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.
We use a different color scheme than traditional Edgic. We wanted the bigger character ratings, the OTTs and CPs of the world, to stand out. So we made all of these colors bolder and brighter. Simultaneously we wanted the less important character ratings, particularly the UTRs, to blend into the background, as the characters do on the show. So we made these colors duller, more gray and brown. We also looked at the tonal dimensions — negative to positive — and wanted to make it visually consistent whether a character was portrayed positively or negatively. To that end, we reserved all variations of red and pink for the negative ratings, and all the positive ratings are variations on green.
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What Does This Episode Tell Us?
Another episode with a high amount of CP ratings – over half the remaining players received some form of CP. That tells us that it was another episode with a lot of strategy talk and changing dynamics and that many of the players involved got to give substantial insight into their plans and motivations.
It was a particularly significant episode for Sarah who received the most confessionals in a single episode so far this season. Much like how last week’s episode was seen from Cirie’s perspective, Sarah took the lead for the majority of this episode. Even during Cirie’s reward scene, Sarah played a part. I said last week that Sarah seemed to be the only competition for Brad’s edit, and with this episode, she likely jumps ahead of him.
The shark imagery also returned this week. Lots of shots of sharks swimming in shallow waters. Rather than being attached to one particular character, the sharks appear to symbolize a pivotal moment in the game when a big move is about to be made. Sarah flipping on her alliance was, of course, a significant move and the sharks circling played into that.
The recap started with Jeff Probst telling us, “Zeke started a revolt against Andrea.” Followed by a scene of Zeke telling Sierra he’d “be interested in seeing Andrea go home.” Probst then followed up, “But Andrea fought back.” This segment ended with a clip from Andrea telling us, “I am furious at Zeke.” All of this was included to set up Andrea and Zeke’s confrontation at the start of this episode, and the fact they had to put aside differences to work together on the next vote. The focus on this relationship suggests it will continue to play a role in the narrative.
“Amidst the chaos, Debbie saw her opportunity to strike,” Probst said. We saw a clip of Debbie on the hammock telling Sierra, “We vote Ozzy.” Debbie was given credit for the move. The focus then switched to Sarah. “And Sarah was left in the middle with a major decision.” We saw Sarah being told to vote Ozzy by Debbie and Zeke by Andrea. “It’s a real tough position to be in,” Sarah said in confessional. It really put Sarah in the spotlight and set up her big role in this episode.
The recap ended with, “At tribal council, Debbie got her way.” Unfortunately for Debbie, she would not get her way twice in a row.
Under The Radar
Not only is this Tai‘s first UTR of the season, but it’s also his first UTR in his entire Survivor career. It’s the first time in two season’s where he didn’t receive a confessional. Tai was one of the prominent characters of the pre-merge, but his post-merge edit has slipped which throws into question his importance going forward.
His only real content in this episode was during the immunity challenge when there was an excessive focus on his mishaps. “What the hell am I doing?” and “I can’t think!” were both subtitled during the challenge. It kind of sums up Tai’s character and his confusion and indecision within the game. “Twenty-six days on Survivor can really take its toll,” Probst said, which kind of excused Tai’s moment of madness but it still wasn’t a great look for the man with many idols.
I think we have a rounded view of Tai throughout the season and that’s why an UTR doesn’t really hurt him character wise. We know who he is and what alliance he’s in. But the negative is that it suggests this season isn’t about his story. He’s now a side character in the stories of others. It also stands to reason that a lot of his early screen time was due to finding and playing idols. I expect Tai to get a bump in visibility and complexity again if/when he plays his idol(s), and the edit will again play into his theme of paranoia and the battle between head and heart battle. Other than that, Tai is secondary to the other narratives going on in the game.
You get the feeling with Troyzan that if he weren’t for his immunity win, this would probably have been another UTR1/INV episode. It was a pure fluff confessional that gave us no further insight into Troy as a person or a player.
