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.
While I will try to keep things focused on the edit, it would be a disservice not to touch on the events of Tribal Council. The discussion that took place at the episode’s second Tribal and the words spoken by Drea and Maryanne were deeply important. It was a moment bigger than the game, and I’m glad the edit gave it the focus it deserved.
In terms of Edgic, there were things during this scene that expanded upon the character stories and pointed at potential foreshadowing. Both Drea and Maryanne came across as strong women with complex thoughts and feelings. Jonathan’s edit took a downturn as he was shown to be bullheaded and a lousy listener. And Lindsay received a key focus that brought to mind a previous Survivor winner (I’ll get into that more in the individual write-ups).
Elsewhere in the episode, Tori and Rocksroy tied up their running rivalry as victims of the double boot twist. Rocksroy’s rigid, old-school gameplay was his ultimate undoing, while Tori was ousted because she wasn’t as liked or trusted as Lindsay. In the end, Drea won the battle with Tori, even bringing up how Tori had been gunning for her since Ika at Tribal.
Other players dropped in stock, some stayed steady, and others began to rise. Let’s take a deeper look at the character edits.
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 — As I said last week regarding Jonathan’s edit, “I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.” Well, here it was. This episode was a real downturn, to the point where I feel confident ruling him out of winner contention. The heel turn might have come as a surprise on the surface, but there have been these subtle underlying hints as we’ve covered in previous weeks. We’ve known since the pre-merge that Jonathan was biting his tongue around his tribemates, particularly around Lindsay and Maryanne. He was trying to keep his temper and ego in check. It seemed likely that would eventually come to a head.
Of course, Jonathan’s reaction at Tribal Council is what stands out the clearest. Him calling Drea “aggressive” despite her calm and measured approach to the conversation was not a good look. His reaction to Drea and Maryanne’s point contrasted with Lindsay, who showed empathy and understanding for what the women were saying. While Tribal did end with Jonathan coming to somewhat of an understanding and declaring his love for his tribemates, the overall vibe was bad.
But Jonathan’s edit started to turn before Tribal. Both Lindsay and Maryanne criticized his strategic approach. Maryanne said that he treats her “like a young little girl… the child that needs to be led,” and Lindsay said he was “not very strategic,” “impossible to talk with,” and not understanding of the relationships in the game. This was backed up in the edit, as Jonathan’s move had flaws, and Lindsay was correct in her reading of Drea and Tori’s relationship.
It will be interesting to see where Jonathan’s edit goes from here. He did still get to explain his moves, so there is complexity there. But it definitely seems like his story has shifted into its second half. He pretty much stated that in confessional. “From the beginning, I’ve had to put any ego that I’ve had behind me because the big guy cannot come in guns a-blazin,” he said. “So I’ve been waiting for my moment to make a big move.” Jonathan is now letting his ego show, and it will undoubtedly make him a target.
Drea — This was a quiet episode for Drea until the second Tribal Council. She wasn’t involved in the early drama surrounding Hai and Romeo, and she didn’t play a significant role in the pre-Tribal scrambling. However, she did receive one confessional where she aired her suspicions about Jonathan’s plan. She questioned the idea of voting for Maryanne, knowing that if people with idols were being targeted, she could also be in danger.
Obviously, Drea’s big moment came at Tribal itself. Her reaction to the Rocksroy vote-off and its larger impact on her approach to the game became the central focus. Drea explained her point in a brave and heartfelt way. And while the moment was bigger than the game, it did continue Drea’s narrative as a strong woman who isn’t afraid to speak up and make moves.
In terms of where Drea’s story goes next, she described Tribal as a game-changing moment. If her idol play is any indicator, she will be playing an even bolder and riskier game from now on. I’m not sure whether this translates to a winning game, but I expect Drea to shake things up for however long left she has in the game.
Omar — Another top-tier episode for Omar. From the start of the episode, we knew where Omar was positioned. He was not on board with Rocksroy’s men’s alliance idea, and he told us why. Not only had Rocksroy not talked game with him until now, but he knew he’d be lowering his chances of winning Immunity in a final five that included Jonathan and Mike. As we know by now, Omar is a player that is keeping his options open; he was not about to commit to a rigid guys’ alliance.
This was all set up for the first Tribal Council of the episode. Once split up, Omar saw that he had the opportunity to take out Rocksroy. This meant saving Romeo, the proposed target. Omar told us why it made sense for him to keep Romeo over Rocksroy. Romeo is someone who trusts Omar and can be swayed, whereas, Rocksroy isn’t as malleable. “I’m trying to eliminate people at this stage of the game that I can’t shape or mold to what I want,” Omar said.
Once again, Omar got his way, even bringing Hai onboard with the plan despite his issues with Romeo. And Omar continues to do this without receiving any of the blowback. Even after the vote, Rocksroy blamed Hai and Romeo for instigating the move. This is good because Omar is fulfilling his early strategy of controlling things from behind the scenes. However, I do start to wonder if the other players won’t grasp just how well Omar played the game if he does make it to the end.
Lindsay — Finally, some decent material to work with for Lindsay! I thought this was a pretty solid episode for Lindsay, with a couple of intriguing moments worth diving into deeper. She was presented as logical and empathetic and used as a contrast to Jonathan’s more bullish approach to the episode.
After the tribe was split into two teams, Lindsay noted that the old Taku had the majority and Drea had an idol, making Tori the easy vote. After everything that went down later, this was the logical approach to the vote in hindsight. But Lindsay found herself at odds with Jonathan. He wanted to protect all the Takus (plus Maryanne’s powers) by blindsiding Drea while telling Drea to vote for Maryanne. This was a concern for Lindsay, who rightly pointed out that if Drea played her idol, Maryanne would go home, taking out a Taku and removing all their powers.
