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
If you needed any more evidence that JP is an unimportant character this season, then Episode 5 gave it to you. His tribe went to tribal council and he still didn’t receive a confessional! His main camp scene was a short conversation with Chrissy where she snowballed him into changing his vote to Roark. It continued JP’s portrayal as a strategically clueless player. His content at tribal council related to Chrissy’s all-girls alliance lie, confirming that he was indeed hoodwinked. There is just nothing of substance to JP’s edit. He’s not winning, and he has no real story other than some tenuous connections to Ashley and Ben.
A quieter episode for Lauren this week, which I suppose makes sense given that her tribe didn’t attend tribal and the two main camp scenes were taken up by Ben’s PTSD and Mike’s idol find. But we did still get to hear from her ever so briefly, and it was content all about Cole, particularly his bad eating habits. Her role was to slap more negative tone onto Cole. In terms of story, it tells us that Lauren is unlikely to work with Cole going forward. We also saw her feeling sympathetic towards Ben and checking in on him, which keeps a connection alive between the two, especially after Lauren said the two are in the same boat last week. Not much change to Lauren’s trajectory, I still think she is likely to make it relatively deep into the game, probably aligning with old Heroes and Hustlers rather than Healers.
Desi returned to her UTR ways after her CP-lite episode last week. Her only substantial content was straightforward narration of the reward and hoping it will bring the tribe together. I opted for Positive tone because of Jeff Probst’s emphasis on her performance in both challenges – I don’t often like to pay too much attention to challenge content, but because Probst focused on Desi twice and made it very clear that she helped get her tribe ahead, I thought P-tone made sense.
But where does Desi’s story go from here? She still lacks strong content, and her only real connection is to Joe. We saw Ashley and Devon talking about swaying Desi over to their side should they attend another tribal, so she is still a part of the strategy, even if we do not hear it from her perspective. If the Levu tribe do go back to tribal, you have to figure this is all set-up for the story which will play out. Will Desi flip or stick by Joe? One thing that could be seen as a positive for Desi is Roark’s elimination. I’ve talked in previous weeks about how usually one pre-merge UTR edit will end up going far, and while I thought that had more chance of being Roark than Desi, that’s clearly not the case. So perhaps Desi will go far despite being underedited. Or maybe Roark leaving is a bad sign, and this season those with UTR, limited content edits will go pre-merge.
Joe had his first UTR rating of the season and a much needed cool down episode. His one confessional was about explaining his actions at the previous tribal council, how he put on an act to fool his tribemates. It was all about past actions and nothing about pointing forward. But again, Joe always gets to explain himself and his moves, which is a good thing. The reason for the Mixed tone is because the SPV (second person visibility) from his fellow tribemates was about how he is “crazy” and “smart.” Ashley said: “I knew you were crazy, but I didn’t know you were crazy and smart.” Devon later echoed these thoughts, saying that Joe is “the strongest player as far as knowledge of the game, strategy… he’s a good player,” but also that Joe “scares” him. The combo of crazy and smart is classic Mixed tone.
Where does Joe go next? Well, despite the compliments from Ashley and Devon, he was still top of their target list. If Levu goes back to tribal, Joe is clearly going to be on the chopping block, and that’s the story that has been set-up in the edit. But the rest of Joe’s content suggests he has further to go in the game, for example, there is still the connection to Mike which feels like it needs a payoff. Now, sometimes early storylines simply fizzle out, and that might be the case with Joe/Mike, but because of Joe’s complexity, it would make sense for him to continue playing a prominent role in the story going forward.
Middle of the Road
Mike was teetering between ratings again this week; I was stuck between MOR and CP-lite, ultimately I went with MOR because while there was some strategic content, it was mainly idol focused and didn’t feel particularly complex. But it was easily Mike’s best episode since the premiere, he looked smart, aware, and got some more personal content talking about how his kids would be proud he found the idol – a callback to Episode 1 when Mike said his son told him to look for the idol. All of this was framed in a positive light.
Perhaps more interesting than the idol talk though was the continued connection to Jessica. After the swap last week, we saw Mike in strategic conversations with Jessica and Cole, and we saw him become wary of Cole because of his loose lips – Jessica confirmed this in Episode 5 when she said: “I believe Mike is paranoid about Cole as a number.” But Mike was shown as a necessary component of Jessica’s game, “[Mike] can keep a secret,” she said, before telling us she wanted to form more of a bond with the good doctor. The two then found the idol together and shared a hug and kiss on the cheek. Mike even told us that at this point he’s trusting Jessica. However, “at this point” are the key words there.
Mike went on to tell us the idol is his, even though at camp he told Jessica the idol is for the both of them. He showed game awareness by recognizing the danger in someone else knowing about the idol, and as secrets (and the spilling of secrets) has been such a prevalent theme this season, Mike is correct to be worried about that. “Survivor’s only one-third over, but things have changed from going from the bottom to the top. This has been the story of my life, but you can never underestimate Dr. Mike.” I really liked that confessional because not only did it mention the game not being over yet but it made it sound like Mike’s game/story is far from over too. I expect Mike to make the merge and probably make some big moves. There is even enough set-up to suggest he uses the idol against Jessica if need be. What is clear is that Mike has a story, the person who is underestimated but will prove people wrong.
Over The Top
Cole‘s edit continues to be a hilarious opposite to the traditional golden boy edit. It’s now in full-on unaware doofus mode. He only really had one scene of focus this episode, and it was a montage of him eating all the food, with Lauren’s negative commentary over to the top. “Cole’s eating habits are bad. He’s very inconsiderate… he’s like a pig!” Lauren said, as we saw Cole chomping and licking his way through the food supply without a care in the world. It was totally OTT, complete with goofy music, and the fact Cole didn’t get to defend himself just confirms it. His other mention came from Jessica who talked again about him spilling secrets and why that made Mike paranoid and caused her to cement a bond with Mike.
If you were looking at Cole as a winner contender, it might be time to give up those dreams. The edit has shown us over and over that he lacks strategic awareness, can’t keep a secret, and now he’s been called “inconsiderate,” which is beginning to undermine his “helper” storyline. If Cole was winning, his edit would be very different. That said, there is no reason why Cole can’t go far – we know who he is personality-wise, he has connections built up, and he had a strong intro in the premiere. But his story is becoming more and more about how he hinders his allies, which is ironic given his job is about helping people. There is also still the lingering question of whether or not Jessica will ditch Cole to benefit her own game or if she will stick by him to the demise of her game. Despite his negative tone, there is enough to Cole’s edit to suggest he will be around for a little while longer at least.
It makes sense to go to Jessica next, following Mike and Cole, as all three are very much connected. Jessica’s edit continues to improve, and despite her low visibility this episode, I think it was her best content up until this point. So far Jessica has been intrinsically linked with Cole, even when she’s received personal content, it comes via Cole tinted glasses. But this episode we saw Jessica actively building a new bond, and while it still started with a mention of Cole, it was good to see Jessica and Mike connecting, and Jessica recognizing Cole as a potential liability.
“Right now, it would be to the benefit of MY game to form more of a bond with Mike,” she said. We then saw Jessica putting this into action, helping Mike find the idol, and cementing their new bond with a hug. Mike himself said that he’s trusting Jessica “at this point.” It showed us that Jessica is thinking about her own game long-term and not just concerning herself with Cole and their romantic future. If Jessica didn’t have such a weak first episode (her one confessional being all about Cole), I’d be much higher on her winner chances. But because the majority of her content has been Cole related, it kind of taints this more recent complexity, and so while I think she has a chance to last longer than initially anticipated, I find it hard to see her as the winner.
Also, Mike stated in confessional that the idol is his, despite telling Jessica it’s for the both of them, and that makes me worry. It could be foreshadowing Mike using the idol against Jessica, or maybe against Cole without informing Jessica about it. It’s just another red flag that makes me pause for thought when it comes to Jessica’s edit. And, as I mentioned in Cole’s section, we still have the question of whether Jessica will ditch Cole to move forward or stick by him and cost herself the game. That appears to be a running arc which we should get a conclusion to.
Ben‘s edit was obviously very powerful this episode, and it concerned a very serious subject matter. I had to rate him PP. The whole scene was framed in a superheroic light, backed by triumphant music, it was about a man overcoming his past and looking positively towards the future. While this was Ben’s only content of the episode, it would feel wrong to rate the moment as OTT given that it’s a serious issue and one that Ben talked about intelligently and emotionally. It gave us more insight into Ben as a human being, and therefore CPPP felt right.
What does it mean for Ben in terms of his story? Well, last week I looked at how the edit suggested Ben was scared about his future in the game, especially being swapped away from Chrissy. He seemed to be dwelling on the past, which tied thematically to what happened this episode, albeit on a much grander scale. But as we know about Ben by now, he doesn’t give up, and he tries to find a way to overcome, and that is clear in his life, from the personal info we learned this episode, and in the game. I expect Ben to keep pushing forward in this game; his story doesn’t seem to be over yet. But can he win?
“Winning the million for my family is my goal, but there’s a bigger picture, and it’s bigger than me, my family, the game of Survivor. It’s just about being able to show vets who have gone through battle, and war, and depression and PTSD, there’s a way to life outside all that hell,” Ben said. A very powerful moment. But what can we take away Edgically speaking? Well, Ben mentioned winning the money for his family, which is a good thing, but he also described the bigger picture as being about showing vets that there is a life beyond PTSD. Now, that could mean Ben doesn’t have to win this game to accomplish his goal. Usually, players who mention these other goals don’t end up winning. For example, in Cambodia, Joe wanted to make it to the Loved One’s reward to see his dad, Kelley Wentworth wanted to prove she could play a strong game, etc. However, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for a player to mention another goal and still win. Adam’s first confessional in Millennials vs. Gen-X mentioned “proving people wrong about their Millennial misconceptions.” So while Ben’s edit looks to be more about the heroic fighter than Sole Survivor, I wouldn’t completely rule out the win just yet.
Ashley‘s edit and story carried on from where we left it last week. Her relationship with Devon was cemented even further, with both of them promising loyalty to each other and agreeing to vote for Joe if they go back to tribal – even if it results in a tie. Ashley and Devon were the only two to get strategic, forward-thinking content on the Levu tribe this episode. Joe fell into the background, and Desi only commented on the reward and how it would hopefully bring tribe unity. Ashley and Devon meanwhile focused on their next move.
It was Ashley that brought up swaying over Desi. “Devon and I are really going to work on Desi because faced with a tie-vote, in order to keep herself safe, I think she’d flip on Joe because if not the next vote is going to rocks,” she said. It showed us that Ashley is thinking about the future and the best move to assure her and Devon’s safety. Now, we haven’t always been able to rely on Ashley’s words, and sometimes her perception is off, so part of me wonders if this is ironic foreshadowing and that Ashley ends up being the one to flip her vote to keep herself safe. But the way the edit has focused on Ashley/Devon compared to Joe/Desi makes me believe we should be taking this partnership seriously, at least for now.
I still think Ashley has longevity in this season’s narrative, and plenty of story avenues with Devon, and the former Heroes, JP, Chrissy, and Ben. She’s had consistent complexity and is always a part of the story even if she isn’t always the one driving it. It’s hard to work out where she’ll ultimately end up, but I see her in the merge for sure.
Devon‘s edit continues to improve in my eyes. He once again got self-focused strategic content, and it seems that last week’s undermining moments were indeed just to sell the advantage twist. The edit didn’t pile on Devon for having his vote blocked, in fact, the recap even said “Devon had all the power,” and barely focused on the advantage at all, other than showing it led to Joe playing his idol. So I’m not holding anything against Devon from Episode 4 because I feel anyone who had the dis-advantage would have had similar content.
What I’m starting to like about Devon’s edit is the repeated mentions of keeping his mind in the game and doing what’s best for him. He needed that kind of content after the first three episodes painted him as second in command to Ryan. During the reward this episode, he got a great confessional. “Winning that reward, it was just so nice, spiritually, physically, mentally, all of it. But it makes me realize more and more how important it is to keep my mind in the game,” he said. We then saw Devon thanking his tribemates for letting him step up at the challenge, which highlighted his social game. He continued: “I think the best thing for my game, in the end, would be to get rid of Joe. He’s the strongest player I’ve met here as far as knowledge of the game, strategy; he’s a good player, he scares me.” Where Ashley’s confessional was very much about what’s best for her AND Devon going forward, Devon was instead more focused on his own game. It’s always good to be concerned with your personal game, and that’s why I was worried about Devon initially because his content seemed too tied to Ryan. Now he’s breaking free.
But what of his actual strategy? He talked about wanting to get rid of Joe because he scares him. That seems to set up a battle somewhere down the road – could be as soon as next week, or could be much later down the line. Devon did say “the best thing for my game, IN THE END, would be to get rid of Joe,” so it could be foreshadowing for late in the game. However, we have to remember that while the editors can pick and choose what lines to air, they don’t script the dialogue, so Devon saying “in the end” could be nothing. But things are looking a lot better for Devon now, he has connections to Ashley and Ryan, he has this battle set-up with Joe, and he’s becoming more self-focused. Could he win? It’s certainly possible. I do still worry about his rather weak premiere, and how much he played second fiddle to Ryan, but then you remember how he was the only one to call the Simone and Patrick boots, and that makes him look a lot better.