“Wow, the Immunity Challenge, I guess on a scale of one to ten, was an eleven because I won and I surprised myself,” he said. When you compare it to all the focus Cirie got at the reward challenge this looks pitiful. “And now there’s a tight alliance of six and we just gotta figure out who’s going home,” that was his contribution to the game talk. It didn’t tell us anything new nor did it tell us who Troyzan wanted to go home or where he saw his position within the six. It was as basic as basic can be. Outside of that, he was described as Brad’s “eyes and ears” and at tribal council he talked about sticking with the six and hoping things change later.
Overall, there’s very little substance to Troyzan’s edit. He went from the lone underdog which looked to have narrative potential, to the majority alliance’s lackey who is barely in the episodes. His edit was pretty much dead last week when he received almost zero content across the first two merge episodes. This episode didn’t do much to revive him. I’m not sure where Troy will end up in this game, but whether he’s out next week or makes it to the finale, I don’t see any upside for his edit.
Middle of the Road
Aubry is still yet to break the CP barrier this season, but this was one of her better edits in recent memory. While she is still very much a secondary character within the larger narrative, Aubry did have a small role to play toward the end of this episode.
“Debbie reminds me now as she did around the time I voted her out of Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. She starts to get cocky and then makes mistakes.” Aubry’s thoughts on Debbie, while not the most complex, where enough to scrape a MOR rating when combined with her strategy talks with Sarah, Andrea, and Michaela. Aubry was portrayed as self-aware and perceptive compared to Debbie’s arrogance and delusions. Also, in her talk with Sarah, it showed that she took the correct approach in convincing Sarah to vote with the other side.
Other than that, Aubry’s content was little comedic scenes like her “coleslaw” callback and double-middle fingers. There isn’t a lot to hang onto or invest in edit wise here. In fact, her consistent lack of screen time and development has me wondering if she’ll be the victim of an idol play. Quite often players taken out via an idol are given subdued edits. I can’t see Aubry winning or suddenly becoming a key character because there has been nothing in her edit to hint at that at all.
Over The Top
Michaela was given great complexity last week, but her edit felt very one-note and OTT here. While the negative SPV she receives from the likes of Brad and Debbie is meant to highlight hypocrisy (they complained about her eating coconut while being shown eating coconut themselves), there was a clear focus on Michaela’s attitude at the reward challenge that was painted very negatively.
Her frustration with being sat out of the reward challenge was highlighted multiple times. “Michaela frustrated with not being chosen again!” Probst yelled. The editorial intent seemed to suggest Michaela’s moaning made her lose sight of the game and specifically lose sight of the secret advantage sitting right under her. “I don’t give a f**k what happens, I’m just watching,” she said, but she wasn’t watching close enough. What is weird though is that Probst then complimented Michaela, “Unbelievable that Michaela is encouraging given she wasn’t chosen.” But I think this was included to continue the relationship between Michaela and Cirie from last week, where Michaela said she’d have Cirie’s back from now on.
I’m also beginning to wonder if all this focus on Michaela’s challenge frustration is leading to a big challenge winning streak. It could be set up for her to prove herself. There’s not much else I can see for her story because I thought last week was signaling a growth arc but this episode undercut that. It was back to simply “Michaela can’t hold her tongue” with no added complexity. It will be very interesting to see which direction Michaela’s edit goes next week.
On the flip side of Michaela, Cirie‘s reward challenge scene was OTT in a positive direction. I mean, everything here was played up for maximum effect, from the music to Probst’s hyperbolic statements “one of the most powerful moments in Survivor,” to the cheering from all the other tribe members. It was straight up OTTP.
Now, Cirie did get to talk about the scene and apply it to her game, and she later had a strategy talk with Sarah. I could see an argument for CPP because of those things. But the reward scene was so BIG and editorially manipulated that it kind of overshadows everything else. When people think of Cirie in this episode, it will be this scene and how she overcame her fears while the world cheered on. That’s why I ultimately leaned towards OTTP rather than CPP.
