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?
Once again we had a lot of CP ratings and a few MORs. No UTR and OTT. It was another episode heavy on strategy and game-play. The game is afoot. Everybody is looking for an angle to help propel them to the end of the game.
There was a general theme of “right and wrong”. Some people were wrong for sabotaging the camp. Some people were wrong about trusting Julia. Some people were wrong about which way to vote. Those in the wrong ultimately paid the price. Those in the right controlled the vote.
The whole proactive gameplay vs. reactive play is also coming to a head. People continue to get nailed for being arrogant and non-collaborative. Debbie has been one of the leading examples of aggressive, proactive gameplay. Her rigidity and over-confidence this week blinded her to what was going on, and she was voted out because of it.
Lastly, there was the talk of the “dark side.” And people being drawn into the dark side. Right now the game doesn’t particularly feel rigid regarding alliances. It’s more about which side do people fall on in terms of game-play. Those playing on the dark side will eventually meet their doom.
In the recap, we were reminded that the Brawn and Beauty members had joined forces to take out the Brains. But that Cydney had grown tired of the men controlling the game and rallied the women to take control. All credit went to Cydney for last week’s vote. That’s a great plus point for Cydney; although they did repeat her “If it backfires, oh well” confessional. But the recap ended with Jeff Probst saying “But for Cydney, everything fell into place when the women sent Nick to the jury.” Right now, the move didn’t backfire.
The other part of the recap was Tai and his talk about the Super Idol at Tribal council. Probst called it “a big mistake”. It made Tai look confused and out of the loop which continued for large portions of this episode.
The recap ended with Probst telling us that Jason, Scot, and Tai were on the bottom and wondering what to do.
Middle of the Road
Joe continues to be the least visible cast member left this season. That isn’t a great sign for his overall chances and contribution to the season’s main story arc. But he did receive some solid content this episode.
Throughout Episode 9, Joe was the fire-starter. There were numerous references to it. He told Jason and Scot “I’ve been the firestarter here for a couple days.” Later in the episode, Scot referred to him as the fire-starter. After Scot had put out the fire, we saw Joe and Michele restarting it. In a game where fire represents your life being a fire-starter is a good thing. However, we shouldn’t put too much weight in it given that Alecia “Fire Starter” Holden was voted out in Episode 4. Maybe we should read more into Tai asking Joe “Any ember?” and Joe responding “No. It’s dead.” That could be foreshadowing one of their fates.
Joe’s reads were also on point this episode. He accurately pointed out that Julia was “lost to the dark side” and correctly called that more water had been poured on the fire overnight. But even though his gut was right, his stubbornness put him on the outs. That has been Joe’s story for a while now. Much like in the Peter episode, he correctly read Peter’s shadiness, but his stubborn attitude left him on the wrong side of the vote; the same way it did here.
His lack of fluidity and rigid approach continues to be his primary flaw. When Probst read the first Debbie vote at tribal council, we saw a shot of a confused Joe (along with Scot and Tai). It is telling us that Joe is out of the loop.
Michele’s main content this episode was “women power”. There was very little game content but just enough to give her a MOR over an UTR. She was the key example of strong, independent woman.
After Jason and Scot’s sabotage, it was Michele who narrated the following scenes. “The boys think that they can break us down and keep us down by doing these things, but we just use our smarts and figure out another way.”; this was backed up by Cydney and Michele cooking the coconuts and using the saw to open them. “We don’t need you big burly men to do it for us. We can figure it out.”After Scot had put out the fire, it was Michele, with the help of Joe, that restarted it. “So they can keep the power struggle going on, but we’re not going to back down. You know, we’re always going to find a way.” Michele did find another way.
Michele has had this theme and story since the start. She gravitated to the women on Beauty because it felt more “natural.” She told us that she didn’t need to be carried by Nick. Her story is the strong independent woman who consistently finds a way to undermine the men. The question is whether that translates to a winner’s edit? We have heard Debbie twice say that she wants a woman to win so perhaps that ties into Michele’s story.
However, regarding game content and SPV (Second Person Visibility) Michele is still rather lacking. She didn’t receive any follow up on why she voted Nick out (supposedly her closest ally), which is a bad sign. Her confessionals are thematically fantastic, and she says all the right things. But it’s what others say about her, or don’t say about her, which are more damning. Michele is often seen as a number. We saw this in Episode 7 when multiple people said: “we need Michele.” That happened this episode again when Aubry and Cydney stated that they needed Michele for the Debbie vote. Right now Michele is portrayed as a vote for the bigger players.
