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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This episode is further evidence of just how fun Edgic can be. The edit led us down a path only for that path to fall off the edge of a cliff and take us (and Mari) tumbling with it.
Mari had a strong edit in the premiere with all the prime examples we have to come to expect in a story of a big character or even potential winner. The intro confessional, the winner quote, the focus on alliance building, personal content and tied to the season’s theme. Each one of those things was included for a purpose; the edit wanted us to believe in Mari’s story and potential – as a significant portion of the audience did. If you are ever unclear about the intention of an edit just look at the general reaction of the viewers – Survivor is edited for the mass audience with the aim of provoking a specific response. Misdirection is a huge part of Survivor and Mari was classic misdirection meant to blindside the audience.
Of course, Mari also had telltale signs based on previous character edits. Despite her positive signs, as we mentioned last week, there was potential she was another Anna Khait, and just like Anna, Mari was eliminated at the first tribal council she attended.
It’s fine to look back at other archetypal Survivor edits to try and second-guess the editors and predict a winner, but that often ignores the story being told on screen. Also, the way the producers tell the stories season to season is constantly evolving, so there’s not always going to be a direct comparison. The story coming out of the premiere was that Mari was a strong threat who was the leader of the Misfits alliance – it’s for that reason the edit told us she was targeted this episode. Her story in Episode 2 was about a player adjusting from video games to a game involving real people and ultimately failing.
Speaking of winner contenders, we’ve decided to return to the format we used for Survivor: Cambodia and get rid of the list of winner contenders at the bottom of the article as we believe it’s reductive to our aim with Edgic. We put a lot of time and effort into these posts, rewatching the episodes, taking copious notes and trying to interpret the various stories the edit is trying to tell week to week. We love doing it because we love the storytelling capacity of television and particularly Survivor and that was always the aim of our Edgic posts – to follow the story and the character arcs, not just predict the winner. Having the list of winner contenders at the bottom of the post often makes people forget the 2000+ words that came before and instead just focus on that, which kind of undervalues our aims with this feature and the purpose of the Survivor edit.
That doesn’t mean we won’t be discussing winner contenders at all. The journey of the winner is one of many stories that is told via the edit. We will still consider people’s winner potential in their individual write-ups. We just won’t be ending the article on a winner’s contender list because we feel it’s taking away from the story.
What does this episode tell us?
Once again, the Millennials tribe was the more complex and colorful with four CP ratings (compared to the two on Gen X) and three OTT ratings (compared to the one on Gen X). It makes more sense this episode given that the Millennials went to tribal council, but it still speaks poorly of Gen X, given that over half their tribe was either UTR or INV.
What’s the deal with all the UTR ratings? There were six last week and five this week. Are these characters really not interesting? Or are they being purposely hidden while the bigger characters distract us?
Last episode, we talked about the theme of disproving misconceptions about Millennials. There was certainly still talk about Millennial stereotypes but nothing specifically about proving those cliches wrong. However, it does still seem like the season is the story of the Millennials.
What did continue, though, was the theme of Cool Kids vs. Misfits. The theme has now spread to both camps. The edit has positioned David and Ken as the outcasts on Gen X, socially shy and awkward compared to the alpha types of the group. And of course, the Millennials still had a large focus on the Triforce vs. the Freaks and Geeks. Is this going to be more than a short-term story?
There was also a theme to do with how you view people in the game. Do you see them as pieces on a chessboard (or players in a video game), or do you view them as fellow human beings? It was the story given to Mari; she talked about the difference between characters on television and people in real life, and also how she comes from a two-dimensional computer game world. Jeff Probst leaped on it at tribal council and it was a theme present throughout the episode. Not only did Mari talk about the TV world, but so did the two people who voted with her, Adam and Zeke, who fanboyed over the show and the tribal council set (placing themselves in the context of a TV show), and even Hannah, who had a big dilemma this episode, freaked out over being at tribal and talking to Jeff Probst. Contrast with how Michelle and Jay approached the game, using their connections and personal relationships to sway the votes. Also, on Gen X, the way the majority alliance treated David compared to how Ken treated David.
The recap reminded us that “Figgy flirted with the men” and also gave her credit for putting together the Cool Kids alliance. It then told us “the tribe was catching on” while showing Mari talking to Michaela, telling her “Figgy’s running the show” followed by a Mari confessional about tearing them apart. All of this set up the events of this episode, the target on Figgy and how Mari and the misfits were planning to take her out, only for Mari herself to be taken down.
On Gen X, we were reminded that “David was scared… of everything” and a Bret confessional telling us “There’s girls on the tribe with more testosterone than David.” Bret was also credited with the alliance formation, saying he has six people and that “we’re in good shape.” He also told us the vote was “either Rachel or David,” reemphasizing last week’s edit that made it seem like the choice was between David or Rachel, with no mention of CeCe.