That said, she had some good content later in the episode. “If I can’t win this game by winning challenges, I’m going to do everything I can to try to solidify my relationships in the game. It’s gonna be what’s necessary for me to win this thing,” she said. Mentioning winning is always good, and it shows us that Cirie is still focused on the ultimate goal. We also saw her delivering on her strategy as she talked with Sarah and cemented a working relationship. We saw her trying to turn her against Brad and Sierra. “I think deep down [Sarah] realizes that, but it’s just like me on the balance beam. She knows the best thing for her to do is to cross that beam, but she’s afraid,” Cirie said. The fact she brought the strategy talk back to the balance beam was another reason why I stuck with OTT.
Cirie is probably third in contenders behind Sarah and Brad at this point, although it does concern me that all this great content is coming post-merge. The visibility and positivity and repeated mentions of winning definitely paint her as a potential contender. But the excessive focus on her challenging herself and overcoming fears and making her family proud make me think this could be the classic journey edit. Cirie has already grown and proven herself in past seasons, so this arc doesn’t really need to be told, so it feels almost forced. I’m not sure there would be as much focus on that stuff if Cirie were the winner; I think it would be more strategy focused. Either way, things are looking solid for Cirie right now.
The interesting thing about Brad‘s edit is that he is part of the alliance the audience is meant to be rooting against, but he is shielded from a lot of the negativity that Sierra and Debbie receive. Brad received such positivity pre-merge that it would be a little odd to turn him into the big villain of the piece suddenly. There are certainly negatives creeping into his edit, but there seems specific intent not to bury him completely.
Throughout the episode, Debbie and Sierra were the ones shown to be overly confident in the alliance. Brad, however, was shown to be a little more cautious. At the reward, he got to explain his thought process: “Survivor 101: Don’t ever take your whole contingency on a reward. So Troyzan and Sarah got left off on purpose because I needed them to stay to be my eyes and ears back at camp.” He explained his reasoning behind his reward challenge picks. “You got five on the outside, and all it takes is one or two to flip to them having the numbers. I need some people that I can trust so that the five don’t get together and contaminate our six.” He also showed an awareness for how easy things could flip. Those are the plus points. The bad sign for Brad is that he included Sarah as one of the people he trusted when she was the one back at camp considering flipping (and who ultimately did flip).
After the immunity challenge, Brad, along with Sierra, was shown to be calling the shots. “I think the six of us are so sick of Michaela that it’s very tempting to vote her out. However, I really think we have a bigger threat to deal with first,” he said, referring to Andrea. We then saw him pushing for this and explaining his reasoning in a group chat. All of this, plus his earlier reward confessional, speak to his CP rating. We also heard from Sarah and Cirie that they consider Brad (and Sierra) to be the ones running the game.
If I had to make an educated guess right now, I would say the game is going to come down to Brad or Sarah, and one of them is clearly the decoy and the other the winner. If Brad is the decoy, then it makes sense not only of his previous positivity but of his protection from post-merge negativity. Those elements may exist to make us believe he could theoretically receive the jury votes to win. But there are enough subtle question marks in his edit for us to understand his loss too (being perceived as Sierra’s puppet, his desire to play like his wife Monica who famously finished as runner-up). On the flip side, if he is the winner, those elements can work in that context too. His positivity could be taken at face value, and the jurors reward him because they like him more than the other finalists, despite believing he wasn’t as in control as Sierra.
Right now, I don’t see any signs in Brad’s edit to suggest a vicious blindside or humiliating downfall. If that were the direction his story was heading, I’d have expected an edit more similar to Sierra or Debbie’s, with extreme arrogance and boasting. Instead, I expect him to at least make the loved one’s visit if not the final tribal council. Those are the only situations which currently make sense to conclude his story.
Andrea continues her post-merge CP bump which started in the last episode. She had a lot of focus this episode due to being the primary target of the other alliance, as well as her confrontation and relationship with Zeke.
