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Survivor: Winners At War Episode 3 – The Edit Bay


What is the edit telling us after episode 3?

Photo: CBS

Hello all, welcome to the Edit Bay, a swanky island resort located just south of the Edge of Extinction. As you may know, I’ve decided not to write Edgic this season due to a mix of fatigue and not having the time or desire to do a deep dive edit analysis on a season with the EOE in play. However, because readers have been asking for some form of edit-based content, I’ve decided to create the Edit Bay as a happy compromise. I won’t be assigning ratings or breaking down every character, instead, I will offer some “hot takes,” if you will, on the narrative arcs and top winner contenders.

THE STORIES

“MAIN HEADLINES”

OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL — This storyline drove most of the action at the Sele tribe in the last episode. The New School uprising hinted at in previous weeks finally came to fruition as the new-schoolers made their move by blindsiding Ethan. It almost felt like a natural conclusion to this Old School vs. New School battle. And given there are only two old-schoolers left on the tribe now, I suspect this story to fade as new narratives emerge on the Sele beach moving forward.

FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — Whether you love them or hate them, the fire tokens continue to receive a significant focus each week. At this point, Natalie is pretty much the fire token mascot, accumulating wealth on the Edge of Extinction while talking up the value of the tokens and what it means to her game.

As I said last week, it’s hard to tell whether Natalie is the main protagonist of the fire token story long-term or whether her focus right now is purely circumstantial. I think it could possibly be a bit of both. Yes, they have to show Natalie because she is the one finding all the advantages, but that also means she has the best chance to make an impact with the tokens. And it’s worth mentioning that Natalie has a very positive edit and is made to look smart and one step ahead of her competition, which at least means the audience is supposed to support Natalie in her “peasant to token billionaire” arc.

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TONY ON PROBATION — While Tony didn’t speak specifically on his strategy this week, he continued to be shown as a fun, likable presence around camp. His grappling with the shark was presented as a light-hearted and humorous moment that had his fellow tribemates laughing. All of this relates back to his premiere confessional about holding back on the crazy strategy/idol hunting and, instead, sticking around camp so that everyone lowers their guards around him. From what we’ve seen so far, this appears to be working.

There was also a neat little moment that may or may not have been intentional. Later, when Tony describes the shark scene back at camp, he mentions twice that the shark was “playing dead.” That could be an analogy for Tony’s game—he wants everyone to get comfortable around him before he strikes with his “sucker-punch.”

ADAM THE RAT — I feel like this is going to be the next major story at the Sele tribe now that Old School vs. New School is drawing to a close. Adam was exposed last week as playing both sides. He ended up annoying both allies and enemies alike, to the point where he was left entirely out of the vote. Now he has a lot of scrambling to do to get back in his tribe’s good graces.

The big question is whether Adam can rectify his mistakes and regain the trust of his allies or if his game will crash and burn. Either way, I expect him to be at the center of the drama on the blue tribe in the upcoming episode.

“SIDE STORIES”

SANDRA VS. TYSON — This story seemed to be intentionally set-up last week for a future showdown. In an effort to get himself off the bottom, Tyson threw out Sandra’s name to Sophie and Yul. The problem was, Yul then told the Queen what Tyson said. “There is no way Tyson is going to come after me and not pay the price for it,” said Sandra, who we all know is one to hold a grudge.

I expect this budding rivalry to come to a head sooner rather than later. But who will come out on top? Based on the last episode, and the way Yul undermined what Tyson said about Sandra, plus the fact Sandra is aware of Tyson’s plan, it makes me lean in favor of Sandra. The fact she has an idol helps too. But a lot will depend on what kind of follow-up we get this week.

Tyson

MICHELE HAS SOMETHING TO PROVE — This small story from the premiere returned in this episode. Michele previously talked about the pressure to prove herself this season, and she reiterated that here. “I do feel pressure coming into this season; people didn’t think I deserved my win, but I feel like I am proving that they were wrong,” she said before heading to Tribal Council.

Interestingly, even though Michele & Jeremy were presented as a duo, the proverbial swing votes/decision-makers of Sele, it was Michele that received most of the confessional content, plus the credit for putting Ethan’s name out there as a target. That at least hints that Michele’s story is more important than Jeremy’s. Whether this “proving myself” story can become a long-term arc remains to be seen, but it’s definitely got legs.

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

COPS R US — Sarah and Tony received their second alliance scene this episode in one of the funniest scenes in recent memory. This scene followed on from last week, where Sarah told us the Cops R Us alliance could work as long as nobody knew about it. Here, the blue bloods were literally in stealth mode in the middle of the night, all in an effort for Sarah to retrieve a Vote Steal advantage.

