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 episode re-established some of the stories introduced or hinted at last week. It cemented the wedges in each tribe, further laying the groundwork for the post-merge game. At the same time, it served as a conclusion to one of the more consistent pre-merge storylines, that been the relationship between Chanelle and Daniel.
The Ika tribe edit continued to paint Rocksroy as a social outcast and Tori as an untrustworthy flipper-in-waiting. Tori outright told us that she will flip on Ika the first chance she gets. This follows through on the narrative we’ve seen from the start, that Tori is going to be a problem down the line for her Ika tribemates, and yet they continue to keep her around.
Meanwhile, over on Taku, the edit continued to drive that wedge between Jonathan and the others, particularly between him and Maryanne. Last week, it was Jonathan saying too much at the challenge and frustrating Maryanne. This week, Jonathan was annoyed by Maryanne and Lindsay’s constant conversations at camp. Like with Tori, the edit has told us that Maryanne could cause issues for Taku later in the game, yet she is still here.
Finally, Vati settled the score between Chanelle and Daniel, while also laying the foundation for what’s to come. Hai, Lydia, and Mike appeared to cement the alliance they formed the week prior. But in a similar pattern to the other two tribes, the likes of Hai told us that Chanelle was a bigger threat than Daniel and was likely to flip at the merge. And, yet again, the tribe chose to keep Chanelle.
All of this suggests a messy merge to come with fractured allegiances and fluid alliances. But which players are standing out as contenders among all of this tension? Let’s take a deeper look.
Once again, let’s 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).
Now that Daniel has gone, seven of the nine intro confessional getters remain. So, as we predicted back in the premiere, at least six of them are making the merge. Even if we don’t consider the upcoming “fake merge” twist as an actual merge, the prediction still stands. So, while things like complex tribe theory might have taken a hit last season, we can at least still put value into the intro confessionals.
Jonathan — Another mixed episode for Jonathan where the story continued to highlight the growing cracks on Taku. As always, he was presented as a challenge beast, this time receiving credit for getting Taku back into the Immunity challenge after Omar put them behind. But he was also shown to be running out of patience with his tribemates, leading to further tension between himself and Maryanne.
On a positive note, Jonathan was afforded the chance to explain himself in confessionals. He told us why he was annoyed (the girls talking all the time) and what he was doing to combat it (fishing alone). And he showed awareness about what the perception would be if he lost his temper. So it’s not as if the edit was out to bury Jonathan. But Omar noted how “petty” it was and how “stupid fights” like this are what will cause rifts and allow the other tribes to swoop in.
The groundwork has definitely been laid for the Taku tribe to fall apart at the merge. Since the second episode, we’ve seen that with the focus on Maryanne being a wildcard. And the fact that we saw Maryanne correctly surmising that Jonathan was plotting against her with Lindsay only further suggests the breakdown of the Taku foursome. I also wonder if there was some foreshadowing in Jonathan’s last confessional.
“Once I lose it, I’m gonna be labeled as a bad guy,” he said. “I’m 6’4, I’m 250 pounds, and I just screamed at the little girl that’s 5’2. As soon as that happens, it’s over.” Will we see Jonathan’s temper being tested throughout the merge until he eventually snaps? And if he does, will that spell the end of this game?
Drea — I thought this was another pretty solid episode for Drea. Of all the remaining Ika players, I think she probably has the best shot at winning edit-wise right now. There are minor concerns, like her continuing to keep Tori after recognizing she can’t trust her, plus the “too much” foreshadowing from her intro confessional. But outside of those worries, Drea is presented as a competent, likable player willing to take risks.
Those risks mostly take the form of advantages, of which Drea now has three. In this episode, she found the idol and got to talk about women’s empowerment, which tied nicely to Romeo’s confessional about strong, independent women. It was also a good sign to see more emphasis on the Drea and Romeo partnership. All in all, this episode made Drea look like a player the audience is supposed to root for and want to see do well.
