Hello all, welcome to the Edit Bay! This weekly feature takes a dive into the edit of the latest Survivor episode, analyzing the key stories, main characters, and top winner contenders.
While intended as a condensed version of Edgic, for this season, I will be including my ratings for each castaway at the end of the article.
NEW ERA — The new era of the game continues to be the overarching theme of the season. Several players referenced it in the second episode.
Tiffany talked about the physical impact of the speeded-up game, saying, “I had a feeling that if it was gonna be 26 days, it was gonna be hardcore, and I was right. We have no food, not even half a cup of rice, so this is gonna be hell.”
Naseer also touched upon the physical toll of the new game (“meager supplies and faster game”), using it as a jumping-off point to talk about his past growing up in Sri Lanka.
The biggest cheerleader for the new era talk this episode, though, was Xander. Of course, a large part of this was because Xander found the Beware Advantage. But the soundbites he gave perfectly tied into this theme. “This season, you gotta throw all you know about Survivor out the window because this is a new game,” he said. “And I really gotta make sure that I’m prepared.”
As I said last week, the characters shown to accept and adapt to the new game will probably do well. Survivor will want to sell this new era as the toughest the show has ever been. And so, we will see people overcoming the odds and others succumbing to it. Those shown succeeding or at least welcoming the new game are the ones that stand out as contenders, or at least people that will go far.
Across the first two episodes, the people we’ve seen embracing the new era are Danny, Xander, Naseer, and, now, Deshawn. I worried about Deshawn last week because he immediately turned down the chance to go to Summit Island. However, this episode, he volunteered to go. We also saw him attempting to make fire, and even though he failed, he was shown being proactive.
Xander, however, continues to be the main proponent for the new game. More than anyone, he is thinking in a new way and not relying on Survivor of the past. “The numbers are certainly dwindling, and you can’t bank on the traditional Survivor swap or a merge coming,” he said. “We could be stuck with this group, and if it’s with the wrong people, we’re screwed.”
RISK VS. REWARD — Xander was also at the forefront of the Risk vs. Reward theme this week due to finding the Beward Advantage. Now, a lot of this could be circumstantial, as the edit had to show Xander finding the three-way idol instructions. That said, the episode gave Xander plenty of time to discuss his thought process regarding opening the advantage. And, once again, he embraced the new game.
But, as I said last week, the Risk vs. Reward theme doesn’t necessarily mean that just those who choose to risk will be favored. It all depends on how the edit presents a decision. Take Evvie, for example, who chose not to Risk their vote. The edit provided Evvie plenty of opportunity to discuss why risking their vote wasn’t the smart move. But we still saw them using the Summit as an opportunity to build a new alliance with Deshawn.
Deshawn, meanwhile, chose to Risk his vote and yet didn’t really get to talk about his decision. While he received a great personal flashback scene, the strategy side of things all came from Evvie’s perspective.
BRAD GONE MAD — There wasn’t a lot from the Ua tribe in this episode but what we did get was focus on Brad. After the previous Tribal Council, Brad had become worried about JD, and so, he decided to run across the beach and set up a Spy Shack to listen in on JD and Ricard.
“I thought we had a pretty good thing going, but at Tribal last night, [JD] was not consistent, and he was not predictable. That was a loose cannon going off,” Brad said. While it was good that Brad explained what he was doing, this whole scene was not presented in a positive way for the Wyoming cattle rancher.
The edit played this scene for irony. While Brad was talking about JD being unpredictable and a loose cannon, it was Brad who came across as the crazy one. “Oh my god,” an exasperated Shan said as Brad charged out of camp. She followed this up with a confessional, stating, “Brad is a little bit unpredictable.”
This ended with Shan snitching on Brad to Ricard, which led to Ricard not trusting Brad and wanting him out next. So the current story on Ua is Brad versus the world.
WE NEED NASEER — Again, very little air-time for the Luvu dynamics this week. However, Naseer continues to be a central focus. Last week, Naseer seemed to arouse suspicion for snitching on Danny and Deshawn. However, in this episode, he was portrayed as a valuable asset to the tribe’s survival and a likable personality.
Sydney said that the tribe had gone from wanting to learn from Naseer and then boot him to needing him around. “I think I’m leaning towards keeping Naseer, especially as we are getting to know him more,” she explained.
