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 all our Edgic posts for last season here.
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What did this episode tell us?
For the first time so far this season, there was an even spread of ratings across both tribes. Both the Gen X tribe and Millennials tribe contained three CP ratings, three MORs, two UTRS and one OTT. That made for a balanced episode that allowed insight into the dynamics on each tribe.
The big theme of this episode was humility. We heard the word “humble” being used a lot. CeCe described Ken as “the most humblest person ever” on more than one occasion. Ken said that Jessica and Sunday are two of the most humble people in the game. Adam over on the Millennials tribe was all about being humble, congratulating the Cool Kids alliance on their blindside of Mari last week despite it leaving him on the outs. In contrast to that, we saw people like Paul portrayed as “my way is the right way” types, boastful of their abilities but failing to get the job done. Figgy, likewise, made a comment about how “If you write down Figgy’s name you go home.”
With Paul leaving at the end of this episode, does this mean that not showing humility will lead to failure in the game? It’s worth paying attention to see if this theme continues throughout the season.
The Previously On segment reminded us that “Paul was in charge of an alliance of six” and that the elements brought him down. It was odd given that Bret was given the credit of putting the alliance of six together in last week’s recap and the first episode itself never showed Paul as the one leading the charge. However, the episode needed to sell Paul’s downfall and portraying him as the leader made for a more satisfying boot.
On the Millennials tribe, the recap reminded us that Zeke, Adam, Hannah and Mari wanted to “dismantle the power couple” but that “Michelle had plans of her own” and we got a repeat of Michelle’s confessional saying she might have to pull strings at tribal council to get the numbers. “At tribal council, Michelle convinced Hannah and the majority of the tribe to vote out Mari, leaving Zeke and Adam on the outside.” Michelle was given all the credit for swaying the votes, no mention of Jay’s part in the plan, which is not a great sign for Jay’s winner chances. The recap ended by setting us up for events in this episode by reminding us that Zeke and Adam are on the outs.
Under the Radar
For the third week in a row, Lucy had no confessionals, though we finally got to hear her voice for the first time. In a bit of editorial fun, the first words out of her mouth were at the challenge, “Shh, calm down!” and straight up, “SHHH!” almost as a nod to how quiet her character has been. During the episode, David talked about “connections and bonds” that can start forming once Paul is voted out, and the camera panned to Sunday and Lucy. This was almost identical to the last episode when David talked about convincing people to take Paul out, and the camera landed on Lucy then as well. We heard Lucy speak a little bit when Jessica decided to change the vote to Paul. Lucy said, “If we feel Paul is the biggest threat right now, then we need to get rid of him. I’m comfortable with it if you guys are.” She was barely audible yet was not subtitled the way other characters usually are in critical, vote-changing scenes like these.
Between this, her inclusion in the six-person majority alliance, and her general quietude on the show, the impression given is that she’ll go with the flow and vote however told. The only thing at odds with that idea is her demeanor at the challenge when she shushed people forcefully and said, “Calm down!” This gave off the impression of rigidness and seriousness. It was seemingly uncharacteristic of her, which really just means, this quiet side we’ve been seeing (or not seeing!) is likely not the real her, and we have yet to see what she’s really like.
Will was barely present in this episode. He was shown sitting with Taylor, Figgy, and Michelle during a camp life scene, though he was the only one not to speak during it. Taylor named him as being one of the “top people” in his alliance. He had only one confessional in which he let us know he’s a Survivor superfan, and this made him a more credible narrator for the rest of the confessional. He narrated the purpose of the rock draw and why one should want to go to the summit, “Why not work with people from the other side if they’re gonna help you advance in this game?” However, we didn’t see him working with people from the other side at the summit, and we don’t even know how it would have helped him specifically advance in this game given that we have no idea what his plans are with his current, presumed, alliance. Most of what we know about Will is situational and inferred. He continues to be an enthusiastic non-entity for now.
Michelle had a big episode last week, as the Previously on Survivor segment reminded us. The vote was going in a certain direction (Figgy), but “Michelle had plans of her own” that she executed on. The recap said that she “pulled strings at tribal” to get the numbers which downplayed the hard work she put in at camp to sway the vote. Nevertheless, the recap credited her for convincing “Hannah and the majority” to vote out Mari. During the episode, we also heard Hannah credit Michelle for swaying her vote, and then Adam credited Michelle as well for saving Figgy and Taylor.
Michelle’s was one of the first voices we heard when everyone got back to camp after tribal council, saying “I’ll be the first to say that did not feel good.” She didn’t take credit for or bask in her handiwork, but rather, showed sympathy towards Adam and Zeke and humility, an emergent theme of this episode. By contrast, Figgy bragged, “People who write down Figgy’s name go home” congratulating herself, lacking in humility. We saw a similar juxtaposition between these two girls later when Michelle said, “I think Zeke should be the next to go.” Figgy then said, “He’s gonna be next to go.” Michelle was offering a suggestion for the group, and Figgy stated with certainty that Zeke would be next to go, lacking in Michelle’s collaborative attitude.