Also, in her confessionals, she talks a lot about “we.” “We” use our smarts. “We” don’t need men. “We” can figure it out. Whereas the majority of the other players, and especially the other two contenders, Aubry and Cydney, speak in terms of “I.” That could be a good thing if it represents social unity. But it could also be bad regarding not putting her own game first.
Michele’s edit has been consistent, and she is still in the top three contenders. She was the only one shown truly in control of Julia this week. “She’s with us for real, for real.” And again at tribal council, Michele revealed that she was confident that Julia was with them. That is a partnership that could be crucial in the coming weeks. But she needs an episode where she steps more into the forefront of the game and is talked about by others in terms other than a number.
Tai’s transition into Keith Nale is almost complete. He spent the majority of this episode confused and conflicted. He was out of the loop.
The recap told us that Tai made a mistake mentioning the Super Idol at the previous tribal council. Tai himself backed this up back at camp. His stray vote for Jason was also depicted as a mistake and made out of panic. Tai told us that he couldn’t lie too well, but he told Jason that he voted for Debbie, and it seemingly worked.
A lot of the episode dealt with his struggle between joining in with Jason and Scot’s sabotage or not. He told us it is not the way he approaches life or problem solving but that he couldn’t control what they did. But later in the episode, Tai decided to get involved with the sabotage by pouring water on the fire. It is a drastic turn for Tai who has been portrayed up until this point as a very positive character. “My heart get to it, but it’s necessary for me to step back from what I’m feeling… compassionate,” Tai said he is stepping away from his emotions, and in a season with a strong emotional intelligence theme, that cannot be a good sign.
But with the edit showing us Tai’s confliction it gave him a mixed tone. They didn’t bury him like Jason and Scot. Tai got to explain his thought process even if he did ultimately join the “dark side.” That confliction is likely to be a continuous arc for Tai now.
At tribal council, Jason and Scot put on a big performance with the idols and Tai came across as a reluctant participant. It certainly didn’t make Tai look in control of the situation. His confused edit also continued when his “100% or 30%, at least 35%” speech was followed up with a shot of a baffled Neal on the jury bench. After Probst read the first Debbie vote, a confused reaction shot of Tai was shown along with Joe and Scot.
Tai’s story now is of the confused and conflicted player. He is out of the loop but trying to find ways to survive. He is resilient so could still go much further. However, his winner chances have plummeted.
After receiving some humanisation last week, Jason was back to being the Brawn bully in Episode 9. When one of his opening lines of the episode is “Next Tribal Council when they try and do something, we go, guess what, bitches?” (subtitled) you know it isn’t going to be a positively toned episode.
He does, however, remain CP due to his explanation of the sabotage. He described it as “psychological warfare”. “Keep ‘em weak. Look for the cracks, look for the weakness, read between the lines to try and strike.” Even if the sabotage was born out of pettiness, Jason was able to explain it as strategically beneficial, hence the CP rating.
His performance with the idol at tribal council was straight up B-movie villain. We’ve said for a while now that Jason’s edit has been too negative to win, and they cemented that here. He was still protected more than Scot which suggests we are meant to see Jason as the better player. But his story of the Brawn bully will always be his overriding theme. There will surely be comeuppance heading his way.
Despite the temptation to rate Scot as OTTN for this episode, and there were certainly OTT elements in his edit, it would be unfair to rate him differently from Jason. Even though Scot came across more childish than Jason, he still also got to explain the strategic reasoning behind his sabotage.
“The main reason for sabotage is to weaken them because it could cause somebody to crack, and I’m hoping that it switches things up.” His reasoning was the same as Jason’s. He also later explained the numbers if Julia joined forces with them; this gave him his complexity for the episode.
However, Scot’s edit continued to pile on the negativity. Jason disappeared for a while, and Scot was the one shown dousing the fire. He even prefaced his actions by saying “…now I’m steaming, so I’m going to do something stupid.” He called it stupid. It harks back to Episode 1 when he claimed that the Brawns didn’t have looks or brains.
Scot has no chance of winning. His story is similar to Jason’s. The Brawn bully but without the depth of Jason. His downfall will be coming.
As we said last week, Debbie was a distraction. Even though she showed game complexity throughout her time in this season, she was never able to shake her OTT ratings; this meant she was ultimately a character rather than a contender.
Her rating this episode was CP-lite. There was just enough game complexity. She dictated the split vote and how it was important to keep the girls together going forward. Despite her reads on Julia and the men being off, in her mind, she was planning for the future. That was enough to give her CP over MOR.
But the signs were bad for Debbie right from the start of the episode. When Jason talked about looking for the cracks the camera panned to Debbie. When talking about the previous tribal council she said: “The people who thought they were completely in control find out it was all an illusion…” That was pretty much her arc this episode. She thought she was in control and could dictate the vote without considering other options. At tribal, she found out she wasn’t in control at all.
“Some people think Julia’s playing both sides of the fence, but I don’t have one iota of concern about Julia flipping on us.” Debbie’s reads were off all episode. Julia was shown to be double-dealing. Debbie was also wrong about the guys not having an idol and Scot being the brains of the operation; her own arrogance blinded her. She told Julia earlier in the episode that they’d discuss the plan after the immunity challenge (making it sound collaborative). But after the challenge, Debbie immediately dictated the plan without collaboration. Her aggressive, proactive gameplay killed her, much like it has done to various people throughout this season.
“I just thought you wanted Chinese food,” Debbie said at tribal council regarding Julia. She continued to be wrong until the end. Even after being voted out she didn’t understand why. “The big surprise to me here is that the girls chose to get rid of a girl. It just boggles my mind.” She could only see her way of doing things despite the fact that Julia threatened to go to the men’s side and that ultimately it was the women (whom Debbie trusted most) who blindsided her. The edit made it clear that Debbie’s bad reads, big mouth, and inability to listen to others were the reason she was voted out.
Overall her season rating is OTT. Yes, there was complexity to her edit, but when people think back on this season and Debbie’s role within it, they’ll remember her as the woman that had all the different jobs, swung from trees, and was loud. She wasn’t negatively toned overall, though. Even though her first two episodes started that way, she became a well-liked character.
Cydney’s edit remains strong, and it has positioned her as a key decision maker in the game. The recap gave her credit for rallying the women and voting out Nick. She remains calm and collected. She reacts to what is happening around her rather than aggressively dictating the vote (like say, Debbie).
During the sabotage, she was alongside Michele in the women fighting back scenes. “We can make it work.” Cydney chopped open a coconut with a saw, proving she can indeed make it work. “This is actually kind of fun. I kind of like this method.” That is Cydney’s game and story, if someone throws an obstacle in her way, she will find another approach and make it work. It calls back to when she found the idol clue, she got caught but quickly adapted and decided to tell Jason and Scot, saving her skin in the process.
Cydney’s reads are also spot on. She correctly identified Julia’s double-dealing. “You can’t slick a slickster.” She questioned what was going on and realized Julia was trying to get in with the guys. The edit then backed this up when it showed Julia’s conversations with the men. At this point, we can trust what Cydney says.
She worked in tandem with Aubry for most of the episode as the key decision makers. But Cydney’s edit was slightly better than Aubry’s. When discussing cutting Debbie loose, Aubry said that she definitely had Joe; we later saw that she didn’t. When Cydney claimed she had Michele, she said, “I’m going to need to be sure.” Unlike Aubry, she didn’t express certainty just yet. She showed that she had work to do. There was then juxtaposing scenes, one where Aubry failed to get Joe, and one where Cydney quickly convinced Michele. She was also the one that proposed getting Julia on board as backup and managed to achieve that mission too. It made Cydney appear more in control of the situation.
At tribal council, during the idol performance, Cydney was shown rolling her eyes. It made it appear that she wasn’t confused or surprised by any of it. She was firmly in touch with what was happening in the game. All of this is great content that puts Cydney at the top of winner contenders. Her only real concern right now is the repeat of “If it backfires, oh well” in the recap. But seeing as this episode went her way, maybe that isn’t so important.
Julia certainly got her fair share of air-time this episode and a decent level of complexity. But has it come too late? We said last week that an increase in content would likely come just before her boot episode – if that’s the case these next couple of episodes could be very shaky for Julia.
She got to explain all her decisions, and that is a great sign of game complexity. “I decided to go with the boys because, at this point in the game, I know that kind of pulling in Scot and pulling in Jason could be really super beneficial to me.” She described this as a turning point in the game where she had to start looking at other options. “Taking people like Scot and Jason to the end, who have betrayed people, who have caused chaos around camp, might be a good idea…” She recognized that Jason and Scot were beatable at the end. Her logic was completely sound, but her approach wasn’t exactly discreet.
