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.
|Name||EP 1||EP 2||EP 3||EP 4||EP 5||EP 6||EP 7||EP 8||EP 9||EP 10||EP 11||EP 12||EP 13||EP 14|
What Does This Episode Tell Us?
Even though a large part of this episode was stalling due to Joe’s medical evacuation, what it ultimately told us is that the game is still very much fluid. Everyone is willing to work with anyone. Tai and Michele were open to working together. Aubry was considering cutting Cydney and patching things up with Tai. Cydney was keeping all her options open. In fact, the only person that was still solidly in one camp, Joe (to Aubry), is now gone.
It also reminded us that Aubry and Cydney are the game’s biggest threats. At the reward, Joe talked about how instrumental Aubry has been in the game and how she is the greatest threat left. Aubry expressed in a confessional about how Cydney has played a significant part in some of the season’s biggest blindsides, and could be a big threat to go against at the end.
Lastly, the episode ended with Aubry, and yet another obstacle thrown in her way. Again, one of her closest allies was medically evacuated. It placed the narrative in Aubry’s hands and whether or not she will be able to overcome this hurdle just like she did last time.
The recap started by telling us “With the million dollars in sight, everyone wanted control of who would go to the end.” We were reminded again that Tai had an idol and an extra vote and how he “thought he could control the vote.” The Jeff Probst voice-over stated: “He wanted to target Michele, who he considered the biggest threat.”
It’s worth comparing this wording to last week’s recap which also had talked of “the biggest threat.” When Tai was called the biggest threat last week it was “Julia and Jason saw that Tai was the biggest threat” and “Cydney and Michele had a big decision, to take out the biggest threat…” It presented Tai as indeed the biggest threat, whereas this week Michele was just who Tai considered the biggest threat.
“He thought he had the support of his closest ally Aubry, but he pushed too hard and offended Cydney.” The recap again was heavily Tai focused and about how his power had blinded him to what was going on around him. And what was going on around him was Cydney, who “fought to keep her own ally, Michele.” Cydney was given the credit for the vote and saving Michele.
“At tribal council, Tai played his advantage to ensure he got his way, but instead, his alliance turned on him.” This set-up the events of the episode, with Tai feeling betrayed and Aubry working to gain back his trust.
Over The Top
Tai’s late-game character has gradually become the big old ball of emotion that is often confused and conflicted. It has been heading that way for a while, but he has usually kept some of his complexity, but this week he returns to his very first rating of the season OTTM.
After returning to camp from last week’s tribal council, Tai was confused by the vote and being left out of it. “I wish I was informed.” Tai was back on the outs, which mirrors his premiere episode edit entirely. Back then he was caught looking for the idol and was called sneaky and suspicious. He put himself on the outside of the group by trying to take the game into his own hands (looking for the idol). He did the same here. He tried to use his advantage to take control, but it once again put him outside of the alliance.
The edit was showing us that Tai is rigid. He’s stuck on a particular style of gameplay with only one specific person. We saw him try to venture out and work with Michele but even while she was opening up to him, he was never shown fully to embrace it. When bonding with Michele, his confessionals were still hesitant: “Maybe she’s genuine.” And he still brought up tribal council and how her words “sting like hell”; like he couldn’t let go. Juxtaposed with Michele’s happy confessionals, saying that they were bonding and having a great time. But then as soon as Aubry said any emotional words at all, she unlocked him, he broke down, and he was manipulated back into her fold
We saw him misread the situation for yet another time this episode. The first misread was that Aubry, Joe, and Cydney would want to be a final three together, even though Aubry told us she wanted Tai over Cydney. The second was his questioning of Michele. The third was where he said Aubry was pouring her heart out and opened up when in fact we knew she had an agenda, and it was Tai who broke down.
There wasn’t any real complexity to his strategy. He based his moves on emotion. He received positive tone for his break down; the music was somber and clearly meant to make us sympathise with Tai’s struggle. But the opening of the episode and his argument with Michele was negative in tone. Overall, the story of Tai here is that in a game of fluidity, he’s trying to be fluid but just can’t.