If there is a downside, it’s perhaps too much focus on advantages. Every Drea confessional in this episode was tied to the advantages, whether it was talk of the idol or her Amulet or the extra vote. Perhaps that is unavoidable given the number of advantages she has. But it would be nice to hear more about Drea’s strategic plans moving forward, particularly regarding what she intends to do with Tori, as that continues to be a worrying loose thread.
Omar — This was another relatively quiet episode for Omar, who didn’t get much focus outside of his comments on the Jonathan/Maryanne fight and his blunder with the ropes. However, the fact that he did share his thoughts on the fight and what it meant for his game is a good sign. It tells us that Omar is relevant to the overarching story, even if he isn’t at the center of it at this particular moment.
What to make of the challenge screw-up? I don’t think it’s too detrimental. It probably had to be shown no matter what, especially as it added tension to the challenge. And it also allowed Jonathan to continue his challenge beast theme. But it did make me think back to the belly flop at the end of last week’s challenge, something that probably didn’t NEED to be shown. Just little undermining moments like that make me question Omar’s overall chances.
Lydia — Finally, Lydia received some screen-time, even if most of it was contained to the Summit portion of the episode. Her confessional about her body image issues and how Survivor is helping her grow more confident echoed her intro confessional. Remember, she talked about being “way outside of my comfort zone” and was worrying about life on the island. But this scene showed that not only is she surviving but thriving.
Her strategic contributions to the episode mostly revolved around explaining why she chose to protect her vote. Although, she did also touch on the vote, noting that she doesn’t fully trust Chanelle and that Daniel is a liability. She also correctly called that she and Hai were running this particular vote. Is it a red flag that she kept Chanelle after telling us she doesn’t trust her? Maybe.
While Lydia has a consistent theme of being out of her comfort zone and adapting to island life, I still would like to see more depth in her edit. Specifically, I would like to see more strategic insight and her plans moving forward in the game. Because currently, I still see her as the character that floats in and out of relevance as necessary. That said, Erika’s story didn’t truly kick into gear until the early merge last season, so the next couple of weeks could be very telling for Lydia.
Lindsay — The only player not to receive a confessional this episode; all we got from Lindsay was her chattering with Maryanne, which annoyed Jonathan, and her nodding along with Jonathan when he said Maryanne needs to go. We never actually heard Lindsay’s true thoughts on the Maryanne matter, though she has aired her concerns in previous episodes.
There’s not really much else to say about Lindsay’s edit. It’s one of the quieter edits in a reasonably balanced season, but I can’t help but feel there is more to come. And that’s because of her intro confessional about finding her potential. There hasn’t been any follow-up on that, so, in my mind, it’s a loose thread that I expect to be picked up at some point—even if it’s just an episode where she pushes herself in a challenge or something.
Hai — This was another strong episode for Hai, though part of me is starting to worry that he’s too out in the forefront as a strategic threat. This episode affirmed Hai’s rise to the top of the Vati tribe. He was the one now in control and in the numbers, having Lydia and Mike as allies by his side. He told us that while the tribe was all smiles, he didn’t trust anyone, particularly not Chanelle or Daniel.
The big debate of the episode, mostly expressed through Hai, was who to get rid of… Chanelle or Daniel? On more than one occasion, Hai told us that he didn’t trust either of them. Initially, he told Lydia that Chanelle was the bigger threat as she is harder to read, whereas Daniel is transparent. But throughout the episode, his mind seemed to change, focusing on how Daniel was out fishing despite his bad shoulder. In the end, he voted out Daniel and kept the “harder to read” Chanelle.
Now the question is, will that come back to haunt Hai? That appears to be the story heading into the merge, as set up by Hai in the final confessional of the episode. “The merge is coming up any day now, so tonight’s Tribal Council is monumental because not only does it affect the rest of my game, it’s going to affect how the merge is going to play out,” he said. “I’m just nervous because whether it be Chanelle or Daniel that goes into the merge with me will determine how well I do in this game.”
That sets off alarm bells for me. It has that element of ominous foreshadowing. He told us that Chanelle is harder to read and, therefore, a bigger threat who could make things harder for them at the merge. This seems all set up for Chanelle to flip. However, the saving grace is that each tribe has someone foreshadowed as a potential flipper, so there are several ways this could play out.
