Hello all, welcome back 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.
With just two episodes of the season left, the top contenders and end-game stories are becoming clearer. While this episode had a lot of distraction with the Do or Die twist, it still set up important narrative threads for the final two episodes.
Now that Drea has gone, the main stories heading into the remaining episodes are Omar being wary of Mike, Jonathan’s body giving up on him, Maryanne & Romeo setting up an underdog comeback, and the continued Lindsay versus Jonathan side-story.
I expect all of the above to be the main focus of the next two episodes, and one of them obviously contains the winner’s story. As I’ve said over the past couple of weeks, Omar and Maryanne seem to be the clear frontrunners, even more so now that Drea has been voted out. So it will depend on how these stories turn out. If Omar gets rid of Mike, that would likely secure Omar’s victory. However, if Maryanne can pull off an underdog move, that could propel her to the win.
Let’s take a deeper look at the remaining players.
The Intro Crew
Reminder, the nine players that received intro confessionals in the first episode were: Jonathan, Drea, Omar, Lydia (full confessionals), Daniel, Marya, Lindsay, Hai, and Mike (one line confessionals).
Jonathan — There were two key talking points from Jonathan’s edit in this episode. Firstly, there was a continuation with his physical state, again mentioning his daily calorie intake. It’s something that has come up a bunch of times and is tied with Jonathan being “hangry” and his body weakening as the game goes on.
Secondly, there was continued focus on his rivalry with Lindsay. Not only were they the only two to compete in the immunity challenge, but Jonathan straight up told us that Lindsay was the number one competitor he had to go up against for the necklace. He said that it wouldn’t be a bad thing if she left in the Do or Die, as it would make his path to the end easier. On the flip side, we heard Lindsay airing similar sentiments, talking about Jonathan being the person she needs to beat and vote out.
It certainly feels like this Jonathan versus Lindsay showdown will eventually come to a head at Tribal. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if these two were in the fire-making challenge against one another. There is also an outside chance their battle goes all the way to the Final Tribal, but I’m less convinced of that scenario. The edit suggests that their battle will end after a challenge, with the loser being booted.
If I had to pick which one I favor, I would probably say Lindsay. And that’s because Jonathan has had a more negative vibe to his edit in recent weeks. In this episode, he came across as contradictory, in one moment saying he doesn’t want others to see how hard he’s working and, in the next, saying he wishes he was more appreciated. Lindsay said he is starting to “unravel,” and we saw him being snappy with Drea and Lindsay.
So if I was to predict Jonathan’s story from here, I could see his body finally giving out on him, allowing Lindsay to win immunity and setting up Jonathan to be eliminated.
Omar — Omar was once again portrayed as the key strategist of the episode, the one who basically set the wheels in motion for Drea’s blindside. He continued to operate behind the scenes, following his strategy of influencing the direction of the vote in the shadows. This all looks good, but there are a couple of concerns.
It seemed like Omar had his sights set on Mike from early in the episode. He didn’t like how Mike was on a “Hai high” and starting to boss people around. In an ideal world, Omar would take out Mike next. “But the smarter side of me says, ‘Mike is a threat to win, and I want to blindside him and make a big move,'” he said. However, he knew that Mike had an idol, and therefore, it was too much of a risk, so he was going to stick with the Drea plan.
That would have been all well and good had Omar not learned about Drea’s advantage. Now, Omar had the perfect opportunity to enact his Mike blindside. He even said so himself. “I mean, at this point, Mike thinks he’s totally safe. It’s the perfect time to take him out, ‘cause he won’t see it coming. And with Drea stealing his idol, he has no backup protection.”
However, in the end, Omar decided to boot Drea. Now, he did run through all the options and was shown weighing up each one. But it did seem like the edit was really hammering how Omar needed to take out Mike. Omar outright said that Mike is a threat to win and would be the smart move. This isn’t a new line of thinking. In recent episodes, we’ve heard Omar point to Mike and Jonathan as threats that are in his way.
So, does keeping Mike spell doom for Omar? It’s certainly possible. And to add to that, Drea exposed that Omar knew about her advantage publicly at Tribal. Omar’s whole game has been about maneuvering stealthily under people’s noses, but now he has been called out. Those are definitely things to worry about, and it’s the first time we’ve really seen any ominous signs in Omar’s edit.
Where Omar ends up is all going to come down to whether or not he can get rid of Mike. The edit could be telling us he’s already missed his shot, and therefore his downfall is coming. Or it could be setting up Omar taking the shot at Mike next and finally following through on his plan. As I said earlier, if he successfully eliminates Mike, then I think it’s Omar’s game to lose. His edit has had a consistent theme; he’s rarely undermined, has received a ton of vote credit, and has some nice personal content.
Lindsay — Lindsay continues a run of really strong episodes here at the tail-end of the season. As I’ve said before, if this started just a little bit earlier in the season (or if she had had a more consistent pre-merge), I’d be more willing to see Lindsay as a top contender. It’s all just come a bit too late, even though it is great content.
The episode started with Lindsay updating us on the amulet rules and reiterating her mission to take out the threats. Her focus was still on Jonathan, who she stated was the one person standing in her way of winning challenges. She also brought up her personal beef with Jonathan for him not listening to her ideas. This all led to the immunity challenge showdown, which Lindsay ultimately lost to Jonathan.
I don’t think this was necessarily a bad thing for Lindsay in terms of the edit. She correctly called that Jonathan was her biggest challenge threat, which is exactly what played out. Although, it could suggest that she missed her chance to take him out last week when she had immunity and Jonathan was a sitting duck.
After losing the challenge, Lindsay was forced to play the Do or Die, and she got to talk through her decision. She explained why she chose to play, noting her competitive nature. This led to her first personal flashback of the season, which talked about her time on her high school football team and how that helped shape who she is today. “I’m proud of myself that I gave it my all,” she said. “I’m proud of myself that I fought, and I’m not out of the game yet.”
If Lindsay had lost the Do or Die, the previous confessional could have been a nice cap to her story. However, she survived, and so she is still an active part in the game. That is why we saw her being a vital part in the Drea vote. It was Lindsay that suggested Omar tell Mike about Drea’s advantage. As Lindsay explained, not only would this be taking out a smart and likable player in Drea, but it would leave her with the only amulet in the game. And that is the plan that ultimately panned out.
In a post-Erika world, it wouldn’t completely shock me if Lindsay ended up winning the season, though I do think it’s a long shot. I just don’t think she has the narrative/theme consistency that Erika had, especially in the early portion of the game. But in keeping things more open before the finale, I suppose I would list Lindsay as a distant third contender after Omar and Maryanne.
Mike — Mike certainly had a big presence in this episode and played a significant role in the Drea vote. However, nothing here made me reconsider him as a winner contender. I think that ship has sailed, even more so with Drea telling him that he’d win if he made it to the end. I don’t think the edit would be that on the nose.
He started the episode gloating over the Hai blindside. He claimed that he had orchestrated it since the beginning. This led to Mike targeting his next biggest threat, Drea. Omar said that Mike was “becoming the new Hai,” being overconfident and pushing his agenda. “That’s not going to work him out here. I can tell you that right now,” Omar said. The thing is, it did work for Mike in this episode, as he got his way with the Drea vote.
But will it work for Mike in the long run? I would say not based on Mike’s overall edit. I don’t think a winner would have quotes like this, “There’s five days left. I could do it going backwards with my eyes closed.” Lines like that seem set up for a rude awakening. Even in this episode, where Mike ultimately got his way, it wasn’t a perfect plan. Despite what Mike thought, Drea was suspicious of his fake Romeo plan, and she started putting together the pieces for a Mike blindside. It was only due to Omar & Lindsay’s intervention that the plan was salvaged.
There was a nice contrast between Mike’s situation at the end of this episode and where he was at the start. He began super confident, riding the high of the Hai vote and plotting his next move. And he ended with his fate put into the hands of Omar and Lindsay, unsure how things would turn out in the end. That is a good summation of Mike’s edit across the entire season. He has solid reads and social capital, but he’s not always able to execute things the way he would like.
Where does Mike’s edit go from here? His recent strategy has been about taking out the big threats. And based on Omar’s edit, it seems we’re due an Omar versus Mike battle soon—I definitely don’t see the two of them making it to Final Tribal together.
Maryanne — From the very start of the season, we’ve been saying that Maryanne’s edit is leading to a big move. In the early days of Taku, she was referred to as a potential wildcard who could be dangerous if she made it deep in the game. This was in reference to whether Omar/Lindsay/Jonathan should keep her over Marya. In the end, they kept Maryanne, and all four of them are still in the game. So logic would dictate that there must be a payoff to this storyline.
This episode cemented Maryanne’s themes and narrative. Firstly, it highlighted her love for the game and how she is soaking up the experience, no matter her current circumstances. “I’ve never been more miserable or more hungry or more painful, but I’m having so much fun out here, man,” she said. “I don’t want it to end.” This enthusiasm for the game has been present in Maryanne’s edit from the moment the cast hit the beach in the premiere.
Secondly, she talked about her current position in the game, the perception others have of her, and how that might suggest what’s to come. She recognized that others don’t see her as a big threat right now, “which is a blessing because that means I’m probably safe for the next Tribal.” Maryanne was right. This confessional was surrounded by confessionals from Mike and Lindsay talking about taking out big threats like Drea and Jonathan. But she also realized this could be a curse “because if people don’t think you’re a threat, how are you going to win at the end?”
As has been the case throughout, Maryanne is shown to be self-aware and perceptive. She knows her position in the game and explains why she’s playing the way she is. But that last part about needing to be seen as a threat for a chance to win plants the seeds for a big move. Maryanne (who, lest we forget, is armed with an idol and an extra vote) knows she has to do something monumental to shake things up and prove herself. And this would tie back perfectly to the pre-merge foreshadowing, especially if it comes at the expense of her fellow Takus.
On top of all this, Maryanne has the underdog outlier narrative. We saw her chatting with Romeo about them going from the bottom to the top because the big threats were all targeting each other. Romeo outlined this as his strategy in his own confessional. All signs point to Maryanne pulling off a major move in the near future. Whether that can launch her to a win will all depend on Omar’s story with Mike. I still think if Omar can get rid of Mike, then Omar is most likely the winner.
Romeo — This was a bit of a mixed bag of an episode for Romeo. On the one hand, he was buried by his tribemates, particularly Mike, for stealing extra rice. Mike basically said that Romeo’s only move was reaching into the pot of rice. Now, you could read this at face value, especially as the edit did show evidence of Romeo taking scoops of rice. Or, you could see it as Mike underestimating Romeo.
An argument in Romeo’s favor is that he had a confessional early in this episode where he outlined his strategy. “I’m playing this game super chill and under the radar because the inevitable is happening; everyone’s looking to take out these big threats,” he said. “And it’s perfect for me. I can just sit back and let these big egos eat each other up, and then the underdogs can take over this game.” This was precisely what was happening, so Romeo’s strategy of sitting back seemed intentional, rather than just an act of laziness like Mike perceived.
That doesn’t mean the rice stealing was a good look, especially as Romeo outright admitted to doing it, saying he doesn’t care about his tribemates. So even if Romeo is intentionally playing under the radar and waiting for his moment to strike, it’s not as if his social game is earning him any brownie points.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Omar & Lindsay — Part of the Taku 4, Omar and Lindsay have been working closely as a tandem in these past couple of episodes. They seem to be the closest pair now in the Taku contingent, as Omar has moved further away from Maryanne, and Lindsay has separated herself from Jonathan.
Omar & Mike — These two formed a bond early in the merge and have worked together ever since. However, Omar recognizes Mike as a threat and has stated on more than one occasion that he needs to take him out.
Maryanne & Romeo — They were linked together this episode as underdogs, sitting back and watching the big dogs tear each other’s heads off. It’ll be interesting to see if they can take over as Romeo prophesized.
Mike & Jonathan — Another pair that bonded at the merge and have been working together since. There hasn’t been as much focus on them as a duo recently, but it’s still a working relationship with legs.
Lindsay & Jonathan — These two are connected as former allies turned rivals. To Jonathan, he sees Lindsay as his biggest challenge threat. For Lindsay, Jonathan is not just a challenge threat but a destructive ally. A showdown seems inevitable.
Omar — There is not much separating my top two contenders, but I’m keeping Omar ahead, perhaps against my better judgment. I do worry that this episode laid the groundwork for his downfall, with him not taking the shot at Mike and Drea exposing his game. But the rest of Omar’s edit has been so good, with such a clear and consistent theme, a great mix of strategic and personal content, lots of voting credit, and well-defined relationships.
Maryanne — If it’s not Omar, it has to be Maryanne. She’s never been undermined in the edit like Mike, Jonathan, and Romeo. And she’s had a more consistent story and focus than Lindsay. Since very early on, there has been foreshadowing about her being a threat in the end-game and someone that others are underestimating. She’s had some amazing personal content that fits her theme as the underdog outlier.
And even though she hasn’t been in the controlling alliance, she’s always aware of the tribe dynamics and her position within it. If Omar’s downfall happens, then I’d put money on Maryanne. But if Omar gets rid of Mike, then I would bet Maryanne’s edit was simply leading up to her pulling off a big end-game move.
Lindsay — There is a big gap between the top two and Lindsay, but I’m keeping her in the running just in case we’re in for another Erika-style victory. However, as I said earlier, I don’t think Lindsay’s edit has Erika’s thematic consistency. But I could see a world where Lindsay continues to fulfill her potential in the last two episodes, finally takes out Jonathan, and then secures the victory. It’s a long shot but not impossible.
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