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
First of all, before I get into Lauren‘s edit, I just want to point out how we only got one UTR rating in Episode 6. Every player got at least one confessional, allowing us to check-in with each person before heading into next week’s merge. Other than Lauren and Cole, every player was either MOR or CP (and many of them could have gone either way), each providing just enough insight into where their stories are potentially heading. But even Lauren’s UTR gave us enough.
Lauren’s edit remained consistent this week. Again, she was mainly there to throw negative tone onto Cole, but she also got to talk about her position on the tribe (on the bottom with Ben), and that they needed Dr. Mike on their side. We didn’t really get to learn anything new about Lauren, and we rarely hear others talking about her. But she’s still a presence even if a quiet one. What seems clear about Lauren’s story is that she is still very much representing that Hustler work ethic and teamwork. It’s why she has such a problem with Cole who is presented as inconsiderate and selfish. It also means that she is unlikely to work with Cole and the Healers at the merge, and so we can see her moving forward with the likes of Ben, her former Hustlers Ryan and Devon, and possibly other Heroes like JP and Ashley.
Can Lauren win? I’d say it’s a slim shot, but I’m not ready to rule her out completely because a solid merge episode next week could change a lot of things. But overall, I see her as a player that has enough consistency to go deep, but not enough complexity and visibility to win.
Middle of the Road
I really liked Devon‘s edit last week with how self-focused he was in regards to the game. This week I find his edit a little more troubling.
The story on Levu was pretty much the same as Episode 5: a stand-off between Devon/Ashley and Desi/Joe, with Devon and Ash hoping to sway Desi to their side. We saw Devon and Ashley again discussing the potential of flipping Desi. Because it was Ashley that we then saw talking about this in confessional and putting it into motion with Desi at camp, she got the CP and Devon remained in the MOR bracket. His confessional was instead about Joe and the idol. “I’ve gotta keep eagle eyes on Joe. He’s got me nervous,” Devon said after talking about how Joe is good at finding idols. A few minutes later Joe had found an idol clue while Devon walked ahead, completely unaware. At night, Joe found the idol, while everyone else slept. That isn’t a great look for Devon.
What does that mean for Devon going forward? Well, either this edit was simply to add some tension to the idol search, or it’s to set-up a Devon versus Joe showdown at some point later. But either way, Devon stating that he needs to keep “eagle eyes” on Joe and then missing the idol find is bad. They might not have been able to cut Devon out of the shot, but they sure could have cut out his line saying he has to keep “eagle eyes” on Joe. It’s not the worst thing in the world, but as we hit the halfway point, these sorts of things stick out more. The positives for Devon is that he has multiple stories set-up for the post-merge – there is his previous partnership with Ryan which needs revisiting, there is the new bond with Ashley, and tension between him and Joe. All of those give Devon potential for a break-out post-merge game, and while I still have him as a loose contender, I’d really need to see a strong merge-episode for him to shoot to the top of winner candidates.
I almost gave Desi a CP this episode, but it just didn’t sit right. Even though she was talking about the future of her game, it seemed very basic and non-committal. Sometimes with Edgic you just have to go on a feeling that the overall edit presented, and Desi felt MOR rather than CP. Especially when compared to tribemate Ashley, who talked about her plan with Devon, then reemphasized it in confessional, and then put it into motion by approaching Desi at camp. That felt CP, whereas Desi was merely reacting after the fact, and only said she was “considering” voting out Joe should they go back to tribal. That seemed MOR to me.
The problem for Desi and her story is that the only real connection she has is with Joe. The talk with Ashley may have been the start of something, but it was very minimal. Her lack of relationships moving forward doesn’t give her a lot of options story-wise. In fact, the only real “story” we can associate her with is the constant talk of a Healer majority, and so if anything, she represents a number for the Healers, rather than a player with her own individual story-arc. We’ve had very little if any personal info from Desi, and we don’t know her long-term plans or who she considers her strongest ally in the game. I’m sure she talked about all these things at some point, but the edit isn’t showing them to us, and that’s for a reason.
