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.
I was relatively high on Roark‘s chances last week despite her UTR premiere, and that was because of her confessional placement and its similarities to Adam Klein’s first confessional in Millennials vs. Gen X. I’m not so confident after Episode 2. Yes, she had a little bit of b-roll footage and some small challenge focus, but as I always like to ask, will the general audience remember this player after this episode? For Roark, it’s a no. That means invisible.
Only two previous winners have started with UTR followed by INV, and those are Amber Mariano and Natalie White, two Survivor anomalies overshadowed by the more prominent edits of their partners. But even in those cases you already had a sense where they stood alliance wise, even if their position in the tribe was described to us by someone other than themselves. In the premiere of All-Stars, we knew that Amber was aligned with Rob because he pretty much told us so and we saw them on the beach cementing a bond. Similarly, in the Samoa premiere, we saw Russell creating a secret alliance with Natalie – admittedly, he created alliances with everybody, but we still saw this important partnership being built. We have no idea where Roark currently stands in the game, if she’s in an alliance, who she trusts, etc. So her UTR/INV looks worse in comparison.
The positive spin you could put on this is that the Healers didn’t go to tribal council and the tribe as a whole was rather underedited compared to the Hustlers and Heroes. Roark wasn’t the only Healer to receive zero confessionals – Desi, Jessica, and Mike also went confessional free. However, those three all had decent chunks of camp life scenes, whereas Roark was strictly background fodder. The main stories taking place at the Healers beach right now are Cole and Jessica’s romance and Joe versus Mike. You would like to think that if Roark had a significant role to play this season, then she would at least be given a brief narrational confessional on current camp life. So now instead of Adam, Roark’s edit is reminding me more of Andrea’s last season, who also started with UTR2 followed by INV. Andrea didn’t really become a character in Game Changers until post-merge when she was more actively involved in the game. Perhaps Roark will follow a similar path, but as you’ll remember, Andrea lost.
Under The Radar
The outlook for Desi is also looking sketchy after back-to-back UTRs. Although, unlike with Roark, the edit took time out to give us a little bit of personal info about Desi as she discussed her time as Miss Virginia. It was very brief, and that was all we got from Desi this episode, but at least it was something.
It’s always a problem when a tribe doesn’t attend tribal council. It makes it difficult to work out if a player is underedited simply because their role in the season doesn’t kickstart until later in the game or if they are genuinely unimportant to the season. For example, if the Healers were to win every pre-swap challenge, and then post-swap Desi ends up in a completely new tribe, she could then build new relationships which have a more long-term effect on the game. In that case, the edit would intentionally play down Desi’s early game relationships because they don’t have an impact on the overall season arc.
When this happens (a consistently winning tribe) we need to look at the common tells which help us determine whether or not a player will have significance later down the line. Using the Beauty tribe from Kaoh Rong as an example, a tribe that never lost pre-swap, we can see different forms of edit. Michele, the eventual winner, was UTR for the majority of the pre-swap game, except for a powerful CP introduction in the premiere. That intro was a clue that Michele probably had longevity and a role to play later. Tai was CPP for three of the four pre-swap episodes, his first episode being OTTM, this told us Tai was a BIG character of the season. Anna fluctuated between CP and INV/UTR; her edit was of short-term importance. Julia and Nick were primarily UTR with one MOR sprinkled in for each (Nick even had an INV). Julia and Nick weren’t massively important to the overall season arc and only picked up steam a couple of episodes before their boot.
So what does that tell us about Desi and the Healers tribe? Looking at those Beauty ratings, you would say Desi is closest to Julia/Nick. She’s likely a player that doesn’t have a significant role in shaping the overall narrative arc of the season but could emerge later as her inevitable elimination draws closer. Roark could also fit into this category. If Desi were to be a winner you would expect a Michele like confessional by now, something telling us about her approach to the game and/or her personality (the short Miss Virginia stuff isn’t enough). If she were to be a major character, you would expect her to have a CP by now like Tai. If I had to guess, I would bank on Desi going pretty far but not really emerging in the edit until her boot episode nears.
