Edgic is a weekly feature analyzing each player’s edit, mapping characters to their story-arc. Note that our focus is not solely to determine the winner, as is typical of other Edgic sites. For more information on how Edgic works and rating definitions read our Introduction to Edgic article.
You can read previous weeks Edgic posts here.
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What Does This Episode Tell Us?
Survivor: Kaôh Rōng continues its strategic trajectory with every single player bar one receiving a CP edit in Episode 11. It is quite the change from the first half of the season where we saw an abundance of OTT ratings which suggested a very character heavy season. We still have characters in the game, but they are rounded personalities. Each of them gets to discuss their positions within the game.
That is one big thing that stands out about this particular episode. Other than Joe, every player received a fair amount of air-time to talk about their position and what strategy they will be using to move forward. It allows the audience a great insight into the minds of the competitors. Even Mark the Chicken had a CP edit!
While the vote-off itself might have been a rather predictable one, the complexity of the edit should tell us that we are in for a compelling finish over the remaining three episodes.
The recap started by telling us that Tai, Jason, and Scot thought they held all the power. They had a mole in Julia (shown talking to Jason and Scot in the shelter). An advantage in the game (Tai opening his extra vote advantage). And two hidden immunity idols that could be combined to form a Super Idol. A Jason confessional was shown talking about how great the Super Idol is because he could play it after the vote read.
“But Aubry wanted to flip the game…” – it gave Aubry credit for the move last week – “…and went behind the backs of Michele and Julia to try and get Tai to turn on Jason and Scot.” The way it was worded set up the episode with Michele and Julia seemingly on the outs, and Michele had to work her way back into the majority.
Tai’s decision was the focal point. We were shown Aubry’s confessional telling us that “Tai holds all the keys in this game” and Tai telling us “I don’t know what to do.” After reminding us what happened at tribal council with Scot leaving with Jason’s idol, the voice-over finished by saying “Leaving Michele and Julia out of the loop, and Jason all alone.” It led straight to the main focus of this episode, with Julia and Jason trying to flip the game, and Michele trying to work her way back in.
Under the Radar
Is Joe’s edit getting worse? It’s hard to believe but at least his UTR last week was neutral. This episode he received negative tone on top of his low visibility.
We said last week his role seems to be that of the loyal soldier, that was a much nicer way of putting it than the players did this episode. Not once, but twice, people called Joe out for his unwavering loyalty to Aubry. “Puppy dog Joe ain’t switching. Aubry told him to sit while she was gone and not move,” Jason said, as the camera panned to Joe literally sitting and not moving. Later at tribal council, Julia said, “Aubry is holding Joe’s hand to the Final 3.” Which was followed by a yes head nod from Nick on the jury. This gave Joe his negative tone for the episode.
He did get a small bit of praise from Jeff Probst at the immunity challenge for being 71 years old. But then he ended up sitting out the rest of the challenge. So it wasn’t really enough to constitute positive tone. Likewise, at the reward challenge, we heard Joe ask “Let me take a couple shots” and he managed to stick the landing on his first throw. It wasn’t positive tone but it was a beautiful metaphor for his game. He mostly lays low but he has been known to hook a couple shots (Scot, Nick…).
But compared to everyone else remaining in the game, there is just so little to go on for Joe’s edit. With less people, there is definitely time available to flesh his character out but the editors seem to have no intention of doing so. It really is starting to look like Joe could be a late-game Erik style medevac and the editors didn’t want to give him any sort of critical role because of that.
Julia’s edit stepped up in both visibility and complexity over the past couple weeks, but her early edit told us not to be sucked in; this is when Edgic can be very helpful.
Mapping a character’s arc over the season is a great indicator of whether someone is a winner contender or relevant to the end-game. The fact that Julia had four UTR edits prior to Episode 8, and only had one visibility rating above a 2 prior to Episode 9, told us everything. If she was a contender her edit would have been more consistent from the start. The sudden burst of complexity and visibility in Episode 9 was a tell-tale sign that she was getting a short Ciera-like gamer edit before her inevitable boot. Like we said in Episode 8: “An increase in content will likely come in, or just before, her boot episode.”
