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?
Edgically this episode was almost a replica of Episode 11. It was another strategy heavy episode where every player bar one received a CP rating. The Jason elimination was the obvious result, and for the most part, he was left out of the main story, the episode’s principal purpose was to set us up towards the finish of the season.
Cydney and Tai’s stories became further interlinked. Last week Cydney told us that taking out Tai will be what gets her to the end of the game. This week we saw Cydney become irritated at Tai’s bossiness and overthrow his plan to take out Michele. The story of the episode was Tai thinking he was in control but Cydney usurping that power from him. This isn’t likely to be the last time these two do battle.
Joe also received significant airtime for the first time in forever. It was mainly negatively toned. This late-game visibility spike is probably not a good sign for Joe’s chances this next episode.
The recap was all Tai, Tai, Tai.
It started by telling us “Everything seemed to be going right for Tai. He had an idol, an advantage in the game, and an alliance of five.” This was accompanied by footage of Tai finding the idol, reading his advantage, and telling us “I have the power.” It was then followed with “But Jason and Julia saw that Tai was the biggest threat in the game…” Julia told us in confessional that it would be stupid not to get Tai out. It then recapped Jason and Julia trying to get Cydney and Michele on side.
“It then left Cydney and Michele with two options: to take out the biggest threat or vote off one of Michele’s closest allies.” That was the second time the edit has referred to Tai as the “biggest threat.” We then heard from Jason at tribal council telling everyone that Tai has “flipped more than a flapjack” and that he could do it a third time. “But Michele and Cydney stuck with the majority (Aubry, Joe, Tai) and sent Julia to the jury…”
The way the recap was presented was as if Tai was the biggest threat in the game – it literally said those words. It highlighted not only his powers and advantages but his unpredictability that could cause the downfall of any other player. So in a way, by presenting Cydney and Michele as the decision makers, while that can be a good thing, it made it seem like they made a wrong decision – especially for Michele whose options according to the Jeff Probst voice-over was “take out the biggest threat or vote off your closest ally.” The fact that they kept Tai and he then targetted Michele this episode cemented what the recap was telling us.
However, the recap also needed to present Tai as the biggest threat for his fall this episode. His story was about power going to his head and losing sight of what was happening around him.
Middle of the Road
Welcome to the show, Joe! This episode was easily Joe’s most visible since before the merge and his most significant content to date given the implications.
We said last week that Joe could be heading for an Erik Reichenbach late-game medevac edit. As a character, he has been kept so intentionally separate from the action that there must be a good reason. And the fact he suddenly got a boost of air-time here suggests his time could be coming to an end. It is hard to see, in a game-sense-, why anyone would vote Joe out at this point, unless say Aubry has immunity and the others target him to break up that strong pair… but even with that, Cydney, Michele, and Tai are all much bigger threats. The only other reason for this increase in content could be if he is a Final Tribal Council loser, and the focus on his bossiness and challenge incompetence were highlighted as reasons for his ultimate loss. But again, that seems a stretch.
He received negative SPV (Second Person Visibility) from Aubry and Cydney after his bossy scenes at camp. He also received negative tone at the immunity challenge after misspelling the word multiple times. “It’s funny until you get to tribal council.” There was another Probst line at the reward challenge which was an excellent metaphor for Joe’s game: “Taking him a long time to get there but he’s getting there.” That has been his story. He has been slow on the uptake but hey, he’s reached the final five.
It was kind of ironic that Joe talked about Jason not having “any respect for much that doesn’t go his way” and how if things don’t go his way he acts vulgar and tries to “bulldoze people”. Those are of course true, that has been a large part of Jason’s edit. But it was also kind of Joe’s story this episode. Things didn’t go his way and he acted out – “dumb ball”. He “bulldozed” Aubry about the fire because she wasn’t doing it like he asked, and he was snappy. He later admitted regarding the challenge “I performed like a six-month-old.” Basically, he acted like a baby.
Regarding his position and role in the game, that hasn’t changed. He was still the loyal soldier. When Cydney approached him about voting off Jason, he said he was “not going to fight City Hall.” What Joe means is that he will take directions from authority rather than go off course and try to shake things up. Even if he is taking those orders begrudgingly.
For such a big, aggressive character Jason’s edit in his exit episode was rather subdued. We said last week that after he had received his comeuppance in the Scot blindside, his edit had switched to that of the underdog. We knew based on his edit up until that point that it was only going to be a short-term arc, but we still expected him to leave with more of a fight.