Well, that happened. Roark‘s edit never really took off, did it? Her consistent UTR streak pretty much ruined her winner chances, but I always kept the option open that she could have a late-game emergence similar to a Julia or perhaps if she was lucky, even Ciera/Andrea. Unfortunately for Roark, her edit was that of an inconsequential pre-merge boot with no bearing on the overall arc.
Roark did go out on a CP rating though. Naturally, being the boot, she was a big part of the episode, and we got to hear her strategy and see her in conversations with her fellow tribemates. Even though she ended up going home, her content was all about looking forward, especially to the merge and how she could reconnect with the Healers and bring Ali on board. But what I think is important about Roark’s edit here is how it relates to Ali and her game/story. Ali is the one still in the game, and she was a big proponent of keeping Roark, wanting to use the Healers numbers at the merge. Now that Roark is gone it becomes a story of how does Ali survive and regroup. It’s sad to say, but there’s just nothing more really worth discussing in regards to Roark because it has no impact on the overall narrative. She leaves the game as UTR overall.
Let’s move onto Ali because her edit was very interesting and took quite a turn. So far Ali’s edit has been very much about her social game, connecting with people, filling in the gaps, reaching out to those that others may have overlooked. Even though the people she reached out to, like Patrick and Simone, ended up going home, Ali was protected because she never stuck her flag into a particular plan before tribal council, she always kept her options open and weighed up the pros and cons. That changed in this episode when we heard her specifically say that she wanted Roark to stay and that she trusted Ryan.
What does that mean? Well, it’s the first time in the edit where Ali has been obviously incorrect. That now makes us question her previous content. Were her relationships with Simone and Patrick simply about her social game and how well she can connect to different people? Or was it a sign that she aligns with the wrong people? That’s now three times we have seen Ali connect with someone at the water well, talk game with them, talk about using them for her own game, and then that person is voted out. Is Ali’s story that of a person who makes the wrong allies? I mean, strategy-wise, Ali still looks good, in the sense that she always gets to explain herself. She talked about wanting to use Roark and the Healers’ number advantage at the beginning of the merge when the game steps up a level. She explained why she wanted to boot Chrissy – because of her poor challenge performance. All of that is solid CP content, but because her plans backfired, it has us pausing for thought.
“I think that going with Roark is best for our game right now. I think that the next two tribals if we have to go, we can vote out Chrissy and then JP. If this works out, we can go far in this game,” she said. Interestingly, Ali kept saying “our,” which I have to assume referred to her and Ryan. But Ryan ultimately voted against Ali’s wishes, so that’s not a good sign. Also, because it didn’t “work out,” does that now mean Ali (and perhaps Ryan too) won’t go far in this game? “I want Chrissy to go home tonight,” Ali later said. It’s always bad when a player explicitly states who they want to go and then it doesn’t happen. And continually saying she had Ryan’s back when he ended up stabbing a knife into hers is also not a good look. All of this was a big hit to Ali’s winner chances.
Are there any positives here? Well, let’s look. A theme to Ali’s edit is work ethic, being adaptable, social connections. Even though her plan backfired this episode, perhaps her story is that of an underdog who will now need to adapt, regroup and work her way back to the top. Ali has had a lot of early focus in this game, plus that big intro on the boat, all of that point towards a player of importance. But we still haven’t had a big surprise CP pre-merge boot, and after this episode, Ali seems a top contender for that spot IF we’re going to get it this season. She also doesn’t have a lot of connections set up in the game that point to long-term stories, other than her relationship with Ryan, which could be tied up as early as next week. What happens in the next episode in regards to how Ali reacts to Ryan will be very telling for where her story is going this season.
Ryan was back to his CP ways this episode after somewhat of a MOR cool down last week. Now, let’s get the tone out of the way first because I feel that will be the most controversial element. Why Positive tone when he flopped so badly in the reward challenge? The reason is simple, despite Ryan dropping the ball three times and Probst harping on it, it didn’t end negatively. Ryan persisted, eventually got the ball up, and completed his part of the challenge. It was portrayed as determination. He also got to apologize and deflect from his performance back at camp and instead made his tribemates laugh and forget about it. All that made Ryan look positive.
