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.
First of all, it must be said, Episode 4’s edit was far better than the previous week and was enough to give me renewed hope for this season. The advantages finally took a back seat to tribe dynamics and camp life, giving us a better understanding of the stories at play and the character motivations.
That’s not to say this was a perfect episode. There are still gaps in the narrative and developments that seemingly happen out of nowhere. And this is due to the lack of cohesion in the previous episodes. For example, Deshawn told Danny in this episode, “Your girl Erika, she’s a little sketch,” implying a relationship or alliance between Danny and Erika. Yet, we haven’t seen anything to suggest a closeness between Danny and Erika this season. There are a lot of moments like this.
Because of those narrative gaps, I’m not fully relying on old Edgic techniques this season. With this being a “new era,” it could very well mean a new era of editing, not least because of the amount of screen-time taken up by advantages, summit island, and new editing tricks like flashbacks. When so much focus is placed elsewhere, it’s obvious that certain story beats will be missed, which leads me not to put so much weight on what could be considered major flaws in other seasons.
NEW ERA / RISK VS. REWARD — I’m grouping these two stories together this week because, with less focus on advantages, it meant we heard less about them. The only time it really came up was when Genie was considering playing her Shot in the Dark. “It’s another new element to the game that can cause a lot of havoc,” Jeff said at Tribal Council.
YASE THE UNDERDOGS — The Yase tribe has been presented as the underdogs pretty much from the season’s opening challenge. But their underdog status was confirmed in this episode in a couple of fun sequences.
Firstly, we had Evvie doing their own impression of the Previously On… segment, detailing Yase’s rise from the bottom to the top. “Yase suffered a devastating series of losses,” Evvie said as we flashbacked to the yellow tribe failing at a number of challenges. “But with the core remaining four, they were on a winning streak.”
This was then compounded in the following scene, where the tribe gathered to watch some sea turtle hatchlings making their way to the ocean. Again, Evvie was the one to compare the plight of the turtles to Yase’s position in the game. “They’re little Yase turtles, they’re small, but they’re so strong.”
“It doesn’t even make sense that a turtle that little should be able to get from wherever they hatched to the ocean, and yet they just never, never gave up,” Evvie said in confessional. “And that’s the story of the Yase tribe, people counted us out, but we’re not out.”
It doesn’t get much clearer than that. Yase is the underdog tribe that we’re supposed to like and root for. And they continued that arc in the Immunity Challenge, where they again were behind. Evvie even had their own baby turtle moment of swimming in the wrong direction. But they never gave up and ended up finishing first.
DESHAWN THE HUB OF INFO — This is something that has become clearer with each episode. People come to Deshawn with all the information. He is basically at the hub of the Luvu tribe with all the knowledge. Let’s recap.
In the first episode, Sydney came to Deshawn to tell him that Naseer was trying to target him and Danny. In Episode 2, Evvie spilled to Deshawn everything about Xander’s advantages and how the idol works. In this episode, Erika opened up to Deshawn about how she is really playing and her desire to boot Sydney. Deshawn gives very little in return in each of these situations, but people trust him with their secrets.
I’m interested to see if this will continue to be a running theme for Deshawn. Is it setting him up to be a big decision maker or swing vote later down the line? He definitely seems like the most important character on the Luvu tribe—he and Sydney are the only Luvus to have confessionals in every episode so far.
What’s also interesting is how each tribe sort of has one of these players. Three players seemingly get all the information. For Luvu, it’s Deshawn, as explained above. Over on Yase, it is Evvie, who we’ve seen form trust with pretty much everyone on the tribe, to the point where Xander shared his advantages with her in Episode 2. Meanwhile, on Ua, it is Shan. She also seems to gain everyone’s trust, with Brad sharing his advantages with her last week and JD handing her his Extra Vote (twice!).
What this means in the long run remains unclear, but it certainly paints Deshawn, Evvie, and Shan as three of the biggest players in the game and ones to keep an eye on.