Aside from the recap and these little moments of camp life, Michelle wasn’t all that present in this episode. She did claim Zeke as her next target, but then she faded since Millennials didn’t go to tribal council. This cooldown gives an indication that Michelle plays the game when she needs to but stays out of the limelight otherwise. She is a winner contender, but with a small asterisk. She got some personal development in the premiere, setting her up as the missionary whom people trust because of her faith, but it was minimal and clearly set up her Episode 2 moves, then we got no personal development in this latest episode. Was the personal development teaser just for a short-term storyline or will we continue to learn more about her, e.g., the way we keep learning more about Ken? This will likely determine her longer-term chances.
Gen X went to tribal council this episode, so the fact that Bret didn’t get a confessional either means that he’s not important or that the edit is protecting him. All three episodes, including this one, have shown him to be in the wrong, so the edit is hardly protecting him. In the first two episodes, he was seen disparaging and underestimating David. This episode, we saw him say to Chris and Sunday about the vote, “So we’re all agreeing on who’s going home,” referring to CeCe. Yet it’s Paul who ended up going home. Also, at the challenge he tried shouting advice to the puzzle makers and realized that they had it right and he was wrong. We also saw him noticing all the women talking before tribal and rightfully brought it up as a concern, but Paul said, “They’re fine,” assuaging Bret’s worries, and without another thought, Bret responded, “Alright.” In this interaction, we saw that Bret’s instincts were right, but he also instinctually trusted Paul, and that’s very wrong.
Bret’s most important scene this episode came in the form of a seemingly innocuous chat with Jessica. It was unrelated to the game and lasted almost 15 seconds, so we need to examine why this scene was included in the episode. The entire scene consisted of Bret saying in a thick Boston accent, “I hope we get something big. I need to chow on an octopus or a shark or something. How about a tuna? A yellowfin tuna? Why can’t we catch that? Something we can chomp on for like a week.” The only thing Jessica said was, “Shahhk,” mimicking his accent. There was an element of playfulness here with the accent, and Jessica confirming that. It also showed us that Bret and Jessica have these casual conversations, and are close enough for her to be playful about his accent, so they appear to be friends. This draws specific attention to how Bret will react towards Jessica in the next episode as a fallout to being blindsided.
The words in this scene were all about Bret wanting to eat and catch something big. In addition to speaking to his hunger, this conversation took place during Paul’s failed fishing expedition. So when Bret asked, “Why can’t we catch that?” the answer is that his alliance is incapable of catching that. Ken, who’s on the outs, is demonstrably capable of catching an octopus and fish. So Bret is causing his own discomfort and hurting his own survival chances. Again, not a good look for Bret in a game all about survival.
Middle of the Road
With each passing episode, Jay gets to show a little bit more that he’s not just a bro, despite appearances. He only had one confessional this episode, but it was all thoughtful content. First, he mentioned, on his way to the summit, that he wanted to “feel out” the Gen-Xers who claim they do things the “right way,” and he wanted to see, “Okay, what’s the right way?” He’s open-minded to see what he can learn from them but is also going to hold them to their own words about themselves. Secondly, he said, “I really hope Figgy and Tails don’t start making out because then we’re gonna look like a bunch of idiots.” He recognized the flaws in revealing the info that Figgy and Taylor are in a relationship and kept it hidden at the summit, but moreover, he saw how Figgy and Taylor lose sight of the game in favor of lust. He also later shushed Figgy when she tried to say something after the immunity challenge when Jay requested fishing gear. Jay’s edit is gaining more distance from the lovers as he keeps his eye on the prize.
There’s another emerging theme around Jay. He makes confusing statements that are both simultaneously right and wrong. He’s a walking, talking contradiction, even as a bro millennial who’s sharp and plays the game well. Let’s call it Schrödinger’s Jay.
- Episode 2: “No power couple ever lasts in Survivor, EVER.” There are many counter-examples in Survivor history to power couples making it all the way to the end, so he was obviously wrong on this front. However, he also made a great game point that power couples get targeted because of their history of going to the end together. Power couples create a target on their backs that Jay is right to worry about.
- Episode 2: “Figgy is going home tonight which sucks, unless something crazy happens, which they usually do.” He was resigned to Figgy going home, which didn’t happen. However, he also acknowledged that crazy things usually happen which would save Figgy, which did happen. Again, both wrong and right at the same time.
- This episode: “[The Gen-Xers] are really gonna have this idea that Millennials don’t know what we’re doing because we’re letting a power couple stay in the game.” He acknowledged that it’s stupid to keep a power couple in the game, but he was also smart about wanting to hide this fact from the Gen-Xers, not revealing any information and also not coming off as clueless.
- This episode, during the immunity challenge: “Nobody’s going home tonight.” He was right about the Millennials because they do end up winning immunity, but he was obviously wrong in that somebody has to go home tonight, and indeed, Paul does (the person the camera panned to after Jay said this comment).
Jay is the perfect representation of a three-dimensional millennial: someone who embodies all the characteristics lauded as Millennial, go with the flow, fun-loving, etc., but who also cares about winning the game and therefore, is open to learning from the Gen-Xers, wanting to come off as smart, and planning ahead. He doesn’t fall cleanly into any category, even within the Edgic scheme, for example, of being right or wrong all the time. His ability to transcend designations speaks volumes for his longevity in the game.
While Taylor’s edit is still consistent with the snowboarder bro of the first two episodes, other than calling it “glorious” that only his allies got to go to the summit and doing a backflip off a raft at camp, this episode was milder for his character. For example, there weren’t subtitled bro lines all over the place. However, he still had a shallow view of the game, saying, “Me and Figs are pretty good at the moment. My girl’s here. She’s happy, and this couldn’t be a better position to be in, really.” He judges his security in the game based on his relationship with Figgy and thinks “this couldn’t be a better position,” when in fact, as we saw from Adam and Michaela’s conversation and from Jay’s SPV, Figgy and Taylor are still in the crosshairs specifically because of their overt relationship.
While hanging out with his allies Michelle, Will, and Figgy, he did mention, “Now we have to worry about what’s going on back there,” as if he was serious about the game and they can’t just relax. But there was no follow through or plan to figure out what was going on with the rest of the members of the tribe. Instead, Michelle and Figgy took over the conversation labeling Zeke the threat, and that was that.
Last episode, Mari and Zeke were depicted as the people spearheading the vote against Figgy. Even though Adam and Zeke were both blindsided, we didn’t hear anything from Adam about it whereas we followed Zeke’s perspective going into that vote and even at the voting confessional. This is the edit’s way of “protecting” someone (Adam) and putting the heat on someone else (Zeke). We examine this episode to figure out why that was the case.
Zeke got to acknowledge that he thought he was in control but was “totally blindsided,” and he was shown following Adam’s lead being humble about his loss when arriving back at camp, “yeah, that [move] was nice.” However, his story this episode was primarily about needing space to process and recover. When Hannah was continually badgering him, he said over and over that he wanted space. “I think we just gotta be chill,” he told Adam when they were finally left alone. Indeed, the edit chilled on Zeke and gave him space by hiding him for the rest of the episode. By contrast, Adam’s strategic edit woke up this episode, and he was depicted as starting to take his game into his own hands, as we’ll discuss more in Adam’s section.
While this does make Adam look better than Zeke as a winner contender, Zeke isn’t buried by the edit either. The edit is saying, he made a mistake, and now he’s going to reflect. When his airtime picks up again, we need to look for whether he corrects his mistakes, or if he falls back into the same patterns.
Zeke popped up just once more in a camp scene later in the episode when people were leaving for the summit. Zeke said, “So we’re losing Will, Jay, and Taylor?” And then he physically puffed out his chest and said, “I’m the biggest boy in camp!” It’s hard to tell whether this was just meant to be a humorous little tidbit showing Zeke’s personality, or if we were meant to question his humility here since he’s literally puffing out his chest. The thing that does stand out is the naming of his three tribemates saying we’re “losing” them, with the camera panning to each of their faces as they’re named, ending with Zeke being the biggest boy left in camp. It comes off almost like a hit list, potentially foreshadowing a boot order in the future with Zeke outlasting all of them.
The edit has asked us to give Zeke some space, so, we will hold off on commenting on his future prospects until we see him reemerge.
We saw more of CeCe’s personality this episode than ever before. Our intro to CeCe this episode was that her faith and prayer tell her that “things are going to go in [hers and David’s] favor.” The one other person who used those exact words, faith and prayer, this season was Michelle back in episode one, and she successfully used her faith and prayer to get people to trust her to sway a vote. As we know, CeCe’s faith also comes through for her, and things do go in her and David’s favor this episode with Paul going home. Will this be a recurring theme throughout the season, or was it a one-time use of foreshadowing?
Ken had a confessional addressing the reasons why they’re on the bottom: David because he’s “terrified of anything physical,” and incredibly vaguely, by comparison, CeCe is merely “on the outs.” Twice this episode, she was shown describing Ken as the “most humblest” person, “opposite of what you think…totally not the Ken doll.” Though she was speaking positively about him, she kept harping on a stereotype he dislikes. David was shown letting her know that Ken doesn’t like it, which tells us that David is connecting with the people in his alliance but CeCe isn’t. This speaks to her being “on the outs” with everybody on the tribe.
At the summit, she was the one leading the charge to throw Paul under the bus to Taylor and Figgy. “We don’t think Paul is on the bottom…” but by the end of the episode, he was. She said in confessional, “Leaving us alone is the stupidest decision [Chris and Paul] could have did and may cost them the million dollars.” However, it wasn’t actually stupid of them to leave her and David alone because Paul went home anyway, without the help of the Millennials needed. This makes the move, in retrospect, look overly aggressive and may backfire onto CeCe later.
The immunity challenge focused on CeCe’s slowness over the balance beam, with Probst talking about it both at the challenge and at tribal council. Chris, our reliable narrator for the Gen-X tribe, also blamed her for the loss, and Bret, Paul, and Sunday were all shown speaking negatively of her challenge performance. All this gives her Negative tone for the episode.
Her 10% odds on herself came through this time, but her long-term chances are looking slim.
This episode maintained Chris as one of our Gen X narrators while further exposing his flawed approach to the game. On his way to the summit, Chris referred to the Millennials as “the opposition” and described his strategy for approaching them, “with clear eyes and a cold heart…(he’ll) keep (his) mouth shut and just get information.” In other words, he was approaching them like enemies (“opposition”), putting a wall up emotionally (“cold heart”), and expecting people to open up to him (“just get information”) without showing that he’s trustworthy by opening up a little himself (“keep my mouth shut”).
He knows he should make connections, but his method is bad. As a result, we didn’t see Chris building any connections or getting any information at the summit. By contrast, when he said he wanted to connect with the Millennials, the camera cut to David exclaiming, “Pizza and beer!” to Millennial cheering, and later David was the one making connections, albeit tenuous ones. David isn’t made to look great either, but he is now consistently shown to have a leg up on Chris. This theme of approaching the game too coldly continued at the challenge when Chris said to Bret, “It’s best just to shut up.” In context, he was referring to not messing up the puzzle people, but as we know from his earlier confessional, it was also a summary of his strategy in the game.
His narrational capacity continued to be semantically and theoretically accurate. He said that he was “excited to go do this (the summit)…making some connections.” As Will also told us, this is the purpose of the summit, so they validated each other by explaining this to the audience. At the challenge, the Gen Xers fell behind, but Chris remained positive, “We’re not out of it at all.” Probst himself then narrated, “Gen X starting to catch up now!” validating Chris’ cheers. After the challenge, Chris said, “I’m not sure how CeCe doesn’t go home tonight.” While the implication was obviously that he was voting for CeCe and assumed she was going home, his statement was still technically accurate: Cece, indeed, does not go home, and Chris, indeed, is not sure how it happens.
Finally, Chris had an interesting interaction with Jeff at tribal council. Jeff asked him, “How do you navigate keeping everybody together when there’s an opportunity to go with CeCe and David and Ken and say, ‘Let’s make something else happen because I think i might be number five?'” Chris made a point that, “If you’re gonna try to stick to an alliance, it’s very dangerous to start making those assumptions” and twice said, “way too early.” The words “too early” are typically a bad sign in Survivor, a game about making moves before it’s too late. However, Chris also made a straightforward point about sticking to an alliance, especially when they actually are in the early phase of the game, pre swaps and merge. More importantly, the word that stuck out in his response was “dangerous.” This was a warning bell to people who don’t stick to their alliance this “early” in the game, and Chris was telling us that it will likely come back to haunt someone.
Chris’ winner chances get worse by the episode as he shows ineffectiveness at building real connections and continues to be one-upped by a very flawed David, but his capacity as a reliable narrator, even if only on technicalities, points towards longevity in the game.
This episode hammered home that Sunday is better equipped than most in this game to form real connections with people, and that will help her survive the game, but that she can be wrong and self-sabotaging.
Ken called Sunday one “of the most humble people here.” Many people this episode behaved humbly or were specifically labeled as humble, most notably Adam, Ken, Jessica, and Sunday. Though Ken is positive and effective and Adam is always “correct,” Jessica is often factually incorrect. So being humble is not a key indicator of winner potential, but it is portrayed as a positive and necessary quality to build connections and advance oneself in the game. When David said, “as soon as Paul goes away, some other connections and bonds can start forming,” the camera panned to Sunday and Lucy.
At tribal council, Sunday noted that her kids are Millennials, and described their approach to problems. “They’ll give anything a try. They’ll try it with anybody. And they’ll try it 80 different ways.” Now we know her aforementioned four children are Millennials. She interacts with Millennials on a daily basis and understands them, and as a result, she’s better equipped to build connections with them. All of these small points add up to a big point about Sunday that’s consistently been portrayed so far this season: she cares a great deal about people and knows how to connect with them.
Sunday had a confessional this episode where she explained “Voting CeCe out to keep the tribe strong is a good thing to do. She has not done well in challenges. I can’t argue it at all.” However, she didn’t vote for CeCe in the end, meaning she went against her own, inarguable advice. Her only saving grace regarding this is that, at tribal council, when talking about Millennials, she said that they get things done, but that they just “may get there a different path.” It seems as if Sunday will get things done, but she’s getting there using a different path than what she lays out for herself.
Her character is one of the more complicated ones in the game. She’s not strictly positive or negative, right or wrong in her portrayal. She’s a mixture, somebody interesting to take note of. This points to her being an interesting player whose outcome is harder to predict.
Over the Top
Hannah’s portrayal as a geeky outcast and confused player continued to grow in this episode. Right after tribal council, she approached Zeke and Adam with the opening line of, “I’m going to try to be an adult about it and not play victim.” She then badgered Zeke despite clear, calm requests to give him some space. She thought she was being “adult” by approaching them and wanting to explain her betrayal, but by not listening to their clear, explicit needs, she was not very “adult” about it at all. She set out to “not play victim,” and by the end, Zeke said to her, “Don’t play the victim right now.” While this whole scene along with a confessional explained her actions from tribal council well, it came across messy and harassing. This is why she has Negative tone for this episode.
Her confessional put her in a messy position in the game. She basically told us that she is only begrudgingly in the “damn” majority alliance, but she doesn’t like everybody in it. She wanted to repair her relationship with Zeke and Adam “to the point where we can work together, or maybe even Adam and Zeke can make a move using me.” “Use me!” she said, showing that she’s okay with being used as a tool by others if she’s unable to build strong enough relationships to navigate collaboratively.
We’re left wondering if she has any solid connections in the game. Michelle was able to sway her vote, but the trust seemed to be one directional. She didn’t tell Hannah the plan until the last possible minute, and gave Hannah no explanation, expecting Hannah to blindly trust her: “Michelle says, ‘Trust me, we have the numbers.’ And suddenly, I couldn’t think of anything else.” Then, we never saw a follow-up to that conversation. The edit didn’t satisfy us with a trust-clinching scene between Michelle and Hannah.
Despite the continued messiness in execution, Hannah showed awareness. “I did what I felt was best for my game,” and it was. Her name was kept out of the bottom this episode. She knows she needs to repair her relationships. Her journey will be to act with more clarity and to avoid being a tool to others.
What can we say about Paul that hasn’t already been said? His edit was obviously leading towards a downfall. As we said last week, he was presented as out of touch, egotistical and wrong. It was setting him up for a sneak attack, and that is exactly what happened. If only all edits were as easy to read as Paul’s.
It isn’t worth going into great detail here as Paul’s flaws were obvious. The edit undermined him as much as possible. “Back from the dead, ” he said. Only to end up dead in the game by the episode’s end. He said he was going into the ocean to bring back fish for the tribe, but all he brought back was excuses. “Let me see if I’m as good as I think I am because I think I’m really good,” he said while the edit showed him falling over in the water. Contrast to Ken who said he was going to catch some fish and did. Ken pretty much spelled out Paul’s character arc “Do you not see that time and time again he says something and doesn’t follow through?” Yes, Ken, we saw. He also received a bunch of negative SPV from CeCe, David, and even Figgy.
We said last week that Paul is always putting on a show, with the edit showing him tossing his hair, shadow boxing, etc. In this episode he was literally putting on a show at the summit for the Millenials, talking about his rock band and roasting David. That show came to an abrupt end for the rock star pirate. At tribal council, he said “I’m sure I’ll be sitting there one day, and I won’t feel good about it either” referring to the three people on the bottom being on the outs. The irony was that he was in their position at that very moment and didn’t feel bad about it because he didn’t know. Out of touch and oblivious until the very end. Overall Paul remains an OTTN character. He wasn’t portrayed as a nasty or horrible person, just egotistical, boastful and wrong.
Figgy received a more tame edit than usual this week but was still one of the biggest Millennial presences in the game. When everyone came back from tribal council, Adam and Zeke congratulated everyone on the move and Michelle showed humility by saying she felt bad. Contrast that to Figgy’s confessional when she said, “People who write down Figgy’s name go home.” It was at precisely this moment that we knew Adam and Zeke would be safe this episode because Figgy is always wrong. It turns out being a reliably incorrect narrator is still a form of narration that helps guide the episode. Furthermore, this statement continued her theme of arrogance and lacking humility. Rather than seeing getting votes as a flaw in her game that she needs to correct, which even her ally Michelle pointed out at tribal council last episode, Figgy just gets angry and wants to lash out at those who voted for her.
Despite treating her enemies terribly in a game about maintaining good connections, she was shown telling her allies to visit her in Nashville, while they were literally lying all around her and listening to her, which shows she is at least trying to connect more deeply with them.
All her SPV (second person visibility) this episode backed up this perception of her. Adam said she “sucks at Survivor” then named all the flaws we’ve been seeing (that she and Taylor are an obvious, threatening pair, which the Previously On Survivor segment validated, calling them a “power couple”). Michaela said she doesn’t like Figgy, is sneaky, and doesn’t trust her. Hannah said she doesn’t like everybody in the “damn majority alliance,” and while the camera didn’t pan to anyone, we’ve seen her speak negatively of the Figgy, Taylor, and Jay faction in the past. Even Figgy’s own ally Jay said, “I really hope Figgy and Tails don’t start making out, because then we’re gonna look like a bunch of idiots,” and after the immunity challenge, he shushed Figgy when she tried to offer her opinion regarding the request for fishing gear. In other words, Jay is starting to treat her like a silent partner, aka a number. All of this negativity leads to a third straight week of Negative tone for Figgy.
The interesting aspect of Figgy’s edit this week was around the summit. She laid low, casually lied about the romantic nature of her relationship with Taylor, and spoke positively and vaguely about her tribe saying no one was “looking for any idols.” She had a confessional discussing how she was “trying to learn if [CeCe and David] are on the outs, if there’s any division in [the Gen X] tribe.” And she proved successful at this, reading them perfectly, feeding into their agitation around Paul, acknowledging that he did seem bossy. All of this was strategically sound content that led to her CP rating for this episode.
Figgy continues to be labeled the unlikable threat, now complete with a posse. We also know from Adam, Figgy needs to go home for Adam to have any power in the game. Just because he said he needs it, doesn’t mean it will actually happen. What it does is simply intrinsically link his game to hers for the time being.
We got very little of Michaela this episode, but everything we did get showed thoughtfulness and sympathy. Adam clearly explained the tribe breakdown, calling out the tight “four” that is the “Triforce.” We know Adam is correct in his assessment here because we’ve seen countless scenes of those four sealing their alliance. It’s up to Michaela to see whether or not Adam is talking sense, and the verdict was, “Adam gives me different things to think about.” So she may not see the truth of her situation just yet, but she’s open-minded to Adam’s pitches.
She then said that she’s “not making any decisions right now. I’m just watching and… thinking and… my gut will tell me something when the time comes.” She is letting the game come to her and not overplaying it. She will continue to observe and allow people to run things by her. She’ll think on them. “When the time comes,” when she has to go to tribal council, that’s when she’ll use all that information and make a gut call. This is her strategy in this phase of the game, and this whole scene clinched her CP rating for this episode.
As a little bonus, after the Gen X tribe denied the Millennials a trade for fishing gear, Michaela got to provide her thoughts on it. “If they were our parents, they would have said yes, but we’re already beating them, so they don’t want to make us stronger. That makes sense.” She demonstrated an understanding of and sympathy towards their decision, which are essential qualities to build connections and advance in the game.
Michaela’s edit started off slow, then took us through rough waters with her interactions with Figgy, and now we’re in a calm where she’s truly able to demonstrate her gamesmanship. Her chances are looking great.
This episode was the birth of Adam’s strategic edit. Up until now, he’s just been our Greek Chorus, validating our feelings and opinions about the people around him and what’s been going on in the game. Though he went to tribal council last week, his thoughts on how he voted were shielded from us. This week, we got a deep look into how he handles defeat and his plans to bounce back.
Last week at tribal council, when Mari was voted out, Adam said, “Well done.” We opened this episode with Millennials coming back to camp from tribal council, and Adam said, “Well played, everybody…Taylor, Figgy, hats off to you guys.” This belabors the point that Adam appreciates the game and handles defeat with grace. While Zeke dwelled on the two of them being “fools,” Adam got a confessional showing hopefulness. “Now I’m gonna have to play from the bottom and it’s going to take a lot of work to, uh, get back into a position of power. But I wouldn’t count me out. I think I can get back up to the top again.”
We then saw him state his plans to get to the top. “If Figgy goes home, there would be a shift, and that’s what I need to happen in order to have some semblance of power here.” The gauntlet has been thrown, and we know exactly what to look for to see Adam have any power in the game. We then saw him trying to work on this plan by accurately calling out the tribe’s power dynamics to Michaela. Michaela expressed that she was listening to Adam and thinking about what he told her, validating that he was making some headway. The rise from defeat, plan of attack, and execution all gave Adam a CP rating for this episode.
It’s important to note that, just because Adam is a reliable narrator, doesn’t mean that he will achieve his goals. He has stated his goals, and we can believe that those goals are what he needs to achieve to succeed. Per his statement, we will not count him out. But we never heard him say that he will get his way in this game. He merely said he “thinks” he can, and is taking us on a journey with him to get there.
The other noteworthy bit for Adam this episode was that we finally also started getting some personal development. We learned that “It’s been (his) dream since (he) was nine years old to play this game and have this experience.” Unlike Will, he didn’t just drily state that he’s a superfan. He painted a picture for us and told us of a dream, which gives us a stronger emotional tie to Adam as a character. The edit is drawing us into his story, so all signs point to a longer journey.
After falling to invisible last week, Jessica returned to a CP rating in Episode 3. We said last time that Jessica seemed to have a circumstantial edit – only used when necessary to the plot. Well as she was the driving force behind the women flipping on the alliance this week, it made sense for her to receive decent air-time. She received the most strategic content and was also called one “of the most humble people here” by Ken. All of this good stuff on the surface.
She was shown to be sympathetic and understanding of Ken’s plight throughout the episode. She was the person Ken approached to try and turn the vote against Paul. Ken told her that Paul is just out for himself, that he doesn’t contribute and is rubbing people the wrong way. Jessica listened and demonstrated understanding but also said she wanted to stick to her alliance. “Ken wants to vote out Paul, but I’ve committed myself to these six who are my best bet going forward.” The fact that she didn’t stick with those six implies that she might have hurt her chances going forward.
Later in the episode, Jessica was shown to be paranoid about “the boys.” When CeCe asked what the vote was, Jessica said: “I think the boys are working out the details.” CeCe responded “Ugh.” It was foreshadowing of feeling left out by the boys. In her conversation with Paul, she brought up her concerns about a potential boys alliance, “As long as you guys aren’t doing a boys thing…” And then, of course, Paul’s answer was what set her on the path of flipping. The interesting thing here is that the episode focused on her friendships with Bret and Chris quite a bit (the scene we mentioned in Bret’s section), and she even said herself that she could be “hurting two individuals that I’ve worked with, Bret and Chris.” It suggests that Jessica could take the brunt of the backlash for this vote.
The thing to question here is, was the episode giving Jessica credit for this move against Paul? If so, was this presented as the right move for Jessica? Or was the episode supposed to suggest that Ken actually made this move happen and benefited him the most? There was an interesting shot at tribal council when she said, “I’m hoping that the result helps the tribe move forward as a tribe. I understand there’s divisions but we need to focus on winning the next challenge and that’s not gonna take six of us. It’s going to take everyone who’s left.” And she then looked knowingly at Ken, like the message was directly to him. It harkened back to their earlier talk where he said Paul was the one causing tension and lack of unity. Jessica ultimately listened to Ken and made a move that might not have been to her benefit in the long run.
David continues to receive the most significant air-time and once again had the most confessionals. As each episode passes, his edit becomes more balanced. In the first episode, he was the totally paranoid, scaredy-pants. Last week he started to come out of his shell, made fire and found an idol while forming a bond with Ken. This week he cemented his bonds and also was the first person that called the shot on Paul as the next target. However, there are still ominous signs in David’s edit.
The good stuff for David is that he told us he would never give up. He is always ready to make a move. He’s achieving all his Survivor dreams. He also undermined Chris again, just like when he found the idol last week. When Chris said he wanted to make connections with the Millennials, it was actually David who got the main focus of connecting with Figgy and Taylor. Also, when CeCe kept repeating how the Millennials call Ken “Ken Doll,” it was David who said, “That’s not a fun nickname for him.” It showed us that David is emotionally connected to Ken and knows him well. At tribal council, David told us that “This experience is helping me cope with my anxiety.” All of this looks good for David.
The bad stuff for David surrounds his willingness to throw out trust and make deals. He offers his loyalty almost with no second thought. In this episode, he told Taylor that he trusted him and wanted to work with him come a swap or merge. He’d only met Taylor a couple of hours ago and was already promising him loyalty and deals. It is now the third time we’ve seen David do this. In the first episode, he promised his trust and loyalty to Bret, Chris, and Jessica. In episode two he promised it to Ken. And now here he goes again. Is this telling us that David shouldn’t be trusted? Is it setting him up to betray somebody? He told Taylor that he’d be willing to vote out any of his Gen X tribemates and followed that up in a confessional saying, “Come a swap, if it’s three Millennials and two Gen X, I’m getting rid of that other Gen X.” Which seems like obvious foreshadowing.
David is clearly positioned as one of the season’s biggest characters, win, lose or draw.
Ken is by far the most positively toned (in rating and body) person this season. Each week we seem to learn something new about Ken that is meant to endear the audience towards him. In the first episode, we found out that he lived off the grid and was handy out in the elements. In episode two we learned that he is shy and introverted and was somewhat of an outcast as a kid, and in this episode, we had the story of the “Ken Doll” and how people used to call him that as a younger man. He reacted to it with a funny line, “When you’re a boy, the last thing you want to be referred to is a plastic Barbie with no penis.” As viewers, we are clearly meant to like and root for Ken.
His positive tone was backed up by his SPV. CeCe called him the “most humblest guy” on multiple occasions. He was also shown as the opposite to Paul. While Paul boasted of his skills (like fishing) and failed to deliver, Ken succeeded. “What I say I do, I wind up doing, 90% of the time.” So far Ken has been shown to back up everything he has claimed he can do. But what about that 10%? Did he leave room for error on purpose? Did the edit keep that line in to show that Ken has humility and understands the potential for human mistake? Or was it meant to signal that he will eventually do something wrong? Up until now, everything Ken has done has been right.
He told us that you need, “Strength in body and strength in mind to make it far in this game.” Showing an understanding of both the physical and mental skills needed to succeed in Survivor. He has backed up his physical strength in how he provides for the tribe and also in challenges (even though the Gen X tribe lost this week). Concerning mental strength, he was shown reaching out to Jessica and trying to put a strategy into place to remove Paul. Even though Jessica wasn’t receptive initially, by the end of the episode, she did end up ultimately doing what Ken wanted and even looked at him before the voting began. It’s hard to say who the edit was giving most credit to here. Were they trying to imply that Ken’s earlier words wormed their way into Jessica’s mind? Or were we simply meant to think that Paul’s misspoken words caused Jessica to flip and that Ken had nothing to do with any decision? Next week’s recap will likely answer this question.
It’s hard to find negatives in Ken’s edit, but if anything stood out as potentially damaging in this episode, it was his talk about the Millennials. At tribal council, Probst made his ridiculous speech about texting and vinyl and how Millennials are changing the language and making things more efficient. It was dumb, but we’re obviously meant to see this change as a good thing, especially when applied to the game of Survivor which is about seeing other options, changing and adapting. Ken acknowledged that it’s good to be efficient, but he also talked about how language is beautiful and poetic. He doesn’t want to lose sight of the past. He digs vinyl over digital. Now, was this meant just to come off as Ken’s romantic view of the world and make him more likable? Or was it implying that he won’t be as efficient as the Millennials? In episode one, Ken was the person telling his tribe not to underestimate the Millennials and their sharp minds, but here he was kind of presented as the antithesis of Millennial ways. Right now, it is minor compared to all Ken’s positives that set him up as a big contender, but it’s worth noting for the future.
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 and it kind of came up this week in Probst talking about how efficiently the Millennials worked together at the challenge and thought outside of the box.
-Cool Kids vs. Misfits – the Cool Kids have the majority numbers on the Millennials tribe and that was cemented in this episode, with Adam and Zeke positioned firmly on the outs. But we were shown Adam planning his way back into a position of power. Over on Gen X, the misfits of CeCe, David, and Ken managed to survive.
-David Out of Water – David still has one of the biggest edits and a large focus of that is on his fish-out-of-water persona. Probst touched on this story with him at tribal council where David said that the experience is helping him with his anxiety issues.
-Humility – This one ties into last week’s Real Life vs. Video Games theme a little bit. There was a large focus on showing humility in this episode, with the word “humble” used on more than one occasion. Ken, Jessica, and Sunday were all described as humble. Adam showed humility after being blindsided. Michelle showed humility in that she felt bad about the Mari vote. Paul didn’t show humility and was blindsided. Figgy didn’t show humility and still has people targeting her.
That’s it for this week’s Edgic. Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
Since Michelle was given hordes of praise form other players and the recap, and she was sound edited to be in charge of the puzzle I would give her a UTR positive.
That’s a good point. Dunno if it’s enough to qualify, but I personally agree.
Another amazing read, thank you guys so much for the in-depth analysis!
I like when you talk who has chance to win and who dont have.
Do you think Jessica will be a long-term character? Or short-term?
I agree with everything pretty much except I’d put Taylor as OTT and not MOR. And I might even say Hannah was more MOR than OTT.
A great read Shirin – well-reasoned and argued.
One random thought I had about Michelle: I’m not certain which way we are heading with her, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she is actually out sooner rather than later. As noted here she was given all the credit for last week’s vote – and if she is recognised by Zeke and Adam as the major strategic threat, I could see that backfiring on her in the event of a swap, or one of those two finding and using an idol.
Or she could be the winner; I dunno. I’m enjoying this season and can only see that increasing as things ramp up…
She could be in danger if she doesn’t work with Adam (as indicated by online confessional) or she and Jay aren’t part of a power shift. I think Figgy is still their prime target, considering the power couple aspect and her being a general bitch.
I honestly wonder if Jessica’s edit in Episode 2 was impacted by her pink eye. The few glimpses we caught of her last episode, her eyes were still REALLY bad. They couldn’t get away with not showing that in Episode 1, when she was too involved in the tribal council decision/action, but maybe they were using Episode 2 as an opportunity to let her heal. Given the intense, visceral reactions some people have had to seeing the infection, I could kind of understand if that was part of what production was thinking. So…. maybe last episode was an aberration and she will be a major character? Or maybe not. We shall see.
Players get ignored in episode 2 to preserve their longevity in the edit. It’s been done with Tasha, Carolyn, Keith in three of the last four seasons.
Top stuff. Really like this version of edgic that is more focused on overall story and theme, rather than just circling the winner ASAP.