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
This was an unusual merge episode as all the focus was on the Domenick versus Chris showdown. That meant the majority of the other characters fell into the background, which was especially damaging for people like Angela, who were already lower-tier characters within the edit. I think Angela just scraped an UTR1 due to the conversation at the well between the former Naviti women, plus the focus on her praise for Kellyn after her Immunity Challenge win. But outside of that, there was nothing of substance here for Angela. We didn’t even get a follow-up on her relationship with Chris, other than a brief hug at the merge. As if it wasn’t already apparent, the edit here tells us that Angela isn’t winning, nor is she going to be leading the narrative post-merge.
Chelsea‘s edit was pretty much the same as Angela’s, a tiny bit of focus at the water-well, which just saved her from being INV. She had some decent content in Episode 7, but there was no follow-up here, no sense of where she stood in the whole Dom versus Chris battle or how she plans to move forward. We’ve now seen eight episodes and we still have no idea who Chelsea is as a person or even who she is as a player. There is no depth here. As with Angela, the edit has made it clear that Chelsea is not the winner nor a central character for the season.
Even with all the Dom vs. Chris stuff going on, I thought this was a terrible episode for Sebastian. He hasn’t ever been a main character, but he has hovered around the mid-tier, usually getting at least one confessional per episode. But here, at the merge, a pivotal point in the game, Sebastian got next to nothing, other than a couple of brief camp conversations and a question at Tribal Council. It’s extra alarming because in the premiere we actually saw Sebastian bonding with Chris, and yet there was no mention of that here, no explanation why Sebastian voted against him. The same could be said regarding his relationship with Wendell – remember a couple of episodes back we had the whole Wendell/Sebastian shell scene? That could have provided reasoning why Sebastian sided with Wendell instead of Chris… but there was nothing in this episode to suggest that. Sebastian really needs to tell us where he stands in the game next week to get back on the radar.
This was a really worrying episode for Donathan, especially in terms of winner chances. I was surprised to see his visibility so low at the merge, especially during the Dom vs. Chris battle which he’d previously had ties to. I’ve mentioned before how Donathan disappeared in the two swap episodes, and now again at an important shake-up like the merge? That’s very odd for a character who is overwise a considerable part of the season.
The only thing we saw from Donathan was him telling Domenick about Chris’ plan to split the vote, and warning him not to trust Libby and Jenna. Donathan bonded with Chris a few episodes back and talked about being in the middle of a potential Chris vs. Dom showdown. I expected Donathan to be a crucial swing vote when it came time for the battle, but that didn’t happen, according to this edit, Donathan was straight up Team Dom and never told us why – not at camp or in confessional. I’m also not sure what to make of Donathan telling Dom not to trust Libby and Jenna because ultimately, those two girls did vote with Dom. Does that mean Donathan was wrong for the first time this season? Or is it foreshadowing that Libby and Jenna will eventually strike out against Dom? We did see them talking about how dangerous Dom was prior to Donathan’s comments.
I really need to see a strong comeback episode for Donathan next week, with some sort of explanation of his vote and his plans going forward. There has always been a lot of care with his edit, and that’s why this episode threw me so much. He has so much great content from previous episodes that it would be stupid to write him off completely, but such an insignificant merge episode is a point of concern.
Laurel‘s edit wasn’t that much better than Donathan’s, but at least she got a confessional. It was just narration about how Dom and Chris can’t stand each other, but given that that’s what the whole episode was about, that’s okay. Unlike Donathan, Laurel had never been shown to be conflicted, she had told us how she wanted to work with Domenick and Wendell, and we’d previously seen how Chris rubbed her the way wrong. So it made sense when she agreed to vote for Chris. It still would have been nice to get more fleshed out reasoning, but given this episode’s unusual edit, I can forgive it. I’m willing to hold out on Laurel until next week to get a true sense of her role in the post-merge narrative, but another UTR will kill her.
Middle of the Road
Michael was one character who could afford to be low-vis this episode, seeing as he had no previous connection to Domenick or Chris, he hadn’t been on a tribe with either man. Yet, even despite Michael’s lack of connection to the Dom vs. Chris story, we still heard his thoughts on the matter, which is really telling, especially when people with more direct links to the feud didn’t get anything. Michael told us he agreed with Chris that Domenick and Wendell are a dangerous pair who are threats to him, but he also wasn’t sure whether or not to believe Chris about Dom’s idol. Perhaps choosing to keep Dom over Chris will come back to haunt Michael later down the line, but regardless, the fact he commented on it at all shows that the edit cares about his character.
The other important thing to note here is Michael’s first confessional, at the merge, where he reminded us of his character and his theme. “This stage in the game represents, you know, hope that I can win this thing. To be 18 wanting to be the youngest Survivor ever, it’s been hard for me so far, so to not only to make it to the merge but to have an idol, it’s like Christmas morning for me.” In that one confessional he reminded the audience that he’s 18-years-old, that he has an idol, that he wants to win, and it hit on his theme of “hope.” To get that winner quote here certainly moves him back up the list of contenders, but overall, what this edit proves is that Michael is an essential character to the season, even if he wasn’t a significant part of this particular story.
