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.
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What did this episode tell us?
Two hours worth of Survivor to get through this week and one of the finest episodes of Survivor of all time. The editing was near perfect, building up relationships and foreshadowing events that would take effect in the climatic tribal council at the end of the episode. It was all leading up to the dramatic rock draw, and the edit had fun dropping hints along the way. At the first reward challenge, players drew rocks to see who would sit out, “Pick a rock, David, pick a rock,” Bret said, followed by Jeff Probst’s “Everybody’s picking rocks.” Then at the second reward challenge of the night, players once again drew rocks, with the white rock getting to attend the reward automatically. “Gimmie the white one,” Adam said. Excellent.
Regarding larger, overarching themes, this episode seemed to bring the season into focus and highlight what is most important. We’ve touched upon various themes over the course of this season, from Cool Kids vs. Misfits, Dreams & Nightmares, Revenge, Disproving Millennial Misconceptions, and Humility/Connections. While the majority of these themes have continued in various forms each episode, it’s that last one, regarding humility and human connection that took center stage this week. Being humble, respecting others, displaying trust and loyalty and standing by your allies were portrayed as positive traits. In the words of Ken, you had to be willing to “go out swinging and fighting” with your allies.
The Gen Xers couldn’t stand by each other. Chris was the first one (at least this week, it was Sunday the week before) shown to be breaking up the group, targeting Jessica. He stated that part of his reasoning for going after her was that he “owed her one” for blindsiding Paul way back when. He was playing out of a sense of revenge, and as we’ve seen over and over this season, that doesn’t end well. Only once we saw Chris put this plan into motion did we see David prepare the counterstrike.
Jessica showed hesitance at both standing by her allies and drawing rocks. She showed annoyance at David deciding to target Zeke and stated rather matter of factly that she was staying with David because he played an idol on her earlier in the game (not because she necessarily respected him). It came off rather begrudgingly compared to Ken’s “go out swinging and fighting” approach. David ultimately played an idol on his most loyal ally Ken and Jessica ended up going home.
We also saw Will give up his ally Jay, revealing information about his idol. He did this in an attempt to gain new allies, mainly Zeke, and Hannah via Zeke. But at tribal council, he said he wasn’t willing to give up his game for Zeke or Hannah. Will is shown to be someone without deep connections and unwilling to stand by his allies through thick and thin. Bret, while he made a personal connection with Zeke, which was great, showed to be uncaring about the feelings of others – not just with how he spoke to David at tribal council, but at the first reward when he said he didn’t care about how the others back at camp were feeling. This lack of humility and respect has been shown to be a negative this season.
Hannah ditched her ally in Zeke but got to explain it, saying that Zeke was “condescending,” i.e. not showing humility or respect. Instead, she was shown forming new connections with Ken and David, and “going with [her] gut.” Hannah and Adam also reaffirmed their commitment to each other. While her errors caused her to receive votes, she ultimately ended up safe. Zeke, meanwhile, was making connections and cutting them when he deemed necessary.
Due to this week being essentially two episodes in one, each character has two ratings (apart from Chris obviously), so rather than go through characters by rating, instead we’ll go through each character one-by-one and look at where their story is heading.
The Previously On segment started by telling us, “There are three idols in play, held by Adam, David, and Jay.” The clip of Jay finding the idol was included, with his subtitled line to Will, “This stays between me and you.” A set up for Will revealing this secret to Zeke in this episode. It also let us know that an idol was likely being played.
“After the merge, Chris, Bret, and Sunday saw Jessica as the biggest threat, but the majority had already made their decision.” We then had a David confessional saying, “It’s the safest bet to split the votes between Taylor and Jay.” Followed by a shot of Taylor and Jay eating the hidden food. Once again, David looked great in the recap, given credit for putting the vote together.
“With little hope left, Taylor revealed Adam’s secret.” Followed by Taylor telling everyone, “Adam has an advantage in this game.” It didn’t play a big part in the episode other than leading into the start when Adam apologized to everyone for revealing it. “But the tribe couldn’t forgive him for stealing food.” It showed Taylor admitting to eating food earlier “with Jay.” Again, it explained Jay digging up the food at the start of the episode to gain back some goodwill.