IT’S PERSONAL — Again, there were no personal flashbacks this week; the closest we got to a personal scene was Heather’s moment at the reward challenge. It was framed in a positive light, with the key takeaway being that Heather never gave up. And she got to talk about that in confessional, adding some details about her age and how that is often a disadvantage in Survivor.
SHAN THE ASSASSIN — Last week, I wondered if the edit had undermined Shan’s “cutthroat mafia pastor” story by showing her emotionally conflicted about voting Brad or JD. But that was fully nipped in the bud in Episode 4 as Shan pulled off her most cutthroat move yet, tricking JD into handing her his Extra Vote and then voting him out.
“I don’t want to be a villain, but I do want to be an assassin,” Shan said in confessional. And that’s what I believe we’re meant to take away from Shan as a character. She isn’t an outright villain who doesn’t have any feelings or remorse. As she said in the premiere, she still wants to bond with people, and emotional attachment is a byproduct of those bonds. So she can still care about people and fret about blindsiding them. But, ultimately, her focus is on the game, on being an assassin.
Whether this will work out for Shan in the end remains to be seen. We’ve already seen how her moves can upset people. Genie did not react well to being blindsided by the Brad vote (though Shan later got her back on side). And JD was upset that Shan made him feel guilty about not sharing his Extra Vote when she hadn’t told him about Brad’s advantages.
This could suggest that Shan’s cutthroat moves will eventually come back to haunt her because of the hurt caused by the emotional connections—it’s something we’ve seen on Survivor time and time again.
SHAN & RICARD — This was the first week where we heard Shan directly call Ricard her “number one.” They’ve been highlighted as a pair from the start, often seen discussing the vote together.
Interestingly, Genie referred to Ricard as the “mastermind” of the duo, despite the edit positioning Shan as the leader. Was this just showing us that Genie’s read was off? Another example of how Shan has everyone snowed? Or was this another gap in the narrative?
DESHAWN, DANNY, & SYDNEY — This episode was the most coverage the Luvu tribe has had all season, and it finally confirmed that Deshawn, Danny, and Sydney are working together.
We’ve previously seen Danny and Deshawn as a pair in the premiere, and Sydney has often clued Deshawn in on tribe goings-on. But this was the first time we heard Deshawn say that he trusts Sydney (at least compared to how much he trusts Erika). And we saw the trio hashing out plans on the beach.
However, we don’t really know how much Danny trusts Sydney. As I mentioned earlier, Deshawn implied that Danny and Erika are (or were) close too, but that is also something missing from the edit. So it’s hard to know how much stock to put in this alliance.
EVVIE, LIANA, & TIFFANY (YASE) — Yase as a whole were presented as a unit in this episode. But that doesn’t necessarily mean they’ll move forward as an alliance. It was more focused on how tribe unity has resulted in success in the challenges. Tiffany talked this up in confessional, noting how the tribe had learned to work together.
In terms of alliance dynamics, it is still pretty much Evvie, Liana, and Tiffany based on what we saw last. Xander got absolutely nothing in this episode to explain his position within the tribe.
Erika vs. Sydney/Deshawn — This whole situation sort of came out of nowhere, mostly because Erika has been absent from the edit for the first three episodes.
It started with Erika telling us that she has been intentionally playing a quiet game but is actually “a lion dressed like a lamb.” She was ready to take off the lamb costume and make a move, which was to blindside Sydney. Erika’s reasons were that Sydney is “very reactive” and “very impulsive” and could be the person to sink the Luvu ship.
Now, the edit did back up Erika to a degree. We saw Sydney reacting poorly to being unable to make fire, throwing down the flint and crying on the beach. We’ve also seen Sydney flipping back and forth on whether or not to target Naseer. Not to mention her loose lips. So the edit has provided us enough reasons to explain Erika’s point of view.
The problem is that Sydney and Deshawn have a more developed relationship, one that we’ve seen on-screen and which was confirmed by Deshawn himself in this episode. Deshawn quickly told Sydney about Erika’s plan, and the tide turned. Deshawn, Danny, and Sydney planned to throw the challenge to take out Erika. Of course, this plan ended up failing due to Naseer’s challenge skills.
