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?
The editing this season is weird. There seems to be less mystery around the boot each week in favor of creating more intrigue around who the winner will be. Let’s just take a second here to reflect on that.
Other than Mari (and arguably Rachel), the eliminations so far have been wholly predictable. The players might have been blindsided, but to the viewers, each boot has been well telegraphed by the edit. Paul, Lucy, and Figgy were all given classic downfall edits – either shown to be out of touch, arrogant, or falsely in control. CeCe had a smaller scale version of the downfall edit but was still given the “we have the numbers, I’m safe” confessional.
While certain characters have been given complexity and visibility (mainly David, Ken, Adam, Figgy, and Michaela), some characters are just completely unimportant to the season (based on what the edit is showing ). Bret has been stuck in UTR/MOR land since the start and hasn’t received any depth or real insight into his character or game. Sunday, who at first seemed to be intentionally UTR has remained in a low vis UTR streak and hasn’t received a confessional since Episode 3. Will just seems to have been forgotten about completely. If you compare this to last season, by the end of Episode 6 every player remaining had had a CP rating. Obviously, there are more players this season, so that has to be taken into account.
In this episode, we once again saw an abundance of UTR ratings. There were only 18 confessionals in total, six of those shared between just two players (Figgy and Zeke), and five players that didn’t receive a confessional at all. Once again, the edit set the boot up for a downfall, although Figgy did receive some complexity, talking about her game and how she could best move forward. But all her flaws and weaknesses were highlighted making it obvious upon Takali’s immunity loss that she was gone.
So what is the reason for this pre-merge predictability? Maybe the eliminations were just straight-forward at this point in the game, so there wasn’t much the editors could do to make the narrative more unpredictable. Or maybe they’re hoping all the characters they’ve focused their attention on will pay-off post-merge and therefore they could afford to undersell the pre-merge boot edits and characters.
The positive here is that we don’t have an obvious front-runner winner contender. The lack of care in these pre-merge boot edits has meant that the characters who have received focus are all still viable contenders. Ken, Michaela, and Adam are all in the running, Ken perhaps the strongest of that three. David’s edit seems more “BIG CHARACTER” edit than winner but in a post-Tony world we can’t fully count out such an insane, high-vis character winning. Then you have the flawed but still viable edits like Zeke, Michelle, Chris, and Jay, who can’t be ruled out completely. If the edit’s intention was to create less complexity and unpredictability pre-merge to set up a complex and unpredictable merge with multiple winner contenders then we could be in for a fun ride.
In terms of themes, this episode brought back the theme of disproving millennial misconceptions. Jay was the one highlighting that idea this week, denying that millennials are selfish and only think about themselves, and instead talking about giving back to his family. We’ve seen Adam and Michaela express similar sentiments in previous episodes. The misconception Sunday had in her intro confessional, “My parents are paying for it.” But all three of these people want to win the money to pay for their parents.
The Previously On segment first reminded us that “On the Ikabula tribe, Sunday and Bret were in the minority,” qualified by a Bret confessional telling us “I’m down 4 to 2.” This one was a little odd because the episode didn’t delve into the dynamics on Ikabula all that much. In fact, Bret and Sunday didn’t even receive a confessional. The only camp focus on Ikabula revolved around Jay’s idol find. So why remind us of this? Maybe it will come into play later so we needed a little reminder even if it wasn’t present in this episode itself.
Next up we were told, “On Takali, Figgy and Taylor were trying to hide their romance” and that “Adam found himself in the power spot, between two Gen Xers and the Millennial lovers.” An Adam confessional followed telling us, “I’m the guy they need to work with.” All of this was set up for the episode, Figgy and Taylor revealing their romance, Adam caught between two sides, and then eventually flipping to Ken and Jessica.
“At the Vanua tribe, Gen X was in control, but there were cracks from within,” the Probst voice-over said as we saw David telling Chris he’d write down CeCe’s name. Chris was the one given credit for the move, “And Chris used his relationship with Zeke to pull in the Millennials,” Probst said followed by Chris saying “I’m ready to make a move” and a Zeke confessional telling us, “Finally, I catch a break in this game.”