Jessica is in the same boat as Desi and Roark except she has a life-raft in the form of Cole. She has positive tone here for Cole referring to her as “super cute” and his “dream girl,” plus the whole flirtation in general was given a positive bent by the edit. But again, everything about Jessica is framed within the context of Cole, and she didn’t even get to comment on it this week.
All we know about Jessica so far is that she has the hots for Cole, and she just turned 30 (and we only know that because Cole told us). We know nothing about her personal life, her approach to the game, or where she stands within the tribe as a whole. Again, not all of those things are a huge negative, because the Healers haven’t attended tribal council and therefore the dynamics of the tribe haven’t really been explored. We don’t really know where anyone on the tribe stands. I suppose in a way the fact Jessica has a close bond with Cole could be a positive in that it’s a developed relationship and a key story. But unfortunately nothing here screams winner for Jessica. It’s even tough to see her growing an individual arc outside of Cole.
Mike is the last UTR of the Healers tribe this episode. Fortunately for Mike, his UTR is far less damaging than it is for those above, and that’s because of his super strong premiere. An UTR cooldown after a solid CP4 opening is actually a good thing. We already got a great picture of who Mike is last week, both personal and game-wise. He told us about his life, his job, his family, and his approach to the game. There wasn’t much more we needed from Mike in another episode where he didn’t attend tribal.
But even with the UTR cooldown we still received some decent Mike content. He had a lighthearted scene in the camp shelter talking about how out of place he feels on a tribe of “hot and smart” people. Joe pulled his leg saying “You’ve got the smarts, Mike, just not the looks.” It was a jovial scene with laughter and smiling. Mike was also kept in the game conversation by Joe who referred to him as “public enemy number one” despite admitting he liked Mike’s personality (I considered giving Mike tone for this, but felt it was too brief). This small camp scene followed by Joe talking about Mike in a game context keeps the Doctor on track as an essential part of the story. If you were comparing Mike to those Beauty ratings, he actually comes closest to Michele.
Alan had quite the change of pace from his high visibility OTTN last week. We got a short confessional from Alan at the beginning about tribal council, and others mentioned him throughout the episode, but other than that this was a very quiet showing for the former NFL player.
There is some debate over whether Alan should have Negative tone or not. I can see the argument for both. On the one hand, his tribemates did speak of their distrust of him after last week’s blow up, and Ashley referred to him as “off the hinges.” I can see how painting Alan as an untrustworthy loose cannon can be perceived as Negative tone. But on the flip side, I’m cautious about assigning tone based primarily on trust (or lack thereof). Especially in this case where it all circled back to Alan’s blow up at Ashley and JP, which also had some positive effects. For example, Alan’s intention of causing suspicion towards the “power couple” did, in fact, work (just like he said), as we heard both Ben and Chrissy questioning the closeness of Ash and JP. Because all this is very much game-related rather than personal, I decided to keep Alan’s tone neutral this episode. The concept of trust is brought up a lot in Survivor, and so I find it hard to count it as tone. It comes down to whether you feel the edit went out of its way to make Alan look negative this episode? I don’t think it did, or at least not enough to warrant an N-tone.
As for the rest of Alan’s edit, he was kept on the periphery. He’s someone on the fringes of the game, not controlling it. That was seen in the beach scene between Ben and Chrissy, who are positioned as in control, when they discussed their options of working with Alan or with Ashley, as if either were disposable. To back this up, at the start of the episode Alan said, “I don’t plan on going back to that,” referring to tribal council, but you could also read that as him removing himself from the game. Tribal council is where the action happens, where people are voted out, and Alan saying he doesn’t plan on going back is like him checking out of the action. If you’re looking at potential winners, Alan would have to be very close to the bottom. For characters driving the narrative of the season, Alan is falling down the pecking order there too. He still has personality to his edit and the potential to provide big moments, but as a central character, probably not.