So, where is this all going? Sydney has been painted as a villain, so logic would dictate she will ultimately suffer a downfall. But Erika’s edit has been so underwhelming (not to mention being immediately undermined by Deshawn) that it’s hard to see long-term success for her either.
Another intriguing point that I noticed on a rewatch was that Deshawn and Erika have been subtly tied to each other since the premiere. For example, when Naseer snitched on Danny and Deshawn’s idol search, it was Erika who we heard from in confessional:
“Danny and Deshawn potentially looking for an idol during the water penality started waving a few red flags for us,” she said. “Thinking about what can happen in the next few rounds, those guys could save each other with the idol, all of a sudden they pick off, like, the “weak people,” then all of us are screwed at that point.”
In Episode 2, we saw Deshawn trying and failing to make fire, and it was Erika sitting beside him, offering encouragement. “If you need someone to beat in fire-making at Final 4, it’s me,” he told her. I didn’t pay too much attention to this at the time because we’ve seen a lot of potential “fire-making foreshadowing” scenes in recent seasons that don’t amount to anything. But now that we have a pattern of Deshawn/Erika scenes, I’m starting to wonder if this really is foreshadowing Deshawn in Final 4 fire-making (whether against Erika or someone else).
LET’S TALK ABOUT BLUE
Before I move on to the Contenders, I want to dedicate a portion of this week’s Edit Bay to the Luvu tribe. I’ve pretty much neglected them over the past three weeks, as that’s what Survivor did. So, I want to give a quick rundown of each tribe member and my thoughts on their chances.
As I said up top, this is a new era, so we can’t rely too heavily on old Edgic tricks like complex tribe theory. Therefore, it would be foolish to completely count out Luvu even if I am lower on their chances. The shot of their boat capsizing certainly didn’t alleviate my concerns, though that could have just been to complement Erika’s “Sydney will sink the tribe” quote.
DANNY — After a pretty strong premiere episode, Danny’s edit really cooled off, especially in Episodes 2 and 3, where he was basically invisible. However, he did have the intro confessional and flashback in the premiere, and we somewhat have an idea of his alliance(s), which puts him ahead of most of his tribemates. And he was presented in a positive light offering support to Heather at the challenge. While his winning chances seem low, I think he makes the merge based on intro odds alone.
DESHAWN — I’ve talked quite a bit about Deshawn in today’s write-up. I think he has the best edit on Luvu as we often hear his perspective, and he’s presented as a player people trust. We have a good sense of his alliances; he’s had a personal flashback sequence; and has a potential future alliance set-up with Evvie. That said, his premiere was fairly weak, and we never heard his views on what Evvie told him at the summit.
He’s also been shown to fail at making fire and throwing a challenge. Although, I’m willing to overlook those depending on how the story develops from here. If the fire-making was foreshadowing Final 4, then it makes sense why it was included. And the challenge throwing was so funny that I believe it would have been included in the edit regardless, and at least we heard from Deshawn (and Danny) taking it in good humour.
I think however this Erika vs. Sydney story plays out will determine Deshawn’s fate this season.
ERIKA — It was nice to hear from Erika this episode; she informed us about her gameplay, her hopes for the season, and why she wanted to target Sydney. But it’s always worrying when an underedited player just suddenly springs up out of nowhere. And it wasn’t a great look that Deshawn immediately undermined her. It would be an extreme long shot for Erika to win, though there is a potentially interesting narrative in relation to Deshawn and Sydney.
HEATHER — Probably the most underedited player in the game. Heather’s only focus so far this season was talking about her family watching Survivor at the marooning and her struggle with the reward challenge in this episode. On the plus side, her challenge moment was presented positively, fitting her into this “never give up” theme. But we have no real sense of where Heather fits into the dynamic of her tribe, who her trusted allies are, or her plans for the game.
