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?
The first thing that stands out is the amount of CP ratings. Up until this point this season has been very character driven and very light on strategy. That was reflected in the limited amount of CP edits and the abundance of OTTs. The fact that there were nine CP ratings in Episode 5, and no OTTs, tells us that this was the first strategy heavy episode of the season – which was to be expected after a swap and new alliances emerging. There was also no UTR or INV ratings which tells us this was a rather fairly edited episode.
Looking deeper than that, the edit seemed to highlight two distinct styles of strategy throughout the episode. Proactive versus reactive. You could almost split the cast into two specific groups – those hanging back and letting the game come to them versus those proactively sticking their neck out. This will likely define which players will be successful this season.
If we tie it back to Aubry’s introduction of emotional intelligence in Episode 3, and the importance of comments and silences as opposed to just numbers, these conflicting strategies become even more significant to the overall story arc of the season. So far, players that have tried to take the game into their own hands have failed: Jennifer, Liz, Alecia and now Anna. Whereas those who have sat back and observed have benefited.
In this episode we saw players like Anna, Debbie, Joe, Neal, Nick and Peter stick their necks out. Players like Aubry, Cydney, Jason, Michele and Scot chilled and allowed others to call the shots and put themselves out there. Tai fell somewhere in the middle. He considered seizing the game proactively with his idol but later reconsidered, chilled, and it worked out for him. Julia was alone on ToTang beach so didn’t fall into either category.
The question we have to ask ourselves is, which strategy will be more successful? If we are judging on the edit so far it would suggest that the players who are going with the flow and allowing the game to come to them will reap the most success. In a season of emotional intelligence, these players are allowing their reads on people and their emotional connections to guide them. Rather than those looking at the game through a purely strategic, numbers based point of view. As we break down each character this week we will look at where they fit into this theme.
The recap stated that since Day 1 the game has been a fight and nothing has come easy. It showed us the Neal and Cydney battle during the marooning when Jeff Probst said “the game has been a fight.” This is noteworthy because we have now been shown this small scene twice. Will Cydney and Neal get into a fight? Will they go to battle? They are now on the same tribe. It doesn’t tell us a whole lot at the minute but it’s worth noting.
It reminded us who had found idols. Tai and Jason. It also reminded us, again, of the Beauty girl’s alliance with an Anna confessional. And it told us other alliances were broken, highlighting Peter and Debbie. This was interesting because the edit never portrayed Debbie and Peter as an alliance. It was always young versus old and then suddenly Peter and Liz trying to rope in Debbie and Joe to take out Neal; except Debbie was having none of it. The way it was portrayed in the recap suggests that Peter’s story with the Brains is far from over.
The main take away was the line “But nothing compared to the battle with Mother Nature, and Caleb was her first victim.” The mention of “first victim” suggests that there are more evacuations to come and there was some focus on injuries this episode (Joe and Tai) which could be very telling.
Middle of the Road
Having picked out the red buff at the swap, Julia was exiled and therefore didn’t fit into the theme of proactive versus reactive strategy. Her episode was all about being the young kid out of her element but doing what she can to survive. Even though broken down she tried to keep a positive attitude.
When she picked out the red buff she said “I had a gut feeling.” That line potentially speaks to her having good instincts in the game. At the mat after the buffs were picked she said “I’m alone…I think I’m going to be okay. I’m going to look at it in a positive way. But I would say the one downside is just not being able to get to know everyone. I’m going to come in kinda the odd one out especially if a Beauty gets voted off at this next immunity.” Again, it showed that she was thinking of the game, had a good read on the situation, and was trying to have a good attitude. While saying all of this stuff in front of everyone probably wasn’t the smartest idea, it played into her theme of the young kid that is learning.
Her scenes on ToTang beach were edited in a way that would make the audience sympathise with her. Shots of ants crawling everywhere. Julia shaking and sobbing. Creepy music. She talked about her body “shutting down” and the paranoia of being away from the game. The reaction was definitely meant to be one where we felt sorry for Julia’s situation and that gave her positive tone for the episode.
