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 read our Introduction to Edgic article.
What Does This Tell Us?
With the tribes shuffled, Episode 3 was our biggest indicator yet to which of these characters are important to the over-arcing season narrative. This Second Chance season is all about the ability to change and recognize past mistakes. Those who can change and adapt are rewarded while those stuck in the past are destined to repeat the same errors.
Jeff Probst has been quick to sell this theme at Tribal Council – at times over-selling it. But in this episode, that theme was put to the forefront and explained explicitly by Spencer in the first scene. “In this season, which is about change and about a second chance – a second iteration of you as a Survivor player and as a person – people who have been able to change have been rewarded…” He might as well have been reading the synopsis off the back of the DVD cover.
This is the theme that the edit will be driving all season, and so we should view the story and characters through this lens.
Kimmi’s edit has gradually gotten worse with each passing episode. Starting with a respectable MOR2 edit in the premiere, in the past two weeks, she has gone from UTR1 to INV. If this season is all about change and rectifying past mistakes, then Kimmi’s redemption involves developing a better social game and mellowing her personality. By all accounts so far, she has achieved those goals. She has been shown to be fitting in with her fellow tribe-mates.
Keith is in the same boat. His edit so far has followed the same pattern as Kimmi’s: MOR2, UTR1, INV. We heard him saying his hellos to his new Ta Keo tribe-mates in this episode, and that was literally the extent of Keith’s edit – no confessional, no significant character building. Once again, it comes back to Keith’s confessional from Episode 1 – both he and Kimmi are like 99% of America: they wake up, drink coffee, and go to work. They are just along for the ride.
So where do Keith and Kimmi go from here? At this point, according to the edit, they aren’t going to be movers or shakers in the game. They are cruising along both from a strategic perspective and an editing perspective. The one key difference, is that Kimmi received an opening confessional in the premiere, whereas Keith didn’t. While that doesn’t suggest a dramatic shift in focus for Kimmi’s edit, it does suggest that she could cruise further into the game than Keith.
Under The Radar
Even though Woo had more visibility this week, his edit was still UTR. And to have a UTR edit on a tribe as explosive as Angkor is probably not a great sign for Woo’s impact on the season. He received a UTR edit for the first three episodes of Cagayan too, and he was just as out of the loop then as he is now. In terms of change and growth, the only development to Woo’s character is that this time he is angry about being out of the loop.
“Are we still in an alliance? Why didn’t you make a deal with me? (beat) It’s no surprise that I get the last word at the very last second.” Woo’s own words sum up his game and his edit. He is always playing catch-up, and if the theme is all about “those who have been able to change are rewarded,” then Woo needs to actively change his position quickly if he wants to achieve success. If you’re not surprising anybody, you’re not changing. Your arc is done.
Hey, Monica! Welcome to the game. Fortunately for Monica, she finally got her second confessional of the season. Unfortunately, it was completely situational and generic, again. She talked about how old Bayon had the majority and how Kelly Wiglesworth and Spencer were in the minority. Say hello to the Captain Obvious edit! Literally, anyone on the tribe could have been given that confessional. The question we have to ask ourselves is, why did they give it to Monica?
We mentioned last week how the edit has all but ruled out Monica as a viable contender to win. So I don’t believe this is the beginning of some wonderful winner’s arc. The content of the confessional was too boring and generic to suggest Monica elevating her game to the next level. It showed that she is seeing the game in a very linear fashion and playing very safe, just like in Samoa, and as we have said, the inability to change is detrimental this season.
The talk of old Bayon having the majority is also classic set up for a fall – similar to Terry’s confessionals this episode, which I’ll get into soon. Spencer and Wiglesworth getting picked off is too predictable. If Bayon fractures in the next couple of episodes then I imagine Monica could pay for her over-confidence in the numbers (Stephen too – we’ll get to him), and that is why the editors reminded us of her existence this week. Either way, her edit up until this point, combined with her lack of opening confessional in the premiere, does not suggest that Monica is suddenly getting a significant long-term arc.