The recap ended telling us, “At tribal council, the Gen X gave up their numbers, and CeCe.” That didn’t make it sound like a positive thing, “gave up their numbers” almost sounded like a dig. Does it hint at the Millennials taking control of this game?
Under the Radar
Things are not looking good for Will. He has been cursed with the worst edit of the season, all UTRs or INVs so far. You can tell things are bad when even in an episode where he’s involved in an idol find he still doesn’t receive even a basic narrational confessional. There is just nothing of substance here. No depth of character, no part in the story-arcs or gameplay. His edit is very similar to Kelly Wiglesworth’s in Survivor: Cambodia, who other than her OTTP first episode, had low vis UTR ratings for the rest of the season, even in her boot episode. It wouldn’t be surprising if Will made it fairly far and then we suddenly hear people talking about him as a threat out of nowhere in his boot episode.
Things aren’t much rosier for Sunday. Three episodes in a row now without a confessional. The saving grace for Sunday is that she did receive confessionals in the first three episodes when not entirely necessary and even received a pivotal intro confessional. There is also a consistent arc to Sunday’s content even if it is very minimal. She cares about people. We saw it back in Episode 2 when Paul had his medical scare; she got a confessional talking about how she hoped he was okay and how she cared for him as a person. In Episode 3, at tribal council she talked about how the Millennials will try different ways to get things done, showing an understanding and respect. Then in this episode, she was subtitled asking in a concerned tone “What’s wrong with Hannah?” at the challenge and then was later seen listening to and comforting Hannah in the shelter.
It wasn’t a lot of content, and she didn’t get a confessional about her feelings, but it was consistent with her character of caring about people’s well-being.
Bret was also shown to be more compassionate this episode which is a contrast to his earlier character that was dismissive of David. He was shown taking care of Hannah at the challenge and was later subtitled telling Michaela “There’s nothing you can’t do.” He was very fatherly. The interesting thing here is that in a secret scene on YouTube, Bret was actually critical of Hannah, calling her the weakest link and wondering why someone who suffers from panic attacks would do Survivor. But this was kept out of the edited episode – why? To protect Bret or protect Hannah? The edit hasn’t particularly cared to protect Bret in the past, even showing him to be inept last week, so it’s doubtful it was meant to protect him. There doesn’t appear to be lots of care with Bret’s edit which suggests he isn’t a contender and probably not a vital player in the later game.
Chris received his quietest edit so far this episode but given that he’s had a relatively consistent edit up until this point, with a great CP showing last week, it isn’t a major concern to his role in the season or his longevity. The content he did get continued to show Chris lacking in the “human aspect” of the game. Last week we heard him talk about “choking” David if he voted against him, and this episode he said, “It’s funny, though, before I feel like, you’re in my way for a million dollars, and then now it’s like, oh my god we got pie.” He admits to seeing people as obstacles in his way that he must bulldoze down (or choke if necessary) on his way to the million. He did connect with Zeke last week, but it was mostly Zeke gushing about Chris, whereas Chris saw Zeke as a number and potential lifeline.
The cooldown here is perfectly fine for Chris’ character; he is still on the same path as before, a player that should go far and make some moves but is flawed in his approach to people.
David, UTR? Surely not?! That’s right, for the first time this season David isn’t a 5 visibility nor a CP/OTT. It was a cooldown episode and one that was very much needed. It’s very similar to Tai’s edit last season, an OTTM5 premiere, followed by a string of 5 vis CP ratings and then a drop to 2 in Episode 6 (although Tai was MOR2 in Ep6, not UTR). David didn’t attend tribal council, and he voted with the majority the week before, so we didn’t need to see much from him, but we did still get to check in with him. He told us that voting for CeCe was the right thing to do moving forward and that “It’s no longer Millennials versus Gen X, it’s the people I trust versus the people you trust.” Which was backed up at the end of the episode when Ken said something similar at tribal council before Adam flipped and voted out a Millennial. The rest of David’s focus was challenge related, negative focus at the reward challenge and positive at the immunity challenge. David is one of the season’s main characters, and this is likely just a short cooldown before he fires up again.
