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Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X Episode 7 – Edgic


Inside Survivor analyzes the edit of Survivor: Millennials vs. Gen X Episode 7, mapping the stories, characters, and winner contenders. Edgic is a feature co-written by Martin Holmes and two-time Survivor player Shirin Oskooi.

Edgic is a weekly feature analyzing each player’s edit, mapping characters to their story-arc. Note that our focus is not solely to determine the winner, as is typical of other Edgic sites. For more information on how Edgic works and rating definitions read our Introduction to Edgic article.

You can read all our previous Edgic posts here.

Color Key

NewColours

Name EP 1 EP 2 EP 3 EP 4 EP 5 EP 6 EP 7 EP 8 EP 9 EP 10 EP 11 EP 12 EP 13 EP 14
Adam2Adam MOR3 UTR2 CP4 CPP5 CPP3 CP4 MOR2
Bret2Bret MOR4 UTR1 UTR2 MOR2 MORN3 UTR1 CPM3
Chris2Chris MOR4 MOR2 MOR3 MORM4 CP5 UTR1 UTRN2
David2David OTTM5 CPM5 CP5 CP5 CPM5 UTR2 CPM3
Hannah2Hannah CP3 OTT3 OTTN2 UTR1 INV CPP3 CP4
Jay2Jay MORN3 CP4 MOR2 UTR2 MOR3 CPP3 CP5
Jessica2Jessica CP4 INV CP3 MORN4 MOR2 CP3 CP2
Ken2Ken MORP2 CPP4 CPP4 CP5 CPP3 CP4 UTR1
Michelle2Michelle MOR2 CP3 UTR1 INV CP4 UTRP2 MORP2
Sunday2Sunday UTR2 UTR2 MOR2 UTR1 UTRN1 UTR1 MORP3
Taylor2Taylor OTTN3 OTTN3 MOR3 OTT1 OTTN3 OTTN4 OTTM3
Will2Will UTR2 UTR2 UTR1 INV INV UTR1 MOR3
Zeke2Zeke OTTP4 CP3 MOR2 UTR2 MOR4 CP3 MORM3
Michaela2Michaela UTR1 CPM5 CP2 OTTP2 CPM3 OTTM3 CPP5
Figgy2Figgy CPN3 OTTN5 CPN3 UTR1 CPN3 CPM5
CeCe2CeCe UTR2 UTR1 MORN4 UTR1 MOR4
Lucy2Lucy UTR1 INV UTR1 OTTN5
Paul2Paul UTR3 OTTN3 OTTN5
Mari2Mari CP3 MOR3
Rachel2Rachel OTTN4

What did this episode tell us?

Wow. In simple terms, this episode told us “forget what you think you know!”

Last week, we suggested, “the edit’s intention was to create less complexity and unpredictability pre-merge to set up a complex and unpredictable merge.” It seems that started one episode earlier than predicted, with Michaela’s elimination kick starting that unpredictability as we head into the merge next episode. The majority of boots prior this vote had been well telegraphed (classic downfall quotes, sudden air-time out of nowhere). Michaela’s edit, while not perfect, was one of the biggest of the pre-merge and this episode played up her elimination for ultimate shock value.

Something else we mentioned last week was how the edit was trying to portray multiple winner contenders. We talked about how the edit was overusing the Jeremy Collins style tearful family related confessional concerning Adam, Michaela, and Jay: “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.” We now know that Michaela’s was a distraction. Will Adam and Jay meet the same fate?

This episode also continued on from last week’s idea of the game no longer being about Millennials vs. Gen X. Both David and Ken suggested that the game had moved beyond that, David said it was now about “people I trust vs. people you trust.” It stands to reason that Michaela would be eliminated this episode. Michaela was still operating under the guise of Millennials vs. Gen X, putting plans together to ensure her Millennial alliance would make it all the way to the end. She failed to see the game had moved beyond that and paid the ultimate price.