Kelly Wiglesworth is another player whose edit has shown a gradual decline. It is clear now that her OTT premiere edit was simply a by-product of her being the first ever Survivor runner-up and therefore the perfect person to launch the Second Chance theme off of. Since she fulfilled her role in the opening narrative, the edit has done very little to show her as a dynamic or interesting character. Wiglesworth is essentially the Second Chance mascot – she got everybody pumped up and excited, but now it’s time for her to get out of the way so we can watch the game.
Even the fact that she received an opening confessional isn’t as significant as it is for others. Again, being the first runner-up guaranteed that Wiglesworth would get to speak in the intro; she was selling the theme, hence why it was the first confessional shown. Like Monica and Woo, Wiglesworth hasn’t actively changed her game. She has acknowledged the differences between the old school and the new school style of play but hasn’t been shown to adapt to the pace (unlike say, Terry and Varner). She works hard at camp and in challenges – that’s it. If there were more to see from Wiglesworth, we would would see it.
New Ta Keo is the gathering place of the UTRs. Ciera, Joe, Kass and Terry all received UTR edits in Episode 3. Couple that with Keith’s INV edit and you have a very quiet tribe. That doesn’t mean that this tribe is doomed, though, in fact, many of them are better off than their fellow UTR counterparts on Angkor and Bayon. There was a reason for their quietness: new Ta Keo is a strong tribe, relatively harmonious, no crazy personalities, and they look likely to dominate in the challenges. There isn’t a whole lot of immediate drama taking place at camp Ta Keo. Therefore everything we see is set-up for the future.
Kass has had a very good edit so far. MOR in the premiere, CPP last week. She could afford to have a UTR episode this week. Kass is somebody who fits perfectly into this theme of “change is rewarded.” We have seen her showing emotion, connecting with her tribe-mates, and recognizing her flaws from Cagayan.
But one thing worth noting is Kass’ opening confessional from the premiere: “Chaos Kass? Well, she lives somewhere deep within me. But if I don’t change, someone is going to take me down. The only thing that needs to change is their perception of me, and then when the merge comes, if I’m there, all hell will break loose.”
The question is – is that foreboding? Is Kass “We’re the frickin’ love tribe” McQuillen just a temporary act? Will the chaos return later in the game?
It’s an interesting thought, but from the way Kass has been portrayed so far it really seems like her change is natural and genuine. She actually likes people! She cried at Savage’s story. She loves Keith. She feels really good with Joe. How crazy would it be if Kass was taken out this season because she was too much of a jury threat?!
Ciera’s edit remains up in the air. Once again she is part of a strong tribe and in no imminent danger. Ciera plays hard when her position is threatened. But how long do we have to wait for that? Her content this week was very similar to Monica’s. They both talked about having the numbers on their tribe and being in a solid position.
“We have the numbers and we should be just fine,” that is the kind of sentence that leads to a big downfall. But what is interesting about Ciera’s edit this episode is that in the “Previously on… Survivor” segment at the start, we were shown a clip from her opening confessional, where she talked about wanting to play fearlessly this season.
Why remind us of that? Are the editors just inserting a random opening confessional each week? In Episode 2 they showed Tasha’s, even though she was quiet in the episode itself. But then in Episode 3, Tasha had her most dominant episode yet. In Episode 3 they showed Ciera’s, even though she had a relatively quiet episode. Does that mean in Episode 4 the fearless Ciera is going to make an appearance? Perhaps. It definitely seems like Ciera still has more to give.
Joe dramatically drops out of the OTTP edit into the UTR league. What does this say? Well, it says a very similar thing to Kelly Wiglesworth’s edit. They are both mascots. Wiglesworth is the Borneo legend that the producers can use to sell the Second Chance concept to the audience. Joe is the most recent golden boy that the producers can wheel out to satisfy the casual audience. The problem for both of them is that they are unchanged, and that means we have seen all there is to see.