Last week we finished Chris’ write-up with this, “It’s good that Chris is set up as a power player and we can usually rely on what he says, but it’s bad in the sense that he’s visible as a power player and that type of person often becomes a merge target. That coupled with his past rocky relationship with David suggests that a Chris blindside could be in his future.” That future came even quicker than we thought and this was ultimately what cost Chris his place – his position as a power player and David.
Chris continued to be the strategic leader of the Gen X alliance in the first hour, making his plans clear (eliminate Jessica) and trying to gather numbers. However, Chris admitted to playing out of a sense of revenge, something that we’ve covered a lot this past couple of weeks. Those playing for revenge have continually shown to be unsuccessful; we’re told over and over that the game is about understanding others, being humble, and now, standing by your allies. “It’s gotta be Jess. 90% of it is she’s a strategic player. 10% of it is I owe her one for blindsiding Paulie in my alliance.” Even though Chris said only 10% was personal, it was still enough to be a warning sign in his edit that things wouldn’t work out. “If it’s the last thing I do, I will vote her out.” That is straight revenge talk, and it didn’t end up being the last thing he did.
Throughout the season Chris has been a portrayed as a decent player but always one step behind. Early on the Gen X tribe he put together an alliance and talked about controlling David and keeping him busy so that he wouldn’t find an idol – then David found an idol. He thought he had the numbers on Gen X and then his ally Paul was blindsided. He thought he was back in the numbers and was going to take out Jessica, but David used his idol and saved her. On the swapped tribe he formed a bond with Zeke but then David formed a better bond. He always seemed to be one-upped by David and that was no different here, Chris put forward a plan to take out Jessica, hoping he had Zeke to make it happen, but David made a counter plan and took Zeke for himself, blindsiding Chris.
Overall, Chris is a MOR rating for the season. He had flashes of CP but most of the time it was rather basic, and he has very little personal content over his time on the show.
Not to toot our own horn too much (but hey, we’ve been wrong plenty, so why not shout about our successes?!), the last line of our Jessica write-up last week was “edgically, Jessica looks doomed.” And while nobody could have predicted the manner in which she ended up going home, the signs were there that her time was coming to a close. She was barely visible once the merge hit, and all we heard was talk from others about how they didn’t trust her backed up with negative looking b-roll.
In the first hour, we found out Chris was coming after her, and Jessica learned about it through David. “I have been told point blank that my name is getting written down by Chris, and that’s a scary feeling…” It was David shown putting the plans together and bringing in other players. Jessica basically had to put trust in others, mainly David (again), to save her. “Tonight I have to trust an enormous amount of people.” Her closest thing to strategy talk was saying “we need to have Zeke,” not enough for CP but with everything else works out at a MOR rating. She also mentioned having to will the Legacy Advantage if she was voted out which was a good sign she’d be leaving by the end of the night.
In the second hour, Jessica questioned David’s plan to vote Zeke. She mentioned to both David and the viewers that she was annoyed with what he did: “I have to protect David and vote for Zeke because David actually played a Hidden Immunity Idol for me, but if David had just let well enough alone and not said anything, this wouldn’t be happening.” She was partly right that David’s Zeke plan backfired, but it made her sound like she was only begrudgingly sticking by David just because he saved her one time with an idol – when he actually saved her the previous episode too when Chris wanted her gone.
Again, this episode had a lot to do with staying true to your allies through thick and thin, and Jessica showed hesitation and annoyance. Contrast to Ken who said, “I’m gonna stay with David. I made a promise to the man that I would never put his name down, and so I want to go out swinging and fighting with David in this game.” Huge juxtaposition. The payoff, of course, was David playing his idol for Ken with little hesitation whereas Jessica went home. The way she went home, with the rock and the tears and the “sorries” from other players amounted to her P tone for the second hour. Overall, Jessica works out at a MOR rating for the season, she had a couple of CP episodes sprinkled throughout but was mainly there as a sidekick in other people’s stories (primarily Ken and David).
Will is the only player remaining that is yet to receive a CP rating this season. That pretty much tells you everything you need to know about his story. He is not a main character; he’s an extra that appears when necessary as a number for another player or to add some enthusiasm to a reward or backup Probst’s hyperbole. He did get to talk a little about his own game in the first part of this week’s episode, stating how he needed to get off the “sinking ship” that is Jay and how he’d use the idol information to bond with Zeke (hence his MOR rating). But it was quickly undermined as Zeke spread the information which led to a hilarious montage.