The edit made it clear that Julia’s double-dealing was evident and easily recognized by the other players. “Julia swoops over there pretty pretty quickly… hold up, what’s really going on?” Cydney said immediately following Julia’s decision to join the men at the reward challenge. Aubry also clocked it “…soon as I saw she went over to the boys, I knew she was trying to get a better position for herself.” Even Joe recognized she had gone over “to the dark side.” The only person that was confident Julia was still solid was Debbie, who was shown to be incorrect throughout the episode. Debbie said the men didn’t have an idol (they had two), she said Scot was the brain (Scot told us he doesn’t have brains), and she said Julia was loyal (Julia voted Debbie out). All this was telling us that Julia is double-dealing, and people have caught on to it.
While she came up on the right side of the vote this week, there were lots of ominous signs to her edit. Aubry told us “Sometimes the guy in the middle of the road gets run over” and we haven’t been shown reasons to doubt Aubry, edgically speaking. Also, Julia started to cross over into becoming a proactive player rather than reactive. “I definitely feel like having my hands in different alliances has given me a lot of power.” She is juggling multiple alliances, and the power is starting to go to her head. “I have the power right now to send Debbie home, and I have the power right now to send Cydney home.”
But it was her next line that was the most important. “I consider Cydney a huge threat because she kind of talks to everyone.” Not only is it bad because she kept that “huge threat” in the game, but describing someone as a huge threat because they “talk to everyone” was Julia pretty much describing herself, who all episode we were shown talking with all alliances. The edit seemed to be telling us that Julia is playing a dangerous game and could quickly pay the price for it.
Once again the episode was mainly told through the eyes of Aubry. She received ten confessionals! The second highest count in a single episode so far this season. The edit continually shows us her thought process. She was the first to say Julia had to go and then that became the story of the episode.
Like we said in Cydney’s section, this episode Aubry and Cydney worked in tandem. The edit portrayed them as equals that speak to each other on the same level of respect. The only differences edit wise was that Cydney had a better grasp of the pieces and Aubry had the better narration of events.
“My gut tells me with a big blinking sign that Julia has to go.” It was Aubry’s gut that we were following, and her gut was shown to be correct. Her suspicions of Julia were confirmed by the edit when it showed Julia trying to get in with the men. When Julia won immunity, it was Aubry we heard from again. “Julia won. And my whole plan that I was positive of went out the window. Just out the window. What do I do now?” That is telling. “What do I do now?” It was Aubry’s story once again and all about how can she overcome the obstacles in her way.
The edit also made it clear why Aubry jumped ship from Debbie to Cydney. Debbie would not listen to Aubry’s logic and was stubborn even though we as viewers knew that Aubry was right about distrusting Julia. In previous episodes, we have seen Aubry go along with Debbie’s plans (and Joe’s), but there was no give and take here. She said she needed someone logical, and she found that in Cydney – “Same page.” It was another example of Aubry’s reactive gameplay. “When people show me who they really are, that’s what I’m going to go with.”
There are still some negatives to Aubry’s edit that we should discuss. As we said earlier, she mistakenly said she had Joe when she didn’t; this isn’t utterly devastating as we heard a follow up confessional about needing Julia and her recognizing they didn’t have the numbers. Another ominous sign is she said, “I need someone who is logical and I know is not going to change course.” It was a weird thing to say seeing as Aubry’s game has always been about changing course and reacting and adapting to the things happening around her.
Also, she believed that Scot put out the second fire (it was Tai) to direct votes away from Julia; this has both pros and cons. It’s bad in the sense that it wasn’t Scot that put out the second fire. However, recognizing that the sabotage stunts were tactical (which Jason and Scot told us they were) was a plus. “There’s a part of the sabotage that is certainly childish, but Scot and Jason were being deliberate today. That was to throw us off the scent to aim votes at them because they probably have idols.” That was a solid read even if it was born out of an incorrect call.
At tribal council, she was shown saying “Original” which makes it appear that Aubry is in control. However, during the idol performance Aubry was shown looking confused (compare to Cydney who was eye-rolling and then hidden once Tai received the idols).
Her edit is still very strong and just behind Cydney when it comes to winner contenders. We see the majority of the game from her perspective, and even when things go wrong, we get her opinions and ideas. “No matter how bad it seems, doesn’t mean you’re out. And no matter how safe you feel, it doesn’t mean you are.” Those are the words that Jeff Probst chose to close tribal council. That first part applies to Aubry, she has had bad times but continues to survive. She ticks so many of this season’s themes that it wouldn’t be a surprise if she were our winner.
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 acts of sabotage, but it tied into this season’s theme of punishing conditions.
- Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Players such as Aubry, Cydney, and Michele are 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: Cydney, Aubry, Michele.
Eliminated: Everyone else.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 9. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.