His first two episodes were hugely positive, but there is only so much you can show somebody building hammocks and catching fish. Joe’s edit is not too different from his Worlds Apart edit; he started off with very positive edits before becoming UTR for a large portion of his game until his final two episodes. If this UTR edit continues over the next couple of weeks, then it looks like Joe will be following the exact same path as last season.
Terry had an interesting edit this week. After having such a positive showing in Episode 2 and successfully demonstrating some social ability, this episode was quick to undermine him. In his first confessional we heard him talk about how he was “on top of the world” and that “life is good” – both BOLD statements that usually suggest a downfall is on the horizon. His over-confidence continued on new Ta Keo when he boasted of how strong the tribe was and how they don’t need the numbers.
The significant part of Terry’s edit in this episode was how Kelley Wentworth quickly burst his over-confident bubble. He talked about how he and Wentworth were together and had a working relationship, but only moments later the edit showed Wentworth telling Joe that she and Terry were not working together. She then proceeded to throw him under the bus to her new tribemates.
Terry changed last week and was rewarded by finding himself in the numbers. He was one of the two people shown on screen when Spencer made his “change is rewarded” confessional. But this week he devolved back into Panama Terry; completely focused on strength and challenges. If this narrative of ‘change = success’ stays true, then Terry may have just cost himself.
Middle of the Road
Abi-Maria’s OTT streak is over… for now! Although there is certainly a strong argument that could be made for her to have an OTTN5 edit this episode. For example, Abi was still one of the most important points of drama. Her confessionals and discussions were mostly based on emotion and lacked rationality. She didn’t show remorse or understanding of her actions; in fact, she was shown to be highly hypocritical. The other characters talked about her in a negative way – even those she was aligned with. All of these points and more could lead to an OTTN edit.
But, this week, it seems that MORN is a better fit. Even though her actions are OTT, and we as an audience can see that her edit was MOR. She did get to share her strategic reasoning for her moves, even if her hypocrisy undermined those reasons: calling Jeff Varner “unpredictable” and referring to herself as “commital.” She also shared the spotlight with Peih-Gee and Varner, who brought their own brand of drama to the episode, so you could say Abi was used as a tool to shine a light on other players – which is a key element of an MOR edit.
It’s a very close call, and it certainly doesn’t suggest that Abi’s edit is going to mellow out anytime soon. She, like many others, has been unable to change. But unlike those players, Abi has proved the exception to the theme of “change is rewarded”. Abi hasn’t changed, yet she has reaped the rewards – at least in terms of getting further in the game. But, while getting further in the game is, of course, the overall aim, that wasn’t necessarily the change Abi was looking for, at least, not the one the edit has presented.
From Episode 1, Abi has talked about wanting to change her personality. She wanted to be less aggressive; she wanted to have a better social game. Mainly, she wanted to prove that she could change from the negative character she was portrayed as in the Philippines. But so far she has been shown to be argumentative, passive-aggressive, confrontational, erratic, and hypocritical. She hasn’t changed and therefore she hasn’t been rewarded with the personal growth she was seeking.
Stephen finally got out of the negative ranks in Episode 3 with his MOR3 edit. On paper, Stephen looks to be in a good spot on the new Bayon tribe, and he certainly presented that optimism in the episode. But his edit was actually pretty similar to Terry’s, in that what he said in his confessionals, was quickly undermined by actions back at camp.
He talked about how it felt great to be out of the macho tribe, even though the creator of that macho alliance, Jeremy, was still on the tribe – and still very much the center of the tribe based on the edit. “For the first time ever, I know that I’m safe,” is another line, much like we heard from the mouths of Ciera and Monica, that is just begging to be proved wrong. Stephen may feel happy with his position, but the edit still showed his incompetence (failure to chop a coconut), his naïvety (wanting to find the idol for “the alliance”; meanwhile Jeremy snags it for himself), and his lack of social connection (Spencer swooped in and bonded with Jeremy immediately, something Stephen has failed to do).
