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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Ouch, this one is a bit of a killer for Lauren. You don’t want to see that Invisible rating when coming off the back of what was a small breakout episode last week. The Molly blindside was presented as Lauren’s move in the previous episode, and yet there was no follow-up here at all. She was nowhere to be seen throughout the episode.
What does this mean? Well, firstly, it’s hard to see the positive here. If Lauren were the winner, you would expect her to get a post-Tribal confessional here talking about what went down. I think it would be made clear that Lauren was the driving force and the blindside a feather in her cap. Instead, she was ignored, and the post-Tribal fallout went from Jason’s celebration straight to Tommy and Jack patching up their relationship.
I said last week that we needed to hear more about Lauren’s personal life and/or game connections. We didn’t get any of that. A positive spin might be that her deeper relationships are formed with members of the Lairo tribe. Therefore, her story perhaps isn’t particularly relevant to what is happening on Vokai right now. If that’s the case, then last week’s episode could have been simply to let us know she is a capable gamer and will pop back into action when the time calls for it.
That said, that doesn’t make Lauren sound like a potential winner or the major driving force of the season. She needs a big bounceback episode next week.
Under the Radar
Kellee gets a very generous UTR1 rating this week, and that’s only because she was part of the conversation with Jack and Tommy at the water well. But even with that conversation, I was still dangerously close to rating her Invisible. That was literally all we saw of her throughout the episode.
I think what this shows us is the broader effect the Island of the Idols twist is having on the season. It really is eating up quite a significant chunk of each episode, with the majority of screen-time going to whichever castaway is selected to visit the Island that week. That means we’re likely to see more INV and UTR ratings, especially on the tribe that doesn’t attend Tribal Council. We saw a similar situation in Ghost Island, though it’s not quite as bad as that just yet.
So while this near-INV edit certainly harms Kellee’s overall winner chances, I wouldn’t be so quick to rule out her possibilities for a long-term story or a significant role in the season. She had a huge edit last week, which included a very positively-edited idol scene. And she has a connection with Dan from the premiere. There are still a couple of hooks to her story, though it would be nice to hear more about her strategy. Hopefully, she can bounce back next week—another low-vis UTR would be a big hit.
It’s surprising to me how quiet Elaine‘s edit has been since her massive introduction in the season premiere. She wasn’t completely Invisible, as we did hear from her at Tribal Council, and she was referenced by other players, specifically Elizabeth. But she’s definitely taking a backseat edit-wise for the moment.
One thing that the edit did follow through on here was Elaine telling Aaron in the premiere that she would have no problem writing down Vince’s name. What did she do this week? She wrote down Vince’s name. I said at the time that the relationship between Elaine and Vince was edited to look a little one-sided. Vince was the one putting his neck out for Elaine, not the other way around.
I’m not sure what it says that we didn’t hear anything from Elaine this week in regards to voting out Vince, though. It perhaps tells us that that alliance was never particularly important or that Elaine is less important than we might have once thought. As a matter of fact, we haven’t heard her thoughts on the game in two weeks now. We don’t know where she stands within the women’s alliance or who she considers her closest ally. We’re still relying on what we learned in the premiere: that she has an incredible social game—and we did see her bonding with the women in the ocean in this episode.
What we do know is that she still has a connection with Tom. When Elizabeth talked about Tom being the “dad” of the tribe and not wanting to see him go, she said that she thinks Elaine feels the same way. Elaine confirmed this at Tribal Council, where she also referred to Tom as “dad” and spoke highly of his loyalty. “As long as don’t feel shafted on anything, then he’s gonna stay true to what he says, and to me, that’s important because I feel like later on when the game moves forward or whatever, you need that trust.”
This not only explains why Elaine didn’t want to vote for Tom (his name was floated before Tribal), but it could be foreshadowing Elaine siding with the former NHL player later down the road.