Now, you could argue that this scene would be shown no matter what, given how funny it was. However, I feel like if the Cops R Us duo wasn’t important to the narrative, then a lot of this could have been cut for time. Instead, Sarah detailed why she was bringing her “partner” into the plan, and Tony got a confessional of his own explaining the tactics. We even got a secret finger-gun handshake! It also followed up on what Tony said last week about “making it up” to Sarah and helping her out.

JEREMY & MICHELE — I think we can call this an official alliance at this point, seeing as Jeremy and Michele were the driving force of the Sele vote last week. As I mentioned before, we’ve seen this pair talking strategy on several occasions, and again, in the latest episode, they walked the beach, weighing up their options. However, once again, neither Jeremy nor Michele spoke directly about each other or this alliance in confessional. That is the one thing missing when you compare it to the likes of Sarah & Tony, Adam & Denise, Rob & Parvati, and Sophie & Yul.

JeremyMichele

ADAM & DENISE — There was good and bad for this pairing in the latest episode. Firstly, they received a scene at the start, including a flashback that showed Adam returned his half of the idol to Denise. They then went on to discuss voting for Parvati. This is good because, until now, a lot of Adam & Denise’s content together was arguably circumstantial, but here they had focus not influenced by external factors.

The bad news is that Denise did not vote with Adam against Parvati. Adam was left out of the Ethan vote, and so that throws into question the level of trust in this pairing. If this pair is essential long-term, then I expect a solid follow-up next episode where both parties reaffirm trust.

PARVATI & ROB — The last remaining old-schoolers on Sele, Parvati and Rob have been aligned since the start, but things are looking precarious for this duo moving forward numbers-wise. Two weeks in a row, we’ve seen Rob demonstrate his loyalty to Parvati by trying to switch the vote away from her. But, as we saw with the Ethan vote, this could be to his own detriment.

SOPHIE & YUL — There hasn’t been a follow-up on this pairing since the premiere, but we did see them together when Tyson was pitching his Sandra vote. Now, Dakal hasn’t been to Tribal since the premiere, so I can give some leeway, but I think this duo needs air-time next episode to remain long-term important.

“TENUOUS RELATIONSHIPS”

THE FREE AGENTS — I’ve had to move this alliance down a notch because we haven’t seen any follow-up since the premiere. Nick and Wendell have been practically invisible, and even Sophie was nowhere to be seen in the past episode. The only one of the group to receive a confessional last week was Yul, but he didn’t speak about this alliance.

SANDRA, SARAH, & TONY — Similar to the above, we haven’t had a follow-up on this alliance as a trio since the premiere. We know that Sarah and Tony are tight, but we’re not as sure where Sandra falls into the group at this point.

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SANDRA & YUL — We saw Yul talking to Sandra and giving her a heads up regarding Tyson’s plotting. And, in confessional, Yul told us that he wanted to keep tribe morale high and how Sandra was a big part of that. This could potentially be the start of something, but we didn’t hear Sandra’s thoughts on Yul, so, right now, it feels like it’s more about the “Sandra vs. Tyson” story rather than an alliance with Yul.

BEN & DENISE — While they were involved in some of the same discussions, there was no direct content revolving around this pairing. We know that Denise previously said she trusted Ben, but that’s it.

KIM & SOPHIE — Absolutely no follow-up on this relationship after Kim shared her idol with Sophie in the previous episode. That makes me think it was mostly circumstantial. And with Sophie’s “don’t tell the devil” confessional, I suspect this isn’t meant to be seen as a solid alliance.

THE CONTENDERS

The below list is just the edits that currently stand out. It doesn’t mean that all those not mentioned are out of contention. 

TONY

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • A consistent story arc and strategy across each episode about playing down his threat level and lowering the guards of his fellow players.
  • A clear alliance with Sarah, which has received focus in back-to-back episodes. Both Tony and Sarah have talked about the alliance in confessional, which makes it seem important.
  • Presented as a likable presence around camp, and other than Tyson throwing his name out in the premiere, Tony’s name has not come up as a target. 
  • Is part of the complex tribe. 

Cons:

  • Sarah said Cops R Us could work as long as nobody knows about it. This might mean the alliance falls apart later down the line if it becomes public knowledge. 
  • The focus on Tony’s likability around camp could be setting him up as a social threat this time around. 