Michelle was barely present in this episode, but in the few moments she was, it was to remind us she’s revered and well-connected amongst the Millennial majority. The episode opened with her tribe coming back from tribal council. Though she was shown hugging everyone, we didn’t hear her perspective at all on the vote or her position in the tribe. Instead, we heard David’s and Zeke’s perspectives, and Zeke talked about being a duo with Chris, leaving Michelle unaccounted for.
At the start of the reward challenge, Figgy was shown smiling and clapping because she was thrilled Michelle wasn’t voted out. “I love Michelle…Michelle and I are really really close. I love her,” registered Michelle’s P tone for the episode, while it also clarified Michelle’s well-liked status amongst Millennials. Zeke then had a whole confessional about Michelle, saying, “Michelle is a very dangerous player in this game…Michelle was plotting against me before and has connections to Taylor and Figgy.” At the immunity challenge, we saw Michaela helping Michelle and Zeke to win, saying she wanted to keep those Millennial numbers safe. All this leads to the view that Michelle is well liked and trusted amongst Millennials and could be the reason she is booted if Vanua head to tribal council again. It’s certainly possible this episode was set-up for an upcoming Michelle boot.
After Figgy had outed her relationship with Michelle at the reward, Michelle told Probst, “I think the truth works well in this game…I’ll own it.” We later saw her at camp openly talking about how Figgy owes her life in the game to Michelle, proving that she operates truthfully. The downside for Michelle’s edit is that the truth has caused Zeke to potentially turn on her, thereby undermining her strategy. That said, Zeke has been proven to be an unreliable narrator up until now, and earlier this very episode, he ridiculed those “silly Gen Xers” for sending home one of their own, which he is now contemplating doing. So on the surface of this episode, the truth did not work well for Michelle. Digging in, there’s hope within this edit that her strategy pans out for her longer term and if Michelle does avoid the chop next week she is certainly back in contention.
Over the Top
Taylor is a character that gets a lot of focus but not a lot of depth. He’s either the Millennial mascot or the love-sick puppy. It seems his next role will be the scorned lover. He continues to receive N tone, but it isn’t that he’s a nasty or horrible character. His edit is that of an idiotic doofus that lacks self-awareness and doesn’t take into account the feelings of others. It’s still negative but a different kind of negative. “They aren’t as cool as they think they are,” Ken said about Taylor and Figgy. Ken also called them “conniving, arrogant kids.” Also, Taylor’s arrogance was confirmed when he called himself and Figgy a “power couple” and said there was no reason they shouldn’t reveal their relationship to the others, and later qualified his over-confidence when he said, “Unless Adam’s smarter than we think he is, but I doubt it.”
His OTT-ness relates to his doofus edit – singing a song about eating coconuts, making out with Figgy in front of Adam, impersonating Jessica by placing a buff on his head and doing an accent that sounded like the Queen. It’s goofy and silly. Combined with his negative SPV and arrogance, it all amounts to another OTTN rating for Taylor.
“Freaking Michaela.” That subtitled quote from Jay during his idol find was Michaela’s label for her edit this episode. Sometimes she is frustrating and in your face (like jumping out at you finding the idol or yelling at Hannah in a challenge). Sometimes she is freaking amazing, kicking ass in challenges, starting fire, accomplishing anything. You get it all with Michaela. She’s really settling into this perpetual mixed tone role. We are meant to like her and root for her because she’s so real. But this isn’t a Ken sunshine and rainbows edit of, isn’t she so perfect? She’s not. But she’s real, and we are meant to admire that.
While there was some game talk in her narration of Jay’s idol scene, it wasn’t particularly in depth or detailed. She told us she is aligned with Jay but will “snitch” about the idol if she senses anything shady on his part. It wasn’t enough to subdue her OTT challenge performance yelling at Hannah and then chastising Taylor for being an idiot if he can’t figure out how to play the numbers on Takali. Even her discovery of Jay and his idol was slightly OTT – jumping out “Whatchu got there?!” We know she is trying to help the Millennials keep their numbers, but she is very in-your-face about it all.