While Julia’s edit has certainly not been negative throughout the season, it is often a custom to make a person seem negative in their boot episode. Julia received that here. Returning to camp after tribal council, Joe said to Julia “You seem absolutely in shock.” Julia responded: “I am. And like Michele, I’m frustrated that I wasn’t part of the plan.” She somewhat angrily recounted that she had always voted with them and remained loyal, and mostly made it seem like they were the ones who turned on her. We then cut immediately to a Julia confessional where she admitted to playing both sides. She realized she was caught. When Tai asked if she wanted to hear why he voted Scot she responded “Honestly, I really don’t care.” It came off rather petty and was an ominous sign for her this episode.
In the shelter, Julia said, “we’re all done.” She had a defeatist attitude. At the reward challenge when Michele and Cydney picked Aubry, the camera cut to Julia looking surprised and disappointed. Later in the episode, Julia said “As soon as Tai’s gone, we’re eating Mark. I’m not even kidding. I can’t wait.” It was all subtitled. The camera then cut to Mark squawking like he understood her. It was meant to make Julia look angry and petty.
She had some small positives, mainly relating to challenge performance. Also, Aubry called her a well-rounded player. But it wasn’t quite enough to counter the overall negative tone of her edit. Much like the recap stated, Julia was out of the loop, and she remained out of the loop this episode. She believed Michele was voting with her against Tai, but that wasn’t true.
Her overall season rating is CP. While the majority of her ratings in the first half of the season were UTR/MOR, we have to look at how Julia will be remembered. It is very similar to Ciera’s edit last season which was very UTR at the start and then ended CP. Julia will be remembered as the young girl that played the double-agent and tried to make some big moves. While things didn’t work out for her she will be remembered as a player.
Last week was all about Tai and his decision. This episode was about the consequences of that decision, and the edit portrayed Tai in a less flattering light than usual.
The opening shot after tribal was a snake at night. This led into Tai talking about his big move of taking out the biggest guy in the game. We saw him and Aubry kiss in congratulations. He got to explain why he made his move, both in confessional and later to Jason, which gives him a CP rating. But there were ominous signs within his explanations. Tai finished his second confessional by saying “We have power now. And I have the most power because I have the idol and the extra vote.” As we just saw with Scot, the idol isn’t the key to power in this game. Also, the edit was showing us a cocky side to Tai which is usually used to show people’s downfall.
“You guys can’t get rid of him now,” Jason said. Subtitled. Even though Jason and Julia then attempted to get rid of him this episode. But it failed. Was Jason correct? Is it going to be impossible to get rid of Tai now? Maybe. But the ominous signs in Tai’s edit suggest some sort of downfall. “From now on it won’t be a blindside. We know exactly and we don’t switch.” That kind of confidence could be foreshadowing his demise? Or maybe it is shown to be a hypocritical statement if Tai flips again.
Tai was shown feeling sorry for Jason and attempted to make things right. This gave him his positive tone, as well as the positive SPV (Second Person Visibility) such as “Big old heart.” Yet Tai’s conversation with Jason didn’t go exactly as planned. “Thank you for understanding my reason for screwing you guys over,” Tai giggled. He misread Jason in thinking that Jason was being understanding, meanwhile in confessional Jason told us he was still angry at Tai. Jason also said to Tai, “It’s a game you can do everything right and still lose” which could be foreshadowing either himself or Tai making Final Tribal Council and losing.
Once again a significant portion of Tai’s edit revolved around the idol. After the immunity challenge when Michele asked Cydney who she should tell the others that she’s voting for, Cydney said to stick with the Tai thing. This perked Tai up and then began the sneaky music, with Tai telling us that he didn’t feel comfortable with Michele and Cydney. And for what seems like the millionth time this season, he said, “I’m not going to go home with an idol in my pocket.” At tribal council, he even asked Aubry if he should play his idol. Is Tai eventually going to get blindsided with the idol in his pocket? Or is he actually going to hold onto it all the way to Final 5? Maybe he even wins immunity at F5 and so doesn’t even need to use the idol… and therefore he would get to take the idol home.