People owning up to things was another running theme through this episode. It was bookended with Adam and Jay holding their hands up to their moves. The episode opened with Adam admitting to Taylor that he screwed him, “you’re in a worse position now because of me.” And it closed with Jay owning up to the Michaela blindside, “Yeah. I did it. Sorry.” In between that we also had David telling Zeke that he has an idol. Adam’s admittance seemed to backfire, whereas David’s idol confession seemingly bought him some good will. The jury is still out on whether Jay’s ownership of the Michaela blindside will work out for him or not.

The Recap

The Previously On segment opened by telling us, “At the Ikabula tribe, Sunday and Bret were outnumbered by the Millennials” followed by a Jay confessional saying, “See ya later, Gen Xers!”  We got this last week even though it didn’t play a part in that episode, but it suggested it would be relevant soon and strongly hinted that the Ikabula tribe would be attending tribal council this episode. Interesting that it showed Jay saying “See ya later, Gen Xers” when he ended up saving them.

Next, we were reminded that “At the Vanua tribe, Zeke was starting to grow closer to the Gen Xers.” Followed by Zeke in confessional: “It might be necessary for to give up on the Millennial tribe.” It led into Zeke forming his bond with Gen Xer David this episode.

Lastly, it covered last week’s tribal council, “At the Takali tribe, Adam was in control, and had to decide if he should vote with the Millennial couple (Figgy: “Are we voting Ken?” Taylor: “Yes”), or to trust the Gen Xers (Ken to Adam: “I will never put your name down”).” Followed by an Adam confessional, “The question is which side is going to be better for my future in this game.” Worth noting that it showed Ken saying to Adam that he will never put his name down, as Ken was intentionally left out of the strategy discussion with Taylor this episode. It didn’t give any credit to Jessica being the one that pushed Ken into talking to Adam.

THE CHARACTERS

Under the Radar

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Ken’s edit and visibility took a breather this episode. He was only a part of the action twice this episode, once at camp talking politics to Taylor, and then observing Jessica woo Taylor strategically. None of this advanced Ken’s story. Mainly, it reminded us that he’s thoughtful, honorable, and appears to still be in Adam’s corner going into the merge. Also, Ken needed a cooldown episode after a string of high vis CP ratings, and being UTR going into the merge is probably a good sign for his chances.

His political line was subtitled, “Everything, every part of our daily lives is affected by policy. And that policy is created by government officials that we elect, or don’t elect.” The relevance to Survivor is that people’s day to day lives and the way the game is played is shaped by how the votes come down, whether or not each player was a part of that vote. This is especially true once the merge hits, as it becomes an individual game.

When Jessica asked Taylor if Adam broke promises to him, Ken remained silent, and the camera even zoomed into his face looking seriously at the ground, like he was consciously choosing not to take part in this conversation – like he disapproved. We’ll talk more about this conversation in Jessica’s section, as we believe the conversation, and Ken’s reaction, mostly reflected upon her. For Ken, it just keeps him in Adam’s corner going into the merge.

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Chris’ role in this episode was to remind us that he’s close with Zeke, and that he’s a brute. During the reward feast, Chris continually encouraged Zeke to eat a lot — “attaboy” — and Zeke encouraged him, in return, to let the farts fly. Their openness and encouragement of each other to embrace the animal instincts speaks to their comfort with one another. We also saw David saying that he wouldn’t put it past Chris to betray him, and therefore David made a move on Zeke to pull him in closer to his side. Historically, we’ve seen David one-up Chris a number of times. We are left with a question mark here as to who will win out on Zeke’s loyalty, or will all three of them stick together going into the merge.