The bad signs for Julia are we were shown a shot of her using flint trying to make fire and failing. In this game fire represents your life. She was shown struggling with the survival elements. She said that she needed stronger, bigger people to help her through. So if you’re looking at Julia as a potential winner her chances are getting slim. Winners don’t need help with fire. Also the theme of Mother Nature and overcoming the elements is a major theme this season; Julia showed she couldn’t handle the elements on her own. Her story suggests that she will be a good supporting act and will lend her good gut and game sense to someone else on their way to victory.
This was Jason’s most quiet edit so far this season but it came with some positives. While up until this point his story has been that of the bulldozer, crashing through the game, this episode was all about Jason letting the game come to him and listening and observing.
“So you talked to Cydney? What’d you think?” Jason said to Debbie. He was letting others do the spilling. His scene at the water well with Nick was very telling. He let Nick talk and pour water and talk and pour. Only when asked a question did he reveal something. “I like you. You seem like a solid person.” In an episode where Anna was punished for putting herself out there and revealing too much, Jason was rewarded for sitting back and allowing the game to come to him. He found himself in a great spot.
Does that make up for the aggressiveness of his game prior to this point? No. Unlike players such as Aubry, Cydney and Michele, who have been edited as playing this style of game from the start, Jason’s history suggests that he could easily flip back over to the aggressive category. There were even signs this episode. “We’d make up our own new Brawn tribe pretty much,” he said, slipping back into old ways and making it about him. His territory. “Golden. We’re golden buddy,” he told Cydney. And then later told the camera “Kinda hold all the power.” Lines such as that are usually a kiss of death. If he allows the power to go to his head, he’ll lose his footing.
Right now Jason is letting the game come to him. He’s safe for now. But we see that through his arrogance he is likely to go back to bulldozing at some point.
Joe is probably the most underedited player of the season so far. In an episode where everyone received at least one confessional, Joe was the only person that went without. In terms of theme, he fit into the proactive player category.
The opening scene of the episode was Peter checking on Joe’s injured finger. This was right on the heels of the recap that talked about Moter Nature being the biggest factor in the game and how she had claimed her first victim. There have now been at least three indicators that Joe could be a potential medevac. It was suggested by Liz in Episode 1, it was brought up again in Episode 3 with the unboiled water, and now most blatantly in this episode.
In terms of the strategy theme, Joe was one of the players putting himself out there. He told Peter “I’ll let you know how that goes,” as he and Aubry went off to make the decision. It came off slightly arrogant and puts him in the aggressive bucket. He dictated the vote to Aubry and made the call that it should be Anna over Tai. “If you want to get to the end, you’ve got to play the game smart.” His comment felt rather ironic. He was the one telling Aubry how to play, yet she was the one shown accepting the plan and nodding along, showing that she is the one playing smart by being easy going and not being too aggressive.
“Can I count on you?” he asked Aubry. “I’m going to go with you on this one,” she replied. It told us that Joe needs Aubry. That even though he was the one that named the hit, Aubry was the one that approved it. It harks back to Episode 3 when Aubry wanted Peter to go but acquiesced and voted for Liz. It could make Aubry look bad that she isn’t getting her way but with the emotional intelligence theme being a big part of the season, her ability to step back and go with the flow is a good example of her ability to read people.
If you need further evidence to why this makes Joe look bad and Aubry look good, you only need to rewatch tribal council. Joe stated that he doesn’t believe there are idols in the game. We know this is wrong. We have seen all three idols and one of them belongs to Tai, the person Aubry originally said was more dangerous. This made Joe look out of touch with the game and is a bad sign going forward.
Neal is the fact man of the season. He has been since Episode 1 and continues to be into Episode 5. But his matter of fact gamesmanship lacks emotional intelligence and that could ultimately hurt him in the long-run.
