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?
The lack of Under the Radar ratings in Episode 8 tells us that we got a balanced view of everyone’s gameplay. Even players like Joe, who had low visibility, got to explain his position in the game at the start of the episode. That’s because this was the real “merge episode” due to the lack of tribal council last week.
It was another strong showing for the top three contenders of the season, Aubry, Cydney, and Michele. Each received relevant screen-time that furthered their story-arcs of the season.
We were given a real sense of everyone’s character. Even players like Jason and Scot, who have been mostly negative up until this point, were fleshed out and humanised. The edit wants us to believe that there are multiple winner contender’s still in the game, and are doing a good job for the most part, even if there are realistically only three options.
The recap was mostly about Brains and Brawn battling over the Beauties and who could get them on side. We were shown Nick talking about how great it was to have options, and were told Debbie “wasted no time aggressively trying to secure numbers” and how that “backfired”. Once again we were reminded that Debbie’s proactive, aggressive gameplay was the wrong way to play this season.
It told us that Beauty and Brawn had united and was capped off with Jason’s confessional about “shoving geeks in lockers.” Reminding us of the bullying theme that has cropped up throughout the season.
The Brains tribe were alienated and “things went from bad to worse” when Neal “fell victim to the elements”. Mother nature continued to be represented as a major theme. The recap ended on Aubry and her story as the underdog: “My number one ally gone and the idol went home with Neal. That son of a b**ch.” That led into the episode which really was about Aubry and whether she could survive the vote.
Middle of the Road
It makes sense to start with Aubry this week because the episode was all about her and her story. Could she survive the seemingly obvious Brains slaughter? The recap ended with her confessional, and it led straight to the episode itself.
The episode opened with the Brawns and Beauties reformulating their plans after Neal’s medevac. The new scheme was to split the vote between Aubry and Debbie. Joe’s confessional, the first of the episode, re-confirmed that the Brains were on the outs and he name-checked Aubry and Debbie. As Joe disappeared from the episode from that point forward, it was less about his game and more about Aubry and Debbie’s – but specifically Aubry. Jason reaffirmed Joe’s beliefs in his confessionalwhen he stated that it’s “pretty set in stone” that the Brains all gotta go. This then flowed into Aubry’s confessional which pretty much set up the entire episode.
“This is totally like high school. You look at our camp, and it’s divided by the tough guys and around them are the girls who are kind of pretty and get along really well with those people and then kind of the people who are maybe a little shyer, a little bit nerdy on the outside.”
The “tough guys” shot focused on Scot, and then the “pretty girls” shot was Michele and Julia sitting by his side, Michele biting her nails. It wasn’t the most flattering of images for the Brawns and Beauties. Aubry then foreshadowed doom for the Brawn/Beauty connection.
“But the jocks and the pretty people, they’re not going to sit pretty forever. They age and get overripe, and then they’re done, and eventually the misfits get revenge.”
When Aubry said “they age and get overripe” the camera focused on Scot, Julia, Cydney, and Jason. Michele interestingly was left out of this shot which could mean she outlasts the other Brawns and Beauties, or that she has more success in some way. Aubry then ended her confessional with how she was going to move forward (which speaks to her MOR rating for the episode)…
“If I find a crack or start a little bit of trouble, I might be able to find my way in.” That crack came about due to Cydney’s distrust of Nick and the men. Aubry jumped on board and found her way in. Her opening confessional prophesized the later events of the episode. The “misfits” got their revenge and sent a Beauty packing. It means we can rely on what Aubry says, even if she sometimes doubts herself.
“It’s like I can’t get my head above water,” she said after the failed reward challenge. However, the shot clearly showed her with her head literally above water. “First Neal is out of the game. Then I picked the team, and apparently it was a big mess up.” The edit continued to portray Aubry as the underdog. “I wanted so much more than this and I’m not giving up. I just feel like I keep making bad decision after bad decision.” We were told that she isn’t giving up despite her bad position. Even though Aubry was crying in this confessional, it wasn’t enough for positive tone. It wasn’t accompanied by positive music, it was the confessional leading into commercials, which basically continued the “is Aubry doomed tonight?” edit.