FIRECRACKER TIFFANY — After her positive edit last week, Tiffany took a bit of a tumble in Episode 2. She was portrayed as a loose cannon or a “firecracker,” as Liana referred to her.
The physical toll and paranoia of the game was shown to be getting to Tiffany. She told us that she was “completely exhausted” from the lack of food and we saw her struggling to cross the balance beam at the challenge. Now, you could say that her explaining the food situation provided a defense for her challenge failure. However, there is no real defense for what was shown post-challenge.
As Liana said, Tiffany was “all over the place” as she struggled to understand the rules of Xander’s advantage (again, tying back to the new era theme). Liana and Evvie worried about Tiffany “doing something stupid,” and both were growing frustrated as they tried to keep Tiffany calm.
The thing is, Tiffany was right in that she didn’t have anything to worry about at Tribal as Liana and Evvie ultimately stuck by her. But the consequences of this vote definitely seem like a story to keep an eye on as the season progresses. Will this decision backfire on Evvie and Liana in the long run?
IT’S PERSONAL — This week’s personal flashback scenes went to Deshawn and Naseer. It’s still too early to tell how important these flashbacks are in terms of the overall narrative. That said, it’s certainly not a bad thing.
The flashbacks gave us a better understanding of both Deshawn and Naseer and framed both men in a positive light. And for a tribe that has had very little air-time, it’s a good sign for Deshawn and Naseer that they are two of the more consistently featured players. Or perhaps it’s a sign that the first Luvu vote will ultimately come down to Deshawn vs. Naseer.
“SIDE STORIES / OTHER NOTES”
YOUNG AND THE RESTLESS — There was no real follow-up on this theme in Episode 2, giving more credence to it perhaps being a JD storyline only.
COMPLEX TRIBE — The jury’s still out on the complex tribe theory this season. Once again, Yase received the majority of the focus, but they attended Tribal again, plus Xander found the Beware Advantage and Evvie attended the Summit. So there was a lot of content here that featured Yase tribe members that had to be shown.
Does that mean Yase is the complex tribe simply through circumstance? Maybe. They are almost giving me Luzon vibes; the trainwreck tribe that features some of the season’s biggest characters. This means that whomever from Yase makes the merge could end up going deep but not necessarily come out on top as the winner.
Ua and Luvu didn’t receive much focus this episode, but Ua at least gave us a better understanding of the dynamics. We know that Brad distrusts JD, we know that Shan and Ricard are working together, we know that Ricard was trying to build a bridge with JD, and we know that Ricard and Shan now distrust Brad.
EVVIE, LIANA, & TIFFANY — This trio is the alliance that has had the most focus so far, but it is not without its problems. There is a chaotic element to this threesome.
Evvie is currently presented as the head of the alliance, the one that receives the most strategic insight in confessionals. We always know what Evvie is thinking, both in relation to their individual game, their place in this alliance, and their relationships beyond this alliance. Liana is the number two; she is shown as smart and level-headed but playing second fiddle to Evvie edit-wise. And Tiffany is the wildcard, causing potential problems for the trio going forward.
We saw Evvie and Liana talking about how Tiffany could mess things up for them in the future. And we also saw how badly they wanted to take out a “dangerous player” like Xander. Yet, in the end, they kept Tiffany and Xander. This could suggest a potential blow-up for this alliance down the road.
SHAN & RICARD — This pair is tightly linked in the edit. We saw Shan filling Ricard in on Brad’s spying. Shan asked Ricard if they were each others’ number one, to which he confirmed. And, in a follow-up confessional, Ricard referred to Shan as his “closest ally.”
I think this is a good sign for the pair, at least for the time being. However, it should be noted that we never heard Shan talk about Ricard in confessional. We don’t know if she really considers him her number one or how closely she wants to work with him moving forward. What we know from Episode 1 is that Shan is playing everybody.
EVVIE & DESHAWN — This was a pairing formed at the Summit, which could become important down the line. It’s hard sometimes to judge these cross-tribal alliances, as often it can merely be circumstance putting them together. However, it felt like these two were given a significant amount of focus in regards to working together later in the game.
The below list is just the edits that currently stand out. It doesn’t mean that all those not mentioned are out of contention.
- She received follow-up focus in Episode 2 despite limited air-time for the Ua tribe.
- Shown to be a proactive player with connections, this episode confirming her relationship with Ricard, who told us Shan is his closest ally.