NASEER — This is a hard edit to read; it’s so up and down. But overall, I get a positive vibe from Naseer’s edit. I believe we’re meant to like him. Despite him rubbing Sydney and Deshawn the wrong way in the premiere with his snitching, both have said that they like him on separate occasions. Deshawn even said this episode, “Naseer was just, man… he had his moment, and I’m proud of him because Naseer is a good guy. He deserves the moment.”
He also had an excellent personal flashback sequence in Episode 2 and is shown to be a good provider at camp. So I do believe Naseer is meant to be someone the audience roots for, and that probably bodes well in terms of sticking around a while. But I’m not sure the edit has offered enough depth in terms of his strategy and alliances for him to be a contender.
SYDNEY — I think Sydney’s edit is very much the snarky villain, and she’s terrific in that role. Her “they hate me ‘cos they ain’t me” confessional was great TV. But snarky villains don’t win Survivor, not in this day and age. Winners aren’t shown to throw tantrums over not being able to make fire. Sydney’s character is, as Erika described, “reactive” and “impulsive” and almost certainly heading for a downfall.
The below list is just the edits that currently stand out. It doesn’t mean that all those not mentioned are out of contention.
- Evvie was the voice of the Yase tribe in Episode 4, narrating the turtle scene and Yase’s rise from underdogs to challenge winners.
- The Evvie/Liana/Tiffany trio is the most established alliance of the season so far.
- In the second episode, Evvie decided not to risk their vote but was provided the opportunity to explain the choice in a way that made sense for their game.
- Has been 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 separate cross-tribal alliance with Deshawn.
- Previously received positive comments from Liana about being authentic and genuine.
- 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.
- Was shown swimming the wrong way at the immunity challenge, with Jeff commenting on it. It’s not massively damaging, seeing as it tied into the previous turtle scene (and Yase went on to finish first).
- As of Episode 4, Evvie still hasn’t had much personal content outside of the Ph.D. confessional in the premiere.
- In Episode 3, Evvie didn’t give us any follow-up on keeping Xander, despite previously talking about how much of a threat he is.
- On a similar point as above, keeping Xander after referring to him as a smart, dangerous player could come back to bite them.
- We haven’t had any real update on Evvie’s strategy since Episode 2.
- 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 also come back to haunt Evvie.
- Tiffany continues to have consistent air-time across every episode, always commenting on her situation and explaining her choices.
- She was shown to be a great challenge competitor in Episode 4, adding to Yase’s story of going from underdogs to winners.
- She talked about Yase working together well and how that momentum is helping things go the right way. This was backed up as they went on to win another immunity challenge.
- In Episode 3, her confessional after finding the Beware Advantage fit the New Era theme nicely. She was open to the adventure. “It’s my time to on an adventure. I was meant to find it. If I wasn’t, it’d have been in somebody else’s hands. That’s how I look at it, so I’m taking it, and I’m going with it,” she said.
- She is part of the most established alliance in the game so far.
- She received an intro confessional in the premiere where she talked about her history with the show and wanting to show her kids that you can do anything.
- Also received a flashback sequence, going into her personal story of losing her mother to breast cancer and being a “previvor.”
- The end of her flashback confessional included a potential winner quote: “Now I’m here, so it’s time to take that title and change it to Survivor, and that’s what I want to do.”
- Evvie and Liana have both talked about wanting to work with Tiffany, with Evvie even saying they want to go deep into the game with her.
- Despite working together, Evvie and Liana have both expressed concern about Tiffany’s unpredictability. Yet, they have kept Tiffany in the game. This could suggest Tiffany will cause Evvie and/or Liana’s downfall at some point. A potential long-term story.
- She got her way with the Voce vote in Episode 2, explaining why she was worried that Xander may have an idol.
- While she took ages on the balance beam in Episode 2, the slow-motion footage was kind of presented in a positive manner.
- There was no insight into Tiffany’s current strategy or thoughts on future plans in this episode.
- She clashed with Sydney last week and was accused of “playing too hard too fast.” This was despite Tiffany saying, “I was not gonna cause drama here.” It seems drama was definitely caused. That said, if it ever comes down to a Sydney vs. Tiffany battle, the edit certainly favors Tiffany.