One of these people that were shown to be so happy and confident in their new position (Ciera, Monica, Terry or Stephen) are going to be in serious trouble should their tribe head to tribal council anytime soon. Not everybody gets to be happy and right – that is not how Survivor editing works! What does fall in Stephen’s favor, is that he is MOR while the rest are UTR – his edit has been much more substantial so far which suggests he has a bigger arc.
To further back this point up, Peih-Gee’s edit in this episode followed that pattern exactly. She talked about having the majority on the new Angkor tribe and how it was a “luxury”. By the end of the episode, she had her torch snuffed. Peih-Gee’s series of MOR edits goes to show that just because you receive a decent amount of screen-time does not mean you are safe. There has to be substance to the content. Unfortunately, Peih-Gee’s edit simply amounted to a supporting character for the story of Abi-Maria.
Kelley Wentworth had a borderline MOR edit this episode. There is certainly an argument that could be made to push her into a CP2 edit. But I think the overall lack of screen-time for Ta Keo and the shortness of Wentworth’s segment keeps it in the MOR category – it was CP-lite. There wasn’t quite enough expansion on her thoughts or character to make it overtly complex.
However, Wentworth received the best edit by far of the new Ta Keo tribe. Her five other tribemates were either UTR or INV. That is the edit telling us that we still need to keep an eye on Wentworth. Each week she has been allowed time to explain her strategy, even when it doesn’t lead to a significant moment in that particular episode; such as her pushing Terry under the bus this week. But what it tells us, is that while the rest of her tribe are thinking very much in the moment, Wentworth is thinking ahead.
If we are following the “change is rewarded” narrative, Wentworth’s story is about playing her own game and proving she can make her own moves. So far she is demonstrating that change, and she was rewarded with an idol, and if she continues in his vein, there could be more rewards to come.
Last week, Spencer fell from the top to the bottom, and he swore at tribal council that he would change and make the emotional connections that he continues to dream about. And true to his promise, he went to work putting this into action in Episode 3.
His edit so far mirrors Kass’ nicely; the two former Cagayan enemies are both showing emotional growth. However, while Kass comes across natural in her emotional re-birth, Spencer’s is a little forced; yet, both are working. Who will come out on top? Kass, because she is naturally bonding with others? Or Spencer, because he is still thinking of the strategic benefits of his emotional bonds?
Jeremy’s edit was almost in sync with Spencer’s this episode, although Spencer had a higher visibility. Seriously, for someone that didn’t attend tribal council, Spencer was all over this episode. He had the first confessional, numerous confessionals throughout the episode, a significant personal growth scene with Jeremy, and even key focus in the challenge.
Both Jeremy and Spencer have been called “game-bots” in the past, and the edit has certainly positioned both as game narrators. Their scene together not only demonstrated emotional development but strategic development. However, we need to remember, this season is all about change. Spencer needs to change his social game by opening up and connecting emotionally; he can learn that from Jeremy. This is a big plus for Spencer’s long-term edit.
But is this what Jeremy needs? In his opening confessional from the premiere he says “Last time when I played with my wife, half my mind was always with her. (beat) I wasn’t focused, so I was blindsided by my own alliance.” Yet three episodes in and Jeremy is always talking about his wife Val. Last week he broke down crying about her and his unborn baby, and this week Val was brought up in relation to Spencer’s story about his girlfriend.
If the theme is “change is rewarded”, then Jeremy right now is not looking as good as he may appear on the surface; despite having numbers and an idol. Half of his mind is still with Val, and he is still following that pattern of CP edits that eventually led to his blindside in San Juan Del Sur.
Spencer’s story about his girlfriend, and being unable to open up to her emotionally to tell her he loves her, is also significant. It gives Spencer the journey edit. Whether he wins this season or not, his reward will be emotional growth. The culmination of this may be at the loved one’s visit if Spencer makes it that far, where we could profess his love for his girlfriend. Or it could even take place at the reunion show with his girlfriend in attendance.
In a season all about change, there isn’t anyone who hates change more than Andrew Savage. When Jeff Probst told the castaways it was time to switch things up and shuffle the tribes, you could see the disgust on Savage’s face. “I don’t wanna swap,” he complained in a confessional. He was acting like a big baby.
This was Savage’s first real test of the season. Up until this point, he had been living the high life on Bayon, where he was replicating his game from the Pearl Islands: being the leader, talking about strength and honor and all that good stuff. We needed to see if Savage had the ability to change, and his switch to Angkor was his opportunity to show that. While he moaned and pouted for a bit, he did eventually come around, due to Tasha’s optimism, and did the bare minimum he needed to do to survive. There is still hope for Savage yet.
Tasha was the opposite of Savage; she never let her circumstances get her down. “Tasha, always with a smile,” Probst said as Tasha walked up to the mat before the swap. The edit left that quote in on purpose because that is exactly how she approached the game in Episode 3, with a smile on her face; unphased by her lack of numbers or poor camp conditions. We touched last week on how Tasha’s edit had remained quiet yet present as if it was priming us for bigger moments to come. Well, this episode was definitely one of her bigger moments.
“If anyone can survive this, I can. What I learned the first time I played was, I’m strong in heart; I’m here to win this game, and I’m going to play the cards that I’m dealt.” That right there could be a winner’s quote. It certainly suggests Tasha is there to play hard. She isn’t here to be nice Tasha, as she said in her opening premiere episode confessional. The question for Tasha is going to be whether her style of gameplay (calling people rats etc) will be rewarded or whether it will end up burning her.
Last but certainly not least, is Jeff Varner, who outside of Abi-Maria has been the most visible castaway this season so far. Last week, we talked about how Varner’s edit was awarding him too much control and how an early fall from grace would actually be a positive sign for Varner’s chances of winning. Well, in Episode 3, Varner had that fall from grace.
Varner was the other person shown on screen when Spencer talked about how “change is rewarded”. In the first two episodes, that was accurate. Varner had adapted to the new school style of play and had positioned himself as the Godfather of Ta Keo. But this week, after a swap and a meltdown at the challenge, Varner found himself on the chopping block.
What was interesting about Varner’s edit in this episode was that, while he was shown to have lost control, he was still afforded the time to acknowledge his mistakes. “I shouldn’t have done that,” he told the camera. Does that sound like anyone else? Those are the exact same words that Abi-Maria used in her opening confessional from the premiere when talking about her mistakes from the Philippines.
Varner and Abi actually share a lot of similarities in the game. They have both flipped on their alliances in every tribal council so far, they have both had emotional meltdowns, and scarily, they have both been on the same page heading into each vote. Varner talked last week about using Abi as a tool to get him to the million, but could she instead be becoming the “cancer to an alliance” that Spencer talked about? In an effort to keep her close, are her negative qualities rubbing off on Varner?
There is still hope for Varner though. After Angkor had lost the immunity challenge, Probst mentioned how “this could be the beginning of a great underdog story.” For Varner, who went from the penthouse to the out-house, that could very well be his arc. Before, he had too much control and was heading for that big merge blindside, but now, he has a much more complex story unfolding.
“How great would it be if I could escape here tonight without one vote? Wouldn’t that be crazy?” Those are the words of a man that still has a place in the game, even if the pieces have changed – Varner has proved he is willing to change with them. He didn’t receive one vote at tribal council; his story isn’t over just yet, and that is exactly what the edit is telling us too.
That is it for Week 3 of Survivor Second Chance Edgic. Please let us know in the comments how you would have rated each castaway based on Episode 3.