In the second hour, Will was back to UTR barely visible. What looks bad for Will is that in an episode about staying loyal to your allies (going down “swinging and fighting”) Will was shown to give up on one ally (Jay) in favor of a new ones (“[Zeke] and Hannah are my alliance right now.”), but then at tribal council he said he wasn’t “willing to give up his game for Zeke or Hannah.” An absolute longshot to win.
Sunday returned to her UTR comfort zone this week. It seemed like last episode’s CP rating was the start of a short-term Julia Sokolowski style CP streak before her inevitable boot, but no, Sunday dropped right back off the radar. While this is a good thing in the sense that it suggests she may go even further than anticipated, it’s bad in that the edit hasn’t positioned her as an important character in relation to the current stories.
Last week was all about how she didn’t trust Jessica and wanted her gone but was unable to make it happen. One of her final quotes last week was “We have to do Jess next time.” While we suggested that Chris was likely to take over this story, which he did, we still thought Sunday would play a part in getting the ball rolling. Instead, the episode started with Chris saying he wanted Jessica gone and he led the charge throughout. The only time we checked in on Sunday in the first hour was for her to tell us that she wanted Jessica gone last week because she doesn’t trust her – it was just repeating what we already knew with no new details or extra depth, hence the UTR rating. There was one shot at tribal council after Jay didn’t play his idol where Sunday smiled, which made it seem like she was happy that he didn’t play it. We saw that Sunday and Jay have a friendship last episode so this may be worth keeping an eye on.
The second hour we again only had one Sunday confessional and this time just to tell us, “My dream was not only to get on Survivor but to win a helicopter reward, so this ranks up there as one of my favorite days literally ever in my life.” It continued Sunday’s arc as a positive person but didn’t provide any strategic depth or forward thinking. The only other significant moments came at tribal council when she chastised Bret for personally attacking David (again, another example of her caring for people) and telling Hannah to vote Ken (a great move but will she get credit next episode?). What is Sunday’s story going forward? It’s hard to say other than she’s the nice person that cares for others and goes with the flow. Maybe she and Jay try and make something happen?
Ken was still relatively low on the visibility scale this week, but the content he did have was strong. This is what we said last week, “If next week he once again tries to save Jessica and/or his relationship with David comes back into focus then Ken is still in this thing as a contender.” His relationship with David definitely came back into focus; there was an entire scene dedicated to it in the first hour with Ken telling David how proud he is over how far David has come. Then in the second hour, Ken said “I’m gonna stay with David. I made a promise to the man that I would never put his name down, and so I want to go out swinging and fighting with David in this game.” It’s the most consistently focused on partnership in the game, and it contains all the attributes the edit has harped on as positives: understanding, humility, respect, loyalty, standing by your ally. It also follows through on how Ken said he’d play the game back in Episode 1, “I want to help kind of guide my team in the direction that I think is necessary, but do so as the guy who’s supporting, uplifting, and they know that I’ve got their backs.”
The question is, is this enough? If this weren’t a double episode, then Ken would have gone four episodes in a row without a confessional, which is alarming. Even in the two hours he only had one short confessional (the “swinging and fighting” one), it told us where his head is at going forward, and that coupled with his tribal council answer just scraped him his MOR rating. But overall it’s minimal content. But even if Ken isn’t speaking a lot, others are talking about him. Hannah’s first confessional in hour one was all about Ken, and how she flirts with him and wants to connect with him, all of that was very positive. David also had this to say about him, “Ken and I had some alone time, and he really gives me a sense of confidence within myself.” Ken has always being portrayed as a positive influence that cares about his allies. And, of course, the episode ended with Jessica willing her Legacy Advantage to Ken.
Obviously, the scene with David in hour one helped set up David using the idol on Ken in hour two, but it also further cemented the relationship. But does the relationship between Ken and David reflect better on David or Ken? Is Ken there just to give David a confidence boost to move ahead in this game and snatch the win? Or is it meant to explain how Ken eventually wins due to being respectful, humble and loyal? Right now, David seems the most important one in the partnership if for nothing but screen-time alone. But the care and focus this partnership has had from the very start (Ken putting the stick bug on David in Episode 1) suggests that it could certainly go all the way to Final Tribal Council.
