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
What is up with Mike‘s edit the past couple of weeks? From CP4 to back-to-back UTR1s is an unusual turn, especially for someone of his archetype. Last week I felt that the UTR cooldown was a great look after such a strong premiere but two UTRs in a row? That seems less positive.
No confessionals in back-to-back episodes and if it wasn’t for the SPV (second person visibility) he received from his fellow tribemates, then he’d be INV. Once again, we heard Joe refer to Mike as the “number one vote-out” and how he has everyone believing Mike has the idol. Later in the episode, when Cole was pushing his blindside Joe plan, he brought up how Mike feels on the bottom and how he can use that to get him to vote how he wants. Throughout all of this, we never heard from Mike himself. What does that tell us about Mike’s edit?
Firstly, the edit has made it quite clear, in this episode especially, that Joe doesn’t have the best read on the tribe dynamics. He said that life at camp is great, but then the edit went out of its way to show him complaining about the food and how that rubbed his tribemates the wrong way. He said that everyone is on the same page regarding voting Mike out first, but then the edit showed us Cole plotting to spare Mike and blindside Joe, which Desi and Roark appeared to agree with. That’s a positive for Mike because it means that the negative stuff Joe says about him should be taken with a pinch of salt. Secondly, Cole was also undermined this episode when Jessica criticized him for spilling secrets. That made us see Cole as less strategically reliable, and therefore when he said that Mike would go wherever he wants him to go, can we trust that?
Mike being kept in the conversation is good. Mike being criticized by people that the edit has undermined is okay. But Mike not getting to comment on the tribe dynamics two weeks in a row is somewhat concerning. But with a swap coming next week, Mike could end up in an entirely new dynamic, rendering his time on the Healers tribe redundant. If that’s the case, then his detour into the scenery these past two weeks wouldn’t be so bad – after all, Michele went from CP in the premiere to three consecutive UTRs in Kaoh Rong until the swap. If Mike doesn’t get a swap confessional next week then is the time to really start worrying.
On the flip side, Chrissy has the kind of UTR edit I really like. Coming off the back of two high-vis episodes, with a strong CP rating last week, the UTR cooldown for Chrissy is precisely what she needed. We still briefly heard from her in a camp scene with Ben where the two confirmed their alliance and position in the tribe. Ben also referenced Chrissy in his confessional and cemented their place in the driver’s seat.
Not a great deal is happening on the Heroes tribe, evidenced by the fact they only had the one camp scene this episode. The main bulk of the conversation was the same as last week, who do Chrissy and Ben want to move forward with? For Chrissy to be given more air-time and confessionals here would have felt forced. I would have been suspicious that she was being set up for a swap boot had she been central to the Heroes action again. The fact she slipped into the background while still being kept in the conversation by Ben speaks highly for her longevity.
There has been such a focus on this Chrissy/Ben partnership that we should expect it to continue to play a part in the story. Perhaps Chrissy is split from Ben at the swap, and so her story becomes how she overcomes that obstacle (similar to Michele being split from Anna and Julia at her tribe swap). Perhaps Chrissy ends up on a tribe with Ryan to continue their background story relating to the idol. Whatever happens, Chrissy has a great edit that suggests she will be around a while.
With her third UTR rating in a row, things are looking grim for Desi. She had one small confessional this episode which was all about piling on negative-SPV for Joe. It was a commentary on Joe and his behavior with the food. Purely narrational and tone-setting. Other than her saying it’s “off-putting” we didn’t learn anything about Desi and where she stands in the tribe as a whole.
I talked a lot last week about how the Healers tribe reflect the Beauty tribe from Kaoh Rong in a lot of ways, and not just because they’re both yellow buff-wearers. The Healers, like the Beauty tribe, have yet to lose a challenge – and with a swap coming next week, that means they haven’t lost a pre-swap challenge at all. It’s harder to edit a tribe that doesn’t lose before a swap because those early dynamics could completely shift and have no bearing on the overall story-arc. However, this week the edit did dedicate a significant amount of time to the Healers tribe, and it mainly revolved around Cole, Joe, and Jessica. Desi and Roark were secondary characters. Desi didn’t even get to comment on Cole’s plan in a confessional, all we saw was her nodding and seemingly agreeing.
What does this mean for Desi? It could mean that with a tribe swap Desi will no longer be involved in that plan going forward and therefore we didn’t need to hear her thoughts. Or it could just be that Desi isn’t a character that is important in the grand scheme of things. One of these early UTR players is probably going to pull a Nick/Julia and become CP further into the game when their boot episode draws near. One might be a Ciera/Andrea, where they become CP when they attend tribal council and are more actively involved in the game. For the others, if they are lucky they might go far with a bit of narration now and again but remain primarily in the background (like a Will Wahl or a Sunday), or if it’s really bad they could be a Lucy Huang style low-vis early boot. If I had to make a prediction for Desi right now, I see her more in the Will/Sunday vein, possibly sticking around a while but never a central part of the narrative.
Roark is also yet to move past UTR, and so in terms of winner chances, she’s sinking fast. I think after three episodes you would want your winner to have at the very least a substantial MOR edit by now, especially in the modern era of Survivor. Like Desi, Roark seems secondary to everything that is happening on the Healers beach, only brought into the story by Cole.
However, unlike Desi, Roark did get to comment during Cole’s blindside Joe plan. “Joe is an amazing blindside candidate because he is locked in on Mike. And so I am full buy-in to the Joe-blindside-enjoy-your-idol-as-a-souvenir plan.” It’s good that she got to comment on the game and strategy, however briefly. That makes me believe that if one of these early UTRs is a Nick/Julia or possibly even a Ciera/Andrea, then it is most likely Roark. If the first time she goes to tribal council she becomes pivotal to the strategy (and survives) then bank on her having a bigger role come the merge – if she makes it.
But can she win with an edit like this? I don’t like to completely rule people out this early if it can be helped, and one strong swap episode can certainly change people’s fortune. But right now Roark is slipping down the list of contenders, even if she does become a more significant force later in the season.
JP, like Mike, was mainly kept visible by the SPV from others. And once again his edit was a mix of heroic provider and clueless idiot. In a game where strategy is heavily focused on these days, to be called out on not having a strategy or any idea of what is going is not a good sign.
The main story on the Heroes beach was “who do Ben and Chrissy want to move forward with? Alan or JP?” and so the edit focused on comparing and contrasting the firefighter and the NFL player. While Alan was shown struggling to open a coconut, JP was shown catching fish and providing for the tribe. Most of JP’s positive-SPV comes from Ashley. “JP is becoming, like, dreamier and dreamier as the days go on. Every time he walks out of the ocean with a different animal on his spear, something happens inside me,” she laughed. She continued to compliment JP and his providing skills in a conversation with Ben. But like last week, I find it hard to give JP straight up P-tone when there is a running arc of him being perceived as clueless. “JP, he’s walking around here like he don’t know what’s going on,” Ben said.
Do I think JP can win? I would say it’s highly unlikely. Unless this is some kind of Fabio deal where everyone assumes he’s an idiot and he ends up pulling off a victory. But Fabio was shown to have charm and also told us in confessional that he wanted to be perceived as the dumb surfer-bro. JP got to talk a bit of strategy last week about distancing himself from Ashley and focusing on providing, but he’s yet to comment on whether or not he’s playing “clueless.” I could certainly see JP sticking around a while, but he doesn’t seem to be a character who will drive the narrative.
Middle of the Road
One thing I like about Joe‘s edit is that his character is very consistent. You get a nice mix of game-focused content combined with a brashness that rubs people the wrong way and a lack of awareness of that on his part. That’s been consistent since he confronted Mike in the premiere, to his rash decision to tell Cole about the idol clue last week, to his complaining about the food in the latest episode.
I considered keeping him CP for the third week in a row but looking back at his confessional it wasn’t as complex as I initially thought. His plan was very much about the here and now and it was the same plan as the last two weeks, make Mike the target. “Everyone’s still on the same page, with Mike being the number one vote-out because I got everyone believing Mike has the idol,” he said. It wasn’t anything new; it was just repeating an idea he’d already put into motion. He did once again mention his concerns about Cole, but he didn’t offer any sort of countermeasure or ways in how he’d tackle that problem. “The only thing is, you know, Cole knows I have the idol, so I mean, that’s a concern of mine. I don’t think Cole has told anybody, but I’m definitely concerned about his relationship with Jessica,” he said. It was good that he was shown as aware of the Cole/Jess danger, but because he didn’t expand on it, it felt MOR rather than CP.
Now, the reason Joe is back to having NSPV is mainly because of the “patatas” scene. The edit showed Joe complaining about the raw food and then throwing it into the woods after others said they would eat it. “If it’s not cooked to his liking, he’ll chuck it in the woods instead of offering it to somebody else to eat,” Desi said. It was a bad look for Joe, and again, another example of how he lacks awareness of how his actions negatively impact others. Also, seeing as he said earlier that everything on the tribe was good, this undermined his point. Did the edit need to show this scene? Maybe? Maybe not? I imagine it was there to show why Desi and Roark would potentially be on board with the blindside Joe plan. Setting Joe up as someone rubbing the tribe the wrong way made it easy for us to see why Desi and Roark would go along with Cole without having to hear their more in-depth thoughts on the matter.
And that seems like another problem for Joe, right? That he claimed everyone was on the same page to take out Mike and then later we see that isn’t the case at all. However, Joe has a saving grace in the form of Jessica. With Jessica throwing Cole’s plan into question, and basically undermining it and suggesting it wasn’t the best strategy at this point, it gives Joe and his edit a lifeline. If the Healers had gone to tribal council this episode then this very well could have been a set-up for Joe’s boot. But the Healers didn’t go to tribal, and so seeing all this stuff now suggests Cole’s “word vomit” could backfire. At a swap, new relationships are formed, and who is to say Joe won’t find out about this plan against him? And I still wonder if Joe will end up needing Mike, especially because he’s mentioned him every single week, the pair seem to be intrinsically linked.
Joe will probably have a downfall at some point just based on his negative tinged edit, but I don’t think it will happen as soon, or at least not as easy, as this episode tried to make out.
For the first time, I feel more positive about Devon‘s chances following the latest episode. Up until now he’s very much been in the background and playing second fiddle to Ryan, and while Ryan still had far more presence here, Devon actually showed some game awareness and pushed for the correct boot.
In fact, Devon was the only one, other than Lauren obviously, that was shown pushing to vote out Patrick. In a conversation with Ryan, he said: “I think I’d rather go to the merge with Lauren than with Pat.” Meanwhile, Ryan said he’d rather take out Lauren, and Ali was left undecided (in the edit) heading into tribal council. So in that sense, Devon looks good for calling the boot. But even though Devon mentioned the merge, it was such a brief line that I couldn’t justify CP for that, especially when his one confessional was rather basic and challenge focused. “Pat stepped up at the challenge, but if you’re going to step up, you better be able to handle what you step up for. It was just Pat choking. And I do think we lost because of that,” he said. Then turning his attention to Lauren, he followed up: “Lauren, on the other hand, she’s very steady. I trust her, but, she doesn’t really fit in with the other tribe members, and if we keep Lauren around, we’re more likely to lose the next Immunity Challenge.” I felt MOR was more appropriate than CP.
The problem I still have with Devon’s edit is the lack of depth. Given that his tribe has gone to tribal council twice in a row, there has been ample opportunity to flesh him out a little and give us more insight into his gameplay and personality. But most of Devon’s air-time still comes via Ryan, and even with Devon pushing for the right boot, it came in a scene led by Ryan. It will be really interesting to see if Devon and Ryan are split up at the swap because then there is a chance to start developing Devon as an individual character, and if that happens I’d have more faith in him having an impact this season. Right now, the jury is still out; I lean towards him going far and having a decent sized role in the narrative but not at the top end of characters.
Over The Top
Alan is back to his OTT ways but very different from his premiere edit. In Episode 1 his OTTN was all about being a “loose cannon” and a “hot-head,” this time it was more goofy OTTN. Similar to Stephen Fishbach’s premiere edit in Cambodia. Lots of shots of Alan being unable to open a coconut. It wasn’t N-tone in a “this dude is evil” sort of way but more in a “this guy sucks at survival” sort of way.
As I mentioned in JP’s section, the Heroes story was about the pros and cons of Alan and JP. The focus on Alan and his lack of survival ability was there to contrast with JP’s success at providing. While this is bad for Alan’s winner chances, it doesn’t mean he won’t be kept in the game over JP. Because of Ashley pushing so hard to keep JP around, it made Ben question her intentions, and Ben even said that JP could be easily led astray. When you combine that with the relationship already built up between Ben and Alan in the premiere, then Alan seems to have a better standing in the tribe than JP.
Of course, there is a swap coming up, so the dynamics could alter drastically. Alan seems linked with Ashley, she brings his name up a lot and talks about wanting him gone. Alan himself has made his thoughts very clear on Ashley and her relationship with JP. If these two end up on a new tribe together away from Ben and Chrissy, I could honestly see them trying to target each other. The edit has set up enough story for them to go head-to-head.
Before jumping into Patrick‘s Episode 3 edit, I just want to repeat the question I asked at the end of his section last week. “Will Patrick’s unpredictable nature cause him to make a big move and vote out Ali? Or will Ali decide to ditch Patrick for the greater good of tribe sanity? This story is going to come to a head and probably sooner rather than later.” It definitely came sooner rather than later because Ali, and the tribe as a whole, did indeed ditch Patrick for the greater good of tribe sanity.
Everything about Patrick was OTT once again. From goofing around in Simone’s clothes, claiming a rock was an octopus, idol searching in front of everybody, refusing to switch out of the challenge, and grinning at Lauren in the water. It was a continuation of his edit from Episode 2. All the NSPV was back too, and it revolved around Patrick’s lack of social game. Ali straight up said Patrick doesn’t have a social game, and when she tried to offer him words of advice, he basically turned it down, saying that it was taking away from his personality. He then cost the tribe the challenge after refusing to tag out. Lauren said he turned it into a “one-man-show” which works thematically as a nod to Patrick’s goofy comedian edit and the running arc of team-work versus individual selfishness. Devon also said that Patrick “choked” in the challenge. All of this is apparent OTTN stuff.
The important part of Patrick’s downfall is the effect it will have on the Hustlers going forward. They claimed to be making a vote based on tribe chemistry which would allow them to move forward as a unit come a swap/merge. So there is a story set-up there as the Hustlers as perhaps underdogs. Then there is Ali, who was linked closely with Patrick, and who for the past two weeks has weighed up the pros and cons of sticking by him or cutting him loose. That decision will likely impact on where Ali’s edit goes from here.
It might be generous giving Ashley a CP instead of MOR, especially when the majority of her content was about JP, but her conversation with Ben was a strategic discussion about moving forward in the game, and therefore I feel it warrants at least a CP-lite. I find Ashley to be one of the most interesting edits because things could really go either way for her. For some players, like Ben and Chrissy, it seems fairly obvious they are going far, but Ashley? I could see her as pre-merge Anna style boot or someone that makes a deep run. That makes it exciting.
The problem for Ashley is that her story is very much linked with JP and the whole “power couple” thing. Even though Ben called her “fun” and a “hard worker” (not quite enough to warrant P-tone) he still told us about his reservations when it comes to her and JP. “I can’t fully trust Ashley at this point because she keeps pulling for JP to stay in the game, which makes me think JP and Ashley are actually still working together,” Ben said. On this point, Ashley now recognizes the need to distance herself from JP: “…We can’t talk to each other because on Day 2 Alan decided to go absolutely nuts, calling out JP and I to be some kind of power couple.” Yet she still doesn’t perceive how continuing to vouch for JP is causing those power couple suspicions to grow. Also, the way she fawned over JP at the start of her confessional is perhaps a sign she doesn’t have her eyes on the prize. “JP is becoming, like, dreamier and dreamier as the days go on. Every time he walks out of the ocean with a different animal on his spear, something happens inside me.”
The positives for Ashley is that she continues to have a presence in the edit and the narrative. She’s also been called a good player (by Chrissy last week) and a fun, hard worker. Those things place her above JP who is continually referred to as clueless, and Alan who is seen as a hot-head and lacking in survival skills. But can she overcome the lack of trust from Ben and Chrissy? Where Ashley ends up at the swap will be very telling. If she is separated from Ben and Chrissy but still with Alan, there is enough set-up in the edit for her to target Alan, which could cause further distrust should she meet back up with Ben/Chrissy later. If she stays with JP and is out of sight of Ben/Chrissy, then she might rekindle the “power couple,” which again, would cause distrust further down the line. I worry about Ashley’s winner chances, but in terms of story she has a couple of interesting angles set-up, even if they do all relate back to JP.
Ben‘s edit was very similar to last week. He once again talked of his alliance with Chrissy and how they needed to decide who they wanted to move forward with. The difference was that last week Chrissy was the one that got to break down each of her tribemates and their pros and cons, this time around Ben got the honor.
“But moving forward, Chrissy and I need to figure out who’s going to be the next target,” he started, before going through each tribe member. “Ashley is a good, hard worker and she’s fun, so the better choices are JP or Alan,” he told us. He then explained his thoughts on JP and Alan. “Alan and I were aligned from Day 1, but Alan is a hot head and a loose cannon,” he said. “And JP, he’s walking around here like he don’t know what’s going on. But JP would be good to have around camp because he does fish and everything.” He ended his first confessional by telling us that he and Chrissy hadn’t made any decisions yet. All this speaks to Ben’s CP rating even if the Heroes were kind of stagnating strategy-wise for the time being. We also saw a scene of Ben and Chrissy together discussing their position at the top, which further cemented the importance of this partnership.
Later on, Ashley tried vouching for JP which caused Ben to distrust her. “I can’t fully trust Ashley at this point because she keeps pulling for JP to stay in the game, which makes me think JP and Ashley are actually still working together. And normally, as a power couple on Survivor, it don’t work out good.” That last line is interesting. Couldn’t Ben and Chrissy be described as a power couple? If so, does Ben saying that normally power couples don’t work out too good spell doom for his alliance with Chrissy? Or is the key word there “normally” and Ben and Chrissy will actually succeed as a couple? There is definitely a considerable focus on pairs/power couples so far this season – JP/Ashley, Cole/Jessica, Ryan/Devon, Ben/Chrissy. I think seeing which of these pairs succeeds will be an ongoing story.
There is not much else to say about Ben right now. He’s consistently CP and appears to be someone everyone trusts. His relationship with Chrissy is set up well, and while there are definitely signs that they could be separated at the swap, there seems to be enough editorial evidence that they will meet back up again at some point. Ben looks to be a character who will be around a while. As for winner potential? He definitely has some, but there are ominous signs to remember like the condescending “mom squad” talk from Episode 1, the fact that Chrissy positioned herself as the smarter “think many steps ahead” player of the pair, and the potentially foreshadowing “normally power couples don’t work out too good” line from this episode.
Ali continued her CP streak in Episode 3 and once again was presented a “relatable” player with multiple connections. She is perceived well by her fellow tribemates and shown to be well-liked and valuable. However, there are some ominous signs we have to take note of.
The story of this episode primarily revolved around Patrick’s downfall and the idea of a team versus a one-man-show. Ali played into that story because of her alliance with Patrick which was developed from the very first episode. Last week, she weighed up the pros and cons of keeping Patrick over Simone and eventually decided to stick by the red-headed rebel. Her content was similar this episode, deciding whether or not keeping Patrick was worth it in the long-run. It was always clear this story was coming to a head. As I said last week, “You’ll notice that Ali says Patrick trusts her, but she never says that she trusts Patrick. She is still very much the one positioned as the leader of the alliance, and while that can often mean bigger target, I choose to see it as a sign she will outlast Patrick.” She did outlast Patrick and is now free from his unpredictable personality.
But is Ali getting rid of Patrick a good thing edgically? She started this episode saying: “I have no idea what’s going on with Patrick. At Tribal Council, he’s just blurting out words. But if Patrick goes, we’re not going to be as strong in challenges.” She followed that up with: “He brings a lot in competitions and he works extremely hard, and I think that’s easier to tolerate than someone who doesn’t really bring much at all.” But Patrick later cost the tribe the challenge. This could be a bad sign seeing as Ali was incorrect; however, she later got to reevaluate her position. “Patrick being the competitive person that he is, he was supposed to be the one strong in challenges. But again, when it came down to it, we didn’t win. And it’s just, it’s kind of like a repetition for us. So I need to figure out if Patrick being around is really an advantage anymore.” Ali was given time to comment on the challenge loss and explain that she was reconsidering her need for Patrick in the game.
Throughout the episode, Ali tried to help Patrick improve his standing within the tribe. “Patrick doesn’t understand that the social game is so huge for Survivor, but at this point, I kind of need him, and so I need him to kind of not say things that are gonna rub people the wrong way,” she said at the start of the episode. It is somewhat of a concern that Ali said she needed Patrick and then later voted him out. “Me and Patrick have a pretty good relationship, but he doesn’t really have a social game, and I want to look out for him. And so I think that for my game, I need to help Patrick mesh better with the group,” she later said. We then saw Ali putting this into action, giving Patrick advice to calm down and stop his blatant idol searching. However, this failed, Patrick didn’t listen. The question is, do we see this as Patrick’s fault and a comment on his edit? Or does it reflect poorly on Ali that she failed in helping him mesh better with the group?
The positives for Ali is that she is a player that seemingly has many connections and is able to adapt. If we go back to what she said in her boat introduction: “I fit in the gaps. Whatever that day, I wake up, find out what I have to do, that’s what I’m doing.” She knew to cut ties with Patrick when he failed to heed her advice. We also heard Ryan and Patrick say they “like” Ali when discussing who should go next. “Ali is the most relatable female that is on our tribe,” Ryan said, which I know seems somewhat redundant given that the only other female is Lauren, but the key word there is “relatable.” That ties into Ali’s story perfectly. It comes back to what she said in Episode 1 about her priorities being “to make sure that I absolutely connect with people” and what she said in Episode 2 about the game being “all about handling different personalities, you know, and I think that it’s just something that I’m good at.” Ali is good with people, and we’ve seen that in how everyone from Simone to Patrick to Lauren to Ryan has reached out to Ali at one time or another. The only person we haven’t seen form much of a relationship with Ali is Devon.
Overall, lots of strong stuff here for Ali but also some ominous questions that need answering. It would be good for her to expand on her reasoning for voting out Patrick at the start of Episode 4 or if not it would be nice to see her continuing her people skills on a tribe of new people.
Ryan received his third CP5 rating in a row, and while certainly still positioned as one of the season’s most prominent characters, his winner chances took some hits in Episode 3. Ryan is the Hustlers tribe’s most consistent narrator; we always hear his thoughts on the dynamics, the gameplay, the personalities, etc. The edit is certainly keeping us very aware of Ryan.
The twist to Ryan’s edit this week, especially compared to Episode 2 where he was always backed up in his assertions, is that he was shown to be somewhat incorrect. Early in the episode, he said: “I don’t think anybody really has anything going on with Lauren, so that’s why she’s probably the next one to go.” Firstly, I found it interesting that when he said “I don’t think anybody really has anything going on with Lauren,” it was placed over a shot of Ali and Lauren talking on the beach. It could be nothing but the fact that just before that he called Ali relatable, it could be a sign that he’s missing out on an alliance between Ali and Lauren. But more blatant was his quote about Lauren probably being the next one to go. Obviously, she didn’t go, it was Patrick, who later in the episode Ryan states outright he wants to stay. “I want to save Pat. We get rid of Lauren tonight,” he said while talking to Devon, this line was not only subtitled, but it sounded cobbled together from separate pieces of footage. It’s Devon who pushes for Lauren to stay and explains why Patrick should go. That’s a knock against Ryan.
Another concerning part of Ryan’s edit this episode was the beginning where he was trying on Simone’s leftover clothes and mocking her in confessionals. “Finally, Simone is showing her worth in some capacity,” he joked. Now, was this there just for laughs? Was it to paint Ryan as a comical character? Maybe. But it also seemed rather petty and pointless. Dancing on someone’s grave if you will. Simone was out of the game, so the continued jibes seemed unnecessary. It might be minor in the grand scheme of things, or it could be a small sign that Ryan lacks some social graces – again, he was the one pulling for Patrick, the most socially inept member of the tribe.
The positives for Ryan is that he continues to explain his thought process. His relationship with Devon remains a big focus and is set up to play a role going forward. He has the connection with Chrissy set up in Episode 1 and 2 which give him other story threads to latch onto. He also had the speech at tribal council about how the Hustlers will be a strong unit come the merge and how they may have to mop a few floors first, but eventually, they’ll work their way to the top. There is a lot to Ryan’s edit to suggest he will go far and continue to be a significant presence but his winner chances took a dip for me this week.
Lauren‘s edit continues to surprise me. I said last week that her edit was one of the harder ones to read and that I could honestly see her as next one out just as much as I could see her lasting deep into the merge. After Episode 3, I’m starting to lean more towards lasting deep into the game.
As the other potential boot, it was obvious Lauren would receive a large chunk of air-time, but the content she got here was solid. She gave us lots of personal info and explained how it applied to her game. “Being a single mother, I am the only one on my tribe that, you know, has a kid. And my tribe members, they’re like high school buddies and, uh, I’m like the damn teacher,” she said when talking about her position as the tribe outsider. Having this kind of personal info, especially presented in a sympathetic light, gives me more belief that a character could go far. It’s there to allow the audience to invest in that person’s story. She continued the personal info later in the episode. “I’ve been playing center field for 25 years. I can hit a catcher in the forehead,” she said after the challenge loss. But her best personal insight came when she compared her gameplay to her fishing career: “You know, to be a good fisherman, do I sit here in the same spot every day and wait for the same fish to come by? No. I try numerous different things and I never threw my hands out without trying my hardest.”
You definitely got a sense over the course of the episode that Lauren was a fighter. It was her or Patrick, and she did what she could to make sure she survived. After Patrick’s blunder with words at the last tribal council, Lauren said: “…it’s given me the opportunity to put the target on Patrick.” We then saw her putting that plan into motion in the water with Ali and Devon. “I think everybody’s pretty much over Patrick in the way that he cost us today, and I want to make sure that Patrick is going home,” she said later. “I feel like I’ve done everything I can do, but, obviously, I’m a hustler for a reason. So if it is me going home tonight, I will promise you, I’m not going to go home without a fight.” Even though Lauren wasn’t presented as a decision-maker, her fighting “hustler” spirit was very much highlighted.
She received Mixed tone for her tribemates describing her as someone who doesn’t fit in and the “never trusted a red-head” comment which is hard to see as a positive. Her fighting spirit was presented in an admirable light, but it felt disingenuous to give her straight up P-tone. She also said, “I could be a hot head, but at the same time, I know when to turn it on, and I know when to turn it off.” We haven’t really seen her act like a hot-head yet, so I found that interesting and something worth keeping an eye on.
So where does Lauren go from here? It seems to me that Lauren could be this season’s theme mascot, the person to bang the drum for Hustler fighting spirit and teamwork. In the premiere, she said that as long as the tribe works as a team, it will be all good. Patrick worked as a “one-man show” and cost the tribe, which backed up Lauren’s claims. Tribal council put a big focus on tribe chemistry and unity going forward. And if you remember Roark and Desi’s confessionals from Episode 1, that was also about how teamwork makes the dream work, and the Healers have succeeded so far. So if working as a team is a big theme of the season I could see Lauren playing a large part in that arc.
Cole‘s edit took some interesting developments this episode and not necessarily for the better. Up until now he’s been the golden boy, positive Healer who is there to help his other tribemates succeed in life. This episode he turned his game face on, but the edit told us that wasn’t his best look.
A big part of Cole’s narrative so far has been his romance with Jessica. That was how his story started in Episode 3. “I feel like I do have a shot with Jessica after our outing today. She just showed me more of herself, and I kept liking it,” he said, before again describing her as his “dream girl.” His feelings were reciprocated by Jessica who also told us of her fondness for Cole. “We’re really forming a connection,” she said. Cole then used this romantic connection as a jumping off point to talk strategy. “I decided I wanted to share with her some information,” he said, before telling her about Joe’s idol. Again, Jessica welcomed this news positively, even kissing him on the cheek. “Having the knowledge that Joe has the idol brings me so much happiness. Secrets are really powerful in this game. It’s Survivor, and so it’s to my benefit that I know Joe’s secret. That’s power,” Jessica said.
If that is where Cole’s story ended this episode, he would be CPP4 (maybe MORP4) and look in much better stead. Unfortunately, his edit continued and took a negative turn. Cole decided that he wanted to plot a move against Joe. “The more I thought about Joe having the idol, the more I realize that Joe has all the power, and I don’t like that at all,” he said, which is logical thinking. “The idol’s unpredictable, especially in an unpredictable person’s hands and it has a lot of power. And I don’t want that power just being thrown around without my say in it,” he continued. He then discussed the plan to blindside Joe with Jessica. Again, if it ended here, then not so bad. But then, in Jessica’s words, he “word vomited” the plan to Roark and Desi. Here is where the negative tone emerges, and surprisingly, it comes from his dream girl Jessica.
“Cole just word-vomits that Joe has the idol. And I was like, ‘What are you doing?!’ Like, it’s too soon! I’m like, “’Why are you sharing that information?!'” Jessica said. “I think that he needed to wait to see what happens after the challenge and talk to me again, and we decide is this what we want to do.” The way Jessica talked about the moment made Cole seem rash and unpredictable, kind of like how he was describing the idol. Because Cole had presented Jessica in such a positive light, it made us side with Jessica’s viewpoint in this situation. And the reason she had a point was explained perfectly: “The last thing we want is for Joe to find out that we know because he could play his idol, and then any of our heads would be on the chopping block; probably Cole’s first.” It presented Cole as someone who lacked awareness and possibly not the smartest strategist. Not having the best grasp on strategy is a golden boy edit staple, looking at Joe Anglim and Ozzy as prime examples.
So what does this mean for Cole? The focus this moment got in an episode where the Healers didn’t attend tribal council certainly suggests importance. Is Cole’s blunder going to be costly? It’s possible, but costly to who? There was a line on the beach when Cole and Jessica were flirting, and she said: “You can’t make it to the end without me.” That could be a clue. But it sounds more ominous for Jessica than Cole. It seems to set up a story where Jessica leaves before Cole, and his story becomes can he make it to the end without her. Also, when you think of the boat intro that Cole received, it suggests he has more longevity than Jess. Could Jessica end up paying for Cole’s blunder?
On paper, a CPP4 looks great for Jessica, especially following two low-vis UTRs. She was once again framed in a positive light due to Cole’s gushing over her and also seemed to be the more strategically aware of the duo. But when you start to scratch beneath the surface things look worrying for Jess.
Firstly, we got some nice personal info about Jessica this episode, something which has been missing from her edit up until this point. “I move like a slug when it comes to romance. Like, I don’t even know if I know what romance means. To be honest, I come from a super-religious background, and I am a virgin,” she told us. It gives us more of an insight into Jessica, even if it was still directly linked to her relationship with Cole. Then, as I described above in Cole’s section, Jessica had a valid point when she criticized Cole’s move to reveal the blindside Joe plan. What she said made sense and her wanting to slow down on the strategy tied in nicely with her personal info and approach to romance.
However, what concerns me about Jessica and her edit is that even though she’s now talking strategy, everything still circles back to Cole. Her intro to this season in the premiere was about Cole, her only air-time last week came courtesy of Cole, and all her confessionals in this episode related to Cole. Whether it was romance, idol talk, or strategy talk, it was all framed around Cole. Jessica not having any other connections built up in the edit scares me. But what scares me more are a couple of lines in particular. Firstly, the one I mentioned in Cole’s section, “You can’t make it to the end without me,” and the other she said in confessional, “Being a couple on Survivor is hard, and it’s dangerous. So we’ll just have to wait and see. We have a long time left together, I hope.”
As I said in Ben’s section, there is a lot of focus on pairs and couples this season. Jessica and Cole are one of the most highlighted pairs, and their time together is something that others have noticed, Joe mentioned it in this episode. “They’ve been spending a lot of time together, fishing and things like that. You know, Cole’s like a lovebird and that lovebird disease is dangerous,” Joe said. The fact it was Joe saying that, and he’s the man central to Cole’s plan/blunder, makes me worry even more for Jessica. She did recognize the danger, which is a good thing, but she didn’t seem to do anything to play down their relationship, in fact, after she said this she kissed his cheek. But saying “We have a long time left together, I hope,” sounds really ominous, especially on top of “You can’t make it to the end without me.” It sounds like foreshadowing for this couple to be broken up. Now, that could just be because of a swap, maybe Jessica and Cole are placed on different tribes next week and therefore this editorial set up still makes sense.
But, it could also be a sign that one of them will be leaving sooner than later, and the focus on Cole’s blunder makes it seem like that could be at least part of the cause. “You can’t make it to the end without me,” sounds much worse for Jessica than it does Cole because it gives HIM a story, not her. If Jess leaves, Cole has yet another story arc about whether he can succeed without her by his side. Maybe I’m reading it wrong, and Jessica and Cole will last a long time, and the story will instead be about her guiding him strategically to the end. But the former seems more likely.
Before finishing, this line of Jessica’s is also worth pointing out: “I’m ticked off at Cole for just running his mouth. He lost a lot of power with me by telling Roark and Desi.” Firstly, it’s quite startling how she went from “elation” and “so much happiness” to being “ticked off” at Cole. But more interesting is how she said: “He has lost of a lost of power with ME.” It suggests Jessica may not be as trusting of Cole going forward and that could also play into the pair breaking apart before the merge.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments.
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