It’s really a shame that we didn’t get at least a couple of CP Andrea edits pre-merge because she has really come alive post-merge. There could have been a very interesting story here, especially with the Zeke relationship now playing a pivotal role. Andrea and Zeke have been on the same tribe throughout the entire game, so why didn’t we get more focus on that? With it playing such a big part this past couple of weeks, you’d have thought the edit could have highlighted their bond much earlier in the season. The fact it didn’t have this time devoted to it, again, makes us question Andrea’s edit as a whole. As good as it is now, it just doesn’t have the pre-merge substance to back it up.
It’s what makes me think this is simply a pre-boot visibility/complexity spike. Even though Andrea was CP-lite this episode, mainly due to her strategy talks with Sarah and Aubry, her key story revolved around Zeke. She started the episode calling him “all shady” and the conversation/argument broke down with neither feeling comfortable around each other. Andrea said she was “screwed” and “in the minority.” However, by the end of the episode, she found herself having to work with Zeke again. “As far as Zeke, will I trust him again fully? Of course not, but right now, I’m looking for anyone that wants to play,” she said. To me, it sounds like the Andrea vs. Zeke dynamic is going to continue and one will ultimately get the other out. And the fact that it didn’t get much pre-merge focus makes me believe it’s just going to be a short arc. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Andrea or Zeke gone next week.
Zeke felt the aftermath of his blown up move this week and the negativity attached to it. It wasn’t overly negative, but there was enough for me to give him N tone. Andrea called him “all shady” and there seemed to be editorial intent to back up Andrea and make Zeke look in the wrong. This was further backed up at the reward when the others asked Andrea, “What is all that drama about?” as if it was Zeke who caused the issue, and of course, Andrea got to explain her point of view. “A weird power play,” Andrea described it as.
But outside of that, Zeke still got to explain his current position in the game and his options going forward. “The thing about the power alliance is I understand where I stand with them. I just sort of have to sit with my tail tucked between my legs and keep my mouth shut and just vote how they want me to vote,” he explained. It was similar to how he felt last week, that the game has kind of forced him into a corner. “And that’s not really how I want to play this game,” he continued. “However, to do this, we gotta bring in Andrea, who I have no desire to work with, but I’m gonna have to deal with it, at least for one vote.” This confessional, plus his strategy talks with Sarah, accounted for his CP.
Like I said with Andrea, I feel as if Zeke’s story with her is a short-term arc where one will end up getting the other out. Zeke has definitely been set up as the more untrustworthy of the two, so you expect he’ll be the one to strike first. Also, the fact that Zeke had more substance to his pre-merge edit than Andrea perhaps suggests more longevity in the game than her. Overall, it seems like Zeke’s story now is one of desperately trying to make his mark in the game, slay his enemies, and be a “game changer.”
Sierra continued on her negative path which she set upon last week. Her story was very much that of the arrogant leader who thinks they have complete control, only to be blindsided come tribal council.
“I can confidently say that I don’t know if life can get any better than it is right now today,” she said during the reward. Already the edit positioned her as living the high life. “At this point there’s eleven people in the game, and it’s kind of great to watch the five people who are free agents get mad at each other and fall apart when what they should be doing is becoming strong and trying to take the six out.” She even recognized what the other side should be doing but instead of being cautious like Brad, she found amusement in their in-fighting and underestimated them. “I feel like the six is super tight. I don’t see why anybody should break, and I don’t think we will. As of now, I feel like I’m in the driver’s seat, and it feels great.” Classic arrogant villain confessional which set her up for a downfall. Much like last week, she was incorrect, this time in assuming the six was “super tight” and that nobody would break.
Sierra is CP due to being shown as one of the leaders of the alliance. Not only did Sarah and Cirie highlight her as running the show, but we saw examples of it from Sierra herself. “So we have the power to choose who goes home, and the smart move to make is voting Andrea. Andrea is a huge threat in this game,” she said after the immunity challenge. We then saw her and Brad pushing for Andrea in the alliance’s group chat. As well as strategy, she was shown to be still focused on relationships too: “I think forming relationships is super important in this game.” But the person she felt confident in ended up flipping on her. “Me and Sarah are really close. We’ve really connected. So I still feel super confident in Sarah, and I think it will be absolutely amazing if we were at the final three together.” Again, this is a bad look that Sierra was incorrect. However, with the mention of the final three, there is still a chance Sierra and Sarah could patch things up going forward.