- After last week’s summit, Tiffany said that she maybe gained some trust with two tribes. However, as noted, Sydney explicitly stated that she did not trust Tiffany.
- In Episode 2, Tiffany was portrayed as slightly erratic and confused. She couldn’t understand the situation with Xander’s advantages, even though Evvie and Liana explained the situation several times.
- Also, in the second episode, Tiffany was shown taking a long time on the balance. Although this wasn’t presented totally negatively, in fact, the slow-mo shots accompanied by voice-over encouragement was kind of positive-leaning.
- The heavy personal content and wanting to prove something to her kids from Episode 1 could suggest a journey edit.
- In Episode 1, she walked right by an advantage.
- Despite working as a trio, Liana and Evvie have both expressed worries about Tiffany being a “firecracker” that could blow up their games. This paints Tiffany as a loose cannon.
- As of Episode 4, Shan remains as the center of the relationships on the Ua tribe. She is shown to have strong relationships with multiple tribemates and is easily able to gain their trust.
- She has a clear arc as the cutthroat mafia pastor, cemented this episode when she talked about wanting to be an assassin. She has followed through on this in her blindsides of Brad and JD.
- In Episode 4, we finally heard Shan confirm that Ricard is her number one. She also explained her thoughts on the tribe dynamics in complex fashion.
In Episode 3, she received some personal content regarding her parents’ divorce and the position she was put in as a child.
- She has had consistent air-time across each episode so far.
- The duo of Shan/Ricard is presented as the decision-makers on Ua, and the edit has placed Shan as the leader in that pairing.
- 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. We have seen her following through with this so far.
- Potential foreshadowing that her cutthroat gameplay will come back to bite her. Either due to getting emotionally attached to people and hurting their feelings. Or because she is too quick to get rid of people who trust her (like Brad and now JD).
- Despite the talk of her parents’ divorce in Episode 3, Shan lacks overall personal content. She hasn’t had a flashback sequence, though we don’t know yet quite how significant that is or isn’t.
- There was no follow-up on why she ultimately voted out Sara over JD in the premiere.
- 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!). It also should be noted that Ua has gone to Tribal a lot, so Shan’s air-time is warranted.
- 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.
- She is part of the underdog Yase tribe, which is set up for the viewers to root for.
- She is part of the most established alliance in the game.
- While she still hasn’t had a flashback, she received some personal content in Episode 3 about her family’s hard work ethic and lessons she learned from her dad. She also tied these into the game of Survivor.
- She got to follow up on the Voce vote in Episode 3 and talk through her frustrations.
- The quotes about “change being constant,” “never giving up,” and “flipping the narrative” could all be positives in terms of Liana turning things around despite her mistakes. Those also tie into Yase’s overall theme as a tribe.
- She has been shown to have good game awareness in previous episodes, and even when something goes wrong, she gets to acknowledge it and comment on it.
- Liana was highly sought after as a vote in Episode 2, with Xander and Voce both needing her and Evvie & Tiffany speaking 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 hasn’t been overly exposed like, say, Evvie or Shan.
- Mostly absent in Episode 4 outside of background camp scenes.
- Despite her “hard work” confessional in Episode 3, Liana is lacking in personal content overall. She hasn’t had a flashback sequence.
- There was no talk of her strategy or where he plans lies for the future in this episode.
- Not getting her way with the Xander vote and then missing the advantage in Episode 3 could be signs that Liana’s game will come up short. Her narrative could be the player that has the correct read on the game but doesn’t follow through and ends up paying the price.
- She didn’t receive an intro confessional and her overall premiere edit was understated.
- Keeping Xander in the game could come back to bite her, especially as she mentioned on more than one occasion how much she wanted him out.
- In Episode 2, she mentioned Tiffany being a firecracker that could cause issues for the alliance. But she stuck by Tiffany at the vote. Again, this could come back to haunt her.
- When Liana said she felt 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 just be part of Yase’s underdog story.