“At tribal, David pled his case and in the end was spared,” this made it sound like David saved himself; therefore the edit was giving him credit for getting his head off the chopping block.
Oh, Lucy. Did she piss the producers off somehow and this is her punishment? She was barely visible last episode and just scraped an UTR due to being mentioned by name as a member of the six-person alliance. This week she was straight-up invisible. Zero confessionals again and no mention by name (other than maybe a brief mention by Probst during the challenge but that doesn’t count unless it’s excessive focus). Her only content, if you can even call it that, was when David was talking about needing to “convince people” to take Paul out, and the camera landed on Lucy – like she is someone that needs to be convinced. That isn’t enough to give her UTR. It all suggests Lucy is not going to be a prominent character this season and highly unlikely to be the winner. At best she is going to be used as a vote here and there.
It’s a bad sign that this episode didn’t show Jessica in the slightest or even mention her finding the Legacy advantage in the Previously On segment. We questioned last week whether she would have received the edit she did had she not found the advantage, and the drop from CP to INV certainly suggests that could be the case. It’s also further proof that her moments of being wrong in the first episode (saying that David would be the one to go) were bad signs for her chances. Right now, it looks as if Jessica has a circumstantial edit, she will only be shown when necessary to the story in the moment. And the likelihood of her being around on Day 36 to use her advantage is looking slim. Compare to Kelley Wentworth in Survivor: Cambodia, who found the idol in episode one and was kept present in the edit in every episode because she would eventually use that idol in a big way.
Under the Radar
For what little Bret was in this episode, it was all negative. His whole role was solely to disparage David. He was featured in the Previously On segment emasculating David, yet David was shown to be the only person in the tribe possessing the strength and skill to make fire. He was shown saying he has an alliance of six and that they’re in good shape, yet not only are they now threatened by David’s idol found during this episode, but Paul also collapsed, decidedly not in good shape physically.
Bret looked skeptical when David was attempting to make fire, rolling his eyes, but as soon as David got a flame, Bret jumped in and tried telling him what to do, yelling, “Don’t smother it! Don’t smother it!” He was shown as someone who judges men based on some metric of manliness, and even when true grit is displayed, it’s not good enough for Bret. Bret still needed to assert himself over the guy he looks down upon. Given that Bret was shown to be wrong a lot last episode, his role here as the antagonist towards David doesn’t paint him in the most positive light. However, none of the other characters spoke badly of Bret in the episode itself, therefore no N rating. The blessing here is that he was UTR while Paul was set up as the OTT alliance figurehead and target, it suggests that Bret might have some longevity despite his negatives.
It’s probably not a good thing for CeCe to have received votes in the previous episode and then get no follow up confessional or content talking about it. The Previously On segment still presented last week’s story as a choice between David or Rachel – no mention of CeCe. The reason she isn’t INV this episode is because she did take part in a conversation with Ken about forming a plan against the majority alliance. But that was it. CeCe’s content this episode was all about being on the bottom but being brought into a plan of counterattack. She’s just a number right now. Could her part in the story increase? There’s more chance than say, Lucy.
Sunday only had one short confessional this episode when Paul went down; she told us that not only does she need him in the game, “But beyond that, I just care about him.” Per this episode’s theme, she showed she cared about Paul as a human, not just a game piece. This tells us that Sunday will likely play the game well. She still had some negatives in the premiere, namely directed towards the Millennials, but that could have just been episode one season theme set-up. Her humanity from this episode combined with the fact that she told us she has four children could allow her to form bonds with the younger crowd down the line and change her episode one perceptions. Sunday is one of those UTR edits that seems intentionally being kept on the back-burner for later.
Adam was barely present in the episode, but when he was, he was narrating what was happening, the voice of truth for the audience to listen to to validate our reactions to people. He continued to be mister reliable narrator guy with no tone or personal development and no game content. Yes, he gave us the “laws of Survivor” confessional, but it was all basic advice, nothing that gave insight into his own game and plans. He was also shown telling the opposing alliance “Well done” at tribal, which demonstrates he respects the game.
He was protected from the negatives of being on the wrong side of the numbers this vote (Mari and Zeke were set up as the ones spearheading the Figgy vote). This editorial protection harkens back to Kelley and Jeremy Collins’ edits in Cambodia when they’d fade into the background a bit if one of their allies went home. So far, Adam is looking more like a Kelley, though, in that she also didn’t have tone or personal development throughout that season and ultimately fell short of the win at 4th place. There is, of course, plenty of time to change, especially as he now knows he’s on the outs, his personal story has an opportunity to begin. Like Sunday, Adam seems to be another intentionally UTR edit that will emerge later.