It’s hard to see Desi becoming a break-out post-merge character, and even more difficult to see her as the season’s winner. I think at best she might get a couple of CP edits before her inevitable boot, and that might happen sooner rather than later.
I started to come around on Jessica‘s edit these past couple of weeks, seeing more complexity than she had at the start of the season. But this episode brought back all my early fears. Despite seeming to pull away from Cole in Episode 5, this week she cemented her allegiance to the Wilderness Guide and told us how she doesn’t want to play the game without him. Jessica is back to square one with her edit revolving around Cole, and it seems a sure bet that her game is going to fall apart because of him.
While everyone else was criticizing Cole, even after his medical scare, Jessica was the one person saying she felt bad for him, and that she still cared for him, and was “not ready to play this game without .” You might look at that as a positive, a sign of Jessica’s caring nature, but it really wasn’t a good sign for her overall edit. It signaled that she is ruining her own game because she can’t take her mind off Cole. Mike, Ben, and Lauren all referred to Cole as a liability, and the edit has presented him as such, but the one person he’s a liability for more than any other is Jessica, and yet the edit has now told us she isn’t willing to cut ties. These are the worries I’ve had about Jessica since the very first episode – her edit is too closely linked with Cole and she lacks a strong individual story. Have we even seen her in one-on-one conversations with Ben and/or Lauren? Do we know what their relationship is?
Can Jessica recover from this? There is perhaps still the slightest chance she’ll cut Cole at the merge, but if so, this week’s edit doesn’t make a lot of sense. More likely is that Jessica becomes a target because she is too tight with Cole – once again this episode Lauren referred to the pair as a power couple. It honestly wouldn’t surprise me to see Jessica gone in the next two to three weeks and you best believe the main reason will be her relationship with Cole.
Mike‘s edit continues at a consistent pace with some excellent scenes of positivity sprinkled on top. Again, I was debating between MOR and CP for a while, but I ultimately plumped for MOR because I didn’t feel Mike’s strategy was all that fleshed out. He talked about Cole being a liability, and eventually, he’d have to get rid of him. It was too vague for me to rate that as CP, and despite seeing him in camp scenes with Ben and Lauren, we haven’t been given his thoughts on them in confessional.
His first scene of the episode continued from the growth edit he got last week in the idol scene – about being underestimated but proving people wrong. This time it focused on his survival skills, specifically his fishing ability. Even though Mike’s catch was only small, the edit presented this as a humorous but positive moment. He was praised by Ben and the tribe for his efforts and for sharing. This was contrasted with Cole catching fish but keeping them for himself. Ben said it shows you the type of player someone is and whether you should align with them. All of this was positive SPV (second person visibility) for Mike. In terms of strategy, Ben and Lauren both said they needed Mike on their side, and Ben felt confident enough that Mike was with them. The edit never showed us anything to disprove Ben’s reading of the situation – we saw Mike fist bumping with Ben and Lauren. Nor did it show us Mike’s true feelings.
Mike is set up well to be a significant character of the post-merge game. He has multiple connections that could lead to potential storylines. On this tribe alone he has the bond formed with Jessica last week over the idol, he has his negative feelings towards Cole, and Ben and Lauren see him as a number on their side. Not to mention the previous relationship with Joe which is sure to continue next episode. I could see Mike playing a pivotal role in the next couple of episodes as the old Healers group and the remnants of the Heroes and Hustlers vie for his vote. Could Mike win? I think he’s a contender for sure. Although my gut feeling is that his story is more about gaining respect – going from underestimated to big threat. That story could take him far but perhaps not to the end, though it’s not impossible.
Last week JP didn’t receive any confessionals, this episode he got two, and honestly, I can’t tell which edit was worse for him. The edit is really hammering it home that he’s clueless about the game, with even Jeff Probst at tribal saying that his answers didn’t explain anything. He got credit and positive SPV for his physical game and challenge performance, hence the overall M-tone, but the rest was just people piling on him for not having his head in the game.