YUL

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • He receives a lot of strategic focus.
  • He is part of an established duo with Sophie.
  • He formed the “free agents” alliance.
  • We often hear his thoughts on the tribe dynamics and how it plays into his game.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • No follow-up on his alliances, either with Sophie or the “free agents” since the premiere.
  • No real personal content, all very strategy-focused. 
  • Was one-upped by Tony in the previous episode’s breadfruit scene.
  • Sophie previously referred to him as her “nerd-shield,” which means he could be voted out ahead of her.

SOPHIE

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit. 
  • She is part of an alliance in the “free agents” group.
  • She is part of an established duo with Yul.
  • She received a significant amount of focus and narration in the first two episodes.
  • We know about her “nerd-shield” strategy.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • No content in the latest episode outside of challenge focus, though this could be an intentional cool-down. 
  • No follow-up on her alliances, either with Yul or the free agents, in the past two episodes. 
  • Her “don’t tell the devil” confessional regarding Kim and the idol in the previous episode could suggest a villainous arc. 
  • No follow-up on her relationship with Kim.

TYSON 

Pros: 

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • Continues to be a presence in each episode despite Dakal not attending Tribal since the premiere. 
  • He is shown to be aware of his position and is taking steps to change his fate. 
  • He explained his reasoning for targeting Sandra.
  • Has a potential underdog story, tying back to his “survival mode” confessional from the premiere.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • He doesn’t have a solid relationship or alliance scene yet, and we’re three episodes in at this point. 
  • Yul and the edit undermined his reasoning for targeting Sandra. Tyson said that Sandra was the weakest member of Dakal, but she was shown catching a shark and feeding the tribe. He told Yul & Sophie that Sandra’s game is to divide the tribe, but this followed a confessional where Sandra told us her strategy this time around is to show her worth to the tribe. And her shark catch brought everyone together, which Yul said contributed to the tribe’s high morale. “I know Tyson is targeting Sandra, but I don’t want to lose Sandra,” Yul said.

SARAH

Pros:

  • A clear alliance with Tony, which has received focus in back-to-back episodes. Both Sarah and Tony have talked about the alliance in confessional, which makes it seem important.
  • She has received focus in each episode, including a flashback to her previous seasons. 
  • She has received some personal content about her job as a police officer.

Cons:

  • An underwhelming premiere edit.
  • Tony is presented as the more important member of Cops R Us, given his focus outside of the alliance.
  • She said Cops R Us could work as long as nobody knows about it. This might mean the alliance falls apart later down the line if it becomes public knowledge. 
  • She doesn’t have an individual defined strategy outside of her alliance with Tony. 
  • A lot of her content in the latest episode could have been circumstantial.

MICHELE

As I’ve said before, I’m pretty low on anyone from Sele winning, but I like to at least keep one or two in the conversation for the sake of balance.

Pros:

  • She has a clear storyline of wanting to prove herself, which was first mentioned in the premiere and reiterated in the latest episode.
  • She was given credit as the first person to name Ethan as the target.
  • She is in an alliance with Jeremy and is presented as the more important member of that partnership, receiving all the confessionals and strategy talk in this episode.

Cons:

  • She had a very under the radar premiere.
  • She doesn’t have any well-defined relationships, even her alliance with Jeremy hasn’t been talked about directly in confessional.
  • A “proving myself” story doesn’t necessarily have to be a winning story, it could be something similar to Kelley Wentworth in Cambodia, where she makes big moves and/or a deep run.
  • She isn’t part of the complex tribe.

Martin is a 31-year-old writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously ET Canada and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull.



  • Jeremy Lahr

    Hi Martin,
    Great write-up as usual! Do you think there is any chance of Natalie winning? She has always been presented in a positive light, and there was the confessional in the first episode (said by Nick) that the person who wins this season will be the one who uses the Fire Tokens the best. I’m not super high on someone from Sele winning either, but I feel like this is something.

  • Alex Gomory Keisler

    I think Michele is getting this season’s “Growth Arc.” She’s going to be the player who learns, grows, improves, and leaves the game with something worth more than the money. The fact that such a boring and unpopular winner as Michele got the key strategy content over a fan favorite like Jeremy is quite telling. It’s not hard to guess that she’s going to be shown as a much more active player this season than she was in Kaoh Rong. I don’t see her winning though. Putting aside the fact that a jury of winners won’t want the legendary winner of winners to be the cast member who came into the game with the worst reputation out of all of them, nothing we’ve seen about Michele points towards her winning the game. It points to her proving her haters wrong. So I’m going to guess that she makes a deep run in the game and falls short. Although, if Sele continues the way they’ve been going, they’ll boot Michele to “weaken” Jeremy.

  • Red

    I dont think someone who goes to the edge is winning the game. (Unless that person is Rob cause ill never give up on Rob) I think that the edge will be inconciquential I the out come