The opening scene was a perfect example of Neal’s character. “We’ve turned into a trauma center here,” he said when Peter was looking at Joe’s injured finger. “Doctor what’s the prognosis? Will the patient live?” Neal is very clinical as a player and a character. This clinical approach continued into his idol search.
When Tai found his idol we saw him struggle to figure out how to get the key. He first climbed the tree and injured himself. Eventually he tied some sticks together to retrieve it. When Jason found his idol it was a mad dash and he needed Scot and his height to help knock the key out for him. Neal did it bing bang boom – quickly and on his own. Matter of fact. No messing around. There was some very light heroic music but it certainly didn’t seem as triumphant as Tai’s idol find for example.
“The King has his idol.” Neal showed a sliver of arrogance. “You make your own luck and that’s exactly what I’m doing. If somebody’s betting in Vegas, I’m the front-runner.” These bold statements put Neal into the aggressive gameplay bucket. There hasn’t been a theme of making your own luck this season. Anyone that has tried to put themselves out there and do their own thing has been swiftly voted out, see Jennifer and Anna. Those going with their gut and their emotional reads are succeeding.
There was more clinical facts at the swap. “Bye-bye blondie.” No sympathy. “Which one do you recommend, Jeff,” he asked when picking a buff. “Follow your gut,” Probst responded. That is perhaps more commentary on the game and theme of the season. Stop being so clinical and matter of fact and instead go with your gut. When he was asked about his new tribe, he literally just restated the facts: “It looks like we got some strength. It looks like we have some smarts. And it looks like we have some beauty.” Facts facts facts.
“We’re all bleeding blue right now.” This was said without feeling and it was only after a few moments of being together. The new tribe hadn’t actually bonded or anything so it felt rather premature. Clinical. Debbie referred to him as weird when talking to Cydney and talked about how even though they are aligned she would rather see a woman win in the end. Does this suggest that Neal hasn’t properly connected? At camp someone asked what day it is, Michele responded Day 13 and Neal said “One third of the way there.” Focused on the end goal but at the expense of the social game? At the challenge we heard another little Neal nugget of info: “Get closer together. Less resistance.” All this shows is that Neal is very knowledgeable but does he have the emotional intelligence to succeed in the game?
A positive for Neal here is that he, along with Michele, was kept out of the camp strategy scenes. He was mentioned by others, but we never saw him approaching anyone for an alliance or talking game. This is similar to how Aubry was left out of the alliance talk in Episode 1 and 2. We were led to believe Aubry was included in the young person alliance, but then in Episode 3 we saw that Aubry was closer to Debbie and Joe. That could be what is happening here. We are led to believe Neal and Debbie are the pair but perhaps they aren’t as close as we might think? That is what we need to watch out for. Will he stick with Debbie, who finds him weird? Or will he make new bonds?
Scot had a big turnaround after last week and received his best edit of the season so far. He played the reactive game, allowing others to come to him and weighing up his options. The edit told us this was the smart way to play and therefore Scot found himself in a good position despite being the lone Brawn member on his new tribe.
“I’m the sole Brawn and I’m thinking, alright I’m on the bottom of the totem pole… I can handle it. I just gotta figure out if I can trust anybody.” He recognised he was at the bottom and played the sit back and observe role, using emotional intelligence to read people and save himself. The former Brains members approached Scot about taking out a Beauty and he played it very casually. He also formed a bond with Tai. These were all good signs.
“People say one thing, then they turn around five minutes later and say something else. Who knows? It might switch all over again.” He remained paranoid even after the deal was offered by the former Brains. Also, the fact that he thought there might be another switch suggests that he isn’t entirely game aware, although it shows that at least he’s prepared for anything to happen and isn’t getting cocky. But even though Scot played the episode well, there were still signs in his edit that reminded us that he is ultimately doomed in the game. “We’ll repay you by winning,” he told Tai. Then they lost. The edit has been undermining Scot like this from the start.