Chris had a confessional saying that all the men were eating like a “bunch of animals,” showing awareness as well as validating what we were expected to conclude with our own eyes from that scene. Because the scene was harped on, Chris called Michelle a “human being” by contrast, and Michelle talked about the men being “gross,” Chris and all the guys register N tone from this scene. At the end of the immunity challenge, when this tribe celebrated their win, Chris nearly punched Michelle in the face and grabbed David aggressively, excitedly by the head while David cowered to protect himself. All of this points to Chris being a big old aggressive, beastly, animalistic guy. It probably just tells us more about who he is, though it likely points to him trying to brute force his way through the game at the merge as well.

Middle of the Road

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This episode was all about the fallout to Adam siding with the Gen Xers at the last tribal council. He was the first to speak as the episode opened up, inviting Taylor to a one on one chat. This is the third time this season we’ve seen the “flipper” come back to camp and try to talk to the person they betrayed: Hannah to Zeke, Jessica to Ken, and now Adam to Taylor. It begs the question for next episode, will Jay approach Hannah and try to smooth things over with her?

During Adam’s conversation with Taylor, Adam harped on screwing over Taylor, “I screwed you, I admit that” “you are now in a worse position than you were before, and that’s my fault,” etc. That’s all we heard of the conversation: Adam belaboring this point. In confessional, we got to hear him narrate his choice, that he sided with the Gen Xers and Figgy was the sacrifice. Because it was straightforward and purely narrational of his actions, he gets a MOR rating for this episode.

The other time Adam received focus this episode was when Jessica seemingly turned on him and asked Taylor about what kinds of promises Adam made him. We, the viewer, never saw Adam make any of the promises Taylor claims he made, and throughout this conversation, the camera panned to Adam alone collecting loads of firewood. The edit seemed to stand behind Adam as a hard worker and stand-up guy. He enters the merge with a weak relationship with Taylor and Jessica, but seemingly a solid one with Ken.

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Michelle was barely in the episode, but what little content she got was validated as correct as well as punctuated with strategic insight (and burps and farts). At the reward feast, we saw all the men shoving food in their mouths and devolve into gas bombs. By contrast, Michelle used a knife and fork, took her time, and shook her head as the men released flatus. Chris had a confessional calling the men animals while describing Michelle as eating, “like a human,” basically narrating what we just saw. Michelle then had a confessional saying it got “gross and annoying,” and her perspective had been validated by the footage and by Chris. It gives Michelle a slight P tone for the episode. As Chris pointed out, it was the guys behaving one way and Michelle, the lone female, behaving differently. Michelle latched on to this saying, “I am a little nervous because me being the only girl, I could be an easy vote, but I’m not going to change who I am for the game.” She observed that she’s standing out, which could be bad for her game, but she won’t behave without “manners” for the game.

It’s worth drawing particular attention to the line, “I’m not going to change who I am for the game.” Taylor had a similar quote in the first episode, “This is who I am, and I can’t change.” Taylor can’t change; Michelle won’t change. This also brings to mind her exchange with Probst last week, “I think the truth works well in this game,” as if she shouldn’t have to lie, i.e., change her naturally truthful nature, to be able to do well. As we said before for Taylor, Survivor is a game of adaptation, and people who are depicted as unchanging tend to fare poorly. This is the first really negative sign to Michelle’s winner chances.

This episode tells us she hasn’t assimilated with the other three members of this tribe and sets her up to return to a Millennial contingent at the merge.

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Zeke was the primary focus of the Vanua tribe this episode. The recap focused on him bonding with his new Gen X tribemates, and the episode showed him doing more of that.

First, David talked about how he feels closer to Zeke than to Chris, saying they’re “cut from the same cloth,” and revealed his idol to him to win over his loyalty. Zeke said he’s delighted that David told him, and that if he doesn’t have one himself, it’s good for someone he’s getting close to to have it. He said that David has put his life in Zeke’s hands and that he’ll take very good care of it, with a pause and then noting, “for the time being.” Zeke’s content was relatively straightforward, basically just narrating that David told him about his idol and that he’s happy about that. There was no in-depth strategy or complexity on how he was going to use that information or how he’d manage his relationship with David. Soaring, positive music played over this entire scene, both David’s and Zeke’s confessionals, so it felt more like Zeke’s confessional was just meant to validate David’s move as a positive one for both of them. This is why Zeke stays in MOR territory for this episode, registering P tone from this bit.

