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.
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What Does This Tell Us?
For those that follow Edgic regularly every season, the merge episode is the point when people make their final winner pick based off the edit so far. The merge episode usually sets us up for the characters and narratives that will dominate the latter half of the game. Our Edgic here at Inside Survivor isn’t solely concerned with determining the winner, although we will look into that this week, but rather working out what story the edit is trying to tell. This episode further cemented some of the main season arcs, as well as throwing in a new narrative that could potentially become the key focus from this point on.
Under The Radar
At this point, I think Kelly Wiglesworth must have fallen into a deep meditative trance. Six UTR episodes in a row, and now FIVE episodes without a single confessional. She is basically just a relic from Survivor past collecting dust in the corner.
All this tells us is that Wiglesworth is either going to have the most boring boot episode ever or the most boring Final Tribal Council speech ever.
Abi-Maria continues her descent into irrelevance. Like we said last week, the more the edit focuses on strategy, the less time will be devoted to Abi.
The merge episode is often one of the most strategically dominated episodes of a season; especially this season with the biggest merge ever. Abi is no longer a decision maker. The episode didn’t even require her craziness, as Kass and Tasha supplied drama with their confrontation. This left Abi on the side-lines while everybody else plotted and schemed.
To continue her “cancer to an alliance” story-line, Abi voted for Tasha at tribal council; yet another person she was formerly aligned with back at the Angkor beach. “She knows she can’t win,” Kass said about her. This suggests that Abi could be dragged to the end as a goat.
The merge episode confirmed once and for all that Kimmi is simply a tool in someone else’s story. See her questioning Kass about what happened at the previous vote between her and Spencer.
She is useful in moving the narrative along – just not her own narrative. When she isn’t required, she disappears into the background. I don’t expect Kimmi to get prime focus unless she is booted before the end, but even then, there is a high chance that that episode will be told from the perspective of those voting her off rather than her.
Keith had slightly more substance to his edit than the other UTRs this week, but not by much. He received a brief confessional to explain his reason for voting with the majority. It was generic, but it at least allowed us an understanding of where Keith’s head was at in the game.
Keith and Kimmi continue to mirror each other. Both tools for other people’s stories. It’s no coincidence that they are always shown in scenes together; this episode they arrived together with the merge tree-mail.
If you are reading Edgic to determine potential winners, then I think you can safely rule out all of the UTRs. Keith, Kimmi, and especially Wiglesworth have far too minimal edits and lack character development, personal growth, and strategic relevance. Abi had a much bigger edit in the first half of the season but one that was mostly OTT and negative; even if she does make it to the final tribal council, her chances of winning would be slim to none.
Middle of the Road
Joe continues in his MOR groove. He’s getting to narrate more now which means more screen-time. However, his strategy confessionals are still rather basic and don’t provide any great insight into his long-term plans.
He was labelled a power player by Kelley Wentworth but tied with Spencer, who the edit gives much complexity and credit to. We can see by the #JoeLanguage scene in this episode that the edit supports Spencer’s view of Joe as a strong yet strategically lacking player.
The story of Joe is that he is a physical threat and a meat-shield for others. The edit doesn’t want us thinking he is also a strategic threat. He won the first individual immunity challenge of the season and sided with the Bayon Strong alliance which continues that arc.
Unless he goes on a Mike Holloway style challenge run, then I find it unlikely that Joe makes it to the end. But with the focus on Stephen at tribal council and his belief that the game is changing to benefit the “strong”, Joe could last a while yet – perhaps to the family visit to see his dad and complete his opening confessional goal.
Another quieter episode for Jeremy, but again, his edit has been so strong so far that it isn’t a reason for major concern. He was very much an observer and a listener in this episode; offering short but precise responses that subtly directed the flow of the game.
He is still in the middle of the action. The drama is happening around him while he swings happily in the hammock. Throughout the episode, we saw people come to him for his advice on strategy and the vote. If anything, the edit underplayed Jeremy this episode.
If you are looking for a potential winner then maybe it is a little worrying for Jeremy having a low visibility MOR edit at the merge. Three of the last six winners had a CP edit in the merge episode, and Mike from last year was OTT. However, it isn’t unprecedented for a winner to have a quieter merge episode. Denise in the Philippines had an MOR2 rating just like Jeremy, and in fact, the winner of Jeremy’s first season, Natalie Anderson, had a UTR1 rating at the merge!
Like we said, the fact that Jeremy has had such a strong edit pre-merge and is still the center-point of strategy definitely keeps his winner chances open. He is also the originator of the whole “meat-shield” strategy that the edit and Stephen are telling us could prove hugely influential.
