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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This week’s Edgic is going to be a little bit different and probably a lot shorter than usual. As I’m sure you all know by now, last week’s double-episode of Survivor was not pleasant viewing. It contained distressing scenes dealing with a heavy subject matter that went beyond the game.
With that in mind, it just didn’t feel right to approach this episode like I typically would an Edgic post. It almost felt cheap to try and put this all into an editing context. And to be perfectly honest, I had no desire to rewatch this episode two or three times and break it all down scene-by-scene like I normally would. Edgic is meant to be fun. This episode was not fun to watch or analyze.
Also, it really seemed like this episode was its own thing. Yes, there were some narrative callbacks, and I’m sure it included some foreshadowing of future events, but it was also a standalone thing.
So what I’m going to do is go through each “character” in alphabetical order, assign them all a rating for both episodes, and give a brief write-up of where I think they stand currently within the narrative. I’m not going to give a detailed run-down of everything they said or did in the episode and what it all means. This will be more of an overview piece.
There was a point where I briefly considered whether Aaron could have a potential Nick Wilson style CPN winner edit. I can now safely scratch that thought. My initial read was correct; Aaron’s edit, while very complex pre-merge, always skewed negative, and that’s because he’s not winning.
He was barely in the first episode of the night, other than giving a generic “it’s the merge!” type confessional. But in the second episode, he made a ridiculously tone-deaf statement at Tribal Council regarding the whole Dan situation. Aaron’s claims that he would have known if something was happening were utterly undermined, not just by Jamal’s eloquent rebuttal, but by the numerous camera footage of Dan’s behavior we’d seen earlier in the night.
This made Aaron OTTN in my eyes because it was such a stupid (and wrong) statement to make over such a controversial topic. Even Sandra reacted with a “uh-oh, Aaron” after what he said. I don’t see how you recover from that. Yes, there were a couple of other scenes of note, like Aaron and Tommy getting back on the same page, but overall, this was a bad look for Aaron.
Ever since Dan had that conversation with Kellee in the premiere, it seemed like we were just waiting to return to the subject of his inappropriate behavior. It was a lingering thread that sadly came back in such a horribly bleak way.
Make no mistake, this is what will define Dan’s time on Survivor, and will unfortunately also come to define this season. Whether he’s the next to leave or makes it all the way to the end, Dan’s “story” will always be about what happened here. How can you not rate that OTTNN? We heard multiple women talking about his inappropriate touching, and it was all backed up by editorial evidence. We even heard a fourth-wall-breaking moment from a producer who said: “it was not okay.”
Yes, some of the women later took back what they said, and others defended Dan, but I don’t think that changes anything. None of them defended him well, and those that did defend him were N-tone themselves. The edit made it clear they were lying, manipulating the situation, and just straight-up wrong. Dan’s defense was weak, too, and he never took responsibility for his actions. Instead, he pretended that he wasn’t aware of the problem and tried to excuse his behavior as “misinterpreted,” as if his only issue was accidentally brushing past someone in the shelter.
Again, the edit provided plenty of evidence to the contrary. Dan was aware of the situation because we’d seen Kellee talk to him about it back in the premiere. And the numerous footage of him touching his female tribemates was not simply a case of “brushing past someone.” The message was clear: Dan was in the wrong, and so were his defenders.
It’s kind of funny how, after this double-episode, Dean has one of the better edits of the season. I mean, he’s still mostly a goofball, but at least he was shielded from all the negativity.
Dean’s connection to the story here was via Kellee. I’d highlighted it in previous weeks; ever since Kellee said, “bringing Dean to the merge would be a mistake.” That always felt like ominous foreshadowing. And lo and behold, the very first merge vote, Dean voted for Kellee, despite her single-handedly saving him last week. He was approached by Tommy and Lauren and told about the Kellee vote. He said that he wasn’t sure if he could do it… but ultimately, that’s exactly what he did.
Other than that, and receiving the fake Legacy advantage from Jamal, Dean was sort of an afterthought. That’s probably not such a bad thing, given the context of this episode. He was kept out of all the Dan drama and therefore didn’t get hit with any of that N-tone like many of the others. I mean, I don’t see how he could win given his pre-merge edit, but that’s probably a good sign for his longevity. He, at the very least, has a tenuous connection with Tommy & Lauren now, who directly brought him into the majority alliance.
At first glance, you might want to say that Elaine was also shielded in this episode, but that’s not quite the case. Yes, she had a very quiet night, with no confessionals across the two hours. But she was one of the people defending Dan despite us knowing she was wrong to do so.
In the first episode of the night, Elaine was pretty much just a number brought into a vote. She told the majority alliance that she was happy with Kellee being the vote and also spilled the beans to Dan that the other group was targetting him. In the second hour, she joined Missy and Elizabeth in defending Dan and claiming that Janet had misconstrued the situation. Again, we know that to be incorrect, because we saw that Missy & Elizabeth had intentionally lied to Janet.
Elaine’s negativity wasn’t as blatant as some of the other players, but it was there, and that really puts the breaks on any winning potential in my eyes. For the most part, though, she was kept out of the drama, and so that probably looks better for her longevity than some of these other N-toned players. It still feels like Elaine could bounce back, which is more than can be said for over half of this remaining cast.
This was a terrible set of episodes for Elizabeth. Throughout the season, she’d been bobbing along as a mid-tier character. She was never a top contender or major character, but she was present when necessary—and always managed to avoid negativity. That all disappeared quickly this week.
Elizabeth might have talked about her intentions and game moves in a complex manner, especially in the first episode of the night, but there is no way she wasn’t N-tone. She confessed to using the harassment allegations against Dan as a game move. She admitted to lying about feeling uncomfortable and simply using that as a way to place the target elsewhere. Anyone can see that is wrong. And if you couldn’t, Janet told us it was crossing the line, and given Janet’s ultra-positive edit, it’s obvious who we were meant to be siding with here.
That was just the first episode, things got even worse for Elizabeth in the second hour when she lied about what she did. She threw Janet under the bus and told Dan that she’d never said anything negative about his behavior. She had the nerve to call Janet’s actions “reprehensible” and claim that Janet and Kellee had twisted the situation. We already knew she was wrong based on what we’d seen earlier in the night.
Then to add salt to the wound, Janet called Elizabeth out in front of Dan, and she was forced to admit that she lied. Then, after Janet left the conversation, Elizabeth again confessed (this time to Dan) that she just played up the inappropriate behavior angle to fool Janet. It was almost like Elizabeth was taking glee in her “move” at certain points. This was awful to watch and made Elizabeth come across as a terrible person.
Whether Elizabeth realizes what she did and has a moment of clarity later in the season, I don’t think it matters in the grand scheme of things. This episode will be hard to brush off. Not that I ever thought she stood much of a chance, but Elizabeth isn’t winning after this week.
Jamal leaves the game as one of the more complex players of the season. He’s had a bit of an up and down edit, where we’ve seen both his strengths and his flaws. But he exited the game on a high, speaking up against a wrong and leaving as CPP, which I think reflects well on his overall edit.
It’s also ironic that his big storyline with Noura wasn’t leading to an all-out war, but they, in fact, ended that arc by working together. Jamal earned Noura’s trust by playing his idol for her last week, and they were able to put aside any differences and join forces. Their main goal was to take Dan out—and we saw Jamal pushing for this throughout the first hour. Unfortunately, Jamal’s plan didn’t come together, and he ended up on the wrong side of the vote.
Jamal had a bunch of content in the second hour due to his visit to the Island of the Idols, where he got to talk about his game a little. But it was his Tribal Council speech that cemented his CPP rating. Jamal was the one person to speak up on behalf of Kellee and condemn Dan’s actions. He worded his argument in an assured and eloquent manner. It was something that needed to be said, and it added to Jamal’s own growth following the gender talk at last week’s Tribal.
I think when people look back at Jamal, and his time on this season, they’ll remember him in a positive light. While he was a little bit cocky and blinded early on, he was also a thoughtful, smart, and understanding person who spoke beautifully on topics regarding race, gender, and privilege. He was one of a handful of people that came out of this episode looking good, and that speaks to Jamal’s strength of character.
Janet was undoubtedly the hero of the week, especially in the second hour. She made a moral decision on behalf of her fellow women and in turn, was betrayed and gaslighted. It was heartbreaking and uncomfortable to watch, but through it all, Janet held her own and never gave up.
I could see why some might lean towards OTTP/PP, but I felt like Janet talked about what was such a heavy topic in a complex way. She always explained her thought process. We knew her own opinions on Dan, but also knew that she cared for the younger women. She made a selfless decision for what she thought was for the betterment of the tribe. The edit explained this every step of the way. And so we sympathized with Janet in the second hour when the likes of Elizabeth and Missy flipped on her and threw her under the bus.
Her talk with Dan and subsequent chat with Elizabeth in the second hour were complex conversations. Her idol find was a super positive, feel-good moment in a dark episode. Her tearful speech at Tribal, where she was considering quitting, was gut-wrenching. All of this combined created the CPPP in my mind. Janet was not the liar or “reprehensible” person that some of her tribemates painted her as, and the episode(s) gave us plenty of evidence to tell us they were wrong.
As one of the few people left with a positive edit, it would be nice to think Janet can win it all, but I’m not sure if that will be the case. It’s not impossible, but her pre-merge edit was still rather lackluster on the whole. That said, she had a huge positive premiere edit and has now had three strong CPP/PP edits in a row. It’s possible that those could make up for that string of UTR/INV she had in the pre-merge, but it will be a tall task. Whatever the case, I think it’s safe to say Janet is the underdog hero of the season.
Was Karishma shielded, or did she just not matter? That’s the question I’m asking myself. I’m starting to lean towards the latter, seeing as her last two ratings before this week were INV and UTR. Karishma’s story kind of ended after she flipped on Lairo… she didn’t even have a follow-up with Missy this week (though I suppose that could still happen).
Karishma’s content was mostly basic narration, first about the merge, and then about the note that Jamal found. There was nothing in-depth here. No real strategy talk or any sense of where she sees her game going moving forward. The positive here is that she wasn’t involved in the Dan drama and wasn’t hit with any of the N-tone.
Other than that, there’s not much going on anymore with Karishma’s edit. Maybe she’ll pick up screen-time again when/if this whole Dan situation dies down. There still could be lingering threads with the old Lairo. But I don’t see her as a major mover and shaker and certainly not the season winner.
Kellee‘s game ended tragically, but sadly, the signs were there for a while. Firstly, the scene with Dan in the premiere came back in a big way, and the premonition about it being a mistake to bring Dean to the merge came back to bite her.
Things looked ominous for Kellee right from the start of the episode when Noura threw her under the bus. Immediately, others started to view Kellee as a serious threat, and that continued throughout the episode. The likes of Tommy and Lauren wanted to target Kellee because of how smart and dangerous she was as a player. These were the reasons given in the episode. And Kellee was a smart and dangerous player, which we saw evidence of in her strategy talks and two idol finds.
However, that was all overshadowed by the Dan drama. Kellee finally found (or thought she found) likeminded individuals in Missy and Elizabeth, two women who also claimed to be uncomfortable with Dan’s behavior. Kellee was clearly emotional and hurt by Dan’s actions, and we saw this both in her talk with Missy and her confessional, which included a talk with an off-screen producer. Much like Janet and Jamal, Kellee spoke about the issue in a complex, eloquent manner.
Unfortunately, this serious social issue collided with the game in a toxic way, and Kellee ended up paying the price. But I don’t think we were meant to think anything less of Kellee as a player, even with the “if you’re voted out tonight, you’re not as good as you thought you were” jab. We received more than enough evidence of Dan’s inappropriate behavior towards Kellee, so we understood where she was coming from. And we also got a sense of how tough it was to balance that in a game for a million dollars.
Kellee left the game as CPP, and I believe, an overall CPP for the season. She was complimented as a smart, savvy, and strong player. She was perceived as a threat to win. She made big moves that unfortunately backfired in the long-run. When people think back about Kellee, yes, they might remember her leaving with two idols. However, they’ll also remember a cunning strategist who played hard and who acted gracefully under some gross circumstances.
I’ll start with the positives for Lauren. There was a lot of focus on her partnership with Tommy, especially in the first hour, as those two seemed to be the decision-makers. This is a good thing because they were highlighted as a potentially “unstoppable” pair last week, which at first, seemed a little bit out of nowhere. It could have been set-up for a merge boot, but the fact both survived suggests that this could, in fact, be a serious post-merge pair.
Onto the bad stuff. Lauren did not come away from this episode in the best light. She wasn’t quite as negative as Missy and Elizabeth, but there was definitely N-tone in the second episode. Lauren essentially defended Dan and said she wasn’t “comfortable” voting him out for the reasons given. She claimed to never have been personally uncomfortable with Dan… despite us having seen her say he does “weird and uncomfortable” things just last week. It was almost like she was covering her eyes and shrugging off the issue.
Now, she did somewhat begin to come around at Tribal. She sort of apologized to Janet and shared her appreciation for what Janet has done. That leaves the door open for Lauren’s edit to bounce back, much like Elaine’s. But this episode will always linger. I’ve never viewed Lauren’s edit as that of a winner, and this episode just confirmed that. Could she go far? If this partnership with Tommy has legs, then sure, but I wouldn’t expect her to take the crown at the end.
Just when I started to wonder if my read of Missy‘s edit had been off all season, this episode proved I was on the right track all along. Missy is certainly a complex player and a top strategist, but her tactics are almost too ruthless, and I think that came to a head this week.
The conversations that Missy had in the first hour were definitely CP. Her discussion with Kellee about Dan’s behavior felt raw and genuine. The things both women said were also backed up by flashbacks in the edit. But then Missy decided to use the Dan situation as a survival tactic, telling Elizabeth to exaggerate her uncomfortableness in future chats with Kellee and Janet. And it should be noted, this happened before Missy found out that Kellee was targeting her.
When Missy was informed that Kellee was coming after her, that made her step up a gear. If there is one defense of Missy in this episode, it is the fact that she didn’t come after Kellee until Kellee came after her. “If Kellee thinks that she’s going to get me out the very first merge vote, I feel as though that warrants me to try to make a move,” she said. It was almost as if she was given permission. Still, using the Dan drama as a game move was icky—though it should be noted Kellee was also willing to use it as a cover (but she never went as far as exaggerating claims or pretending to be uncomfortable).
What really hurt Missy was not the first episode, but the beginning of the second episode, when she lied about what she said. Missy defended Dan and told him she was never uncomfortable with him (and that if she were, she would have voted him out). She also allowed Janet to be thrown under the bus. Now, I will say that Elizabeth took most of the heat here, as she was the one that spoke to Janet and then lied about the conversation. But Missy was the one who directed Elizabeth to do that in the first place.
I think this edit would have looked very different if Missy was the season winner. I, at the very least, think she’d have received a confessional explaining herself at the start of the second hour. But that never happened. Now she’s in this weird position where she seemed to be genuine about her disgust with Dan, but then lied about it, either to Kellee or to Dan, or to both, and used it for the game. And as Janet said, using sexual harassment as strategy crosses a line.
Where does Missy go from here? She’s still one of the season’s top characters, but I think her game will ultimately catch up to her. Yes, she is observant and able to adapt on the fly, but I also think there is this ruthless edge to her game that will soon paint her as a big target.
I think this was Noura‘s quietest streak of episodes all season so far. And much like I said with Dean, it’s crazy to think that Noura now has one of the better edits of those remaining. I even considered light P-tone for her in the first hour because her decision to target Dan was made for moral reasons, much like Janet.
“ kind of pushed the boundaries of you know, snuggling at night, and you know, being flirtatious. This is not okay. We’re not going to wait to get to the end and then have some talk about his behavior. We’re going to do this now!” Noura said. It was her only confessional of the episode, and it fell on the positive side of the fence. She was one of the only people to admonish Dan’s behavior and stick to her word to vote for him. She never lied or denied or twisted the situation for her strategic benefit.
Even though Noura has received a lot of NSPV (second person-visibility) throughout the season, she’s never really come off to the audience as a bad person. Eccentric? Sure. Deluded at times? Perhaps. But she is presented as kind-hearted and someone who will stick their neck out for the weak and vulnerable. If you think back to the premiere, Noura was the only one that didn’t jump on the “let’s target Jason” bandwagon, and her entire second episode was the whole “revenge of the nerds” taking down the cool kids story. Even her story with Jamal ended on somewhat of a positive note.
It’s kind of unusual to say, but Noura is one of the most rootable players left in the game, and I think that’s how we’re meant to perceive her. Could that mean she has longevity? Perhaps. She needs to find new connections quick now that Jamal is gone. If she can do that, then who knows? I mean, I’d be absolutely shocked if she won with her insanely OTT edit, but it wouldn’t be a total surprise if Noura became somewhat of a fan-fave underdog going forward.
Tommy had about as perfect a merge edit as you can get, especially under such unusual circumstances. This is what you call editorial protection and being shielded from negativity. Do you know where Tommy stood on the whole Dan situation? No? That’s because we never heard him give his opinion on the drama either way. He was kept as a neutral party.
Instead, Tommy was the main strategist of the episode, particularly in the first hour. Right from the merge feast, Tommy was weighing up the numbers and his options. He was ready to put himself in the driver’s seat and make the decision that best suited his game. Ultimately, he chose to target Kellee, and we heard his reasons as to why. Firstly, he felt like Kellee and Janet were shutting down his ideas. “They were telling me what to do, but my alliance isn’t going to be straight up Vokai; my alliance isn’t going to be straight up Lairo. My alliance is going to best serve me,” he explained.
Tommy had ideas of his own, and that included getting rid of Kellee, who he perceived as smart player who was a major threat to his game. It was Tommy who first brought up Kellee’s name in a conversation with Lauren. Not only does that give Tommy credit for the move, but it continues to present his partnership with Lauren as important. He put the Kellee plan forward again later in the episode in a conversation with Lauren and Dean. Despite Dean being saved by Kellee last week, he decided to jump ship into Tommy’s alliance.
Through all this, Tommy never once talked about the Dan drama. And that was particularly noticeable in the second hour when Tommy had much lower visibility. I almost rated him UTR for the second hour, but I think his confessional about the split vote, combined with his conversation with Janet, just about stretched to a MOR. And that talk with Janet, plus the one post-Tribal, is important. Janet was the hero of the episode, so the fact Tommy took the time to talk to her—and wasn’t part of the group throwing her under the bus—is a good look for him (it also ties back to all those scenes of them together pre-swap).
I never like to put all my eggs in one basket when it comes to Edgic because I do think that the edit intends (most of the time) to keep multiple winner contenders in the pool. But after this week, I really find it hard to see anyone but Tommy winning. He had a couple of shaky weeks before this, but other than that, his pre-merge edit was squeaky clean, and his merge episode was pretty much perfect.
The only others remaining who are on a positive trajectory are Dean, Janet, and Noura. But Dean is mostly presented as a goofball, not to mention he began this season with a back-to-back UTR/INV. Noura has strong underdog potential, but her edit feels way to OTT for a winner. Janet is probably the next most viable, but that streak of UTR/INV in the pre-merge is a sticking point, and it seems more like she has the hero-of-the-season edit. Whereas Tommy’s edit is safe and with very few holes, and that feels intentional.