There was one quote worth highlighting, which came from Bret after Ikabula won the challenge. He hugged Michaela and told her “There’s nothing you can’t do” (subtitled). On paper it sounds great, it backs up her story of being a fighter that never gives up and accomplishes what she puts her mind too. However, Bret is not a reliable narrator, everything he has predicted so far in this game turned out to be incorrect. So is it actually a bad sign that we had this line from Bret? Possibly. Or maybe the producers just really liked this line and it just so happened to be Bret that said it, and it couldn’t be helped. But it’s worth throwing up a caution and not going all in on this quote. Either way, Michaela’s edit remains strong and places her as one of the season’s biggest characters.
Zeke gave us some proper insight into his thoughts and his game in this episode. He told us that he’s now in a power position with Chris, talked about why he distrusted Michelle, and considered ditching the Millennials to give him a better chance of going far in the game. However, there is still some hypocrisy with Zeke’s edit. He is insightful but not wholly reliable. At the start of the episode, he ridiculed the “silly Gen Xers” for voting out one of their own. But then later in the episode, he says how he might have to vote out Millennials. On the surface, we saw that it’s a logical and sound decision (Michelle was previously plotting against him, and Figgy didn’t show him any love at the reward challenge). But in the details it tells us that he continues to be an unreliable narrator, just like Figgy, not following through on his own thoughts.
Right now, Zeke is in a power position, or so he tells us, but it’s hard to believe it fully. Unlike say, Adam, who last week told us he was in the power position, and we knew we could believe him based on his past edit, and low and behold, he was the man with all the power on Takali this episode. There are flaws to Zeke’s edit but also positives that suggest a big role at the merge and while he can’t be fully ruled out as a winner contender, his chances aren’t as strong as others.
Hannah has been absent the past couple of weeks, but she returned in the last episode, and even though it was under bad circumstances (suffering a panic attack), it was a good edit for her. When she told Sunday about her reward challenge panic attack, she described it as “A fascinating experience. A panic attack is not necessarily a lot of panic. What it is is suppressed panic, and this is a game where you’re constantly not addressing every emotion. Like I already know what I’m going to be made fun of by some of the people.” It was basically a PSA for panic attacks and telling us that hey, you may want to make fun of this, but you shouldn’t because this is a hard game that compresses a lot of emotion and that’s what leads to a panic attack.
She then further elaborated in a confessional, explaining that she suffers from anxiety and how she doesn’t want to appear weak in the game. “Perception is reality, and I have to keep saying I’m good so that people know that I’m good so that it doesn’t become a hindrance to my game.” The fact she got to explain her panic attack, to both Sunday and the audience in confessional, and related it to her game, gave Hannah her CP rating for the episode. She received the positive tone for the choirs singing in the background of her confessional, plus the care and concern offered by Bret and Sunday, and the round of applause from the entire cast.
Hannah is unlikely to be the winner and her edit so far doesn’t suggest she will be one of the major post-merge players (there’s even enough content to make her a viable next boot), but there is just enough here to give her a role in the story. She has been shown to be goofy but also a worrier and that could play a part into the story of the bigger characters.
Jay has a had a steady edit from the start of this season, some positives, some negatives, but a consistent screen presence and someone that is definitely still in contention as a potential winner (although not as likely as others) and an important player. One of the themes set up in the season premiere was the notion of disproving millennial misconceptions, and while at times Jay has been presented as representing millennial values (dreamer, adventurer, opposes the boring 9-5 lifestyle), in this episode he showed to be more than that. “People say that Millennials are selfish and they just want to do things their own way and they do whatever they want, you know, (tears) but it’s not true. This is for my family. (sniffles) I’m going to win Survivor.” He openly denied the millennial stereotypes (mooching off parents, selfish) and talked about wanting to win to provide for his family (mother and sister). He even got a winner quote thrown in there for good measure – although it might have been a little too on the nose.