Will continued his story arc as the kid who’s along for the ride this episode. He was a swing vote at his first tribal council, and with the exception of winning him over as a number, nobody was talking about him, and he had no personal development. Even though he didn’t receive any confessionals, we did see him in a couple of important game chats, in which he was shown to be a player that was nervous about changing plans. “We just want to make sure we’ve got the idea straight down, on lock,” he said, and later “This is nerve-wracking changing the plan.” It showed that Will is cautious but also perhaps rigid, although he did change his vote.
His statements were still hyperbolic this episode too. He compared Figgy to both Parvati Shallow and John Cochran, very different characters who really only share one similarity, that being they won Survivor. But this is Will; there’s a grain of truth to his statements, but they’re exaggerated. Overall, we haven’t been given a reason to invest in Will yet, and the closest we get to narration from him is by trying to unpack his hyperboles and find the grain of truth.
Middle of the Road
In this episode, Chris was further established as a reliable narrator for the goings-on of the Gen X tribe. He said David was the weakest in challenges, and Probst validated this at the challenge, “This challenge proving very difficult for David.” So when he said David is next to go, is he right? So far, Chris has been reliable.
Chris is shown to be aware of the elements of the game and of what people are like, but ineffective at actually playing the game and controlling it. He was rightfully worried about David looking for the idol, as we saw David was looking and did find it. He tried stopping David from looking by keeping him busy, but this backfired as David used his busyness as a cover to find the idol. Furthermore, he likened his treatment of David to that of a “puppy dog.” This was the first of three puppy mentions this episode and not a good sign for Chris in a game about social connections between HUMANS.
He underestimated David and condescended to him rather than connecting with him and building trust to work around the idol. It appeared as if Chris was close to catching David when he found the idol, but he didn’t; close…but no cigar. So we saw Chris’ strategy was ineffective and has compromised his power in the game. The positive for Chris, much like with Bret, is that Paul was set up as the figurehead and target. It suggests Chris has longevity.
Mari went from a CP potential winner contender to first boot of the Millennials. But her premiere edit was backed up here, as the reasons for her elimination were “dangerous because she’s smart” and “she’s a strategic player, and she’s really strong.” We were meant to see Mari as a threat and contender after episode one because that led into the reason she was booted this week.
As for her content this episode, it came off as more of a meta-narration of Survivor as a whole. Most of her scenes and confessionals were about a 2-dimensional world, TV, video games, in other words, characters in a fictional world instead of real people in a natural environment. She narrated the importance of bonding and empathizing with people, having emotional connections. Yet there were a couple of moments where we saw proof that she was not connecting deeply enough, in both instances with Hannah, which showed us how Hannah was able to flip on her and vote her out.
“My world is a two-dimensional world. I would play a game in my monitor like this were easy, but to do it with real life people, it’s a completely different thing. I think it’s empathy and emotion when you see people’s eyeballs and you see their soul through them. You get to know these people and start to care about them.” Her 2D game playing didn’t translate to this world of real people. Just like in Survivor: Kaoh Rong, “empathy and emotion” reign supreme in this game. We know that Mari lacked in these because when Hannah was discussing whether to vote for Mari during tribal, Mari wrote Hannah off. Mari said, “Whatever she’s talking about right now, it’s probably puppies or butts or something,” the third and final reference to puppies, all of which demonstrated dismissiveness, patronization, and underestimation of people who outplayed them this episode.
Over the Top
Paul was portrayed as wrong, out of touch, out of control, and egotistical this episode. The episode opened with him failing at and being dismissive of the most important element of the game, fire. He literally said “this is embarrassing” under his breath when he couldn’t make the fire, giving himself N tone. He was shown underestimating David, “David just can’t handle it out here,” right before David made fire, which nobody else in the tribe could do.
He told people what to do (camp scene showed him telling people to get firewood) and said in confessional that he needs to be in control. As a result, the people outside his alliance see him as someone who barks orders and is egotistical, painting a target on his back. He said, “I don’t have a choice,” showing an inability to change which is a death knell in Survivor. He said, “I breathe control,” then we saw him collapse with people yelling at him to “Breathe, breathe, you gotta breathe.” Although medical situations are always scary in Survivor, this scene lacked the usual treatment of the soaring, sympathetic music and it wasn’t followed by any confessionals talking about what a fighter or great person Paul is. The closest was Sunday saying she cares for Paul as a person, but that wasn’t enough for P tone.