I was initially thinking MOR for Devon this episode but on rewatching the episode he really didn’t have anything of substance. At first I thought his conversation with Ryan about being able to smile around him and not the others was enough for MOR but it was really nothing. Ryan still got all the confessionals about the partnership and looked far more important. The only other content Devon got, apart from some challenge focus, was a fluff confessional about why Simone needed to go home.
Actually, there was one other moment that might be worth noting. During the puzzle portion of the immunity challenge, Devon was subtitled telling Simone to “just observe.” I’m not sure if this was meant to reflect badly on Simone or Devon. Was it genuinely good advice? Or did it come across condescending? Given that Devon got the follow up confessional post-challenge about how bad Simone performed it kind of made it sound like the latter. Not sure what that means going forward.
There’s not a great deal more to say about Devon’s edit so far. His partnership with Ryan is well established which could mean he sticks around a while but he still looks to be playing second fiddle.
Middle of the Road
I talked a lot last week about how Ashley lacked awareness of how her tribe perceived her and JP. The edit continued down that path in this episode. Ashley was still battling perceptions. She talked again about how crazy Alan’s plan was to point the finger at her and JP. “Do you believe me now?” she asked Ben and Chrissy back at camp. “I’m starting to believe you more,” Ben said, which isn’t exactly a ringing endorsement. To hammer that perceptions hadn’t really changed, Ben told us the core-four alliance was over, and Chrissy later said: “I am not convinced there’s not a power couple.”
Ashley and Alan are actually in a similar spot. The edit has shown them both to lack awareness of the vulnerable position they’re actually in. As I said in Alan’s section, it’s Ben and Chrissy positioned as the decision-makers, and they are seemingly in a toss-up over whether to move forward with Ashley or Alan, which suggests both could easily be taken out. But Ashley did get to explain her actions, she told us why she was battling this perception, and we heard her thoughts in both confessional and at camp. It wasn’t enough for CP because the majority of her content related to Alan, but it was slightly more than UTR.
Between this episode and the premiere, Ashley has had a sizable chunk of content and air-time. A lot of that content is ominous, but at least we have a sense of where Ashley stands in the game. Her winning chances are slipping because of how out of the loop she seems with the wider plans and stories. But character-wise there is enough substance here to drive her forward.
Cole‘s edit remained consistent from what we saw in the premiere. His role as the golden boy Healer who is there to help and guide others is very much intact. In this episode, we saw him guiding Jessica while she attempted to catch fish, offering her words of encouragement and advice while also flirting. Later, he helped Joe find the idol. “Dude, wilderness therapy and rock climbing, it’s second nature for me to enable people and help them accomplish their goals, and that skill set I feel like is giving me power in this game.”
Not only is the above confessional further confirmation of Cole’s character and approach to the game but it once again reminded us of his job. All this personal content is good. Plus Cole remains in a positive light, both the fishing scene and idol scene came across well, and Joe even admitted he wouldn’t have figured out the clue without Cole’s help. The way Cole tied his skill set into the game and how it is giving him power is the reason for his MOR rating. It wasn’t quite enough for CP because there wasn’t any real sense of his long-term plans nor even what he hopes to accomplish for himself short-term (other than hooking up with Jessica), but it did let us know he is thinking about different aspects of the game.
The other positive for Cole’s edit is that he now has two running storylines. The first is obviously his potential romance with Jessica. The second is his connection to Joe and the idol. Joe even says: “I’m concerned because the fact that Cole knows that I have the idol could absolutely backfire. It’s all about power and knowledge. He has too much knowledge. I don’t think he’s going to use it against me, but at the same time, if he does, I might have to put a target on his back.” That seems like a definite set-up for a future storyline, and it places Cole right in the center of the action. Also, the fact Cole received an introduction on the boat and has had P-tone in both episodes probably suggests he comes out on top of this potential showdown with Joe. Cole being involved in two storylines on a tribe where most people are scratching and clawing for significant air-time is a good sign for his longevity.
Lauren had a much more visible episode this week due in large part to the Hustlers attending tribal council. While the majority of her content revolved around Patrick, there was some decent stuff mixed in. For example, she threw in a little bit of personal info about her age and her job as a commercial fisherman. Things like that help us see a more rounded view of a character.
I considered giving Lauren a CP-lite rating because she did talk about her position in the tribe and how she was hoping to rectify that. “I don’t want to be excluded, so I’m trying to build a relationship with Ali, trying to get on the same page with her.” We then saw her talking with Ali in the water. But because no official alliance was made, and Lauren didn’t expand on her plans for the future, I opted for MOR. The rest of her content, as stated, was mainly related to Patrick. “Patrick’s kinda getting on my nerves. He wants to be the highlight or he wants to be in the spotlight.” It’s slightly worrying when a person’s content is so focused on one player because it feels like they don’t have their own individual story. Right now, Lauren’s story is tied directly to Patrick’s, and I expect it to continue in the short-term.
It also isn’t a great sign that Lauren was shown to be the one pushing for Patrick’s ouster. She was the one that said she didn’t trust him and would prefer Simone to stay. So even though she voted in the majority, the fact that she didn’t ultimately get her way could be telling. Lauren is another one whose edit is quite hard to read. It’s not an amazing edit nor is it terrible. It is, like the rating says, middle-of-the-road. I could honestly see her as the next one out or going deep into the merge. It’s tough to say.
Over The Top
From INV to OTTM, that’s one hell of a two episode journey for Simone. I know some people will argue CP for Simone this episode, and I can see why. She did get plenty of confessionals explaining her actions and strategy. However, I like to look at the overall editorial intent. Things like her excitement of taking an Aqua Dump, complaining about there being no air-con, and telling Devon she hates the outdoors were so in-your-face. All of those moments were so OTT that they overshadowed any reasoning she might have had. When viewers think back to Simone, they will remember ‘Oh, the girl who took a dump in the ocean and moaned about lack of air con,’ and that, my friends, is OTT.
I wondered last week whether the brief b-roll of Simone clumsily tripping out of the boat meant anything edit-wise. Now we have the answer, it most certainly did. That one shot painted Simone as someone out of her element, and this episode ran with that story. From the moment it showed her this episode, frantically batting an insect away from her face, it was just non-stop disaster. Ryan even called her “weird” in his confessional. It’s not hard to see where her N-tone came from. The reason I opted for Mixed rather than outright M was because she was shown trying – like gutting the fish – and Ryan called her smart, plus Ali did offer her kind words, even if Ali had ulterior motives. I certainly don’t think we were meant to see Simone as this entirely negative energy. Even her OTT moments, like her pride after taking an Aqua Dump, was given somewhat of a positive feel – ridiculous as it might have seemed.
There’s more you could look into here, but it becomes somewhat redundant now that Simone is out of the game. Her story here really is set-up for how the Hustlers move forward. The story of strength versus unpredictability was the big argument here, with Simone representing someone not strong in challenges/camp but someone who listens and is logical. With the Hustlers voting her out, the question becomes was that the right decision, and that plays into the next person I’m going to talk about.
If you had Patrick in your sweepstakes this season, I have some bad news. Oh boy. Sometimes when it comes to Edgic, it can be challenging to decide which way to go with a rating or a tone. That’s not the case for Patrick. I’ve never been surer of an OTTN edit. He was shown to be a complete goof in the most cartoonish of ways and had plenty of NSPV to back it up. If Patrick is the winner of this season, I would be shocked.
I said last week that Patrick seemed like a goofy character based on his brief scenes. That was turned up to the max this episode. From messing with crabs, screaming like a wild banshee, bugging Lauren about her dance moves, performing terrible Aussie accents, and making fart noises. It was a whirlwind of idiocy. Even in his b-roll, he was shown checking out his reflection in the scuba mask and gnawing on pieces of bamboo like a docile panda. And if the footage wasn’t enough to get the point across then we had the SPV from his tribemates. “Getting on my nerves,” “Too loud,” “big kid,” “nuts,” “unpredictable.” Also, Patrick was shown to be unaware of the effect his behavior was having. “My strategy is to keep everyone having fun. When you do that, you don’t have to worry about being the bullseye,” he said. But not everyone was having fun. Lauren was annoyed and because of that Patrick did begin to develop a target on his back. Even though Patrick described his wild behavior as a strategy, it isn’t enough to counter the OTT nature of his edit.
