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.
The third episode was one of those weird episodes where two significant events overshadowed everything else. In this particular episode, those two moments were the dramatic Immunity challenge and the chaotic Tribal Council. On top of that, there was another Summit Island sequence to cram into the 42-minute run-time. Unfortunately, that meant a lot of characters (or an entire tribe in Ika’s case) went neglected, so it’s difficult to get a proper gauge on where things stand, narratively speaking.
Given its unprecedented nature, it’s understandable why such emphasis was put on the challenge. Never before has a challenge been stopped mid-way through and then reset. The conditions were clearly extreme and causing major trouble for the castaways. And this is the type of thing the show is always going to focus on, seeing as it really puts across the genuine danger involved in Survivor. I don’t think it reflects badly on Ika or Vati as a whole, as Jeff Probst even stated that it was not from a lack of effort on their part. Jonathan, however, did receive extra attention for his impressive performance.
Likewise, the Vati Tribal was so messy with its tied votes and near-rock-draw that it also made sense it would take up a considerable chunk of air-time. However, unlike the challenge, we can glean a lot from this scene and what it told us about the characters and edit going forward.
With that said, let’s take a deeper look at the edit of the third episode.
Once again, I want to check in with the characters we highlighted as important back in the premiere, starting with the intro confessional group.
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 — While he didn’t receive a confessional this episode, Jonathan was a key focus of the challenge. He was name-checked by Jeff both during and after the challenge for his incredible performance. So while we didn’t get any strategic insight from Jonathan this week, this whole scene added to his narrative of the challenge beast. His theme remains consistent across the first three episodes.
Drea — As with the rest of the Ika tribe, Drea got nothing outside of the challenge, making them all INV (I don’t include challenges as visibility given they have to be shown—unless it’s something significant). It’s not a great look for the Ika members, even if we can give them some leeway with the episode’s edit focused elsewhere. But right now, there isn’t much to add. Drea’s edit is in the same place it was last week.
Omar — I thought this was a bit of a mixed bag of an episode of Omar. He got some decent content, being part of Maryanne’s advantage find and later attending the Summit. However, despite him being right there when the advantage was found, we didn’t get Omar’s direct thoughts on Maryanne’s idol. In fact, Lindsay was the only other Taku member besides Maryanne to receive a confessional in this opening camp scene. That said, Omar did get a decent chunk of air-time later at the Summit, so perhaps the edit felt it could afford to leave Omar out in this instance.
The bigger issue, however, is Omar’s content at the Summit. Some of his reads were proven to be plain wrong. “[Chanelle] just seemed very genuine and honest but smart. And I don’t think she’s more sneaky than me, which is what I want,” he said. But Chanelle was shown to be sneaky, both by risking her vote and her planned vote split blindside of Lydia. He also said, “You have to know other players’ motivation and what’s best for their game. I don’t think Chanelle’s going to risk her vote.” However, she did risk her vote, and it meant Omar too lost his ability to vote.
Now, on the surface, this doesn’t look great for Omar, but I think the edit provided enough defense for his actions. “Chanelle made it very clear to me that she could not lose her vote tonight. And if she’s playing it safe, that means I can get away with risking my vote,” he explained. This was logical based on what we had seen. Chanelle was adamant that she couldn’t risk losing her vote ahead of Tribal. So even though Omar made the incorrect call, it wasn’t presented as a completely irrational decision.
Other than that, Omar’s edit still continued to show him as a sociable player who is well-liked. He was included in the Taku 4 bonding, Maryanne shared her idol find with him, and Chanelle was shown to like him after their brief meeting. So while there are a couple of small red flags for us to keep an eye on, overall, Omar is still looking solid.
Lydia — For someone that was a boot target this episode, I expected Lydia to be a more focal part of the narrative. Instead, the Vati drama mostly revolved around Daniel, Chanelle, and Mike, and then later Hai. Lydia only had one confessional towards the end of the episode, and it was about how she considered Daniel a “smart guy” and how she was scared not having Chanelle there as a number. It didn’t really present Lydia as a proactive player with her own agency.
Now, there is a chance that this brush with death becomes the start of a Lydia breakout narrative. Her edit could pick up steam from here. But, for now, I still see her as more of a secondary character that will float in and out of relevancy depending on the situation.
Daniel — Remember last week, I wrote, “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?” Well, I think I got my answer!
From the very first Vati scene of the episode, Daniel was presented as confused and all-over-the-place. It started with him misplacing his shoes, with Hai and Lydia commenting that he’s constantly losing things. This beautifully set up the scene of Daniel losing Mike’s idol, in a sort of role reversal from last week’s Vati idol scene. At first, Daniel denied that Mike had given him the idol, until he realized he had dropped it. “To Mike’s credit, he was totally right. But I did drop the idol. That’s on me. Again, another example of Daniel Strunk having an epic fail,” he said.
The “Daniel Strunk” epic fail became the episode’s theme, as he completely spun out of control at Tribal after the deadlocked vote. He immediately went into panic mode, throwing Chanelle under the bus in the process and flipping his original vote. Now, to his credit, he did confess that paranoia was ruling his game—he even claimed that it would be why he loses Season 42. So, at least Daniel has some self-awareness, but I’m not sure how much that saves face. He was called “squirrelly,” “neurotic,” a “snake,” and made to look like a chaotic player with no grip on his game.
