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?
This was a BIG episode. The three separate OTT ratings tell you everything you need to know here. This was an episode full of big character moments where just a few people dominated the screen time. Not a lot of complexity (as you can see from there being only two CP ratings). And once again practically an entire tribe went unreported, that being Tavua.
There was also a strong theme about never getting comfortable in this game because things are not always as they appear. That applied to both the contestants and viewers. JT got too comfortable and was played. Michaela was none of the negative things they made her out to be. Hali seemed on the bottom, but Debbie’s explosion opened the door for her. Troyzan seemed to have no hope without his idol, but Sarah offered another lifeline. Debbie seemed calm and rational so far this season but nope!
The recap reminded us that “Tavua won their second immunity challenge” while focusing on Andrea sinking the final ball for her tribe. We then jumped straight to the twist. “And there was a twist for the two losing tribes,” the Probst voiceover said as we saw shots of shocked faces.
“At tribal council, it was utter chaos.” We saw the whisper-huddles and JT saying “What the hell’s going on here, Jeff?” The recap then buried JT and praised Tai, “JT leaked Nuku’s plan, and Tai used it to his advantage, saving the Mana tribe and sending Malcolm home.” This was a bad look for JT and a great look for Tai.
Cirie‘s first INV rating ever across four seasons! Wow. It’s hard to say whether this rating is a mark against Cirie or if it’s simply an effect of being on the all-winning Tavua tribe. She had three solid edits over the course of the opening three episodes, but the switch to Tavua has really subdued her content. She didn’t even get any close-up shots during the reward scene.
While it’s never great to go INV, it’s difficult to read too much into this because of how little is happening on Tavua. It’s clear that with an upcoming swap, most of the Tavua dynamics will not matter going forward. We already have a firm grasp on Cirie’s relationship with Ozzy, so it wasn’t necessary to devote more screen-time to that this episode. It would have maybe been nice for a small follow-up on her relationship with Troyzan after she laughed at him last week. But overall, this INV isn’t as damaging to Cirie as it may first appear.
Under The Radar
Ozzy, Cirie’s counterpart of the season, also had an extremely quiet episode, only helped somewhat by his positive tone. Again, unlike other characters who have had a streak of UTRs, this doesn’t completely hurt Ozzy. We heard a lot from him last week, and he’s one of the more fleshed out people on the Tavua tribe. We know how he wants to play the game and the type of people he wants to play it with. It wasn’t necessary to check in with that again in an episode where he didn’t attend tribal council.
He got a question from Probst at the mat regarding Malcolm’s elimination. He said that Malcolm was a “huge player in this game” and “for him to be gone at this point definitely changes the game.” It was a very generic answer, but it did make me wonder if there was any foreshadowing of Ozzy being another “huge player” to go soon. His positive tone came because of the reward challenge. I don’t usually put too much emphasis on challenge content unless it truly stands out and this one did because it was backed up by the players. Probst said,”Ozzy does not hesitate. Like he grew up doing this in the jungle.” And then back at camp, Andrea complimented Ozzy saying, “Good balancing Ozzy.” It was light P tone, but it was there and backed up his words last week where he said he needed to make himself valuable to the tribe.
Again, not much change to Ozzy’s edit. His trajectory still seems to be the player that focuses on the survival and challenge elements at the expense of the social game.
Andrea just does not have a good edit. On paper, it’s probably the worst edit out of anyone this season, at least in terms of screen-time and personal narrative. She hasn’t had anything above an UTR, and her visibility hasn’t surpassed a 2. And she only just scraped an UTR here due to complimenting Ozzy during the reward and some extra highlighted challenge focus. Obviously, being on the underedited Tavua tribe doesn’t help, but there’s just no substance to Andrea’s content.
At this point, I don’t think there’s any way Andrea can win. I don’t like to use Edgic solely to determine winners, and I usually dislike ruling people out early (especially pre-merge), but the edit isn’t giving us anything with Andrea. The couple of confessionals she has received so far have either being very generic or solely about other players, rather than her own game. Maybe she’ll get the sudden Julia Sokolowski style bump before her boot episode, but as far as being an essential character with a strong narrative, I just can’t see it, not with this streak of UTRs. Her best bet might be a Kimmi/Keith Cambodia style edit, where she makes the finale despite a season’s worth of weak edits.