All of Paul’s b-roll this episode was him putting on a show: tossing his hair around, shadow boxing, and yelling at the end of the challenge, “Dr. Joe brought this old pirate back from the dead, baby!” He’s a caricature, always playing a part, not being a genuine human being. By not being a real human, he’s not connecting with the people he should be, and it’s putting him solidly in the crosshairs of a sneak attack. Especially as the episode set him up as the figurehead of the alliance, despite Bret and Chris getting more credit last week for putting it together.
Hannah’s character has developed to be that of the goofy, confused, earnest player. We had several scenes showing off her goofiness, also alluding to her ability to get along with the Cool Kids she felt excluded from the last episode. She called Taylor and Figgy “so pretty,” and cheered Michelle on at the challenge when Probst didn’t. She had a drunk-like answer to Probst at tribal council where she said she was “dizzy,” “it’s all very confusing,” and told us, “the more I’m out here, the more I just <lots of giggling>,” losing it. She ended the whole sequence with, “I don’t understand what’s going on,” then proceeded to spend loads of time at the voting booth. It was all silly and created funny moments, but the message is right there: she’s confused.
There was an entire scene of her opening a coconut this episode (one of two coconut scenes in Episode 2) that was a microcosm of her game this season so far. It went like so:
Shown struggling to cut open a coconut, making no progress. –> Cool Kids were teaming up, and Hannah felt on the outs.
She asked, “Am I making progress on this thing?” Mari responded, “You’re making progress!” but wasn’t actually watching. –> She approached Mari to form a counter-alliance, and Mari started telling people what they wanted to hear, gaming but wasn’t forming deeper connections.
Adam’s face was clear: Nope, no progress. –> Adam, our trusty narrator, the Greek chorus of this scene: “Girl, you haven’t made ANY progress opening that coconut.”
Eventually, we saw her machete wedged inside the coconut. Adam told her, “Bring it down hard!” She did. –> She was in a tight spot in the game, deciding to vote for Figgy or Mari, and Michelle told her to vote for Mari, bringing it down hard against her original ally.
The scene ended with her ripping open the coconut almost hyperventilating, “I did it!” –> She spent ages at the voting confessional agonizing over what to do, but ultimately voted the “correct” way, with the majority. She cracked open the game for herself.
It was messy. She wasn’t good at it. But she got the job done. And despite having zero confessionals, Hannah had lots of focus, especially in the latter part of the episode, hence her 3 rating.
Taylor, once again, was a bro caricature all episode. He compared drinking coconut water to taking shots. He talked about making a surfboard. He was shown during the challenge screaming an animal roar to the skies, and most notably, he made out with Figgy where the edit amplified the kissing noises, both to show that Michaela could hear it as well as to portray it as over the top.
His closest ally Jay told us why Taylor needs to win the million dollars: because he “needs” to “snowboard and chill,” shallow motivations for a hard earned prize. As in Episode 1, he made another comment alluding to his inability to change, when he said that it’s a “risky move” to be “macking” with Figgy in the game, but he’s “dreaming big” and sticking with it, and also telling Jay, “That’s how I’m going to play this game.” He was shown no fewer than three times walking off alone with Figgy as people continually commented on them isolating themselves, and he continued his mantra from the premiere that everything would be OK. “We got this,” he tells Figgy, for no reason, with no plan, just because.
It’s notable that we didn’t see him do any strategizing even though his tribe lost the immunity challenge. We were meant to see him as doing nothing to change the vote, as Michelle and Jay did all the heavy lifting. Michelle did the work because “we gotta keep that number,” she said, meaning Figgy and Taylor were just a number this episode. He was referred to as Figgy’s “puppy dog” implying that he follows her lead, and at tribal council, he said, “I second whatever she says, Jeff,” lending to that impression. Right now, he’s just a bro with love goggles on serving as a number to better players. But he is the Millennial mascot and could go far in spite of his numbskullery.
This episode more explicitly highlighted Figgy’s flaws. She was portrayed as a “flirty” hot girl valuing romance more than the game. She was caught “in the middle of a couple of things that are not good for the tribe,” what Jeff labeled, dramatically yet accurately, “a love affair and a war.” Even her ally Michelle told us Figgy should “be scared” for her position in the game, but she wasn’t. She thought the “tribe doesn’t even consider Taylor and [her] being a power couple threat,” yet every single person in the tribe, minus Taylor, called her or the power couple a threat:
Adam – “Figgy’s put herself in the crosshairs…sure as hell don’t get yourself into a showmance!”
Hannah – “Figgy and the boys are dangerous.” (from Ep1)
Jay – “This power couple is like a bullseye for a nuclear missile!”
Mari – “It’s [their relationship] too tight.”
Michelle – “We both know what Figgy’s up to and what she’s capable of.”