Just a small helping of Jason in this week’s episode. I would describe this as a passable edit. It was neither amazing nor awful; it was just kind of there. But after an OTT premiere and a big CP edit last week, I don’t think this quiet UTR2 is a terrible thing for Jason.
The good news is, Jason got to comment on the last Tribal Council. He received the first confessional of the episode, where he celebrated his survival and mentioned how the vote proved that his tribe is willing to play with him. While that statement remains a little bit up in the air, we did see that Jason was part of the group conversation where Dan suggested voting out Noura next. So this does at least confirm that Jason is no longer public enemy number one.
Would it have been nice to hear some more in-depth thoughts on his game and where he sees himself going forward? Sure. But in this case, I think the UTR served its purpose. Jason is now trying to blend in after his initial idol blunder, and the quiet edit reflects his success in achieving that. The likes of Noura, Jamal, and Dan, are now all on the chopping block to varying degrees while Jason is fulfilling his mantra to just play it cool. I think there is still plenty of time for Jason’s edit to come alive again.
Noura was mostly a background player this week, and her visibility came primarily from SPV (second-person visibility). And unlike Jason, she didn’t get a confessional talking about or celebrating the last vote, which gives Jason narrative importance over Noura.
Her negative tone comes from Dan, who claimed that she gets on everyone’s nerves. And we did see moments of Noura once again telling her tribemates to collect firewood and coconuts. I think it’s only light N-tone, though. As I’ve said before, I’m not sure we’re meant to fully buy what Dan is selling. Noura didn’t receive direct NSPV from anybody else this episode—and she was shown successfully making fire. So while the demands to get firewood might come across as bossy, I think we’re also meant to see that Noura is a hard worker who backs up her words.
There is still a chance for Noura to become “the biggest Survivor trainwreck ever,” as she joked this episode, but I also get the vibe that we’re not totally meant to be rooting against her. She’s never going to be the strategic mastermind, and I’d be absolutely shocked if she won, but she still has character and story potential, mostly through her connection to Jason.
I teetered back and forth with Jack‘s rating this week. However, after rewatching a couple of times, I just couldn’t find the content to justify a MOR. That doesn’t mean the UTR is a bad thing though, in fact, I mostly liked this edit for Jack’s overall chances.
The main thing that stands out here is how well Jack took the blindside. “Are you smiling?” Kellee asked. He didn’t get angry or flip out or give up. He acknowledged it as part of the game and then got back to work. “This was an eye-opener… I know I have a lot of work to do,” he said. He then caught up with Tommy and Kellee to ask what happened and what it meant for their alliance going forward. Tommy reassured Jack that he still wanted to work with him and that the vote was more about Molly than it was him.
This was a good look for Jack, especially given he was protected from the negativity last week. It showed us that he’s not an emotional player and that his head is firmly in the game. It also kept alive his connection with Tommy, which has been a vital bond since the premiere. And to show that his chilled approach was successful, he was brought into the group chat later in the episode when Dan discussed voting out Noura next.
He was called “naive” by Dan, but I don’t think that is enough to warrant N-tone because 1) Dan was referring to the past vote and stated that now is a fresh start and 2) Jack already acknowledged himself that he was blind going into the first Tribal. If there is a potential red flag here, it’s that he said Noura is “potentially the one person who would not stay with our tribe,” which was immediately followed by Jamal talking about going rogue. So some slight undermining there.
The other potential downside for Jack’s edit is that Tommy still feels like the leader of their alliance. But given how early in the season it is, that might not be such a bad thing in the long-run.
I’m still struggling to wrap my head around Janet‘s edit. It’s been very quiet since her monumental premiere, but she always seems to be at the center of her tribe. I feel like there are a lot of positives here—they’re just not excessive or in our faces.
Who do we always see people going to with their plans and problems? That’s right, Janet. In the premiere, Kellee and Molly discussed their issues with Dan with Janet. Last week, Lauren brought up the plan to blindside Molly to Janet… and Janet subsequently brought it to Tommy. This week, we saw Dan first go to Janet and Tommy about his idea to take out Noura, and then, Jamal went to Janet with his pitch to blindside Dan. Then, again, Janet and Tommy discussed the pros and cons.