It has been three episodes in a row now where we’ve had tearful confessionals talking about family. First, Adam in Episode 4 after he found the Vanua idol talked and cried about his mother suffering from cancer. Last week, in Episode 5, Michaela had an emotional moment after she started the fire, crying about her family and their struggle to maintain success. Now, in Episode 6, we have Jay getting teary about his mother and sister and how he’ll win for them after he finds an idol. Usually a confessional like this, an emotional reaction to a big game success, is a strong sign of winner potential. Jeremy Collins in Survivor: Cambodia got emotional after his second idol find, crying about his wife and kids. It was the scene that cemented Jeremy as the clear front-runner, but in that season there weren’t any comparable scenes from other cast members. This season, we’ve now had three. It seems the edit this season wants as many viable contenders as possible and scenes like these really help. But at least two are distractions, if not all three.
The idol find confessional was definitely positive for Jay, but it was immediately undermined once Michaela caught him in the act and from that point forward Michaela took over the scene and confessional. It became more about Michaela’s thoughts and where Jay stands with her. Jay shouldn’t be ruled out of winner contention but moments like this, plus his sometimes contradictory content gives us a moment for pause.
Jessica was shown to be very aware this episode and in a decent position on the Takali tribe. She already knew about Figgy and Taylor’s romance and was not surprised when Figgy revealed it. She knew Adam was the swing vote and approached him to find out where his head was at. And she knew Ken was in danger and was the one that directed Ken with instructions on what he had to do to save himself. All of this coupled with her confessional about how she needs Ken to move forward gave her a CP-lite rating. The problem for Jessica, as we said last time, is she’s just a side-character in Ken’s story, she’s his plot device. Last week, she apologized to Ken for not trusting him and promised to give him the Legacy advantage if she was voted out, and this week she made sure Ken was safe, which followed on her arc of trying to repay Ken. Jessica has flashes of game awareness but no personal content and seems to be there to prop up the story of others (mainly Ken).
Ken has the most positively consistent edit of the season. He’s been CP since Episode 2, never dipped below a 3 vis since then either, and has had a perfect mixture of personal content and game content with positive tone thrown on top. His edit in Episode 6 was strong too. Like Jessica, he was shown to be aware of the Figgy and Taylor romance before it was revealed. He told us, “I’m not going to sit on my ass and hope and pray everything is okay. I’m gonna make moves to make sure I’m okay.” Although the camera did then cut to him sitting on his ass, which was a little odd, but he was sitting next to Adam, the swing vote he needed to sway. We saw Jessica prompting him on what to say to Adam, and then saw him follow up on this with his pitch to Adam on the future of working together, but he wasn’t collaborative about who to take out. Contrast with Figgy who was collaborative but didn’t offer Adam a future. Maybe it’s bad for Ken that we were shown Jessica as the one telling him what to say but this was most likely to continue the story of Jessica owing Ken.
It’s hard to see any major flaws in Ken’s edit at this point. You kind of have to look at the smaller things if Ken’s story is eventually going to take a turn. The “not going to sit on my ass” followed by a shot of him doing just that is perhaps meant to be a bad sign? Jessica giving him direction is maybe meant to be a bad sign? Figgy’s subtitled “Oh man, that was a hard fall” when Ken fell during the immunity challenge is maybe meant to foreshadow some sort of fall in Ken’s future? (although it was more likely relevant to Figgy’s fall this episode). Also he referred to Figgy as “little girl,” and combined with his “sweetie” towards Jessica in an earlier episode give off a slight condescending vibe. But none of these are on the same scale as his positives, yet.
Lastly, Ken also confirmed his buddy David’s confessional at the start of the episode when he said, “It’s no longer Millennials vs. Gen X.” At tribal council, Ken said, “Numbers can change at any time, and maybe it’s not so black and white as Gen X and Millennials.” With Adam flipping and voting out Figgy, it cemented that it is indeed no longer as simple as Gen X and Millennials. Ken is in a good position; we know his character, his background, his allies, and he is one of the few that has shown to cross the barrier between generations – shown to admire Gen X qualities but also respect Millennial qualities too. Right now, Ken is probably top of the winner contenders for now.
This episode completed Figgy’s consistent storyline as a flawed, complex character. Her game strategy was correct, but she was shown to be unable to execute on any of it.
- Strategy: Figgy wanted to hide her relationship with Taylor. Execution: as Jessica said, “You’re not very good with keeping secrets.” Kissing in front of Adam constantly, to which Adam said, “Gross.” This was further qualified at the reward challenge when she spoke openly of her love for Michelle. She couldn’t keep her mouth shut when she needed to.