Desiree had an interesting episode, one that adds to my continued struggle to place her edit. She wasn’t massively visible, but when we did see her, she was explaining her strategy. At the water-well, when the Naviti women discussed targetting a Malolo, it was Desiree that suggested going after Libby. She said that they can target Michael at any time because he’s an “obvious threat” and it won’t take much to get people on board to vote him out, whereas Libby can sneak through. In confessional, she said that people are so focused on the Dom vs. Chris war that they can’t see what is really going on, and that will allow her to get out who she wants, Libby. All of that spoke to her MOR rating.
However, Desiree didn’t get Libby out, despite voting for her at Tribal Council. What does that tell us? Up until now, everyone that Desiree has said she wanted gone, has gone. Is this the beginning of Desiree’s downfall? Perhaps she will face backlash for voting Libby. Also, the talk about Michael being an “obvious threat” that they can take out whenever worries me, it reminded me of how she didn’t care about him looking for an idol last week. I think there is enough set-up in the edit for Michael to end up costing Desiree, maybe with that idol. Like many others, Desiree needs to explain herself next episode to get back on track.
Jenna‘s edit was kind of similar to Michael’s, in that she didn’t have strong connections to either Domenick or Chris, and yet we still heard her thoughts on the matter. We saw her discussing the dynamics with Libby on the beach, and then she further explained her feelings in confessional. She said that people need their numbers and that herself, Libby, and Michael have a lot of the control and power right now. That was backed up by Domenick approaching Libby and Jenna for their votes, and later Wendell did the same, pitching his case to Jenna and Libby (and Sebastian).
If we’re meant to see Jenna/Libby/Michael as in control, then perhaps Donathan’s warning to Domenick about not trusting Jenna and Libby IS foreshadowing. Maybe they soon aim their target at the Dom/Wendell alliance. The problem is, for Jenna at least, she is severely lacking in personal content, and her visibility overall has been on the low side. So even if she does find herself in a power position, I don’t see the story ever being about her, and winning with this edit seems near impossible to me. I think she could have an Andrea/Ciera-style complexity/visibility bump now we’re in the merge, but nothing beyond that.
Libby‘s edit felt fairly consistent with last week’s, she once again received votes at Tribal, and therefore she had to be given some focus. But we also heard her discussing the vote with Jenna, where she talked about the pros and cons of Chris and Domenick. She described Domenick as dangerous and Chris as loyal, yet she voted Chris out. Was that meant to undermine Libby? In her one confessional she talked about picking a side and how good it felt to feel safe. But immediately following that confessional we saw the Naviti women formulating a potential plan to blindside Libby.
When you combine all of the above with Donathan warning Domenick not to trust Libby and Jenna, it’s perhaps foreshadowing that Libby isn’t as safe as she thinks she is. It’s kind of the opposite to last week, where Domenick looked to be going against his better judgment by keeping Libby, and now Libby went against her gut and saved the man she described as dangerous. Even though Libby isn’t a huge character this season, I think she has a small part to play in the post-merge narrative, and it likely involves Domenick, and which of them will turn first.
Kellyn was mainly used for narration in this episode, but her confessionals had strong placement. She got the first confessional of the episode as the tribes merged, just like she had the first confessional in the premiere, and then she had another during the merge feast, and a third after the Immunity Challenge, which she won. On top of that, we saw her discussing strategy at the well with the Naviti women. So the edit definitely wanted us to be reminded of Kellyn’s presence.
“To make it to the point where you all get to be on one beach and it gets to be an individual game feels like such an accomplishment. Now the work I put in to build relationships during the swaps is going to pay off, so I can’t wait to see what damage I can do,” she said in her first confessional. I find that statement very interesting. She talked about putting in work to build relationships during the swap, but have we seen that in the edit? Relationships are one thing significantly lacking in Kellyn’s edit. Yeah, we know she was Naviti-strong, but as far as bonding scenes with individuals, we haven’t been shown that on TV. So this confessional felt kind of off. Also, the fact that she was pushing to get rid of an original Malolo shows that she is still thinking about Naviti-strong, rather than the individual game. Though she did ultimately vote for Chris.
The trajectory of Kellyn’s edit seemed to suggest, at least to me, that she would eventually split from that Naviti mindset and start focusing on her own game. That didn’t happen here, but because of all the Dom vs. Chris focus, I’m willing to let it slide. In the next episode, we need to start hearing about Kellyn’s plans beyond her original tribe, and it would really help if we started seeing some of those relationships she talked about.
Over The Top
The legend of Chris Noble is finally over. What a way to go out. As I’ve said, this entire episode was dedicated to the Chris vs. Dom battle which has been brewing since the marooning in the very first episode. In the lead up to this showdown, Chris had some complexity, but overall he was painted in a much more negative light than Domenick, which suggested he would come up on the losing end of the battle. Especially in the last couple of weeks, the edit has really piled on Chris with the OTT negativity, and that was the same here.