Bret had a mixture of positives and negatives this week. His edit was a mixed bag with some OTT elements, continuing from last week, but with just enough strategic insight to temper the OTT aspects. In the first hour, he had the OTT, drunk Uncle Bret stuff at the reward but he also explained how he wanted to create a better bond with Zeke, and at camp, he was an active part of the blindside Jessica and flush Jay’s idol discussions. “We don’t wanna tell Jay to use it otherwise he’ll think we’re trying to flush it.” It wasn’t the most in-depth insight, and he still seemed like Chris’ soldier, but it would feel unfair to slap Bret with an OTT, so MOR seems more appropriate for the first hour.
His scene at the first reward was important for two reasons. 1) It was the start of his bond with Zeke which grew throughout the two hours. 2) It showed his lack of respect for the feelings of others. Hannah wanted to be respectful of those back at camp, but Bret said, “I don’t care what everyone else thought back at camp.” That is not the kind of attitude that is rewarded in this game, at least not with the million dollars. His uncaring attitude continued later at tribal council when he insulted David over his anxiety and shot down Ken. All of this was a bad look for Bret.
But there were positives in his edit too. In the second hour, Bret was shown to be a complex character with hidden depths. After he had come back from the first tribal, he showed a good attitude, he approached Zeke and told him he wasn’t mad about the move and wanted to work with him going forward. He was actively seeking a bond with Zeke and Zeke was receptive. This led into the later scene at the reward where Bret opened up to Zeke about being gay, and we saw on both sides that this bond had been solidified. Getting to see strategic thinking and personal depth gave Bret his CP rating for the episode, and the reward scene was definitely Positive toned.
However, as we said last week, Bret’s story has always been as a sidekick to Chris, a second in command. With Chris leaving in the first hour, it gave Bret a chance to receive more air-time yet once again he became subservient to a bigger player. He basically traded in Chris for Zeke. And with his newfound bond, Bret became more comfortable in the game which made him ever rowdier and more arrogant at tribal council. He aggressively called out players and personally attacked members of the other side, namely David and Ken. This accounted for Bret’s N tone and what made him Mixed overall.
The funny thing here is that one of the reasons Bret gave Zeke about why he hadn’t come out yet on the island is because he started on a tribe with, “the macho group. I got Ken; I got Chris.” Now, we know Chris is macho, we’ve seen him be imposing in challenges, talking about football, farting and belching, threatening to choke David. However, we’ve been told from the start that Ken is not the macho person that people might assume on first impressions, and Bret knows this. Ken was the guy talking about the beauty of language at the tribal council where Bret rolled his eyes. Ken was the man that opened up this very episode talking about the beautiful sunrise! We’ve gotten to know Ken as this sensitive soul that hooked up with the Misfits in the battle against the Cool Kids. If anything, Bret is the macho one, with his drunk, rowdy behavior, yelling about being naked at the challenge, and personally attacking the “big guy” (read: little) at tribal council with high school jock mocking, “Ohh I’m gonna cry because I’ve got anxiety!” Let’s not forget, Bret’s very first confessional this season was about David, where he said, “Dave’s gotta man up. There’s girls with more testosterone back at that camp than he’s got, you know?”
The edit creates this image of Bret as someone incorrectly labeling others as macho while being macho himself. Sometimes his actions can be funny and charming. Sometimes they can be rude and ugly. He can sometimes show compassion (looking after Hannah during her panic attack, encouraging David not to give up), but also be insensitive and brash. We now have a better, more complex idea of Bret as a character but he’s someone shown to lack self-awareness and humility, and that will ultimately cost him in this game.
Just as Jay sits outside of all the themes of this episode, he was also depicted as a “lone wolf” in the game, as he labeled himself at the first tribal council of this episode. We mentioned last week that he needs to have a positive or cooldown episode to be back in the running as a winner contender, and this double header episode did exactly that for Jay.