“I just have to continue to cater to my specific skill set which is my social game, and my social game is everything. It is built upon making people laugh, and if I can help people get through the day and laugh, then it’s easier for them to crack open that coconut for me and pick me up after I lose a challenge.” That confessional comes back to Ryan’s premiere episode when he talked about deferring to his tribemates. It doesn’t speak much for his survival skills, but it does back up what he’s saying about his social game, as this confessional was interspersed with shots of him making his tribemates laugh and JP opening a coconut for him. As an extra cherry on top, Ali later said to Roark that Ryan has the best social game, and she wanted him on their side for that reason. All of that is a good look for Ryan.
But his main story this episode was about being the swing vote between Ali and Chrissy, and how his decision would impact the future of his game. He got to explain his thought process every step of the way which speaks to his CP rating. “I need to tread very lightly not to mess this up,” he said. Now, Ryan ultimately decided to vote with Chrissy, thereby blindsiding his old ally Ali. Does Ryan doing this somehow negate what he said about his strong social game? We saw him telling Ali that he trusts her the most, and he told her he was on board with voting Chrissy. “Whoever I go with, there’s going to be one person who is going to hate me,” he said. “I’m here to try and win this game, to build the best social game I can, and unfortunately I’m breaking that social bond with somebody tonight, but I still think it best advances my game.” Ryan recognized that he was undermining his social game by flipping on Ali, but he told us he thinks it’s the best move going forward. Is his social game strong enough to repair his relationship with Ali? Will he end up having to cut Ali next? Or will Ali somehow get revenge on him?
Ryan continues to have a significant presence on this season, and with his connections to Chrissy, Ali, plus Devon, I see plenty of story potential for him going forward. Like with Ali, his next episode will be very telling of where his story is leading. If he is somehow able to win Ali back over or get rid of her before the merge, then everything looks good for the bellhop. If Ali remains skeptical of Ryan and goes into the merge with him, then perhaps Ryan will suffer for his consequences in this episode.
Chrissy had a big edit this episode and one that initially concerned me. It was the first time this season where Chrissy came off negatively. Obviously, there was a big focus on her challenge blunder and how that cost her tribe the challenge. The edit made sure to show Roark offering to swap places with Chrissy, and then later at tribal Chrissy said that nobody offered to switch, which we knew to be untrue. At tribal, Chrissy came off as very defensive and dismissive, all adding to her negative tone. On the first watch, these things stood out and had me questioning Chrissy’s edit and her winner chances. But was it really that bad?
Remember at the merge episode in Millennials vs. Gen-X when Adam had all the negative tone to his edit? Many people ruled Adam out as a winner contender because of that. But the edit gave him that N-tone because he received votes at that tribal council, and at the time he was a genuine boot option. It would be a disservice to the storytelling to completely neglect why someone received votes just because they ultimately turn out to be the winner. You could look at Chrissy’s edit the same way. She received votes this episode – there is no avoiding that. She was the only other boot option, and she genuinely tanked the challenge. There is no real way to edit around that. So you could say Chrissy’s negativity is justified within the context of this specific episode. Now, if her N-tone continues, then it becomes more of a theme and something more damaging, but right now, it isn’t the major red flag it might seem at first glance.
The other positive for Chrissy this episode is how much credit she was given for surviving the vote. We saw her reaching out to Roark, and correctly reading that Roark wasn’t on board with working together. We then saw her approach JP, feed him a false rumor of an all-girls alliance, and quickly swayed his vote. Then we saw her informing Ryan of her plan and cementing their partnership. And all of that worked. Roark went home, Ryan stuck by her, and JP voted for Roark because of his all-girls alliance fears. That continues to paint Chrissy as a smart player. Although, her calling herself the most dangerous player makes me pause for thought. I just wonder if the edit is introducing some arrogance to Chrissy’s edit, calling back to her “prime-position” quote to Ben in Episode 3. While the edit has backed up that she is indeed a dangerous player, it’s always good to have a little modesty and worry in your edit.
So where does Chrissy go from here? Putting winner talk aside for a second, everything still points to Chrissy lasting a while in this game and playing a big role in the narrative. She’s had consistent air-time, always gets game focus, has had some personal content, and has plenty of connections set up between Ryan, JP, Ben, and Ashley. I expect her to make the merge and play a significant role in the latter half of the game. As for winning? I still think Chrissy is one of the top contenders despite the N-tone this week, but I’m interested to see if that negative slant continues next week, if it does, then my opinions will start to change.
OTHER SURVIVOR CONTENT