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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EDGIC IS BACK!
It’s time once again for another season of Edgic where we analyze each character’s edit and meticulously pore over b-roll footage to try and work out what story is being told. This season already has an interesting start what with it being only a one-hour premiere. While the shorter run-time makes for a less satisfying premiere as a viewer, it does offer up some interesting insights for Edgic.
Having to set up the theme, introduce 18 new characters, show the challenges, and pack three days worth of action into a 42-minute episode means that A LOT of story falls by the wayside. The editors have to be very particular with what they choose to highlight. You would like to think that means no wasted moments and that everything shown on screen has or had some larger significance either in telling the story of the episode or the story (stories) of the season. Obviously, that isn’t always the case, there will be parts in every episode that have no bearing on the overall arc, but in a 42-minute premiere, those moments should be few and far between.
You can see how the editors were playing for time in the truncated opening. Jeff Probst’s usual “39 days! 18 people!” spiel was cut to the absolute minimum before we jumped right into the marooning. For those who have been following Edgic with us on Inside Survivor these past couple of years, you will already know the significance of the intro confessionals. It seems like the days of multiple opening confessionals are over because much like Game Changers and Millennials vs. Gen-X we only heard from six people – and even more alarming is that only three of them were confessionals, the other three received questions from Probst.
Two people from each tribe were introduced to the audience on the boat. Obviously, out there on the island, Probst spoke to each person, so it’s important to note which of the 18 players the edit felt it necessary for us to hear from. For the Heroes we heard from Ben and Chrissy. For the Healers we heard from Cole and Mike (who received both a confessional and a Probst question). And for the Hustlers, we heard from Ali and Ryan. We’ll go more into the content of their intros in the individual character write-ups, but for comparison’s sake, here are the six people who received intro confessionals in the last all newbie season: Taylor, Mari, Zeke, Chris, Sunday, and David. Five of the six made the merge and at least three of them received significant focus throughout the season: David, Taylor, and Zeke. Chris was a mid-level character and always relatively game-focused. Mari was the “shock factor” second boot. Sunday made it deep but was mostly invisible.
If you apply the Millennials vs. Gen-X logic to this group then out of Ben, Chrissy, Cole, Mike, Ali and Ryan you should expect at least four of them to make the merge if not more. At least three of them should be significant characters throughout the season either due to their gameplay, moves, or personality. And one is very likely a surprise pre-merge boot (or perhaps merge episode boot) despite having decent air-time. One might also just be there to set-up the theme and play no bigger role in the season.
Interestingly, in the last three seasons, the eventual winner did not have an intro confessional. Michele, Adam, and Sarah all had their first confessional of the season during the first camp scene on their respective beaches. If this is a new editing trend, then it’s worth looking at those who received confessionals during the first camp scene on each tribe. After the marooning, we first went to the Healers beach, where we heard from Roark, Jessica, and Joe in that order. We then jumped to the Heroes beach where we had confessionals from Ashley, Alan, and Ben. Then finally to the Hustlers beach where we heard from Lauren, Ali, Patrick, and Ryan. Again, we’ll go into the content of these confessionals in the individual write-ups, but you can already see that Ben, Ali and Ryan had intros on the boat and at camp, which immediately makes them stand-out.
Simone was the only invisible rating of the premiere. She was the only person to receive no confessionals and no SPV (Second Person Visibility). Cole also receive zero confessionals, but he introduced himself on the boat and received SPV from his tribemates. A casual viewer wouldn’t even know there is a person called Simone on the season.
There was one very brief piece of b-roll of Simone tripping as she stepped out of the boat at the marooning. That’s not enough to push her to UTR because only an edit obsessive would notice or remember that. But what was its implication? It’s too early to say. Her clumsiness could have just been there to qualify Probst’s statements about the Hustlers “trying to figure out what show they’re on.” Or perhaps her clumsiness will be her running arc. We can’t really make any further statements about Simone until we see more of her, other than that starting with an INV rating is a big shot against her winner chances.
Under The Radar
What a sad edit for the first boot. We barely got to know Katrina – in fact; we didn’t find out she was an Olympian until her post-elimination confessional (unless you read her chyron). Katrina was a victim of the shortened premiere episode as the editors chose not to focus on her story. I guess the theory is, why waste time on someone gone on Day 3 when you can set up characters who will play a bigger role in the season?
I debated between UTR or MOR for Katrina, but when I have these struggles, I always come back to what a casual viewer would think. Would a casual viewer remember anything about Katrina’s personality or game based on that episode other than “she was the older lady”? I don’t think so, and that’s why I opted for UTR. Her two confessionals, which came late in the episode, were very basic accounts of the game: “I don’t feel totally safe. I don’t really have a good alliance on the team. I knew I need to get people to vote together. We need four people to vote for somebody.” That’s just Survivor 101 strategy. It fits the UTR definition of “talking about the very basic plans of a larger group.” She followed that up with more general thoughts: “I think I have a plan with Chrissy, Alan, and Ben. I have to put faith in three people that I’m not sure totally have my back. Hopefully it works.” Nothing here had impact or urgency. Hence the UTR rating.
The decision to diminish Katrina’s role and not tell her boot story should tell us that the time spent on the other members of the Heroes tribe is more important. The other relationships and alliances which were set up probably have a more long-term impact or at least a bigger impact on the season.
Cole may not have received a confessional, but unlike Simone, we still got to know a little about him, and he had a fair amount of positive SPV. He was one of the four people highlighted by Probst on the boat and told us about his job as a Wilderness Therapy Guide and how he wants to give back to others. My immediate thought about Cole and his edit after this episode was – he’s the new golden boy.
There are a few key tells of a golden boy edit and Cole ticked many of those boxes. A golden boy edit usually focuses on the more psychical parts of Survivor as opposed to the strategy and gameplay – so more talk of survival skills and challenge ability. Already in his intro, Cole talked about how the outdoors opened up his world and how he wants to do the same for other people using those skills. Then at the first camp scene on the Healers beach, the focus again was on Cole’s physicality and appearance. Joe complimented his “eight pack, ” and then Jessica gave a confessional comparing him to Tarzan (not the One World contestant). “Cole is Tarzan; I like him a lot. Like, he’s fun. He’s trying not to be the tough guy, but he is. I mean, he’s ripped. He has beautiful tan skin, blonde hair, blue eyes. I think I fell in love…” Cole was pretty much objectified and given no depth in this opening episode. Not getting his own confessional to talk about himself or his tribe is another sign of his arc pointing more towards golden boy than potential winner.
It’s obviously early days, and there is plenty of opportunity to flesh Cole’s character out in the intervening weeks. But right now, based on this premiere edit, I would predict Cole lasting a long while – dominating in challenges, providing in camp, perhaps a showmance with Jessica – and maybe even painted as a threat to win as we get deeper kind of like Joe in Cambodia, despite there not been enough under the surface of his edit to actually suggest a win. Look for Cole being the new Joe/Ozzy of the season – although, Cole seemed to show more modesty, with his comment about even if they have an off day and finish second in the challenge they’ll be safe.
Sticking with the Healers tribe, we have Jessica, who was also UTR. Jessica’s edit so far is directly linked to Cole’s. In fact, we didn’t learn anything about Jessica herself in regards to her job, her thoughts on being a Healer, her approach to the game, etc. Her one and only confessional was all about Cole and how attracted she is to him. It definitely provides her a storyline but if you were looking at Jessica as a potential winner that has taken a significant hit here. There isn’t much else to say about Jessica at this point, the Healers didn’t attend tribal council and were pretty UTR as a tribe overall.
But a prediction of a showmance storyline between Jessica and Cole seems a safe bet. Perhaps worth noting is how different Cole/Jess were edited compared to Taylor/Figgy in Millennials vs. Gen X. There was a definite negative bent to the romance between Taylor and Figgy in the edit, whereas Jessica’s attraction to Cole came across lighter and more positive. So if Cole/Jessica is a storyline going forward, it suggests we are meant to be rooting for them.
Desi is yet another UTR Healer tribe member with very little to go on thus far. She didn’t receive an introduction on the boat nor a confessional in the first camp scene on the Healers beach. Those are a couple of red flags for her winner chances or being a significant character throughout the season. I think Desi’s role in this episode was simply to highlight the Healers unity and success as a tribe in camp life and challenges.
If you look at her one confessional, it was mainly all about her tribe, rather than about her own game. “I’m fortunate to be a part of the Healer tribe. We are in high spirits, and we know that, first and foremost, we can communicate, and as long as we do that in camp life, everything runs smoothly.” This confessional was followed by scenes of the tribe putting together the shelter. Someone off-screen was heard saying “Okay, I’m ready for my marching orders, ” and Desi was shown suggesting to get bamboo which was welcomed positively. All this was to show the Healers working together well and communicating openly. If there is any foreshadowing here, perhaps highlighted by the following Joe/Mike confrontation, it might be that eventually the Healers will stop communicating effectively and Desi will be blind to it. But honestly, it’s too early to tell, and we need to see more of Desi to see where her story is heading.
Rounding out the Healers UTR group is Roark. Much like Desi, there isn’t a great deal to go off here for Roark that clues us into her story-arc for the season. However, there is a little more upside for Roark based on the placement of her confessional and her b-roll footage. While we didn’t hear from Roark on the boat, she did get the first confessional as the Healers arrived at their beach. That’s an excellent position and places Roark into a narrator role.
But again, like Desi, Roark’s confessional was primarily about general tribe outlook as opposed to her own game. “As we row in, we see the biggest fire any of us have ever seen. And it sets us off on the right foot,” she said. “Healers are definitely a team-based group in terms of how we approach our careers, in terms of how we approach our lives, and I think that’s a really distinct difference between us and the other two.” It was very “theme explanation, ” and less of “here is how I will play the game.” But that isn’t detrimental – if you look back at Adam’s first confessional in MvGX, which was also the first confessional as the tribe arrived at camp, it was similarly theme orientated. Look at them side-by-side:
Adam: “Walking up the beach and seeing that tribe flag, everybody is so excited. Everybody is really happy to get to know each other. And we’re going to prove a lot of people wrong about their misconceptions about Millennials.”
Roark: “As we row in, we see the biggest fire any of us have ever seen. And it sets us off on the right foot. Healers are definitely a team-based group in terms of how we approach our careers, in terms of how we approach our lives, and I think that’s a really distinct difference between us and the other two.”
Now, Adam got a lot more content throughout his premiere episode, whereas Roark all but disappeared after this apart from some decent challenge focus. But then again, MvGX had a longer premiere episode. I’m not saying Roark is the winner, but I’m also not saying she’s NOT the winner. What I am saying is that out of all the UTR Healers, Roark’s edit had more to suggest winner potential or at the very least a decent season narrator.
Lauren is the last UTR of the premiere and like those before her didn’t give us a massive amount to work with. We didn’t really learn anything about her personally. But, like Roark, she got the first confessional of the Hustlers tribe as they arrived at their beach and what she said could signal some overarching themes for the season, even if it doesn’t tell us quite where Lauren herself will work into the story.
“I’m disappointed that we didn’t win the challenge, but at the same time, we’re like, let’s not give up,” Lauren said, already speaking to the mantra of her tribe. “Being Hustlers, we’re very hard workers, so we kind of kick it in gear. This is what we need to do the rest of this game, because really, if we play as a team, we’ll be fine. And if not, we’re going to be screwed.” That seemed to be the big takeaway from this episode – play as a team, everything will be fine, if not, screwed. It was a sentiment echoed by Lauren, Desi, and Roark. And low and behold, the Healers and Hustlers both won immunity. Meanwhile, the Heroes tribe succumbed to in-fighting on Day 2, definitely not working as a team, and they lost the first immunity challenge. Whether that theme holds true throughout the season remains to be seen, but it’s definitely the most obvious theme at the minute.
Middle of the Road
Patrick had a minimal but somewhat interesting edit for the premiere episode. He wasn’t an overt character like a Mike or Ryan or an Alan, but we definitely got a sense of his personality from his brief clips. He came across as a goofy character. We saw him messing with a stick insect at camp and then trying to remove a crab from his pants. But we also saw him forming an alliance with Ali, discussing the game, and correctly pointing out that there was a Secret Advantage on the boat. It wasn’t massively in depth but enough to scrape a MOR.
The main negative for Patrick is that he played second fiddle to Ali in the edit. Ali was already set up well by having an intro on the boat, but then we also heard from her before Patrick at camp, outlining her gameplan. “Patrick seems like he’s, you know, meshing well with the group just from the very beginning, so I kind of want to see where his head is at,” she said. We then saw Patrick and Ali telling each other they had one another’s backs. Patrick’s one confessional was then all about Ali. “Ali, she’s a very smart girl and we are vibing really well, and on an island where we can trust no one, I feel that I can trust her, but it’s Survivor, you can’t know for sure. So I feel good, but I’m not certain.”
Not only does Patrick’s story feel intrinsically linked with Ali’s but his confessional shows him to be a potentially wishy-washy player. “Trust no one… but I can trust her. I feel good… but I’m not certain.” When you couple that with the goofy b-roll footage it paints a picture of Patrick as quite a manic, unpredictable character. The question becomes, will this goofy behavior endear him to his tribemates or cause him to be targeted? It feels like that will be a big part of Patrick’s story and whatever happens will also effect Ali, and that will be where the bigger impact lies.
Devon‘s edit was similar to Patrick’s in a lot of ways. Mainly in the sense that he had a small but decent amount of strategic focus for a player that didn’t attend tribal council and, like Patrick, he came across as second fiddle to another player. Where Devon comes off looking better than Patrick, however, is that he didn’t have that goofy, all-over-the-place element to his edit. That probably speaks more to his longevity in the game.
He didn’t get an intro on the boat nor did he receive a confessional during the first camp scene, on paper those things look kind of bad, but he did later get to introduce himself to his tribemates. He told them, and thereby us viewers, that he was a surf instructor who didn’t make a lot of money, but “it pays the rent.” It wasn’t a “pity me” speech; he was shown laughing and joking, which painted him in a good light. The negative, like Patrick, is that his air-time was framed as part of someone else’s story.
Ryan, who already had a great introduction, was the first to talk about Devon in a confessional, and he put forward the idea of working with the surf-bro, and then approached him about an alliance. Devon agreed to it and confirmed his intentions in his own confessional: “Ryan and I have the same mindset, same ideas, our chemistry is perfect. So we’re going to cause chaos together.” It’s decent strategic content to give Devon a lite-MOR rating because we not only heard his confessional but saw a camp scene of him and Ryan sealing the deal. But placing him second in command to Ryan is a knock against his winner chances. But there is certainly potential for Devon and this alliance. He mentions causing chaos together, and that could certainly be foreshadowing.
JP was another one I struggled with because he could quite easily have been UTR, MOR or even OTT for the strip search scene. In the end, I went for MOR because even though his one confessional was basically just about Alan, he was involved in some strategic conversations on the beach, even if he wasn’t the one directly leading the talks. I might be being generous, but it’s week one, and I’m willing to go with it.
The other thing about JP is that he rounds out the trifecta of “second fiddle” edits alongside Patrick and Devon. His story so far is closely linked with Ashley’s, and she was the one we heard from first talking about the need for alliances and then approaching JP and bringing up other names she wanted in the alliance. JP just nodded and agreed. That could paint Ashley as a bigger target than JP, but it also gives her stronger winner potential. There was also perhaps some signs of a romantic connection between the pair, but it’s hard to tell if that will be a story going forward or if the focus on that was just to highlight Alan’s “power couple” fears.
Other than that, there isn’t a lot to say about JP. If Alan didn’t make him strip he probably wouldn’t have had as much visibility as he ended up getting. His story, at least in the early going, seems very much linked to both Ashley and Alan.
Chrissy by far had the best MOR edit and one of the better edits overall of the premiere. The problem with analyzing Chrissy’s edit is the Super Idol. When somebody receives an idol or a power in the premiere, it’s always difficult to tell whether their screentime is just a result of having that power or if there is more substance there for a long-term story arc.
The big positive for Chrissy is that she received an intro confessional. It was the first confessional of the season, which isn’t always the best sign for potential winner odds, but Sandra and Fabio both had the first confessional in their winning seasons. But it’s the content of Chrissy’s confessional which is good. “I definitely think I belong on the Hero tribe. I feel proud of having had a career and then stopped and stayed home to take care of my kids and then came back to an awesome career, but I need to really downplay that because I don’t want people to think, ‘“She already makes a lot of money, so we don’t want her to win a lot of money.'” The big things you notice right away are lots of “I” and the mention of the money. There is also talk of family. All of those are hallmarks of previous winner edits. Also, just being the older woman demographic, Chrissy receiving an intro confessional is certainly worth taking note of. If you look at the last five non-BvW newbie seasons, every older woman that received an intro confessional (Sunday, Debbie, Carolyn, Kass, Lisa) all made it to the merge and deeper.