He started off the first hour being thoughtful about the game and doing right by the tribe to work on his relationships. He said that Taylor’s explosive exit dragged him down and that he needed to recover from that, and he started by returning the stolen merge food. This is what gives him a CP rating for the episode. The idol montage was centered around Jay having the idol, but other than that, Jay fell to the background for the remainder of hour one. Then before tribal, the edit went out of its way to check in with Jay. They were straightforward confessionals about losing the immunity challenge, nobody including him in game plans and debating whether to play his idol, but it reminded us that even if the game was happening all around him, excluding him, he was still important.
Jay started out the second hour by telling us about why he didn’t play the idol. He read the room correctly and his “million dollar gamble” paid off. He mostly fell to the background of the rest of the episode again until he won immunity. Again we checked in with him with a very straightforward confessional about how he won immunity and still had an idol that he’ll be saving for himself. There was much less complexity to his edit in the second half. Just brief check-ins where he discussed his current position and reminded us of his idol.
Most of Jay’s content now revolves around his idol. Nearly every confessional he has mentions it. After Taylor’s boot, he posited that nobody knew about his idol (soon everybody knew). After Chris’ boot, he explained why he didn’t play it. After winning immunity, we knew he was safe and didn’t need to play it, and there wasn’t anyone remaining he would obviously play it for, yet we still heard him say he was saving it for himself for a future date. His main camp scene in both episodes was the montage where everybody talked about his idol. All of this focus on the idol suggests it will come into play in some way. There has been an emphasis on him not playing it. Could he go home with it in his pocket? Or despite his claim to keep it for himself, since he has contradicted himself in the past, could he actually end up playing it for someone else? Contrast this with Adam who had very little content about his idol. Something will happen with Jay’s idol soon.
There are bad signs in Jay’s edit. The idol focus. Being undermined (here with the idol, but also in the past when he thought he had the numbers and was the “Kingpin.”). Unable to make fire. Not fitting in the central theme of humility/connections. He was also shown asleep (as was Will) when David mentioned Jay, Will, and Zeke as threats (Zeke was shown awake and alert). But there is still something about his edit that makes it hard to write him off. We said he needed a less visible week with no negative tone and that’s exactly what he got. Plus people talk about him being a threat yet they’re letting him slip by. And being such an outlier almost protects him from some of the more obvious negatives. In a season where the edit has purposely tried to swerve us, don’t rule out Jay just yet.
Similar to Jay, Adam got exactly what he needed this week to keep him in the running. A cooldown in terms of visibility, plus he had the positive tone in the first hour that really helped humanize him again after a rough couple of weeks. His winner chances are looking relatively slim, but he still has legs in this race.
He opened up the first hour apologizing to everyone for not revealing his advantage earlier. People seemed to be accepting, and we didn’t hear any more about this for the rest of the night. His main focus of the night was when he received his letter from home. Adam was able to get an update on his cancer-stricken mother, and as an audience, we were reminded of his personal story. “Every day that I stay here, that I make it further in the game, that I get closer to that loved one’s visit and closer to the end, is another big win.” All of this, with the music and the tears and emotion, was super positive. There wasn’t any real strategic depth to Adam’s edit in the first hour, other than his, “I want Jay out of this game so badly I can taste his blood in my mouth,” which itself is an OTT statement (also slightly revenge tinged which is a bad sign). Therefore Adam was OTTP for the first hour.
In the second hour, Adam only really appeared after the reward challenge to talk about why he didn’t use his advantage, and then before tribal council. In a scene with Hannah where they discussed the vote, Adam said, “I’m not confident about the plan tonight because I have been sitting back a little bit and allowing Hannah to run the show a little bit.” He admitted to sitting back, which is what he needed to do, and told us he wasn’t confident in the plan, mainly because “Hannah is a nervous girl and it makes me nervous.” Adam’s narration was as reliable as ever, as Hannah’s nerves are exactly what caused the tribal council to become a chaotic mess. Hannah’s constant whispering and questioning led to Ken’s name coming up, which made Adam nervous and caused him to tell David about it, which made David wrongly use his idol on Ken. Adam was rightly not confident in the plan because he was allowing Hannah to run the show, which tells you a lot about both Adam and Hannah!