It constantly reminded us of his size. “Gigantic,” “so tall,” “size ten shoes,” “three hundred pounds.” It all relates back to what Scot values most in this game – size and strength. He showed these values at the challenge – “Scot, basically doing this first stage all by himself” – but ultimately the tribe lost. His size was, however, the reason the tribe kept him. “Obviously they are going to keep Scot. He’s a massive asset to the team in challenge.” It was stated in the edit.
His complexity came after he found out Tai had the idol. He talked about how because he knew Tai was safe, it made more sense to get rid of Anna, so that he knew the whereabouts of two idols in the game. “That puts me in a pretty good spot. Provided I can get to the merge.” It showed some forward thinking game awareness that we haven’t really seen from Scot until now.
While he had a good episode it wasn’t enough to erase his awfully negative edit in Episode 5. There were still points in the edit that undermined him. And despite some complexity here, his role still seems to be that of someone that will give others a leg up in his game (like he literally did for Tai).
Anna had a solid edit in Episodes 1-4, and enough to keep her as a winner contender despite the ominous signs. However, those ominous signs that we picked up on in Edgic came to fruition in this episode. There was a reason why we were only shown Anna as the strategy talker of the girl’s alliance and that’s because her story became the girl that got too aggressive and in doing so, lost control of the game.
She was shown talking to Aubry, then to Peter, then to Joe, repeating herself almost word for word, throwing Tai under the bus. She talked about how untrusthworthy and sneaky he was looking for the idol. However, Tai was shown only be be working hard for his new tribe and being labelled their “most valuable player” while she was portrayed as the schemer. In Episode 1 she described Tai’s idol search as “really sketch” but that is how she came across here. It was made even worse that the first person she was shown approaching was Aubry, who has been edited as one of the bearers of emotional intelligence who won’t strategise with people she doesn’t have relationships with.
Her complexity comes from her confessional where she got to explain why she was throwing Tai under the bus. She recognised that the Brains would try to pick a Beauty off. She called it correctly. But she couldn’t escape the perception of a schemer. Peter said she was: “Too good of a player” “Schemer” “Intelligent” “Very attractive woman”. It makes sense now why of the three Beauty girls, Michele and Julia were always shown as the more emotionally intelligent (their confessionals about Tai/Caleb, their reactions to the evacuation, talking more about natural bonds) and Anna was portrayed as more of the strategist. She was playing a proactive game and not a chilled reactive game and she paid the price.
“I love blindsides,” she told the camera. That was the death knell. “Who’s that going to be? It’s going to be Peter,” she said as she kissed her hand and blew a kiss to the wind. “See you later.” It was a cringeworthy confessional that signalled her upcoming blindside. And as we mentioned last week, her story seemed to be tied to Tai’s idol. We suggested he could idol her out of the game. While that didn’t happen, her story this episode did revolve around Tai’s idol, and it was him not using it that led to her downfall.
Her overall season rating is CP. She was the head of the Beauty girl’s alliance that had a good thing going but she blew it by playing aggressively. She played herself out of the game.
Aubry is a character that definitely fits into the reactive category. She was the person that introduced emotional intelligence as a theme into the season and her game takes place within the silences that she talked about in Episode 3.
She was shown to have a good read on Peter and recognised his untrustworthiness. But she explained that it made sense to stick with him for his vote due to another Beauty person coming back to the tribe should they lose. We saw Peter trying to pitch to Aubry about why they should vote out Anna. Joe later did the same. Anna was also shown first trying to pitch Aubry on voting out Tai. Aubry was depicted as the Brains decision maker. Joe asked her if she wanted to keep the Brains together. She said that’s what she wanted with this vote. She then kept her mouth shut and even covered her mouth with her buff, like a proverbial poker face hiding her reactions.