As I said last week, Sierra now seems positioned as the “big bad” of the season. I can’t see that ending in a win, it feels like she will suffer comeuppance either by being voted out or losing at final tribal council. It will be very interesting to see how Sierra’s edit changes now that she realizes she isn’t in the majority. Next week should be very telling for where Sierra’s narrative is heading.
Ah, Debbie. She had a great episode last week where she was given the credit for the Ozzy boot, but it all came crashing down this week. I said in her segment last week, that even though Debbie took control, she showed arrogance and forcefulness in her approach. “It’s signs like that which make you pause and recognize that despite her good moments, there are still flaws present in Debbie’s edit that probably means she isn’t winning,” I said. While we know that to be true now, I personally expected her edit to last a little while longer.
Right from the start of the episode, Debbie was portrayed as arrogant and way too confident in her alliance and position in the game. “We have complete control of this game. There’s not a line drawn in the sand, there is a line drawn in concrete because now that we have Sarah, myself, Sierra, Troyzan, Brad and Tai, we are a six that are not going to be blown away by the wind or the tide,” she declared. Sarah almost immediately undercut this: “I hate to break it to people, but the tide comes up pretty quickly, and that line gets washed away.”
Debbie’s arrogance continued throughout the episode, whether it was about her alliance or how many times she’s flown in a plane. She was undermined every step of the way. She complained about Michaela: “I would love to vote out Michaela because she’s highly annoying and just has a bad attitude.” Which are criticisms that have been leveled at Debbie herself in the past. The most damning scene though was the one with Aubry towards the end of the episode. “I told Aubry to vote for Michaela, in case Andrea pulls an idol, then Michaela goes home, plus I told her Sarah doesn’t trust her because even though she screwed me over the last time I played, I want Aubry to think I’m with her,” she said. While this was all solid CP content, Debbie was shown to have an incorrect read. “Down the line, I may need to use Aubry. And to do that, I need her to think I’m her best friend, and I think it’s working.” Aubry’s eye-roll and double-middle fingers showed straight away that it wasn’t working. “She starts to get cocky and then makes mistakes,” Aubry said of Debbie, and that pretty much sums up Debbie’s edit this episode.
Debbie played a big part in this season between her breakdown at Brad, boat trip with Cochran, Ozzy blindside, and now her downfall elimination. We all knew it was coming and this is pretty much how we should have expected it to go. I did expect to see further development of the Brad/Debbie relationship, but I guess that was concluded last week when they made up. Although I suppose if Brad does make it to final tribal council, their story could continue there. Overall, I’ve put Debbie as OTTN for the season. Despite her strategic moments, her positives and complexities are overshadowed by her BIG moments – like her terrible breakdown episode. People will ultimately remember Debbie as the crazy lady that shouted at Brad and was way too arrogant.
This was Sarah‘s breakout episode. Her content has been good so far, very good in places, but this episode was almost all her. We followed her every thought process in terms of where her head was at in the game. She received 11 confessionals in total – that’s the most of anyone in a single episode this season. Not only that but she received personal content and inclusion in the stories of others. Also, her decision to flip was presented as well-reasoned – compared to Zeke’s move last week which the edit completely undermined.
Right from the recap, the story was presented as Sarah’s dilemma between picking a side. And within the opening segment of the episode, we found out that her mind was still open to pursuing other options. “As much as people want to think that the line is drawn in the sand, well, I hate to break it to people, but the tide comes up pretty quickly, and that line gets washed away.” That is exactly what happened in this episode, and it was in large part due to Sarah. “I promised myself coming out here that I will not make the same mistakes I made the first time I played. What I did in Cagayan was look for the safest route I could go. I sat back, didn’t make a move, and let other people make the decisions. That didn’t work, it got me on the jury, and not even close to a shot at a million dollars,” she said. Remember last week we looked back at the season premiere confessionals and there was a lot of talk about not being able just to sit back and hoping to win this season. Sarah believed that is what cost her the last time and she set about to change that here.
She followed up her theory in what it takes to win: “There’s small windows of opportunities in this game, and if you miss them, you’re not gonna win.” That obviously played into Michaela missing the secret advantage and Sarah seizing the opportunity to snag it. But it also applied to making the flip. “However, this game is all about timing, and I’m not sure the time is right to make a big move, but I’m ready for it in the event that it is.” Sarah showed caution, aware of needing to strike at the right time, but also letting us know she was prepared if that time came. She later got to explain why the timing was right when she was left out of the alliance group chat: “I’m not high in the pecking order in that sixsome. So it might be time for me to make my move.” All of this presented Sarah as someone playing a strong game, aware of surroundings, and carefully considering her options.
Just to take a break from the strategy focused content for a second, Sarah was also portrayed positively as a person. She jumped in the water to help Cirie which Probst made sure to highlight. Then back at camp, we saw Sarah telling Cirie how proud she was of her. Her observation of the secret advantage and wherewithal to snatch it was also framed as smart and cunning. There is a definite editorial intention to show Sarah in a positive, intelligent light. We also got more personal info, reminding us of what season she was on and what her job is: “I’m a police officer, but the normal person that drives down the road would not know if the car in front of them’s registration tags are expired or not… (raises hand) I would.” It ties back nicely to her confessional from the season premiere. We have a well-rounded view of Sarah as a character and a player.
Back to the strategy, it’s time to look at some potential concerns. The first one that jumped out at me was her trust in Zeke. “I had to pick a side, but I still want to work with Zeke. Having Zeke opens up options for me.” It’s concerning based on what she said last week about “when you trust someone like [Zeke], you end up getting blindsided.” While everything right now seems to point to a potential win or at least a final tribal spot for Sarah, this little nugget of content is keeping open the possibility of a blindside at the hands of Zeke. The other moments of concern were her surprise when Sierra offered her a final three with herself and Debbie, and the fact she said she was going to make her decision at tribal. This could be suggesting indecision, although it’s very likely this was simply included to add tension to the tribal council result.
Sarah called herself the “silent assassin” in the season premiere, and she certainly snuck up on her former allies this week as she flipped and voted out Debbie. She’s now moved into the next phase of “making big moves” and as she said before tribal, “Whatever I do, it’s going to determine how far I go in this game.” Will her game now be exposed? Or will she continue to duck and weave through the game, maybe even “stealing” a vote, like the “criminal” she said she’d be? The fact that the edit very rarely undermines Sarah makes me believe that when she says “I will be the first one to play this vote correctly,” that means it’s going to happen. But if her edit is pointing to a spot at the FTC, will she be rewarded? As I said with Brad, is Sarah the winner or the decoy? If “big moves” are what it takes to win then things could look good for Sarah. But if her “criminal” tactics are met with derision in favor of personal relationships, maybe it will cost her.
Main Stories In Play
-Two Sides Go To War – The two sides were flipped on their heads this week as Sarah flipped to join the other side. Will the sides change again next week?
-Michaela and her expressions – the story of Michaela trying to hold back her emotions continues this time devolving to a one-note depiction.
-Sarah in the Middle – Sarah did continue to straddle the middle ground throughout this episode and in the end voted out Debbie. Will she stick with her new side or continue to move back and forth?
-Cirie’s growth – Cirie seems to be going on a journey edit based on the very emotional content she’s been given throughout the season.
-Sherrif Sierra – Sierra continues to a get an “arrogant leader” edit which suggests comeuppance. Although now that she is seemingly in the minority, it will be interesting to see how her story develops next episode.
-Shielded Brad – Despite being on the more villainous alliance, Brad hasn’t been cursed with the negative style edit of his allies Sierra and Debbie. It will be interesting to see if this shielding continues and/or if he returns to his pre-merge positivity.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.