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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I really want to believe that Janet‘s edit is being intentionally downplayed, but it gets harder to justify each week. There just isn’t enough visibility or complexity. And a couple of background lines about taking the raft out to the water isn’t enough to avoid the Invisible rating, I’m afraid. No casual viewer is going to remember Janet this episode.
I’m now back to thinking that Janet’s main story was already wrapped up in the premiere. She’s the player that disproved the Survivor stereotype of the older woman. I said at the time it felt like a self-contained story that had a beginning, middle, and end within the premiere itself. It didn’t set anything up for the future… and four episodes in, Janet still doesn’t have a forward-moving storyline of her own.
That’s not to say she won’t be around a while, but based on these four episodes, I just don’t see Janet becoming the driving force of the season. She is, at best, a cog in the story of bigger characters such as Tommy, Jamal, and/or Dan. Now, we do have a swap coming up next week, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Janet picks up a story post-swap with new characters. But if that’s the case, it needs to be firmly implanted next week—another INV or UTR would be a death knell.
I’ve been relatively high on Jack so far this season, mostly because he had an early connection set up in the premiere and was actively shielded from negativity in episodes two and three. But his low visibility is becoming increasingly worrying.
Again, much like Janet, a couple of background lines isn’t enough to scrape an UTR. I was generous when I gave Kellee an UTR1 rating last week, and that’s only because her lines were part of a meaningful, strategic conversation. What Jack said this episode was pure fluff that a casual viewer wouldn’t remember. Therefore, the only choice I had was Invisible.
I still think Jack could make a deep-ish run, but all of that is based on his past content—his relationship with Tommy and editorial protection. But the less content he has—especially strategic content—it’s harder and harder to see him as a potential winner. He really needs a strong breakout episode in the next week or two. We need to learn more about him and see more of his relationships outside of the Tommy connection.
Under the Radar
Tom was borderline INV/UTR, but unlike Jack and Janet, his lines at least applied to the goings-on in the game—and he did speak briefly at Tribal Council. This was just about enough to scrape an UTR1.
While brief, Tom’s content was related to the game. After returning to camp following last week’s Tribal, he asked Karishma if she understood what happened. Later, he assured Elizabeth that the challenge loss wasn’t her fault and that they win or lose as a team (continuing his challenge-focused, tribe/team strength content). And he talked to Elaine about the impending Tribal and how it was an easy, “no discussion needed” vote on Karishma.
Of course, it wasn’t a “no discussion” easy vote, as the Lairo tribe-members started scrambling to the point where Chelsea ended up going home. That could suggest, as pointed out last week, that Tom doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the game. However, I believe we were meant to agree that this SHOULD have been an easy vote and that the Lairo tribe messed up by overcomplicating it. Elaine and Elizabeth would later throw into question all of the scrambling caused by Aaron and Missy and how worrying it all was going forward.
Tom didn’t get to comment on any of that, though. He didn’t receive any confessionals or any sort of in-depth strategic content. We didn’t hear his perspective on sending Chelsea home over Karishma, even though that’s the way he ultimately voted. That is now two weeks in a row where Tom has talked about keeping the tribe strong but then not followed through with that line of thinking at Tribal Council. He even agreed with Missy when she slammed Karishma at Tribal, which could come back to bite him if Karishma flips at the swap.
As I said last week, Tom has become pretty one-note at this point, although it wasn’t excessive enough to warrant an OTT this episode. His saving grace continues to be his connections with Elaine and Elizabeth, but outside of that, there is nothing that points at long-term success or storyline.
Dan‘s edit seems to be in a pattern of CP followed by UTR. One week he gives us these in-depth confessionals talking about his approach to the game. The next week he’s delivering fairly basic narration. But one thing is clear: Dan is always present.
This week, Dan’s content was tied directly to Noura, which seems to be becoming a common theme. He criticized her in episode two, and last week, he tried to target her. His one confessional this episode was all about Noura’s “bizarre” lie and how nobody was buying it. Then we had some footage of him practicing the blindfold challenge, and Noura accidentally directing him into the nearest tree. There was nothing complex here—it simply added to Noura’s ridiculous edit across this episode.
What I will say for Dan is, he has plenty of connections set-up on the Vokai tribe. He was part of that initial alliance with Tommy, Jack, Kellee, and Lauren. He had the scene with Kellee in the premiere. He’s had scenes undermining Jason and Noura. And last week, he was targeted by Jamal, and Janet also talked about how dangerous he is. Dan is pretty much connected to everyone on Vokai in some shape or form, and that’s probably a good sign for his longevity.
Despite this potential longevity, Dan’s edit has this air of negativity that spells eventual downfall. The edit has proved him wrong before, particularly regarding Jason, and his scene with Kellee in the premiere doesn’t seem like something that would be included for a winner. We also haven’t seen him succeed in getting people to follow his decisions yet. That said, Dan’s consistent focus suggests he might have a pivotal part in the season in the weeks to come.
Middle of the Road
Jason was one of many MOR edits in this episode. It was a very Middle of the Road kind of week. There was a sequence on Vokai—when having to decide who should attend the Island of the Idols—where we had a string of short-yet-MOR confessionals from various tribe-members.
One of those confessionals came from Jason, who briefly described his thought process on the matter. “My Survivor fan part of my brain was like, ‘You gotta get that idol, you gotta go dude,'” he said. “And then my mom side of my brain was like, ‘You don’t need to go. You’re gonna be by yourself out there. Just stay. You’re safer with numbers.'” It doesn’t seem like much at first glance, but Jason explained the potential benefit of going to the IOI and then the pros of staying at camp.
As someone who was accused of idol searching on Day 1, Jason recognized that staying at camp within the safety of the numbers was his better choice. And given what happened to Noura and the suspicion thrown her way this episode, I believe we’re meant to see Jason’s decision as the correct one. Also, his name hasn’t come up as a target since the Molly vote, which is a sign that he is following his plan to keep cool and not cause waves.
That cool approach came into play at the Immunity Challenge, too, where Jason calmly led his tribe to victory as the caller. I did consider giving Jason some light Positive tone for the praise he received at the challenge, but I didn’t think it was quite excessive enough. However, I could totally understand if someone did want to rate Jason with P-tone for this episode.
I do think we need to start hearing more game talk from Jason in the next week or two, though. We know he has the connection to Noura, which continues to be highlighted (there was a focus on them hugging post-challenge this episode and a subtitled “I’m proud of you” from Noura). But we need to see what else Jason has going on. That could very well begin at the swap. So if Jason is an important long-term player and/or potential contender, we should expect a more fleshed out edit next week.
Lauren was also part of the Vokai sequence, though most of her MOR content came a bit later when discussing Noura. It wasn’t the big bounceback episode she needed to put herself back into contention, but at least we got to hear her thoughts.
“I didn’t wanna go… I was like, ‘I’m not going to the Island of the Idols today, I’m staying right here,'” she said in confessional. Unlike Jason (plus Jamal & Tommy, who also had confessionals during this sequence), Lauren didn’t explain why she didn’t want to go to the IOI or what it could potentially mean for her game. And if that was all we heard from Lauren this week, then her rating would have been straight up UTR.
However, Lauren did pop back up later in the episode to talk about Noura’s caller skills (or lack thereof). “A blind man can see that Noura does not belong on that perch,” she explained. This statement was backed up by Noura poorly directing her tribemates around camp. “If Noura is the caller and we lose, then she’d be 100% be on the chopping block. If she insists on being the caller, then she better follow-through because that’s gonna be her ass.”
This wasn’t the most groundbreaking, in-depth strategy talk, and really, it only barely pushed past UTR. But Lauren at least told us why Noura would be a target, and the edit backed her up. I think the primary intention of this though was to set up what came next—when Lauren chose to sit Noura out of the challenge. From what we saw, it was Lauren who made that call (though the rest of the tribe quickly agreed), and therefore Lauren being the most critical of Noura earlier in the episode made narrative sense.
Does this mean Lauren versus Noura is a storyline that could continue further? Maybe. But it’s hard to say. The major concern for Lauren is her lack of long-term goals and relationships. Right now, her edit seems very circumstantial. She only appears when directly involved with the goings-on of a specific episode: like Molly’s blindside and now Noura’s challenge disaster. We have no idea who Lauren is aligned with or what her plans are moving forward. As with a couple of others, the swap episode could be make or break for Lauren.
After a solid string of CP edits, this was a much-welcome MOR cooldown for Tommy. As with Jason and Lauren, he received a confessional during the IOI decision sequence, and as always, he talked about his individual game.
“My whole game is about lowering my threat level and making other people more threatening,” he explained. “So, there is no way I’m going to volunteer.” It was short and sweet and to the point. But it told us precisely what Tommy was thinking, his reasoning, and how it applied to his overall game. It’s the kind of long-term strategic goal that so many other players this season are lacking in their edits. That’s why Tommy continues to stand above the pack so far this season.
Tommy’s edit is squeaky clean right now. The only potential red flag might be the strained relationship with Jamal. But everything else is simply spot on. He’s always talking about his individual game and explaining his decision process. He has relationships that are well established. And he’s had personal content—though it would be nice to see some more in the coming weeks. It’d be a very cookie-cutter winner edit, but until we’re given reason to think otherwise, Tommy remains a top contender.
This was a decent bounceback for Kellee after last week’s near-Invisible edit. We got to hear her talk about her game in a way that made her appear relevant to the larger narrative.
The most important thing here was that Kellee got to comment on the latest IOI visitor and how it might affect her game. Remember, last week, we never heard Elizabeth talk about whether Vince would potentially blow up her spot (all she mentioned was Vince likely receiving an idol). In doing so, it hindered Elizabeth’s individual narrative. Whereas Kellee commented both pre and post-IOI visit about how it related to her own game.
“Whoever goes to the Island of the Idols is gonna know what I know and can either blow up my game, or we can get closer. And we better get closer,” she said. We also saw Kellee tell the tribe that choosing a name from the bag would be a “cop out,” which was followed by approval from Noura, who ultimately decided to go. I think this was the edit giving subtle credit to Kellee. She forced everyone’s hand, which resulted in the tribe’s biggest outcast choosing to go—someone who was unlikely to be believed by her tribemates no matter what she said. A much better scenario than a random draw leading to a more perceptive player taking the trip.
When Noura returned to camp and told her made-up story, Kellee once again got to share her views on the matter. “This is not a good lie. But it’s really good that Noura’s so in this lie that there is no way she’s going to talk about what’s actually on the Island of the Idols. So the pressure is off of me, thank goodness.” For the edit to check in on Kellee like this tells me that she is a character worth investing in long-term. Her thoughts and position in the game matter.
Now, Kellee still lacks a strong strategic relationship. She has the connection with Dan from the premiere, and now this potential thing with Noura, but both of those have an overriding negative vibe. We’ve seen her as part of strategy talks with Jack, Tommy, Janet, and Lauren, but we’ve never heard her speak directly about them. Nor have others spoken directly about Kellee in terms of being an alliance member. It’s these things that hurt her winner chances, but a swap episode could be a great chance to fill in some of those gaps.
Elaine finally returned to action this week and received a decent amount of air-time pre-Tribal. Initially, I had her marked down as a CP, but upon rewatch, she never really explained the hows and whys of her strategies. It was a lot of ‘I think this person is sneaky’ and ‘I have no idea what is going on.’
The good thing about Elaine’s edit is that there is a throughline with her relationships. She’s been connected to Tom since the premiere, and we saw them talking strategy together again this episode. It was through that bond with Tom that led her to Elizabeth—who last week spoke about how she and Elaine were on the same page. This week, Elaine and Elizabeth sat down together to discuss the vote, and both women agreed they didn’t want to get rid of Dean. Now, Elaine never spoke directly about an alliance with Elizabeth, but we have editorial evidence of their connection.
There is also the connection to Aaron, though that’s a negative relationship. Ever since the premiere, these two have butted heads, and this episode furthered Elaine’s distrust of the man who tried to vote her out week one. “Holy crap! Aaron is wanting to go for Dean. And I was like, ‘What the hell!’ I just didn’t understand it. I just feel like Aaron’s shady,” she said. She also called him a “sneaky bastard” and said, “If Aaron is willing to cut the throat of his friend, then what’s he gonna do to me later on?”
This dislike of Aaron also bled into her distrust of Missy, who was the one pushing to vote off Dean and then Chelsea. “Missy is something else,” Elaine said. “Literally, within 10 minutes, she flipped the target onto Chelsea. And her ability to just drop names like that on a dime, it scares me.” Obviously, this episode, Elaine ended up voting alongside Aaron and Missy, but all this suspicion and wariness seems to be setting up a clash somewhere down the line.
The negative for Elaine’s edit and what hurts her winner chances is that she is often shown to be confused. “With these yahoos, you don’t know what they’re gonna do. So I don’t know how it’s gonna go down,” she said. At Tribal, she continued with this line of thought, and Sandra even commented, “This one never knows anything.” I know we’ve said that we can’t entirely rely on what Rob and Sandra say, but it’s hard to brush that one off or spin it as a positive.
There is also a lack of active gameplay in Elaine’s edit. For example, she told us she doesn’t want to vote Dean, but she didn’t tell us why. And she ended up siding with Aaron and Missy to take out Chelsea, but we don’t know why. It would really help Elaine out if she received a confessional next week explaining what went on at this vote. All that said, I think there are the relationships and potential set-ups in Elaine’s edit to suggest she will be around a while yet.
Chelsea‘s edit seemed heading this way ever since she started boasting about how strong the women’s alliance was and how the guys didn’t have a clue what was happening. Between Karishma not feeling secure, to Elaine & Elizabeth not wanting to vote out Tom, to Aaron & Missy’s secret connection, it appeared the women’s alliance wasn’t as tight as Chelsea believed.
It wasn’t the big disintegration of the women’s alliance as one might have expected based on the edit so far. The breakdown happened in pieces throughout the episode, starting with the suspicion of a showmance between Chelsea and Dean. The early part of the episode put its focus squarely on that relationship and how it was rousing suspicion from others, specifically, Aaron and Missy. Even Chelsea herself commented on how “showmances mess up your game” and how “sleeping together” in the shelter makes you a target.
“Dean and Chelsea are snuggling up, and that could mess up the girl’s alliance,” Missy said. That is what ended up happening. The target ultimately landed on Chelsea, who never saw it coming. “I’m in a really good spot,” Chelsea said before Tribal. “I have really good relationships with people, especially with Dean, and I think that’s gonna take me far in this game.” However, Chelsea’s relationships weren’t as strong as she thought—and it makes sense now why we never saw any of her in-depth one-on-one connections before this week.
The target landed on Chelsea because, in the words of Missy, she was someone “no one is completely attached to.” There was always an ominous feeling surrounding this woman’s alliance, and if anyone was going to take the hit, it was going to be Chelsea or Missy. Missy because she was presented as the figurehead. And Chelsea because of the overconfidence plus lack of personal content and supporting relationships. Chelsea was expendable to the alliance… and this scene from last week now takes on new symbolic meaning…
Over The Top
I can’t help but rate Dean OTT again for the second week in a row. I just don’t think his confessionals help mask the overall one-note feeling of his edit. What comes to mind when we think of Dean this episode? Showmance and poor challenge performance.
His first confessional was all about how he finds Chelsea cute and is drawn to her. This was accompanied by footage of the pair flirting and cuddling up while Aaron and Missy aired their concerns about this potential showmance. Aaron & Missy also slammed Dean’s challenge performances, something which was explicitly highlighted at the next challenge when Dean ignored instructions to go under the barrier.
So far, there is nothing complex here, just showmance content and challenge goofs. But pre-Tribal is what really sold the OTT rating in my eyes. Dean’s name came up a lot, but he had no part in the strategy or saving himself. His one confessional was basic and also intentionally undermining. He talked about how Karishma was on the chopping block because she hadn’t contributed much to camp or challenges. “I feel like she’s gotta see it coming,” he said. “I don’t think tonight’s gonna be a blindside.” He was obviously wrong.
The positive for Dean is that his edit wasn’t completely clouded in negativity. While he received negative SPV (second-person visibility) from Aaron and Missy, he had praise from Elizabeth, who talked up his contributions to camp life. “Dean is at least gathering firewood, helping cook, building the shelter,” she said. I think the reason for this Mixed tone is because we’re not meant to be entirely against Dean. Yes, he’s getting a bit of a “doofus” edit, but he’s also beginning to be positioned as somewhat of an underdog.
Dean’s reaction to this Chelsea blindside next week will be super telling for where his story is going. It will either cement him as the oblivious dodo that needs to be carried through the game. Or it will kickstart his narrative as an underdog who will fight back and scratch and claw his way through the season.
Last week, there was some debate about whether Karishma should be OTT or CP, and it could have gone either way. This week there is no such issue. Karishma was definitely OTT.
While this episode continued the storyline of Karishma feeling on the outs of her tribe, there was far less nuance and explanation in her edit. It almost felt like she had resigned to her fate. “Unless something drastic changes, my life in this game is about to go out. I mean, these people have already made their decision. Easy, peasy, done,” she said after returning from last week’s Tribal. This doom and gloom continued after the challenge…
“I’m at the bottom, so I’m expecting it to be a unanimous vote against Karishma,” she said in confessional. “And it’s killing me. There are certainly bigger threats than me, but this tribe are a bunch of pansies. All they’re doing is who is the biggest common denominator that everyone can live with, and today, it’s me. I don’t wanna go home. Not like this (cries).” The reason it felt OTT is because we never heard or saw Karishma doing anything to change her fate. Yes, she told Chelsea she was going to swing for the fences, but we never actually saw any evidence of that.
What I will say, though, is that Karishma’s paranoia wasn’t wholly unjustified. As she said, last week, she was the contingency plan, and that did show us that she was viewed as expendable. Despite Aaron and Missy changing the vote, both of them confirmed at various points that Karishma is an “easy vote” or a “dead fish in the water” that can be taken out at any time. And after the challenge, the likes of Elaine, Tom, Dean, and Chelsea all agreed that it should be a simple case of voting Karishma out. So Karishma’s read wasn’t exactly off-base.
This is why I struggled to rate her as a straight-up N tone. Yes, she was criticized by the likes of Dean and Elizabeth for her lack of contribution around camp, and Missy called her “annoying.” But there also felt like a slight sympathetic edge to her edit too. Aaron, for one, sympathized with her position following last week’s Tribal—a situation he’d found himself in earlier in the game. Also, the b-roll didn’t always back up the SPV—when Missy called her “annoying,” we cut to Karishma simply sat alone in camp, not bothering anybody. And publically, Karishma took her votes last week with grace, telling her tribemates “no hard feelings.”
All of this suggests that Karishma is biding her time until she can flip on Lairo. While she might be playing nice with them in public, in confessionals, we can see that she has no love for her tribe. Add to that, Aaron & Missy bragging about how they control Karishma’s vote and have her in their back pocket, and Missy insulting Karishma at Tribal, telling her that she’s been “lapped.” The story here is surely building to Karishma flipping on Lairo, potentially at next week’s swap.
The Noura Show was in full swing this week. This was unadulterated OTTN from top to bottom. However, I want to make it clear that I don’t think we’re meant to hate Noura, despite the negative SPV and bonkers OTT edit.
Noura’s negative tone isn’t meant to paint her as an evil person or even a villain-figure. We never see her being nasty or mean. The negativity mostly comes through criticism of her game and her larger-than-life personality. She was criticized for blindly jumping into decisions and for her poor attempt at persuading her tribemates. Sandra said that this will “get her into trouble” in the game, and Rob said she isn’t capable of “coherently communicating anything to anyone.” She was similarly blasted by the likes of Dan, Lauren, and Kellee back at camp.
Her edit is more “comedy trainwreck” than “evil supervillain.” All of her content was played for laughs—from the way she jumped at the chance to go to the IOI, to her interactions with Rob & Sandra, to her comically bad challenge practice, to the moment where she was ultimately made to sit out of the Immunity Challenge. This is a knock on Noura as a player and winner contender, but it’s still strong in terms of her memorable character arc. She is on her way to becoming that “biggest Survivor trainwreck ever,” which she promised last week.
The positive here is that even amongst all of this OTT madness, Noura still dropped in a bit of personal info and talked through her plans (even if they failed miserably). She told us that she’s a “risk-taker” and compared it to quitting her job as a CPA to become an entrepreneur. She also admitted to being a “novice” in this game and not your typical Survivor player. And she explained she was using the “this for that” approach in order to secure the caller position in the challenge. If the edit wanted to completely bury her, it could have left this stuff out.
So it’s not as if Noura is completely unaware. She at least recognized that her lie was going down badly, and she was able to comment on losing her vote at the next Tribal. “This might blow up my game. This is a frigging nightmare,” she said. It’s like back in episode two, when she was aware that the Molly trio was a dangerous threat. In this cloud of OTT smoke, a perceptive player is hiding somewhere in there… she just struggles putting things into practice.
Jamal continued his upward trajectory with another solid CP edit. While still recovering from his episode two mistakes, Jamal is now putting his predicament into a broader personal-life context and also talking us through his decision process.
Early in the episode, Jamal took the opportunity to go idol searching while the rest of his tribe were out in the water. “Having been left out of the Molly vote really kickstarted me into making sure I’m looking after myself,” he explained. The whole “looking out for number one” thing has kind of become Jamal’s story. He talked a lot last week about “going rogue” and being the “wild card,” and we got a similar vibe here as he laughed at his tribe for thinking they control him and being “lulled into a sense of complacency.” These are all signs that Jamal could flip on Vokai down the road.
I almost gave him P-tone for his idol confessional, where he spoke about how he’s spent the past few years bouncing back from a broken relationship. But on a rewatch, I realized it wasn’t backed by uplifting music or manipulated in a particularly positive light. It was just matter of fact. That said, it was still decent personal content that gave us a better understanding of Jamal as a person. It told us that this is a guy who has experienced tough situations and knows how to pull himself back up, which mirrors his current game.
“The lesson I learned from was how to take things in stride… to move really slowly, not get too worked up about things, and be in tune with my surroundings,” he said. “When you’re present, when you’re observant, when you’re connected in the here and now, moments reveal themselves to you.” It was perhaps a little contradictory, given he was quite worked up last week following the Molly blindside, but as for this episode specifically, it fit what we were seeing.
I still struggle to see Jamal climbing right to the top just because of how bad his second episode edit was—the napping, the overconfidence, etc. Also, his introduction in the premiere was nothing to write home about. And we know that the likes of Tommy and Janet are aware of his unpredictability. But Jamal could certainly do some damage before everything catches up with him.
Aaron finally broke through into the CP category this week. We heard from him throughout the episode. He told us what he was thinking, why he wanted to target certain people, and we saw him putting these plans into action. It was solid CP with some slight N-tone.
As I said last week, Aaron’s story-arc is all about distrust and suspicion. Ever since the first Tribal Council, he’s had his guard up. That came into play in a big way this episode. Aaron became majorly suspicious of Chelsea and Dean’s relationship and spent the majority of the episode pushing to break them up. And he told us exactly why. “When you got two people sleeping on top of each other, that’s dangerous. That’s a potential power couple and something that has to get squashed.”
He later expanded on his reasons for targeting Dean specifically. “Dean is the one I want gone. He’s underperforming in challenges, he’s got Chelsea in his back pocket, and he’s playing a ‘smile at you, make you feel good’ kind of game, trying to fly under the radar. And I don’t like that.” To Aaron’s credit, the edit did highlight the potential makings of a showmance and Dean’s blunder at the challenge. On the negative side of things, though, Aaron didn’t ultimately get his way, as he couldn’t convince Elizabeth and Elaine to vote out Dean.
There was also some arrogance and negativity to his edit. Early on, he said, “I feel like I’m calling the shots,” and the way he spoke about his fellow tribemates was dismissive. Both Aaron & Missy chastized their tribemates for not wanting to “play the game,” and both referred to Karishma as an “easy vote” that they could manipulate to do what they want and then get rid of her whenever. But the problem is, others are on to Aaron’s (and Missy’s) game. Elizabeth didn’t agree with his plan to take out Dean, and Elaine called him “shady” and a “sneaky bastard.”
Aaron talked about how the tribe’s “kumbaya nonsense” is what is sending them on a “road to disaster.” However, it appears that it’s his paranoia—and desire to make big moves—that will ultimately lead to Lairo’s destruction.
This was a much better edit for Elizabeth this week. Once again, she told us why she didn’t want to vote a specific way, but this time we actually saw her actively working to change it. It was solid CP material, which even tied back to her IOI visit in the premiere.
For the second week in a row, Elizabeth disagreed with the plan brought to her by Missy (and Aaron as well this week). Last time, she didn’t want to vote out Tom, who she saw as the “dad of the tribe” and someone she connected with as a former athlete. This time, she didn’t want to vote out Dean, who she saw as a much bigger contributor to camp-life over the other target, Karishma. And unlike last week, Elizabeth actually got to expand on her thoughts at camp and in confessional.
“I was sort of going along with it, but I’m not ready to see Dean go,” she said before going on to explain how “9 or 10 days ago” she probably would have said yes. “But while I was on the Island of the Idols, Rob said to me, ‘you have to look before you leap.’ And right now, I don’t think getting Dean out is good for my game.” This was a really strong confessional because it showed us that Elizabeth’s IOI content hasn’t totally been forgotten. She is still following the advice she learned.
We then saw Elizabeth approach Elaine to discuss the plan, and both women agreed they didn’t want to lose Dean. This not only keeps the Elizabeth & Elaine connection going, but it provides Elizabeth with an active voice in the story. She followed that up by going back to Aaron and Missy to inform them that Elaine said no, which kept own her name out of the blame game. While she didn’t ultimately take out her primary target in Karishma, she landed on a plan that was “best for her,” as she described it at Tribal.
My overall take away from Elizabeth’s edit so far is that she is a solid mid-tier character. Her edit isn’t perfect, but there is enough substance there to suggest longevity and narrative importance. She has connections with Elaine, Tom, Missy, and Aaron—some of which could flourish, some of which could fall apart. She has a theme about being a competitor that never gives up. And she has a story about learning from her early IOI visit.
I’m really starting to get a bad feeling about Missy‘s edit. Despite her constant string of CP ratings, there are red flags that continue to mount up, and I can’t help but think a downfall is on the horizon.
Last week, Missy voted out Vince, despite (correctly) recognizing he was a number for the women. I was hoping she’d explain her reasoning for that vote at the start of this episode—that didn’t happen. Instead, she went straight onto her next target, which was Dean. Now, there was some good content here, particularly in her first confessional, where she explained precisely why Dean getting rid of Dean would make sense. It all tied back to the women’s alliance and her connection with Aaron, which was first highlighted in episode two.
“Dean and Chelsea are snuggling up, and that could mess up the girl’s alliance,” she explained. Aaron felt similarly about the threat posed by this potential showmance. This was an opportunity to expand on Missy and Aaron’s connection, as Missy explained all the things they have in common. They both went to “military academies,” both are “very competitive,” and both have “experience with the outside world being African American.” According to Missy, both her and Aaron were “willing to make a big move” and get rid of Dean. In her mind, it would break up the pair and make sure Chelsea came back to her and Elizabeth.
But once again, Missy ended up going against her initial plan, this time taking out Chelsea, someone supposedly in her women’s alliance. Now, she did explain her reasons, even stating that “in Survivor, you always have to have more than one plan.” Firstly, she told us she didn’t want to get rid of Karishma because she believes she has her in her “back pocket” and can “use her vote as I see fit.” But when her Dean plan was met with resistance, she had to find a plan Z. “What’s a name that no one is completely attached to?” she asked.
That name ended up being Chelsea. It was out of the blue, but Missy did explain to Elaine why it made sense. It would break up the showmance but still keep the girls in the majority, while also keeping three big guys as shields and Karishma as an “easy vote to go later.” All of that was pure CP and gave us a good sense of Missy’s thought process, even if it did contradict her initial ideas at the start of the episode.
So why am I concerned? Well, despite this complex strategy, there was a pervading sense of arrogance to Missy’s edit, particularly regarding Karishma. Missy kept talking about how Karishma is “annoying” and a “dead fish in the water” that can be manipulated to do her bidding and then be disposed of when she’s no longer needed. But everything we’ve seen of Karishma suggests she is champing at the bit to flip on Lairo. And with the way Missy spoke at Tribal, telling Karishma’s she been “lapped,” that doesn’t seem like someone doing a good job of keeping a potential flipper on side.
Maybe we’re meant to see Missy as this ruthless assassin who is here to “play this game and kick some butt.” She talked at Tribal about the dichotomy of Survivor. “We don’t know these people. And yet, we’re literally lying in the dirt like dogs together. In some way, we’re family, but in other ways, we’re complete strangers.” Perhaps those who succeed this season will be those that can separate the emotion from the game, but I just get the sense Missy is being set up for a big fall. After all, it’s not just Karishma ready to flip, we’ve also seen Elizabeth and Elaine resisting Missy’s plans, and how “scary” it is that Missy can “drop names on a dime.”
As we approach the swap, I’m really worried about Missy’s game based on everything that has been set up pre-swap on Lairo. If she can somehow make it out of the swap alive, then I’d be much more confident of her overall chances.