Zeke is another character who has been sucked into the abyss of the Tavua tribe. Like Andrea, he only barely scraped an UTR rating, and that was due to the focus before the reward challenge where he put himself forward for the slide puzzle by saying he plays them on his phone. He then won the slide puzzle portion which backed up his claims (unlike Debbie). Other than that he was practically invisible, which isn’t the best thing coming off an INV edit last week.
Right now, Zeke is holding on to the goodwill of his premiere edit and the benefit of the doubt of being on an underedited tribe. When everything is swapped up next week, the dynamics of the Tavua tribe might not mean anything to the rest of the season. If that’s the case, then not hearing from Zeke for two weeks would be acceptable. But it’s still concerning, especially for a player who is doing a back-to-back appearance, to have this little content. There is still a chance for Zeke to have his moments, but it’s becoming less likely that he’ll be a driving force of the action.
Sierra took a dip this week after her relatively strong edit in the previous episode. She only really featured on the periphery during Debbie’s meltdown scene. But we didn’t get a confessional with her thoughts on the matter or what it meant for her game.
An UTR dip is not the end of the world for Sierra, unlike other players, she has had some solid content with a stellar introduction and has been shown to be correct in her assumptions. Sierra still seems very likely to play a role in this season’s narrative. Her intentions and relationships were set up almost immediately (most prominently with Brad which has continued). It would be good for her to get another CP edit soon, one in the swap episode next week would be fantastic for her. If she gets that CP combined with decent visibility, then it will cement Sierra as an important character and major contender for the season. Another UTR would start to damage her chances.
Aubry probably has the second weakest edit after Andrea, which is surprising given she is a widely popular recent player. She just isn’t getting strong content; sometimes she isn’t getting content at all. What makes it even worse is that Aubry doesn’t have the excuse of being on the non-tribal attending tribe. She is part of a tribe where the action is happening, but she is very much a side character – if you can even call it that.
I debated between UTR and MOR this episode, but when looking at what she actually said, it was very lacking in substance. “So we lost the Immunity Challenge. The Fijian gods are not loving Nuka right now… Nuku… whatever it is… I don’t even know the name of this tribe. Like, that’s the point that we’re at.” This was a slightly amusing little aside but nothing in depth. “And I feel like Michaela has to be the next person to go. And for JT, we came into his camp. He’s done his job. He’s been a part of us.” That was it. No reason why Michaela should go, just that JT has “done his job.” That doesn’t seem enough for MOR. Even her statement at tribal about having “a quality of life issue going on” was just repeating back what JT had already talked about with no further insight.
So what is going on with Aubry’s edit? What is her story? Either the edit is protecting her because she has quite clearly been on the outs from the start (she was the backup vote when Tony went home, she was out of the loop here), or she just doesn’t have a significant role to play in the season as a whole. Where we stand currently, it looks like Aubry is not going to be a main narrative player. Next week’s swap should be really telling. Another UTR is a killer.
Middle of the Road
Jeff has the most consistent edit that I can ever remember off the top of my head. That is now five MOR3 ratings in a row! Crazy. His rating pretty much sums up where he is as a character in the show – the middle. He’s not OTT and chewing up the scenery like a Debbie this episode, but nor is he furniture like the Andreas of the season. He has consistent content, a voice in the story, but nothing too in depth to push him into CP.
For example, in this episode, Jeff was set up as the swing vote, but he didn’t comment on that situation in an overly complex way. “Tonight, I am in a perfect spot because I can choose to vote with Sandra and Michaela, and vote out J.T., or I can go with J.T. and Aubry, and vote out Michaela.” He told us that he was the swing vote in a very matter of fact way. “I’d like to go both ways at the same time, please.” Again, no deeper thoughts on what that would mean for his own game. “Anybody can have an idol in this game, but I want to keep winning. So it is get rid of an attitude problem or get rid of a big threat.” None of this is CP sounding; it’s more than UTR but still too basic for anything other than MOR.
What does this mean for Jeff? Well, the positive here is that Jeff is one of only four people to receive at least one confessional in every episode (the others being Debbie, Sandra, and Tai). He’s also one of only three to never get an UTR (Sandra and Tai being the other two). The edit is keeping Jeff in our minds but not overusing him. He’s primarily a narrator, commenting on the goings on in camp (his confessional about Sandra stealing the sugar this episode), and letting us know his thoughts but in a fairly straightforward way. Kelley Wentworth had a similar MOR streak in pre-merge Cambodia, although her narrative felt much more self-focused. Jeff’s edit is still mainly concerned with others.
It seems that Jeff will be around a while longer. He’s a little similar edit wise to Chris last year – gets some decent narrational content and small strategic confessionals but not in the CP leagues. His story seems connected with Sandra; we often see Sandra clueing Jeff into what is going on (in Episode 2 she told him about Tony’s five-person alliance, this episode she told him the sugar plan). With Sandra portrayed as the most villainous character so far this season, it seems that villain edit could rub off on Jeff (and Michaela).
Troyzan was one of only two Tavua members to receive a confessional this episode. I said I didn’t want to fully commit to making a verdict on Troyzan last week because Episode 4 was such an anomaly due to the tribal twist. I’m glad I held off because this edit put Troy back in the mix.
It wasn’t an amazing edit. Not even a great one. But it had some substance that laid the groundwork for potential future story-arcs. He just scraped a MOR over an UTR because his confessional was backed up by actions at camp. “I have an idol, and Sarah doesn’t know anything about it, and she says she wants to work with me.” He narrated the scene we saw at camp where Sarah approached him for an alliance. “So it would be a huge plus in my game not to play my idol right now. So if I could work with Sarah and keep my idol… I mean, that would be… the golden ticket.” He explained why working with Sarah would be good for him (won’t have to play his idol right now), and we saw him confirming this in talking with Sarah. It wasn’t hugely complex but just enough.
It’s a little concerning that Troy brought up the idea of not playing his idol, especially in an episode where JT went home after not playing his. It could be foreshadowing, or it simply could have been put in as a nice little nod to JT not playing his later in the episode. The best thing about the scene is that it sets up a relationship for Troyzan. Up until now his story has been “Troyzan versus Everyone,” and that is still in play, but now this connection with Sarah offers different avenues for his story. There’s a chance their alliance has legs, or it could be leading to Sarah’s demise, which will spare Troy. Even though Sarah was driving the conversation, Troyzan came off looking better because despite Sarah saying she could read people, she didn’t realize Troy had the idol.
There are still flaws to Troyzan’s edit which give moment for pause. But it has just enough legs that it could take him far in the game.
Tai has one of the best edits of the season. He’s had a confessional in every episode so far. His visibility has never slipped below a 3. He’s never had an UTR rating. He’s been a significant part of many of the pre-merge stories and he has relationships set up with Brad, Sierra, Cirie, Ozzy, and Debbie. And now we can add recap credit to the list. All signs point to Tai having a large role in the season’s narrative.
The dominating story on the Mana tribe this episode was Debbie’s breakdown and the rest of the tribe’s reaction. We got to hear Tai’s perspective on the situation. “I’m trying to comfort her, but watching Debbie get upset like that, I got really scared,” Tai tells us that he tried to comfort Debbie, which we saw in the episode, but that she still wouldn’t calm down. “I think Debbie’s just different. She’s like a crazy lady.” Given that the edit continued to show Debbie lashing out, the “crazy” image was definitely portrayed as the accurate read. He finished by saying, “Debbie thinks she’s an expert in everything, but Hali is better than her, as far as agility in the challenge.” He confirmed what we as viewers saw in the challenge, that Debbie claimed to be an expert in balancing but Hali ended up doing better while Debbie failed. All of this was to say Tai has a reliable read of the situation.
The second half of Tai’s episode was all about the idol. He explained why he wanted to look for it: “I can feel the tension in the Mana tribe. And now, I don’t know where I’m fitting.” And he continued his arc of thinking more with his head this time around and playing his own game: “I want to be productive and go look for an idol. Even if they think I’m sneaking around, at least I feel like I’m in charge of my game.” He found the clue but decided to hold off his search for the idol, explaining, “I’m not going to look for the idol yet. I’ve been gone, maybe, a little bit too long.” It showed self-awareness for Tai.
I wondered last week if Tai’s story would break away from Brad and I think this episode did that somewhat. The recap gave no credit to Brad for telling Tai to use the idol on Sierra, it was all portrayed as Tai “saving” the tribe. Tai seems to have plenty of options for future stories and that suggests he will be around a while and a key character.
Brad had a bit of a quieter edit this week compared to the past two episodes but still some solid stuff. While Debbie tried to bury him as this evil dictator, the edit made sure to squash that perception and show Brad as a well-liked and open-minded leader. It further confirms what the edit has been doing since we saw Brad decorating the camps – they want us to like Brad.
His main story was his clash with Debbie. Well, less of a clash and more of Debbie lashing out at him. It’s even more interesting now that these two both had intro confessionals in the premiere that came after each other. It suggests this dynamic between Brad and Debbie is far from over. Throughout the whole drama, Debbie was made to look the bad guy while Brad was portrayed as in the right. Nothing she said about him was backed up in the edit. Hali denied Debbie’s perception of Brad: “I don’t really see the argument. I think Brad is great in challenges. He’s a leader. He pulls people together.” Brad explained that Debbie, “was adamant that she could balance, but now she’s real angry, so I don’t know what she wants. The only predictability of Debbie is that she’s unpredictable.” The problem with this is that it suggests Brad won’t be able to fix his relationship with Debbie because he “doesn’t know what she wants.” Debbie’s unpredictability will either lead to her downfall or Brad’s, or maybe both.
The slight negative for Brad is the lack of credit in the recap. In last week’s episode, we saw him point to Sierra when Tai asked who he should play the idol on. That was completely cut from the recap and Tai was given sole credit. Again, it’s not a massive negative, but as I’ve said before, there are small troubling signs in Brad’s otherwise strong edit that suggest something will ultimately go wrong. But for now, Brad is still one of the major characters of the season.
Hali also had somewhat of a dip from her two previous CP ratings. There isn’t a whole lot to say about her edit this episode, she was barely there but was shown to be better at balance than Debbie and showed that maybe there is a crack for her in this tribe after all.
She received positive tone for her performance at the challenge. “Hali rocked the balance beam,” Brad said. Tai later confirmed that “Debbie thinks she’s an expert in everything, but Hali is better than her, as far as agility in the challenge.” All of this is good for Hali and shows that she is working her way up the ranks of the tribe. She is usurping Debbie’s position. The Princess and the Ghoul. Her one confessional was primarily about Brad and Debbie, but she explained her thoughts on the matter well, and we also saw her trying to comfort Debbie. Debbie tried to portray Brad as been infatuated with Hali, so this could be an interesting dynamic between the three going forward.
The slight mark against Hali here is that she had no recap coverage at all. She was fairly vocal during the double-tribal, putting her points across and holding up proceedings. The recap didn’t focus on any of that. Although perhaps that was because it ultimately had no effect. Hali doesn’t have an amazing edit, but she doesn’t have a bad edit. She’s floating in between right now and could be around a while, popping up when needed, but not constantly driving the action.
Over The Top
Wow. The edit went out of its way to completely bury Debbie this episode. It came out of nowhere because so far Debbie’s edit has been relatively strong. While there have been little moments of her former quirkiness, her content has been far more subdued than her Kaoh Rong edit. But this was an absolute character assassination.
It started by showing her profess her balancing skills before the reward challenge. To compare, we saw Michaela say she can do the digging, we saw Zeke say he’s good at slide puzzles, and we saw Debbie say she has a really good sense of balance. Michaela and Zeke delivered on their promise; Debbie did not. Then to put a cherry on top, after Debbie blamed the loss on Brad’s dictator like rules, the edit gave us a FLASHBACK to Debbie’s prior claims. That was the edit throwing Debbie under the bus and it continued to throughout the episode. It showed her saying “I don’t react in anger” followed by her… reacting in anger. She claimed that Hali took forever on the balance beam while she “zipped across in 30 seconds” but that is not what we saw. Her tribemates and the editors gave her tons of negative SPV (second person visibility).
There was really no let up. At the immunity challenge, we once again saw the pre-challenge strategy talk with Debbie refusing to contribute. She then critiqued the other players during the running of the challenge. Everything she said was either undermined by the other players or by the edit itself. A sure fire OTTN. I would say this completely rules out any chance of Debbie winning the season. But she will probably continue to be a big character for a while based on her intro and the screentime dedicated to her so far. Her relationship with Brad (and by proxy Hali) could be a huge part of the narrative.
Michaela has been very quiet edit wise these past few weeks but she was back with a vengeance this episode. Everything about Michaela was OTT this week, from her wanting to “do some f-ing digging,” for her specific coffee request, wanting to kill JT, and drinking her “tea” at tribal council. It was cartoonish and in-your-face.
Her negative tone comes mainly from JT although a lot of what he said was undermined. He said she was “losing her bearings” and “unstable,” as well as “ignorant” and “lazy.” But the edit never really backed up those claims and Sandra outright denied JT’s accusations at tribal council. Probst was even OTT about Michaela in the challenge, “Wow! Michaela whipping through the sand!” I mean, it wasn’t all that impressive but Probst made it sound like a Herculean feat. All of this accounts for Michaela’s mixed tone.
Her story was once again about trying to keep her mouth shut but failing to do so. “The problem with me is the more I try to hold something in, the worse it gets. And in this environment, it’s like you hold it in, hold it in, hold it in, but I wanted to kill him,” she said about JT accusing her of stealing the sugar. She did manage to hold it in at camp but then at tribal council, she let rip. It does seem that this will be Michaela’s story-arc for however long she is out there. Struggling to hold her tongue and letting rip when it gets to breaking point.
Ah JT. It was always a bad sign when he was the only person not to receive a confessional in the first episode. And then when he did get a confessional, in the second episode, it was about chickens and Tai. Nothing there set up a long-term goal or story, so it’s no real surprise that he’s gone pre-merge.
The episode started on an up note for him. He found the idol, which was accompanied by positive music, and it gave him hope for his life in the game despite his gaffe at the last tribal council. But then he got all wound up and picked a fight with Michaela where there didn’t need to be one. Though we didn’t get Debbie-style flashbacks to undermine him, everything he said about Michaela was actually meant to undermine him and often reflect back upon himself. He said she’s “Starting to kind of lose her bearings out here… the challenge was a little bit hard for me to handle,” yet the edit showed us Probst falling over himself lauding Michaela’s fast digging numerous times. JT said Michaela was a “crybaby” and showed “bitterness” and “bad energy” at camp, but it was JT being a crybaby about the finished sugar and then wrongly accusing Michaela at camp while she was shown sitting there quietly trying to hold her tongue.
Then his arrogance became a big focus in the second half of the episode, which made him very OTT. “Nothing’s gonna be sweeter than watching Michaela walk home tonight and get her torch snuffed,” he said with a smirk. At tribal council, he said he’d never been more excited to vote someone out. And he didn’t even bring his idol to tribal council. The edit set him up for a huge downfall and milked it for all it was worth. It leaves him with an overall season rating of OTTM because his whole story was basically leading to this catastrophic downfall. From stranding his tribe, to selling them out at last week’s tribal, and then getting completely duped this episode. JT will be remembered this season for yet another huge blunder(s).
Last week, I said that Sarah was hanging on due to her premiere edit and that if she didn’t get any substantial content this week, we’d have to write her off. Luckily for her, she got some substantial content! A big bump from INV to CP and one of only two people on Tavua to get a confessional.
Sarah got to explain the current standing of the Tavua tribe and her place within it. “Tavua, who started literally from scratch, has somehow banded together, and we’re just, like, dominating stuff now,” she said, which we know is an accurate summation of that tribe. “But I don’t want to be overconfident. In the event that something crazy happens, I need options,” she then explained why she was looking for other options. After hearing about what happened to Malcolm, it made sense to prepare for “something crazy” happening. We then saw her approach Troyzan and start to build some trust. “Troyzan’s the odd one out against me and the other four, but the set four, that’s stupid. That’s boring. I don’t like it. Let’s grow up. Come on.” That line was kind of strange because while it explained her reasoning, the edit hasn’t really shown us a “set four” alliance on Tavua. And she doesn’t like it because it’s “boring”? It was very weird reasoning but reasoning nonetheless.
She also reconfirmed her premiere narrative of wanting to play like a criminal. “I’m completely playing this game like a criminal this time. I know how criminals lie to me. So I know how to lie to these people.” Again, this is kind of strange because we haven’t really seen any examples of her playing like a criminal. Reaching out to Troy is being sneaky behind her alliance’s back, I suppose, but again, we haven’t seen her confirmed as part of a proper alliance anyway. She also said she knows how to lie to people, but Troyzan was lying to her, letting her look for the idol when he already has it.
Where is Sarah’s story going? Her premiere edit suggested she had a role to play this season and this episode finally confirmed that. Her scene with Troyzan and talk of being a criminal presents a possible story where she turns on her original Nukus. Or maybe Troyzan ultimately turns on her, selling her out to the old Nukus. But Sarah definitely has a place in the narrative; her story is just weird right now because it’s being told more through words rather than actions.
Sandra has the best edit on the board currently. Not necessarily in the sense of winner contender or even long-term character, but in colorfulness and presence. All CPs and one OTT. Lots and lots of tone. Never a drop below 4 in visibility. At least one confessional in every episode. She is easily the star of the pre-merge.
This episode was similar to Episode 2 when Sandra took down Tony, although this time the former winner didn’t even see it coming. She set her goal at the start of the episode: “If [JT] knows how I am, I’m going to turn around and send his ass packing right behind Malcolm if I can.” Sandra wanted revenge on JT for screwing them at the last tribal council. “He crossed me. It’s payback time.” Just like when she said she wasn’t going home last week, Sandra was correct again here, she did send JT packing right behind Malcolm. Sandra then put her plan of revenge into motion by stealing the last of the sugar. She explained her exact reasons for doing it: “The only other person here that uses the sugar is JT and Michaela, so I knew JT would blame Michaela for the sugar jar being empty.” We saw her continuing to stir the pot throughout the episode and then saw her talking to Michaela and Jeff about voting JT. This was all Sandra’s plan and accounts for her CP rating.
The reason for her mixed tone is the sugar stealing. It was portrayed as both fun and villainous. It wasn’t outright EVIL negative, but we were definitely meant to see it as a sneaky thing that only a villain like Sandra would do (even though it was hilarious). Jeff’s confessional summed it up with his laughter: “The sugar disappeared… (laughs) JT thinks it’s Michaela, and it’s 100% Sandra.” I’m still unsure where exactly Sandra’s story is leading. It’s still the same old Sandra we’ve seen in past seasons, but now she is the lead character rather than supporting. It still feels like she’s set up to be dethroned due to her villainous edit but when that happens is anyone’s guess. It could be next week, or it could be in the finale. But the edit is getting all it can out of Sandra and lighting up her Edgic chart.
Main Stories In Play
-Sandra’s Empire – can Sandra keep her empire intact looks to be an ongoing story.
-Michaela’s mouth – the story of Michaele being unable to hold her tongue came back into play this week.
-Unpredictable Debbie – the breakdown Debbie had seemed to set up a potential turbulent relationship with Brad that could last a while.
-Sarah the Criminal – once again Sarah brought up how she is playing this season like a criminal. We haven’t really seen any examples of that so it suggests that she will eventually pull off something villainous.
-Troyzan versus Everyone – still very much a part of the story, Sarah reaching out to him was part of this narrative.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.