Michaela – “The couple would be dangerous if Figgy was gonna stay around…”
Will – “Figgy is the kind of person where if you give her a little bit of momentum, she will go all the way to the end.”
Zeke – “Much too dangerous to stay in this game”
Despite everyone openly talking about Figgy as a threat, the subversive message from the edit is that she’s not that bright, not in touch with what’s obviously going on, “freaking stupid,” “this girl is dumb,” is breaking “basic laws of Survivor.” When she learned she was on the chopping block, we weren’t shown a plan or strategy to help herself. We heard only an exasperated wish, “[Michaela] has to stick with us. There’s nothing else to it.” Just like we saw in camp footage in Episode 1, she lacked survival skills and was saved by her allies who needed her as a number.
Figgy is seen as a threat and may actually get “momentum” and get “all the way to the end,” but she’s falling far short of the Parvati and Cochran comparison and her chances at winning are looking grim. But the tribe keeping her around might come back to bite a lot of them in the butt.
Zeke has been shown to be somebody who understands the basics of the game but is lacking understanding in a key element of execution: relationships. He talked about Figgy and Taylor’s romance, saying “I think it’s that casual attitude which might be getting Taylor and Figgy into trouble…you need to have the mentality that you’re also playing Survivor…I think they might be missing that part.” Figgy and Taylor are indeed missing the game part, but it’s Zeke who’s missing that “casual” relationship part. This continued what we mentioned from the first episode, that Zeke and Taylor are foils on the Millennials tribe.
Zeke was excited to go to tribal council, “I’m a little bit tickled to be going to Tribal Council. I came to vote people out.” The fact that he was excited to vote people out is also a bad look in an episode that played up that this is a game of connections with real people, and that people should be focusing on their connections first and voting second. He was viewing people as game pieces. “Wherever Figgy goes, her little puppy dog Taylor goes.” This was the second time someone referred to a person as a “puppy dog” this episode, and for the second time, it showed dismissiveness and underestimation of somebody who outplayed them. He might have technically being correct that Taylor follows Figgy’s lead, but Taylor is human, his vote counts, and his relationships proved deeper than Zeke’s at the vote. He referred to Figgy and Taylor’s voting together as “against the spirit of the game,” but actually that is exactly the spirit of the game, to corral as many solid votes for oneself as possible.
He was right to be wary of others being so tight, and he articulated why so well at tribal, “Figgy’s always going to be a little bit more loyal to Taylor than she would be loyal to me.” He assumed that everyone would see them the same, logical way that he did, so much so that he was the one who told Taylor’s closest ally, Jay, “I think we’ve got to break up this twosome, you know?” To Zeke, it was breaking up a twosome; but as an audience, we have been shown that to Jay, it’s a “trifecta” of friends. Thus Zeke’s lack of empathy actually set into motion the counter play that saved Figgy. You might wonder if the edit was burying Zeke by showing him spearhead the Figgy vote, but that’s unlikely. The story of this vote is clearly going to impact the next episode, as seen in the preview with Zeke shouting at Hannah for turning. Zeke’s reaction to the Mari vote is likely to be a big focus and therefore storywise it makes sense to show him invested in this vote.
Zeke was depicted as intelligent yet wrong throughout the episode. He showed passion for the game and understanding on the surface, but he needed to go deeper (just like Mari, except unlike Mari, Zeke is still in the game and has a chance to rectify). He said, “I want to give all of myself out here,” and that’s exactly what he needs to start doing to turn his game around and have a shot at winning.
Once again, David received the most confessionals and was one of the biggest characters of the episode. However, while his premiere episode painted him as overtly OTT, full of fear and paranoia, his second episode fleshed him out and showed other layers to his character. We got to see all sides of David in this episode: survival mode (starting the fire), crafty (finding the idol), strategic (using the idol to form an alliance with Ken), and personal (talking about how he relates to Ken). It definitely made him CP and not OTT.
As far as tone is concerned, he still had some negatives, mainly negative SPV (Second Person Visibility) from the majority alliance of Bret, Chris, and Paul, but as the edit went out of the way to discredit them, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been for David. The Previously On segment showed Bret emasculating David, and the episode started with Paul saying David “can’t handle it out here.” But the episode made Bret and Paul look mean because it showed David was “grateful” to them for “sparing” him at the last vote. And then, despite Bret’s eye rolls, David did what no one else on the tribe could, and that was start fire. Then later in the episode it was Paul that went down for a medical reason, showing that in fact, it was Paul struggling to handle it out there not David.
Also, Chris, who correctly called David as the weakest in challenges, believed he was keeping David busy so that he wouldn’t go looking for an idol. But David outsmarted them by using this an excuse to look for the idol, which he found. The edit set this whole sequence of events up as David undermining the alphas and proving them wrong while displaying a “never give up” attitude. This all leads to his P tone, which was further added to by Ken when he talked about relating to David – given that Ken’s edit is clearly positive in tone, it reflects well on David.
There are still some bad signs though that suggest David won’t reach the ultimate success in this game, which is winning. When he found the idol, he said, “This is why we come to play Survivor!” It was similar to Zeke saying he came to vote people out. The edit of this episode was telling us the opposite, that the game is actually about connecting with people on a human level. David did end up using the idol to form a connection with Ken; so maybe he salvaged it, but it’s still worth noting. Then, after Paul had his medical situation, David had a confessional about how Paul’s medical scare could have been good for his game (with a cymbal crash). It wasn’t a major negative because he did get to preempt it by saying he felt guilty and that he was glad Paul didn’t have a heart attack, but in an episode all about treating people as humans instead of game pieces or tv characters or animals, it doesn’t exactly speak well for David’s game chances. Even if his edit does suggest he’ll be a prominent character of the season.
Michaela’s edit was a tough one to place. Tone wise there was definitely some negativity but we believe as an audience we were meant to be on Michaela’s side and find her funny. But confrontations and arguments are often a surefire way to gain an N tone.
So how do we work out how the edit wanted us to perceive Michaela? Well, we look to our most reliable narrator, Adam. Adam is the voice of the audience, the superfan geeking out and narrating the events going on around him. We haven’t been given a reason to doubt what he says so far. So what did Adam have to say about Michaela? “I get Michaela, right, like she’s a straight-shooter, that’s a great quality to have as a person, but that’s a tough trait to have on day one in the game of Survivor.” That pretty much tells us that Michaela had mixed tone for this episode. As a person, we’re meant to like Michaela and admire her forthcoming nature, but we can also recognize that her attitude brings about negatives in the game. Also, just to add to this, earlier in the episode when Michaela jokingly threatened to hit Figgy with the machete Adam reacted with an “Oh s**” followed by laughter. That’s us at home; we can see that Michaela is trouble, but she’s also fun to watch.
In terms of rating, she showed too much game awareness and self-awareness to be anything but CP. She was shown as the first person to clock onto Figgy and Taylor’s relationship, she was the one tending to the fire (a good sign), while Figgy and Taylor made out. She called them out and told us she wasn’t stupid and that she could see what was going on. She also demonstrated self-awareness, saying that even if she tried to keep her mouth shut her face and eyebrows would do the talking – so she understands her confrontational side. Regarding the game, it was kind of bad that it showed her saying, “I’m just convinced that Figgy is going home” and that “The couple would be dangerous if Figgy was gonna stay around.” Figgy ended up staying around, and so Michaela has willingly kept what she called a dangerous couple in the game. Although, the edit did allow Michaela to speak on why she flipped her vote to Mari – because of Jay telling her that her name was on the chopping block after Figgy.
Michaela has an interesting edit that we need to keep a close eye on. Right now, it looks like she’ll be a big character that doesn’t hold back her thoughts and feelings. It’s rare that a character who is so forthcoming with how they feel does well, but maybe Michaela is another Courtney or Sandra type that can somehow get away with speaking her mind and last a long time.
Ken’s positively toned edit from last week continued into week two and stepped up a notch. Like David, he had a mixture of content that displayed all sides of Survivor. He was shown to be successful at the survival elements (catching an octopus), the physical (winning the challenge for his tribe on the ring toss), the strategic (forming alliance with David and later bringing in CeCe), and, most importantly perhaps, the personal.
It’s worth looking deeper at the personal stuff for Ken because he’s arguably had the most of anyone so far. Last episode, we found out that he’s lived off the grid in the wild for the past five years and is skilled in these elements. This episode he talked about how he’s actually quite a shy and introverted person, and as a kid, he had speech impediments and nervous twitches. We are learning more about Ken as a person, way more than anyone else on Gen X other than perhaps David, and maybe even more than any of the Millennials.
He was also shown to understand what Survivor is all about, “In a social game like this, you have to develop connections and bonds.” That was a very Michele Fitzgerald statement. As this episode dealt with treating people as humans vs. game pieces, this was a great moment for Ken. And then he put his theory to work, by finding ways to relate to David, solidifying a bond and therefore alliance, and then David shared his idol info with Ken. Contrast that with Chris who saw David as a “puppy dog” and therefore couldn’t control him. Ken told David, “we’re brothers,” treating him like family and not a pet.
Almost everything Ken said here is correct. His read on what it takes to succeed in Survivor. His treatment of David. He backs up his claim that he’s good at spear fishing and surviving by catching an octopus. Much like Adam and Chris, Ken has been portrayed consistently correct in his statements. However, unlike those two, Ken also has the personal development and positive tone which is very good. The one ominous sign is that he continually claimed this episode that Paul was the head of the Gen X alliance, and that’s not what we saw last week, the edit made it seem like Chris and Bret were at the head, and the Previously On showed Bret taking ownership. Paul was made to look out of touch and egotistical this episode.
So does Ken have the right read on Paul? Is he the right person to be targeting? When he talked to CeCe later in the episode, Ken said it’s “the Paul show in his [Paul’s] eyes,” and we know that to be true. Ken let CeCe give her opinion, hearing her out, and he correctly recognized she was also on the outs. We then flipped back and forth between the Ken and CeCe chat and footage of Paul collapsing. “There’s something with guys like Paul. When the ego is really big like that, you gotta feed it, feed it, massage it, and then he begins to feel invincible. He begins to feel like nothing can touch him.” As this was said, Paul was shown on the ground struggling, saying “My hands are numb.” It was an odd juxtaposition because it’s hard to tell what the edit was trying to get across here. Ken has been portrayed very positively so far, so we weren’t supposed to view him as cold here (especially as he had no idea what was happening to Paul). So, is this telling us that Ken has the power to bring down Paul just by mere words alone? Or is it saying that Paul is the wrong target because he will dig his own grave?
Other than the cloudiness with the Paul story, Ken looks to be in great shape as a long-term character and someone we should root for, and right now, there is nothing that says he couldn’t be the winner of this season.
Last episode, Jay received N tone for being lumped with the Triforce alliance who overall had a N tinge to their edit. But he was never as overt as his “bro” Taylor, who was attributed with the OTT bro quotes. Jay was kept more mellow, and the reason for that was obvious in episode two as Jay was shown to be much smarter and aware than his fellow Triforce members, Figgy and Taylor.
Jay received a confessional about Figgy and Taylor being a power couple and called them “stupid” and correctly recognized that they were making themselves a target (“like a bullseye for a nuclear missile.”), and understood how that could affect the alliance and his own game. He also said that “No power couple ever lasts on Survivor, EVER!” Now, as fans, we all know that Boston Rob and Amber made it to the end of the game together, but was that something the edit implied? Was it trying to undermine Jay here? Despite the casual audience love for Boston Rob, it’s unlikely that this came to the forefront of their mind because the main point of the edit here was that Figgy and Taylor were being dumb.
He was then shown pulling Taylor aside and advised him to take caution with Figgy. “Power couples don’t last” was subtitled. Either the edit was really hammering it home that Figgy and Taylor were making a huge mistake or there is going to be some great irony this season if Figgy/Taylor end up making it deep or even all the way to the end. As with the first episode, when Figgy was freaking out about where everyone went, and Jay remained calm, he stayed relaxed here too, speaking to his “boy” Taylor in a calm manner. He uses bro talk, but he has his head in the game. “I’m not losing a million dollars,” he said.
“You end up stuck with a woman, and you’re bailing on your boys when it’s bowling night, and you’re stuck at home with your girlfriend.” There could certainly be some foreshadowing with this line. Is it possible that Taylor will bail on Jay and will be left with Figgy? But will he be left in or out of the game with Figgy? Or is this ironic foreshadowing of Jay bailing on Taylor for another girl like Michelle? It could just have been a line used for the episode two story, but there are possible implications worth noting.
Jay had an interesting confessional late in the episode that revealed a lot about his game. “Figgy’s going home,” he said after been told the plan by Zeke. Jay was wrong about this. But then he followed it up, “Unlesss something happens and things go crazy, which they usually do, my alliance is gone.” He was defeatist and hopeful at the same time. We got some layers to Jay that speaks to his CP rating for this episode. Also speaking to his CP rating is his gameplay, he was shown to bring Figgy and Michaela together against all the odds, twisting Zeke’s words a little to land perfectly, “Second we take out Michaela because that’s an easy vote.”
Jay was shown to have game awareness and social connections which are good for his chances. But was also shown to be defeatist at times and he needed Michelle to kick him into gear. The question is, is his story always going to be tied to the Cool Kids alliance or will be able to forge his own arc?
Last week, we talked about how a couple of Michelle’s scenes seemed to paint her in an absent-minded light. The lingering close-up shot of her playing with her hair on the tribe-mat and the subtitled line suggesting to use pocket lint to start the fire despite everyone being soaking wet. In hindsight, that was an incorrect read, at least in regards to how it reflects on Michelle’s game. Perhaps these scenes were chosen just to get across the idea of Millennials being more airy-fairy and out of their comfort zone? With countless hours of footage, the producers had a purpose with putting them in the episode.