Stephen has one of the most interesting edits of the season. He is the only person, other than Keith, that is still in the game and didn’t receive an opening confessional in the premiere. That wouldn’t be such a significant point if Stephen’s edit had been UTR like Keith’s, but it hasn’t, Stephen has had a large amount of screen-time and a diverse edit.
His run of CP ratings may have ended this episode, but he had a solid MOR2 rating that kept him relevant. Stephen has been allowed the role of the narrator; of his own game and the game as a whole. However, he is a much more inconsistent narrator than say a Spencer or a Jeremy because the edit has undermined and belittled Stephen plenty – including this episode with the poem scene.
It is quite difficult to trust everything Stephen says. We have to work out what to take at face value and what to dismiss. At tribal council, he talked about how the game was evolving due to the “strong” banding together and “weaker” players being targetted at the merge. Probst definitely put emphasis on this evolution but seemed to change the topic to “shifting voting blocs”, which wasn’t really what Stephen was talking about.
Where Stephen goes from here is hard to say. If his belief in Bayon Strong and meat-shield strategy is right, then he may become a victim of that, as clearly one of the weaker physical players in the game. If the shifting voting blocs strategy is the actual evolution then perhaps Stephen can go further by finding new allies to make big moves.
Over The Top
I’ve finally worked out who Savage is. He is Rob Lowe’s character Chris Traeger from Parks and Recreation. When things are going well, it is literally the best moment of his life. But when things are bad, it is literally the worst day ever.
Take for example when he heard about the potential merge. He raised his arms and prayed to the Survivor gods for a “beautiful” merge. And once he got back on the Bayon beach he was “the happiest man alive right now.”
Savage tries to put on this veneer of positivity but underneath there is a lot of anger and insecurity. The edit exemplified this perfectly in this episode when he could no longer contain his inner rage, and referred to those that outplayed him as “pieces of s**t”, before plastering on a fake smile. It has been his story from the very start, from his disdain for Stephen in the early days of Bayon, to his current disdain of Ciera.
Also, like Chris Traeger, Savage wants to be at peak physical fitness. “If I have to bite my tongue, act like a wimpy little non-leader, under the radar kind of guy, which is the antithesis of me, I’ll do it.” Savage explains exactly the type of player he isn’t but tells us that he will try and play that way to adapt and survive. But then later in the episode after the challenge, he says “You got these young studs, and I just wanted to show that I can hang with them,” which completely goes against his under the radar game-plan.
Savage right now is very one-dimensional. He is an entitled caricature. He also sees the game itself very one-dimensionally; evidenced by his concerned look after Spencer’s tribal council speech about how the game is changing from day to day. It tells us that Savage is never going to change his game; he is all about Bayon Strong, and for him, that is unlikely to develop into a winning game if he can’t also relate to the people around him.
Ciera finally came alive in Episode 6 and received her first CP edit of the season, and she continues in that vein in Episode 7. However, she receives a negative tone due to harsh SPV (second person visibility), mainly from Savage calling her “dangerous” and part of a “nasty, rabid, two-headed dragon” alongside Kass.
It seems that Ciera has course-corrected from her quiet pre-merge edit to fulfill her opening confessional goal of playing fearlessly. She is becoming that late-bloomer that we mentioned a couple of weeks back. While this is great to see from an entertainment stand-point, it appears to be damaging to Ciera’s overall game.
She received the title of the episode “Play to Win”, and her entire speech at tribal council was about exactly that. But rather than this coming across as a respected, underdog rallying cry, the edit questioned Ciera’s intentions by having Probst undercut her and then allowing Spencer to rebuff her. In terms of the game, this only helped paint a bigger target on her back.
Ciera is certainly odd woman out right now, but we know she is a scrappy, determined player. She wanted to play fearlessly and give it her all. Her arc doesn’t point to a win, but I still expect her to do some damage before she leaves.
Kelley Wentworth finally got out of the MOR slump and back to the CP edit that she started the season with, and the merge episode is a perfect time to return. The edit so far has kept Wentworth present even when not entirely necessary for the narrative of the episode. It always hinted at more to come and that more starts here.
If we are talking about potential winners, then Wentworth had winner quotes galore in Episode 7. Not only did they highlight her idol find in the Previously On… segment but they repeated her “I just want to win” line from last week. But her first confessional of the episode had the most obvious winner quote yet: “But, you know, I want to push through, and I want to get to end. There’s one winner. One person gets a million dollars at the end of Survivor. Like, I came here to play.”
Once again she repeated her opening confessional goal from the premiere – she is here to play. However, before people get too carried away on the Wentworth winner wagon, there are reasons for concern. We have talked before about the lack of personal touch to her edit. She lacks the emotional connection of Spencer, Jeremy, and after his breakdown last week, even Stephen. That isn’t completely detrimental given that her goal is to play, but it’s worth noting.