Well, the inevitable happened. Joe was the late-game Erik Reichenbach style medivac as we assumed. It makes sense why he had such a non-existent edit throughout the season. Even if Joe was a bigger character than portrayed, the edit couldn’t make him an essential part of the story due to the way he left.
His edit before his evacuation was more of the same. Joe as the loyal foot soldier following orders: “It was the power of the people. They didn’t want him. They didn’t want him and I had to go along with the alliance.” It continued from his “Don’t want to go against City Hall” theme from the last episode. He defers to authority. After he had won the reward challenge, he allowed Aubry to make the second choice of who to bring. And at the reward itself, he asked if they are voting Tai next, and Aubry had to remind him that they couldn’t because Tai has an idol. “I know Joe will go with what I go with,” Aubry said.
He also stated that “Just being social like I was is not going to get you anything.” It was a strike against his own game, but by proxy, it was a strike against Michele’s game too. Michele’s game has relied on her social skills; she was shown using them back at camp with Tai. But if Joe has an accurate read, he is telling us the jury won’t reward social game alone.
But he did leave the game with a positive tone. His reward challenge win was a triumph. #GettingItDoneAt71. Sympathetic music played over his evacuation scene. Lots of hugs and tears. The other castaways showed their love and appreciation for Joe. “Tough”, “Inspiration”, “Substitute grandpa.” There wasn’t any complexity on display here concerning strategy. Joe was the loyal soldier that people liked and respected.
His overall season rating is UTRM. He will be most remembered as the grouchy grandpa who was barely there but left under sad circumstances with lots of love.
Michele’s edit remained steady this week. It once again showed us that she is flexible and fluid and plays a reactive game. She listens to new information and then plans her next step.
The problem for Michele is the edit not giving her credit for any moves. The recap told us that Cydney saved her last week, and Michele confirmed this saying “I kind of lucked out that Cydney did protect me…” Not only did she “luck out” but she gave the credit to another player.
Michele was shown working her social game on Tai. It showed the two of them bonding, and she was totally on board with working with Tai and thought their day together was going great. But Tai kept showing hesitance and an inability to let go of their tribal council fight. Then later after the other three castaways returned from reward, he flipped easily back to Aubry; this is a bad sign for Michele because it shows she was ultimately unsuccessful in winning Tai over. Michele losing Tai was later confirmed when he stated: “If Joe goes home it would screw up everything we planned for final three,” confirming that he was going with the Aubry/Joe plan over the Michele/Cydney plan.
Similarly, she was shown being less close with Joe. Joe told Aubry about his bladder, prostate, urethra, personal details regarding his situation. But when Michele asked what was going on, she was first ignored, and then when she asked again, Joe brushed her off and said: “I’m fine.” It isn’t a huge deal, but it demonstrates that he wasn’t as close or comfortable with Michele. It was the second time in the episode that someone chose Aubry over Michele. Foreshadowing?
Up until now, Michele has been depicted as controlling her fate. She has been willing to cut ties to advance herself one step further. But now in the top five, she’s been depicted as Cydney’s friend/ally. Michele said she needs to “…take a risk and try and find a way to change the pecking order.” Her attempts this episode, while valiant, were portrayed as unsuccessful in comparison to Aubry. However, Joe’s sudden evacuation gives her a lucky break.
Cydney was shown to be the one controlling the game last week and taking charge to save Michele and remove Jason. That read of the edit was supported this episode also, with the recap and Michele herself giving her credit for last week’s move.
She was less visible than the other castaways this week, but when she was on screen, she was shown to be quietly observing. At the reward she watched Joe chowing down on beef skewer after beef skewer and only in confessional did she speak of her concerns about him being sick later. That is Cydney’s game in a nutshell. She observes everything and then lets it out in confessional and waits for the right time to make her move. She did this when she noted Nick was checking up on her in Episode 8, and it still held true here in Episode 13. She confirmed this style of game-play herself in confessional: “Trying to downplay myself as much as possible… nodding, smiling.”