“Can I count on you?” Joe asked her. “I’m going to go with you on this one,” Aubry replied. This indicates that even though Joe named the target, Aubry had to approve it, and “this” one suggests that maybe in the future she won’t go with him on another plan. It’s interesting that we’re still getting focus on the Aubry/Joe dynamic as this was a relationship that we picked up on in the premiere when they were shown in a lot of scenes together – with Joe’s “Gets exciting when you get to the end” line.
“They want to go Anna. That’s what they want.” Aubry made it clear that it wasn’t her call but that she was going along with it. However, in confessional Scot flipped it when he said “Aubry comes to me and says, ‘Tai’s safe’.” As if she was the executioner that had just pardoned Tai. Probst also goes to Aubry first at tribal council as the speaker for the Brains tribe. Also at tribal, Tai and Anna claimed that the Brains are in charge and proceeded to plead their cases for staying. Aubry was shown nodding and mouthing yes to what Tai said. Then Probst went back to Aubry to ask her her thoughts.
When Joe brought up his theory that there are no idols in the game, and Tai then backed up his theory by pretending that he couldn’t find the idol, there was a shot of Aubry looking suspicious. While Joe is out of touch with the inner workings of the game, the edit makes sure to keep Aubry aware and on the pulse. “All depends on how tight the Brains are,” Scot said at tribal. Followed by a shot of Aubry raising her eyebrows knowingly. There were lots of Aubry reaction shots; like she was the primary person listening and taking it all in and reacting.
When Peter was talking, the camera kept cutting to Aubry looking suspicious – keeping us aware that she doesn’t trust Peter. Probst then returned to Aubry one last time to ask her the chances of the three non-Brains teaming up and she responded “If you’re in a desperate situation, some people would go for it.” It told us that she recognised the possibility the outsider three could have gotten together. Again, unlike Peter or Jason or others who think they’re in power, she holds back and assesses the possibilities, so she’s not blinded by anything that can come her way.
If Aubry is the character most representative of the reactive category then right now Peter is the best representative of the proactive category. He is a player actively trying to take control but in a way that is lacking the emotional intelligence required to do well this season.
He started the episode with some positive SPV (Second Person Visibility). He was shown caring for Joe’s injured finger. “He’s so gentle.” “Thank God we have you, Peter.” He also recognised his position at the bottom and described himself as a “neutered dog”. There was negative SPV from Neal who referred to Peter as a “cancer” and later from Aubry who said “I don’t trust Peter as far as I can throw him.” This gave Peter his mixed tone but it also suggests that Peter’s story is directly related to his former Brains tribe. Will he be the cancer that infects them and takes them all down?
While Peter got his way this episode, the edit was quick to remind us of his arrogance and how that will eventually come back to bite him. He continued to make bold statements like: “I’m set up right now to easily make it into the merge without having any concern or even a bead of sweat down my eyebrow.” Lines like that are ominious and usually indicative of an impending downfall. He was later shown telling Anna and Tai to their faces that they were on the chopping block. The music was villainous and the camera quickly shot to Tai’s shocked face. We then heard Tai in a confessional telling us he does not like Peter and that he finds him “arrogant”. Tai backs up what the edit has been showing us.
His arrogance continued at tribal council, with his whole spiel about not being concerned about the Brains splintering, when we the audience know he should have cause for concern. He said that he’s in a position of power and can do what we want. Very arrogant and reminiscent of Episode 3 when Liz was blindsided. His arrogance and aggressive gameplay is blinding him to his dangers – eg Tai’s idol and everyone not liking him. He was validating their confessionals about his arrogance.
When Probst asked what was the likelihood of the non Brains coming together and forcing a tie, Peter said the likelihood was low. Even though it didn’t end up happening, we know that it was on the table and discussed seriously. Peter is consistently shown to be blinded to the game by his arrogance. He doesn’t have the emotional intelligence to read people. If we are reading the theme of this episode and this season correctly then this spells doom for Peter.
Tai is a character that falls into the middle of the proactive versus reactive theme. In this episode, he toyed with the possibility of taking active control by using his idol. Ultimately, he decided to hang back, keep his idol and just vote out Anna. He took the reactive approach and it worked out for him.
His complexity and high visibility is undeniable. What is hard to work out with Tai is whether his edit is that of the lovable distraction or whether it’s truly a great winner’s edit. Last week we put Tai at the top of winner contenders because his complexity compared to everyone else was far superior. However, his edit this week leaned more towards distraction. Having four CPP edits with high visibility in a row would be the most overexposed, positive winner’s edit ever. But that isn’t the only cause for concern. Tai’s edit is starting to become very tied to the idol. That suggests he will be part of a big move or a big moment regarding the idol. If you remember Kelley Wentworth’s edit last season it was similarly tied to idols. It doesn’t often mean winner.
He had lots of positive SPV again. “Most valuable member of the tribe,” “Man crush.” He was shown helping around camp, forming a bond with Scot. His edit was very jovial. “I can climb that tree. I just need a boost up.” Could that be a potential metaphor for the game? Everything is within reach with a little boost. Like Scot’s boost to Jason’s idol?
The other thing with Tai’s edit is that his connection to the idol is becoming more and more ominous. He’s now revealed to Scot that he’s in possession of the idol. While Scot and Tai made a bond this episode, the edit chose some very specific imagery in the scene where Scot convinced Tai to keep hold of the idol. There was a shot of a snake peeking up out of the water with the subtitled line “What do you think is best for me to do?” Is Scot the snake? “They like you. I like you. Nobody wants you to go… You’re asking me what’s best for you? What’s best for you is saving the idol as long as you can.” Scot wants Tai to keep the idol because he now knows where two idols are in the game. Is Tai going to get used?
If it was that alone it wouldn’t be too much cause for alarm, but Tai yet again made a reference to going home with the idol in his pocket. “I’m soooo worried if I don’t play the idol, I might go home with the idol in my pocket and that would be a terrible thing.” Once is bad, twice is terrible. If we start to think back, Tai’s edit regarding the idol has always been bad. He first got caught by his tribe looking for it and sketched them all out. He then struggled to retrieve it; cutting his leg in the process, which was brought up at tribal council. Will Tai be medically evacuated with the idol still in his pocket? If he is evacuated will he give the idol to somebody else so he doesn’t leave with it in his pocket? Or will he be blinsided with the idol still in his pocket? Tai has likely still got some game left but it’s starting to look less like a winning game.
Michele is another character, like Aubry, that falls into the reactive category. That has been her approach since Episode 1. She goes with her gut and her emotional reads. “That alliance felt really natural to me.” She doesn’t play the aggressive, proactive game which the edit has told us is the incorrect way to play this season.
Her edit this episode was very similar to her premiere episode. She got to narrate the events of the swap and how it impacted her game and how she was going to move forward. While Michele’s edit has been somewhat lacking in content and visibility overall, she has had key confessionals in the two most important episodes of the season so far (the premiere and the swap). She was the first one we saw a reaction confessional from post-swap: “The girls’ alliance got clean divided. To have the people that you trust the most out here go three different ways, it’s crushing.” In this one short confessional we got to hear about her old loyalties (the girl’s alliance), what had happened to them (divided three ways), and the emotional impact on Michele (crushing).
When we arrived at the new Chanloh tribe, once again, it was Michele who we first heard from in confessional. She pretty much restated what she already said in her first confessional. It is another case of the edit giving us unnecessary content for a reason. The bad sign here is that she said “I don’t think anybody expected the switch today. I was… stunned.” It isn’t a great sign to be stunned be a game staple. However, the generous read would be that due to the odd number of 13, perhaps she meant nobody expected the switch on that specific day. It isn’t the worst thing in the world but it isn’t the best either. Perhaps more damaging is the “Old habits die hard” wrong mat scene which could suggest Michele’s old Beauty loyalties will eventually hurt her game.