- Strategy: She tried winning Adam over for the vote. Execution: she let him choose the target boot, but she offered him no future safety or prospects.
- Strategy: “People who write down Figgy’s name go home.” Execution: needing Adam’s vote, and forgiving him too late to work with him.
- Strategy: “Gonna trade [the small immunity idol] in for the big one today” at the immunity challenge. Execution: she blew their lead and lost the challenge.
There were two competing sides trying to win over Adam in a “tug of war,” and the primary tuggers were Figgy on the one side and Ken on the other. While Jessica was shown being helpful to Ken, by contrast, Taylor dragged Figgy down. “It’s hard to direct the blind, and you hope you can, and then you fail,” she said after the reward challenge as the camera panned to Taylor. It was a direct commentary on Figgy’s game, trying and failing to lead Taylor. Her attempt at trying, being in an open showmance with him, put the target on her back. As Adam described it, the intention of his vote was to “Get out the power couple!”
Most of her N tone this episode was registered by Ken. He described her as “conniving,” “arrogant,” thinking she and Taylor are “in charge of it all,” and “not as cool as they think they are.” But there was some positivity too, she shed some tears after the reward challenge and again when she was voted out. Perhaps not enough on their own but what swung her to an M tone was Adam saying, “I genuinely like the person I’m voting out tonight.”
At tribal council, she talked about how “everything isn’t all peachy with the Millennials,” and they weren’t peachy in large part because of her. While none of her “goat” talk or Will’s prophecy of her making it all the way to the end amounted to anything, Figgy leaves behind a storyline of, how will the Millennials get along without Figgy, their major source of contention?
Overall, Figgy is a CPN for the season. Her mixed tone this episode is not enough to wipe out all the N tone that came before. But she did display some strategic awareness, even if she struggled with the execution.
Adam was actually in the background for most of the episode until Takali lost the immunity challenge and then he was thrust into action, as he was the swing vote on the tribe. He got to explain both of his options; he talked them out to the camera and to his tribemates. He knew he was in the swing vote position and talked about how “tough” that was. It backed up his claim last week that he was in the “power position.” What Adam says we can take to the bank. He is the audience narrator. He pretty much spelled that out when he said, “The whole world is probably screaming, “Get out the power couple! What are you thinking?”“ He’s in tune with the viewing audience.
Adam has a solid edit, but as with many of this cast, it’s not without its flaws. While he had that amazing personal confessional after his idol find in Episode 4, he hasn’t given us much personal character stuff in the episodes since then. Also, the camera cutting to him doing a big yawn was not a great look. It’s also unclear where Adam’s story goes from here. He’s been tied to the Figgy/Taylor drama from Episode 2 when he wrote down Figgy’s name and she ended up staying. He’s spoken negatively of the couple (mostly about Figgy) and talked about taking them out. He’s now delivered on that by getting rid of Figgy. Where does his story go now? Does he continue in a feud with Taylor? Or will his new alliance with Ken and Jessica provide new storylines? He really needs it to be the latter to put him at the top of contenders.
Stories in Play
-Millennials vs. Gen X – the theme of the season, expected to continue throughout. Even though Probst still forces the theme, this week it started to become less about Millennials vs. Gen X, and we’re starting to see the two generations working together.
-Disproving Millennial Misconceptions – Will the Millennial players prove or disprove the negative stereotypes? Adam introduced this concept in episode one. Jay was the chief proponent of this theme in Episode 6, shedding the “selfish” tag and playing for his family.
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – It came up in Ken’s pitch to Adam, when he asked him if he’d “rather sit with him, David and Jess or over there with Figgy, Taylor and the cool kids?” Adam finally voted out Figgy, enacting revenge on the cool kids that blindsided him in Episode 2.
-David Out of Water – David’s edit was subdued this week but he still had focus on his challenge struggles at the reward, but was then praised by Probst in the immunity challenge.
-Humility/Connections – This theme is best represented by Ken currently. Last week showed his connections with Jessica and Adam and those connections came through for him this week.
-Dreams & Nightmares – No mention of dreams or nightmares this episode.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.