The issue is, we never really see Janet expanding on these plans herself in confessional. This episode, she just said that Jamal made a valid point and that “Dan is astute, he knows the game, and he’s too big of a presence.” While that does set up a potential conflict with Dan down the road, it doesn’t tell us a lot about Janet’s current game and who she considers her closest allies.
But I’m starting to wonder if Janet’s key relationships are intentionally being downplayed. Maybe we’re meant to read between the lines? If so, then it does seem like Janet and Tommy are a tight pair. We’ve seen multiple scenes of them together discussing potential options. It’s just that neither of them has spoken directly about their alliance in confessional. But I feel good about this pairing, though they can’t stay under the radar forever. If they are an essential duo, they’ll need more direct content in the next couple of weeks.
Middle of the Road
On the surface, I think this was probably Aaron‘s best edit so far. He still hasn’t quite managed to break into CP, but we do consistently get his thoughts on the game, and I also believe he now has a solidified story-arc for the season.
Aaron’s story is all about distrust. He was burned at the first Tribal Council, and last week he swore that he’d never trust anybody again. He now has his suspicions up, and we saw that this week. Aaron was rightly suspicious of the women forming a strong alliance and how easy it would be for the girls to take out the men. “There’s four guys, five girls… They can easily get together and just say ‘we can just pick these guys off one at a time, what do we need them for?’ So we need to make sure that tribal dynamic does not happen,” he said.
The problem for Aaron is, he didn’t follow through on his plan. There was a guys’ chat early in the episode where he tried to bring in Vince, but even in that moment, he couldn’t drop his suspicions. Ultimately, he took his focus off the women and turned his attention to Vince… because he was suspicious that Vince had an idol from his Island of the Idols visit. “With Vince going to the Island of the Idols, there’s a lot left unknown with what happened over there. So for us, Vince is the top priority to go home,” he explained.
It’s not entirely a bad thing, however. Even though Aaron was justified to be wary of the women’s alliance, he was also right to distrust Vince. As we saw, Vince was never on board with the men, he specifically talked about not trusting Aaron, and he did have an idol from the IOI. And the fact the women voted out Vince—who declared himself an ally (backed up by the edit)—probably harms the girls’ alliance more than it does Aaron.
Overall, I think Aaron is left in better standing than he was at the end of last week. There are still flaws. There is a slight negative vibe to his edit, and he never goes quite in-depth enough—for example, we know very little, if anything, about his personal life. But his story-arc is becoming clearer. He is the player that was burned early and is now suspicious and distrustful of everyone.
I have mixed feelings about Elizabeth‘s edit this week. On the plus side, she was present, and we got some brief thoughts from her before the vote. On the downside, there were big gaps where I would have expected significant content, especially if Elizabeth was the season’s winner.
The big gap that I’m talking about is the Island of the Idols. Where was the scene of Elizabeth and Vince discussing their respective IOI visits? Where was the panic from Elizabeth that Vince could expose her lies? These seem like important moments that could have provided some jeopardy to Elizabeth’s edit and given her credit for avoiding suspicion and helping take out Vince. The only thing she mentioned about the IOI was how she knew that Vince would likely come back with an idol, and so, therefore, the tribe would need to flush it.
It’s hard to judge an edit on content that is missing. There could be other reasons why we never saw Elizabeth and Vince discussing the IOI. Maybe they just didn’t have time to debrief? Or the chat didn’t lead anywhere? But it’s difficult not to feel like it was cut from the episode because of relevancy. And if it wasn’t relevant, then that does give a slight knock to Elizabeth’s overall edit and winner chances. Now, if next week we get a confessional from Elizabeth talking about how Vince going is a good thing because it keeps her secrets safe, then that’ll boost her back up.