By the end of the episode, Jason had kind of given up. He told us his strategy was to play “the lazy card.” “I just lay around and I eat their food. I don’t help them with firewood. I don’t help them with anything. Doing that has made them go, “He’s not winning any votes. Let’s just keep him around.” Explaining that as a strategy, despite how thin it is, pushed him into a light CP rating for the episode. The problem for Jason is, people have perceived him that way for the whole game. Way back in Episode 2 we heard Jennifer say he doesn’t do anything, and at the swap, Debbie described him as lazy too.
However, he did receive some positive tone. Not only was he complimented for his leadership skills by Probst at the reward challenge, but during the reward itself Jason was presented in a positive light. He talked about his autistic daughter’s connection with animals. The music was upbeat. Tai explained in a confessional that he was warming to Jason. This helped give Jason his mixed tone for the episode. His negative stuff was obviously the “vulgar” and “bulldozer” comments from Joe, and Michele talking about how his “evil side” can come out.
There was also some perfect metaphors for Jason’s game during the visit to the monkey cage. When first entering the cage a monkey jumped at Jason, and he shouted loudly. The animal expert then told Jason to be “quiet and calm”, and he repeated this about three times. “Be quiet and calm and don’t be threatening.” If only that animal expert were there on Brawn beach on Day 1 and that advice might have been really helpful to Jason.
His overall season rating is CPM. While he had his OTTN moments, the edit went out of its way to present Jason as a rounded, three-dimensional character. He not only got to explain his strategies, but he often talked about his family and relationship with his autistic daughter. Jason is a love or hate type character, and that is how we will remember him.
Tai was the central figure of this episode. The recap set him up as the biggest threat in the game, and the episode showed how he got cocky and lost sight of the game.
This episode is all about Tai being a threat on the surface but becoming arrogant for all those reasons he’s seen as a threat. In this season, you can have all the advantages in the world, whether that’s brains, brawn, beauty, an idol, or an extra vote, and “you can do everything right,” as Jason said last week, “and still lose the game.” Why are these people with these advantages doing everything right still losing the game? Arrogance.
While the episode narrated to us from the get-go that Tai was a threat, we also started seeing right away in his interactions with people that he was throwing his weight around.Tai referred to his own voting plans with Aubry and Joe, “and no one else can do anything about it.” When Mark the chicken ran away with the grub, Aubry said jokingly, “Getting a little cocky Tai, fowl play,” but it was one of those editing tricks where the line applies to Tai in the game. After the immunity challenge and at tribal council, it was said multiple times that it’s “Tai’s way or the highway.” There was no shortage of SPV that Tai was demanding an outcome rather than collaborating for one, and often the evidence was directly from his own mouth.
He said to Michele at tribal council that she wasn’t even a proper member of the alliance. He was too sure that everything would go however he dictated that, as the season has reminded us with nearly every vote, he was destined to be on the outs of this vote. Also, for the first time this season there wasn’t any positive SPV to counter the negative, giving Tai his first N toned edit. When Tai is just being himself, people accept him and the game goes his way. When he tries to actively play the game, he’s on the outs. That is also the struggle with his tone. When he is being himself, it is always positive. When he tries to play the game it is negative.
Aubry was “City Hall” this episode. The authority. The “majority.” The person people go to pitch ideas to. We have seen her in this role many times, from the first episode of the swap to numerous times throughout the merge – particularly with Cydney, but we have also seen Nick and Scot approach her as if she is City Hall.
The edit reminded us from Tai’s own mouth that last episode, Tai asked Aubry whether he should play his idol. When Jason talked about people being hard to beat, only Tai and Aubry were listed. We’ve been told why Tai is hard to beat: he has many advantages protecting him. Aubry though? This continues her story from the past few weeks as the person controlling the game and beasting the challenges (even though she hasn’t won immunity, she has received positive SPV regarding her challenge ability).
However, it’s precisely her prolificacy with relationships in this game that caused her to revert to her neurotic edit this episode. She found herself to be everyone’s confidant and the seeming middleman of which way the vote would land. It continues to be good for her that it didn’t go to her head and she didn’t refer to herself as being in a power position. On the contrary, she was upset and shown to cry because of this.
In this episode, Aubry was depicted as a big threat but not as explicitly as Michele, who became a target due to “having pissed nobody off” – meaning she’s doing a better job at hiding it. While she didn’t shine at playing middle man, she was still successful at it, in the end. Again, Aubry was on the right side of the vote. A demise was not foretold. Aubry getting to explain why thinks Michele would be a good target, but also the dilemma of choosing a side, was enough to give her a CP rating.
Michele had her break out episode last week and for the most part, things remained steady in Episode 12. She survived the chopping block, the person she wanted to go got eliminated, and she put on an excellent performance at tribal council.
The episode started with Michele explaining why she voted out Julia. It was definitely a good thing that the edit gave her time to explain her reasoning, even if the recap did portray it as a questionable choice. Also, the line “…there is no better way to show my loyalty than to vote out my biggest ally in this game” is complicated. It was unclear if the edit was playing this up for irony – there weren’t any music cues to suggest so – or whether it was just a poorly phrased line. Voting out your biggest ally does to not scream loyalty. But we do know the logic behind Michele’s move.
She received some decent content at the reward, working out that Jason’s change in attitude could also be a strategy to stay. She said she wanted Jason gone and that is ultimately what happened. However, what looked bad for Michele’s edit is that she didn’t realise she was the other target. She even said “we don’t have to scramble for this one”, meanwhile Tai was trying to put the pieces together to blindside her. It goes back to the recap and Michele’s decision last week to keep Tai over Julia. It wasn’t until Cydney informed Michele of Tai’s actions that she knew what was happening.
But despite that, once Michele realized she was a target she explained that she would make her case at tribal council. Even though Aubry said she’d be the one “waking up” tribal, it was actually Michele. She put her points across, stood up to Tai, and it entertained the jury. We saw shots of the jury members smiling and laughing. Tai kept putting her down and saying she was on the outs but she didn’t put up with any of his “malarkey”. This was all good stuff for Michele and keeps her in winner contention even if some of the other signs are ominous.
Cydney has been the straw that stirs the cocktail post merge. She’s been the moral adjudicator keeping people humble.
This episode brought Cydney into it midway through when Joe started rudely barking orders to Aubry and Cydney. Cydney gave a whole confessional on what she’s like, as evidenced by the game, and backed up by an Aubry confessional: she will not be bossed around. This is NOT to be confused with being stubborn. On the contrary, she is collaborative and expects others to be the same way. People who show her this courtesy live to see another day. Individuals who don’t are marked. Aubry confirmed this when she said, “we can’t have Cydney blowing up the game… because then we’re screwed.” Meaning, Cydney has the power to blow up the game.
When Tai then dictated the vote without a discussion, it was Cydney who took the reins in countering Tai. It was Cydney shown to convince Joe to vote Jason instead and to bring Michele into the loop. It was Cydney who (successfully) convinced Aubry to stay with them and not do as Tai wanted because everybody else wanted Jason gone. Once again Cydney continued her episode theme of not being bossed around. She mentioned multiple times to others that Tai was ordering them around, and she brought it up at tribal council as well.
At the immunity challenge, Probst said Cydney was “dead last” and “completely out of this challenge” because of how slow she was going. But her strategy proved successful. Probst then changed his tune: “Say what you want about Cydney’s approach, she has not dropped this entire challenge. Everybody chasing Cydney. Dead last this entire challenge now in first.” Aubry then dropped her stack and Probst said, “The only challenger to Cydney just dropped.” Metaphor for the game? This whole episode depicted Cydney as the person controlling the course of the game and working with Aubry to do so. This challenge commentary sealed that. We are shown in camp life and sneakily told through challenge analysis that Aubry and Cydney are the main challengers for the title of sole Survivor.
The problem that Cydney might face is Tai. Their stories are becoming more and more entwined. Last week, Cydney told us that getting Tai out will be what she needs to do to get to the end. Tai is still in the game, and he still has an idol, and now he knows Cydney is against him. While Cydney has played a great game, and the edit has given her credit, Tai is the last obstacle in her way of making to the end as she said herself.
Main Stories in Play
- Mother Nature – The extreme elements plus the demands of the game continue to be a dominating aspect of this season. Joe’s fatigue is now the main selling point.
- Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Aubry, Cydney, and Michele are 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.
Middle: Cydney, Michele.
Eliminated: Everyone else.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 12. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.