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.
On the surface, the fourth episode might have seemed quieter and more straightforward than previous weeks. However, when looking specifically at the edit, this episode actually changed things up quite a bit, foreshadowing new relationships and storylines. It felt like an episode that peeled back some of the layers to reveal the truth behind the distractions, setting up the real important narratives to come.
For example, Taku has been presented as this tight unit with some slight concerns over Maryanne. In this episode, our perceptions were altered as Jonathan became the one to stick his foot in his mouth and cause problems for Taku. Likewise, on Vati, the story until now has been Hai & Lydia on the outs, with Mike, Daniel, and Chanelle working together—this has now blown up, with Mike and Hai emerging as a potential new pair.
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Lastly, the Ika tribe completely pulled the rug out from under us with the sudden flip on Swati. The Ivy League Student had a solid edit until the back half of the episode when she got caught in her lies. I don’t think this was a lack of care in Swati’s edit; I believe it was intentional. I think we were meant to see Swati as this quietly intelligent and observant player because that’s how her tribemates perceived her. That made it all the more shocking when the penny dropped, and they realized she was playing them against one another.
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).
Four episodes into the season, and we have only lost one of the intro players. If the season follows the same trajectory as Survivor 41, there is one more vote before the merge. So even if one of the intro players leaves the next episode, we will easily achieve the prediction of “at least 6 of the 9” making the merge.
Jonathan — This was a mixed bag of an episode for Jonathan. He continues to be presented as the dominating challenge beast, now nicknamed Goliath and Thor by his fellow castmates. Jeff Probst continues to shower him with praise during the challenges, and members of the other tribes have also started noting Jonathan’s performances.
All of this remains consistent with Jonathan’s intro confessional and theme as the record-smashing, challenge dude. His confessional this episode about his father pushing him as a kid and building a “foundation of strength” only further adds to the narrative. It might appear a little one-note, but Jonathan did get to acknowledge the perceptions of him and offer some insight into his strategy. “Everybody knows I’m big, so I need to use it. I want them to see that my service is that I’m using it for them,” he explained. “Whatever you need… that’s my service.”
That’s the positive side of things. But this episode also showed Jonathan putting his foot in his mouth and causing some potential cracks in the tight Taku 4. Both Maryanne and Omar called him out for talking about Taku dynamics in front of the other two tribes. Omar even referred to him as “Mr. Dummy Jonathan” and a “bit of a slop.” While Jonathan did at least acknowledge his error, it’s the first time he’s been presented as a liability in any facet.
Drea — This was a solid rebound edit for Drea after being entirely absent (along with the rest of Ika) last week. When Ika actually receives focus, we always hear Drea’s thoughts on her position in the game and her relationships. Here she told us her intentions and how they were changing based on the new information she learned across the episode.
There has been this consistent back-and-forth narrative with Tori, where one minute they’re targeting each other, and the next they’re working together. It’s been like that since the first episode when Tori was mad at Drea for throwing idol suspicion on her, but Drea proposed a plan to work together to vote Rocksroy. That plan didn’t quite go off as intended. But Drea continued to pitch to Tori in Episode 2, offering a girl’s alliance, only for Tori and Swati to plot Drea’s downfall. That led to this episode, when Drea straight up told us, “I’ve been wanting to play with Tori… But when I found out that Tori told Rocksroy about the extra vote, it changed everything.”
Yet, again, Drea voted with Tori this episode, choosing to take out Swati instead. Now, the Swati vote was presented as a correct move; after all, we’d seen Swati targeting Drea and getting caught in lies. But there is definitely something to this Drea-Tori relationship that I expect to culminate eventually, most likely in an explosive fashion. Either Drea finally gets rid of Tori because she can’t trust her, or she ends up going home herself because of mistakenly trusting Tori.
Omar — This was a quieter episode for Omar, but he’s still looking fairly solid. He commented on the Jonathan situation, noting how Jonathan messed up but is still invaluable to the tribe. We saw him talking about it with Maryanne, the second private scene between this pair, which could be hinting at a closer relationship than we’ve been told thus far. And we still haven’t seen Omar catching any heat, which suggests his intro confessional plan of blending in is working.