Also, the betrayal of the alliance with Chanelle makes sense of why we hadn’t heard Daniel talk about this relationship in the previous two episodes. It was always Chanelle talking about how close she was with Daniel. This was never a two-way street. Daniel was always looking out for himself first and now he is exposed.
Lindsay — I said last week that we needed to hear more from Lindsay about her individual thoughts on the game, so it was nice to see her get the first confessional of the episode. She told us that Tribal went exactly how she and the tribe wanted it to go. “Me, Omar, Jonathan, and Maryanne all voted together, and that made me feel really good,” she said, noting that the plan is for the four of them to stay tight.
However, as with last week, Lindsay continued to air her concerns about Maryanne. “I’m on the fence about how I feel about Maryanne and the extra vote,” she stated. “But if we stay as a tight four, hopefully that’s for all of our advantage.” There is this lingering narrative of whether Maryanne will end up hindering Taku or helping them, and Lindsay seems to be the main one voicing these worries. So this is certainly a story we need to keep our eyes on.
Other than that, there wasn’t much more on Lindsay or the Taku tribe dynamics. She seems well insulated within the tribe and continues to give us small snippets into her game without being overexposed. There was still no follow-up on her “reaching her potential” theme.
Hai — This was a pretty good episode for Hai. It made me change my perception of his edit from last week. This theme of “I need to be prepared for whatever twist Jeff throws at us” has been consistent. He quickly took to the Amulet dilemma in the premiere, and while he was conflicted about the vegan situation last week, he ultimately put his feelings aside and adapted to the problem. And this episode, he handled the lack of votes and deadlock situation like a pro. He stood his ground, didn’t give in to the fear, and got his way with the vote.
He was also shown to have a good read on the game back at camp. “Chanelle is usually very calm, cool, and collected. However, when she came back from her journey, she seemed a bit frazzled,” Hai noted, correctly surmising that something was up with Chanelle’s split vote plan. “This doesn’t add up to me, and I could be overspeculating, but I trust my gut,” he continued, and that ended up serving him well. Whereas Daniel said he couldn’t trust his gut because of the paranoia, Hai correctly followed his, ultimately saving his ally Lydia.
While the line from last week about “discovering more about myself beyond just winning the money” still gives me journey vibes, this episode boosted Hai up on the contender’s list. Not only does he have a consistent theme, but he has been shown as perceptive and adaptable.
Mike — This was a solid turnaround episode for Mike. Last week, I said there were likely more chapters to come to his storyline with Daniel, and boy, this episode proved that. As I said earlier, it was pretty much a role reversal. In episode two, Daniel looked to be one step ahead of Mike, as the retired firefighter lost the idol, and Daniel plotted how to use the idol against him. But this episode, Daniel realized his idol plan wouldn’t work, and it was he who lost the idol. Plus, we saw that Mike was well aware of Daniel’s “squirrelly” ways and justifiably nervous that he would “bail” on them, which is what happened.
In a very messy episode on a very messy tribe, Mike appeared to be one of the only level-headed ones. He remained calm and rationally explained his thoughts. As always, the edit afforded Mike the opportunity to explain the reasons behind his moves. In this instance, it was at the challenge after Maryanne said her idol phrase. “I was waiting for the other tribe to say something. I heard nothing. So I didn’t say anything. Because if I can go into the merge with this secret of mine and never have to say the line, I have the idol, and nobody knows I have it,” he said.
The one concern I have with Mike is that at Tribal, he said that he takes people at face value. That doesn’t seem like the best approach in the deceptive game of Survivor. However, in an episode where paranoia was causing absolute chaos, Mike’s words might have been intended to show steadfastness. He was the one attempting to calm things down at Tribal and appeal to Hai and Daniel to make a decision and move forward. So even though it made me pause for a moment, I’m not sure if it’s the worst thing in the world. Overall, this episode boosted Mike back into contention after a wobbly episode the week before.
Maryanne — Maryanne’s edit is still flowing thematically from where she left off after the first two episodes. She is experiencing the highs and lows of the Survivor rollercoaster, this week exemplified by her “bait-and-switch” idol find. And she has her secondary story as a potential wildcard, re-emphasized in this episode by Lindsay, who worried about Maryanne having an extra vote.
So, while Maryanne does seem like a character edit on the surface, there is a consistency that suggests she also has a vital part to play in the story. Of course, it’s tempting to see everything Maryanne does through an OTT lens because her personality is very in-your-face. But that doesn’t mean her Edgic rating always has to be OTT, which I don’t think it was this week. Sure, she was energetic and excited when she revealed her extra vote and idol, but that’s just how Maryanne is.
Swati — Nothing from Swati this week as Ika was totally ignored. It certainly knocks her down in contention a couple of notches, but it’s not the end of the world. Her edit is basically in stasis until the next episode.
Tori — Likewise, there was no follow-up on Tori because Ika did not receive any air-time outside of the challenge. So she, too, remains in the same place as in the last episode.
Chanelle — Chanelle has really stepped out of the under-the-radar shadows as she was a big focus of this episode. However, her edit here wasn’t great in terms of winner hopes, though it was positive in terms of her potentially becoming a key character. She had a very good episode two, but I said last week that this third episode would be really telling if there’s anything more to Chanelle’s edit. And I think we got our answer.
A key decision of the episode came at the Summit when Chanelle opted to risk her vote. “I’m not playing a scared game. I’m playing a game for a million dollars. I got to make big moves to get a big reward,” she said. That could certainly be taken as a positive, presenting Chanelle as someone that has come to play hard. However, the story of the episode was that Chanelle made a mistake by not protecting her vote, causing her to lose a grip on the impending Tribal Council.
But it wasn’t the Summit itself that was the most damaging part of the edit for Chanelle. It was her return to camp and the overconfidence she was shown to have heading into Tribal. She came up with a split vote idea, but Hai immediately sensed something was up. He noted that Chanelle is usually “cool, calm, and collected” but was now acting “frazzled.” This tipped Hai off to stick with his Jenny vote, which resulted in a tie at Tribal.
“I’ve set up a great foundation in the days leading up to this Tribal,” Chanelle said in the final confessional of the episode. “So, I think going into Tribal Council tonight is my call, and I might not even have a vote. That is the power of my social game. I can direct the votes without even having one.”
This confessional was a terrible look, given that Hai saw through Chanelle’s plan, and she completely lost control of the vote at Tribal. On top of that, she was thrown under the bus by Daniel, someone she has been telling us she trusts as her number one. Now, Daniel didn’t come across great either, but Chanelle was certainly not shown in the best light here. On the plus side, she now has a potential story/rivalry with Daniel.
Romeo — Nothing for the Ika tribe and, therefore, nothing new for Romeo.
Rocksroy — Other than the close-up shots of him almost drowning, there was nothing to add to Rocksroy’s edit as the Ika tribe was ignored.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Daniel & Chanelle (Rivals) — A former pair turned rivals after the breakdown at Tribal Council. As I said earlier, it makes sense now why we never heard Daniel’s thoughts on Chanelle before this episode. This relationship looks set to be a focus on the Vati tribe for the immediate future.
Hai & Lydia (Pair) — Despite being the most quietly edited pair on Vati across the first two episodes, Hai & Lydia appears to be the tightest duo on the tribe. We saw their mutual connection in the premiere, and in this episode, Hai stuck his neck on the line to protect Lydia. With Jenny out of the game and Daniel & Chanelle’s relationship blown to pieces, this pair could become one of the most important in the game.
Daniel & Mike (Idol Connection) — The idol connection between these two continued in this episode, but Mike was shown to be wary of Daniel. Those worries were validated when Daniel almost lost the idol and then later flipped his vote at Tribal. This could be another alliance that turns into a rivalry as the game moves on.
Jonathan, Omar, Lindsay, [plus Maryanne?] (Alliance) — The image we get of Taku is that they want to work together as a tight four. But there are some reservations about Maryanne. Lindsay detailed the plan for the four “to stay tight” and hoped that Maryanne’s extra vote would be used to all their advantage.
Jonathan & Omar (Pair) — Set up as a pair last week but no follow-up on them specifically as a duo in this episode.
Chanelle & Omar — These two seemed to bond during the Summit, and both told the other that they wanted to help and work together. However, their incorrect read of each other caused them both to lose votes. Whether this will become a sticking point should they meet up later in the game remains to be seen.
Omar/Jonathan/Lindsay — I’m still keeping this trio together for now as the Taku tribe is presented as a unit. But their alliance continues to be highlighted and is mostly shown in a positive light. There are obvious concerns about Maryanne causing potential problems down the line. And there is also the risk of me falling into the Yase trap, where I focus too much on the positively-edited tribe. However, after Ika was completely neglected and Vati looked like a mess, it’s hard not to favor the Taku trio at this current moment.
Mike — After he took a hit last week, Mike’s edit rebounded in episode three. Mike was presented as calm and rational in a tribe where people were flipping out or being wrongfully overconfident. He always gets to explain his thoughts and reasoning for his moves. Plus, he has the personal content from the premiere and the theme of making the most of his opportunity.
Swati — Despite Ika not receiving any camp content, I’m keeping Swati in contention. She hasn’t had any major flaws or been made to look negative in any way. Her first confessional in the premiere was excellent. She’s had great personal content. We have a sense of where she stands in the game. And she has the narrative of working hard to maneuver her way to the top. If she is ignored again next week, though, then she’s in trouble.
Hai — I’m moving Hai into my contender’s list after this episode made me look at this edit in a new light. I previously thought his vegan scene implied he wasn’t ready for “the twists thrown his way,” but I think that was the wrong read. He was shown to adapt and face up to the predicament that Survivor had put him in. This has been Hai’s M.O. from the start, with the way he jumped into the Amulet task and now the way he handled the deadlocked vote. Hai has been shown as perceptive, willing to take a risk, and ready to face up to the show’s many twists.
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