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.
This second episode kept things moving from the premiere with another fair and balanced edit. We heard from the majority of the cast, each tribe received focus, and there was a nice combination of personal and strategic. Hopefully, the season will continue in this manner moving forward.
If there was a theme to this particular episode, it was about players’ real-life values and struggles interacting with the game of Survivor. This was seen in characters like Hai talking about his veganism, Omar and his religious beliefs, and Maryanne with her dating life. And, to a lesser extent, characters like Chanelle and Jenny learning to adapt to life in the elements compared to their city slicker lives back home.
This season, I want to do something a little different, and that’s keep track of the specific people we highlighted in the premiere. So, I’m talking about the intro confessional group and the characters we noted as having potential story arcs. This way, we can follow if there is a consistency to any of these characters and their narratives.
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).
Marya is now gone, which instantly bumps up the odds of the remaining eight. If my call last week was correct that at least six of the nine will make the merge, it suggests there are only two of this group left to be booted in the pre-merge. Also, we had a follow-up on Marya’s “There’s something for me that’s here that I need to find” intro, as she revealed her brother’s passing and how she was seeking closure on the island.
Jonathan — This was a strong follow-up episode for Jonathan. We got an established pairing with Omar, with Jonathan and Omar both speaking about the alliance together and in confessional. Jonathan also laid out his relationships with the rest of his tribemates, noting how similar he is to Lindsay and how much he loves Maryanne. The only person he said he wasn’t connected to was Marya, and she went home. Omar also described him as his “meat shield,” which continues the “physical challenge beast” theme from Jonathan’s intro confessional.
Drea — Drea still received some focus in this episode; in fact, she was basically at the center of the Ika tribe’s dynamics, though primarily as a threat. The second and more substantial Ika segment was bookended by Drea, nicely visualized with the fly. The segment started with Rocksroy telling Drea to get out of the smoke, but she said she liked it because it kept the flies away. And the section ended with Drea lying in the shelter and a fly landing on her face.
The flies were definitely swarming, as Drea’s attempts to forge a girls alliance, by revealing her extra vote to Swati and Tori, backfired. The other two women saw Drea as having too much power and began plotting her blindside. This comes back to Drea’s intro confessional of sometimes being “too much,” perhaps playing too hard (as she said, “the gameplaying never stops.”) and making herself a target.
Omar — As with Jonathan, this was a really good follow-up episode for Omar. Again, we got the established duo with Jonathan, with Omar explaining the “meat shield / brain shield” strategy. In addition, he opened up to his tribemates about being Muslim, providing some tremendous personal content. He was spoken of positively and looked to be getting along with his tribe, fitting his intro confessional strategy of appearing non-threatening in the beginning.
The only worry for Omar, and the same with Jonathan actually, is how much he spoke about Marya being more trustworthy than Maryanne. There was a lot of talk, especially from Omar, about how Maryanne is a wildcard and could be more of a long-term problem than the “loyal and reliable” Marya. And yet, the tribe kept Maryanne over Marya. Is that foreshadowing of things to come?
Lydia — An underwhelming second episode for Lydia, who was one of only two players not to receive a confessional. She was also fairly absent in the Vati camp scenes outside of her reactions to the crab meat. And, of course, she had some screen-time as the caller in the challenge. However, it didn’t change my read of Lydia’s edit too much. I still see her more as the fun, comic relief that will provide snappy narration when necessary.
Daniel — This was a solid follow-up for Daniel after a pretty decent premiere. In this episode, he was shown to be perceptive and calculated, detailing his strategy behind Mike’s idol find. We had a reaffirmation of the Daniel & Chanelle pair, though we’ve still yet to hear Daniel talk about it directly in confessional. And his idea for Mike not to say the phrase worked, with Mike even calling it a “great idea.” A lot of Daniel’s premiere was about living his dream, playing hard, and making the most of it, and he certainly seems to be doing that so far.
Lindsay — Lindsay’s second episode was fine if a little quiet. She was name-checked by Jonathan as someone he felt close with and was listed as part of the core alliance with Omar & Jonathan. She also seemed to be getting along well with her tribemates, making everyone laugh with her “I’m not a very good Jew” comment during the religion chatter. However, we still don’t know a great deal about her individual game.
Her two confessionals were mostly about Maryanne. In the first, she talked of how Maryanne is a “sweet girl” who she “enjoys” but who can also be “exhausting” after a while. In her second confessional, she correctly called that Maryanne was looking for an idol and noted that she feels like, “Maryanne does get flustered under pressure.” This was when she gave us her first little bit of insight into her game, when she said, “One of the things that I look for in an alliance is they don’t panic and, like, burn to the ground and take me down with them.”
Again, just like Omar and Jonathan, Lindsay decided to keep Maryanne in the game over Marya, despite these concerns. Foreshadowing? Maybe. Hopefully we hear a little more from Lindsay about her individual game or goals soon—there was also no follow-up on her “reaching her potential” theme from her intro.
Hai — Last week, in his intro, Hai told us that he needs to be prepared for whatever twist Jeff throws at them. This week, we saw Hai dealing with one of those twists, the no rice, and it was taking its toll. “Being in the elements without food, starving… it’s tough, and it all just came on top of me like a ton of bricks at once,” he said as we saw him crying and being comforted by Chanelle and Daniel. It could maybe be read as Hai not being prepared like he said he needed to be.
But he did get to follow up and tackle the issue head-on. “When Jeff said there would be no rice, I knew I would have to make a conscious decision whether or not I would eat any fish or crab or sea life that we catch. I came out here to discover more about myself… beyond just winning the money,” he said. “So any opportunity that I have to strengthen myself for the longevity of the game, I need to take it.”
Hai did end up eating the crab, which showed that he is adapting and willing to face up to the game’s twists. However, that line about “discovering more about himself beyond just winning the money” makes me think journey edit rather than winner.
Mike — I said last week that I sense Mike will be one of the season’s more focal characters, and this episode didn’t do anything to dissuade that feeling. However, he did drop a couple of points in terms of contendership. He started by outlining his current strategy to “work hard around camp and lay low” but noted that he was keeping his eyes out of idols. This paid off, as Mike found the beware advantage. He mentioned coming in wanting to “go big or go home,” which ties back to his intro confessional about “giving it everything he’s got.”
What’s good about Mike’s edit is that he always gets to explain his rationale. We saw it last week during the Savvy or Sweat task, and again here with the idol. “No matter what, I’m stuck with this, so it’s about adapting to the situation,” he explained. “Because of this, I need to focus more on relationships. It’s the only way I can survive without a vote.” He gave us his thought process and then we saw him putting it into action when he approached Jenny (confirming that pairing from last week) and Daniel with the idol info.
The concern, however, is the edit making Mike look silly when he forgot where he buried the idol. And on top of that, Daniel being shown to be one step ahead of Mike, plotting how he can best use the idol to his advantage and undermine Mike. Now, that first bit about the missing idol could be forgiven. It was a funny scene that the producers might have wanted in the episode regardless of Mike’s fate. It’s also the kind of expected chaos from a player of Mike’s archetype, who is very much in the Tony Vlachos vein. But the part with Daniel undermining him is harder to overlook; however, it’s still early days, and there are likely more chapters to this story. So it’s possible Mike could catch onto Daniel or even end up convincing him to properly align.
So that is where things currently stand with our intro group. Things are looking pretty good for the Taku trio of Jonathan, Omar, and Lindsay, particularly in terms of alliance content, though there are niggling warning signs over keeping Maryanne. Mike and Drea are still looking like important characters but have also been painted as threats. And then Lydia and Hai are on the periphery, lacking the strategic and alliance content of the others.
The next thing I want to follow up on is those that had potential themes/narratives established in the premiere. I’ve touched on some above in the intro group, but now I want to check in with the others.
Maryanne — I said last week that Maryanne seems like a character that will wear her emotions on her sleeve and will be memorable no matter how long she lasts. Nothing changed this episode. Maryanne is still on that crazy rollercoaster ride. Her bit about having a crush on Zach fit this theme of embracing the experience and being open to it all. She isn’t afraid to put her emotions out there and be completely herself. And this endears her to her tribemates but also has the potential to rub people the wrong way. It feels very much like a character edit rather than a winner edit.
Outside of her rollercoaster experience, Maryanne now has a secondary story of being a perceived wildcard that could cause trouble down the line. The other members of Taku all mentioned how Maryanne could be exhausting or become flustered under pressure or untrustworthy in the long term. But they also said her energy and hustle are needed to help them against the other tribes. So this could be foreshadowing that Maryanne eventually causes problems for Taku, or she will be a crucial part of helping them succeed up against Ika and Vati.
Swati — I continue to be intrigued by Swati’s edit. As I said last week, her opening confessional was the best of the premiere, despite not being in the intro. She hit all the key points, from personal, to job, to strategy. And she received credit for naming Zach as the target. Her story/theme was about how she works hard and maneuvers herself to the top; that was the goal she set herself on Survivor. From what we’ve seen so far, she seems to be on her way to doing just that.
Despite being on the losing puzzle portion in the premiere, and not being in the core three alliance, Swati wasn’t targeted at all. Instead, we saw her subtly pushing for Zach and getting her way. Meanwhile, the core three already showed cracks as Drea wanted to target Rocksroy. This continued in the second episode as Romeo & Rocksroy remained focused on Tori, while Drea once again went off-script and tried to form a girls alliance with Swati and Tori. Suddenly, Swati has a lot of power, and she detailed why she’d prefer Drea to be the target, pointing to her influence and having the extra vote.
Based on what was shown, Tori agreed with Swati and even said she would follow her lead. It’s not an in-your-face edit, but it is quietly building Swati up as an intelligent player who is manoeuvering in the background to get herself into a good position. Now, obviously, Swati hasn’t had the chance to enact this Drea plan yet, so it could end up being a Deshawn/Erika situation, where Deshawn kept mentioning Erika as a threat but never had the chance to strike at her. So we need to keep an eye on whether this “Drea is a threat” arc continues in the coming weeks and, if so, how tied to it Swati ends up being.
Tori — This episode confirmed to me that Tori’s edit is that of the cartoonish villain that isn’t quite as self-aware as she thinks. Her first confessional of the episode was a classic bait-and-switch, with the audience believing she had empathy after voting Zach out… only to reveal she was actually upset because she was jealous of Zach getting to sleep in a comfy bed and eat food.
There were hints of an alliance with Swati, which was sort of broached last week in the “nerds” scene. But it’s not entirely clear that Tori’s plan to vote out Drea is the right one for her. For the past two episodes, we’ve seen Drea attempt to align with Tori, as opposed to Romeo and Rocksroy, who both named Tori as the next target. I feel like her days are numbered.
Romeo — Romeo really slipped into the background this episode, but he did at least get the first post-Tribal confessional. He talked about how it was “devastating” voting Zach out, and then he mentioned his thoughts moving forward. “The good part about tonight’s vote was we made Tori comfortable, and that’s where we need to keep her,” he said. “It’ll be easier when it’s time for her to go.”
The positive for Romeo is that the edit sort of backed him up regarding his read on Tori. From what we saw, Tori did seem more comfortable, going so far as to say, “The game is shifting, and so, for me, it’s just this huge sigh of relief.” The bad news is, Romeo doesn’t seem aware that his own alliance is shakier than a palm frond in a tornado. Not only did we have Drea reaching out to Swati and Tori to make a girls alliance, but when Drea named her alliance with Romeo and Rocksroy, it cut to a shot of Romeo spilling coconut water all over himself. First the bamboo chopping last week and now the coconut; the b-roll footage isn’t filling me with confidence when it comes to Romeo’s edit.
Chanelle — I thought this was a much better episode for Chanelle, and I’d be much higher on her chances if she had a better first confessional in the premiere. This episode cemented her pairing with Daniel; even though Daniel hasn’t talked about Chanelle in confessional, he went straight to her with the info about Mike’s idol. The two of them seemed to be in sync as they discussed how to tackle the idol situation. We also heard Mike describe Jenny as his “number one,” confirming that Chanelle’s read on the Ika dynamics last week was correct.
What’s even more interesting, though, is the little scene we got at the start of Vati’s first segment of this episode. We saw Chanelle and Jenny hunting for hermit crabs, and while neither woman was particularly enthused by the situation, it was presented as Chanelle stepping up. “I don’t love the wilderness. I don’t like the jungle. I don’t like spiders or mosquitoes,” she said. “I thought that there would be someone who could be a provider. And, uh, it looks like I might have to be that person.” This was followed by Chanelle cooking up a pot of crabs and serving the tribe, with many of them complimenting how good it tasted.
Now, why was this scene included? Was it more to do with what followed regarding Hai and his struggle with his vegan values? Possibly. But, if so, there was no real need to show Chanelle and Jenny hunting and giving Chanelle that provider confessional. They could have just gone straight to the camp scene with Chanelle saying, “Dinner is served,” and then lead into Hai’s story. The fact that it was used to give Chanelle some character depth, and positive character depth at that, really stood out to me. And this was accompanied by the zoom-in on her comforting Hai, again, positive content showing Chanelle to be a caring person.
As I said earlier, I just wish Chanelle had a better first episode confessional because this was a really solid second episode that bumped her up the contenders’ list. It was such a nothing confessional about the triangle puzzle and survival. I suppose you could connect it to her provider role in this episode, but it’s not the most dynamic content. However, in a post-Erika era, I wouldn’t put it past the producers to really play down the season’s winner in the first episode. I think the next episode will be really telling if there’s anything more to Chanelle’s edit.
Jenny — A very quiet second episode for Jenny, who just had the one confessional about being a “city girl” that is doing her best to adapt to jungle life. She was at least name-checked by Mike as his number one, so it was nice to have that pair cemented. But we’ve yet to hear any of Jenny’s strategic thoughts or where she sees her game going. So, right now, it’s hard to see her as anything but a background character, though one that at least has a positive outlook.
Rocksroy — The only other person besides Lydia not to receive a confessional in Episode 2, Rocksroy’s edit gave us very little to go on this week. We know he wants to target Tori next, but he remains unaware that his supposed ally Drea has been making alternative plans behind his back. It’s not the greatest look for Rocksroy moving forward.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Drea, Hai, & Lindsay (Twist Connection) — The first connection of the season came via the marooning challenge when Drea, Hai, and Lindsay were presented with the Amulet Advantage. Drea brought it up again this episode, and we even had a flashback to the moment.
Swati & Tori (Pair) — After their “nerd” bonding last week, there was continued focus on this pairing. Tori said she will follow Swati’s lead as the pair discussed targeting Drea.
Drea, Rocksroy, & Romeo (Alliance) — Drea name-checked this alliance this episode, but, again, she made separate plans with Tori and Swati. There are continued bad vibes around this trio.
Romeo & Tori (Rivals) — Romeo was dead-set on voting out Tori in the first episode but had to back down when he couldn’t get others on board. This episode, his focus remained on Tori, noting how the Zach vote made her feel comfortable, which will make it easier when it’s time to take her out.
Swati & Drea (Rivals) — Despite Drea reaching out to Swati & Tori, Swati saw Drea as a powerful threat and said she wanted to vote her out next.
Daniel & Chanelle (Pair) — This episode solidified the Daniel and Chanelle pairing as they shared info and ideas on Mike’s idol. Chanelle reiterated that Daniel is her number one. However, we have still yet to see Daniel talk directly about Chanelle and this alliance in confessional.
Jenny & Mike (Pair) — Mike confirmed that Jenny is his strongest ally, his “number one.” But we haven’t yet heard Jenny talk about this alliance.
Daniel & Mike (Idol Connection) — Mike wanted to gain an ally after finding the idol and decided to reach out to Daniel. In confessional, Daniel agreed to help Mike figure out how to play the advantage. However, Daniel then spilled the beans to Chanelle, suggesting that his pair with Chanelle is stronger than his connection to Mike.
Hai & Lydia (Pair) — Set-up as a pair in the premiere but no follow-up here.
Jonathan & Omar (Pair) — Established as an odd couple alliance. Both Omar and Jonathan talked about the other and seemed to be in sync. Omar described them as the “meat shield and the brain shield.”
Jonathan, Omar, & Lindsay (Alliance) — This trio appeared to be working together, with Jonathan noting how close he felt to Lindsay.
Swati — I believe Swati’s edit is the least flawed so far. Not only did she have that excellent first confessional in the premiere, but she is presented as smart, hardworking, and having a solid strategic grasp on the game. She received partial credit for Zach’s boot last week, and despite Ika not attending Tribal this episode, she still was afforded time to outline her thoughts on the tribe dynamics and her potential target.
Omar/Jonathan/Lindsay — I’m grouping these three together because I do like most of what I’m seeing from this Taku trio. We know that they have an alliance and appear to be getting along. Omar & Jonathan were highlighted as a tight pair. Lindsay was noted as being close with Jonathan. Omar also had some fantastic personal content. And the overall vibe of the Taku tribe is positive, compared to the more chaotic Ika and Vati tribes.
Obviously, my worry for this Taku trio is Maryanne, specifically, their voiced concerns about Maryanne causing trouble for them down the line. There’s a chance this could be foreshadowing an eventual falling apart of Taku, all because they chose to keep in the wildcard. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Omar also said they need Maryanne’s hustle to help combat the other tribes, so it could be foreshadowing this as the correct decision and that Maryanne will help Taku dominate long-term. Or, the other option is that this was merely setting up the reasons for an incoming Maryanne boot. It’s too early to say either way.
Mike — I dropped Mike down a little just because him of losing the idol and Daniel manipulating him. It presented him as being outplayed. However, as I mentioned earlier, I suspect this story to continue, so there is every chance Mike catches onto Daniel and turns things around. It’s clear that Mike will be a big character of the season regardless of where he lands up. And it’s not out of the realm of possibilities for a character of Mike’s archetype to have a flawed edit.
Chanelle — I’m adding Chanelle to the contender’s list because, as I explained above, I do think she had a very good second episode. I’m still down on her premiere and wish she had a better first confessional, but this episode did a lot to help outweigh those negatives. Her read on the tribe dynamics was backed up, she reestablished her duo with Daniel, and she had a really positive scene of her being a tribe provider.
Daniel — I haven’t quite decided yet whether Daniel is going to be a serious contender or if he’s going to get caught in his manipulations and flame out. It could really go either way at this point. He got some really solid personal content in the premiere, and he has an established pair with Chanelle. We also hear his strategic thoughts as he explains his reasons for doing things. But his intro confessional wasn’t the greatest. And he had that line in the premiere about his “number one reason” for being here is to inspire sick kids, which takes his editorial goal away from winning.