Second, during the reward feast, as we mentioned in Chris’ write-up, Zeke’s bond and comfort with Chris was basically a spectacle of machismo. Chris lauded Zeke for all volume of food he was eating, and Zeke encouraged Chris to let the gas out. Furthermore, Zeke got a whole confessional to talk about why he was eating so much – because he grew up dieting a lot and his struggle with weight enables him to eat a lot. He also related it to be a positive in the game, because “the more calories [he] can eat now, the longer it’s going to benefit [him].” This is on the cusp of a CP edit because we do learn more about him personally and he does draw a connection strategically. However, the description and analysis were somewhat shallow, not displaying enough complexity. In other words, the scene really just boiled down to overeating, falling short of that CP rating. All of the gas emitting landed all the men N tone as it was “gross and annoying” to Michelle. This rounds out Zeke’s rating to a Mixed tone MOR edit for the episode.

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Welcome to the show, Will! This is the first time all season Will was actually present in the episode. All his ratings up till now have been UTR or INV. This episode, Will earns his MOR rating by being a sounding board to Hannah and Jay about various players’ temperament in the game, and by talking about trust and aggressive gameplay at tribal council.

Every time he spoke throughout the episode, it was to talk about another player’s behavior. When Hannah outed Bret’s occupation to the tribe, Will advised her, “If he is a cop, let him reveal that on his own time. Don’t force his hand or else he’ll get really uncomfortable.” He was predicting Bret’s behavior if Hannah took action. Is he right? Seems reasonable. When Jay pitched Will on voting out Michaela, Will said Michaela was “thinking way too far ahead.” He also talked about Michaela in confessional, saying, she’s “so intelligent” and “thinks about [the game] methodically.” The edit validated all of these descriptions of Michaela, which we’ll break this down in her section. He then told Jay, “If we tell Hannah, she’ll freak out. If we don’t tell Hannah, she’ll freak out.” He was definitely correct about this as Hannah was highlighted as freaking out after the vote at tribal council.

Will consistently reads people correctly, which will help us follow the narrative as the season continues, but the negatives for Will come when he strategizes. When discussing the Michaela vote, he told Jay, “She knows you have the idol. That’s scary.” Will himself also knows about Jay’s idol, which, therefore, also makes him scary. At tribal, he told Jeff, “People recognize if you’re playing crazy, guns a-blazing…In a game where trust is a rare commodity, anytime you can find that with anybody, you latch onto it because that might be what’ll get you to the end of this game.” The logic here made sense, but he didn’t follow it. As Jay told us earlier in the episode, Michaela’s only alliance was Will and Jay. Will had Michaela’s trust and he knew it and still voted her out anyway.

All this tells us, going into the merge, is that we can trust Will’s read on people, but his gameplay isn’t sound.

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Sunday managed to escape her streak of UTR ratings this episode and even received positive tone. Her arc of genuinely caring about people continued here, and we also saw that people care about her too. “Sunday is so sweet,” Hannah said, as we cut to Sunday talking about how some family members call her “Sunny.” At tribal council, Michaela referred to Sunday (and Bret) as “great people” and “Mamma Sunday.” After returning to camp after the immunity challenge, Sunday said in confessional, “We actually all sat in silence for like at least a half an hour because we genuinely like each other” and she got teary when talking about how she and Bret would have to vote for each other. All of this added up to P tone for Sunday.

After the immunity challenge, Probst asked, “Will it be seconds or minutes before the paranoia sets in and you guys start scrambling?” Sunday answered, “I’m gonna say minutes because we’re all going to try and play it cool for a few seconds and then I’m gonna say within minutes, we turn on the paranoia button.” She was right. They did play it cool for a while and then scrambled. Then at tribal, she said she was wrong. But she wasn’t! Just on order of magnitude of time.