Adam and Hannah have become entwined recently. In this episode, Hannah said to Adam, “I trust you because you and I genuinely want to sit at the end next to each other.” Is this a real final two/three plan? Adam didn’t elaborate he just quickly said “Yeah, so what do you want me to do?” And then had a confessional about how Hannah made him nervous. It didn’t seem as reciprocal as the earlier scene between David and Ken were finals were also promised but alongside gratitude and respect. Also, we saw Hannah connecting with David and Ken this episode. There is certainly a growing dynamic between these four, especially as pre-merge post-swap Ken told Adam he’d never write his name down (he also promised David the same), that is worth keeping an eye on.
In terms of where Adam’s story is going? The edit has certainly paved the way to final tribal council although a win looks unlikely. His edit seems more about a journey and the upcoming loved one’s visit could be the key part of that journey. He mentioned getting closer to the loved one’s visit when he got his letter, plus he talked about using his advantage to steal a loved one’s visit a couple of episodes ago. Depending on how the loved one’s visit goes, that could be the end of Adam’s journey, but there is enough substance to push him beyond that.
Hannah continued to receive editorial manipulation meant to endear the audience to her and make her seem like a potential winner. It could perhaps be to set up an eventual realistic run as a winner or more likely as a decoy, so the game appears closer than it is.
In the first hour, most of Hannah’s content was OTT. Her bonding scene with Ken at the start of the episode was definitely positively framed with the music and tone, similar to her scene with Jay last week. In both cases, we saw these traditional alpha male characters be friendly towards her, and we saw her own positive interpretation of events in confessional. But both times we did not see a confessional from these two men backing up the perception. Her confessional was also OTT Hannah awkwardness, falling over her words as she talked about flirting with Ken. Her other confessional of the episode was how she almost collapsed from happiness about attending the reward. Even though she showed humility and respect by telling the others to be mindful of the people back at camp, it wasn’t enough to counter the OTT nature of her edit. Even her mention of “trust clusters” at tribal was OTT, with her giggling about Probst using the term, and then Probst calling her “fantastic” (more P tone).
In the second hour, we saw much more strategy from Hannah which led to her CP rating. She was stuck in a dilemma of choosing team David or team Zeke. “David and I are very similar, both very neurotic people, but it’s been a month of Zeke and me working side by side, so I don’t know who I choose, either Zeke or David.” It’s not the first time we’ve seen Hannah caught between two alliances this season, as back in Episode 2 it was her indecision of whether to vote Figgy or Mari which caused such a dramatic fallout. That fallout directly involved Zeke, and we saw Hannah unable to patch things up with him after that tribal council. Even though they’ve worked together post-merge, we never saw a proper make-up scene, which suggested that Hannah would eventually pull away and she did this episode. But she got to explain why, “I’m going with my gut, and my decision is to go after Zeke because Zeke, he’s condescending, and he can be a flip-flopper.” We also saw her in camp scenes telling David and Adam what was happening with the vote. All of this speaks to her CP rating.
We saw Hannah connect with three people over the two hours, Ken, David, and Adam. She talked about flirting with Ken. She talked about sharing similar neurotic traits with David. And she promised final three to Adam. As we said in Adam’s section, there was definitely groundwork laid with this foursome. The edit appears to be setting up a relationship with Hannah and Adam. But it’s hard to buy into it completely, as we previously saw Hannah dragging Adam’s name through the mud (when she pointed out Adam talking to Taylor a couple of episodes back), which had David questioning if Adam would flip. One day she sets him up to be voted out, and the next she wants to go to the end with him. Her game is staining Adam’s too, as he said himself, “Hannah is a nervous girl and it makes me nervous.” A combo made in hell.
It’s a reflection of Hannah’s scattered game. She’s shown to have great reads, but under the surface, she is playing badly because people don’t fully trust her and/or she makes them nervous. She soothed David with the promise that Zeke trusted her, but then she promptly went and set that trust aflame. She correctly called the other side voting for her, yet at tribal when she said “wait” to David when he played his idol, she stopped herself and didn’t speak up. We saw her continually whispering through tribal to Adam and other players, resulting in chaos. This directly led to Sunday whispering “Ken” to Hannah, overheard by Adam, who then told David to play the idol for Ken. Had Hannah spoken up then David might have used it on her instead. In fact, more than that, we were meant to believe that David intended to play it on her but that Adam foiled both Hannah and David. That is what we call editorial spin. She also told Adam, “I think Jessica flipped. I’m going home.” Which was wrong.