Her best confessional was her third one. “There’s a lot to think about, and it’s going to be a rough adjustment, but, you know, you gotta keep your head up and read people until it comes time where I’ve gotta make an alliance.” It was a prime example of reactive strategy; read people until it comes time to make a move. It was the opposite of her former Beauty alliance member Anna, who we saw quickly turn into the aggressor, approaching her new tribe members one by one and scheming too hard. Michele’s laidback approach falls very much into the emotional intelligence bracket that Aubry also represents. They hang back and let others put themselves out there.
It could be a bad thing that we haven’t seen Michele in any camp strategy scenes. But what you have to remember is 1) Michele has yet to attend a tribal council and 2) the theme of this season appears to be emotional intelligence rather than aggressive gameplay. We don’t really see Aubry either until episodes where she attends tribal council (apart from her medical situation in Episode 1 obviously) and that’s because her approach is similar to Michele’s. Everything we got from Michele in Episode 5 was a continuation of what we got in Episode 1: “Being a bartender is an extremely social job. You learn that personality types want certain things from you, so I was like, “Okay, who looks like I would get along with them?” So far we have not been led to believe that is a bad thing.
Debbie is a character that on paper is looking really good right now. She took control of the Brains tribe and was positioned as the lead strategist. In Episode 5 she seemingly formed quick alliances to give herself the numbers. But the edit is telling us something different. Debbie is in the proactive camp and that is a bad sign.
The contrast between Michele and Debbie is quite telling. While Michele told us she would “read people until it comes time where I have to make an alliance” Debbie immediately followed that by laying out a full minute by minute itinerary for everyone’s day on the new tribe – collect food, last cup of coffee, then watch the sunset together. It was ironic because Debbie later stated that “…in this game you have to have flexibility…” However, throughout this episode Debbie displayed clear rigidity.
In her first confessional, Debbie set up the theme of the episode perfectly. “I’m just looking for an opening because my game play is I’m on the offense, not the defense.” She places herself in the aggressive, proactive gameplay camp. While it looks as if it’s working, the edit has been hammering it into our heads that this isn’t the way to success this season. How? By constantly undermining the aggressive players. Debbie followed this statement by saying “…from the get-go, I wanted to work with Brawn because the Brawn tribe definitely is the power house.” But we have seen that the Brawn tribe was a shambles that lost three of the first four challenges. Debbie is wrong about Brawn being the power house just as she is wrong about how to play the game.
If Debbie was meant to be taken completely at face-value then the edit wouldn’t still be changing her job titles. It wouldn’t show her goofily swinging from a tree branch while making statements like: “Once again, I’m the mastermind behind the scenes, and they just don’t see me coming.” Her statements are too bold and arrogant. Like Peter’s. That is a bad sign. Even though Cydney said that she could see herself working with Debbie, what was more telling was that we didn’t see Michele or Neal in any strategy talks. It was very reminiscent of the first two episodes when Aubry was kept out of the strategy talks with the young persons alliance, and then when the Brains finally went to tribal council, we saw that Aubry had a completely different strategy. Debbie thinks she has it all worked out, but where do Michele and Neal truly stand? Also, Jason said “Beauty on the right, Brains on the left. Who do you side with?” as if the decision isn’t as clear cut as Debbie would think.
Debbie has a good edit. She gets to talk out her strategy and her plans and that makes her CP. But there are still OTT elements within her edit that remind us not to take her too seriously. Those back-to-back OTTN edits that she received in Episode 1 and 2 will never be overcome. She could last a while, even a long while, but the edit so far has told us this style of gameplay will not win this season.
Nick finally managed to get his first CP edit of the season, just barely. He got to talk some strategy, although it was all the wrong kind of strategy that doesn’t fit the season.
His approach to the game places him in the same category this episode as Debbie, Anna, Peter and Joe. He was edited as an aggressive, proactive player when he should have been taking the laidback approach like his fellow Beauty partner Michele. Michele said to read people until it comes time to make an alliance. But Nick was already approaching people. His strategy was “When it comes to being manipulative, I think I’m the most intelligent person out here, so coming into this tribe, I get to start fresh and come up with new lies or new stories, and I’m happy about it.” It completely breaks the emotional intelligence theme. His game is based on lies when we have been told that genuine relationships will lead to success this season.
He was shown talking to Jason at the well and spilling too much info. He was basically a quieter version of Debbie with far less tree swinging. Nick and Debbie were portrayed as the aggressors trying to rally numbers as quickly as possible. Everyone else on the tribe was shown to be either intentionally laid-back or in the case of Neal, just not shown at all. Overall this doesn’t change Nick’s edit. He might increase in visbility as the numbers dwindle but he doesn’t fit the themes of the season.
Cydney went from a relatively quiet MOR edit to a quiet yet important CPP edit that shoots her right up into top winner contention. Her edit is very consistent for a MOR type winner of Survivor and now that she has some strong personal content things are looking very good.
She had lots of positive SPV from Debbie. “Triple threat” “Have to be smart to be built like you” “I just like her. The athleticism”. She also fit perfectly into the reactive, hang back and go with the flow category that we have said over and over is the correct way to play this season. Cydney has played this way from the start. “I just keep going, “Mmhmm, that sounds good. I’m down. Whatever you want, I’m down.” Cydney has always been shown to be laidback and letting others put themselves out there. She was also shielded from Jason and Scot’s negativity which is a very good sign.
“I’ve been playing the dumb jock role, but I haven’t told anybody that I went to Penn, which is, like, one of the top schools in the nation, because that’s not the vibe you get from me. You wouldn’t be like, “Oh, she’s so smart.” No, that is not what I give off.” She got to explain her strategy so far “playing the dumb jock role” and then opened up personally about her education and background. It was a great confessional and exactly the kind of thing Cydney needed in an important swap episode.
Like her fellow former Brawn tribe members, Jason and Scot, she played the role of listener this episode. She allowed others to approach her. What makes Cydney’s edit better than theirs though is she doesn’t have the arrogant comments and the history of negativity in her edit. In fact, outside of Tai, she has the most positively toned edit out of those left in the game. Another plus for her is that she also fits the theme of punishing conditions and walking the walk. She was knocked down by the elements in the last episode but got back up and recovered. These are all good signs for Cydney.
The one strike against her is her Episode 1 edit in relation to Darnell. She had the final confessional before tribal council where she stated she wanted Alecia to go and that she would make sure the others knew that. However, Alecia stayed and Cydney never got to elaborate on this in the next episode. It doesn’t mean that Cydney can never win because of this. It’s just something to bear in mind. The rest of her edit is very strong and she fits many of the season’s themes. Especially when you remember this quote from the premiere: “The majority of my life is about being strong, whether it’s physically or mentally, it’s about being strong.” The edit further elaborated this episode that she is indeed both strong physically and mentally.
Main Stories In Play
Mother Nature – the extreme elements continue to be a dominating aspect of this season. They were referenced in the recap. We were also shown Joe’s injured finger and Tai’s cut on his leg.
Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Players such as Aubry and Michele are main representatives of this theme.
The Women’s Alliance Downfall– this alliance was still referenced throughout the episode but as we suggested last week, Tai and his idol led to their downfall (although by not playing it). The story is now can Michele and Julia recover from losing Anna.
Proactive versus Reactive – two battling styles of strategy became the main theme of this episode. Those playing aggressively and arrogantly (Anna, Peter, Debbie, Joe) versus those playing passively and relaxed (Aubry, Cydney, Michele).
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.
Top: Cydney, Michele, Aubry.
Hanging On: Jason, Julia, Neal.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 5. Let us know your thoughts and/or anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.