We know very little about Sunday’s strategy or plans going forward in the game, but we do know she cares for people and they care for her back.

Over the Top

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After initial viewing our first impression of Taylor this episode was CPP. But upon close rewatch there really wasn’t any complexity here and his positive SPV (second person visibility) was undercut with negative at the same time. Each one of his confessionals was OTT in nature. Confessional 1 – Tribal sucked to the max! I can’t trust anyone. Figgy was the light! Confessional 2 – I’m pissed at Adam! Revenge! I will destroy you! Confessional 3 – Politics is dumb! There was no depth or strategic insight, it was the same Taylor we’ve seen since episode one, OTT and the stereotypical millennial.

Jessica was the person that gave Tayor most of his SPV and she confirmed his status as the millennial mascot. “Taylor is classic millennial. He’s so honest with his answers. He might not always sound the brightest, but you like him just the same because he’ll give you the answer that is truly the answer.” The “classic millennials” is what stands out and while it’s positive that she said she likes him, it was undercut with negativity for saying he doesn’t sound the brightest. She then followed that up with, “We have Taylor, who wouldn’t understand strategy, I think, even if you tried to explain it to him, and so maybe what he tells us is a little more reliable than what we’re getting from Adam.” Again, positive because “reliable” but negative because she’s implying he’s stupid “wouldn’t understand strategy.” 

While on first glance it might be tempting to give Taylor a CP rating, all of the complexity comes from Jessica, not Taylor. Talking about how his generation doesn’t care about who the president is and lying about Adam promising to never write his name down does not make him CP. It’s OTT Taylor who represents all the negative stereotypes of millennials. It tells us that he is most likely to join back up with his fellow millennials at the merge.

Complex Personalities

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Jessica’s main content this episode revolved around a conversation with Taylor. After Taylor and Ken’s politics talk, Jessica said in confessional, “Taylor is classic millennial. He’s so honest with his answers. He might not always sound the brightest, but you like him just the same because he’ll give you the answer that is truly the answer.” She admits to not thinking Taylor is very bright yet believes in his answers, which is a little alarming. She then asked Taylor if Adam promised never to write his and Figgy’s name down which Taylor confirmed. But the edit has never shown Adam saying this, so we shouldn’t believe Taylor and neither should Jessica, yet she is now considering throwing Adam under the bus. Meanwhile, Adam was shown collecting firewood and Ken was shown staring at the ground, not involved in the conversation.

So what is the intention of this conversation? It could be any of these…

1) to show Jess in a bad light strategically. (She basically said Taylor is dumb but then believed what he said.)
2) to introduce some false question for Taylor’s vote at merge even though he’s clearly with the Millennials.
3) to give Taylor a solid bounce back edit.

It’s more likely a combination of the first two, as the edit kind of presented Taylor’s “I will destroy you” revenge quote as goofy rather than the start of a serious comeback. But there are signs that this could backfire on Jessica. “We have Taylor who wouldn’t understand strategy if you could even try to explain it to him. So maybe what he’s telling us is a little more reliable than what we’re getting from Adam who is more strategic,” she said. Not only is doubting Adam but she is underestimating Taylor and underestimating people is becoming a prevalent theme this season. Bret, Chris, and Paul all underestimated David who continually proved them wrong (fire, idol, connecting with Millennials). Zeke underestimated Taylor and ended up blindsided by Taylor’s alliance. Mari underestimated Hannah who ended up flipping on her. Taylor underestimated Adam who voted Figgy out. Now Jessica is underestimating Taylor. Every time somebody underestimates someone, they end up paying for it. The edit is telling us Jessica will most likely pay for this.

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David’s edit this episode showed him winning over a new ally in Zeke, being suspicious of Chris, and throwing Michelle under the bus, setting up his strong, medium, and weak allies going into the merge.

David had a very strategic confessional talking about his position in the tribe. He told us that while he thinks Michelle would be the next to go, he wouldn’t put it past Chris to blindside him. Rather than leave it to chance, David wanted to take his relationship with Zeke to the next level by showing him his idol. He explained why he has a bond with Zeke, “I think we’re cut from the same cloth.” He explained the potential pros and cons of showing his idol, “That would establish a tremendous amount of trust. But…it’s a very risky move.” This is David’s CP rating. He was then shown pulling Zeke aside and telling him about the idol, and Zeke then had a confessional speaking positively of the whole moment. Throughout all of this, positive music was playing, somewhat strangely as it wasn’t a personal growth moment or a clear win in the game, and so this is a clear example of “editorial manipulation” that’s a clear cue to the audience of how you should feel about the move. This music tells us the move was positive, giving David his P tone for the episode.

Later David had a narrational confessional about the reward feast. It seemed purely narrational to let the audience in on how great the reward was — not just because these are starving people on a remote island, but it would be delicious by real life standards as well. During the feasting, though, there was a whole segment showing the men belching and farting labeled as “gross and annoying.” There was a closeup of David burping during this scene. All the men receive N tone for this, which rounds out David’s tone to Mixed for the episode.

At the immunity challenge, when the Vanua tribe was in last place, and Michelle was struggling with the combination lock, David told the other men, “I think she’s having a meltdown.” Given his earlier thoughts of how Michelle should be the next to go but that he was worried about his own position, it made this look like a calculated moment of David throwing Michelle under the bus and trying to ensure she was next to go if they lost. It also told us he likely won’t be working with her come merge time.

One final note about David’s edit: we saw a camp scene of him asking Zeke’s permission to sit next to him and thanking Michelle for cooking the rice, which she said was super easy. We keep being shown little moments like this of David being gracious and kind, e.g. when he thanked Ken for catching the octopus and thanked the Gen X tribe for not voting him out. It paints a consistent picture of his personality and reminds us all the time that he’s a good guy.

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Bret was the decoy boot target this episode and continued to be painted in a somewhat negative light. He did, however, register his first CP of the season.

The main topic at Ikabula camp was Bret’s job. He claimed to be a funeral director, but Hannah interrogated him, and we saw him give suspiciously shallow and vague answers about this line of work. We, the audience, know that he’s a police officer, and Hannah and Jay correctly saw through his lie about it. The edit has undermined Bret’s gameplay all season, and that continued here. For this, he was continually referred to, negatively, as “lying” and “suspicious,” giving him N tone for the episode.

Bret had a confessional reflecting upon all of this though. While he didn’t realize that the millennials have seen through his lies, he reflected upon Hannah questioning him and explained his strategy behind it. He lies because “I know the history of Survivor. Police officers don’t generally do well.” When Ikabula lost immunity, Bret led the Gen X decision-making. He told Sunday, “You have to put my name, and I have to put your name…because if you vote for anyone else and you get through, they’re gonna gun for you.” He said in confessional that they had a promise never to write each other’s names down, but they have to break that game plan to save themselves. He said Sunday agrees, and the camera cut back to Sunday agreeing. He laid out a plan, the thinking behind it, and the consequences if they didn’t follow through, and Sunday agreed with all of it. Because Bret was shown consciously planning and executing on gameplay this episode and always getting to explain why, he gets a CP rating.

There was also P tone for Bret sprinkled throughout. Hannah referred to both him and Sunday as “these two really sweet Gen Xers,” and Michaela referred to them as “these great people here.” She also called him “Uncle Bret.” Sunday cried about it likely being one of the two of them to go home, showing she cares for Bret. Finally, while it was N tone for people to call Bret a liar, he showed contrition about it, saying he “hated to lie.” Therefore, Bret’s overall tone is M.

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This episode was a near identical repeat of Hannah’s story in episodes 1 and 2. At the Millennial tribe, she correctly identified the existence of a Cool Kids alliance. She feared for herself and made a strategic decision to bring up the Cool Kids alliance to Mari, who believed her. This spurred a counter-alliance. When they went to tribal council, it was revealed that Hannah was out of the loop, and her whole original plan failed. This episode, she correctly identified that Bret was lying about his job. She wanted the Millennials to stick together and made a strategic decision to tell the Millennials that Bret is lying in order to distance the Gen Xers from them. They believed her. When they went to tribal council, Hannah was out of the loop, and her whole original plan failed.

Will also described her as someone who freaks out, which prevented Jay and Will from wanting to include her in on the plan. We’ve seen her “freak out” several times this season: when she opened a coconut, when Michelle told her to vote Mari, when Zeke didn’t want to talk to her after tribal council, and at a reward challenge when sitting out. She once again freaked out at tribal council, when voting — “as always, I’m shaking” — and when Michaela received votes.

Hannah is someone who has a good read on people and situations and is even good at convincing people of her reads. However, her propensity to freak out over things, and her openness about it, consistently pushes people away from her and prevents people from wanting to work with her.

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This episode was the story of how Jay single-handedly took out Michaela by using an opposite strategy to hers: she methodically planned out the game long-term, and he plays day-to-day and follows his gut. Survivor favors those who adapt, even if the soundness of his decision was called into question.

Jay was depicted as the decision-maker on this tribe. When Hannah brought up Bret’s profession, it was Jay who validated her to the rest of the tribe and told her to “keep doing [her] little investigations.” When Michaela showed the shells and rocks plan and everyone asked who the target should be, it was Jay who said, “Get Bret out,” subtitled. He was the one then shown thinking it through, marinating on it, then pitching Will on voting Michaela instead. Will went with it. When Will questioned telling Hannah, it wasJay who made the call, subtitled: “I’d rather not tell her.” He also said, “Bret and Sunday will vote Michaela,” giving the impression that he’d be the one to go tell them what to do.

Not only did he dictate everything that happened, but he was once again shown to have a great read on people and always related it back to his game. He correctly believed Bret is a cop, and furthermore, said this impacts his game: “it matters if he’s a cop because he’s already lying in my face,” meaning he can’t trust him. The edit had been showing us all along what a big threat Michaela was, and Jay was the first person to get it and articulate it. “She’s a huge threat because she’s good at competitions, she’s a smart chick,” and then he acted upon it for the sake of his game, “so I have this epiphany of saying, ‘Boop! Michaela should go home before the merge!'” He didn’t just make the plan, he also valued the timing, which is a recurring theme on Survivor: get them before they can get you. Finally, he even knew not to be worried of a counter-attack from Michaela. “I trust Michaela. She hasn’t lied. Michaela’s only alliance is us.” All of this was true. This landed him his CP rating.

Jay’s story is still wrapped up in a Schrodinger Jay phenomenon. Everything he says is right…and yet somehow wrong at the same time. He said, “considering Bret keeps lying, I’m sorry Bret, but you’re gonna have to go home.” For this exact reason, Bret should go home, but Jay single-handedly saved him. Jay also correctly called that Michaela was a loyal ally and that he can trust her, but he willingly threw this away to take out a threat. In other words, given a liar from the Gen X opposition vs. a trustworthy threat who’s a Millennial ally, Jay chose to work with the enemy liar. He’s a risk-taker who’s willing to work with anybody to accomplish his own goals. Furthermore, he’s fearless. He’s willing to go toe-to-toe with anybody. This was highlighted when Michaela asked him if he voted for her and stared him down. He stayed calm and owned it, “Yeah, I did it,” and never flinched or looked away. He held her gaze until she looked away.