Where does Hannah go from here? Despite her flaws as a player, the edit continues to show her in a positive light. She is also now on the side with David and Ken, the two more positively edited players left in the game. If there is something to the Hannah/Adam/David/Ken foursome, then Hannah could be going deep and possibly even to the final tribal council. But winning still seems a long shot and her positivity and editorial spin seem more like a decoy to add more tension to the end game.
Zeke was a strategic force this episode and was shown to be making lots of personal connections with people but then cutting them. People seem to value their connections with him more than he values them. He described people as “soldiers” in his “army” preparing for “battle” and “war.” He also targeted all of his closest allies over the two hours. In past episodes, we’ve heard Zeke describe Chris, David, and Hannah as his closest people at one time or another. He targeted each one of them this episode. Zeke is quick to replace old allies with new ones. Once Chris went, he jumped onto Bret and Sunday.
In a season of connections and trust, are fickle relationships a good thing? Zeke himself said, “I realign with people all the time.” But this episode told us that sticking by your allies was a more admirable trait. While being able to switch allies so fluidly can get you far in the game it seems to be a negative in the long run. “I need to have the most power in the game. And everything in Survivor is about relationships,” he said. Very true. Sounds good. But then look at how he followed that “There’s no better way to build trust with an ally than revealing the location of a Hidden Immunity Idol.” That was proven NOT to be a good way to build trust this episode because as soon as Will told Zeke about Jay’s idol, Zeke went and leaked that information to everyone. Then in the second hour, Zeke made the same move as Will, telling Bret about David’s idol but Bret brushed it off that he already knew. The real way to build trust is through genuine human connection – which was the scene at the reward where Bret came out to Zeke. But Zeke seems to be missing the bigger picture; he’s saying the right things but acting on them in a very military, gamebot way.
Zeke was CP across both hours. He had the most confessionals and got to narrate all the strategy that was going on and his own place within the plan. “Chris wants to go after Jess, and David wants to go after Chris, so this is what I am deeming the “Gen X Civil War.” I’m tight with Chris, but if this war is starting, I want to have the power and the control. So now it’s time to pit the Gen Xers against each other.” Zeke was all about pitting the Gen Xers against each other in the first hour. “To win this game, you have to know where you’re going, and you have to know who you need to get there. And so this next vote is all about amassing the soldiers I need to march my army down the field.” Again, very clinical, and straight up CP.
The second hour continued in a CP fashion but with some tone sprinkled on top. The story was all about Zeke vs. David, and Zeke was the first to spell that out, “I saw going forward, I was going to need to make a move against David and his coalition. If I’m going to come for David soon, I need at least six. Bret and Sunday are integral to that six.” In terms of tone, his scene with Bret at the reward was framed in a very positive light, plus David continually praised his game and called him the best player. But at tribal council, Zeke snapped at David and insulted him personally “Ohh don’t cry, David. Is this affecting your journey?” That wasn’t a good look for Zeke and is why he had a Mixed tone overall for hour two.
But the edit went out of its way to backup David’s assertion that Zeke is a great player. All of Zeke’s b-roll backed up what he and others were saying. He was shown active and alert while others were sleeping (including David; showing that Zeke had indeed “got to [Bret and Sunday] before David did.”) Everyone agreed that he was the biggest threat to win. Even though under the surface his connections don’t hold the weight of others in this game, we are meant to see Zeke as a great Survivor player regardless of whether he wins or not. His only negative SPV (second person visibility) came from Hannah, who referred to him as “condescending.” While Hannah isn’t always the most reliable person, we are able to see this version of Zeke she described, after all, Zeke is the person in Episode 1 that looked down on his fellow Millennials as a “group of children” that had never had a “real job.”