The rest of Chrissy’s edit was primarily focused around the Super Idol and her dilemma of whether to play it or not. Even the post-challenge collapse and throwing up was likely included to set-up why Ryan would gift the idol to her. Interestingly, Chrissy’s struggle after the challenge wasn’t framed negatively, Probst even said: “This is what Survivor is all about!” She quickly brushed herself off and got back up – although I guess the perception was that it was a moment of weakness (hence why Ryan gave her the idol). Her confessionals about the idol weren’t overly complex but enough for a MOR rating. “I just want to see what plays out, and I’m going to let the discussion at tribal council dictate whether I play it and for whom,” she said, and that’s what we saw, as Chrissy was a very active part of the discussion tribal council.
Next week’s episode will be a big telltale sign for Chrissy because it should show us whether her focus here was simply idol-related or whether she has real potential of going deep in this game and possibly even winning.
Over The Top
Alan‘s edit this episode can be summed up in his own words “full-tilt sprint.” Nobody wants to start the season as OTTN, down there with the Taylors and Debbies and Abi-Marias of the world. While it guarantees a lot of air-time and potentially a significant role in the season, it all but kills your winner chances. So, sorry about that Alan fans.
The thing with Alan’s edit is that while it might have started with some logic behind it (suspicion about a power couple), it evolved into madness throughout the episode. At the point when he caused JP to strip in the middle of the night due to his constant accusations, there was no way back from looking OTT. The thing is Alan admitted he didn’t even know if JP had an idol, he just did it to throw suspicion, but as he said himself, “I know I look like the crazy man.” That was basically his whole edit this episode “the crazy man” – JP also called him it, Ashley said he was “losing his mind,” and the episode itself was titled after it – “I’m not crazy, I’m confident.” Even though we saw Alan in some strategy talks with Ben, Katrina, and Chrissy, his game became solely focused on Ashley and JP.
The question we have to ask is, will Alan be the sort of OTTN that has longevity like an Abi, Debbie or Taylor? Or will he be an early crash-and-burn type of OTTN like a J’Tia or Vince? When comparing Alan to that recent selection of Episode 1 OTTN edits, he is most similar to Abi, which is a scary thought. Both started the season with paranoid conspiracy theories and accusatory confrontations – although Abi was never validated, whereas the edit did back-up that Ashley and JP were close. There is certainly no reason why Alan can’t stick around a while despite his loose-cannon approach to the game. But it could quite easily go the way of a J’Tia, where the tribe eventually come to their senses and get rid of the chaos maker. Alan is another whose second episode will tell us a lot about his story this season.
Ashley had an interesting premiere edit full of pros and cons. She didn’t receive an intro on the boat, but she did get the first confessional back at the Heroes beach and a decent amount of strategic focus. She was the first of the Heroes to talk about needing an alliance, and then we saw her put that in motion with JP. When Alan had his confrontation with JP, Ashley got to give her thoughts and was positioned as a decent narrator on the Heroes beach.
On the flip side, Ashley seemed to lack understanding of how others were perceiving her. While Alan was portrayed as crazy, his initial suspicion of Ashley and JP being a potential “power couple” was not unfounded. The edit highlighted Ashley and JP’s closeness – the scene on the beach where they aligned, the scene in the shelter with Ashley saying a lot of her close friends are firefighters, the scene around the campfire with the pair joking about having their “first fight,” which came across very couple-y. So even though Alan might have gone about things the wrong way, as I said above, there was some initial logic behind his actions. Even Ben later said he was concerned Ashley and JP might have something going on. Yet Ashley couldn’t see it, “…my mind is literally blown right now. His paranoia is so bad, like, ‘Where is this coming from all of a sudden?’ Because I trusted him and I thought he trusted me, but… (snaps fingers) it’s like, just like that, trust is out the window.” She couldn’t understand why Alan would have suspicions about her and JP.
The thing that backs this up quite nicely is a quote from Mike over on the Healers tribe during his idol related scene. After Joe ambushed the resident sex doctor, Mike said, “Perception is 90% of reality, right? Unfortunately. And with that you don’t want to be having to fight perceptions.” Even though Mike didn’t have the idol, he understood the perception that the others might believe he does. Whereas Ashley was fighting perceptions, she didn’t take a step back and consider why Alan might have that viewpoint, instead, her “mind was blown” and it “came all of a sudden.”
Ashley didn’t acknowledge her own part in why the tribe became so fractured, even though she spelled it out in her first confessional. “The qualities of being a Hero are going to help in Survivor because the whole idea of being a Hero, you’re putting others before yourself, which makes for a really strong tribe,” she details what would make a strong tribe. But she then immediately contradicts it, “But… game on. The Hero cape falls off, and automatically you’re thinking, ‘Alliances, conversations need to happen.’ So it’ll definitely start to get interesting.” She then abandoned the “strong tribe” mantra and went to make an alliance, and then things definitely started to “get interesting.” Being a hero is a good thing, and it’s what they all have in common. But she tossed that out the window and opted for alliances over a strong team. But in breaking up the team, she created more fractures than she realized.
I know a lot of that sounds really negative against Ashley’s edit, but she still received complexity and plenty of air-time. There is enough in her edit to build and grow and turn things around. But there is also the chance that if she doesn’t start to see that “perception is 90% reality” then it could burn her in the long-run.
Ben‘s edit kind of reminded me of Chris’s edit from MvGX but with a little more complexity – mainly due to that big boat introduction and then being a part of the core strategic plans at camp. But he had similarities to Chris in how he came across relatively logical and to-the-point but perhaps with a small side-helping of condescension and narrowmindedness.
When I say condescension I mean things like calling Katrina and Chrissy the “Mom Squad” and labeling them the weakest links in the tribe. Even though he certainly came across as one of the more sociable and approachable members of the Heroes tribe, his approach to the game was a very old school “keep the tribe strong” mentality. He talked a bunch about strength versus loyalty, but it was actually about the perception of strength and loyalty. If he were really all about strength, then you would expect him to vote Chrissy, as the perception, based on her post-challenge collapse, was weakness. But he didn’t vote Chrissy.
Other than that though, Ben looked good, a definite contender for a long-run in the game or even a potential winner. Other than Chrissy’s confessional, Ben was the only Hero highlighted on the boat, talking about his job and family, so we immediately got a sense of his personality. We saw that he was likable, as both Ashley and JP brought his name up as someone they wanted to work with, and Alan also solidified a bond with him. He laid out the early dynamics of the tribe in his first confessional, name-checking the core four alliance and those on the outs. He later cemented his trust with Alan in his second confessional, saying the vote was about what he and Alan want in the long-run. He also backed up Alan’s concerns about Ashley and JP being close. All of this was solid game talk and narration. I expect Ben to be around a while and always within the mix of strategy.
Ali had a really good premiere episode edit. Especially for someone in her demographic – young, attractive female – that archetype isn’t often given this type of air-time on Survivor unless they play a significant role in the season and/or are the winner. What stands out, even more, is that Ali didn’t even attend tribal council and still got this focus. Other than Ashley and Chrissy, both of whom attended tribal, and were decoy votes, and one of whom found an idol, Ali had the highest visibility and complexity for a female on this cast.
She was the only woman Probst spoke to on the boat. She introduced herself, what she does for a living, and her approach to life (and by proxy this game) in her hard work ethic. Not only did she receive that great intro but then she also got the last confessional of the marooning before we went into the first commercial break. And then she had another confessional during the Hustlers first camp scene where she talked about her priorities, wanting to connect with people, and align with Patrick. Ali and Ryan were the only two people on the Hustlers tribe given complexity, and while Ryan was more visible, you could put that down to him finding the idol, whereas Ali’s focus felt less necessary if she didn’t have a role to play in the upcoming stories.
All of that focus was great. But what about the actual content of her confessionals? Well, her intro with Probst could be brilliant foreshadowing of how she will play this game. “I fit in the gaps. Whatever that day, I wake up, find out what I have to do, that’s what I’m doing.” It shows that Ali is a person who is adaptable, an excellent trait in Survivor. She backed up this approach to the game back at camp when she said: “I know if we never lose, we don’t ever have to worry pretty much about an alliance, but the way we looked in the first challenge, we should probably, you know, start talking now.” It showed her assessing the game, taking on board how bad they performed at the marooning challenge, and then taking steps to cover herself should the same thing happen in the immunity challenge. Ali then initiated the first conversation with Patrick, which places her more important to Patrick in that alliance. All of this looks solid and accounts for her CP rating.
But there are some creeping potential red flags in her edit too. There was some apprehension in her first confessional. “Coming from that horrible competition, I was just pretty pissed. I’m hoping that our work ethic and our strength alone can push us to come together and get it done, but at this point, I’m very nervous.” I’m not sure if being nervous is a good way to start the game, although it did set up her reasoning for approaching Patrick. It’s minor and nothing too detrimental but worth taking a moment to note. Secondly, Patrick was shown as goofy, and his confessional made him seem wishy-washy, which could mean Ali made a mistake to put her trust in this dude.
The major scary thing for Ali is that in recent seasons there is always at least one strong early CP edit that ends up being an early boot. If you look at Mari and Anna from the most recent newbie seasons, both started with strong CP premiere edits that had real winner potential but ended up booted pre-merge. The worry for Ali is if she is that kind of edit… or more of a Michele edit? Is she being set up well and given strong focus now to build a short-term shock boot story or are seeds being planted for a deep run? Next week should tell us a lot.
Ryan had a lot of visibility in the premiere and the most confessionals. But like with Chrissy, we need to determine what was simply there due to finding the idol and what has more long-term value. The good thing for Ryan is that he was one of the select few to receive an intro confessional. Then we also heard from him during the Hustlers first camp scene. Ryan was very present which suggests he should be a pivotal character.
Now, Ryan found the Secret Advantage on the boat, and so at least three, if not more, of his confessionals were directly related to the Super Idol and the rules pertaining to it. That obviously accounted for his visibility spike, and it might not mean much more going forward other than they needed to explain the rules. However, there was one particular scene that could quite easily have been cut if it didn’t have any importance. That scene was when Ryan used his idol to build trust with Devon. It’s the scene that gives Ryan his CP rating because we first heard his plan and then saw him put it into motion. If this partnership doesn’t have any further impact, then the editors could have easily left it on the cutting room floor. The fact that it made the episode suggests the relationship between the bellhop and the surfer will have some importance whether long-term or short-term. Also, much like Ali and Ashley, Ryan was positioned as the leader of the pair.
Ryan’s intro confessional is an interesting one. “Just looking at our tribe, I think it’s a very strong group. I hope they’re macho enough and they know how to build the shelter and they know how to crack a coconut. I’m just going to defer to them,” he said. Much like Ali saying she’s nervous, I’m not sure how positive it is to say you’re going to defer to someone else in your first confessional of the season. But we did get an immediate sense of Ryan’s humor and personality: “I’m 125 pounds soaking wet. I don’t drink and I don’t have a girlfriend, yet– I… ‘Everyone, come on, who wants to align with me?'” My immediate thought is that Ryan is going to get a strong character edit. He was self-depreciating but will very likely end up doing a lot better than even he imagined. A growth edit? Maybe. It will be interesting to see how much focus he gets now that the idol is out of his hands.
Mike also had a really good premiere edit. It’s tempting initially to see David 2.0, at least based on archetype, but on a rewatch I noticed that Mike’s premiere edit was very different from David’s in the way it was presented. At the start of MvGX, David was highlighted as nervous, paranoid, out of his depth and causing suspicion amongst his entire tribe. Mike didn’t really have that. Mike looked solid, and not just because he pulled out the win in the immunity challenge, but his confessionals weren’t about being scared, they were focused on winning and playing hard. Seriously, he mentioned winning A LOT.
During the intro, Mike was the only person to get both a Probst question AND a confessional. His introduction as a “sex doctor” was humorous and gave us a sense of his personality, as well as what he does for a living. Then his confessional was almost a too perfect winner quote: “Winning Survivor is the biggest dream in my life. My wife thinks I’m crazy for doing this, my kids think I’m going to die, but I’m going to rise to the occasion and win.” Just look at that. He mentioned his dream. He talked about his family. He showed confidence. And he mentioned winning twice! If this was old school Survivor, you’d be putting all your money on Mike right now. However, the editors have certainly got trickier in the recent years, and this could be very much a bluff.
I started to get even more suspicious later in the episode when Mike delivered even more winner quotes. “I left my kids and my wife behind to play this crazy game, but I did not come out here for an adventure. I am out here to win a million dollars and be the best Survivor player ever.” That’s winner quote number two where he once again namechecked his family and the money. “And so, I am willing to do what it takes to win this game.” Winner quote number three. It’s all a little too good to be true. But with that said, it’s still good for Mike’s chances and his longevity, nothing here dissuaded me from thinking he’s going to go far and be set up as a winner contender throughout.
The big scene for Mike this episode was obviously the confrontation with Joe. In a game sense, both men played this moment all wrong. But edit wise, Mike came off looking much better than Joe. Mike explained to us why he wanted to go looking for the idol: “My son told me to look for the idol. He’s ten years old, and he watches Survivor. If my ten-year-old son knows to look for the idol, I should go looking for it, and so should everybody else.” He tied his family to the moment and also made it sound like the thing everybody should be doing. If Survivor has taught us anything in the “big moves” era, it’s that yes, people should play hard, and that includes idol searching.
Then he was ambushed by Joe and put on the spot. “I don’t trust Joe for one second. He’s pulled me aside to have man-to-man talks with me to essentially bully me into telling him that I went looking for the Immunity Idol. I mean, like, who is this guy?” Who is this guy indeed! Well, the edit had already told us who Joe was – a man who wasn’t here to play with his heart, he already arrogantly referred to his tribemates as his “victims,” and was shown being overly boastful about the tribe’s chances as they arrived at camp. There was definitely a negativity to Joe’s edit which Mike didn’t have, and therefore Joe came off the aggressor in this exchange. We also never heard from the rest of the tribe in regards to their thoughts on Mike, so right now we only have Joe’s word to go on, which doesn’t exactly tell us a true picture. It wasn’t like David where the entire tribe was shown being suspicious of him.
However, as mentioned in Ashley’s section, Mike recognized how this moment could be perceived. “But at the same time, it puts me at risk. Perception is 90% of reality, right? Unfortunately. And with that, you don’t want to be having to fight perceptions.” That shows Mike to be an aware player, able to understand how others may perceive his behavior, and how he must adapt to counter that. All of this, combined with his great intro, suggests to me that Mike will be a big character this season and be around a while.
Joe certainly got the villain edit of the premiere. A CPN rating is never a great way to start in terms of winner chances, but it could signal a big character edit. The reason his negativity stood out was because it was in stark contrast to the otherwise bright, positive attitude of the Healers tribe. The Healers mantra was teamwork and communication and how they help others. That was Roark’s big introduction to the tribe upon arriving at camp. Joe then immediately undercut that and showed he was thinking on a different level.
“I wanted to be in the tribe that I could easily manipulate, and I feel that when you’re a Healer, you have a big heart, and when you have a big heart, you don’t– you don’t really think with your mind, you think with your heart,” he said. He wasn’t looking for a tribe of strength and unity; he wanted a tribe he could manipulate. “I’m a Healer in the fact that my main job is rehabilitation, but I’m not a probation officer when I’m out here. I came out here to win. And I’m probably more strategic than everyone altogether. So, you know, they’re just all my victims at this point.” This was a great quote for many reasons. There is good stuff in here. He told us his job and mentioned the win. That could certainly be a winner quote, even shadows of Sarah and Tony in their winning seasons. Then there was an arrogance about how he was more strategic than everyone and how the other players are his “victims.” It paints Joe as a villain, later cemented when Mike refers to him as a “bully,” but in a post-Tony world, this kind of character can certainly still win.
I covered his confrontation with Mike in Mike’s section, but again, Joe came off as the aggressor here due to his earlier edit in the episode. We already saw his bullish approach when he was talking over people in the water and boasting about how the tribe can’t lose. That was there to put us on Mike’s side during this ambush. But even so, Joe wasn’t totally off in his read; Mike had been looking for an idol, even though he hadn’t found it. The concern for Joe is whether he will be the crack in the Healers tribe. He also preached communication during that tribe chat in the water, yet he butted into the conversation, talked over people, and later approached Mike all wrong. So if communication is key to success, is the edit saying Joe’s lack of communication skills will be the tribe’s downfall or his own?
That’s it for this week’s edition of Edgic! Let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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