Her observation skills were further highlighted later in the episode when she noticed Aubry and Tai returning from the water well after their deep bonding session. Cydney noticed that it wasn’t just a regular talk, they were too close, “like a conversation you’d have with an ally.” She was shown reading the situation perfectly. She even literally sat up in the shelter when they returned as if she sniffed it out. The edit is telling us that Cydney has a good game; this was further clarified by Aubry at the reward when she said Cydney is a threat to win – “made moves,” and “to a degree more likable.”
The ominous signs in Cydney’s edit were lines about playing in the middle. When talking about her alliance with Michele, she said: “I kind of want to keep it under wraps like I’ve been doing and hope that I don’t screw myself in the midst of trying to better my game at the same time.” That isn’t the first time Cydney has talked about her game blowing up if she makes the wrong move. Also, we still haven’t had pay off on her “…getting Tai out will be what gets me to the end.” With Cydney and Tai seemingly on opposite sides, the edit highly suggests only one of them will make it to the end, not both.
If Cydney does make it to the end, does the jury recognise her game? As viewers, we know how well she’s played. But with her saying her game is “under wraps” and Joe saying “Cyd, she’s been kinda quiet and stuff, and you know, just been there,” it suggests that the other players might not realise just how hard she’s played. Can she actually win if she makes it to the finals?
Aubry was shown as the biggest social and strategic threat this episode, along with Cydney, with the primary difference being that Aubry has been credited for it openly by others, including in this episode.
At the start of the episode, Tai was shown to be hurt most by Aubry because he trusted her the most. He goes to Aubry to find out what happened, and she explained the vote to him and why people left him out of it. When Joe walked up, Tai continued to talk only to Aubry. They painted Aubry in a position of power. She stated in confessional that she left Tai out of the vote so she could reclaim control.
During the reward, Aubry got lots of positive SPV (Second Person Visibility). Joe described her as the biggest threat with only Tai as her competition. After Joe had finished rambling about Aubry being the only threat and Cydney doing nothing, Aubry had a confessional about what a huge threat Cydney actually is. She listed valid reasons why then it cut back to the reward where Aubry said: “…this is exactly what I needed to get my head back on.” Joe’s foot-in-mouth-ness helped her see the light. Aubry is also “credited” as the only person seeing how great of a game Cydney has played. The edit has supported Cydney’s gameplay all season, so the edit supports Aubry’s revelation.
She then had the scene where she got to set up exactly what she wanted (Tai in the finals with her). She was shown talking to him, saying a few words that caused him to full on break down and come running back to her. Tai never even realised the manipulation, but we’ve seen all along she did it in a calculated way. In a confessional Tai explained it as she “poured her heart out to me” which made him trust her. But to the viewer, she intentionally tried winning him back over for game reasons and didn’t pour her heart out based on what we saw. We saw a manipulative Aubry succeed at plucking Tai’s heartstrings, and he fell for it. Then we kept seeing her consoling him (again, she was shown in full control of her emotions and the situation).
The one negative here could be that Cydney read the situation and how Aubry had realigned with Tai. It suggests that Aubry is a target in the eyes of Cydney.
The rest of the episode followed Joe and his evacuation, but it was still Aubry that received the closing narrative confessional. She talked about Joe’s medevac and losing another of her closest allies this way (similarly to how she lost Neal at the merge). The relationship between Aubry and Joe has been present since the season premiere, with the by now infamous, subtitled shot:
They both made it close to the end, Joe going out just before the Final 4, and Aubry now heading into the season finale. Can she make it to the final tribal council? Apparently, it will be exciting if she gets there.
Once again, Aubry seemed on top, and now another obstacle has been thrown in her way for her to overcome. It became more about her game and story than it ever was about Joe. “Everything is ruined… I don’t know what the hell is going to happen. Anything is possible.” The story leading into next week’s finale is Aubry’s. Can she recover from losing her closest ally despite being seen as the biggest threat in the game?
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 evacuation was, of course, the main story this week.
- Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Aubry, Cydney, and Michele are the leading 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 13. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.