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
It’s probably generous giving JP an UTR rating this episode instead of INV. But he did get extended focus during the reward challenge when Jeff Probst praised his swimming ability. I don’t usually pay too much attention to challenge content unless it’s blatantly part of the story – like Cirie last season for example. But because JP’s edit is so lacking, we need something (anything!) to grasp. The only thing I could think was that when his eventual elimination arrives, his challenge strength will be one of the excuses used to get rid of him. Apart from that, there was no JP in this episode. He’s simply not a part of the narrative.
What a strange way for Cole to leave the season. After his OTT/CP edits and consistent negative tone, to exit as UTR is just really weird. It’s almost as if the story had already moved on without him and he was just there waiting for his snuffing. I guess Cole’s arc pretty much died when Jessica left.
Last week, I wondered if Cole’s story still had legs, could he go on an immunity streak and therefore prove Jessica’s “you can’t make it to the end without me” claim wrong? I said in last week’s write up: “..if survives the upcoming episode then that has an excellent chance of happening – if he goes next week, then Jessica’s claim was still right, as he only survived once without her due to having immunity.” Well, obviously, the latter came true. Jessica was proven right. Cole couldn’t make it without her, and indeed his story didn’t matter without her.
He was barely in this episode. He had just two confessionals. The first was about eating food at the reward and how it would hopefully help him to win the next challenge – once again hitting the food theme. There was no in-depth strategy talk here. It was simply immunity challenge focused. His other confessional was brief, he talked about losing the challenge, and how he hoped the others would vote out Joe instead of him. “I already have a big target on my back, but they don’t like Joe, so hopefully they’ll all take Joe out.” Again, nothing about what he planned to do to save himself. In fact, we didn’t see Cole in any camp scenes or strategy talks this episode, not even leading up to tribal council. I’m sure he was involved in some campaigning, but the edit didn’t care to show us. Cole was out of sight, which was summed up at tribal when Probst pointed out how Cole had tried to shrink himself to look smaller and blend into the background.
The fact that Cole’s edit was such an afterthought here leads me to believe his narrative arc ended at the Jessica boot. It’s for that reason why I have rated his overall season as OTTN. When people think back on Cole this season, what will they remember? The doofus that fell for Jessica, couldn’t keep a secret, and was selfish with food. Those are OTT qualities.
Middle of the Road
Ashley‘s rating was a hard one to work out this week. I debated between CP, MOR, and even OTT. In the end, I decided to split the difference and go for MOR. I don’t think her content was complex enough to warrant a CP, but there was just enough insight and justification that an OTT would have felt wrong too. I felt similarly confused when it came to tone. Joe called her a “goat” which is obviously negative SPV (second person visibility), but Joe admitted to winding her up intentionally, so do we take that seriously? Again, it seemed wrong to give her straight up N-tone.
What was Ashley’s edit about this week? Well, to put it simply, Joe. Her edit was all about Joe, which is why I almost leaned OTT. She had four confessionals, and every single one of them was about Joe. “I’m so fed up with Joe’s mouth,” she said in her first confessional. “I mean, he’s such a bully, like a bully on a playground, just trying to do whatever you can and say whatever you can to get under Chrissy’s skin or get under my skin.” Ashley’s words were backed up when we saw Joe purposely antagonizing her and Chrissy in the shelter. “I don’t know what Joe’s plan is because he has to know that the more he pisses people off, the more people are going to want to get rid of him. I know that’s what I’m going to be pitching at the next roundtable meeting,” she said in confessional number two. Interestingly, Joe’s plan WAS to piss people off in the hopes they’d keep him, and he did ultimately survive this episode. It’s possible that reflects poorly on Ashley.
After the immunity challenge, Ashley was the leading voice in wanting to get rid of Joe. “I’m pissed. Joe, he’s like a rat. You lose track of him for one second, and he’s off trying to find another idol,” she said. “He’s very dangerous in many ways, and I think we’re all just sick of him, and he needs to go.” When Ben told her they were voting for Cole and Mike, Ashley was visibly annoyed. “I’m going to do everything I can to convince people to vote Joe because I can’t be the only one weighing these options in my head right now,” she said. While Ashley did pitch for Joe to go – and got agreements from Chrissy and Devon – she ultimately failed to get Joe out. She also correctly called Mike possibly having an idol. What this shows us is that Ashley is not in a position of control in the game, even though she is in the majority. Although, her face was shown in one of the shots towards the end of the episode when Chrissy said “There are a lot of threats left in this game.” Maybe that suggests Ashley could get some control eventually.
Amongst all the Joe talk, however, Ashley did bring up some interesting points which could have a broader meaning. “I mean, yeah, it’s all a game, but, yeah, you’re dealing with real individuals and real people with feelings,” she said when talking about Joe’s behavior. She continued this line of thinking at tribal. “You can have all the numbers on your hands and do all the counting you want, but you cannot calculate relationships, emotions, you cannot calculate deception,” she said. “The game happens in every conversation that’s had. You can’t calculate those things.” This could be foreshadowing that the winner of this season will be someone who valued relationships and emotions rather than pure numbers and strategy. We’ve heard players like Ryan and Chrissy talk up their self-described great social games throughout the season. But those players and their social games have also been undermined at times. Whether Ashley’s statement reflects on her own game or is meant as more general foreshadowing, I think it’s worth keeping note.
Where is Ashley’s story going? This is her first episode since the merge where she’s received some significant content. The problem is that it was nearly all about Joe – and a tiny bit about Ben and how he annoyed her for trying to tell her what to do (perhaps foreshadowing her splitting from Ben and the alliance). It’s never good to be so tied to one character, and since the merge, the edit hasn’t cared to show us Ashley’s relationships that she built up pre-merge. The one story that has survived is the one from the swapped Levu tribe – her wanting to get rid of Joe. That was back in full force in this episode. She talked about how the game happens in the conversations and relationships on the beach, but we haven’t really seen that from her in the edit. Joe even called her a goat. Now, whether we’re meant to take that at face value remains to be seen, but it certainly makes you pause for thought. If Ashley is to continue being a part of the story, I believe it will be related to Joe in some shape or form.
I said last week that we always hear from Lauren even if she isn’t one of the season’s central characters. That continued in this episode. Lauren is always around the conversation, despite not leading said conversation. But each episode we get to check-in with her and see where her head is at.
The start of the episode gave us a follow-up to Lauren’s advantage and securing her second vote last week. “I had the secret advantage and I played it, and I think I played it very well. Nobody caught on to it. I got away with it,” she said. The edit backed up her statement, as far as we saw, nobody questioned the missing vote. We then had a scene on the beach with Lauren and Ben discussing the advantage and cementing their alliance. Lauren and Ben promised that they weren’t turning on each other (Lauren more so than Ben), and talked about keeping the advantage secret because they’d have a “tough decision” to make when it gets down to “the seven.” This small bit of future talk accounted for Lauren’s MOR rating. There was some initial worry that Lauren was putting more trust in Ben than he was her, but he did later state in confessional that he’s “aligned with Lauren.” The edit is starting to show the Ben/Lauren alliance as tighter than Ben/Chrissy. Of course, Ben and/or Lauren could turn on each other, and the scene was possibly included as ironic foreshadowing.
Lauren’s other big scene was, of course, winning immunity. She got a bunch of positive SPV back at camp for her win, and because it was like three (subtitled) comments in a row, I felt it was enough for P-tone. After that, Lauren wasn’t a huge presence, but she was still involved in the pre-tribal discussions. She backed up Ben at the well about Joe not being as big of a threat as Cole. She was also present in the water when Ashley was pushing to get rid of Joe to Chrissy and Devon. But other than telling Mike he’s digging himself a hole at tribal, that was pretty much it for Lauren this episode.
As always, I find Lauren’s edit the most difficult to read. She doesn’t have a super well-crafted story, but she isn’t entirely in no man’s land like JP. She has consistency and involvement in the game, even if it isn’t as a central, leading role. Could Lauren’s edit be a winning one that has just taken a backseat to some of the more significant stories? It’s more feasible than I thought three or four weeks ago.
Devon continued along the MORP path this week, and I think that is a good place for him currently. One thing that is becoming a recurring theme is how people trust Devon and see him as part of their future plans. Last week it was Joe talking about how his relationship with Devon could help him in the long run. This episode, Ryan and Ben both reached out to Devon, hoping to secure or confirm trust that would move them further in the game.
There was a good deal of positive SPV for Devon. Ryan said he trusted him and considered him “ boy.” Ben later said that “Devon’s just got a good soul. He really does. He’s got a good heart.” He talked about wanting Devon to trust him and part of his Final 3 plan. If Ashley’s statement about the game happening in the conversations and relationships holds true, then Devon is someone who has been shown to have good relationships and always part of the conversation. The problem might be how Devon is the passive one in these discussions.
The first of two big scenes for Devon in Episode 9 was when Ryan told him about the idol. Now, on first glance, you could read this scene as somewhat of a bad look for Devon. It was all presented from Ryan’s perspective and how he was “making dependent” on him. Devon was all smiles and hugs. He told Ryan “no one else knows” and that the information wasn’t leaking. Of course, the info did later leak. “Devon really trusts me, so I had to tell my boy Devon,” Ryan said. “I know that Devon will never tell anybody that I have an immunity idol.” If that was it for Devon this episode, that would have been a bad sign. However, Ryan later undermined himself by also revealing the idol info to Ben, who then went and told Devon. We then got to hear from Devon and his thoughts on Ryan and the whole situation. It could suggest Ryan is underestimating Devon.
“This game just got real complicated. Ryan’s been telling me that I’m the only one that knows about this idol, yet… he’s going around to other people telling them the exact same thing,” Devon said. We saw the shock on his face as Ben told him the news. Was Devon play acting here? Or was he genuinely shocked that Ryan went behind his back? “We were in this game together since Day 1, and I wanted to go to the final three with Ryan, but I’m going to move on. I’m going to play this game with Ben, and I’m going to have to make some big moves coming up,” he continued. Are we meant to read this scene as Devon being naive? That he’s only just woken up to Ryan playing the game outside of their bubble? Or will it be the catalyst for Devon forging his own game and story away from Ryan, who he has been tied too for a large portion of the season?
The other big question to ask is, do we take Devon’s confessional at face value? Will he really turn on Ryan in favor of Ben? Or is it a red herring to make the Devon/Ryan alliance seem less secure than it really is? Well, it can’t be denied that Devon said those things about Ryan, and he said them in private, in confessional. So Devon, at least at that point in the game, was considering ditching Ryan. But things also change minute to minute in this game, and it could very well turn next episode if Devon decides to confront Ryan about what Ben said… or if Ryan informs Devon that telling Ben was part of a bigger plan. Early on in the season, Devon said that he and Ryan were going to cause “chaos” together, and that hasn’t happened just yet. If Devon does continue working with Ryan we need to pay close attention to how it’s framed. If Devon just goes running back to Ryan with no explanation, that won’t be good.
Chrissy‘s edit was similar to last week’s but without so many red flags. She stuck to her MOR3 rating. She was present throughout the episode and a part of the strategy talks but nothing that pushed her into CP territory.
The episode started with the tribe watching the sunrise. Mike commented that Chrissy looked “happy today.” She replied: “I’m happy every day. It’s a new day.” I’m not quite sure what to make of that or if it even should be analyzed. It might be completely irrelevant edgically speaking. Or it might have been to contrast how happy Chrissy was here compared to later on when Joe argues with her. Chrissy continued to be positive about her place in the game when her team won the reward challenge. “To get a huge meal on a gorgeous yacht while cruising the Fijian islands is absolutely priceless,” she said. “Of course I would much rather have this reward with just my alliance, but even though I’m not with my friends, I’m glad I’m here and can control the conversation.” We didn’t really see Chrissy controlling the conversation, but I think it was implied. Joe said the reward would give him an opportunity to make moves and change the game. However, he admitted to having no control, and he had to resort to searching for an idol, rather than swaying people with his words. You could also view Chrissy’s statement another way – that she only cares about her alliance mates and only considers them her “friends.” It could suggest her social game isn’t strong with those outside her alliance.
Chrissy was very much a part of the “Joe must go” movement, although not quite to Ashley’s level. Chrissy was present in the shelter when Joe was insulting Ashley, and she eventually moved away from the situation. “I don’t want to be around you anymore,” she said. Chrissy and Joe have butted heads since the merge feast, and this story continues to have a presence in the edit. Unlike Ashley though, Chrissy has other stories and relationships, which puts her in a better standing. The confrontation with Joe was less about their beef and more about Chrissy’s relationship with Ben. When Ben refused to vote Joe, it caused Chrissy to question her alliance with the ex-Marine. “I’ve been voting with Ben since Day 1, but, apparently, we cannot ask questions and say, ‘What is the logic behind voting for Dr. Mike?'” she said. We then saw her have a one-on-one with Ben where she let him know that people are starting to feel steamrolled by him. Ben shot those accusations down.
The relationship between Chrissy and Ben has had a big focus right from the very start of the season. It’s an integral part of the narrative, and the latest development seems to be setting the scene for a potential breakdown of this partnership. “At this point, it’s sort of become Ben’s way or the highway,” Chrissy said. “I know there is a game strategy, and the game strategy says get Cole out first, get Joe out second. But, frankly, there’s no bigger strategic threat than Joe.” Chrissy isn’t the first person to talk about how big a strategic threat Joe is, and there is enough set up in the edit to suggest Joe could end up being the downfall of Ben. So while Chrissy might take a slight hit here for wanting Joe out but not getting her way, if Joe ends up taking out Ben, she will ultimately be proven right. I said we need to pay close attention to how Devon and Ryan interact next episode, but we also need to pay similar attention to Chrissy and Ben.
Ryan was CP again this episode and got to explain his actions, but the edit didn’t hesitate to undermine him. It’s not the first time he’s been undermined either. Back in Episode 6, after he voted out Roark, he argued with an upset Ali back at camp, claiming that her reaction was a “bad look” for her, despite coming across just as bad himself. Obviously, Ryan cleared those issues up and then got rid of Ali anyway, but those things still linger and become more relevant after episodes like this one.
This week Ryan started by divulging his secrets to Devon. He told his alliance mate about having the idol. As always, Ryan got to explain his moves. “Usually if somebody has an idol, you keep your cards close to your vest, but Devon really trusts me, so I had to tell my boy Devon,” he said. “I know that Devon will never tell anybody that I have an immunity idol.” Throughout the scene, Devon was the one constantly saying that the info won’t leak and that it would stay a secret between the two of them. Ryan was heard off-screen repeating “I know. I know.” We never actually heard Ryan say, “I’m only telling you about this Devon.” That gives Ryan a bit of leeway for his later actions when he tells Ben. The more crucial part of this scene was when Ryan said: “I’m making dependent on me a little bit, and that dependency is carrying me into the end.” It suggests that Ryan may be underestimating Devon, especially when you take into account the rest of the episode where Devon claims to be moving on from Ryan in favor of Ben.
Ryan’s other big scene of the episode was his conversation with Ben. Again, he got to tell us the reasoning behind his move. “I now have the opportunity to talk to Ben because I’m trying to build as many relationships and maximize my advantages that I have,” he said. As Ashley said, relationships are a great thing to have in this game. “Truth is power in this game, and I need to let people know I’m telling them the truth,” he continued, as he told Ben about the idol. While it’s a good thing Ryan got to explain himself, what happened next was not a good look. Firstly, Ben now saw him as a bigger threat than anticipated. “But this proves that Ryan is out here to play and win a million dollars, so I’ll just have to keep an eye on that,” Ben said. Ben then went and told Devon about Ryan’s idol because “…thinking more about the fact that Ryan has an idol, I realized that’s pretty dangerous.” The edit showed us that Ryan’s plan to gain trust backfired, he ended up losing trust.
Devon’s reaction is the most important here because his relationship with Ryan has been in play since Day 1. “This game just got real complicated,” Devon said. “Ryan’s been telling me that I’m the only one that knows about this idol, yet… he’s going around to other people telling them the exact same thing.” Devon said he wanted to go to the Final 3 with Ryan, but now he’s moving on and playing with Ben instead. As I said in Devon’s section, we didn’t see any follow up scene between Ryan and Devon this episode, so it’s hard to say whether this is a red herring or a genuine change in the game. If Devon does truly split from Ryan, it’s bad for both of their edits because their early “cause chaos” together statement would mean nothing, and that would show a lack of care in their narrative arc. If Devon comes back to Ryan with open arms, that is a positive for Ryan because it would back up his statements about Devon being “dependent” on him. If Devon comes back to Ryan but gets to explain himself (e.g. – he tells us in confessional he still doesn’t fully trust Ryan), then that is a negative for Ryan, as it will look like he underestimated Devon.
That was pretty much it for Ryan this episode. He was present in the pre-tribal strategy talks but not someone driving the conversation. But he remains one of the season’s principal characters. His various relationships are often given screen-time. The fall-out between himself and Devon next episode will be an important factor in where his story is heading.
Ben continues to be the most prominent character of the post-merge. Once again he had the most confessionals and most camp scenes. He’s in every corner of the edit. But this was the first time he had straight up N-tone. I never expected Ben would descend into negativity after his ultra PP edit pre-merge, but hey, here we are.
There is a lot to cover with Ben, so I’ll try to go in order of what we saw in the episode. Firstly, his chat with Lauren. Ever since the swap, the relationship between Ben and Lauren has grown, and it’s started to take precedence over his partnership with Chrissy. Here Lauren and Ben talked about the extra vote advantage and promised not to turn their back on each other. Lauren seemed more committed than Ben in this conversation, but Ben later confirmed that he sees Lauren as part of his Final 3 plans. On paper, this is great for Ben, it’s one of many relationships that he has in the game, and Lauren always backs him up, as she does later when she agrees with him about taking out Cole before Joe.
Next up was Ryan telling Ben about his idol. Again, this is yet another person wanting to form a relationship with Ben. It paints him as the central figure of the tribe and the story. Also, Ben got to comment on what he thought about Ryan’s confession and what it meant for his own game. “Information is key in this game and so all this trust getting put into me is going to help me later on in the game, too,” he said. It’s certainly a good thing to look ahead and talk about later in the game. “But this proves that Ryan is out here to play and win a million dollars, so I’ll just have to keep an eye on that because right now this seven has to stick together.” Ben was shown to be wary of Ryan but still committed to the alliance of seven for now. It’s good to be suspicious, but there was perhaps a suggestion that he might wait too late before making a move against the seven.
Ben then took his suspicions about Ryan to Devon, despite promising Ryan he wouldn’t tell. Ben was hoping to secure another ally and build another relationship. “I’m aligned with Lauren, but I am going to need to trust someone to come on board with Lauren and I to help us,” he said. He told us why he wanted Devon: “I chose Devon because Devon’s just got a good soul. He really does. He’s got a good heart. I want him to trust me, and I want him on my side.” Ben told Devon that if he trusts him, they will go far together in the game. Devon said “I’m locked in with you” and shook Ben’s hand. If this alliance holds true, and Devon does turn his back on Ryan, then things look great for Ben. It will mean that Devon and Ryan’s relationship and arc meant less than Ben’s story. As I’ve already talked about in Ryan and Devon’s sections, we don’t yet know the fall out of this, and next episode should be very telling. If Devon goes back to Ryan, then, of course, things look grim for Ben’s edit.
The rest of Ben’s episode is when things took a turn for the negative. After Lauren won the immunity challenge, Ben was all gung-ho about taking out Cole and splitting the votes with Mike. Ashley voiced her concerns about leaving Joe in the game and also the possibility of Mike having an idol. “I’m getting super annoyed. I don’t need to be told what to do right now.” Ben brushed those comments off, saying that it’s a “group decision,” even though we saw Ashley, Chrissy, and Devon wanting to take out Joe before Cole. Chrissy said “It’s not a dictatorship,” and later told Ben people are feeling steamrolled by him. “No, no they’re not,” Ben fired back, batting down the suggestion. “You might and Ashley might,” he continued, “but it’s the safest bet.” The thing is, despite this N-tone, Ben did get to explain his reasoning for splitting the votes this way. “I’m not trying to be a dictator here, but for my game, I don’t want Joe gone because everyone already can’t stand the guy,” he said. He even told Chrissy he wanted votes on Mike so they could potentially flush an idol if Mike had one – which he did, and which was indeed flushed.
Ben said something else which could prove very important. “Unfortunately, some people, they’re playing with their heart and their morals. In Survivor, heart and morals don’t get you a million dollars,” he said. There has been a lot of talk about morals. Desi brought the topic up at the tribal council where she went home. Then at this episode’s tribal, Mike questioned the moral character of the alliance of seven. “We have to play with justifiable moral and ethical codes of conduct here,” he said, before talking about the hypocrisy of the alliance painting Joe as a pariah but then not voting him out. The camera focused on Ben looking baffled by Mike’s statement. The question is, which statement is true? Is Ben right that morals and heart don’t win you a million dollars? Or is Mike correct in saying you have to play with “justifiable moral and ethical codes”? You could also tie this back into what Ashley said about the game being about relationships. Will Ben ultimately fail because he neglected morals and heart? Or is that what will help him win in the end?
My gut says that Ben is heading for a downfall. With the amount of screen-time he’s had – now combined with the negative turn – all signs point to a blindside. There is enough set up in the edit to suggest that Ben’s insistence on keeping Joe around will come back to bite him. However, there is still complexity to Ben’s edit, and he always gets to offer his reasoning and is correct on many occasions. If Ben dodges the bullet next week and Joe goes before him, then I might have to start reconsidering Ben’s story.
I said last week that Joe always gets to explain himself despite his consistent N-tone. That was still the case in this episode, and not only that, but his tone was a more Mixed affair than usual. Joe is certainly not a one-note villain.
Joe started this episode on a positive note. During the reward, he was portrayed as a determined player who never stops working. “This reward gives me a window of opportunity to make moves and completely change the game,” he said. While he didn’t exactly change the game, he was shown to be game-focused while on the boat, hunting for the idol, while also cracking jokes and making people laugh. “You’ve gotta give Joe props, he never stops,” Mike said. It’s funny how Joe and Mike’s relationship has developed. He later calls Joe “strangely fascinating.” We knew from Episode 1 that the relationship between this pair was meaningful, it was given so much focus. When they swapped, we knew they would both make the merge to continue their arc. It’s great how they’ve gone from initial enemies, to close allies. We saw hints of this early on back at the Healers tribe when Joe said he was warming to Mike as a person. Mike giving props to Joe is a good look for the Probation Officer.
“I like going 100 miles an hour. I don’t like slowing down. I’m not going to give up. I’ve been an aggressive player since Day 1. I’ll continue doing that, and it will probably cost me the game, but… that’s me,” Joe said. That’s Joe’s character in a nutshell – the aggressive player who goes 100 miles an hour. It’s interesting that he said it would probably cost him the game. Later in the episode, after failing to find an idol, Joe comes up with a new plan. “One thing I do have is, you know, people feel like I’m a *expletive censor*,” he said. “So I’m going to start pushing buttons more, and I’m going to get enough people so upset at me that they’re like, ‘Yo, let’s just keep this dude around because we can get rid of him at any point,’ and at some point I can make a move.” That’s when we saw Joe arguing with Ashley and Chrissy back at the shelter. Obviously, this is where he got his N-tone, as Ashley called him “a bully on a playground” and an “unpleasant person.” It’s not the first time he’s been called a bully either, Mike said the same thing back in the premiere, but he has since changed his mind.
Again, though, while the above scene wasn’t the best for Joe, he still got to explain his actions. As an audience, we knew why he was being a dick; it had a strategic purpose. Not only did it have a strategic purpose, but it seemingly worked. Ben later said: “I don’t want Joe gone because everyone already can’t stand the guy.” That was exactly Joe’s intention. This could lead to Ben’s downfall. The edit has consistently told us Joe is a threat. In this episode alone, Ashley said “he’s very dangerous in many ways,” and Chrissy said, “there’s no bigger strategic threat than Joe.” It really does seem to be foreshadowing Joe outlasting Ben. If that doesn’t happen, and Ben gets rid of Joe, then as I said earlier, Ben’s edit will need some reevaluating. Right now, Joe is an underdog, but as he said throughout this episode, he doesn’t give up. That’s his story now – how far can his aggressive play get him before it eventually costs him?
Mike was back in a big way this episode after a quiet edit last week. I said last time that there was potential in Mike’s story for a comeback. I think there were comeback elements to his edit in Episode 9, even though things didn’t quite work out as planned for the good doctor.
Other than Ben, Mike was the main character of this episode. It started with his concerns, what he planned to do to save himself, and ended with him making a big play at tribal council. To start with, Mike talked about his current position in the game. “My Tribal Council experience was, again, me not knowing who’s going home,” he began. In terms of winner chances, it’s not great to talk about how out of the loop you are, so Mike takes a hit there. But maybe that is just impossible to avoid given that Mike is genuinely out of the loop. “I voted for the person I was supposed to vote for, Joe, but Desi went home, which I’m not happy about, because the group of seven looks like they’re trying to just stay together and vote off the Healers,” he continued. He then explained his latest strategy: “So at this point, I need to throw the other Healers under the bus, and by me subtly, or sometimes not even so subtly, throwing names out there, it could mean I’m here for a few more days.” We then saw him throwing Cole under the bus to the alliance of seven. “I have an idol, but I don’t want to play it, so I’m throwing names out there right now, knowing that Joe and Cole are so hated on this tribe, that they’re going to be one of the two people to go next.”
All of the above is solid CP content. But is it a good thing for Mike’s long term chances? He talked about not wanting to play his idol, and hoped that Cole or Joe would go before him and he could survive a few more days. But by the end of the episode, Mike was sticking up for Joe, and played his idol. Does Mike going back on his original intentions so quickly harm him? It’s the lack of consistency that is a red flag. But the thing is, Mike gets to explain his actions. Even though Ben told Mike to vote for Cole, Mike was justifiably wary. “I’m safe for tonight’s tribal council, if I could believe Ben. But how much can I trust Ben? I can’t. Every person that I’ve trusted has betrayed my trust,” he said. “So I’m not playing their game. I gotta do something to send one of these big threats home.” The edit prepared us for something big to go down at tribal council.
“The Hustlers and Heroes’ mentality are just playing for the next tribal council, and it’s stupid,” Mike continued. “So because of that, I’m going to make the world implode by playing my idol. Eeny-meeny-miny-moe, who am I going to give it to? It might be high drama tonight. It’s go big or go home time.” Unfortunately for Mike, he didn’t send home one of the big threats of the opposing alliance. He played his idol, but Cole ended up going home. But he was right that it was “high drama” at tribal. Mike called out the alliance of seven and questioned their moral character. He referred to Ben as “King Arthur” and himself as the “Statue of Liberty” and how America would beat England in the end. Could Mike beat Ben? Or did he just dig himself a hole, as Lauren put it?
What is Mike’s story going foward? The lack of consistency to his edit has me souring on his winner chances. And his “go big or go home” mentality has me worried for his longevity. He is now a surefire underdog, and Joe, ironically, is now his tighest alliance. I expect Mike to continue the good fight against the alliance, but whether he can make the ultimate comeback seems far-fetched at this point.