“He really just has no clue what’s going on in this game,” Ryan said about JP. He had a scene talking about his ideal first date, involving a bonfire and lots of tri-tip salad. The scene was met with stifled laughter from Ryan and Chrissy. Ryan followed it up saying that “JP does not understand that this is a social game.” Now, I think this scene might also reflect poorly on Ryan because surely talking about your personal life is a social game? So in that sense, I’m not too worried about JP. But everything else, bad bad bad. He was shown as cocky, saying that his tribe wouldn’t win a challenge without him – even though they lost the immunity challenge anyway, and he was the person that dropped the tower block at the end. Then after the challenge, JP slinked into the background while everyone else made the strategic decisions.
I don’t like to rule people out completely if I can help it, but I’d be stunned if JP won this season with the edit he has. He’s barely visible and when he is we’re constantly reminded that he’s clueless. I don’t expect him to become this huge post-merge character suddenly, but that doesn’t mean he can’t make a deep-ish run. They’ve talked plenty about his strength and challenge ability, so he could perhaps go on an immunity run. He also still has some loose ties to former Heroes Ben and Ashley, which gives him some other story options to latch onto post-merge. What I’m trying to say is, don’t expect JP to become a massive strategic threat, but be prepared for him to stick around a while longer.
Over The Top
Remember back in Episode 1 when I said Cole was probably going to have the new golden boy edit? Boy, how wrong was I? It takes a special kind of person to receive an OTTN in an episode where you pass out and have a medical scare. This was an even more extreme version of his OTTN from last week.
Carrying on from last episode and the food situation, Cole was once again shown to be inconsiderate and greedy. While Mike was praised for sharing a small fish he caught, Cole was shown selfishly eating his own fish, refusing to share. “I mean, that shows right there who you should work with in this game. Someone who is going to share and then think about others or someone who’s just going to think about himself,” Ben said. “Cole’s showing his true colors… and they ain’t good.” Lauren also referred to Cole’s “true colors” and also called him an “idiot” that was “digging his own grave.” Cole was then shown wanting rice when the rest of the tribe were happy to ration. He butted heads with Lauren. Then in confessional, he was shown as arrogant: “Without me, there wouldn’t be any victory for the Yawa tribe.” Even Jessica was shown rolling her eyes after Cole’s sulk about the food. All of this was clear OTTN.
Cole’s other big scene was his collapse. Now, you would think with this being a medical situation that it would give Cole some positivity. But no. Even though Mike and Jessica leaped in to help him, and Jessica said she cared for him, the rest of the tribe, including Mike, used this situation to bury Cole further. He didn’t elicit any sympathy. Mike and Ben both referred to him as a liability. Ben said he should have worried about his appetite more than his six-pack before he came out to Fiji. “We can’t pander and cater to him and baby him any longer,” Ben said. “When Cole fell over, he sealed his fate,” Ben continued, showing us that the tribe saw this as an opportunity to get rid of Cole, rather than grow closer to him. And if the OTTN needed any further explanation, Ben ended his confessional by referring to Cole simply as “Jess’ boyfriend.”
Where does Cole’s story go from here? As with JP, I’d be absolutely shocked if Cole won this season based on his edit. There is just way too much negativity and a continuous theme of Cole not understanding the strategic and social game. His main story heading into the merge is with Jessica. He once again told her he has her back this episode, and Jessica reconfirmed her loyalty to him. Based on everything we’ve seen, I still think the most likely result is Cole costing Jessica her spot in the game, and that her loyalty to him is going to cause her to become collateral damage. Then it becomes a story of how long can Cole survive without Jessica by his side “pandering” and “catering” to him. The other option is that Jessica suddenly comes to her senses and cuts ties with him at the merge, but based on this episode that possibility seems less likely now.
Oh Ali, I hoped it wouldn’t happen to you, but we all knew that surprise CP pre-merge boot was likely coming. As I said last week: “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.” Last week’s episode really did a number on Ali’s previously well-rounded edit, and despite the positives, it was her lack of connections beyond Ryan that signaled she was the most likely candidate for the surprise CP pre-merge boot.
She left the game with the same rating she’s had for the majority of the season, a high-vis CP. I considered P-tone for the tears at the start, but I don’t think it was enough. The rest of her episode seemed toneless. We saw Ali at her lowest after tribal council, arguing with Ryan and crying in confessional. She told us that she would never trust Ryan again in this game. Then later we saw her pick herself back up, make up with Ryan, and try to form an alliance with Chrissy, explaining her reasons why they should take out JP instead of her. All of this was CP content and further demonstration of Ali going to work and finding the cracks. But the flaw here was that despite saying she couldn’t trust Ryan, she ended up believing him again for this vote, and once again got blindsided.
Ali got a well-rounded, decently sized edit for a pre-merge boot, and she finishes on a CP overall. It’s probably a good sign that she’ll be in contention to return the next time an all-stars season rolls around. In terms of where her story places in regards to this season, I suspect it plays into Ryan’s arc, and whether his betrayals will end up costing him somewhere down the line.
The big question for Chrissy coming into this episode was whether her N-tone would continue. Last week’s negativity, while not a great look, could be chalked up to her getting votes at tribal council. But if the N-tone continued we’d need to take a more in-depth look at what that meant for Chrissy going forward. Fortunately for Chrissy, that N-tone dropped off this week and she was back to a standard CP edit.
For the second time this season, Chrissy got the first confessional following tribal council. That’s the edit telling us that Chrissy’s thoughts on the game are important. This time she talked about how tribal went “exactly as planned” and that Ryan proved his trust in her. “Ryan did follow through on his word, which is amazing. It showed me that Ryan believes that he can get further with me in this game than he can get with Ali,” she said. There was some interesting wording in that confessional. “Ryan BELIEVES that he can get further with ME.” It’s kind of similar to how Chrissy talked about Ben; she always puts herself and her own interests ahead of everything else. We never heard her say that SHE believes and trusts in Ryan. She mentions later on that he is currently her closest ally, but that’s just stating a fact, rather than her thoughts on trusting him. It will be interesting to see 1) whether Chrissy gets the first confessional again next episode and 2) whether she sticks closer to Ryan or her old ally Ben at the merge.
Chrissy didn’t really come back into the episode until after the immunity challenge. We saw her talking game with both Ali and Ryan. She told us her reasoning for why JP is a threat but also why she couldn’t fully trust Ali (she voted for her at the last tribal). She then said it was up to her and Ryan who was going home – which was true. All of this accounts for her CP. Nothing here dissuaded me from my previous read of Chrissy’s edit – she is set up as a vital player and someone who has longevity in this game and a strong chance of winning. She has multiple connections to other players from Ryan to JP to Ben to Ashley which gives her plenty of potential storylines at the merge. I suspect she will realign with Ben at the merge and bring on board Ryan, but ultimately she might find herself having to decide between the two.
Something that might be worth pointing out is that in the last couple of seasons there has been a player with a strong CP pre-merge edit that suddenly takes a big knock post-merge. I’m thinking specifically about Ken in Millennials vs. Gen-X and Brad in Game Changers. Both Ken and Brad were mainly CP/MOR for the pre-merge with positivity on top. Then at the merge, they slipped in visibility (Ken more than Brad) and received negative tone towards the end to help explain their loss. So I’ve been wondering if we’ll get something similar this season and if so who is the most likely candidate from this cast. Chrissy and Ryan are probably the most likely options, both having mostly CP pre-merge edits (with spots of positivity) and could quite easily take more of a backseat as the merge hits. If Chrissy goes UTR or low-vis MOR in these next couple of weeks, I will start being concerned. If she continues to be CP, then I expect her to be a significant player right until the end.
I said last week: “If Ryan is somehow able to win Ali back over or get rid of her before the merge, then everything looks good for the bellhop.” Well, he got rid of Ali, and so things should be all peachy, right? In terms of his character arc and going far, then yes, I think Ryan removing Ali before the merge is a good sign for his edit. But when it comes to his winner chances, I think this episode really did a number on Ryan.
It was the first time he’s had any real negativity. There have been moments in previous episodes, like him mocking Simone, which seemed a little harsh, but the edit portrayed them as a part of Ryan’s sense of humor. But the opening of this episode, with his confrontation with Ali, was the first time the edit has shown him in a truly negative light. He got on the defensive and snapped at Ali, putting the blame on her, when as viewers we knew Ali was loyal to Ryan because of what we were shown last week. Ali then got upset, and Ryan said it was “a bad look for her,” unaware of how it was also a bad look for himself. To cement that negativity, Ryan later referred to himself as a “friggin’ weasel.” I ended up going with mixed tone overall because Chrissy had a positive outlook towards Ryan, both in confessional and at camp, and Ryan was still shown to be making people laugh. But coming back to what I said in Chrissy’s section about the Ken/Brad edit, if anyone is going to descend into negativity later in the game, perhaps Ryan is the most likely candidate.
Ryan was obviously CP once again. He always gets to explain his thought process and lay out his options. In this episode, he talked about why JP is a threat (physical strength, challenges, hard to read) and also why Ali could be the next target (lost her trust). He discussed the options with Chrissy, and despite stringing Ali along, he eventually voted her out. Now, here is where we come back to that “friggin’ weasel” line. Is the edit starting to tell us that Ryan’s social game is going to backfire? He can make people laugh and trust him, but his eagerness to backstab them then makes them upset and angry at him. “I don’t know why everybody wants to work with me; I think I’m a friggin’ weasel. But the closer you are to somebody, they can’t really see ya when you go behind their back and backstab them,” he said before tribal. That sounds like a very villainous thing to say. I could easily see Ryan going further and therefore backstabbing more allies and that coming back to bite him in the ass, either with a blindside of his own or losing at FTC.
In terms of stories though, Ryan has options, he has the bond with Chrissy, and to a lesser degree JP, and is about to meet back up with his old partner Devon. Remember early on Devon told us that he and Ryan were “going to cause some chaos” together in this game. That could now come to fruition at the merge. Ryan has had such a complex, high-vis edit, he’s undoubtedly one of the season’s major characters, and I suspect him to remain that way, but perhaps becoming more negatively toned as we go forward.
Ben is the only player this season to be CP in every single episode. He always gets confessionals, he’s had a bunch of personal info (from his boat intro and last week’s PTSD scene), and he frequently comments on the game and his plans moving forward. He’s a hero in the truest sense of the word, and he represents positive values such as hard work and sharing with others. He’s one of the season’s principal characters and a potential winner candidate, although his edit might be a bit too obvious.
In this episode, Ben talked a lot about Cole and why he wanted him out. He viewed Cole’s actions as selfish, especially compared to Mike, and that told him who to align with in the game. We saw him discussing Cole at camp with Mike and Lauren, once when all three were together, and then later in a one-on-one with Mike where both agreed that Cole was next out should they lose. Ben thinks Lauren and Mike have the same agenda as he does in regards to taking out Cole – and we saw them fist bumping. Now, we never heard directly from Mike whether he wanted to move forward with Ben and Lauren. He did say that Cole would have to go eventually, but he didn’t say when – at least not to us the audience. I think that opens up a storyline where Mike will be a potential swing vote between Ben’s alliance and Cole’s alliance at the merge.
Ben was also shown to have a good social game. We saw him making the tribe laugh when Mike was cooking the fish. It backs-up what Chrissy said about him earlier in the season in regards to having a strong social game. Speaking of Chrissy, Ben will meet back up with her next week, and given their focus in the first three episodes, one would suspect this to have significant story potential at the merge. He also has ties to JP and Ashley, which also offer potential storylines. I think a big question for Ben and his edit is whether he will start to get strategic credit. Right now, Ben is mostly shown as a heroic figure with a solid social game, but he hasn’t had much chance to prove his strategic chops. Back in Episode 2, Chrissy said that of the pair, she was the one able to think several steps ahead, which made Ben seem lesser when it came to strategy. If Ben starts getting strategic credit at the merge he will shoot further up the winner contenders list.
There isn’t a great deal to say about Ashley this week because her edit was pretty similar to Episode 5. It followed the same story beats – cementing her bond with Devon, talking about going to rocks, and hoping to sway Desi across to their side. The difference this time is we saw Ashley putting this plan into motion, approaching Desi about the possibility of voting out Joe. It was a CP-lite edit.
Now, because the merge is coming, and obviously this 2 vs. 2 thing is never going to lead to anything, I want to focus on something else. Ashley described her relationship with Devon as an “unbreakable alliance, ” and at camp, she half-jokingly said to Devon “Just don’t flip on me” after he said, “I want you at the merge” (subtitled). The questions I’m asking myself are: 1) Should we read anything into this short scene? 2) If so, do we take it at face value that these two are “unbreakable”? 3) Or is it foreshadowing that at some point post-merge Devon will flip on Ashley? It might be nothing, but the fact that Ashley was rocking the Anna Khait pose in confessional made me feel something ominous was on the horizon. Either way, there has been a lot of time spent on Ashley and Devon’s relationship, so Ash has a specific story heading into the merge.
Ashley will also reunite with her old “power couple” partner JP next week, as well as Ben and Chrissy, and so there is lots of storyline potential. The major problem for Ashley is that we have very little if any personal info about her and her edit is entirely toneless. That for me hurts her winner chances and seems more like a mid-level character than someone who will be driving the narrative. Perhaps she will break-out at the merge, but my gut says she will continue to be a mid-level presence in a bigger story.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you, that is Joe with P-tone! Coming off the back of last week’s UTR cool down, where he got complimented as a scary, strategic player, this episode again painted Joe as a savvy, dangerous player who should be watched at all times. Devon even said Joe scares him and that he’s keeping “eagle eyes” on him, and yet, Joe still found an idol clue and the idol itself without anybody realizing. All of that is a good look for the Probation Officer.
But the cherry on top of the cake, and the main reason for his P-tone, was the confessional when he found the idol. “This is not a vacation for me – it’s work,” Joe said, as we saw him digging near the well. “Finding another idol represents moving further in the game and the further I get, the closer I get to that million dollars and the closer, y’know, I can provide that much more for my children.” It was a deeply personal confessional, backed by inspirational music, where Joe talked about both the game and his family. We all know by now that an idol find scene with mentions of family is a good sign – Adam and Jeremy being the main examples. “I tell my kids all the time, ‘things just don’t come easy, you have to put in the work,’ and my kids are my motivation. Everything I do is for them, y’know?” he continued. It was a different side of Joe, one actually more similar to Mike, who has also talked about his kids. It made him an even more complex character.
Now, does this sudden positivity change anything for Joe? Well, I definitely think it bumped up his winner chances. But the early season negativity holds him back from being a top contender. What this positivity does do is give Joe more longevity. He’s no longer going into the merge as a straight-up villain, but as scary, aggressive player who is playing for his family. He also told us he’s going to find a third idol at the merge, so we should be keeping an eye on that. He will now meet back up with Mike, who he had a big story with early on, and as we’ve suspected for a while, that needed some sort of resolution. There is also the lingering story of Cole wanting to take him out. I could see Joe becoming an underdog post-merge. He’s nearly always a target, people recognize how dangerous he is, but the edit has told us he is scrappy, and now with the family angle, it gives the audience a rooting interest.
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