An even more interesting read is that it could have been set up for Michelle’s surprise strategic emergence in this episode – we weren’t meant to see her coming. There was a really good line from Michaela that summed up a lot of the gameplay this week, “You need to pull the bunny out of the hat. You can’t just walk in with the bunny.” The line was said in reference to Figgy trying to “work her magic”. As Michaela told us, and as the edit backed up, Figgy was the one walking in with the bunny, her “magic” was obvious and everyone could see it. So who was the one that pulled the bunny out of the hat? Well, that was clearly Michelle. “You’re supposed to kind of blend in a little at the beginning, and work your magic behind the scenes,” does that not speak to everything Michelle did this episode? She blended in last week, the edit painting her as a positive, trustworthy person (shielding her from the negativity of the Triforce), but seemingly not a huge threat. Then this week, she was hidden for the first half of the episode, before emerging in the latter half to change the vote, working behind the scenes to sway the votes to get what she wanted.
Michelle did everything right this episode. Both game wise and edit wise. She was shielded from all the negative Figgy and Taylor malarkey. She was the one given credit for changing the vote. Jay was shown as defeated until Michelle pointed out that they couldn’t afford to lose Figgy. “I say we take out Mari,” she said, subtitled, showing that she was the one to call the shot. But she also ended the conversation with “Unless you have a better idea?” Showing that she is a collaborative person and values relationships. “We need Figgy and Michaela to kiss and make-up,” she said, again subtitled, Jay then went and did her bidding and made this happen. “Tonight’s tribal council is about keeping people who I know will stick with me moving forward.” Her game reasoning was built around relationships – keeping the people she can rely on and get rid of the ones she can’t.
The slightly ominous part was her conversation with Will. “We both know what Figgy’s up to and what she’s capable of. So it’s easy later,” she told Will, and then, “Figgy if we need to, is an easy vote later.” This could be a bad sign for Michelle later. While patience and timing are lauded in Survivor gameplay, waiting to take out a perceived threat until “later” is almost always a bad sign, let alone calling it “easy.” In Survivor: Worlds Apart, the dominant alliance kept waiting to take out Mike until he went on an immunity streak and won the game. But so far, Michelle has been effective at everything she wanted to do in the game, literally saying, she’ll “get what I want.” So signs point to it being easy for her to take out Figgy later “if [she] needs to.”
Her scene with Hannah last week also came to fruition this episode. We had a scene with them getting to know each other in the premiere and a confessional where Michelle told us that she thinks Hannah trusts her. That trust was put to the test at tribal council. “I might have to try to pull strings at Tribal Council (pull the bunny out of the hat?) to make sure I have the numbers and get what I want,” Michelle said. Again, she told us her plan, and she delivered on it at tribal council when she pulled Hannah over into the majority. It showed us that Michelle’s relationships are working as well as her strategies.
The question is – is this all too much too soon? We talked last week about how the Cool Kids vs. Misfits could just be a short-term story, and while Michelle wasn’t the swing in the middle of it like we thought, it still had the same end result, except that Hannah was actually the person in the middle of it and Michelle was in control. But all the threads set up in episode one for Michelle, her bond with Jay and Hannah, paid off here in episode two. It’s always good to have some story threads lingering as it suggests a longer arc. Does the story become more about how Hannah deals with the fallout? Or will Michelle remain at the forefront? Perhaps dropping into the background for a couple of weeks will be a good thing for Michelle and her longevity. If she continues in the main position of control next week, then that could suggest a merge boot type edit. But right now, Michelle is certainly a strong contender.
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? Adam introduced this concept in episode one but it didn’t get major focus here. Taylor continued to show himself as the Millennial stereotype and Mari talked about her struggles playing a game with real people as opposed to a video game, so nobody really proved the notion wrong.
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – the story continued this week, and even the Gen X tribe had their own version, with David and Ken bonding over insecurities and forming a plan against the majority alliance. On the Millennials tribe, the Misfits, Adam, Mari and Zeke tried to strike against Cool Kid Figgy but it backfired. Also, Hannah jumped from the Misfits to the Cool Kids, so expect this arc to continue next episode.
-David Out of Water – David still has one of the biggest edits and a large focus of that is on his fish-out-of-water persona. But he started to turn things around this week by making fire, finding the idol, and forming a bond with Ken.
-Real Life vs. Video Games/TV – It may just have been a theme for this episode given that it was Mari’s boot episode, but there was a definite focus on being able to view people as real human beings as opposed to game pieces or TV characters or even animals (lots of puppy dog mentions). It suggests that to succeed in Survivor you need personal connections, as proven by Michelle this week. It will be worth keeping an eye on this theme to see if it continues.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.