If there was a negative, it was the challenge b-roll footage — his funny belly flop and pushing the key away from himself in the water. It’s nothing too major, but when analyzing the finer details of the edit to separate contenders, it’s the kind of thing you have to note. Would the show present its winner in that fashion?
Lydia — Another episode with zero confessionals for Lydia. Unless she is being intentionally hidden, this very much seems like the edit of a secondary character. Even last week, when she was a boot target, she wasn’t the driving force of the episode. She’s mentioned in the plans of others, but we rarely hear her own strategy and ideas. If things are to change, Lydia needs a break-out episode soon.
Daniel — The fourth episode for Daniel was all about the fallout from his disastrous performance at the previous Tribal Council. He caught all the backlash and was exposed for his lies and double-dealing. Mike and Chanelle called him out, and Hai said he has “no backbone.” But, to his credit, Daniel realized that he had messed up and was totally aware of the dire situation he’d found himself in. “This game is totally fickle. It can turn on a dime, which is what I’m hoping it does again,” he said, which opens up the possibility of Daniel finding a way to slip through the net.
However, unless he has some miraculous Adam Klein-style turnaround, it’s hard to see Daniel as a contender at this point. The edit has portrayed him as a messy, paranoid player that his other tribemates are onto. Could he go further and cause more chaos? Sure. But I don’t see this season ending well for Daniel.
Lindsay — A lowkey episode for Lindsay where she didn’t do much outside of some broad tribe narration. She talked about Taku’s domination at the challenges and how the other tribes are not eating. She commented on the fish reward and its benefits. And she set up the Jonathan scene with her, “As long as we have Jonathan, we might have it again tomorrow, but…” which bled right into talk of what Jonathan said at the challenge.
So there’s not a lot to add here. We still haven’t had any continuation on her “testing her potential” theme from her intro confessional. However, the edit is making sure she’s present in each episode, even if it’s not the most dynamic content.
Hai — After a really strong edit last week, Hai followed up with another solid showing. He continued to face up to the pressures of the game and adapt, which has been his motif across the season so far. He patched things up with Mike, explaining what happened with the vote and creating a potential new alliance at the same time. To support this new bond, there was a moment at the challenge where the cameras focused on Mike and Hai hugging, with Mike telling Hai, “I love you, bro.”
The second Hai confessional was him commenting on Taku’s performance at the reward challenge, specifically Jonathan’s performance. “They’re the top-performing tribe now, so we need to pull it together,” he said, and Vati did pull it together enough to finish second in the Immunity challenge later in the episode. So, overall, I’m really starting to like Hai’s edit.
Mike — Despite losing his number one ally, Jenny, last week, this was a pretty decent episode for Mike. Like Hai, he was shown to roll with the punches and find a way forward. “Daniel absolutely lost my trust. He was going behind my back, making other alliances, and telling secrets I told him,” he said. “But you know what? That’s in the past. What I need to do is move forward. I got to adapt. Either I adapt, or I’m a dinosaur.”
Mike followed through on this promise as we saw him talking with Hai and agreeing to a new alliance. This tells us that Mike has an awareness of the game and what needs to be done to progress. He’s obviously an important character as we always hear his thoughts on a situation and how he intends to approach it.
Maryanne — I think this might have been Maryanne’s best edit so far. The OTT-ness was tamed down somewhat. She was highlighted as someone aware of the tribe dynamics and perceptions of the other tribes. And she didn’t receive the suspicion or worries that have cropped up in previous episodes. She had some fun narration on the fish reward, commented on her idol situation, and clocked Jonathan for giving away tribe secrets.
The minor dispute with Jonathan could be foreshadowing the first severe cracks in the Taku foursome. And it could be placing Maryanne in a stronger position on the tribe. Previously, Maryanne was seen as the fourth wheel, but if Jonathan continues to make strategic errors, perhaps he will be usurped by Maryanne. This could also lead to Maryanne turning on the Taku contingent, which has been foreshadowed in previous episodes.