So where does Patrick go from here? He was kept for his strength, but we continually heard about how unpredictable he is. At one time or another Ali, Lauren, Ryan, and Simone referred to him as “unpredictable.” The edit laid the groundwork for Patrick causing major problems for someone (or some people) down the line. “My only concern is people aren’t sure about Patrick for the long haul. I think everybody knows he’s way too unpredictable. They never know what he’s gonna do,” Ali said. Given that the edit has established the Ali and Patrick alliance, this sounds ominous, especially after Patrick’s wishy-washy answer last week about how he sort of trusts Ali but sort of not. It seems like Ali and Patrick will sever ties at some point but which way will it go? Will Patrick’s unpredictable nature cause him to make a big move and vote out Ali? Or will Ali decide to ditch Patrick for the greater good of tribe sanity? This story is going to come to a head and probably sooner rather than later.
JP was the opposite to Patrick in the sense that his rating was really difficult to decide on. He only had the one confessional but it was a really long confessional. My first thought was MOR but I think that’s a snap reaction based on JP’s rather monotone voice and his contstant “y’knows.” It makes you think there isn’t much going on there. But when you actually look at the confessional he explained a lot of his strategy and why he was doing certain things and what benefits they would have long-term. He even mixed in personal info about his job as a firefighter. That is at least CP-lite.
Unlike Ashley who was shown to be fighting against perceptions, JP took heed and worked on distancing himself from Ashley and focused instead on providing for the tribe, hoping to buy into their good graces. “If I can get some fish, some lobster, things like that, and make sure everybody’s got a full belly, I think everyone should be happy and, you know, taken care of,” he said. We then saw him putting this plan into motion. He then told us why he was doing it – because of the attention he and Ashley had received as a “power couple.” We also saw him involved in a conversation with Chrissy where he talked about plans moving forward. All of this stuff is what we look for in a CP edit it just seemed rather unusual because of the way others framed JP this episode – basically, not very smart.
While his lobster catching scene was framed in a positive light, with some great reactions from his tribemates, he was called “not that smart” by Chrissy. “JP can be helpful in challenges, but truthfully, I just don’t think he’s that smart,” Chrissy said. It was a compliment followed by an insult. That’s the reason I opted for Mixed tone. There’s an argument to keep his tone neutral but because of how well the lobster scene came across, it felt like intentional editorial positivity. But to give him P-tone when he was basically called dumb wouldn’t seem right. Hence the M-tone.
I find JP’s edit one of the most difficult to read. He’s given content – including the long confessional this episode – but he seems like a non-factor. Chrissy even said as much in her talk with Ben, saying “JP doesn’t talk to anybody. Who knows what the heck his game is?” JP is hard to read as both a player and an edit. He really doesn’t seem like winner material based on these first two episodes nor does he seem like a BIG character or someone who will be pushing the action forward. But could he last a while? Certainly.
Chrissy had an excellent premiere edit, but there was the lingering question of whether it was merely because of the Super Idol. We needed this second episode to tell whether Chrissy is going to be a pivotal character this season. I think it’s safe to say now that Chrissy certainly has a role to play Super Idol or not. Not only did she immediately get to explain her decision not to use the idol on Katrina, but she told us the benefits of using the idol as a “decoy” later down the line, and then, later on, had the best confessional of the entire episode.
Her rating was definitely CP, no question about it. All her confessionals and conversations were focused on the game and moving forward and even had some personal info sprinkled on top. It makes sense to focus on Chrissy’s “data” confessional as that was the best example of her CP-ness. “So what I do as an actuary is analyze data and then figure out what is my next best move giving everything that I know,” she started, informing us of her job and how it applies to the game. She then ran through each member of her tribe. “JP can be helpful in challenges, but truthfully, I just don’t think he’s that smart,” “Ashley is a very good player, but I still don’t entirely trust Ashley,” “Then after Alan had his blowup, I’m concerned about having a twosome with Alan.” She finished by explaining her choice in alliance partner: “At this point, the data shows that Ben is a better option for me. Ben has a lot of social charm, and I can think several steps ahead strategically, so together we complement each other very well.”
It’s an incredible confessional that lets us know everything Chrissy is thinking and why she’s thinking it. Getting that much insight from one player is rare. In a way, it’s kind of similar to Michele’s confessional in the first episode of Kaoh Rong, where she ran through each member of her tribe, their pros and cons, and why she was choosing to align with the women. Chrissy not only told us these things though, we then saw her put them into action. We had footage of her in camp scenes with each individual before eventually cementing her alliance with Ben. And just so we knew this wasn’t all one-sided, we got a confessional from Ben speaking highly of Chrissy and their new partnership. “Chrissy is a smart woman, and she has a good head on her shoulders. And that’s gonna help me get further in the game. At this point, Chrissy and I are in the driver’s seat, and whatever we decide to do is what’s gonna happen,” Ben said. It’s interesting how he said Chrissy is going to help him get further – that puts Chrissy in the leadership role.
All of this looks great for Chrissy as both a potential winner and someone with longevity in the game. There was lots of talk of the future, down the line, moving forward. When a player talks like that in the edit, it usually means they will be around a while. For the short-term, it seems the story on the Heroes beach will be about Chrissy and Ben deciding on their third alliance member – Alan or Ashley. Right now, the data shows that Chrissy is in a great position both game wise and edit wise.
Ben also had a good episode and like Chrissy looks to be a character who will be around a while and a key player in the narrative. It’s actually really interesting how much air-time and complexity the Heroes tribe got for a tribe that didn’t attend tribal council. Especially when you compare them to the underedited Healers. Maybe it just means the Heroes are going to lose another pre-swap immunity challenge or it could suggest these players will be important throughout the season.
There wasn’t quite as much CP to Ben’s edit as Chrissy’s but what was there was sufficient enough. He started by explaining that the “core four” had broken up. “The core four is gone. The perception might be there in some people’s heads… not– actually no, it’s not. It’s done. The whole thing’s shot. Now it’s every man for himself.” There’s that word “perception” again which is becoming very important this season. In this episode, we saw that Ben, Chrissy, and JP had an awareness of how things were changing on the tribe, whereas Ashley and Alan still believed they were in a good position with the majority – despite their fate being very much up in the air.
It’s Ben’s second confessional which accounts for most of his CP. “Chrissy is a smart woman, and she has a good head on her shoulders. And that’s gonna help me get further in the game. At this point, Chrissy and I are in the driver’s seat, and whatever we decide to do is what’s gonna happen.” This confessional was bookended by scenes of Ben and Chrissy on the beach cementing their partnership and discussing their options going forward. When plans like this are made which look to the future, it is surefire CP. Chrissy also complimented Ben for being a player with “social charm,” while that’s a good look for Ben I didn’t think it was enough to warrant P-tone. If I were to pick a negative to Ben’s edit here, it would be that Chrissy kind of undermined him by saying he has the social charm and she has the strategic ability to think steps ahead. It could suggest that Ben isn’t as smart as Chrissy and therefore puts him in a second fiddle position.
While Joe‘s content this episode mainly revolved around the idol, he did get to narrate the entire sequence with various insights, including why he was looking in the first place, and his concerns about Cole going forward. There wasn’t the negativity of the premiere – his scene making fun of Mike’s looks might have been a bit brash but it was done jokingly, and he also insulted himself at the same time. It didn’t seem like that scene was skewed in a negative tone, if anything, it was to show Joe warming up to Mike, which he admitted in confessional.