- She had a really strong intro confessional in the premiere where she laid out her game: “Listen, I am the mafia pastor, okay… I am half Italian, half Jamaican. That means I’m cutthroat, okay. Like I will pray for you and walk you out the door at the same time.”
- In the premiere, she talked about “active listening,” getting people to trust her, and establishing bonds. All of this in aid of being able to cut people’s throats without them seeing her coming. She even had a fun moment of creating her own soundtrack.
- It was shown that Shan’s strategy was working as even though she lost on the puzzle, she wasn’t shown to be in danger. Ricard even said, “I would be really surprised if they voted out Shan.” And it seemed like it was Shan’s choice on which way the vote went.
- At the first Ua Tribal, Shan was at the center, with everyone coming to her to ask what the plan was and what she wanted.
- Is potentially on the complex tribe?
- No flashback sequence, though we don’t know yet quite how significant that is or isn’t.
- Shan has yet to tell us who she genuinely wants to work with and move forward with in the game. However, this might not be hugely important for Shan because she described her strategy as making bonds with everyone and then cutting their throats.
- There was no follow-up on why she ultimately voted out Sara over JD last week.
- It isn’t necessarily always a good thing to be shown as in control so early. Shan might be too out in front, which we know is rare for a woman’s winner edit (but maybe times are changing!).
- There was so much focus on being the cutthroat pastor that it could signal that Shan is just going to be a major player that will make big moves rather than a winner.
- They once again received a lot of complex strategic content in Episode 2. We always know what Evvie is thinking and why they make their decisions (for example, this episode, Evvie explained how men always get credit over women at the end of the game).
- Decided not to risk their vote but was provided the opportunity to explain this choice in a way that made sense for their game.
- They are presented as the center of the Yase tribe and we have a good understanding of their relationships with each tribe member.
- They received a solid intro confessional (the first confessional of the season, for a matter of fact).
- Has a clearly defined alliance with Liana and Tiffany and a separate cross-tribal alliance with Deshawn. We also saw that Xander and Voce trusted Evvie.
- Previously received positive comments from Liana about being authentic and genuine. And, again, this episode, Liana talked about how well she and Evvie work together.
- In the premiere, Evvie told us some personal info about studying for a Ph.D. in human evolutionary biology and how that ties into Survivor and will help their game.
- Correctly read the situation in sending Xander to the summit in the premiere in that they could trust him to tell the truth.
- Evvie always gets to comment on the big moments, including Xander’s Extra Vote and now his Beware Advantage.
- Is on what is potentially the complex tribe.
- No flashback sequence, though we don’t know yet quite how significant that is or isn’t.
- Talked a lot about how much of a threat Xander is and how dangerous he could be due to his advantages, and yet, they kept him in the game.
- Evvie also mentioned that Xander “really, really trusts” them, but wanted to vote him out, blindsided him, and gave away his secrets to Deshawn at the Summit.
- They worried about Tiffany potentially being a loose cannon and causing problems down the line but voted with Tiffany to take out Voce. This could come back to haunt Evvie.
- Evvie has received a lot of air-time and strategic content very early, which might be too much too soon.
- He’s the main proponent of the “new era” and “risk versus reward” theme.
- While he didn’t get a full intro confessional, he did receive a one-sentence intro in the premiere.
- Even though his advantage-find content could be considered circumstantial, he has provided his strategic thinking behind his choices.
- Others have described him as a “dangerous” player and a threat. While this could paint him as a target, it could also set him up as someone who will be tough to get out.
- Is potentially on the complex tribe.
- He not only hasn’t had a flashback sequence, but he hasn’t received any personal content at all so far.
- While he has provided strategic insight, a lot of his content could be considered circumstantial.
- Even though he was a target in Episode 2 and survived the vote, we didn’t see the vote from his perspective. Instead, the edit presented it more as Tiffany saving herself and Evvie & Liana making the choice, rather than Xander doing anything to change his fate.
- He said, “I’ve got my two closest allies, Evvie and Voce, and I feel like they’ve got my back.” This was proved wrong as Evvie voted out Voce and originally wanted to target Xander.
- He received a flashback sequence in the first episode that provided some nice personal content. In this, he also explained his reasons for wanting to play Survivor.
- He has provided strategic insight across both episodes so far, so we have a decent idea of where his head is at.
- Shown to be close with Shan, going so far as to call her his closest ally. It’s always good to have an alliance/duo scene early.