Tori — Tori has an interesting edit. There is definitely a negative vibe to it, with the constant b-roll of her pulling faces and snippy confessionals. But she’s also presented as a scrappy player, willing to do whatever it takes to survive. And so far, it’s working. There is a consistent theme of her being willing to cut anyone if it means she can stick around one more day. We saw that in the premiere when she voted out Zach, and now again with voting out Swati, someone she told us she trusted and wanted to work with.
But Tori does get the chance to justify her actions. In this episode, we saw that the tribe was targeting Tori. Rocksroy, Romeo, and Drea told us that Tori is sneaky and can’t be trusted. But we also saw that it was Swati plotting to take out Drea, and so, when Tori threw Swati under the bus, it wasn’t without basis. It’s almost like Tori has been forced to play this way. As she said, “I kind of wanted to come in and be the sweet girl, play a little under the radar. Did not expect for the first two Tribals to be on the chopping block and be the center of conversation. So I’m having to, like, fight and wiggle my way out of it.”
That is Tori’s story. She will fight and wiggle her way out of any situation, no matter who she has to burn in the process. That’s why I don’t put much faith in this new voting bloc of Tori, Drea, and Romeo lasting beyond this Tribal. The Ika tribe has repeatedly said how much Tori can’t be trusted, so keeping her around so long is going to blow up for someone eventually.
Chanelle — Unlike Daniel, Chanelle pretty much escaped unscathed following last week’s chaotic Tribal. And that was certainly the intention of the edit. Chanelle was able to explain her side of the story back at camp, and instead, Daniel took all the heat. She said in confessional that it was her plan to get Lydia out but noted that she couldn’t admit that as it would ruin her game. So instead, she said her piece and then slipped into the background, with even Daniel noting, “Chanelle has somehow gotten off scot-free with her playing both sides. She’s getting no blowback from this, as far as I can tell.”
That was probably the best-case scenario for Chanelle’s edit coming off last week’s episode. She acknowledged what happened without getting torn apart by her tribemates like Daniel did. I still believe last week really hurt her in terms of contendership, but this episode has at least given her a chance at recovery. However, she is now without solid allies as the edit has switched its focus to a Mike/Hai/Lydia alliance.
Romeo — This was a decent episode for Romeo. He got to outline his strategy, specifically when explaining his approach to Rocksroy, even directing his own montage sequence. We then saw him adapting to new plans when he learned of Swati’s double-dealing. He was involved in a lot of the Ika camp scenes and appeared to be at the center of the strategic decision-making. That’s all good stuff.
However, I’m still finding it hard to place Romeo’s story. I’m not quite sure what the hook is for his narrative. It’s somewhat similar to Drea’s in that they have made various alliances but had to change tact due to new information coming to light. But Drea’s edit seems more rounded and personal overall, which gives the impression she’s more essential than Romeo.
Rocksroy — As I’ve said before, Rocksroy’s edit is very old-school, which matches his gameplay. He is a player focused on camp life, working hard, and winning challenges. This can lead to frustration, both for him and others. This episode showed Romeo and Tori badmouthing Rocksroy as someone bossy, controlling, and one-track-minded. And Rocksroy himself screamed in frustration after losing the Immunity Challenge. It’s a very one-note kind of edit, though it’s consistent with what we’ve seen throughout the season so far.
That said, there are flashes of other sides to Rocksroy’s personality. We saw it in the premiere with the flashback about his life as a stay-at-home dad. And this episode showed his paternal nature when he went to bat for Swati at Tribal, complimenting her on opening up. So I get the vibe we’re meant to see Rocksroy as well-intentioned but a little socially inept when it comes to the nuances of Survivor.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Daniel & Chanelle (Rivals) — The former allies are now firmly at odds after the previous Tribal. Chanelle talked of Daniel throwing her under the bus, and she revealed that he spilled about Mike’s idol. Meanwhile, Daniel said he felt betrayed by Chanelle and was shocked she wasn’t receiving any blowback. I expect this feud to continue in the coming episodes.
Daniel & Mike (Rivals) — Another former alliance that has since broken down. Mike made it clear that he felt burned by Daniel for lying to him. And he also told Hai that Daniel is now at the bottom of his list.
Hai & Mike (Pair?) — Once the smoke of Jenny’s torch snuffing cleared, a new alliance appeared to form between Hai and Mike. The two guys talked things out and agreed to work together, along with Lydia. With the extra focus on Hai and Mike in the Immunity Challenge, this could be a duo to watch moving forward.
Hai & Lydia (Pair) — While one side of this pairing doesn’t receive much screen-time, it’s still a duo worth noting. Hai again confirmed that he is close to Lydia and mentioned her name as an ally when talking to Mike.
Jonathan, Omar, Lindsay, Maryanne (Alliance) — The Taku tribe has been presented as a solid four who intend to work together against the other tribes. Jonathan pretty much said this outright after the Reward Challenge, much to the chagrin of his fellow tribemates.
Omar & Maryanne (Pair?) — While these two haven’t explicitly said they’re working as a pair, we’ve now seen two scenes of them together discussing game. It could be a relationship worth keeping an eye on, especially if Jonathan continues to make mistakes.
Omar & Jonathan (Pair) — This was the pair more directly set-up in previous episodes, but this week Omar aired some potential worries about “Mr. Dummy” Jonathan and his big mouth.
Drea & Romeo (Pair?) — These two made an alliance (along with Rocksroy) in the premiere and continue to vote together. However, it’s not exactly air-tight. For example, Drea has tried to form alliances with Tori and Swati since then, and even Romeo had his back-up with Zach.
Drea, Romeo, & Rocksroy (Alliance?) — This trio is an alliance in a very loose sense. They committed to each other in the first episode, and they’re all still in the game, so they were likely focused on for a reason. But they’re not exactly close, as Drea has tried to target Rocksroy a couple of times, and Rocksroy didn’t vote with them this week.
Mike — Other than that dodgy idol mishap in the second episode, Mike’s edit has been very strong. He’s already ticked a lot of the boxes: intro confessional, personal flashback, alliance content, strategic content, etc. I also think it’s a good sign that after losing his number one Jenny, he immediately secured a new pairing with Hai. And when combined with his ability to adapt, everything is looking positive for Mike. The only nagging issue I have is that “I take people at face value” quote from Episode 3, which gives me a feeling of Mike getting duped.
Hai — Hai’s edit continues to go up in my estimations. He’s shown as a capable player that knows how to adapt to any situation, whether it’s a twist, a moral dilemma, or a game decision. This week he went from the bottom to the person in the power position, solidifying an alliance with Mike while still having his number one in Lydia.
Omar — Despite a quiet episode and some undermining b-roll, I still think Omar’s edit looks good overall. He’s fulfilling his strategy of being social and unassuming, yet he’s shown to be aware of the dynamics going on around him. Plus, he has some strong personal and alliance content.
Lindsay — I think of all the more under-the-radar edits, Lindsay probably stands the best chance. She’s part of that Taku foursome which looks pretty good as a whole. We always check in with her, even if it’s only for a brief moment. She had an intro confessional and has received positive comments from her tribemates. And there is a lingering story with her concerns about Maryanne. However, it would be nice to get more in-depth into her strategy and long-term plans, plus some follow-up on her “potential” theme.
Jonathan/Maryanne — I’m putting these two together because I think they’d both be quite unusual winners. Yet, they’re a part of Taku, which has positivity going for it. They’re both big personalities and OTT in their own ways, but they also get to share personal stories and strategic insights. And they have similar flaws in that they’ve now both been presented as potential liabilities for Taku. Maryanne has been described as a “wild card” due to her paranoia, and Jonathan a “dummy” for saying too much in front of the enemy.
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