Mike — I still like what I’m seeing from Mike’s edit. This episode was mostly tied to his decision whether or not to recite his idol phrase. Initially, he seemed against it, explaining how he wanted to keep the idol a secret from the other tribes. Obviously, he eventually went back on this when push came to shove. But, as is often the case with Mike, he got to explain his reasoning. He told us how his vote was essential—and we’ve seen the importance of having your vote already this season.
He also appeared to be the one more deadset on getting rid of Daniel, so he doesn’t quite have the same ominous cloud of Chanelle lingering over him. And that might seem odd given that Chanelle actually threw a vote on him this episode. But Mike has been shown to roll with the punches and adapt before, so I have no doubt he’ll take that vote on the chin and continue forward.
Maryanne — This episode drove a further wedge into Maryanne’s relationship with Jonathan. It started the week before when she was annoyed about him spilling tribe secrets at the challenge, and here it continued with their spat over the machete chopping. She was also shown to be aware that Jonathan was plotting against her in his conversation with Lindsay.
I definitely see Maryanne and Jonathan’s stories as interlinked at this point. I fully expect them to clash again in the coming weeks. However, what’s interesting is how Maryanne described Jonathan as a shield. That could suggest she will keep him around for gameplay reasons despite their personal conflicts.
Tori — As I said last week, I didn’t put much faith in the new voting bloc of Tori, Drea, and Romeo. Tori’s story of the season has been about how she will do whatever it takes to survive another day. She has no loyalty to anybody but herself. And, lo and behold, the first thing we heard in this episode was how she is going to be the first to flip on Ika.
There wasn’t much else from Tori this week, outside of some eye rolls and muttering under her breath. Her story is well established by this point—she is ready to flip on Ika at the first opportunity that arises.
Chanelle — I think this was an okay episode for Chanelle and potentially set her up to do some damage come the merge. Unlike Daniel, Chanelle was shown to be more chilled following the chaotic Tribal from a couple of weeks ago. She fit back into the tribe more comfortably. That said, people still don’t trust her, with Hai explicitly calling out that she is hard to read and a big threat.
However, the fact her tribemates kept her despite their worries is very telling. Much like Maryanne on Taku and Tori on Ika, this could lead to Chanelle causing problems for Vati at the merge. We’ve been told before that she will flip, and she has the previous Summit connection with Omar, which means she has potential openings with the other tribes.
Something needs to be addressed, though, and that’s her vote for Mike. While I understood the strategy behind it, it kind of came out of nowhere in the episode. This is something that needs to be explained in the next episode. If Chanelle doesn’t get a chance to address it, then that shows a lack of care in her edit. But if she is allowed to justify her vote, it suggests she is an important character.
Romeo — Romeo is still the edit I’m having the most trouble placing. There is some stuff I really like in his edit and other things that give me reason to pause. Once again, he received the first post-Tribal confessional, explaining why they left Rocksroy out of the Swati vote. And, later in the episode, he got a really lovely personal confessional, complete with flashback. From all this, we get the image of a smart, likable player.
But what makes me lower on Romeo’s chances than Drea’s is that his personal confessional almost seemed set up for her. Sure, he told us about his work as a pageant coach and his mother’s sacrifices, but the overriding them was about strong, independent women “That’s why I feel like it’s my duty to give back to strong, independent women,” he said. “So I’d like to think that I’m also coaching Drea to become an even better Survivor player than she already is, and today we want to find that idol.”
It made Drea seem like the story’s central character and Romeo as the side-kick. And you could add to that with the fact that Drea had an intro confessional, and Romeo didn’t; plus, she’s had more screen-time in general than Romeo has. So is Romeo’s main role in the season as a supporting character whose aim is to—in his own words—help coach Drea to success?
Rocksroy — Not much has changed for Rocksroy, except he did start to gain a little self-awareness this week. After being “duped” by the Swati vote, he realized he wasn’t picking up on social cues. It will be interesting to see whether this becomes a wake-up call for Rocksroy, something he will improve upon in the weeks to come. Or will he simply fall back into familiar habits?
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Hai & Lydia — A solidified pair at this point, one that has been highlighted since the premiere and hasn’t shown any signs of fracture. I expect them to continue working together into the merge. The question is whether they’ve become too obvious as a duo and will end up targeted because of it?
Hai, Lydia, & Mike — This trio was formed in the fallout of the Jenny boot Tribal, and they cemented their alliance at the vote this past episode.
Jonathan, Omar, Lindsay, Maryanne (Alliance) — This foursome has previously committed to working together against the other tribes, but the deepening cracks suggest a potential falling apart in the future.
Omar & Maryanne (Pair?) — As I said last week, we keep getting these scenes of Omar and Maryanne alone together, usually discussing the game or tribe dynamics. We got another one this week as Maryanne complained about Jonathan.
Omar & Jonathan (Pair) — This pair was established early in the season but hasn’t had a lot of focus recently. And Omar has started to question some of Jonathan’s behavior.
Drea & Romeo (Pair) — After forming an alliance (with Rocksroy) in the premiere, I think we can safely say at this point that Drea and Romeo are a pair. In this episode, they found the idol together, and Romeo even referred to Drea as his number one ally. We haven’t heard Drea’s thoughts on Romeo quite so much, but she did talk about how you need a good ally to help maneuver the twists and advantages.
Drea, Romeo, & Rocksroy (Alliance?) — As mentioned above, this alliance was formed in the premiere, but it’s been a topsy-turvy journey for them since then. They haven’t always voted together and have even plotted against their own members. But all three are still standing and appear to be on the same page as sticking together at a potential merge.
Tori — A lone wolf who is all about self-preservation. She has straight up told us she will flip the first chance she gets.
Chanelle — Having already been caught in her lies, Chanelle is a sneaky player who knows her Vati tribemates don’t fully trust her. The edit has laid enough groundwork to suggest she might flip on her old tribe.
Maryanne — Maryanne seems committed to Taku right now, but her growing beef with Jonathan seems destined to combust. Plus, with all the foreshadowing of Maryanne’s wild card paranoia coming back to bite Taku, it wouldn’t be a shock to see her flip.
Mike — As I’ve said before, Mike has already ticked a lot of the boxes that I would expect of a top contender. He had the intro confessional, the personal flashback, and the alliance content. He always gets to explain himself and his moves. He’s presented as a likable, hard-working person. And he’s shown he can adapt and roll with the punches.
Omar — Despite a couple of minor niggles, I still think Omar has an overall solid edit, one that fits his intro confessional theme. So far, he has been the unassuming social player. He fits into his tribe, seems likable, and hasn’t caused any waves. However, eventually, we will need to see him kick into the second part of his strategy, being the one making moves behind the scenes. That’s what we need to keep an eye on heading into the merge.
Hai — I think Hai’s edit has been really good over the past couple of weeks. He appears as an intelligent, strategic player who can adapt and face the season’s curveballs head-on. Part of me worries that he’s too out in front, almost as if he’s been set up for a surprise merge boot, especially with keeping Chanelle around. But if he can make it past that stage, I think Hai is set up really well.
Drea — As I said earlier in this article, Drea is pretty much the only Ika member that I see with a chance of winning. There are ominous signs, like her keeping Tori around despite the lack of trust, plus the foreshadowing from her intro of becoming “too much.” But overall, she’s presented as a strong, capable player with power and influence.
Lindsay — Lindsay is starting to slip down the contender’s list due to a lack of content. But, in a post-Erika world, I’m keeping an eye on the under-the-radar players, especially one like Lindsay, who had an intro confessional with a theme that has yet to be followed up on. But she needs a break out episode in the next couple of weeks for me to keep her on the list.
Jonathan — I’m less confident in Jonathan as a winner, especially as it seems set up for him to snap at some point. But it’s clear that, so far, he has been presented as a likable character. And he often gets to explain his thought process, even when he makes an error or misjudgment. I think the next couple of episodes will be really telling for where Jonathan’s edit is heading.
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