felt wrong to rate him as UTR1 because even though he didn’t receive a confessional, we did hear from him. In fact, we saw a lot of Donathan at the swap, lots of subtitled comments, introducing himself to his new tribemates, answering Probst. “I’ve never met these two (Bradley & Chelsea) before, I look forward to seeing what they’re all about,” he told Probst. “And we’ve got three Naviti 2.0s here and two original Malolos… are these guys gonna stay or are me and Libby kinda f***ed. I just don’t know what’s gonna happen, man.” That single answer equated to a standard swap confessional. He broke down the new tribe and the divisions within it and his place amongst all that.
Also interesting to note is how many people were smiling when Donathan was speaking, we even saw Jenna clap after his swap speech. The edit continues to show Donathan as someone who is likable. This carried on back at camp when Domenick described Donathan as someone he felt “safe” with – “we’re together,” he said. So while the UTR dip does concern me a little bit, there are so many positives in Donathan’s edit overall – note how he’s never wrong or undermined – that I feel confident of his importance to the season. Remember he still has bonds and unfinished storylines with Chris and Laurel too. These threads should be picked up at the merge.
For a long time I had Jenna as MOR2 for this episode, but after rewatching carefully, there really wasn’t much more to her edit than Donathan’s or Chelsea’s. She had the one confessional and it was your standard swap check-in – new tribe, fresh start kind of thing. It’s great to get one of those, but it wasn’t in any way complex. “You know, there is a little bit of a shock knowing that you’re going to have to start from scratch. But I’ve been on a losing tribe, we’ve been on a losing streak, so obviously I want to know what it’s like to win a reward, to have some food, to not have to go back to Tribal every night. I think a fresh start is perfect timing and I’m excited about it,” she said. That confessional basically came down to, “I’m sick of losing, I want to start winning,” which is fine, but it didn’t tell us anything new about Jenna or her relationships or where she fits into this new tribe or how she plans to move forward.
As I said last week, I see Jenna as a very middle-ish character. She is always present and has enough legs in her edit to go far, but she’s never front and center. The main season narrative isn’t about her, even if she might have a role to play now and then.
Middle of the Road
I struggled to place Bradley‘s edit this week. For a while, I couldn’t decide between CPN or OTTN, and in the end, decided to split the difference and go with MORN. There were undoubtedly OTT elements to his edit, but there was just enough strategy talk where OTT didn’t feel quite right. But that strategy talk wasn’t particularly complex either, so MORN seemed the most appropriate rating.
“Do the original divisions stand or are there new things happening?” That is the question Bradley pondered at the swap, and it became a big theme of the episode. Right now, Bradley seems to be sticking with his original tribe, but he did show some caution. “From a strategic game standpoint, Dom’s a good ally of mine; I have Chelsea, she’s been voting with me. So, old Naviti, in theory, has the advantage, there’s three of us, two of them, but there’s a lot of unknown coming to this beach,” he said. That little hint of awareness is what made me reconsider the OTT rating. But that’s not to say there weren’t large parts of Bradley’s edit that were OTT. There was a callback to his Malolo camp complaining – “Coming back to the Naviti beach was like going to resort after you’ve been in a slum.” And there was more arrogance about his game – “Well, I thought I was fantastic, but maybe I actually am as fantastic as I think because I think I’m playing an A+ game.” It’s these moments which continue to paint Bradley as an egomaniacal villain.
The most intriguing aspect of Bradley’s edit this week was his relationship with Domenick. While Bradley has been set up as a figurehead of the Naviti alliance, we haven’t heard him talk about his individual relationships. Yes, we heard a lot about the Naviti 5, but that’s an alliance, it didn’t tell us anything about Bradley’s closest bonds. This episode focused on his relationship with Domenick. Not only did we see them reconnecting at camp, but Bradley talked about Domenick in confessional too. “It’s fantastic reconnecting with Dom. He’s a really great ally for me, and we’re back on the same page, and it really feels great.” What can we read into this? Is this relationship significant in the long-run? If so, why didn’t we hear about it in the first two episodes? We heard about Domenick and Wendell in the first episode, and Sebastian and Chris, and Donathan and Laurel. Bradley was barely in the first two episodes. That makes me feel like there is a different story purpose for this sudden relationship, and that could be Bradley mistakenly thinking he has Domenick on his side. We’ve seen Domenick showing a willingness to work with old Malolos (Laurel and Donathan), and that could eventually have an impact on Bradley, whose villain edit suggests a future downfall.
This was a terrific episode for Wendell. He’s had a steady edit so far, with a couple of concerns in Episode 3, but this latest episode put him right back on track. I’ve talked in previous weeks about how even when we don’t see Wendell himself, we hear others talking about him, and it’s always positive. In Episode 3, when the Malolo 4 were discussing who to send home, they decided that they needed Wendell more than Morgan. In Episode 4, Donathan and Laurel talked about how much they liked Wendell and wanted to work with him. Now, in Episode 6, we see clear examples of why Wendell’s social game is held in such high regard.
Firstly, upon arriving at the Yanuya camp, Jenna said she wanted to talk to Wendell about furniture for her new apartment. Chris remarked that “It’s spreading fast” in reference to Wendell’s furniture making skills. Not only was this a nice reminder of Wendell’s job, but it showed us that his presence is felt across the season, even with people he’s never met. Secondly, and more importantly, was the shell scene. Wendell saving Sebastian’s favorite shell and seeing the pleasure it brought Mr. Sea Bass was a perfect demonstration of Wendell’s social strength. “Wendell had the heart to drag that all the way out here in his bag reeking of dead conch,” Sebastian said, as if Wendell had carried a boulder on his shoulders for weeks. “I haven’t spent much time with Wendell yet because he was always buddy-buddy with Domenick while I was working with Chris. He has been that buddy that was never my buddy. But he knows who I am, and I’ve barely met him, and that’s pretty cool.” The scene seemed utterly unnecessary to whatever else was going on in this episode, so it’s inclusion suggests either a future Wendell/Sebastian relationship, or it’s there to highlight how strong Wendell is socially.
If that was it for Wendell, it’d still have been a strong episode, but he also received a confessional, letting us check-in with where his head is at and how he plans to approach life at his new camp. After a short pow-wow with Chris, Wendell told us: “I was so ready to drop my buff because I felt myself trying somehow to manage two giant egos, Domenick and Chris, who both want to kill each other.” That told us that Wendell saw himself in the middle of the Dom vs. Chris battle, meaning that he has relationships with both. “And although I’m a little sad I’m not going to be with my boy Dom, I was excited to see that Chris and I are on another team together. He’s a beast of an athlete with an extremely winning track record out here,” he continued. It reminded us of his relationship with Dom but also showed us that he could see the benefit of Chris in terms of his physical strength. “Now, when it comes to me having to hear Chris gloat about himself and brag and boast and all these things, I don’t like that at all,” he concluded. That final statement showed that while Wendell can play nice, he still has a negative perception of Chris’ personality, which to me suggests there will be no long-term relationship between the pair.
This episode shot Wendell back up the list of winner contenders after his near INV edit last week. There are still a few worries for me, mainly his flawed plan to vote out Angela in Episode 3, but perhaps that couldn’t have been avoided. The positive of Wendell’s edit is that he is someone portrayed as likable with a solid social game. In a season with a consistent theme of social strength over physical strength, that looks really good for Wendell, and he should grow into a more significant presence come the merge.
Michael was certainly visible in this episode, but his content was rather straightforward. It kind of felt like the edit was intentionally hiding his more in-depth thoughts on the strategy, which became even more evident after he voted for James at Tribal Council. Michael voted with the Naviti alliance, but the edit continued to portray him as a Malolo underdog, showing him side with James prior to the vote. It was like they didn’t want to associate him too much with the Naviti crew who have received a more negative tone throughout the season. Instead, Michael continued his theme of fighting to survive against dire circumstances.
At the swap, he described the shake-up as a potential “saving grace” and the “bright light at the end of the tunnel,” only to once again find himself on Malolo outnumbered. But Michael never gives up. “The swap isn’t the best that I had hoped for, but even though I am still down in the numbers, this might be the start of something new for me,” he said. “So I need to make the most of this opportunity, and that is exactly what I intend to do.” The fact Michael got this confessional at the swap itself is also important, as we’ve noted before, it tells us he has a role to play in the narrative. We checked in with him again back at camp, as he broke down the new dynamics and a potential way forward. “There are definitely cracks in the Naviti group, Angela has already been screwed once by them, so she’s maybe somebody that me and James can work with,” he said. Then James took on the bulk the complex strategy content from there.
Is it bad that Michael didn’t get to talk about why he voted for James? Maybe. But for one, if they showed Michael considering voting James out, it would have removed tension away from the vote. And secondly, the blame for James going home was put squarely on Angela, in terms of the edit at least. Even when James gave his death glare, which must have been directed at Michael based on where he was sitting, the camera cut to Angela’s reaction, as if he was staring at her, not Michael. It honestly felt like the edit was protecting Michael by keeping his hands clean in regards to this particular vote-off. Why? Perhaps because Michael’s story is meant to be that of the cursed Malolo who is always on the bottom, not a guy controlling a vote. They didn’t want to show him being secure within the majority. His final confessional of the episode kind of summed up the narrative the edit is painting for the young man: “I am yet again going to another Tribal Council. That will be my fifth Tribal Council out of six, and that really sucks for me. You know, this is Survivor: Ghost Island, it’s supposed to be about reversing old curses not creating new ones.” Michael is the cursed underdog, full of heart (the only person willing to admit he follows his heart), and never willing to give up.
This was Desiree‘s biggest episode yet in terms of visibility, and once again she correctly called the boot, but there was still a lack of complexity to her content. Desiree was the first person we heard from at the swap, which is a good thing, but given that she was the episode’s decoy boot, it might not mean much in the long-run. “Depending on the buff I pick up I could be in trouble, so I’m just hoping that fate does its part and has got my back. You know, fate is the homie, that’s what I’m bringing,” she said. I’m not sure what to make of Desiree putting her game in the hands of fate. The significant characters, and especially winners, tend to make their own luck, rather than relying on destiny. However, fate did have Desiree’s back this episode, despite her challenge blunder.
We got to hear Desiree’s thoughts on her tribe’s dynamics and her place within it. Nothing crazily in-depth, but enough for a solid MOR rating. “At my former tribe the Naviti, we were five strong, and we were sticking to it, voting out Malolo one by one,” she said. “And now me and Ang and Kellyn still have the numbers 3-2. The only question mark is Angela; she’s been on the same tribe with James for a while now, so I don’t know what she’s thinking.” This confessional did two things, it further established Desiree as someone committed to the Naviti alliance and it set Angela up as the swing vote for the episode, which the edit further demonstrated in confessionals from Michael, James, Kellyn, and even Angela herself.
The second half of Desiree’s episode was mostly related to her challenge failure. There were some OTT elements to the edit, but as with Bradley, I felt there was enough strategy talk to avoid a straight up OTT rating. There was also a mix of negative and positive tone here. Naturally, the negative tone came from Desiree being blamed for the challenge loss – James and Michael saying she “choked,” etc. But Desiree also accepted the responsibility and told us why she put herself in that position. “The immunity challenge today was probably the worst moment of my life. I wanted to this to be my moment of proving myself. Normally, outside of this game, I just feel that I have to prove myself and I’m so used to exceeding expectation, and I failed. I just feel like the biggest loser.” We almost got some personal content when she talked about proving herself outside of the game, but not quite enough. However, this confessional had a slight P-tone feel to it – as if we were meant to sympathize with Desiree’s plight.
“Because of me, someone is going home. And it sucks, but you know, I’m still a player in this game,” Desiree said. “So the plan tonight is to vote James. Nobody really has a connection to James. I feel like I don’t even know James. So even though it should be me, James is going home.” Not only did Desiree correctly call that James was going home, but she explained that it was due to his lack of connections and relationships. She also described herself as a “player in this game,” which kind of contradicted the earlier “relying on fate” content. Desiree’s edit is tough to read at the minute. Her winning chances are pretty much off the table at this point, but her role in the narrative is steadily increasing.
Over The Top
Sebastian continued in his OTT bubble this week. In Episode 5, it was hair sniffing and dead weasels, in Episode 6, it was dead conch and shell collections. Most of his confessional was positive-SPV about Wendell, but it did remind us of his previous relationship with Chris, and the stuff about collecting “little reminders” was a small but decent piece of personal content. That confessional could also suggest a bond with Wendell further down the road. There’s not much else to say about Sebastian. There is no real depth to his edit. He’s a happy-go-lucky presence (he correctly called that the tribe wasn’t going to lose) who is out there for the adventure. As I said last week, he’s always present, and we always hear from him at least once each episode, which tells me he will continue to hover around the season’s main storylines, even if he isn’t a lead character within them.
The editors love having fun at Chris‘ expense and this episode went all out. We’ve seen all sides of Chris throughout the season, the self-absorbed douche-bro, the challenge beast, the strategist, the emotional family man. But this episode was straight up OTTN arrogant moron. It started with this delightful statement: “You know, when you’re a big, athletic guy and charismatic like I am, I won’t lie to you, it’s exhausting.” The funny thing is, he followed this up with a statement which was, for all intents and purposes, correct. “Some people can sit around and just chill and let the game evolve, where I’m sitting here having to think ahead and build this bond and that bond because I have an X on my back from day one.” Chris has been a target since Day 1, and we have seen him building bonds, with Sebastian, with Angela, with Donathan, and with Wendell and Laurel this week. But everything else around this one accurate statement was insanely OTT.
“When it comes to me having to hear Chris gloat about himself and brag and boast and all these things I don’t like that at all,” Wendell said before we had a montage of Chris bragging about his various life accomplishments. Laurel was the voice of the audience throughout this scene. “It’s kind of tough biting my tongue around Chris; he is a guy who likes to hear himself talk,” Laurel said, backing up Wendell’s previous statement. Then, to put the cherry on top of the OTTN rating, the edit gave us an absolute gem, backed by appropriate comical music cues. “I’m hesitant to tell people that I model because for some crazy reason people think that models might be self-absorbed, they might be dumb, just a lot of things that might not be beneficiary for me in a tribe setting.” I’d previously wondered if Chris’ complex edit meant that he still had a chance to win, but after this editorial burial, I just can’t see that happening.
Chris is a huge character and a vital cog in the ongoing stories, but he goes against the most prominent theme, which is social strength trumps physical strength. In this episode, both Wendell and Laurel told us that Chris is a beast when it comes to challenges, but his personality rubs people the wrong way. I mean, I think Laurel’s confessional pretty much spelled out Chris’ entire character/story. “Jock, model, personal trainer, whatever he is, it’s nice to have him because he is such a competitor. He wants to win competitions so badly that he’s good to have around, but I think the tribe is starting to get a little rubbed the wrong way by Chris,” Laurel said. “I think for us it’s fine to just let him do his own thing, let him dig his own grave, as long as we keep winning I think we’re happy to just smile and nod and go along with it. But in the event that we do lose, I think that Chris is in for a world of trouble.” Cut to Chris almost chopping off Sebastian’s arm with a machete. Chris has avoided Tribal Council so far because he keeps winning, he’s physically strong, but people are growing annoyed by him, and sooner or later he is going to be in for a rude awakening.
I’ve always been concerned about James‘ edit because of the lack of consistency in content and visibility. He had some great material now and then, but it was never followed up on in a substantial way. James always felt secondary to other characters, even in Episode 3, his biggest episode other than this one, the story and emotional content was given to Libby and her relationship with Morgan. James remained strictly strategy focused. And I believe that was the take away from James’ edit, which was cemented in this episode. He didn’t have the relationships and emotional connections, and in a season where social strength is key, it cost him.
“Nobody really has a connection to James,” Desiree said in this episode. “I feel like I don’t even know James.” Desiree could have been speaking about James’ edit as a whole. He never had a solid connection and we never truly got to know him, until the end of this episode pretty much. Even James himself acknowledged his lack of relationships when he said: “This was a bad swap for me. Not only am I back on the bottom but also, I’m not that close with Michael.” Nor did he have a close relationship with Angela, who he needed as a vote this episode. “Hopefully she will feel indebted to us, but we’ll have our work cut out for us for sure,” he told Michael. That didn’t fill Michael or the audience with confidence that James had a strong connection with Angela, despite having had “genuine conversations,” and it likely explains why she sided with the more emotionally in-tune Kellyn, who we saw hugging Angela at the swap.
But just because James didn’t have these connections (according to the edit), it didn’t mean he ignored the need for them; he understood the importance of relationships. “When I was two years old, my family all moved to South Korea, and when I was 16, I decided to come back to the United States alone and chart my own path in a new country,” he said, giving us the most detailed personal content of his edit so far. “And I had to adapt to a new life, a new language, a new school with no friends, and learn how to connect with people. And that experience prepared me for this moment because Survivor is about connecting to other human beings.” It kind of gave James an excuse, that his lack of connections came from being swapped to a new tribe with no friends, and he just didn’t have the time to make it work. It certainly didn’t seem like the edit was burying James, he went out on a very positive note, complimenting his tribe on their blindside and wishing them luck.
James’ edit this season has mostly been a mixture of UTR and CP, and so a MOR overall is probably the correct call for his season rating. I think he’ll be remembered similar to Brendan, a player that had potential but never quite got the chance to live up to expectations.
Angela‘s edit here was similar to her third episode, but with more tone. She was caught in the middle, both in terms of alliances (previously it was Team Dom vs. Team Chris, and now Des/Kellyn vs. James/Michael), and also concerning her head and her heart. Probst even asked the tribe if they lead with their head or their heart in real life, and Angela said she leads with her head. But that contradicts her edit this season. She has been portrayed as an emotional player that thinks with her heart. Chris had previously told her she needed to start using her head, back when he was warning her about Domenick and Wendell. She didn’t listen then and got blindsided by the vote. Now, rather than siding with James, she chose to stick with Naviti because she is still looking for that “family,” which is emotional reasoning.
Similar to James, Angela was saying the right thing in confessional, but she wasn’t following it up in the game itself. “I do trust James. And this game is all about relationships,” she said, further hammering home that particular theme of the season. Then, again, similar to James, she gave us a detailed account of her past and how it applies to her current situation. “In the military, it was like a family, I was always surrounded by great friends. And then retiring I lost that big chunk of family. Then my daughter went away to college. And then I started going through my divorce. And now I’m alone. And I don’t know; it’s just hard. It’s just hard.” That gave us an understanding of why Angela considers her tribemates family and is so reluctant to turn her back on her original Navitis. But by doing that, she undermines her next line, which was: “I mean, it’s good because I was raised to like focus on everyone else’s happiness, now I’m focused on me and trying to figure out where I want to go and what I want to do.” She tells us that she is focused on herself, but her actions show she is still putting her “family” first, and that could be detrimental.
Why is it detrimental? Because the edit showed us that the people she aligned with, Kellyn and Desiree, don’t particularly feel comfortable or confident in Angela. Desiree referred to her as a “question mark” and said she doesn’t know what she is thinking. Kellyn went even further, calling Angela “super paranoid” and admitted that she hasn’t fully trusted Angela right from the very start. “From the beginning, I haven’t been able to 100% trust Angela. She is just all over the place, and I’m not sure she fully understands what’s going on in her own head, and someone like that is just dangerous,” Kellyn said. Angela keeps putting her faith in this original Naviti “family” that hasn’t ever fully trusted her. And it’s funny because when Kellyn said, Angela is “all over the place,” the camera actually focused on Angela sitting perfectly still, staring into space, for what felt like eons. Angela isn’t all over the place, which is her mistake, she’s sitting still and hoping her original family will keep her safe. If Angela doesn’t wake up soon and start thinking with her head, she is going to get burnt bad.
Following on from all the talk about head or heart, Kellyn said that following your gut is the most important thing because she sees it as the perfect mix of both. It continued her central theme, trusting your gut, which has been present right from the premiere. “When you find and follow what your gut is telling you, it’s because you’ve let your heart speak a little bit and you’ve let your head speak a little bit, find where that settles in and make your decision from there,” she said. It’s an elaborate answer but perfectly encapsulates Kellyn’s character and her theme for the season. It also speaks to her CP rating for this episode, most of which came from her Tribal Council answers.
So far, Kellyn’s gut has steered her in the right direction, even if this episode was the most worried she’s been yet. Her gut spoke early in the episode, telling her that there could be trouble ahead with Angela. “Turns out Dom and Chris couldn’t just take a deep breath, get along for a few votes, and keep Naviti strong. Instead, they tried to vote out Angela and I start to get this feeling in my stomach like this could be trouble.” Even though Angela stuck with Kellyn and Desiree for this vote, you have to wonder if this will become a bigger concern at a later date. “From the beginning, I haven’t been able to 100% trust Angela,” Kellyn later explained. “She is just all over the place, and I’m not sure she fully understands what’s going on in her own head, and someone like that is just dangerous.” It could be foreshadowing the merge with Team Domenick on one side and Team Chris on the other, and where Angela falls in all that could put Kellyn and her allies in trouble. Or, in the short-term, if Malolo loses again next week, it could be setting up Kellyn booting Angela because she’s worried she could mess things up for them at the merge.
Here’s my worry for Kellyn, if the dominant theme of the season is social strength and strong relationships (Kellyn even said at Tribal that long-term relationships are important), then why have we seen so few of Kellyn’s? Yes, we saw her embrace Angela at the mat, and that was probably foreshadowing that Angela would ultimately stick with Kellyn, but later in the episode, Kellyn told us she’s never fully trusted Angela. So that doesn’t count as a genuine relationship. Rather than social connections, Kellyn’s edit is all about Naviti as numbers, or a color, or a majority. We haven’t seen her share any personal bonds with individual players, for example, like Wendell and Sebastian in this same episode, or like we saw with Donathan and Chris the week prior. I’ve said before it could be because Kellyn’s relationships with this particular group aren’t crucial to the main narrative and perhaps she will create more important bonds later, but it could also be foreshadowing the reasons for an eventual downfall. At Tribal Council, James said, “You can’t just be so myopic, you have to look at different kinds of bonds with different people, reaching across the aisle to the other side, that’s a pretty critical part of Survivor I think.”
Right now, Kellyn is viewing the game through a very narrow “orange and purple” lense, and that could be costly. But she does at least recognize that everything could soon become “brown.” I think at some point, probably at the merge, or maybe even before then if Malolo loses again, Kellyn will come to a crossroads where she will choose to stick with what’s doing, or she will decide to make a change, reach across the aisle, and start on a new path. And when she reaches that crossroads, you best believe it will be her gut which tells her which path to take.
As expected, Domenick was back in action this week after his UTR cooldown in Episode 5. He once again received a confessional at the swap, marking his significance to the story, and he dominated (no pun intended) the majority of screentime on the new Naviti tribe. But here is my concern with Domenick’s edit – he cannot stop talking about Chris. Yes, the Dom vs. Chris feud is a huge story, probably the most consistent storyline of the pre-merge outside of “Malolo is cursed,” and it will likely play a big part in the upcoming merge. But it would be nice for Domenick to take a break from Chris and give us something more personal. Yet every other word out of his mouth is about Chris in some shape or form. It’s almost veering into OTT territory. That worries me.
Domenick’s confessional at the swap related to Chris, just like his last swap confessional. Here is his swap confessional from Episode 3: “I’m concerned because I still have to deal with Chris on this new tribe, so it is critical to me that I build relationships with everyone out here in order to take him out.” And here is his swap confessional from Episode 6: “That son of a bitch Chris was still after me, so getting away from him was such a relief. It’s almost like for the first time the ball is in my court, so I can choose how this game goes now.” His story is anchored to Chris, even when he’s away from him. When they got back to Naviti, Domenick told the group he was having a moment of relief because he no longer had Chris on his tail. “For the first time in this game, I have this weight off my shoulders of having Chris breathing down my neck and telling everyone ‘get rid of dom, get rid of Dom’,” he said. The thing is, even though Chris is not physically in the same space as Domenick, he is very much still on his mind. Then we saw him telling the group about tricking Chris with a fake idol, both Bradley and Domenick laughed about it, but the other reactions were worth noting. Libby didn’t look amused, and Donathan sort of rolled his eyes.
The fact that Donathan rolled his eyes could be telling, especially with what Domenick said next. “I feel like I’m not on defense anymore, and I’m actually in a spot where I have control at the moment just because there are three original Naviti, and I feel safe with Donathan, we’re together. But at the same time, they could play me just like I was played the first time.” Given what we saw last week with Donathan and Chris, that could very well be foreshadowing Donathan leaving Team Dom for Team Chris in the future. But the fact that Domenick recognized the potential of being played is good, it shows he is aware, and the next part of his confessional, where he put the target on Libby, was solid CP content, even if he did end by once again mentioning Chris. “Who does she think she’s dealing with?” he said. “I know exactly the game she is playing. Every time I try to have a conversation with her she doesn’t give me anything solid. Libby, no good, she has to go almost as bad as Chris has to go.”
Domenick is a central character, there is no doubt about that, and he’s also in the winner contender bracket based on his edit so far. But as each week goes by, the Chris obsession becomes a bigger weight around his neck. With the burial that Chris got this week, you’d expect Domenick to come out of the war on top, and if that is the case, then perhaps Domenick can then move onto to a more personal story of his own going forward. But Chris’ has had an unusual edit, he isn’t just a one-note villain, despite the OTTN this week, and the possibility that Domenick’s obsession with Chris becomes his downfall shouldn’t be ruled out just yet.
This was a really solid episode for Laurel. Very similar to her Episode 4 edit, she was not only shown as self-aware but gave us a great explanation of her gameplay style. On the surface, she was used as an audience surrogate, reacting to Chris’ OTT behavior, but her commentary also contained some insights into her approach to the game. “It’s kind of tough biting my tongue around Chris,” she said. “He is a guy who likes to hear himself talk, but I’ve been put in a bunch of different situations and I’ve found a way to fit in and get along with everyone. I think that’s a skill I have, is fitting in with the people I am around and kind of being what they need me to be.” Not only is that a really detailed explanation of her strategy, but we saw her putting it into motion at camp, stroking Chris’ ego as he talked about his modeling career.
Laurel’s confessional sums up her edit so far this season. We’ve seen her fitting into various groups and getting along with people. She bonded with Donathan back at original Malolo, and that relationship has continued in subsequent episodes. We’ve seen her working with the former Malolo members, but she also “reached across the aisle” to work with Domenick (and by association Wendell), and the two shared a friendly conversation. Now she is doing the same with Chris, even if it is all fake. “I think for us it’s fine to just let [Chris] do his own thing, let him dig his own grave, as long as we keep winning I think we’re happy to just smile and nod and go along with it. But in the event that we do lose, I think that Chris is in for a world of trouble,” she said. She continued this line of conversation with Jenna, telling her, “If you just play into it, he’s fine with you.” Not only does this show that Laurel is a perceptive player, but it also continues the story of Dom vs. Chris with Donathan and Laurel being in the middle of that. Based on what Laurel said in confessional, it doesn’t look like she will be Team Chris when the battle finally goes down, and that could cause conflict with her former ally Donathan.
While this was an excellent episode for Laurel, I still find it hard to back her as a potential winner edit, mostly due to her first three episodes. She just didn’t get a solid introduction, and while female winners are often more UTR than male winners, they should still be introduced in the premiere – even Michele got a strong premiere intro, despite going UTR for a while after that. Laurel’s only saving grace is that she acknowledged her UTR gameplay in Episode 4, but I’m not sure that is enough. There are too many characters with bigger edits that she is trailing behind. I’d need to see Laurel’s edit step up big time in the next couple of weeks if I was to start seriously considering her as a potential winner. Right now, I think her odds of going far look good, she fits the theme of social strength, she is like a chameleon, able to blend into any setting. All of that is positive for a deep run, but to take on the main season narrative post-merge it’s going to take a major shake-up.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic! Let me know your thoughts in the comments below.