What is Zeke’s story for the rest of the season? It seems that he’ll continue to be seen as a threat but will be able to maneuver his way out of the firing line, at least for a little while. Could he still win? It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but his downfall could be burning too many relationships. Zeke’s main story seems to fall into the disproving stereotypes theme. He wants to prove how tough he is; he said that back in Episode 1 when he made fire, “I’m very intrigued by the idea of, like, proving how tough I am. And so, like, in a weird way, Survivor is helping me rise to my potential.” And in this episode, he felt he’d achieved that, “I’m like the doughy little gay guy, and like, a lot of people just didn’t believe I could hack it out here, and I think it’s developed a toughness in me.” In a way, you could say Zeke’s story is already over. But we’re sure there’s more toughness to come.
David was all over this episode from start to finish, with a super positive first hour, and a highly strategic, if flustered, second hour. We mentioned last week how David’s edit had stabilized at the merge and put him up there in winner contention, especially given that his “journey” edit had seemed to cool off in favor of a more in control, strategic edit. However, the journey edit was back in a big way this episode. But he still had a lot of strategic focus too.
The first hour was all about how this experience was helping him grow as a person. He offered to sit out of the reward challenge so that he wouldn’t be a liability to his team. But his fellow players encouraged him to participate and not give up. David explicitly used the word “journey” in reference to himself, “I’m on a journey, and it’s about coming out of this game as a better person than the person I walked in as.” Ken backed up how the game has helped David, “What you’ve done and what you’ve accomplished, the ways that you’ve evolved, changed, grown since you’ve been out here, everybody respects.” When David won immunity, it solidified the idea that he was taking control of his own game. “I’m here, like, start taking control of my life, and I really believe that if any experience can give me that power, it’s this game of Survivor.” All of this is classic journey edit content, and in a way, it kind of hurts his winner chances a little, as it gives David the option of achieving his goals without needing to win.
But then in the second hour, a lot his neurosis came tumbling back after Hannah informed him that Zeke was after him. “Hannah tells me that Bret told Zeke that I’m gunning for him, which is like, oh!… complete miscalculation on my part.” He went into panic mode and Hannah told him not to “get neurotic.” The whole second hour was a back and forth chess game between David and Zeke, both targeting each other as the biggest threats and best players. But Zeke was shown to have the one-up on David. Zeke had got to Bret and Sunday before David did; cemented by the b-roll showing David sleeping. But then later, Zeke lost Hannah to David, “I would love to work with David. David and I are very similar, both very neurotic people…” And at tribal council, Zeke sunk to personal insults while David remained civil and steadfast. With both remaining in the game at the end of the episode, they kind of finished on equal footing edit wise, even if David did lose one of his allies.
David and Ken’s relationship came back into focus this episode too. As we mentioned, Ken spoke respectfully about David’s growth in this game and how proud he was of him. “Ken and I had some alone time, and he really gives me a sense of confidence within myself,” David said. It’s the most consistently focused on relationship in the game, and by far the strongest bond, so when it comes to connections and standing by your allies, this pair ticks all the boxes. It also set up David using his idol on Ken. Ken was repaid for his kindness and loyalty. But can this pair make it all the way to the end together? Or will Ken “go out” while “swinging and fighting with David”? If so, will Ken leave David his Legacy Advantage that he now has? Seems likely if it comes to that, but just as likely they’ll be sitting together at the end.
David has had such a big, complex, highly visible edit. He also shows humility, respect, kindness, and has good connections. He also has positive SPV, even when others insulted him (Bret and Zeke), they were immediately shouted down by the other players for being personal. David could be the ultimate winner/journey combo edit. Or he could leave before the final having accomplished his goal of becoming a more confident person. It really could go either way with David, but there’s enough there to suggest he’ll pull through.
Stories in Play
-Millennials vs. Gen X – the theme of the season, expected to continue throughout.
-Disproving Millennial Misconceptions – Will the Millennial players prove or disprove the negative stereotypes?
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – This theme has been present most of the season.
-David Out of Water – David’s growth edit was back in a big way this episode. He was complimented for how far he’s come as a person and was able to win individual immunity. In the second hour, some of his neuroses returned, but he was able to stand firm at tribal council.
-Humility/Connections – A theme that has been best represented by Ken. This theme was all over this episode. David showed humility at the reward challenge; Hannah showed humility at the reward itself. Ken was humble and respectful of David. David talked about his connection with Ken. Zeke spoke about how important relationships are in the game. Hannah connected with Ken, David, and Adam. Everywhere.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.