Tai’s edit is very interesting. He gets to explain his thoughts and his strategies and that gives him his CP rating. But there are moments of confusion and contradiction within his edit that suggest it won’t be the happiest of endings for Tai. In this episode, he basically took all the blame and vitriol for the Scot vote but got none of the credit. Jason and Julia were revenge focused when it came to Tai. It was said he can’t be trusted. Jason said he was “Flipping more than a flapjack. He’s done it two times already to his solid alliances. What makes you think there won’t be a third time?” It was negative SPV but also perhaps foreshadowing. Yet, Tai still got to explain why he made his moves, and that is what makes him a mixed CP edit for the episode.
Jason’s edit has now entered an interesting stage. He received his comeuppance last week when his main ally Scot was voted out, taking Jason’s idol with him. He is no longer the big bad of Kaoh Rong; he is now, well, the underdog, and his edit reflected that this episode.
It’s now starting to make sense why Jason has had an added depth to his edit. From the very first episode, we have had an insight into the human elements of his character – his family, his daughters and so on. Even though he has had his OTTN moments, his edit has always felt more carefully tended than say Scot’s. Now it makes sense. Jason is now powerless and outnumbered. He played the underdog this episode. It would be hard to edit a complete villain as a viable underdog, but because Jason has had a rounded edit throughout the season, it made his role of the underdog work.
His entire episode was about realizing he was on the bottom and trying to find a way to survive. “Tai turned. Never saw it coming.” He basically admitted that he was blinded by his own arrogance. When speaking to himself he said ,”Where can I get in?” (subtitled). This is Jason’s new story. How can he last another three days? Jason did survive another three days, but only by the skin of his teeth. His actual plan to blindside Tai didn’t work. The edit told us that Jason had bad reads on the game. He didn’t buy Tai’s apology and thought it was “half-assed”, even though we as an audience know that Tai felt genuinely sorry about his move. On the flip side, Jason did well to hide his frustration. “I can’t let them see how much it made me angry.” He was successful in convincing Tai that he understood the move.
He also misread Cydney as a player. “Cydney likes to blindside. It’s obvious. Maybe she’s looking for another big play.” While he correctly identified Cydney as somebody who is willing to make a move, his grasp of her game was narrow. Cydney’s game has been a reactive one; she has never blindsided someone for the sake of it. She targetted Nick when it was evident he distrusted her and was beginning to replace her in the Brawn alliance. She targetted Debbie when her own neck was on the line and Debbie was becoming a liability. It’s Jason who is the type of player that is about making a big crazy show of things, not Cydney. He has a narrow view of the game. “Get rid of Tai or I’m screwed.” He didn’t see the other option, which was for Julia to go home, which she did, and it saved him.
In fact, at tribal council, Jason confirmed his style of play. “I enjoy doing crazy stuff.” It was the third time in the episode he’d mentioned that he’s crazy. Is this foreshadowing a crazy move by Jason? It’s clear that Jason’s story has shifted into that of the underdog. It might be a short-lived story but the suggestion is Jason isn’t going to go out quietly.
Cydney has remained a top winner contender for weeks now, and her edit in Episode 11 had both pros and cons to that theory. She was given significant credit as a player, but there were also ominous signs that could suggest a downfall.
Right at the start of the episode, Cydney was given credit for the Scot vote. “Beautiful play. Good job, Cyd,” Jason said (subtitled). While the recap gave credit to Aubry, Jason gave credit to Cydney. It continues the arc of Aubry and Cydney equally controlling the merge portion of this game. She was also shown to be a player needed for others to make a move. Jason offered her the possibility of “doing something nutty” and Cydney said, “I will definitely keep that in mind.” Later in the episode, while Cydney was on reward, Jason and Julia stated that they “Can’t do s**t until she comes back.” (subtitled) They literally couldn’t move forward without Cydney.
At the reward, while in the helicopter, Cydney said “Oh look at this. United. Beauty, Brawns and Brain.” Could this be foreshadowing of Final Tribal Council? Will Cydney, Aubry and Michele be the final three? There were certainly lots of interesting shots of them together – like the shot of all three walking down the beach, arms around each other. Could they be feasting again on Day 39?
But there was also some bad signs that Cydney might not make it to Day 39. A large part of this episode was about whether or not Cydney would flip to vote out Tai. While it didn’t happen in this episode it set up the pieces for a potential head to head going forward. “From now on it won’t be a blindside. We know exactly and we don’t switch,” Tai said, as the shot focused on Cydney contemplating. We already know from this episode Cydney doesn’t want to go the end with “no damn Tai”. She also said, “That’s what I need to get to the end of the game” – to get rid of Tai and his idol. This will mark whether or not she succeeds in the game.
She also found herself in the middle. “Definitely always open to options.” That is a good thing as it shows her reactive style of play is still alive. We also saw this when she initially wanted to target Jason and then changed her mind to Julia when presented with new information. But we also saw signs of her getting cocky. “Great position… win-win for me no matter what.” We saw that the middle man position can lead to a downfall (just look at Julia in this episode).
It isn’t completely devastating. There are still so many positives to Cydney’s edit that she remains a top contender. At tribal council, she had positive reaction shots from the jury – Debbie in particular. But as it comes down to the wire we have to start looking at every little detail that separates our top three. The negatives of Michele’s edit dropped her down a peg last week. So we need to keep our options open that Cydney’s “Every decision will either make you or break you” story could end badly should she not succeed in striking at Tai.
Aubry had her break-out episode last week that presented her as a strategic force in the game and a major threat to win. Nothing changed in Episode 11. It was a quieter episode for her, and she had far less SPV, but that was expected. If Aubry is indeed the winner of this season the editors don’t want to make it too obvious.
Everything else is still looking great for her. She received credit in the recap for pulling Tai away from Jason and Scot. She was still presented as being in control. “Aubry told Joe to sit and not move until she gets back,” Jason said. Julia later confirmed “Aubry is holding Joe’s hand to the final three.” She also called the shot on Julia. “Have you decided then?” Joe asked while the camera focused on Aubry. Even though Aubry said that Jason was a “super easy vote”, she told us she wasn’t sure if was the best move right now. Julia was the bigger threat and Aubry has called that for a while now. When Cydney talked about making a move against Tai and the timing, it cut to Aubry telling Cydney “We’ll figure it out.” Which points to Aubry as the one who will make or break a move against Tai. If that wasn’t enough, at tribal council, Tai reached over and asked her whether or not he should play his idol. Over and over again we are shown that she is the one making crucial calls in this game and leading people.
Faulting Aubry’s edit at the minute is hard. As we discussed last week, she hits all the major themes of the season, and now has the game credit on top of that. At tribal council, she reiterated the season-long theme of emotional intelligence: “You have to rely on the relationships you’ve forged with people and trust that.” With just three episodes left Aubry is now sneaking ahead of the other two contenders.
Michele has been waiting on that big break-out episode, and she finally got it here. Last week she was presented as out of the loop and slightly oblivious to what was happening around her, but her edit in Episode 11 recovered her mistakes from last week.
Back at camp after the previous tribal council, Julia talked about being upset with the vote. While Julia voiced her problems, Michele was shown on screen looking solemnly into the fire. Julia said “Like Michele, I’m frustrated…” but we never actually heard Michele voice this. Whether Michele did express her frustrations or not is irrelevant, the edit chose not to show them which made Julia look bad and protected Michele. In a confessional Julia said “Michele and I have gone down a few notches.” Julia kept lumping Michele into her situation. But straight away we saw a juxtaposition of their games. In the shelter Michele said “It is what it is”, while Julia said “We’re all done.” It basically showed that Michele would continue to do what she’s been doing all along, react to the circumstances to stay alive. Whereas Julia couldn’t adapt.
Her turnaround edit started at the reward challenge. She chose to bring Aubry and Cydney happily agreed. She got to explain exactly why she made the choice – she was on the outside of the vote and needed to hunker down on her relationships with those in power. “This is my game and this is a really good opportunity to make sure that I am in with them and that they trust me and that they want to move forward with me.” Her mission: “To get back into the group, I’m going to have to make them trust me.” The result: “Michele has proved herself. She’s voted every time with us, except the one where we had to leave her out, so I trust her.” Mission accomplished. Even Aubry’s “had to leave her out” lets Michele off with being out of the loop last week.
She was also set up as one of the key decision makers of the Julia vote along with Cydney. “It’s definitely good for us to have options,” Cydney said. “Every little thing we do has to be with a purpose,” Michele responded. This conversation was repeated at tribal council between Probst and Jason. “Jason, do you feel that same thing, that every action you take from here on out will have some impact on that million dollars?” Jason replied “Exactly. You gotta weigh all the options.” Michele did consider her options and in the end went with her gut – “intuition” – which is what she has been using the entire game.
“Staying happy, staying humble, staying sane and hopefully my loyalty will make them want to keep me for a little bit longer.” That is one of Michele’s key themes. When she isn’t waving the strong independent woman flag she is getting by on her social skills. She doesn’t display arrogance that has led to the downfall of many other players. But there is something slightly ominous at the end of that line “…make them want to keep me for a little bit longer.” First of all, “a little bit longer” doesn’t suggest making it to the end. Secondly, it suggests that a large part of Michele’s game is allowing others to call the shots. Even though she achieved her goal of regaining Aubry and Cydney’s trust, the scene was followed by a discussion between Aubry and Cydney without Michele present. They discussed their plans going forward and whether it would be better to bring “Michele and Joe” to final four instead of Tai. It places Aubry and Cydney as in control.
Michele had lots of positive tone for the episode. At the immunity challenge, Probst said “It would be an impressive win to do it without having to go back”, which is exactly how Michele won. She then told Probst she memorized all the numbers and we saw everyone react visibly impressed. “I can’t believe you memorized all those numbers.” She also shed tears at tribal council after Julia was voted out. As an audience, we were meant to sympathize with Michele’s tough decision. This all contributed to her positive tone.
The question is whether we are meant to see the Julia vote as a big move for Michele or not. She talked at tribal council about building a resume for the jury but the reaction shots from the jury members didn’t seem as friendly towards her – not as compared to say, Cydney. If the final three is the one foreshadowed in this episode, could it be that Michele doesn’t have a game resume that stacks up against Aubry and Cydney’s? She definitely recovered her edit from last week, and returned to using emotional intelligence to get ahead, but is that enough on its own? There has been a consistency to Michele’s edit that suggests a pay-off, and that moment is still likely to come.
Main Stories in Play
- Mother Nature – The extreme elements plus the demands of the game continue to be a dominating aspect of this season. This episode showed Joe giving up at the immunity challenge.
- Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Aubry and Cydney are now the leading representatives of this theme. Michele also returned to this theme this episode.
- Proactive versus Reactive – two battling styles of strategy have become the main gameplay theme this season. Those playing aggressively and arrogantly versus those playing passively and relaxed.
- Walk the Walk – those that can put their money where their mouth is will succeed. Those who make big claims but don’t back it up will fail.
- Strong women – the theme of strong independent women has been around since the start and is really coming to a head now. Best represented by Michele. But all the women fall into this category.
Middle: Cydney, Michele.
Eliminated: Everyone else.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 11. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.
Where should I put down the bowl of coleslaw for her?
Very interesting episode for most of the players. Thought Cydney or Michele had this is the bag, but I’m not so sure anymore. Either way, if Cydney, Michele, Aubry, or Tai wins, I’ll be happy. Starting to think Joe will be the last medevac of the season!
One question? Has it been confirmed if it’s a final three or a final two?
I love reading your take on this season’s edgic.
You NEED to be giving Mark The Chicken Edgics. It’s a must be.
I really hope this is wrong. Aubry is my bottom pick for who I would like to see win
So, is it official, Martin? Final 3 and not a final 2? I feel like we are on the same path as Cagayan for a Final Two. Especially if Joe does get medevacked. And if a jury member is going to be kicked out of the jury (a la BBCAN3 with Jordan), you need a surplus of jury (at least nine jurors). Hence, there needs to be a Final 2.
As far as I know, it’s a Final 3.