On a more positive note, we did get to hear some brief thoughts on the vote from Elizabeth. In particular, she was against sending Tom home. Again, we returned to this theme of Elizabeth being an athlete and a competitor. “I don’t wanna see Tom go… he’s become our dad. He’s an athlete. We connect on a different level from all the other players,” she said. It wasn’t quite enough for CP because we didn’t see Elizabeth putting any sort of plan into place to save Tom. But it did provide context for her vote and sets up a potential connection with Tom going forward.
I almost gave Chelsea a CP-lite rating this week, but in looking back at the episode, I just don’t think she had the content to justify it. We did hear her thoughts before the vote, and she did talk to her own game, but the surrounding content just wasn’t enough.
The only thing we saw of Chelsea pre-Immunity Challenge was when she said that Vince would probably return from the IOI with an idol (subtitled). This was notable given how much of Chelsea’s edit has been focused on the paranoia of idols and the Island of the Idols specifically. Here she was stoking that paranoia. She also clued Dean in on the fact he just made a blunder in front of the whole group.
She didn’t really pop up again until towards the end of the episode just before Tribal Council. In that scene, she was talking to Elizabeth and weighing up the pros and cons of Tom and Vince. She stated that Tom is perhaps less of a threat because he spends most of his time in the shelter and doesn’t have a clue what is going on. “If we vote out Tom, I still have my girls alliance, the only issue is the guys coming back to camp mad at us,” she said in confessional. This was where I thought she as about to develop into CP… but it just didn’t happen.
The rest of the confessional was essentially parroting what Missy already said earlier in the episode while also reemphasizing her own statements from last week. “But the tribe is basically being run by the women right now, and I don’t even think the guys realise it,” she said, echoing her thoughts from the previous episode. “And Vince, he’s pretty aligned with me and the girls, so I’d be voting out a potential ally in this game. And I don’t wanna look back and think that’s where I went wrong.”
It’s that final line which rings the alarm bells for Chelsea’s edit. Chelsea was right that Vince was aligned with the girls—he said so himself throughout the episode. But in the end, Chelsea and the women voted him out. That seems like heavy foreshadowing. Not to mention, we saw Karishma questioning her place within the women’s alliance. And we specifically saw Elizabeth and Elaine talking about their connection to Tom, meaning their loyalties could be divided. This sounds like a recipe for disaster within the women’s alliance.
The reason this looks particularly gnarly for Chelsea is that she has been the one shown to be dismissive of the men. That is two episodes now where she’s said the women are running the show and that the guys are clueless—which we know isn’t entirely the case, as Aaron is aware of their bond. Missy is somewhat similar, except she has more complexity to her edit—though I could see her in line for a downfall too. What makes Chelsea’s situation worse than Missy’s is that we don’t know anything about her other than that she’s a superfan—no personal details or long-term goals. Things are looking ominous for the women’s alliance and Chelsea’s place within it.
Over the Top
Dean finally stumbled his way onto this season of Survivor this week. Talk about an introduction! Firstly, he stubbed his toe walking down the beach, and then he stupidly suggested a split vote in front of the entire tribe (sans Vince). Yeesh!
Now, Dean did at least get to comment on his blunder. “After Vince left, we all kinda looked at each other, and then the dum-dum that I was, kinda opened my mouth and goes… ‘split the vote’… Was everyone thinking it? Yes. Did it need to be verbalized? No.” But I don’t think that’s enough to save him from the OTTN. It wouldn’t have been so bad had we already gotten to know Dean the past couple of weeks. But he literally went from Invisible to “dum-dum,” and the fact he quoted himself at the voting urn later in the episode sealed the OTT rating.
So what does this mean for Dean? Well, I certainly wouldn’t be putting any bets on him winning the season. But I also wouldn’t write him off as a character. The N-tone wasn’t particularly horrible—it wasn’t ‘bad person’ negativity, it was ‘doofus’ negativity. He seems pretty well protected by his tribemates despite losing on the challenge puzzle twice—Missy referred to him as strong, and Tom told him that he did a good job. So at the very least, he’s seen as an asset, even if that’s not the reality.
The bad thing is that Dean still doesn’t have any solid connections. He’s tenuously linked to the men on Lairo, but we haven’t heard any specifics on his allies or who he considers his strongest relationships. That said, I could certainly see Dean blundering his way through the game, making more mistakes along the way.
Tom has now hit this point where all he ever talks about is tribe strength. He’s become so one-note that even Jeff Probst called him out for giving the same answer every time at Tribal Council. And it’s that Probst quote that solidified the OTT for me this week.
When we were first introduced to Tom in the premiere, he talked a lot about tribe strength, and he made it clear that strength is not just about physicality. He said that it’s about working together as a team. But there are also contradictions in Tom’s edit. For example, he pinpointed Karishma as the weak link and blamed her for costing the tribe the challenge, but rather than push for her elimination, he joined the plan to take out Vince—someone he previously praised for his strength.
“I came into this thing with the goal to never lose a challenge, and already we’ve lost twice, so I wanna win. We clearly have a problem, and I want the problem fixed,” he said at Tribal. Was the problem Vince? I don’t believe that’s what the edit was telling us. Tom himself told us it was Karishma that screwed up, and the other person who failed on the puzzle was Dean, someone who Tom complimented.
Now, Tom did give a brief explanation for why Vince was the target: “Vince was off at the island of the Idols and in all likelihood has an idol, so the target is on him.” And he did push for Karishma to be the back-up vote in case Vince played his idol. But the fact he so willingly let Vince go undermined his own tribe strength mantra and showed us that the alliance we saw in the premiere between Tom & Vince was not particularly important.
As far as tone goes, Tom received positive SPV from Elizabeth and Elaine, both of whom referred to him as the tribe “dad.” Elizabeth spoke to their bond as “athletes,” and Elaine talked highly of his loyalty. “Basically, as long as don’t feel shafted on anything, then he’s gonna stay true to what he says, and to me, that’s important because I feel like later on when the game moves forward or whatever, that you need that trust,” Elaine explained. The question is, what constitutes Tom feeling shafted? That’s somewhat ominous. But this positive SPV does further Tom’s connection to Elaine and adds a new one with Elizabeth.
The negativity was minimal; it mainly came from Vince and Missy questioning Tom’s own strength, referring to his age and whether he would “wither” out. I also think Chelsea saying that Tom was oblivious to his name being thrown around and how he spends all his time in the shelter was a slightly bad look. The positivity felt stronger, but I couldn’t totally ignore the negative SPV, so I decided Mixed tone made the best fit.
Overall, this OTT rating is kind of where I expected Tom’s edit to end up after his first two episodes. He’s never given us strong, individualized content. He’s mostly one-note and even contradictory at times. His saving grace is his connections with Elaine and Elizabeth, but I’m going to need to see some complexity if I’m to believe Tom has any chance of winning.
Vince‘s OTT turn last week showed us that he is an emotional player who finds it hard to stay calm under pressure. And while that didn’t directly cause his elimination this week… it did tie into his overall story-arc across the episode.
It started with the Lairo guys trying to bring Vince into their alliance. Vince played along, but in confessional, he told us the truth. “The guys never actually talk strategy with me, and now we’re down in numbers suddenly now I’m like a bro? Ya’ll are stupid,” he said. Even this confessional itself had a slight OTT vibe, but it told us where Vince stood in the game. “I know Aaron wanted me out, so I can’t trust him. If the ladies have control of the game… wonderful, I’ll work with the women.”
The rest of Vince’s edit primarily revolved around the Island of the Idols and all the paranoia that comes with it. Now, Vince was aware that his absence could create a target on his back, but so much of his visit was OTT that I just couldn’t follow through with a CP-rating. His emotional breakdown in front of Rob & Sandra was heartfelt and positively-toned, but most certainly OTT. And then, of course, his Mission Impossible adventure into the Vokai tribe was pure, ridiculous comedy. When people think of Vince, him slipping on his ass is what they’ll remember.
Vince fell victim to this season’s theme of paranoia. His tribemates assumed he had an idol before his boat even arrived at the IOI. And, in perhaps a surprise twist, we learned that Rob & Sandra aren’t always right. Vince’s lesson to stay calm under pressure ultimately backfired, as he didn’t play his idol when he needed to. “Yesterday, that test allowed me to see how well I work under pressure,” Vince said. “How well I can keep calm in situations like this one today.”
Rather than shying away from making Rob & Sandra look bad, the edit focused on their shock at Vince’s elimination. I think that is the biggest take away from Vince’s edit this week. We now know that not everything Rob and Sandra say is gospel. I believed the edit would always make them look correct in their reads. We can’t necessarily rely on their statements moving forward.
Karishma had a massive edit this episode, and there’s a lot to unpack. I was torn between CP and OTT all week, but ultimately went with the overall vibe of her edit, and for me, that was OTT. Those OTT moments (the hand-cut/the Tribal whispering) overrode the complexity.
I felt like there were times where the audience was supposed to be sympathetic and then other moments where Karishma was presented as overly emotional (hence the Mixed tone). Her first confessional explained her position in the game in a rather complex manner. She talked about Indian culture and described precisely why she was struggling to fit in. “I’m here representing an entire community of people, and I don’t know how people are gonna feel about a 37-year-old married Indian woman running around in her underwear,” she said.
Then, on the flip-side, the scene where she cut her hand felt very OTT. From what we saw, the cut didn’t look too bad, and yet Karishma’s reaction seemed pretty extreme (and went against her “cool, calm, collected” approach). “I go and stab my hand right through to the bone… then the blood started bubbling and oozing out,” she said. She did later qualify that the injury wasn’t a “big deal,” but her confessional still came across as overblown. “If I’d have chopped my head off, wouldn’t have flinched. Every single person on this tribe is dead to me,” she stated.
So what to make of all this? While I’m still unsure how exactly we’re meant to feel about Karishma, story-wise, I think I can see where things are heading. Most of this content seemed to be laying the groundwork for Karishma to flip on the women’s alliance or her tribe (or maybe both). The first scene was about her making the women feel as if she was with them, but Karishma told us it was all an act (a phrase that came up again at Tribal when she was whispering to the girls). “I have to make the girls feel as though I feel strong about our alliance and that because we have the numbers, that I’m comfortable,” she explained.
The injury scene, while OTT, also added to the story of Karishma feeling on the outs of her tribe. “Nobody came to me… I’m on the ground, not 15 feet away. Anyone else, everybody would have rushed to them. I think people just don’t care about me.” The edit did back Karishma up on this front—the tribe was shown going about their conversations while she was on the ground a few feet away. Whether we were meant to side with Karishma or not, I think it’s safe to say this was further set-up for her abandoning this group in the future.
It should also be noted that Karishma was right when she predicted she’d be the target of the split vote. “Dean blurts, ‘oh, we split the votes.’ I knew in that moment, 100%, it’s me. If Vince comes back with an idol, I’m gone.” She was the back-up option, and she did receive votes at Tribal, and if Vince had played his idol, she would have gone home. That gives her even more incentive to split from this group if the opportunity presents itself.
At Tribal Council, Karishma continued to feel targeted and on the outs. Aaron and Tom were clearly painting a target on her for the puzzle failure, to which she countered by talking up her other strengths. “I can probably pick Chelsea up and throw her across the room,” she said. “Not that I would ever do that.” A funny little line that could potentially have double-meaning if Karishma ends up throwing the women’s alliance under the bus (and there was a lot of throwing going on with the women in the ocean early in the episode). She also reiterated feeling on the outs with the younger women, which she referred to as a “sorority.”
But Karishma also spoke about something which Tom preached back in the premiere—that Survivor isn’t just about physical strength. “There’s so many other ways in Survivor you can be an asset… I’m not necessarily like a lot of the people on my tribe—I’m a little bit different, and it’s hard for me to relate—but that does not mean I cannot be a strong ally in this game.” It will be interesting to see whether someone takes up Karishma up on the offer of being a strong ally.
The question now is, is Karishma turning on the women/Lairo a short-term story or a long-term arc? Given the amount of set-up in this episode, one would assume it’s on the horizon sooner rather than later. But either way, it appears Karishma has a significant role to play.
Missy continues to straddle that MOR/CP line. Once again, I settled on CP-lite, as Missy actually puts her words into action. But there were a couple of red flags this week that have me worried.
She didn’t really come into play until after the Immunity Challenge, where we heard her thoughts on the vote. She was approached by Dean with the plan to split the votes between Vince and Karishma. “Right now, the girls have the majority. The men are on the ropes. Why would we go into the plan that the men set up and give Karishma up as a minority vote?” she said in confessional. “Vince has shown from day one that he’s not gonna go to the men’s side. Aaron wrote down Vince’s name. I say we keep him for our numbers.”
We then saw Missy approach Vince to discuss alternative options. Vince threw out Tom’s name, and then Missy gave her thoughts before taking the idea to Elizabeth and putting it into motion. “Do we just shoot for Tom because he’s a little bit older… he might wither out? With the majority, there wouldn’t be much bloodshed on anyone’s hands.” It’s these accompanying scenes that make Missy CP—she tells us what she’s thinking, and then we see her acting on those thoughts. Unlike say Chelsea—the other borderline MOR/CP—who only has the confessionals.
There is good and bad to this Missy content. The good part is that she was correct when she said Vince was not going to go to the men’s alliance. Vince said that outright earlier in the episode, and his reasoning was exactly the reason Missy gave—Aaron wrote his name down. But, ultimately, Missy ended up voting Vince out (and gave up Karishma as the minority vote), which means she didn’t get her way. Much like with Chelsea, this is a potentially ominous foreshadowing of something going terribly wrong. It’s especially worrying given the history of the shock pre-merge CP boot.
The positive is that Missy has depth to her edit, she set out her long-term goals in the premiere, and she’s talked about priding herself on being observant. You would think that means she will recognize if the tide starts to turn against her. We really need to hear what she has to stay about the Vince vote at the start of next week’s episode.
Dan had a pretty long, complex confessional this episode where he talked about his long-term strategy and his short-term strategy. It was somewhat similar to his premiere confessional, which shows there is a throughline of consistency to Dan’s edit.
“I think after last night’s Tribal, it was clear that Jack and Jamal, they were naïve. And I like nothing better than naïve players,” he said. A lot of Dan’s content is about bending players to his will. “I think my strategy moving forward is win-win. I want it to be a win for the tribe and a win for me.” That statement echoed a similar line of Dan’s from the first episode where he talked about making the best decision for himself and the tribe. He then went on to say the win for him would be taking out Noura next. “So I’m gonna lead people to the decision that is best for them, that happens to be good for me.”
But as we’ve come to learn from Dan’s edit, we can’t often bank on what he says. He brought up the Noura plan to the group, but not everybody was on board, specifically Jamal. “Dan has that quick-talking, used car salesman vibe to him that just makes you feel icky when he’s trying to get you to do something,” Jamal said (giving Dan his light N-tone). Instead, Jamal wanted to turn the vote on Dan, and Janet agreed with Jamal that Dan is “astute, knows the game, and is too big of a presence.” While this sets up some conflict and jeopardy for Dan going forward, it also shows us that he isn’t successful at leading everyone to follow his decisions.
What I do find interesting is that this was an episode low on complexity. Only four characters received CP ratings, and only one of them came from Lairo (and even that was borderline). The majority came from Vokai, who didn’t attend Tribal Council. That furthers my belief that Vokai is the complex tribe. All of these dynamics between Dan/Jamal/Janet/Tommy/Noura weren’t necessary to the episode, and yet they were heavily featured. Now, it could simply be setting up what happens next episode if Vokai returns to Tribal. But if they’re not Tribal bound next week, that means there are long-term stories being set-up on the purple tribe and that these characters are important.
Tommy was again a central figure of the Vokai tribe and is one of the most consistently edited players of the season so far. We always know what Tommy is thinking, and he continually puts his words into action.
Last week, we heard how Tommy was worried about blindsiding Molly because of how it might damage his alliance with Jack and Jamal. This episode immediately followed up on that, as Tommy explained the decision to Jack and then Jamal. “I really, truly do want to rebuild these relationships with Jamal and Jack,” he said. “But Jamal is much harder than Jack. You do him wrong once, he’s never gonna come back to you. So now I have to do damage control with Jamal.”
Everything Tommy said was correct. Jack was much easier to bring back around than Jamal. While Jack was smiling and ready to work his way back into the group, Jamal was preparing to “go rogue.” When Tommy realized that Jamal was not playing ball, he took the time to reconsider his options. “Jamal is coming on way too strong… so it makes me a little worried. I have to keep thinking, what’s best for me in the long-run? Jamal is extremely dangerous. So maybe Jamal is the best move for my game.”
Tommy is always looking ahead and weighing his options. He doesn’t talk in “we’s,” he’s always focused on his individual game. As I’ve said before, it’s extremely difficult to pick faults in Tommy’s edit. He’s saying and doing all the right things. He didn’t receive any major blowback for voting out Molly and quickly got back to work on preparing his relationships. The only real flaw you could say is that his edit is maybe too perfect. Perhaps an intentional distraction while the real threat is currently more under the radar (say a Jack or a Janet).
Right now, though, Tommy remains a front-runner. He has the game-talk, the long-term goals, the relationships, and the personal content.
After his burial last week, Jamal returned this episode with a much better, more complex edit. There were still some red flags, but he actually got to explain himself and the reasons behind his moves.
There were some similarities to Aaron’s edit after he was blindsided, in so much as Jamal no longer trusts his tribemates. Even the post-Tribal scene with Tommy echoed Missy’s chat with Aaron. Here, Tommy tried to explain the move and told Jamal that he’s not a target because then they’d lose more challenges—which is what Missy told Aaron. And much like Aaron, Jamal didn’t really want to hear it, telling Tommy that he was hurt from the vote and is now a wildcard. “I forgive the tribe… I understand where you’re coming from. Cool. Not gonna forget it,” he said in confessional.
If that was all we saw of Jamal, I would have probably rated him OTT just like Aaron last week. However, Jamal continued to be a focus of the Vokai dynamics. He was brought into the Noura vote but had his own ideas. “As someone on the outs, I 100% reserve every right to go rogue and do whatever the hell I think is best for me,” he said. “I want to have agency; I want my moves to be mine and take back control of this game.” Again, this was a little OTT, but he did then put his plans into motion.
Jamal pinpointed Dan as a threat for his “quick-talking, used car salesman vibe,” and the edit backed up his read. We’d just seen Dan talking about using people for his own benefit. Jamal then approached Janet with his plan to blindside Dan, and Janet agreed that there is some “discomfort” and “wariness” as far as Dan is concerned. The problem is, Tommy saw this as a power move for Jamal and therefore saw him as “extremely dangerous” for his long-term game. And looking back, that is Jamal’s fault for not appeasing Tommy earlier in the episode.
I think the positive for Jamal here is that he now has some substance to his story. There is a connection to Dan, Tommy, and Janet. There is some jeopardy over whether he’s made himself a target. And there’s even potential set-up for him to flip on his old Vokai tribemates at a swap or the merge. While last week’s “sleeping on the job” burial took a sledgehammer to Jamal’s winner chances, I wouldn’t rule out him having a role in the season just yet.
That’s all for this week’s Edgic. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!