Survivor: Island of the Idols

Episode 12 Edgic

What is the edit telling us after the latest episode?

Photo: CBS

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.

You can read all our Edgic posts for last season here.

Color KeyNewColours

Name EP 1 EP 2 EP 3 EP 4 EP 5 EP 6 EP 7 EP 8 EP 9 EP 10 EP 11 EP 12 EP 13 EP 14
TommyTommy CP3 CP4 CP3 MOR2 MOR3 UTR2 MOR3 CP4 MOR2 MOR3 CP4 CP3
ElizabethElizabeth CP5 INV MOR3 CP3 UTR1 CP4 UTR1 CPN3 MORN3 UTR2 MOR3
MissyMissy CPP3 CP2 CP3 CP5 MOR4 MOR3 CP3 CP4 MORN2 CPN5
KelleeKellee CP3 CPP5 UTR1 MOR2 CP3 UTR1 CP5 CPP5
JasonJason OTTM2 CP5 UTR2 MOR2 UTR2 OTT4
ChelseaChelsea UTR2 MORP3 MOR2 MOR3
VinceVince CPP3 OTT2 OTTP5
MollyMolly MOR3 MORN4
RonnieRonnie MORN4


Under the Radar


Another UTR for Janet, which means another death knell to her winner chances. Her only confessional was about the family visit and how seeing her husband gave her a shot of energy. Game-wise, we didn’t really get anything other than some brief chatter in group scenes.

A few weeks ago, Janet was at the bottom of the tribe. She’s now back in the majority. That seems like a remarkable story. And yet, we haven’t exactly seen how Janet achieved this, other than that brief “burying the hatchet” scene with Dan a couple episodes ago. I feel like if Janet was the winner of this season, the edit would have put significant emphasis on Janet’s journey back to the majority alliance. Instead, it sort of feels like an afterthought.

Janet’s story is simply what it was back in the premiere. The strong older woman who breaks stereotypes. Her husband touched on this during the family visit. “She’s a very strong woman; there’s no challenge she won’t take,” he said. “She breaks through for women on so many different levels… every time something comes up, it doesn’t matter that she’s a woman, she’s fine for anything.” That basically sums up Janet’s edit.

Middle of the Road


Dan was one of four MOR edits this week. It was a very MOR episode across the board. And even those I rated CP, I think I was being very generous.

The main takeaway here was that Dan is extremely dismissive of others. During the family reward, he referred to those back at camp as a “rag-tag group of losers” who didn’t have the ability to come up with a counterplan (this is why I gave him N-tone). He said something similar later in the episode when he said he felt confident that this “motley anti-alliance” hadn’t assembled their forces in a real way. He was kind of half right and half wrong. The four back at camp DID come up with a counterplan, a really solid one. But they did ultimately fail to keep it together.

Other than that, there wasn’t a lot from Dan this episode. He did speak about the “strategy moving forward” and how they were planning to split the votes between Elaine and Karishma. But I didn’t think this was enough for CP because it wasn’t about Dan’s individual game. He was talking about the alliance as a whole. Right now, I sort of just see Dan as a number for the majority alliance, someone with no real story of his own, other than the stuff we’ve talked about in the past.


This episode made perfect sense to be the end of Karishma‘s journey. She was coming off the back of a big idol play, which finally showed she shouldn’t be underestimated, therefore concluding that particular story thread. And then the family visit closed the curtain on the storyline about her husband, which meant Karishma’s time was over.

As I said last week, I suspected all the family talk would play into the loved ones visit, and that’s precisely what happened. Karishma had an emotional outpouring when she saw her husband. She found the love and comfort she had been missing in the game. I almost considered P-tone for this, but as long-time readers know, I don’t usually count loved ones content unless it’s an exceptional circumstance. The entire concept of the loved ones visit is warmth and positivity, so there is no editorial manipulation that should warrant individual P-tone.

The rest of Karishma’s edit never really got out of MOR territory. She talked briefly about how wonderful it was that Noura was upset with her alliance. She provided some short idol search narration. And she gave a basic summation of the plan, explaining that if the majority split their votes, the four of them (herself, Noura, Elaine, and Dean) could decide who goes home. But, as with Dan, it wasn’t focused enough on her individual game to justify a CP.

That said, I’ve rated Karishma as CPM overall for the season. I think Karishma was a complex character, someone that was misunderstood at times. She had her OTT moments, but she also had the self-awareness to recognize her position in the tribe. She shared a lot about her personal life and talked strategy when necessary. And while she received a lot of NSPV (second-person visibility) from her fellow players, she also had editorial support that countered the negativity.


Elaine‘s edit continues to be troubling in the sense that it’s so inconsistent. There are these major gaps in her story that we’re just sort of left to fill in ourselves. It’s why I just can’t see Elaine as the winner, even if she is presented as a likable person.

For example, it was never really explained why she saved Tommy or how she suddenly felt so comfortable with the old Vokai. Last week at Tribal Council, she talked about sticking loyal to her “core,” but who she considered her core was unclear. And then this week, she was set to turn on Tommy and Vokai, again, with no solid explanation. What happened to her core? Who knows? It was just all of a sudden, Elaine was with Karishma, Dean, and Noura.

This is why I couldn’t justify a CP rating for Elaine this week. She just didn’t “extrapolate” enough on her strategy. Two of her confessionals were about the idol she found, and the other was a basic recap of the plan. “We wanted Lauren out, but she won Immunity, so the back up is Tommy because he’s her right-hand man,” she said. We understood what Elaine was doing, but we didn’t really know why she was doing it. There wasn’t enough insight into her thought process and why this move made sense for her.

Worst of all, the move didn’t work, and Elaine found herself exposed at Tribal Council and forced into playing her idol. And she was certainly aware of this possibility. “All it takes is one little wrong decision, and it’s over, your dream is dead,” she said before Tribal. Could this be the move that ends Elaine’s dream? We’re heading into the end-game, and a lot of Elaine’s early edit was about how much of a threat she’d be in a Final 3 and how it’d be stupid to let her get to the end. Her time is ticking.


Last week, I said that “I feel like Lauren is being set up as the strategic head of the duo because she is likely to be targeted before Tommy.” And lo and behold, she was targeted this week as the leader of that partnership, though she managed to stave off elimination due to a timely Immunity win.

This is Lauren’s edit. She is a gamer with a good grasp on strategy and a solid social game. And she also has Tommy on a tight leash. These are the reasons she ended up being targeted. Dean even said that Lauren is “sociable” and “liked by the jury,” as well as having Tommy wrapped around her finger. Elaine mentioned something similar when she said Tommy is Lauren’s “right-hand man.” While this presents Lauren as a capable player, it also shows that her story only exists in relation to Tommy. The edit hasn’t given us much else to invest in when it comes to Lauren’s narrative.

There was some slight undermining this week too. While Lauren recognized that it was possible the “four back at camp” could form a plan, she said it was unlikely they could do anything. Again, as with Dan’s statements, this was half-right/half-wrong. The four did formulate a solid plan. But they ultimately failed in executing it. She also said that she didn’t think she needed Immunity and was confident in her alliance. Whereas we know that Noura had flipped and that Lauren was the number one target.

That said, Lauren was the person who noticed Noura and Dean had spent a lot of time away from camp. She didn’t expand any further on that in confessional, but that brief sentence showed that she was at least aware of some potential shadiness. However, as with the rest of Lauren’s content this episode, I don’t think any of it ever reached CP levels. It was safe, solid MOR content.

Even though Lauren survived this episode and the underdogs’ plan fell apart, it does feel like Lauren is on borrowed time. I still don’t think she has the personal content to make it to the Final 3. And all the talk of her being a threat seems like the set-up for her eventual elimination.

Over The Top


Noura‘s edit had somewhat settled down post-merge, but this week she was back to her OTTN ways. This was straight-up Planet Noura craziness, from her time-lapsed post-family visit rant to her pre-Tribal confusion over the vote to the breakdown at Tribal itself. It was like she suddenly remembered that she wanted to be the “biggest Survivor trainwreck” ever.

The N-tone is pretty self-explanatory. She had a ton of NSPV with the likes of Dean and Elaine calling her “crazy,” “a loose cannon,” and a “froot loop.” Even Boston Rob commented on her during Tribal, stating that she was “out of control.” And the edit certainly didn’t soften the blow. Noura was presented as the reason for the underdog plan falling apart. Her inability to understand what was going on spooked Dean and caused him to renege on the deal. And Noura was the one left caught in a lie.

I’ve said before that I’ve got no idea what to make of Noura’s edit, and that remains the case. It’s all over the place, and I suppose that is an accurate reflection of Noura as a character. As she said in her own confessional this week, her biggest obstacle is herself. No matter where Noura ends up this season, and it isn’t winning, she will only have herself to blame.

Complex Personalities


It kind of feels weird giving Dean a CP after such an OTT edit last week, but just in terms of strategy and explaining his plans, his content seemed more CP than MOR, even if it was CP-lite. We knew what Dean was thinking every step of the way.

It started off with Noura’s rant, which was “music to Dean’s ears.” Dean thought he’d found an opportunity to strike at the majority, and he was the one to bring up Lauren as the target. And he gave his reasoning. Not only did he view Lauren as having Tommy wrapped around her finger, but he saw her as “sociable” and a jury threat. He also realized that Dan and Tommy perhaps didn’t have him in their Final 3 plans. So now was the chance to make a move. “But there’s only four of us… so we drag in a fifth, or we find an idol and create our own luck,” he said.

Now, you could say that Dean going back on the plan and snitching to Tommy looks bad, and it does to a degree. But the edit did provide us an explanation for Dean’s actions. Noura’s confusion over the vote panicked Dean. “She’s a loose cannon,” he said. “It’s a very simple plan, but putting faith in Noura’s hands is scary.” Dean didn’t trust that Noura would stick to the plan, and so, in the act of self-preservation, he told Tommy what was going on.

But will Dean’s move pay off in the long-run? While he might have ingratiated himself with Tommy and thereby bought himself some more days on the island, the jury reaction was a whole other matter. “So many dumb moves,” Kellee commented from the sidelines. That wasn’t specifically aimed at Dean, but it’s hard not to think him saving Tommy wasn’t included in that insult. I said last week that all of Dean’s focus on “goats” could be foreshadowing his own Final Tribal goat-status, and nothing here really changed my mind.


Tommy‘s edit is vanilla. There is no denying that. It severely lacks in color and excitement. And yet it is also classic, cookie-cutter winner edit material. Tommy is not the biggest personality, and his confessionals don’t set the world alight, and yet, he’s always inserted into the narrative and given time to share his thoughts on the game.

While Tommy’s content wasn’t the most strategically complex, the reason I leaned towards CP-lite over MOR is that he focused on his own game. It was all about getting the job done. At the family visit, his girlfriend told him, “just get it done, okay?” (which was subtitled). And Tommy referenced this in a follow-up confessional, when he said, “It’s more than a million. It’s about making people proud, so my job now is to get this job done.” Those are prime examples of winner quotes.

It also should be noted that Tommy was only one of two people to receive a confessional about their loved one (the other was Janet). Tommy got to talk about his girlfriend, what seeing her meant to him, and, in the same confessional, threw in another reference to his 4th-grade teacher job (which he also did later at Tribal). As I mentioned earlier, it’s hardly the most exciting personal content ever, but the fact is, it’s there, and that is more than can be said for the other remaining players.

In terms of strategy, Tommy pinpointed Karishma as the person he wanted to go, and while it was a bumpy ride to get there, that is ultimately what happened. It was similar to last week when he said Elizabeth was his preferred target—he eventually got his way, even if the road there was unexpected. And, most importantly, he got his moment of clarity before Tribal. He recognized that if Noura had flipped, then the four underdogs could take control. “Noura’s been a wildcard since Day 1… and if she does something crazy, I don’t have an idol… I don’t have the necklace. I could be going home.”

Rather than making him look oblivious, the edit allowed Tommy to acknowledge that he was a potential target. That is what happens when the show wants you to view a player as self-aware and capable. And, of course, Tommy was able to turn things around once Dean snitched at Tribal. This has been a common theme in Tommy’s edit. People always seem to let him know when he’s been targeted. Elaine did it a couple of weeks ago and now, Dean. “It’s teaching time with Tommy,” he said at Tribal. “You gotta tell people when they need to know things. A lesson learned.”

I would be astounded if Tommy didn’t win this season. There is nobody else left with an edit that compares. Lauren is his biggest competition when looking at it from a pure game point of view, but in terms of edit, she is massively lacking in critical content. Tommy just keeps hitting the right story beats. It might not be thrilling TV, but its obviousness cannot be denied.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

6 responses to “Episode 12 Edgic”

  1. I hate that Noura is getting blamed for the plan failing, when Dean was the one who opened his big mouth for no reason. Not to mention the core Vokai four is still intact and one of Dean’s potential allies went home while Noura stayed (which should say it all). It’s like Kellee’s storyline of regretting working with Dean…

    And hopefully this cocky kingpin Tommy thing is his undoing. I look at his story there as “Tommy never knows what’s going on til someone tells him.” Even though he has confessionals about possibly being in danger, I don’t really put stock in that since its Survivor and EVERYOBE could possibly be in danger. Then once he escapes danger, he thinks it’s his doing and gives himself too much credit.

  2. I’ve honestly been rooting for Lauren since the pre-game interviews were released so I’m still rooting for her, but her chances look extremely bad when comparing her edit to Tommy’s.

  3. I was so hoping that the Tommy blindside was going to work and that we’d all be wrong, but alas!

    Predictions based solely on edit:
    7th: Elaine. I don’t see Tommy wanting her to have a chance to make fire, so she’s probably going to get voted out in the Christian Hubicki spot. Her edit reminds me of his in the way we’re being set up to root for her, but he had way more CP content and that’s the critical difference. She could end up as finale fodder. But so could anyone that isn’t Tommy, Dean, or Noura.

    6th: Lauren. She doesn’t have the material to be set up as the vote-out in the penultimate episode, as most finale boots with this awful six-person format tend to feel like secondary characters. She could pull off another immunity win before ending up voted out by her partner-in-crime.

    5th: Janet. Made fire in the premiere and was a true badass in the merge episodes and the one before them, but has otherwise been pretty much ignored by the editors. This reeks of 5th place like has been a trend with these six-person finales. Plus there’s that nobody’s going to want to face her at fire.
    4th: Feely Dan. Loses at fire because he sucks at life.
    3rd: Dean. There are only two possibilities for Dean’s placement, 6th or 3rd. Either the original fake Legacy Advantage blows up in his face and he gets voted out there, or he ends up being the one true goat.
    2nd: Noura. I know I said last week that she was my dark horse to win it all, but after this episode…………. yeah, that’s not happening. Instead, she’s probably going to get a vote or two at the FTC and that’s it. From who, IDK yet. Maybe Jack? But yeah, she can’t win now – the way they spun this was true to pre-merge Noura and the storyline about her coming into her own as a player was thrown out the window. She’s too cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs to be taken seriously at the end, especially when she starts rambling for her answers.

    1st: Tommy. I too would be astounded if this guy doesn’t win. He’s being edited as one of the most boring contestants ever, sure, but I really can’t see anyone else taking it at this point. The biggest red flag for me is that his winner’s edit is even more obvious than Pia’s – and that’s because this time it feels there’s nobody else who it could be. That makes for a boring endgame, which means this entire thing could be a practical joke like Cagayan (when Woo had the winner’s edit but then took Tony to the F2). However, given the dark cloud hovering over this season, I don’t see it happening. We’re meant to be okay with the outcome, but the obviousness actually makes it otherwise.

  4. Tommy, Tommy, Tommy. He just keeps getting saved by numerous other players! I guess that is his social game at work. Doesn’t seem like he is driving the bus, just riding it…

  5. It sure seems like Elaine and Janet make it to the final three. I am still predicting a woman will win this season (probably Janet).

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