Jay is an unknown element going into the merge. On the one hand, it seems likely he’ll stay with Will and reconnect with Michelle and Taylor. On the other hand, he’s now successfully worked with Sunday and Bret, and we already saw in episode one that he was willing to vote out an ally (Figgy) if he didn’t have the numbers. He did take out an ally in Michaela. He’s unpredictable. He also has an idol. Could he be our agent of chaos? Or will Michaela’s prophecy of “You f**ked something good, bro” come true and this move will come back to haunt him? As for his winner chances, they’re still alive; there’s not enough to rule him out. His teary family confessional might have been a distraction like it was with Michaela, but if the editors are really trying to serve us this season then maybe Jay failing to make fire (usually a death knell) was the distraction – trying to make us believe he can’t win because of that?

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Michaela’s edit this episode was used to both celebrate her as a character/player and pull the rug out from under the audience. She has been one of the biggest characters of the pre-merge and the producers clearly enjoyed what she brought to the show, and that was reflected in her content (see also, Jeff Varner in Survivor: Cambodia). Her tone has often being mixed throughout the season, representing her rounded character, and while there was a little bit of challenge negativity here, overall this episode was very positively toned. She once again got major credit from Probst for helping her tribe comeback at the reward challenge. All the reasons Jay and Will targeted her where positive: “huge threat,” “smart girl,” “so intelligent,” “great, positive vibe,” “I really like Michaela,” “great alliance,” “good at competitions.” It was hammered home that Michaela was smart, strong and likable and that she was voted out due to being a threat. Her negative reaction to getting voted out didn’t sway the tone here as we were set up to relate to Michaela’s anger and shock at that moment.

“Man, those bugs were off the chain last night. I just told myself, ‘Michaela, you don’t feel anything crawling on you. It’s your imagination. It’s just a fly buzzing, but he doesn’t bite. Let him buzz, Michaela, let him buzz. That ish is in your mind. That ish is in your mind, girl.'” This whole bit with the bugs acted as a metaphor for how she sensed people seeing her as a threat, but ignored it and didn’t act on it, leading to her downfall. She had a confessional earlier in the episode about it making her nervous when she won challenges for the team because people would see her as the one to beat. This was the buzzing in her ear, and it was not just her imagination. This bug did bite. At the immunity challenge, Michaela was heard shouting “You have to make a decision and stay with it!” That was her strategy and what ultimately cost her the game. Other people around her changed their plans, and she was too rigid to listen to her gut and change hers accordingly.

 

Her overall season rating is CPM. She was a complex character who we got to learn a lot about both personally and strategically. We knew her positive attributes and her flaws; we had personal background info (put herself through college, wanting to win for family), and knew her approach to the game (keep Millennials together). We got funny Michaela, angry Michaela, emotional Michaela, competitive Michaela, and strategic Michaela. We got a full rounded picture of Michaela as a three-dimensional character which is classic CPM.

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Stories in Play

-Millennials vs. Gen X – the theme of the season, expected to continue throughout. Last week, David and Ken told us the game has moved beyond Millennials vs. Gen X, and that proved true this episode when Michaela was still thinking down old generation lines and was blindsided.
-Disproving Millennial Misconceptions – Will the Millennial players prove or disprove the negative stereotypes? Adam introduced this concept in episode one. Jay has also been a proponent of this theme.
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – It didn’t play a huge part this episode, although the after effect of the vote on Hannah might bring this theme back up next week.
-David Out of Water – David’s edit was back to it’s CP setting this week.
-Humility/Connections – A theme that has been best represented by Ken. This week we saw David and Zeke connecting. Also, Sunday talks a lot about genuine human connections which plays into this theme.

That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

 


Shirin is a two-time Survivor player who competed on Survivor: Worlds Apart and Survivor: Cambodia - Second Chance.



  • Michael DiPietro

    Not even edgic related, but I’ll say, I really didn’t think it was Michaela up until the final statement Michaela made before voting, damn. Second, so sad Michaela is gone, I feel like a facebook mom when Joe went home.