Aubry didn’t get the credit for saving herself. That could be perceived as a negative. But it isn’t that damaging because she explained her strategy as “finding a crack”. She found that in Cydney who was given credit for putting together the plan. She received lots of tribal council focus and questions. She described herself as “Cochran’s dream-girl”. That pretty much describes her edit this episode. She was the anxious, down on her luck nerd looking for a way in. It was almost OTT but she got to explain herself just enough to keep her MOR.
Right now Aubry is set up as the rootable underdog. Underdog edits don’t always lead to a win (see Kelley Wentworth last season), but it isn’t impossible (see Chris Daugherty and Danni Boatright). Aubry remains a top contender.
Joe just escaped an UTR rating due to his only confessional of the episode. In the opening scene, he explained how the Brains were on the outs and how he was going to explore other options. It was minimal but enough to scrape a MOR rating.
Overall though Joe just doesn’t have the content to be a contender or a significant part of the season’s story. His visibility is consistently low, and his portrayal is not that of a major character. His story here was to emphasize that Aubry and Debbie were on the outs.
It seemed for a long while that the edit was hinting at a Joe medevac. Almost every episode has had some sort of focus on Joe and injuries. Even in this episode we saw Jason, Scot and Nick sort of mocking Joe about his lack of hearing. The signs pointed to Joe leaving the game due to injury. Maybe he still will. Or perhaps the story will actually be Joe surviving all the way to the end in spite of his age and array of injuries.
Remember this from back in Episode 1?
At the time we questioned whether the line applied to Joe or Aubry or perhaps both. Joe and Aubry are both still in the game and it is getting closer and closer to the end, so it could very well still apply to both of them. Joe and Aubry have been linked the entire game. But Joe is more a supporting character for Aubry. Could both make it all the way to Day 39 despite being underdogs and potential medevacs? Apparently it’ll be exciting if they do.
Rounding out the Brains trifecta is Debbie. She had a much quieter episode this week. In fact, it was her most reserved edit so far this season. She wasn’t made out to look like an aggressive game-player nor an OTT caricature. Her role here was the Brains underdog along with Aubry.
Her first confessional was generic reward narration about ice-cream. Although even within this short confessional we received another hint why Debbie is not a winner contender. “I didn’t feel sorry for the losers one bit” does not exactly fall into the emotional intelligence bracket of the season.
Her second confessional was about Cydney approaching her and Aubry with the plan to take out Nick. Debbie hoped that Nick would still come around, but unfortunately she didn’t succeed in bringing him on board. It tells us two things. It says that Debbie and Cydney do have somewhat of a bond which formed during the tribe swap. It also says that Debbie is not in control. She had to take a less proactive role but in doing so, she survived. She became a reactive player for the first time this season, and that has proven a success for players like Aubry and Michele.
It’s too late for Debbie though. She is never going to shake those OTT ratings. Her character has moments of complexity and gamesmanship, but she is also that character with all the job titles and the tree swinging. Miss Debbie is a distraction.
Much like Joe, Julia just scraped into a MOR rating. At the reward, she received a confessional about how she likes Scot and is open to working with him. It was very minimal but enough to avoid an UTR rating.
Julia just doesn’t have very strong content. At this stage of the season, she should, and would, have had more had she been a significant character to the overall season arcs. She has only had one CP rating. The rest are low visibility UTRs and MORs; this tells us that Julia is more of a supporting character in other people’s stories. An increase in content will likely come in, or just before, her boot episode.
We don’t fully know where Julia’s head is at in the game. We rarely get her perspective on things. She was associated with Michele as a pair this week, but we haven’t explored that in the edit outside of the early Beauty alliance footage, and even then Julia and Michele were rarely shown together. She said she likes Scot and could work with him so maybe we need to keep our eyes on that relationship. But again, so far the edit hasn’t specifically focused on that.
Julia and Joe fulfill similar roles. They’re there to prop up the bigger players. Joe for Aubry and Julia for Michele.
Again, another player that could have been UTR if not for some short game related content. Scot scrapes into his MOR rating due to his questioning of a girl’s alliance and what this would mean for their numbers. Other than that his confessionals were simply a narration of the reward challenge.
He received positive tone for his story about his family and sick mother. It was accompanied by positive music and helped to humanize him. It’s hard to say what this tell us about Scot and his story. All of his tone up until this point has been negative. Are we suddenly supposed to like and root for Scot? It was perhaps included to show why he is a potential threat. He has a sympathetic story that could win over a jury; similar to Jason in this same episode.
The problem for Scot and his edit is that he has now reverted to his pre-swap edit. He no longer has the game complexity that he gained in Episode 5 and 6. He has returned to a rather simplistic, numbers-based approach and that reflects is in his rather one-note game edit this week. He believed the vote would be straight forward, but it wasn’t, and because of that it caught him off guard. None of that looks good for a Scot win and pretty much returns his character to the Brawn days except with a little more emotional depth.
Jason also got humanized this episode with the focus on his daughters. It was even more important than Scot’s because Jason’s scene was longer. He received confessionals about it, and we have had similar scenes in previous episodes; this suggests Jason is more important than Scot in the long run.
He still received some negative tone for his arrogance and brashness. He yelled over at the reward winners that they could be “rowdy.” Michele followed this up with a confessional that undermined Jason and his attitude. It’s because of this that Jason received a mixed tone for the episode.
Like Scot, Jason has become a rigid player that is very one-track minded. He stated that the plan was to split the votes between the Brains until they were all gone. It was a very simple strategy. He was also shown to be hypocritical. The edit showed a scene of himself, Nick and Scot becoming worried about a potential all girl’s alliance. When Cydney reacted to this Jason said: “Paranoia is gonna kick in at a certain point with everybody, and I think she hit it sooner than we anticipated,” – even though Jason was involved in a paranoid conversation himself. The difference is Cydney reacted quicker and made a move before Jason could.
Jason’s edit has been too negative overall to be a winner contender. But there is a certain depth to his edit that still suggests there is more to come. He is important to the story; whether he will make a big move or be the victim of a big move. Something big is on the horizon.
Over the Top
Tai’s episode this week was all about the challenge. His one confessional was about the challenge. His primary focus was the challenge. And his SPV (Second Person Visibility) was about the challenge.
He had a big speech during the challenge when he was facing off against Cydney. He said that “sometimes strong people strong until one point and then they break.” He compared himself to bamboo. “Wind keeps blowing, blowing, blowing.” He described himself as “resilient”. He survived war and refugee camp. He said Cydney is a strong redwood, but she might snap. This comparison would have all been bad had Tai lost the challenge. But he won. Therefore his words were backed up.
However, at tribal council, Tai became a little bit Keith Nale. He openly talked about the super idol which not everyone had knowledge of before that moment. He then randomly voted for Jason which the edit gave no explanation. At the challenge, he also said a Brains was going home. That didn’t happen. What this tells us is that Tai is out of the loop. He didn’t have any game complexity in this episode. Tai was the bamboo challenge man. But he is resilient, and it would be foolish to count Tai out. Even though he slips down the winner contenders list, he could still last a while yet.
Nick had a classic downfall edit this episode. You can sum his content up as arrogant and dismissive. He lacked the emotional intelligence required of this season.
The thing is, Nick was foreseeing all the dangers but dismissing them. He considered an all girl’s alliance but said he wasn’t worried about it. He stepped down from the challenge right after Aubry, the last remaining Brain, because he felt all he needed to do was outlast her. He didn’t outlast her in the game; this harks back to his edit in Episode 6 when he was dismissive of Michele and thought he could drag her along and tell her what to do. In this episode, she voted against him.
He had negative SPV, mainly from Cydney. He was described as “arrogant” and”too big for his britches.” Nick thought he was in control; he was playing the aggressor, the proactive player. Cydney was the reactor. She retaliated and took control from Nick.
Despite his recent run of CP episodes, it all seemed to be building Nick up as the merge boot. His UTR edits earlier in the season should have told us that he wouldn’t be significant to the overall story. His overall season rating is CPN. We will remember him as the man that had a decent head for strategy but was clouded by his own arrogance.
Michele continues to receive substantial, CP game content. Even though we don’t see a lot of her strategy talks in camp scenes, she is always given pivotal confessionals where she explains her thought process regarding the game and her moves.
She is a reactive player like Aubry and Cydney. She weighs up her options and uses her social bonds to dictate her moves. When Cydney approached the girls with blindsiding Nick, we got to hear Michele’s thoughts. She saw the benefits of taking out Nick due to him being a threat but also considered keeping him because she could use him for her own game. She told us that she wanted to do what was best for her and Julia, which put her in the power position of that relationship. Ultimately she decided to go with the girls, which calls back to her “old habits die hard” moment in Episode 5. That funny off-the-cuff comment was a perfect signal for her continuing to stick with girls in the game. Whether that is a good thing or bad thing we will see.
Michele received the final confessional of the episode, and it was an important one. She described the state of the camp and the styles of play in action. “There’s a lot of big egos, a lot of personality.” That basically described the people that aren’t fitting the themes of the season and have no chance of winning. Scot, Jason, Nick, Debbie. The big egos haven’t faired well this season. She then followed up by saying “I want to be able to make a move that does solidify my title as somebody who earned it, and it’s all figuring out timing.” The inclusion of “my title” is very interesting and could foreshadow a win, possibly. She also got to introduce herself at her first Tribal Council of the season, stating that you don’t get to see how someone is truly playing until they attend Tribal.
The negative here is that it didn’t portray the move as Michele’s. It presented it as Cydney’s move. But maybe the timing that Michele talked about wasn’t quite right. It is hard to say whether Michele’s edit is heading towards a win or just a big move. She has talked about making a move before, back in Episode 6 about Nick, and she voted against him here. Michele hasn’t been portrayed negatively or incorrect in her judgments. There is probably a move coming, and that could be the reason for her consistent game content. Kind of similar to how Kelley Wentworth received such consistent content last season because she made big moves later in the game.
She is still up there with the top winner contenders, but she perhaps lacks the story of an Aubry and Cydney.
Cydney had her best edit of the season so far. She took control but not by force. She reacted to what was going on around her. She observed. She commented. She formulated a plan behind the scenes and pulled it off at tribal council.
She has been closely tied to Jason, and to a lesser degree Scot, all season long. But in this episode, she was provided a reason for breaking that bond. After Jason had told the story of his autistic daughter, Cydney followed it with a confessional. “Like, it was good for them to see it, at the same time I’m like, “Hold up,” you can see how he’d be more of a challenge to beat now towards the end.” She explained how Jason could receive sympathy from a jury; this was to allow us as an audience to understand her reasons for splitting from him. “At this point, it’s my own game; I got to figure out who I can trust and who I need to go and who’s gonna get me further. You have to think about the big picture now. Who will you beat? That’s the question.” That summed up Cydney’s edit this episode – she was taking the game into her hands.
“The current plan is to split the votes for Aubry and Miss Debbie until all the Brains are gone, but if the guys have to go, the guys gotta go,” Cydney explained the situation at hand. What the current plan was. And what the alternative plan was. We then got to see her putting all the pieces into place. The move worked for now although there were some ominous signs. “It makes more sense for me to be in a game with all women. If it backfires, oh, well, I’ll be the first person to make a move in this game.” It didn’t fail this time but by mentioning the potential for it to backfire it sets up a possible downfall. But she still gives herself respect for making a move.
By splitting away from her former Brawns, it could put herself in a dangerous position. Maybe it will lead to that “bitter end” Jason talked about back in Episode 4. Her chances are still good, though. Next episode will be very telling for Cydney. How will she handle being in a power position? Will she continue to demonstrate the key components necessary for this season’s story? Or will she fall into the Jason and Scot trap of becoming too one-track minded?
Main Stories in Play
•Mother Nature – The extreme elements plus the demands of the game continue to be a dominating aspect of this season. The recap focused on Neal’s medevac.
•Emotional Intelligence – those able to read people on an emotional level will have more success. Players such as Aubry and Michele are leading representatives of this theme. Cydney also fits into this theme more. She accurately read players like Nick and Jason this episode.
•Proactive versus Reactive – two battling styles of strategy have become the main gameplay theme this season. Those playing aggressively and arrogantly (Debbie, Jason, Scot, Nick) versus those playing passively and relaxed (Aubry, Michele). Cydney, while taking control, was a reactive move based on Nick’s questioning of her.
•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.
Top: Aubry, Cydney, Michele.
Long shot: Tai.
Eliminated: Everyone else.
That is it for Survivor: Kaôh Rōng Edgic for Episode 8. Let us know your thoughts and anything interesting that we missed in the comments below.