- He correctly called that Brad believes JD has an idol, something Brad himself said in his confessional. This shows that Ricard has good game awareness.
- There are potential feuds/stories with both JD and Brad, which could suggest longevity or at least importance in the narrative.
- He’s on potentially the complex tribe.
- He didn’t receive an intro confessional in the premiere, and his first actual confessional came fairly late in the episode.
- Despite wanting JD out last week, he ended up voting Sara, and there was no follow-up explanation for his change this episode.
- While he referred to Shan as his closest ally, we haven’t heard how Shan truly feels about Ricard. We know that Shan is playing everyone based on her episode one confessionals, so this could suggest Ricard has put too much trust in her.
- She’s shown to have good game awareness. In the premiere, she correctly called that the men would be pitching a “keep the tribe strong” plan, which was immediately backed up in the edit. This week, she said she worried about Tiffany doing “something stupid,” and later in the episode we saw Tiffany change the Xander plan due to her unwarranted paranoia.
- She received one of the clearest alliance/pair-building scenes in the first episode and was the one to comment on it in confessional. That alliance was expanded upon in Episode 2, with Evvie and Tiffany both mentioning Liana in confessional. “I also feel most comfortable with Liana and Tiff,” said Evvie. “I’m sitting pretty with Evvie and Liana,” said Tiffany.
- Liana was highly sought after throughout the second episode. Xander and Voce both said they needed her on their side, and, as already mentioned, Evvie and Tiffany spoke of trusting her.
- She was the first to name Abraham as the target in confessional in the premiere.
- She appears in a lot of the camp strategy talks and also shares her thoughts in confessional, but she is not over-exposed like Evvie.
- She is on what is potentially the complex tribe.
- She didn’t receive an intro confessional and still hasn’t had a flashback sequence. In fact, much like Xander, Liana hasn’t really had any personal content.
- Much like Evvie, Liana pushed for Xander to go home and worried about how dangerous he would be down the line. But she ultimately kept Xander in the game. This could come back to bite her.
- Similarly, she mentioned Tiffany being a firecracker that could cause issues for the alliance going forward. But she stuck by Tiffany at the vote. Again, this could come back to haunt her.
- Once again, she said she trusts Evvie and likes working with her. This time we at least heard Evvie say they are comfortable with Liana, but we also know that Evvie is not above lying and spilling secrets. When Liana said she feels authenticity from Evvie in the premiere, it was followed by Evvie admitting to lying about her studies.
- Her first confessional of the season wasn’t the greatest, as she just talked about Yase sucking in the first challenge and how they were all idiots. If anything, this could be setting up Yase as the underdogs.
- JD had a BIG premiere, so the cooldown in Episode 2 wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. And we still got a camp scene from him, plus others talking about him. So the edit kept him present.
- He told Ricard that he wasn’t sure if he could trust Brad anymore. This was proven to be a correct read, as Brad had admitted to losing trust with JD (plus he was spying on his conversation).
- Despite Ricard wanting JD out last week, he ended up keeping him and this week was trying to make amends with him.
- He received a solid intro confessional in the premiere.
- He made fire in the premiere and was presented in a positive light. His talk of preparing for the game before the game showed him as someone who is willing to fight hard.
- He was shown to embrace the “new era” of Survivor, talking about how stoked he was to go on the summit trek.
- He received a flashback sequence in the premiere where he talked about his past being bulled as a kid and how Survivor gave him strength and inspired him.
- JD has a potential “youth” storyline that was hit upon in the first episode.
- While the Episode 2 cooldown is okay, not getting to comment in confessional about the Brad situation or the last Tribal could be a bad thing.
- Ricard did say he was making amends with JD but just “to keep him calm.” So this could signal that the relationship isn’t solid long-term.
- He received various negative comments in the premiere, and Brad called him a “loose cannon” this episode (though Brad wasn’t exactly backed up in the edit).
- Ricard didn’t believe JD was telling the whole truth about the Summit in Episode 1, despite JD believing everyone ate it up.
- He also told his tribe that he led the way in the trek, even though we saw him struggling on the trek and falling on his butt.
- We still don’t have a real sense of who JD wants to work with long-term.
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Martin thank you for these! Watching Survivor is doubly better with Edgic, and you’re the best in the biz at it. I really like these features of the Edit Bay, and I think the account for stuff that others Edgicers miss– the thematic things that Probst and the rest put so much stock in. Cheers