Perhaps more damaging is that she was shown to be wrong strategically this episode. Not only did she side with the wrong alliance for most of the episode, but she mistakenly thought Keith was on her side. “I have Keith 100%. I can promise you that,” she said to a wary Spencer. She did not have Keith. It’s not a death-blow, but winners are never usually shown to be wrong. (The fact that they didn’t show her reason for flipping her vote doesn’t cause any real concern, as that was simply left out to make the vote-off less obvious.)
There is definitely something brewing with Wentworth; the question is whether it is leading to a win, or simply to a big impact play.
Spencer continued with his huge edit this episode and put forward not one but now potentially two of the biggest narrative arcs of the season. Firstly, social relationships and forming bonds to move further in the game. This has been Spencer’s motive from the start, and it didn’t slow down in Episode 7.
He said at the start of the episode regarding Savage “I’m going to have to make peace because I’m actually making relationships this time that have saved me.” We then saw him and Savage shake hands and promise to work together.
The ability to mend past grievances will directly impact your longevity in the game. Spencer put aside his differences with Kass in Episode 6, and they worked together successfully. He did the same with Savage this week. On the other side, Kass was unable to mend her past grievances with Tasha and she ended up getting voted out. Spencer’s method is working.
The other important narrative arc that spins-off from Spencer’s “relationship” strategy, is the idea of shifting voting blocs. As he said to Joe, he hasn’t had a proper ally or alliance for more than one vote at a time. With Jeff Probst putting emphasis on this at tribal council as an “evolution” in the game, it presents Spencer as having his finger on the pulse of the game.
Having relationships with multiple players could allow Spencer to shift and change allies constantly. Can that translate into a winning strategy? If that becomes the key narrative for the latter half of the season then certainly. Unless it results in burning those relationships in the process.
Episode 7 was essentially about the battle between Tasha and Kass, and it shot Tasha back up into the CP leagues after her fall into UTR last episode. We had clues to who would win the battle in the opening Previously On… segment when it showed us a clip of Tasha winning immunity over Kass in the last episode (and Kass bent over puking up). It also continued the arc that Tasha is strong.
The reason for her mixed tone was because she received both negative and positive SPV. Kass was very negative about her saying that she hadn’t learned from her previous mistakes, and she also got caught in a lie. But she had positive SPV from Stephen “you saved my life” and from Probst regarding her challenge strength, “last woman standing”. Last woman standing could also be more significant given that Tasha’s alliance is comprised of men.
Tasha’s refusal to work with Kass could be perceived two ways. Her unwillingness to trust Kass because of what happened in Cagayan could be seen as learning from her past mistakes. That is certainly how Tasha presented it. But it could also be seen as an inability to mend past relationships, therefore, spelling potential disaster. If it burned Kass, it could just as easily burn Tasha.
In terms of a potential winner, Tasha has had a pretty good edit, and she certainly shouldn’t be ruled out. However, she isn’t as consistent as Jeremy, Spencer or Wentworth. There is perhaps a little too much focus on “strength” and some lingering negativity that hurts her overall chances.
Kass had a very similar to edit to Tasha in this episode, but without the positive SPV, which makes her overall tone negative. She was the other half of the “nasty, rabid, two-headed dragon” and also “ruthless” and “haphazard”. There were so many mentions of “chaos” this episode (seriously, we need a chaos count) and Kass was centered around the majority of them.
The edit didn’t necessarily pick a side between Kass or Tasha. Both were shown to have reasons for their actions. Kass was hurt by Tasha not wanting to work with her and lying to her. Tasha was hurt by what Kass did to her in Cagayan and didn’t trust her. The edit never made one more right than the other. The inability to build bridges ended up hurting both; it made Tasha lose her cool, and it caused Kass to get eliminated.
As far as Kass’ overall edit, we can go back to her opening confessional and her claim that if she makes the merge Chaos Kass will return. She definitely delivered on that promise, but it was the wrong move for her game. Her story was always about perception and changing people’s perception. That is what she needed to do to succeed. It appeared to be working pre-merge, but we were given clues along the way, like when Wentworth perceived Kass’ bracelet-making for shady fake idol making, that it wasn’t truly working.
“I wanna win Second Chance, and if I have to use Chaos Kass, I will.” That is what Kass said this episode, but it went completely against her original gameplan of needing to change perceptions to succeed. While she did warn us at the beginning of the season that Chaos Kass was lurking beneath, she reared her ugly head too soon, and it ended up costing her.
That is it for Week 7 of Survivor Second Chance Edgic. Please let us know in the comments how you would have rated each castaway based on Episode 7.