There’s no point breaking down every bit of Joe’s confessionals because most of what he said was just narration of his idol search. But there were a couple of interesting bits which could be foreshadowing. Firstly, the bit I alluded to above, about Mike. “My relationship with Mike is he’s still my public enemy number one, but he’s definitely growing on me. He’s a… I mean, he’s a likable guy and I kind of like him, but not enough to keep him around.” Now, this could suggest a couple of things. With Joe growing to like Mike as a person, it could be early signs that he will end up working with Mike in the future, especially now that Cole could be a potential problem for Joe too. Or it could mean that Joe’s obsession with taking out Mike despite liking him as a person will lead to his downfall – for example, if Cole does use his idol knowledge to target Joe, he could use Mike as a number. Either way, the edit is keeping Joe and Mike linked storywise for a reason.
The second thing to note, which ties into the above, was his relationship with Cole. “I’m concerned because the fact that Cole knows that I have the idol can absolutely backfire. It’s all about power and knowledge. He has too much knowledge,” Joe said. “I don’t think he’s going to use it against me, but at the same time, if he does, I might have to put a target on his back.” It sets up a new dynamic on a tribe which has very little going on edit wise. Right now, it seems like Joe-Mike-Cole are the driving force of the action on the Healers beach. The other thing here is how Joe admitted to needing Cole’s help. I’m wondering if this could have been left out of the edit or if it needed to be included because there was no way to cover up the fact Joe needed Cole’s help to get the idol. Either way, it kept both characters on track. Cole as the positive helper. Joe as a player who is quite aggressive and doesn’t often think through his actions (how he approached Mike last week, and how he didn’t think about the clue properly this week).
Joe is certainly one of the season’s bigger characters across these first two episodes, but I do worry about his longevity. His game seems like it is going to blow up at some point and when it does I would bet on Cole and/or Mike being a part of that story.
Ryan, much like Chrissy, had a strong premiere edit propped up by a Super Idol. Now that the idol is out of his hands we can start to get a better picture of Ryan’s edit on its own terms. Everything still looked good for the bellhop in Episode 2. He was shown to be strategically aware, socially capable, and in a controlling position both within his alliance with Devon and the tribe as a whole. Plus he got plenty of confessionals and visibility that fleshed him out as a player and a character.
He started the episode with a general tribe related confessional, talking about how they are living the work hard mantra. This was backed up with scenes of the tribe working around camp, collecting firewood, fishing, etc. This makes Ryan’s narration correct and perceptive. He goes on to talk about his alliance with Devon and how they are “lock-step.” Again, this read is confirmed in a camp scene where Devon cements his loyalty to Ryan. He then mentions Simone and how she is “weird” and not blending in. That was effectively Simone’s story this episode, the out of her element weirdo, and so again, everything Ryan said here was backed up by the edit.
You could argue that Ryan’s content is all related to the episode at hand, but then, later on, he had a confessional at the challenge about Chrissy. “Chrissy does not know that I’m the one that gave that idol to her. And I don’t know how that first Tribal went. Maybe she used it and that’s why she’s still there, but I hope she sticks around so I can get an opportunity to use that connection down the road.” There is no reason to include that if Ryan and Chrissy both don’t make it further in the game and come in contact. It gives Ryan a storyline outside of his tribe and keeps it firmly in the viewer’s mind.
Heading into tribal council, Ryan, along with Ali, were positioned as the key players at the Hustlers camp. We heard from both of them and where their heads were at. For Ryan, it was all about predictability. “I want to be aligned with predictable people who are socially good and want to listen to me. And tonight is about who can we trust more going forward? And who’s going to be the most loyal?” Ryan ultimately voted out Simone, and explained his reasons why, and kept the unpredictable Patrick. Now, this could suggest one of two things. If Ryan continues this line of thought, then he should be targeting Patrick if the Hustlers lose again. Or, he will end up aligning with Patrick, and it will come back to bite him in the butt. Because of how well Ryan’s edit has been tended to so far, I think he’ll probably come out of this okay. The edit has not only shown him to be correct in his perceptions but has set up potential future storylines for him. All of that speaks to Ryan’s longevity in the game and his potential as a big character and possible winner.
Ali had another well-developed, rounded edit. Firstly, I must say how good it feels to have two females (Ali and Chrissy) with such strong edits out of the gate. It’s rare for women in Survivor to be given this sort of care and attention, and because of that you can’t help but feel some caution when analyzing their content, but it really is great to see.
