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.
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Under The Radar
Sebastian has really taken a hard fall in recent weeks. He hasn’t had a confessional since Episode 6! There is just no room for him in the current narrative, he doesn’t figure into the Dom/Wendell/Laurel/Donathan story, and he’s not a central figure in the Naviti alliance. That leaves him very much on the outside looking in.
I considered rating him OTT, mainly due to Probst’s “Sebastian is high every time” comment at the challenge, which was clearly left in the edit to make light of Sebastian looking stoned out of his mind in every episode. Even Sebastian’s Tribal Council answer about trusting his gut when it comes to who is “cool” and who is a “douche” was OTT in nature. So if you wanted to say Sebastian was OTT1 for this episode, I’d be okay with that – remember, tone and visibility are separate. However, I stuck with UTR because those moments were so minimal – nobody came away from this episode remembering Sebastian.
Desiree was barely in this episode, other than a couple of sentences here and there and then answering a question at Tribal Council. This low visibility really hurts Desiree because she never got to explain why she voted for Libby in the previous episode, and then wasn’t given any sort of role in this episode, when Libby actually went home. In previous episodes, we’ve seen Desiree correctly call the boot, and we knew from last week that she wanted Libby gone, so why no follow up here? It shows a real lack of consistency to her edit.
At Tribal Council, Probst asked her about the tug between Malolo and Naviti, and she talked about “big moves,” and how “if you’re not considering “big moves” right now then you’re not playing the game.” That perhaps suggests Desiree will try and pull off a big move soon, maybe as early as next week based on the preview at the end of the episode. But her edit doesn’t give me faith in her being able to pull such a big move off. There is just not enough importance placed on her story.
Here’s the thing with Chelsea, when we see her, she’s often talking strategy, laying out plans, making suggestions, and a lot of the time, those are the plans which come together at Tribal. For example, in this episode, we saw her naming Michael as a target, and also suggesting to split the votes between Michael and Libby. But these moments are so brief and lack any sort of character depth that it’s hard to put any stock in Chelsea’s edit overall. She isn’t getting confessionals to expand upon her strategy, and as I’ve mentioned a million times, we have absolutely no personal content. You know that if Chelsea was the winner that she would be receiving a lot more confessional material to back up those short strategy scenes.
Where is Chelsea heading? Well, she clearly isn’t winning, and I don’t think she has an edit of a Final Tribal Council loser either, which means she is going to end up on the jury. So with that in mind, her answer to Probst’s question at Tribal is perhaps significant. “Honestly, if you’re on the bottom of the line-up, you’re an idiot for staying where you are because congratulations, you just found yourself on the jury.” I’m assuming this was the editors foreshadowing Chelsea’s future in the game.
Middle of the Road
This episode was really bad for Jenna. Taking a trip to Ghost Island was an excellent opportunity for some personal content, especially as she didn’t receive the chance to play a game. Instead, she got the bare minimum, easily the worst Ghost Island scene of the season up until this point. She talked about her hopes of winning an advantage, one that could propel her forward now that we’re in the individual portion of the game. When that chance went up in smoke, she talked about losing her positive attitude, and how she was upset that she couldn’t enjoy the Mexican feast. That was it pretty much. I almost considered UTR here, which I think would be justifiable if you wanted to lean that way.
I said last week that Jenna might have that Andrea/Ciera-style CP bump now that we’re at the merge, but it’s not looking promising. I think the editing this season is really lopsided, with only a handful of characters receiving prominent screentime and narrative importance. The rest are just floating around in the background, popping up every now and then, but nothing significant enough to make an impact on the season as a whole. That is basically where we’re at with Jenna’s edit.
Not a great deal from Kellyn in this episode, and she’s still in her Naviti mindset which is worrying. “Even though we’re at the merge, it’s still original Naviti and original Malolo…” she said, before going on to talk about splitting the votes. The fact Kellyn got to narrate that strategy session and not Chelsea or Desiree continues to show that Kellyn is a much more important character. But it’s concerning that we don’t know anything about Kellyn’s relationships other than “Naviti-strong.” She talked about wanting to pull in Donathan and Laurel, which I suppose shows she is willing to reach out across enemy lines, but it doesn’t feel like it will end in her favor, given that Donathan and Laurel have much better relationships with Domenick and Wendell. Notice that Kellyn also said “the only people I can’t read are Laurel and Donathan,” which further supports those two will play into her downfall.
The positive for Kellyn is that she is one of the handful of people that has received consistent focus across the season. That suggests she has more longevity than at least half of the remaining players – especially as the “one bad decision can haunt you forever” part of her story needs to play out still. But we need more and we need it soon. Kellyn needs to tell us about her individual game and who she considers as her main alliance.
The big question for Domenick coming into this episode was whether he had a story now that Chris was out of the picture. We could have quite easily been heading for a Josh/Jeremy back-to-back boot situation, but fortunately for Domenick, that was not the case. This was a very good episode for the construction supervisor. He took a step into the background, but in a purposeful way, he got to explain his strategy moving forward now that Chris was gone. He told us that he didn’t want to come off as cocky and arrogant because that would just make him the next target. “I think if I can take a step back and not call shots for the next few days, I will have some more flexibility with these people,” he said. And that’s exactly what Domenick did in this episode, letting his buddy Wendell move into the forefront while he operated behind the scenes.
The other big positive for Domenick here is that Libby went home. There were some lingering worries about Domenick keeping Libby in the game after previously talking about how dangerous she is – and likewise for Libby, who saved Dom after saying how big of a threat he could be down the road. Obviously, that worked against Libby, rather than Domenick, who has now escaped both Chris and Libby, the two most ominous signs in his edit. Domenick was even shown subtly swaying Libby to vote for Michael. All of that looks great, especially when you combine it with Domenick’s premiere introduction and the continued focus on his alliance with Wendell, Donathan, and Laurel. Domenick shot right back up the list of contenders.
Donathan needed a strong comeback after his UTR1 rating in last week’s merge episode, and while he did get some semi-decent content here, it wasn’t quite enough. He didn’t really appear in the episode until after the Immunity Challenge, though he did receive SPV (second-person visibility) before then when Wendell and Domenick mentioned him as part of their alliance. Donathan’s content in this episode revolved around his dilemma of whether or not to make a move against Naviti – whether he would decide to be “a little dangerous” or not.
There was more talk about gut feelings, which has been a consistent theme throughout the season, mostly applicable to Kellyn, but we’ve seen it with others too. Donathan said his gut was telling him to stick with Malolo for one more vote because he would have a better chance if they evened up the numbers a bit. “I just had a gut feeling today that I’m not gonna win this game if there’s too much Naviti on one side,” he said, which could be ominous foreshadowing. But he did get to explain why that move might not be the best thing right now. “If I go against them and it doesn’t really work out for us, next Tribal, pretty much it will probably be me.” That does soften the blow a little bit, but it’s still not the best look when he said, “If I pull this off it would be one of the best things for my game,” and then didn’t pull it off. Instead, he chose to stick with Naviti.
I still expect Donathan to be around a while, he is one of the few who has received consistent airtime, a lot of personal content, and his alliances and relationships are well explained. But he’s slowly slipping behind Domenick, Wendell, and even Laurel, at this point.
Things looked bad for Libby last week when she decided to keep Domenick over Chris, despite describing Chris as “loyal” and Domenick as “dangerous.” We also saw the women talking about wanting to vote her out. Those things pointed to impending doom for Libby, and while she didn’t leave directly at the hands of Domenick, he was still part of the plan to split the votes against her and Michael, and he swayed her from any potential Malolo counter attack.
Libby at least got a CP edit on her way out; she got to talk about her position in the game, her confusion over receiving votes at previous Tribal Councils, and how she planned to shake that target off her back going forward. We saw her putting her plans into motion, distancing herself from Michael, reaching out to other players, and weighing up her options. But overall Libby’s edit has been lacking. A lot of her content came from other players’ descriptions of her, rather than what she did herself. Angela and Chelsea told her that she received votes because they saw her as a power couple with Michael. But did we ever see Libby and Michael as a power duo in the edit? They weren’t on the same tribe for the majority of the game. It’s similar to all the talk of Libby being this dangerous player, the edit never really showed us that, other than her breaking Morgan’s trust way back in Episode 3. Even Libby herself was confused why she was painted as such a huge threat.
Overall, I’ve rated Libby as MOR for the season. There just wasn’t enough complexity there for her to ever stand out as a major character. We barely learned anything about her on a personal level. We saw a bit of strategy from time and time and a fair amount of SPV, but nothing substantial.
Michael hit all the usual beats of his edit in this episode. He is a perpetual underdog who continues to fight, but things just don’t go his way. Yes, he saved himself with an idol, but he was unable to pull together his Malolo 5 and everyone voted against him (or Libby). He talked about setting up his alliances for “the best end-game possible,” he correctly pointed out Domenick and Wendell as a dangerous pair, and approached Angela to potentially join him in voting out Wendell. But Angela quickly threw Michael under the bus, effectively turning the entire tribe against him, if they weren’t already against him. He had a plan to take advantage of the split vote by having the Malolos vote as a unit, which was a smart, CP idea, but again, he failed at convincing people to join him.
I think Michael’s edit can be summed up perfectly by one particular scene from this episode. It’s the moment after the Immunity Challenge where he goes back and finishes his gross food despite already having lost. Isn’t that his story in a nutshell? Or perhaps oyster shell is more appropriate. He continues to battle through until the very end, even if he’s on the losing side. No matter what happens, Michael will go down fighting.
Have you noticed the trend in Angela‘s edit? Every third episode she shoots up in complexity, visibility, and tone. Episodes 1 and 2, nothing. Episode 3, CP4. Episodes 4 and 5, practically nothing. Episode 6, CPM. Episodes 7 and 8, nothing. Episode 9, CPP. What a strange edit. In each one of those CP episodes, she’s talked about her military background, often relating it back to her game. She did the same in this episode, though whereas before she focused on the family aspect of the military, here, she talked about starting a war and standing tall over her casualties. If Angela had that confessional early in the pre-merge, she’d probably be a contender, but coming this late and after such an up and down edit, it’s not exactly helping her chances.
The episode was presented as Angela’s coming out party, she felt free after Chris had left, and was finally taking control of her game. Probst himself even commented upon this at Tribal Council, how Angela seemed like a new person. And the Immunity Challenge highlighted her triumph, with lots of praise from Probst and the other castaways (hence her light P-tone). But even when focusing on her own game, it still came back to helping out original Naviti. Michael tried to reach out to her, correctly pointing out how she was left out of the Chris vote, and then she went and spilled everything to the OG Naviti members. Despite what Angela says about focusing on her own game, or playing with her head over her heart, her story always comes back to sticking by Naviti, her surrogate Survivor family. I still believe that is what will lead to Angela’s downfall… see you again in three episodes time I guess?
This was a huge episode for Wendell, his most visible of the season so far; he was a significant presence from start to finish. But there are worries here, big worries. The question is, are these the kind of worries meant to create tension and jeopardy on his path to victory? Similar to Ben last season who received some negative SPV around this point in the season, especially those referring to him as a dictator. Or are these the sort of worries that spell trouble for Wendell in the long run? Let’s break it down.
Wendell started the episode concerned about Laurel. He thought she was having second thoughts about the alliance with himself, Domenick and Donathan. To alleviate her worries, he told her about Dom’s idol and his own idol. Laurel repeatedly said to him that she trusted him and was a thousand percent with him until the Final 4. Wendell seemed pleased with his work and reported back to Domenick that Laurel was a thousand percent on board. If that was all we saw, then great, things would have looked all peachy for the furniture designer. But we got to hear Laurel’s side of the story too, and she showed reservations about Wendell, and the funny thing is, Laurel didn’t have those reservations until Wendell started acting sketchy with her. She recognized that Wendell and Dom have too much power. “That’s one more time that I felt in the dark, and I don’t like that,” she said. “He’s shown I can only trust him to a certain point,” Laurel continued. Wendell was shown to have an incorrect read, and it’s not the first time that has happened this season.
Here’s the thing though, Laurel ended up voting with Wendell this episode, so ultimately, Wendell got his way. And also, Wendell was a decoy boot target; he was the person Michael was trying to take down. So it’s possible all of this was included in the edit merely to add tension to an otherwise predictable vote-off. Wendell is obviously a huge threat, we’ve heard that from countless other players, many in this episode. When it comes to a winner edit, it’s always good to have a little bit of doubt there, obstacles for the eventual Sole Survivor to overcome. Wendell still had plenty of strong, positive content surrounding this doubt. He was shown to be social and respectful during the taco reward. He correctly called that Michael should be the target. And even though he worried Laurel, we still have a clear sense of his relationships. The Wendell/Domenick/Laurel/Donathan alliance is the primary focus of the edit, and it wouldn’t be shocking to see all four in the finale episode.
The big thing to look out for in the coming weeks is if Wendell continues to make incorrect calls. The more that happens, the less it looks like intentional doubt, and more like the signs of an eventual loser edit. I think because he was a decoy boot this episode, things are still looking good, but the next episode or two will be super important.
A mixed bag of an episode for Laurel. She received a lot of focus, both from her fellow players and the edit, which put her in a crucial swing position, essentially the decider between sticking with the Wendell/Dom/Donathan alliance or the Malolo 5. People were trying to earn her trust, which is a good thing. Wendell told her about his idol and believed he’d cemented their relationship. Donathan once again mentioned how he trusts Laurel more than anyone else. Kellyn said that “they” (as in Naviti) need Laurel (and Donathan) more than the other way around. Right now, Laurel looks to be in a powerful position.
The concern for Laurel comes with what she decides to do with that power. After Wendell told her about the idol, she told us that she was suspicious, that Wendell and Dom have too much power, and that she can only trust them to a certain point. “But at some point, I need to shake things up, I need something to change because now that we’re at the merge this is when you’ve really got to start to make the moves,” she said. She was presented with an opportunity to make a move against Wendell later in the episode. “I think it would be a really big move to take out Wendell and probably something for a resume,” she said, after hearing Michael’s plan to vote out Wendell. “The issue is whether or not I want to continue working with him, but if he senses what’s going on he could play his idol – this is going to determine the course of the game and my future in the game,” she added. So, like Donathan, she gave justifiable reasons why she didn’t make the move at this moment.
Here’s the question, was this a missed opportunity for Laurel? Or was sticking with Wendell the right decision? This season is based all around decisions, and Laurel described this particular Tribal Council as a “huge decision.” If we were just looking at things from a game point of view, then Laurel sticking with the foursome alliance here makes complete sense, but Edgically, there is definitely potential for this to be foreshadowing Laurel’s downfall. Her edit just isn’t as strong as Domenick’s or Wendell’s, and so as long as they remain in the game, she will always be a place behind them. She said this decision would determine her future in the game, and I do think she has a future, as I said earlier, this foursome alliance is the central focus of the edit right now, and so it wouldn’t be surprising to see it ride all the way to the end. Laurel can undoubtedly make it deep, but can she win? I think the edit is saying she needs to make a big move for that to be possible.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic!