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
After a few big weeks in a row for Janet, our hero of the season was back under the radar this episode. She was on the fringes here, not directly involved in any of the main narratives. We didn’t see the events of this episode from Janet’s perspective, though we did briefly check in with her at least.
Her two short confessionals were primarily about the “eat or compete” portion of the Immunity Challenge. Firstly, she said that she wanted to play but that it would be hard to resist the smell of bacon. Secondly, after choosing to sit out, she told us how it was a scary decision and how she now had to trust her alliance not to “throw her to the wolves.” Even though she talked in “I’s,” there was nothing of depth here to warrant a MOR. Though she did specify that Elizabeth would be the smart choice to go because she’s a “physical threat,” so at least what she wanted to happen happened, in a roundabout way.
Sadly, I think this UTR1 here confirms to me that Janet isn’t the winner of the season. She’s had a really positive edit and was a major part of the season’s most dramatic—and unfortunate—moment at the merge, but I don’t think she has the “game edit” of a winner. There is a lack of consistency in her strategic content and her game relationships, and I believe if Janet were to win, we’d be seeing an uptick in those areas right now, not a slide back into UTR territory. A fan-favorite character? For sure. But the winner? I don’t see it.
Middle of the Road
As I said last week, Elizabeth‘s edit felt like it was on borrowed time, and so it was no real surprise that she was voted out this episode. Kind of similar to Janet, Elizabeth’s edit lacked consistency, but even worse than Janet, she didn’t have the overwhelming positivity or personal story to counter the other limitations.
I couldn’t rate her anything above a MOR here. Her confessionals never scratched beneath the surface. It was all about being scared now that she’d lost her protection in Aaron and Missy. And talk about how she blew the Immunity Challenge and was praying to the Survivor gods that Karishma didn’t have an idol. There was nothing particularly complex. And once it became clear that she wasn’t going after Elaine (as Missy advised her last week), therefore eliminating a new potential story-arc, it seemed all but set in stone that her time was up.
Overall, I’ve rated Elizabeth as MOR for the season. When looking at her entire rating strip, it feels like it averages out at MOR. She had a few CP episodes, where she was more directly involved in the strategy, but she never came across as a fully rounded, complex character. I also toyed with giving an N-tone for her part in the whole Dan situation. It’d certainly be warranted. However, given how the show has frustratingly brushed past that ordeal, I don’t think the overall intention was for Elizabeth to be viewed as a negative character.
Dan is still here and still talking strategy, but much like last week, I don’t think he said enough to earn a CP. He was basically the voice explaining the group’s plans. We never heard what this would mean for Dan’s own game or what he was thinking about moving forward.
It was Dan who told Karishma to vote for Janet while reiterating in confessional that the real plan was to split the vote between Karishma and Elizabeth. This then led to a scene of Lauren observing Karishma and Dan interjecting himself into Karishma and Elizabeth’s conversation. The end result was Dan getting annoyed with Karishma and wanting to see her gone next. Dan, of course, didn’t get his way, as Karishma played an idol, undermining his earlier statement that she was “doing everything wrong in this game.”
Who knows where Dan’s edit is heading? And honestly, who cares? He obviously isn’t winning. Maybe his beef with Karishma will be a late-game story? But no matter what Dan does, the events of the merge will never be forgotten, so it’s hard to take him or his edit seriously.
Elaine had a pretty quiet episode this week. The positive though is that she did get to comment on the Elizabeth boot. She explained that while she’d prefer to see Karishma go, she didn’t want to damage her own game and relationship with her alliance by keeping Elizabeth around. It was kind of teetering that line between MOR and CP, but I don’t think it quite went over.
The downside for Elaine’s edit—and the reason why I don’t think she is the winner—is that it’s unclear what her alliance is and when it formed. Yes, there was foreshadowing for her voting out Missy last week, but there has been no explanation of why she suddenly felt so close to Tommy. Who was she referring to when she talked about staying loyal to her “core” at Tribal Council? These are big missing pieces from Elaine’s post-merge edit. And as I said before, it’s especially worrying when she previously pin-pointed Tommy as her biggest threat.
That said, I still think we’re meant to view Elaine as a likable and rootable character, even if she is lacking strategically. Again, the episode included these little fun moments, like her banter with Probst at the Immunity Challenge. But a fan-fave does not always equate to a winner. And with all the talk earlier in the season about how Elaine would win if she gets to the end, I do feel like as we head into the home stretch, that narrative will come back up soon and lead to her potential elimination.
I still have no idea what to make of Noura‘s edit. In one moment, she’s been referred to as a “goat,” in the next moment, she’s winning Immunity and trying to “take one for the team.” She’s kind of viewed as a non-factor, but at the same time, she is no longer a social outcast and appears to be fitting into the tribe much better than she was pre-merge.
It was tough to decide between MOR and OTT here, to be perfectly honest. There were definitely OTT elements, like her staying on the challenge after it was over and her completely incorrect read of the idol situation. But was it enough? Maybe. But I also felt like she explained why she was searching for Karishma’s bag well enough to warrant a MOR. Like I said, it’s a tough one, and I could understand the justifications for either.
Speaking of that idol situation, though, Noura did not come out of that looking too hot. After rummaging through Karishma’s bag, Noura wrote off all possibility of Karishma having an idol, saying she felt it in her “gut” that she didn’t have one. Of course, that was massively incorrect, as Karishma saved herself with an idol later that night. Recent winners have been undermined more than past winners, but I don’t think such a blatantly wrong confessional like that would ever appear in a winner’s edit.
The other concern I have for Noura is that I don’t know what her gameplan is right now, nor do I understand her relationships/alliances. She keeps talking about “the tribe” as if she is still playing the pre-merge game. In fact, she is playing a better pre-merge game now when she should be focused on the individual game. Perhaps we’re meant to see it as Noura improving her social status and how that will carry her through, but the lack of defined relationships is worrying.
Over The Top
Dean was back to his doofus ways this week, and the edit had great fun at his expense. He spent the majority of the episode calling other people “goats” and talking about “goat armies,” not realizing that he might just be the perfect goat himself.
While others agreed with Dean and his concern about a goat uprising, I don’t think that helped his case. You can’t ignore that between the two people he pin-pointed as goats, Noura and Karishma, the latter saved herself with a spot on idol play, and the former won individual Immunity. It’s especially funny as Dean often refers to himself as a “physical threat,” despite a history of poor challenge performances—something specifically highlighted in this episode when Lauren immediately ruled out his chances of winning the challenge.
But the pièce de résistance of Dean’s doofus edit was the entire sequence about his fake Legacy Advantage. Now, it must be said, in theory, Dean’s idea wasn’t a bad one. If the advantage was real, then making a fake replica and playing it at Tribal to remove a potential target is a decent plan. But, of course, we all know the advantage is fake, and so Dean believing it’s real and going ahead with this idea is setting him up for future embarrassment. And the edit plays along; just listen to the dodo music during his confessional, there is literally “BOING!” noises and a man yelling “HA!” after each time Dean speaks.
With the advantage stuff and all the goat talk, I now think it’s a strong possibility that Dean could end up the actual goat of the season. This could all be an ironic foreshadowing of Dean flopping at the Final Tribal Council. And it would be especially hilarious if Noura or Karishma wound up getting more votes than him. It’ll be interesting to see if this goat talk continues next week.
While I still think Tommy is the front-runner, there were a couple of dodgy moments in this episode that didn’t reflect greatly on the fourth-grade teacher. He was undermined a couple of times, and in parts, looked to be playing second fiddle to Lauren. In fact, Lauren even called him her “wingman,” and Tommy said the same himself.
The positives are that he talked a lot about his game, what he wanted, and how he was going to do it. He was the first one to name Elizabeth as a potential target and explained how he wanted her gone because she was a physical threat and wrote his name down. He was a big part of Lauren’s idol mission, where he described precisely how he was going about getting people to sit out at the challenge. And he was the one that said the votes should be split between Elizabeth and Karishma in case of an advantage. All of this was very clear-cut CP content.
Now, the potential red flags. Tommy talked about how Karishma was an easy vote that could be taken out at any time. That obviously wasn’t true, as Karishma later that episode saved herself from elimination. He was also subtitled at Tribal, saying that he thought Dean’s Legacy Advantage was real… it wasn’t. And there was another weird little moment where he said that the breakfast food at the challenge was “all carbs,” and Lauren undercut him saying, “bacon is not a carb.” These aren’t major moments, but they are undermining.
The thing is, Tommy’s edit is still so much better than anyone else remaining that I can’t see who else could possibly win. Nobody else has Tommy’s combined consistency, personal content, relationships, and strategic content. Yes, Lauren might look like she is currently leading that duo, but she is massively lacking in personal content, and her pre-merge edit was poor. That is why I find it hard to see Tommy and Lauren making it to the Final Tribal Council together. If that was the case, I think Lauren would have had a similar edit to Tommy all the way through.
If Tommy is the winner, which I’d be very surprised if he isn’t, it probably means Lauren needs to be out of the picture. That means someone will likely take a shot at this duo in the coming weeks. With Lauren out of the way, that should clear the path for Tommy’s victory, unless by some miracle Janet winds up in the Final Three.
I think, in a vacuum, this was a really solid episode for Lauren. She was presented as strategic, socially capable, and someone with an excellent read on her tribemates. Her entire Island of the Idols sequence and the follow-up scenes back at camp were pure CP. Everything Lauren said about her tribemates was backed up by editorial evidence, and everything she did in the lead up to the challenge was a success.
As I said in Tommy’s write-up above, Lauren appeared to be the one in charge of the duo, at least on the surface. She was the one relaying information and telling Tommy what needed to happen. Of course, this could simply have been due to necessity, as it was Lauren who had the info from the IOI. But there were also the “bacon is not a carb” moments that really made it seem like Lauren was the one with her head screwed on. It was similar to the final pre-merge episode, where Lauren turned her game-face on and had to get Tommy’s head back in the game.
Now, all of this is great in making Lauren look like a strong player. But that has been the case ever since the second episode. When the time calls for it, Lauren knows how to work the social and strategic game. The downside is… that is all we know about Lauren, that she can play the game. Other than briefly mentioning that she’s married in the premiere, in a conversation with Tommy, I don’t think we’ve learned any personal details about Lauren. She has the strategic depth, but not the emotional depth. And I think winners, especially recent winners, have the personal to match the strategic.
In a way, Lauren’s edit reminds me a little of Victoria’s from last season. Victoria didn’t always have high visibility, but when she was shown, she often presented as strategic and with her finger on the pulse. But there was a huge hole in her personal and emotional content. There was nothing beyond the game-talk for viewers to latch on to, and that was a good sign that she probably wasn’t the winner. Now, unlike Victoria, Lauren at least has a strong relationship in her edit, but there is a similar absence of emotional attachment.
She’s also missing the consistency in her edit. There have been way too many times where she has slipped UTR. Obviously, her partnership with Tommy was more important than I initially gave it credit for, but I think that is just the problem. The Lauren/Tommy duo is important to the narrative… I’m not sure the same can be said for Lauren’s individual story. As I hinted at in Tommy’s section, I feel like Lauren is being set up as the strategic head of the duo because she is likely to be targeted before Tommy, especially after playing an idol this week.
Karishma had a solid episode that ended on a triumphant idol play, but my read on her overall edit hasn’t changed. I stand by what I said at the end of last week’s write-up: “Perhaps she’ll make a splash with her idol, but I don’t see that translating into end-game victory. She’s had way too much NSVP, she’s been directly undermined, and she’s had three UTRs and two INVs over the course of the season.”
As suspected, Karishma did make a splash with her idol. In an episode where she was called a goat, an “easy vote,” and doubted about having an idol, she proved her tribemates wrong by shocking them all at Tribal Council. It was very much a “Karishma vs. the World” (potential future theme idea?) storyline, highlighted beautifully during the Immunity Challenge as an upset Karishma sat alone on the bench while the rest of her tribemates scoffed food a few meters away. “Everybody is out here for their own journey, Karishma going through hers right now… six other people, not a care in the world,” said Probst.
There were definitely some elements of OTT here, but I felt like there was enough CP to justify that rating. For example, when Lauren asked to go to the IOI, Karishma gave a confessional expressing her feelings, while also explaining why it would have been a bad move for her to voice her issues. There was a similar level of complexity as she weighed up her options regarding the idol and whether she could use Elizabeth for a potential vote or not. “Now, here’s the issue that I have, playing [the idol] correctly and making it count,” she said.
That last line is the big sticking point here. Karishma did play the idol correctly, but did she make it count? Elizabeth ended up going home, someone Karishma said could have been a potential ally. So when you look at it from that angle, it seems like she failed to make it count. But she also explained that voting differently from how she was told (Janet) was “not going to make a difference.” And that was correct. Whomever Karishma voted for, there would still have been a tie with Elizabeth, and Elizabeth would most likely have gone home on the revote.
It all comes back to a consistent theme in Karishma’s edit, she is an outcast that can’t seem to get anyone to stick with her for even one vote. At the start of this episode, she said she “now had options,” but that was wrong. Karishma couldn’t get anyone to join her. In fact, Lauren even stated that “Karishma does not have allies in this game,” and from what we saw, and what we’ve seen previously, that seems to be the case. There is no evidence that that is going to change in the home-stretch, and that’s why I view this idol play as a big, triumphant conclusion, rather than the start of a victory lap.
I’ve always seen Karishma as a journey edit, and that hasn’t changed here, especially with Probst outright saying Karishma is “on her own journey” in this very episode. While she has her detractors within the game (and she received NSPV this episode with all the “goat” talk, which was countered with that P-toned challenge segment), she has learned to appreciate what she has in the real world (the family talk last week, which I suspect will play into next week’s loved’s one visit) and proven she is not to be underestimated.