Chris did get to explain his strategy at times, but the OTT elements were so ridiculous they overpowered any complexity. While the feud as a whole received negative tone, Chris definitely came off worse, he was the one that turned down Domenick’s offer to put aside their differences. The edit also went out of its way to back up Domenick’s statements, showing Chris making arrogant comments or dropping cringeworthy raps. Even some of his strategy content, like dragging 10 people to the water-well, had a hint of OTT-ness to it. It was a larger-than-life ending for a larger-than-life character. Overall, despite some of the complexity, I rated Chris OTTM for the season, because when people think of Chris, they will remember the corny raps and the boasting and going home with an idol – but he also had an emotional side, like the story about his sick mother, though even that had OTT-elements to it.
While Domenick received N-tone for the general reaction to the Dom/Chris feud, his edit overall in this episode was much more favorable than the one Chris received. Domenick was presented as the person that wanted to bury the hatchet or at least put aside differences temporarily. He made a speech at the merge feast about repairing old relationships, and he also showed a willingness to work with Chris during Wendell’s peace summit. Chris was the one shown to turn down this offer, giving Domenick no choice but to continue the feud. The edit continued to stay on Domenick’s side throughout the episode, like when it backed up his statements with clips of Chris acting a fool or boasting. He also fully explained his side of the rivalry at Tribal.
Domenick also received far more complexity than Chris, we got a good sense of his strategy and alliances, even though his feud with Chris took up the majority of screentime. “I have high hopes for this second half of my game. It seems like I have options I can work with. I have a four-way alliance with Donathan, Wendell, Laurel and myself. In addition to that, I can stick with Naviti originals and have the majority. But Chris is such a wild card,” he explained. Domenick did have options, as we saw an emphasis on his partnership with Wendell, we saw Donathan and Laurel helping him out and agreeing to vote with him, and while the old Navitis were discussing voting out Libby, they never once mentioned going after Dom.
The big question for Domenick now is, with Chris gone, does he have a story? So much of his edit this season has revolved around Chris, even when they weren’t on the same tribe. Now that Chris is no longer in the game, where does Domenick go from here? It’s evident that his alliance with Wendell is important, it was the first thing Domenick mentioned when the tribes merged, and it was one of the early relationships set up in the premiere. Also, the four-way alliance with Wendell, Laurel, and Donathan seems crucial, given its continued focus. Then he has this small side-story with Libby and how the two don’t particularly trust each other despite voting together at the last two Tribals. There is enough there to set Domenick on a new path, and his next episode should be very telling of where his story is heading.
This was another (mostly) great episode for Wendell; he was the only other player besides Domenick and Chris to receive a significant chunk of screen time. Wendell was shown to be a cool and collected player; he was the one that suggested Dom and Chris talk and even offered to mediate. This presented Wendell as a level-headed player, someone thinking logically and not emotionally. It wasn’t until Chris proved he wasn’t willing to bury the hatchet that Wendell understandably abandoned that plan and targeted Chris instead. I don’t think he looked bad for failing to patch up Dom and Chris’ relationship; he explained beforehand that this “may be impossible and we have to go the nuclear option.”
Wendell was also given the bulk of the credit for pulling over the votes to get Chris out. “Because of the way Chris talks to people, it’s hard for me to believe he could get enough people on board to vote me or Domenick out,” he explained. That was a perceptive read of Chris’ character; it’s something the edit had harped on for weeks, that Chris rubs people the wrong way with how he talks to them. The edit has told us that you need social strength to succeed, and Wendell demonstrated that this episode – he was the one seen convincing Libby, Jenna, and Sebastian to vote out Chris. “I don’t think this should be a dictatorship, maybe it should be a democracy?” he said. It was a brilliant contrast to Chris’ approach, when he gathered everyone around the well and told them his plan. Here, Wendell sat on the floor, in a subservient, non-threatening position. All of this looked great for Wendell.
However, there was a red flag, one that calls back to previous red flags in Wendell’s edit. When Domenick talked about Ghost Island possibly offering idols, Wendell said that he didn’t think Chris had anything, which was subtitled. That was just blatantly wrong, as Chris did have an idol at that point, even though he didn’t play it. I’m not sure why the edit needed to leave that comment in, if not to slightly undermine Wendell’s read on the game. It was similar to Episode 3 when he said the new Naviti tribe wasn’t going to lose, and then they did, or that he didn’t believe Angela was with them when she was. While Wendell is undoubtedly one of the leading winner contenders, those little moments make me concerned. Domenick said you need fear to stay sharp, so is Wendell not being fearful enough? It’s hard to say, these little comments could just be there to cause doubt for what otherwise is the strongest edit of the season, or they could be legitimate reasons to be worried.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic!