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.
You can read previous weeks Edgic posts here.
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What Does This Episode Tell Us?
Episode 10 ties nicely together with Episode 9 as a sort of double-bill. Many characters continued with the same edit as last week, and the events of the previous tribal council directly affected the story that developed over these 42 minutes.
There were five CP ratings, and only one UTR, which again tells us this was a predominantly strategy based episode. With the reveal of two idols last week it set the game rolling at an even faster pace and that was reflected in Episode 10’s ratings.
This episode also brought to fruition many of the Edgic threads we have been following all season. Jason and Scot finally received a comeuppance. Tai’s conflictions and desire to hold onto his idol at all costs. And perhaps most importantly, we began to get a clearer division between the top three winner contenders, and as a result, it cemented which of the season’s themes are most crucial to the overall arc of the season.
In the recap, we were reminded that Jason, Scot, and Tai were on the bottom and “wreaking havoc” in camp. We got a repeat of Tai’s confessional calling Jason and Scot “extreme,” and a reminder of Tai’s own “evil side”; this set up the continued ethical dilemma that Tai faced in Episode 10.
Then we were told that Julia saw the men’s antics as “an opportunity to get further in the game.” But that everyone else had noticed her playing both sides. “I think she’s lost to the dark side.” A repeat of Aubry’s confessional solidified this: “Julia wants to ride the middle to the end.”
The final part of the recap reminded us that Debbie “exposed” the majority’s plans in front of Julia. Again, another Aubry confessional qualified the moment: “Debbie completely trusts Julia. That really scares me.” We were then shown Aubry and Cydney discussing cutting Debbie loose.
The recap then finished by telling us that the Debbie vote WAS the correct decision for the majority. “At tribal council, Jason, Scot and Tai showed off their idols to elicit fear, and were prepared to play the Super Idol, which gave the majority more reason to vote out one of their own.” While getting rid of an ally may have seemed illogical on paper for Aubry and Cydney, the recap confirmed what the edit told us last week, that this was a smart decision for the girls.
Under the Radar
There is less and less to say about Joe the more the edit hides him. He was clearly the least visible and the only player not to receive at least one confessional.
What is Joe’s role and why is the edit neglecting him so much? His character seems to be the loyal soldier. His only real content this week, which saved him from being INV, was when Aubry approached him and asked him if he was willing to vote for Scot. His response, simple, “Done.” It cleared up last week’s concern that Aubry didn’t truly have Joe. She clearly does, it’s just that Joe doesn’t like to change plans once he’s been told the target. Despite voting on opposite sides on two occasions now, Joe remains loyal to Aubry.
But that doesn’t explain why the edit is neglecting him this much. Is it because he really isn’t getting involved in the strategy? Maybe. But a 72 year old man making it this far into the game, you would think that the editors could craft some sort of story out of that if they truly wanted to. We have gone back and forth over whether Joe’s edit was pointing at him being a medevac, and maybe he still is? If he is medevaced this late into the game, perhaps the editors didn’t want to portray him as a significant or substantial character to the season (similar to Erik’s edit in Caramoan who was medevaced in 5th place).
Middle of the Road
Cydney had her quietest episode since the merge, and it is important to examine the editorial intent behind that. Last week she was portrayed as one of the key decision makers, and at times looked more in control than Aubry. However, in the recap, it was Aubry that received the majority of the focus.
Her lack of direct visibility in the first half of the episode could have been to do with her being the target of Jason and Scot. They made it clear that they wanted Cydney out next and talked about her negatively. Scot described her as “brooding, petty, small”. Yet his words were never actually substantiated by the edit, other than a couple of stray shots of Cydney, so her tone itself wasn’t negative. His words were there to highlight his own hypocrisy given his actions last week.
The second half of the episode, Aubry became the target of the men, therefore it was understandable why Cydney didn’t receive any counter confessionals in the first half. The edit was protecting her almost. She wasn’t the real target of the episode, therefore, it wasn’t necessary to have her comment on Jason and Scot’s claims about her. When she did finally receive a confessional later in the episode, she was the one that called the shot: “I think we should try to blindside Scot just because he’s just so confident it’s ridiculous.” It was almost a reverse of lask week. In Episode 9, Aubry brought up cutting Debbie, and Cydney took charge in putting the pieces in place. This episode Cydney called the shot on Scot, and Aubry put the plan together.
The negative here and the reason why Cydney slips behind Aubry in the contender’s list is that we now have reasons why Cydney could lose a jury vote. Her negative SPV could be early signs of jury backlash should she end up at Final Tribal Council. Plus the fact that Aubry received lots of positive SPV that showed signs of why she could win a jury vote.
When we talk about the division becoming clearer between the top contenders, Michele’s edit this episode is a big reason for that. Her edit throughout the season has been very consistent, but this was the first time they overtly highlighted her negatives.
Last week we said that Michele needed a strong episode of game content and some non-numbers based SPV (Second Person Visibility). Unfortunately, only one of those things came this week. She received SPV… but it was negative (not enough to effect overall tone). When Aubry was discussing Julia’s duplicitousness, she said, “She is super shady, and people like Michele don’t see through it.” Aubry has become the post-merge narrator and we are conditioned to believe what she says. That is a bad sign for Michele’s edit. With Julia consistently saying she would like to sit next to Jason and Scot at the end, it theoretically means that eventually, Julia would have to cut Michele, and she even stated her desire to sit next to them while the camera showed Michele laying her head on Julia’s shoulder.
It wasn’t just the Julia stuff that the edit showed Michele as oblivious to. At the reward challenge there were a number of shots of Michele with her back to the challenge eating her food reward while Aubry talked about competing to prove to herself that “this is a hard-ass game.” Likewise, later in the episode when Aubry was putting the pieces together to blindside Scot, Michele and Julia were shown laying or strolling on the beach, oblivious to what was going on around them (once when Aubry approached Tai, and again when Aubry approached Joe about the vote). Her strategy was “…we gotta flush out the idols or we gotta get rid of the guys, one or the other.” Yet Aubry and Cydney’s strategy got rid of one of the guys AND an idol, not just one or the other. Michele also said “You better be on the right side of the moment when it happens”, and she wasn’t. This can all be tied back to Episode 5 when Michele stepped on the Beauty mat by mistake. It was a signal that her loyalties remained with the girls, especially the Beauty girls (Julia), and her committment to the girls put her on the wrong side of the vote this week. “Old habits die hard.”
So if all that hurts Michele’s winner chances, what is her edit about? Maybe she is the last Beauty standing? Maybe she becomes a target but goes on an immunity streak only to be taken out just before the Final Tribal Council? She has had such consistent content and air-time that it would be reasonable to expect a pay-off.
That brings us back to what we said last week, Michele’s story is of the strong independent woman that doesn’t need the men. That has been the one constant to her edit, from Episode 1 when she told us that aligning with the girls was what felt natural. That stayed true this episode in her first confessional when she said, “It felt so good to beat Scot and Jason because I know that they wanted that burger more than anything.” Just like last week when she made fire despite Jason and Scot’s sabotage. Her story is about undermining the men. How does that end? Maybe she is responsible for eliminating Jason? Maybe Jason ends up at Final Tribal Council and Michele gives a strong independent woman speech in support of the winner?
Does this mean Michele is completely out of the running? No. There is still just enough to her edit that could lead to a win, but it would require a break-out episode next week.
We said last week that Scot’s downfall would be coming, and boy did he suffer a defeat in this episode. His negative toned edit had been leading to this moment, and it was perfectly set-up by the editors for maximum effect.
Again, there is an instinct to rank Scot as OTTN because certain actions and words come across that way. But much like in Episode 9, Scot did get a chance to explain his strategy and thought process, and that pushed him into CP. Scot was the first one to bring up blindsiding Aubry. “As long as Tai and Jason and myself remain faithful, which I don’t see why we wouldn’t, we got a pretty good path to get to the final three, so we just need to make sure Aubry doesn’t win immunity.” He put forward his plans for the immediate future and later in the game.
Despite his complexity, Scot couldn’t escape the negativity. The edit undermined his opening gambit of sweeping the sabotage under the rug. “Now we’re being the bigger people. We’re showing our maturity. We’re showing that we can come back in and be like nothing happened.” After the events of last week, it was laughable to hear Scot describe himself as the mature one. And saying that he could act like “nothing happened” was a further demonstration of his lack of emotional intelligence. He didn’t consider the long-term effects his actions would have on the other players emotionally. Aubry undercut Scot’s pitch by portraying it as extortion: “Scot was telling me essentially that camp life will be normal if he gets what he wants.”
Scot was referred to as cocky and over-confident. Julia told us that he (and Jason) had ruined relationships. Tai said he was forceful and had pissed people off. This all added to his negative tone for the episode and led perfectly into his blindside at tribal council. His overall tone for the season is CPN. Despite his OTT moments, the edit did provide moments of depth here and there for Scot. At the swap, away from Jason, he was shown as a competent strategist, and in Episode 8 he received personal content about his family. Overall though he will most likely be remembered as the bully basketball player that suffered a sweet blindside.
Jason’s edit was again very similar to Scot’s just less visible. While he wasn’t voted out, he also suffered the comeuppance we have been waiting for due to losing an ally and his idol.
His complexity comes from his strategic talk. He explained the results of last week’s “psychological warfare,” he talked about why Aubry should be the target, and in his discussion with Julia, he spoke end-game when he told her that he’d eventually want to cut Tai and take her to Final 3. There was a lot of boasts and arrogance to Jason’s content, but that doesn’t hide the fact he had some CP strategy amongst all that.
His arrogant statements were there to set up his downfall at tribal council. “We’re unstoppable.” “There’s nothing she can do about it.” These were all classic elements of a downfall edit. Jason does, however, remain in the game and that probably speaks to why his edit has been more carefully tended than Scot’s. He has always had much more personal focus than Scot did, from Episode 1 when he talked about his family, to Episode 4 and the confessional about his daughters, and of course the big scene in Episode 8 about his autistic daughter. This content has always suggested that Jason was more important to the story than Scot, and with him still in the game that looks to be true.
After flirting with the dark side in Episode 9, Tai was back to his pre-merge CPP rating. There was a reason they showed Tai as conflicted last week, and that is because his battle between the head and the heart became the crux of this episode and led to his decision at tribal council.
His visibility was the highest of the episode, receiving the same amount of confessionals as Aubry did last week. While Aubry was still a big part of this week’s plans, the story was of Tai and his conflict. He stepped away from his emotions and went with his head last week, and edgically that was a bad sign, but immediately this episode he set about fixing that. “I would love to bring camp life back together. It’s all about mending relationship again.” Repairing relationships were the key part of his story. We saw Scot trying to mend fences with Aubry, and Aubry seeing right through it because it was false. Tai’s talk with Aubry was authentic and therefore successful.
“I think Tai is someone who wants to be true to himself. And Tai’s natural state isn’t with Jason and Scot,” Aubry told us. Tai confirmed this himself: “Out here, I really struggle with people taking advantage of other people, all the lying, all the cheating. I keep telling myself, “It’s a game.” But it seems really difficult for me to do that.” He was caught between his head and his heart. At first, he thought he could have both; use his relationship with Aubry and bring her into the alliance with the boys. But they shut it down. It is then when Tai switched. “I have no say in our alliance. I’m not part of the discussion.” He reacted to new information and changed course accordingly. This return to reactive gameplay was good news for Tai.
At the reward challenge, Tai won an extra vote advantage and the edit tied this back into his concerns and fears about the idol. “It’s a rich man’s problem, but I have to trust myself. Otherwise, I might go home with both of them in my pocket.” This is about the fourth time, possibly more, that Tai has mentioned leaving with the idol in his pocket. Before we thought it might have foreshadowed him being voted out with the idol still in his possession – and it still might. But its pay off here was that he wanted to keep hold of that idol so much that he didn’t hand it over to save Scot. Instead, Scot left with an idol in his pocket… the second person to do so after Neal was medevaced with his.
Is Tai suddenly back in winner contention? While it was a great episode for him the answer is no. There are too many flaws and repeated shots of Tai’s confusion. While Tai executed the final blow at tribal, Aubry was given the credit for putting the pieces together. And we don’t even know if this was ultimately the correct move for Tai. “I just have to figure out what’s best for me, and I have to commit to it, ‘cause after that, there’s no turning back,” he told us at the end of the episode. Tai has now made his bed and will have to lie in it whether it’s comfortable or not.
If you are looking for an example of what a break-out episode is, Aubry’s edit in Episode 10 is a prime example. The best thing is, this isn’t her first break-out episode of the season, but it was by far her best and most positive.
We mentioned that this episode made the division clearer between the top contenders, and while Michele slipped down the chart, Aubry rose to the top. It is almost just a battle now between Aubry and Cydney, however, Aubry received clear winner signs here, where Cydney received Final Tribal loser signs.
Firstly, just the move itself, to bring Tai over and blindside Scot, Aubry was given all the credit for putting it together. For making Scot feel comfortable with her: “There was not a shot in hell I’m going to work with them, but I’m willing to let them think I’ll play along with it, and when it comes time to get out Scot, I’m ready to fight…” To explaining her reasons for keeping Julia and Michele out of the plan: “I think Julia is going to wait until the numbers are perfect and she can take out the girls.” To the way she approached and talked to Tai: “I wanted Tai to know that Julia’s gunning for him, and I am an alternative to the way Jason and Scot and Julia are playing.” It was masterful gamesmanship and the edit made sure to give it all the credit it deserved.
Secondly, the amount of positive SPV Aubry received this episode was quite incredible. “Very smart”, “Savvy”, “Tough”, “Threat in challenges”, “Impressive”, “Hell of an opponent”, “I like that girl”, “Certain energy I really like”, “Giving great effort in every facet of the game thus far”, “She’s been kicking butt the entire time she’s been here”, “There’s as much Brawn in her as there is in me.” It really was like a coronation. She had positive feedback from everyone, including the bad guys, and even Jeff Probst himself. What this does edgically is it tells us that Aubry has jury votes and is a definite winner contender… or, she is too much of a threat that she’ll eventually get taken out.
The most important line, however, was what Aubry said at tribal council: “We were put into groups. Brains, Brawn, and Beauty. But I think that only scratches the surface of who all of these people are.” That has been the season’s story, and Aubry’s story, from the start. It ties back to emotional intelligence. It isn’t just about numbers it is about people and the “comments and silences”. It’s about what is beneath the surface. “Sometimes it’s hard to know when to trust the brain, and when to trust the heart, and when to stop thinking.” It is this balance that Aubry has been trying to get right from Episode 1. Some people have misjudged Aubry’s edit as “wishy-washy”, but it has never really been that. The closest to that was the Peter vote, but even then, Aubry was shown weighing her options, choosing Julia because she couldn’t trust her (now proven right), and then changing her vote to Peter in light of new information (reactive gameplay).
In Episode 1, Aubry had an anxiety attack and a breakdown because she got stuck in her own head. Afterwards she stated “I’m not going to go home without giving this one everything I have.” She then gave everything she had in the challenge and helped win it for her tribe and received all the praise for it. At the time we called it a Cochran style redemption edit in the space of 15 minutes. Her story has never slipped away from those themes. She faces obstacles and bad luck, but she continues to give it everything she has and always comes out on top (always on the correct side of the vote at tribal). Aubry ticks the season themes more than any other player. She walks the walk (her challenge efforts). Check. She has emotional intelligence (her connection to Tai this week a prime example). Check. She is a strong woman. Check. She is a smart, reactive player. Check. She has survived the elements (her Day 1 comeback, and surviving the doctor check up). Check. You can even tie her story back to Alecia’s “never give up” arc.
There have been ominous signs in her edit at certain points. Not having Joe last week and playing second fiddle to Cydney. But this week those were cleared up when we saw Aubry did indeed still have Joe, and she took control of the pieces regarding this week’s vote. It is very hard to fault Aubry’s edit if you pay attention to all the themes of the season.
Julia’s increased air-time continued this week, but it still feels ominous. The edit is making it clear that she is playing a dangerous game and after ending up on the wrong side of the vote in Episode 10, it could be almost time to say goodbye to Julia.
She had a lovely scene with her loved one letter; it was the kind of positive scene she could have done with back in Episode 5 during her exile. She explained her journey up until this point: “I’ve kind of gone on this roller coaster throughout this game. From kind of figuring out how to get power, to getting power, to losing power when I went to Brawn beach, to coming back and having loved one letters kind of gives you that just, like, boost to keep going…” It was solid content and the way she described her game was very similar to Aubry’s – the roller coaster ride. She finished the segment by saying: “It was kind of a moment for me to, like, step back and realize that I’m here to play and the goal is to win. And to do that, I gotta make big moves.”
What was interesting is that the scene went from soft, positive music while Julia was talking about the letter, to evil, sneaky music when she said: “I gotta make big moves.” Her plan was to vote Tai, flush his idol, but at the same time stay loyal to Jason and Scot. It was a solid plan in theory, but again the edit made it clear that people were aware of her double-dealing. Aubry said “Julia is duplicitous, but at the same time, she’s playing a good game. I can respect that… but I don’t know that I want that next to me.” That was also the reason for Julia’s mixed tone for the episode. She had positives with her letter and earning Aubry’s respect, but negatives for “duplicitous”, “Super shady”, and “traitor-ass.”
Also, similar to Michele, Julia was portrayed as oblivious to the other plans going on around her. “I am stoked right now. The girls and myself are going to vote for Tai and flush his idol.” But while Aubry was putting the pieces into place to blindside Scot, Julia and Michele were shown resting on the beach, unaware. Cemented at tribal council when Julia was shown telling Tai to play his idol, unaware of what was truly going on, and exposing her shadiness even further. Her shocked reaction to the vote solidified her edit of the episode.
Where does Julia go from here? The gut feeling is that she is on borrowed time and that her increased air-time and obvious shadiness will lead to her elimination. But perhaps her personal content with the letter opens up her chances to push further. Either way, nothing has changed concerning her winner chances.
Main Stories in Play
- Mother Nature – The extreme elements plus the demands of the game continue to be a dominating aspect of this season. This episode the struggles came from the challenges.
- Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Aubry and Cydney are now the chief representatives of this theme.
- Proactive versus Reactive – two battling styles of strategy have become the main gameplay theme this season. Those playing aggressively and arrogantly versus those playing passively and relaxed.
- Walk the Walk – those that can put their money where their mouth is will succeed. Those who make big claims but don’t back it up will fail.
- Strong women – the theme of strong independent women has been around since the start and is really coming to a head now. Best represented by Michele. But all the women fall into this category.
Top: Aubry, Cydney.
Eliminated: Everyone else.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 10. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.