In this episode, Ali was presented as the central figure in the Hustlers tribe. “This game is all about handling different personalities, you know, and I think that it’s just something that I’m good at,” she said in her first confessional. Much like with Ryan, Ali was always backed up by the edit. She was shown to be handling the tribe’s various personalities expertly. She gave a pep talk to Simone. She listened to Lauren’s complaints about Patrick. She checked in with Patrick and Ryan to gauge what they were thinking game wise. Everyone wanted Ali to be on their side. A prime example of how well Ali fits in with the tribe was when Lauren said: “I don’t want to be excluded, so I’m trying to build a relationship with Ali, trying to get on the same page with her.” That places Ali in an important role as someone who has influence and connections.
Ali is always shown thinking about the game and how she can position herself to move forward. When Ryan was talking about how useless Simone is, Ali instead saw Simone’s potential value as a loyal number. “I definitely could use that for my advantage and kind of pull Simone onto my side,” she said. “You know, I could definitely mold her. I’m here to win. So, I mean, I feel like Simone, I could use as putty in my hands.” Ali is focused on the game, and there was a small winner quote thrown into the middle of that confessional. However, she did ultimately vote Simone out, so we have to look at whether that is a bad sign for Ali edgically speaking.
Her decision to eliminate Simone related directly to her relationship with Patrick. Throughout the episode, Ali got to explain her thought process and the weighing up of her decisions. “With Patrick, I feel like I’m babysitting a lot. But I don’t want that to be my job. I’m here to play for me. I’m not here to play for anybody else,” she said. Ali recognized how Patrick was rubbing certain tribe members the wrong way and the negative effect that could have on her game. It’s interesting she said she doesn’t want that to be her job (babysitting Patrick) when last week she talked about adapting to any role/job needed of her. “I think that I’m gonna have to definitely think about where we stand and how important this relationship is because if people decide to vote Patrick out, I don’t think I need him in this game anymore,” she continued. All of this shows Ali to be a thoughtful, perceptive player thinking about all angles both short-term and long-term. We didn’t see Ali make a decision either way before tribal council, obviously to build suspense for the vote, but she told us she “had options,” and that is always a good thing in the game.
But as good as this all looks, I still have reservations, mainly because of what I said about females not usually having such strong CP edits. With that in mind, it makes you focus more on the slightly ominous foreshadowing in the edit. “I know Simone will listen to me and I know that she would follow me, but me and Pat have been together since Day 1. He looks at me and I can tell that he trusts me more than anyone else in this game,” Ali said before tribal. This confidence in Patrick’s trust is worrying based not only on his unpredictability but his wishy-washy confessional about Ali last week. “My only concern is people aren’t sure about Patrick for the long haul. I think everybody knows he’s way too unpredictable. They never know what he’s gonna do.” There is definitely enough groundwork here for a story where Patrick turns on Ali or somehow ends up costing her her spot because of his erratic behavior.
On the flip side, it could just mean Ali eventually cuts Patrick loose, and this is simply building to that moment. The reason to put more weight into this interpretation is due to how much better Ali’s edit is than Patrick’s, far more complex and well-rounded. Also, Ali had a boat introduction last week, which you would like to believe means she will be around a while. You’ll notice that Ali says Patrick trusts her, but she never says that she trusts Patrick. She is still very much the one positioned as the leader of the alliance, and while that can often mean bigger target, I choose to see it as a sign she will outlast Patrick.
Overall, Ali’s edit looks fantastic on paper but with some worries because of Edgic history. While I’d love to believe we’ve turned a corner and will be getting a sophisticated, well-rounded female winner edit (or long-term character) this season, part of me is still cautious. There is a good chance Ali could be a shock pre-merge boot (or the merge boot like Michelle Schubert in MvGX who also had an excellent Ep2 edit). But because of Ali’s introduction and how well developed her connections are to her tribe as a whole, there is enough here to give me faith this could be the strong, long-term female edit we’ve always wanted.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.