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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What did this episode tell us?
As we draw closer to the end of the season, this episode brought some things into focus, while muddying other elements. Characters who were edited positively earlier took a hit and the more mixed characters continued on an upward trend.
The theme of humility/connections that played a prominent role last week continued on into this episode. As per usual, Ken was the main character pushing this theme, however, for the first time this season we received negative Ken content. This negativity doesn’t undermine the theme of humility/connections, but it does undermine Ken. On the other hand, Adam and Jay became the leading representatives of this theme, with their scenes during the loved ones visit. The loved ones visit, and in particular the story about Adam’s mother, played a huge role in the episode.
Of course, the other big theme of this episode revolved around “big moves” and “resume building.” Will was the main proponent of this theme but his approach was shown to be over-the-top and ultimately damaging.
While we believe the editorial intention is to keep most of the players in winner contention (except for Bret, Sunday, and Will), if we had to narrow down our winner choice right now it would be between David or Jay, with an outside chance of Adam.
The recap was extremely brief: “At the last tribal council there was a rock draw, Jessica was sent to the jury and willed her Legacy Advantage to Ken.” That was it. Nothing much to say. Perhaps they had a lot to fit into this episode and didn’t want to waste time recapping two episode’s worth of content.
Under the Radar
Sunday has now had nine UTR ratings, the most of anyone this season. While there is a consistent theme of her caring for others (she was again seen comforting Hannah at the start of this week’s episode), the edit hasn’t given her any depth, strategy or personality wise. Her only CP rating, back in Episode 8, was all about her plan to eliminate Jessica, and while her “Ken” whisper certainly played a role in last week’s chaotic tribal council, we never heard any follow up from Sunday this week, even though her arch-nemesis Jessica went home.
She was barely in this episode other than calling the Hannah shot before tribal council: “Do we wanna consider Hannah because they wouldn’t be expecting that?” she said, subtitled. Of course, this was proven wrong, as Hannah and the alliance were expecting it, and Adam played his idol on Hannah, ensuring that even if Hannah had the most votes, she wouldn’t go home. And her other line played into Will’s idea of being undermined, when at tribal council Sunday said, “I feel like doesn’t want to sit on the sidelines and feel like all the big kids did all the work. I think he was swayed a little bit today, but we’re hoping he sticks with us.” The camera cut to Will’s face, looking angry when Sunday said “big kids.” Will then had to interject that he “…wasn’t swayed at all today, I came to them with the decision to flip, and that’s the issue…” Although Sunday is a character that has been shown to care for others personally, this highlighted that she doesn’t quite have a pulse on the game dynamics. She was the token representative of not valuing Will’s game which pushed him away.
Overall, there’s not much more we can say about Sunday’s story as the edit hasn’t really given her anything substantial. As we stated last week, “she’s the nice person that cares for others and goes with the flow.” Perhaps when her boot episode comes, that will be given as the reason to eliminate her – she’s too nice and therefore a jury threat.
Bret had a big episode last week but returned to his pre-merge insignificance in Episode 12. There really wasn’t much to say about Bret’s edit here. His main scene was at the reward challenge, crying over seeing his dad, which continued his theme of macho-ness. “I said I wasn’t gonna cry,” he laughed, as his tribemates jokingly called him a “losah.” He wanted to uphold his macho image by not crying (something which he mocked David for last week) but was unable to hold back the tears. It shows Bret as a conflicted character.
Other than that, all we saw was him talking about being pissed off that David forced them into drawing rocks last week. Then later he was pissed off that Ken put Will in an awkward position, “Imagine putting you in that spot?” And he had the subtitled line when talking to his group of five, “When I’m with people. I’m with people.” While last week we talked about how it’s a positive to go out swinging and fighting with your allies, we have seen Bret proved wrong a lot this season. Does this suggest he’ll eventually flip on these people? Will he end up putting Will (or someone else) in an awkward position himself? Much like Sunday, there isn’t a great deal edit wise to stick our teeth into with Bret.
Middle of the Road
Hannah had her quietest edit since the pre-merge, bookending the episode’s start and ending, but taking a backseat in the middle. A cool-down episode can be a good thing after such a visible streak, and given the way this episode ended, with Hannah correctly predicting that the votes were coming her way, she looked good.
She opened up the episode feeling guilty about Jessica putting her game on the line and leaving via the black rock. “I feel guilty, and I feel thankful, and I… I just feel awful.” It showed Hannah as someone with humility and caring about others, both positives this season. At the loved ones visit, she got to talk about her mother and how she survived cancer. During this scene, the camera focused in on Adam’s reactions, with the audience knowing that Adam and his family are going through that situation right now with his mother at home. Even though Hannah doesn’t know of Adam’s situation, it connected these two even further for the viewers and gave extra impact to Adam using his idol on Hannah later in the episode.
Speaking of the idol, Hannah was shown once again accurately predicting that the votes were coming her way. This time she made sure to voice her opinion at tribal council, and Adam played his idol on her. Even though Will flipped and Hannah would have been safe regardless, the edit presented this as the correct move, making it seem like Will’s “big move” was overshadowed, and that Adam and Hannah came out with the most success.
The quieter edit and accurate reads make it seem more and more likely that Hannah makes final tribal council. But winning still seems like a stretch. Instead, these moments appear to give the illusion that she could win in an attempt not to make the final result too obvious.
Jay’s edit continues its upward trend after the hits it took in Episodes 8 and 9. He didn’t have a great deal of game complexity here, but he finally jumped on board with one of the season’s biggest themes, humility/connections. Not only was he committed to his allies, but his ability to put aside his differences with Adam at the loved ones visit showed humility and gained him his positive tone for the episode.
He started the episode cementing his allegiance to his alliance. “We’re all five together,” he said. “Five strong.” While he was an outlier last week, this showed Jay willing to stay strong with his group. “Let’s take them all out one-by-one,” he said subtitled. Although, this could also be seen as a negative, given that this alliance did not stay “five strong” by the end of the episode and did not take out the opposing group one-by-one. He also said, “David should freaking go home, bro,” but David did not go home this episode. While Jay has had strong content throughout the season, he has also been wrong a lot.
His most positive content this episode was the scenes revolving around the loved ones visit. By putting aside his past beef with Adam, Jay showed respect and humility, and he was rewarded with Adam’s advantage. “So I was like, “Yo, sometimes I hate you, and sometimes I love you, but at this moment, I-I truly respect you, and you’re a cool dude.”” He continued to show respect later in the episode in regards to Will, telling him that he’s always seen him as an equal, giving him credit for the Michaela vote, and telling him to just “go with gut.” It’s this kind of stuff, along with the scene where he talked about his mother and sister, that keep Jay going as a contender in spite of his editorial flaws. He has a rounded edit with enough substance for a winner even if his path to the end isn’t as clear as others. Of course, there is also enough to suggest his edit is that of a scrappy underdog that comes close but just falls short too.
Over the Top
It’s very rare that we hand out a PP tone but if it applied to anyone this season it was Adam in Episode 12. He was pretty much the star of the night and the entire episode was centered around him and his story. Adam revealed the news about his mother back in Episode 4, and we’ve heard it pop up now and again throughout the season, here at the loved ones visit it took center stage. As an audience, we felt Adam’s emotional struggle as he decided not to use his advantage. We begged Jay to pick Adam to join him on the reward. We felt his pain as his brother told him that his mom had stopped her treatment. While the news is obviously devastating, the edit was PP for Adam, the music, the tears, the heavy subject matter, the positive words from his fellow tribemates, and add on top his immunity win and idol play; this was a clear PP edit.
We decided for OTT over CP because the majority of Adam’s content related to his mother and family. Even though he talked about it within the context of the game, its presentation was OTT. His only real game related content was talking about Ken betraying Will, but that was more narrational than strategic. Of course, his idol play was also strategic, and interestingly, the edit presented it as a correct move, even though in actuality Will flipped and Adam ended up wasting the idol. When Adam played the idol it cut to a shot of Will looking displeased, while Adam, David, and Hannah were all smiles. Even though only four Hannah votes were read out (indicating that Will flipped), to a casual viewer it would have appeared that Will voted with the Zeke group, and only at the very end of the credits would it have become clear Will flipped. Was this to undermine Will? Or make Adam look better?
Much like Jay, Adam’s edit continues on an upward trend after the knocks it took in Episodes 8 and 9. It showed people’s opinions of him changing, gave him a ton of personal content, he had a winner quote, “I only have one checkbox left, and that’s winning this game,” and was made to look like he made a great move at tribal council. His winner chances still seem less than David and Jay at the moment but he’s creeping back up there and is probably the only other true contender at this stage.
This was obviously Will’s break-out episode of the season. Other than Adam and his story, Will received the most content this episode, and it revolved around him wanting to make a “big move.” Even though there were elements of CP in his statements, the delivery and presentation were completely OTT. It was all about Will wanting to be taken seriously as an adult, but it was undermined due to him coming across like a sulking child in his quest to get that respect. Was there enough to give him N tone for the episode? Perhaps. But seeing as nobody really gave him NSPV, we’re keeping him a neutral OTT.
“Seeing my mom made me realize that I need to start playing this game, because despite the moves I made, despite the things that I’ve done in this game, people still don’t give me the credit I deserve, and that can ruin my shot at winning this game.” That was Will’s most CP statement, but with every following confessional his character became more one-note, continually emphasizing that he “came here to play” and make a “big move” in a very OTT manner.
“It is very risky, but I didn’t come here to be dragged as a goat. I came here to play,” he said regarding his Zeke plan. “This is my time to make a big move so that people realize that, hey, this 18-year-old kid from Jersey, he’s here to play,” he said after the immunity challenge. “It’s excruciating, but I want to make a big move, so I have to deal with that crap,” he said about Ken. “The logical side of me is telling me this is my time to make a big move, but I am so angry with Ken. I would love to blow up his game,” he said before tribal council. His confessionals about Ken were also very OTT, “This guy preaches about honor and integrity and how he’s this great and noble human being with his arrogance and his extreme ego, and then he has the audacity to pull this crap on me!” We didn’t get a rounded, complex view of Will. What the audience will remember here is the “young kid trying to prove himself to the whole world,” as Jay said.
It also doesn’t help that Adam usurped his plan. “Either way, I’m in control, and there is nothing anyone can do about it,” he said before heading to tribal council. But that was wrong. Even if Will decided to stick with the Zeke alliance, there was something that could be done about it, as Adam proved when he played his idol on Hannah. As we’ve just covered in Adam’s section, the edit presented this moment as if Adam played correctly, showing Will displeased with the move. Despite Will’s mantra all episode about not wanting to be undermined, it was the edit itself which ultimately undermined him.
Where does Will go from here? Last week we said that in an episode about standing by your allies, it looked bad that Will gave up one ally (Jay) in favor of two new allies (Zeke and Hannah) but then later declared that he wasn’t willing to put his game on the line for either of them. He continued on that path this week, abandoning Zeke who he promised allegiance to last episode, and continued to burn his bridges with Jay. If we’ve read this theme correctly, it will mean that Will’s constant flipping and abandoning of allies will eventually burn him, perhaps as soon as next week.
Given his prominent edit last week, and the fact that this was his boot episode, Zeke had a surprisingly quiet edit. His story pretty much took a backseat to the story of Adam and his mother and Will and his coming-of-age story. Even though we suspected Zeke would be able to maneuver through the game a little while longer, we did say last week that while winning wasn’t completely out of the realm of possibility, “his downfall could be burning too many relationships.” That seems to be ultimately what did Zeke in. He turned on Chris, then turned on David, and openly admitted that he “realigns with people all the time.” That showed that Zeke wasn’t willing to stick by his allies through thick and thin and therefore Will had less trouble flipping.
His edit was CP-lite (if people want to argue it was MOR that is reasonable). The reason we decided for CP was his post-immunity challenge scenes when he put forward a new plan after feeling suspicious about David: “It does not make sense that the four should be as calm as they are. I know David’s coming for me, so we need to get rid of him. But David has a nose for idols, and I’m so close to the end, I can’t take the risk, so we need to throw someone else under the bus.” Even though David didn’t have an idol, Adam did, and he was right that the four were too calm.
The signs of his downfall were presented at the very start of the episode. “The Tribal Council was amazing! I loved it. I loved it. Man, I felt like a warrior.” We talked last week about how Zeke seemed to fit more into the theme of disproving misconceptions and how he was fascinated by proving his toughness. Claiming himself to be a “warrior” was the ultimate toughness and a sign that his story was now over. He’d achieved the coveted “warrior” status (Coach would be proud). Then if that wasn’t enough, his arrogance signaled a comeuppance. “I’m trying very hard not to be too excited, but I’m feeling like I’m going to the final five. I think I can win this game. And I’m just as happy I could win this game as I am that David is going to lose it.” That told us that Zeke wasn’t going to have a happy ending and that David would outlast him – it might even suggest a David win.
Overall, Zeke gets a toneless CP rating for the season. He wasn’t overtly positive or negative, but we got a fairly rounded picture of Zeke as a person and a player. He told us about his background, his relation to the theme, his willingness to prove himself, and his strategies. Zeke will be remembered as a solid player that didn’t quite fulfill his potential.
David also had a more subdued edit this week after his super visible episode last week. Again, a cool-down after such visibility can be a good thing. Even though he wasn’t quite as present, we still checked in with him on his thoughts on the game and his position within it. He explained his concerns and how he was going to approach changing his fate.
“I’m really angry at myself. I burned my idol at Tribal for no reason. And now, I find myself in a minority with Hannah, Ken, and Adam,” he said. It’s good that David got to comment on his wasted idol play, as it shows him as someone with self-awareness and it doesn’t just leave him hanging as this player that made a mistake with no follow-up. “I need to find some crack somewhere. Otherwise, the five is just going to pick us off one by one, starting with me.” He told us what he needed to do and what would happen if he didn’t do it. Then later, it was David who Will first talked to about flipping, providing David with his crack. It made David look like the strategic figurehead of the other alliance.
David was also shown once again predicting the correct person to go home. “I think Will’s telling the truth. So there’s a really good chance that Zeke is going home tonight,” he said. Will was telling the truth, he voted with them, and Zeke did go home. Ever since the merge, David has called the elimination (other than the rock draw tribal council). “I no longer have a Hidden Immunity Idol, so I’m incredibly vulnerable. And it’s like Will just got his driver’s license, and, uh, we’re all sitting in the back terrified because this is the first time he’s going to take us for a drive. But, I think it’s going to work.” Again, he was right; it did work. However, there was one part of the episode where he was wrong, when he said he thinks the alliance was going to vote for him. This was quickly interrupted by Hannah saying “No, I think it’s me,” and then Adam asking, “Are you sure?” But this seemed more likely included to set up tension over whether Adam would play his idol on the right person.
The only other thing to note here was David’s content at the loved one visit about his personal growth. It wasn’t hammered home as much as last week but it continued that thread. Overall, David’s edit continues to be the most well tended of anyone left in the game, and while it’s not a traditional “winner’s edit” (nobody has a standard winner’s edit this season), it is the most likely of those remaining.
Ken’s edit took a significant tumble this episode and for the first time this season he received overt negativity. His near invisible streak that started at the merge was a bad sign, but he was hanging on by the grace of his pre-merge edit and how well he fit the humility/connections theme. But his edit this episode all but wrote him off.
At the start of the episode, we saw Ken receive the Legacy Advantage that Jessica willed to him. This was a very positively framed scene, as Ken talked about “the power of being authentic and genuine relationships in this game.” That has been his mantra throughout the season. He also told us about his daughter for the first time, “I feel I’ve got a really good shot to get my daughter and I a new life, and a better life, and maybe walking away with a million dollars.” Great personal content and under normal circumstances that would be a decent winner’s quote. All of this accounts for Ken’s positive tone for the episode.
During the loved ones visit, when Jay was picking people to join him, Ken and Bret were shown begging to be chosen, juxtaposed with a shot of David and Adam: Adam also begging, David chill. As an audience, we were meant to be rooting for Adam to be chosen and Ken and Bret served as the two foils to that happening. Also at the loved ones visit, we saw Hannah talking about how good looking both Ken and his brother are, continuing that thread from a couple of episodes ago. This keeps Hannah and Ken linked.
Ken’s negative turn came after the immunity challenge. During his chat with Will, Ken told us, “I don’t just have a five-minute conversation, and then hop in bed with somebody. I’ve got to know the core of a person, their integrity, their value because I’m trying to win for my little girl, and I want to make sure that I’m safe.” It holds true to Ken’s character but then he followed it up by betraying Will’s trust. Did he betray it because they only had a five-minute conversation? Even if that stays in line with Ken’s character, the negative SPV he received for his actions cemented his mixed tone for the episode. “Working with Ken is like getting your finger and toenails ripped out at the same time,” Will said. Ken tried to pass it off as a “test,” but Adam, our reliable narrator, spelled out what it really was, “Ken (air quotes) “tests Will,” revealing Will’s plan. That’s not a test! That’s a betrayal!” We then saw Adam, Hannah and David all shaking their heads and rolling their eyes at what Ken did. “Ken just screwed up everything,” Hannah said.
The most damaging NSPV came from Will, who said, “This guy preaches about honor and integrity and how he’s this great and noble human being with his arrogance and his extreme ego…” While Will isn’t the most reliable character on the season, this gives some hints about how others may be perceiving Ken. The way his own allies reacted to his “test” shows that Ken isn’t the most respected strategically, but do Will’s comments also suggest that people see him as a hypocrite? The thing is, even though it caused a negative reaction, Ken did succeed. He said he wanted “to make sure was safe” and he did. Also, even though Ken told Will he sees him as authentic, it isn’t a relationship that we’ve seen on the show up until now, so Ken betraying him didn’t have the same impact that it would if he betrayed David or even Adam or Hannah.
What hurts Ken the most is the way the edit portrayed him as making strategic blunders, causing his own allies to roll their eyes at him. Ken isn’t completely drawing dead but he’s dropped far down the leader board, and it would be a surprise at this point if he pulled out the win.
Stories in Play
-Millennials vs. Gen X – the theme of the season, expected to continue throughout.
-Disproving Millennial Misconceptions – Will the Millennial players prove or disprove the negative stereotypes? Adam introduced this concept in episode one. Will was trying to fight against the perception of the young high school kid this episode.
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – This theme has been present most of the season.
-David Out of Water – David’s growth edit is still featured, here at the reward challenge with his dad.
-Humility/Connections – A theme that has been best represented by Ken. Ken was again the main proponent of this theme but Will called into question his so called integrity and honor. Adam and Jay also connected this episode and showed the power of humility and relationships.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.