“If he really is trying to be Taku strong, we need a contingency plan,” explained Lindsay as she pitched Jonathan on putting Drea’s vote on Tori instead. But Jonathan couldn’t get on board with this idea, despite Lindsay telling him that Drea and Tori don’t like each other and that she’d be able to convince Drea to do it. “Jonathan’s impossible to talk with, and he’s not understanding that there’s a lot more relationships that he’s not aware of,” she said.
The most interesting part of Lindsay’s edit in this episode came at Tribal itself. She was shown to be deeply understanding and empathetic of Drea and Maryanne’s situation. Where Jonathan got defensive, Lindsay was a supporter and an ally. It reminded me of Sarah Lacina in Game Changers during the infamous Varner-Zeke Tribal Council. While the drama itself revolved around Varner and Zeke, the edit gave Sarah this big, emotional moment of empathy. Of course, Sarah went on to win, so showing her in a positive light in the season’s biggest moment made sense.
I’m not sure Lindsay’s narrative is heading in the same direction, though I guess I should at least keep the option open after last season. Her edit until now has just been way too quiet, even more so than Erika’s, who at least had had some solid personal scenes and vote credit by this point. And Erika also had the season-long arc with Deshawn. I suppose you could say Lindsay has had a recurring connection to Jonathan and Maryanne, but it’s even more subtle than Erika & Deshawn’s relationship.
However, this positive episode for Lindsay could suggest an upswing of content in the final stretch. Perhaps she will begin to fulfill that potential she talked about in her intro confessional.
Hai — It feels like Hai’s time up is rapidly approaching. The start of this episode was not the best look. Hai went on a witch hunt to find who voted for him at the last Tribal. He pretty much knew it was Romeo and made a big fuss about it at camp. It presented Hai as an emotional player taking the game too personally. And it didn’t help that Romeo explained how he threw the vote on Hai to make him squirm and freak out, which is exactly what happened.
That said, Hai kind of turned things around in the second half of the episode. Despite his beef with Romeo, he listened to Omar’s pitch of voting for Rocksroy. He was able to put his emotions aside and make what he thought was the best strategic move for his game. “If I wanted to make an emotional move, I would take out Romeo,” he said. “But for me, tonight’s vote is not emotional. It’s strategic.” It goes back to Hai’s earliest confessional about having to adapt, and that’s what he did here.
But will this move pay off in the long run? Based on Hai’s edit over the past couple of weeks, my gut leans no. While he convinced Mike to vote for Rocksroy, it didn’t seem like Mike was keen to do so. And this comes after last week when Mike questioned Hai about his panicking over Romeo. If Mike’s foreshadowing is right, there will be serious blowback on himself and Hai for this Rocksroy vote.
Mike — Following the above, Mike’s edit has entered a precarious spot for the first time this season. A big part of Mike’s narrative has been about his loyalty and his word. When people break their word, he takes it personally, as we saw with Chanelle. But now Mike has broken his word to Rocksroy (and the larger alliance), which could have serious repercussions.
It’s also worth noting that Mike agreed to the guys’ alliance with Rocksroy and Jonathan. And remember, it was these three men highlighted when Maryanne mentioned the “cool kids” last week. Mike explained that he liked this alliance because “normally guys like me and Jonathan are taken out,” even though he realized they would “cannibalize each other” at some point. That point ended up coming sooner than he anticipated, as he would vote out the guy that proposed the alliance later in the episode.
On the plus side, it’s good that Mike was shown to be aware of his decision. He recognized the potential drawbacks of voting out Rocksroy. “Voting Rocksroy tarnishes what I say out here. I’m a man of my word. What happens if we do vote Rocksroy out tonight? Does the rest of our alliance look at us and say, ‘you’re not trustworthy.’ We could be next’? he said. But does this self-awareness counter the fact that he went back on his word? I’m not sure, especially as the edit seemed to undermine Mike earlier in the episode by showing him confident that Romeo was the easy vote.
I still think there are many strong points to Mike’s edit that have been accumulated over the past several episodes. But following his revenge-focused edit last week and now this, I’m starting to see signs of a potential downfall in Mike’s future.
Maryanne — Maryanne has been on a roll of strong edits since the merge. Her post-merge outlier status has actually propped up her season-long narrative of being the “weird” outsider. And she has consistently been shown to have an awareness of her own position in the game and how others are perceived.
Of course, her major moment of the episode came at Tribal, as she supported Drea. An emotional Maryanne beautifully expressed herself, perfectly explaining the situation. She gave a heartfelt speech relating to Survivor and the world at large, with even Probst responding with a “Wow” when all was said and done. It was a moment that transcended the game, but edit-wise, it showed Maryanne to have emotional intelligence and great skills at public speaking.
Elsewhere in the episode, the back-and-forth Maryanne and Jonathan relationship continued to be highlighted. Maryanne was not a fan of the way Jonathan spoke to her. “Jonathan treats me like a young little girl… the child that needs to be led,” she said. “And that’s so annoying because I’m not here to be a sheep. So I’m fine with targeting Drea, but Jonathan’s really getting to me.” This told us that Maryanne is not a follower; she has her own mind and is well aware of what is happening around her.
I expect the Maryanne and Jonathan relationship to come to a head eventually. It’s been a consistent focus since early on. They’ve clashed in the past, and Maryanne knows that Jonathan has plotted against her. I mentioned the Erika-Deshawn relationship earlier when talking about Lindsay’s edit, but if there is any pair that can compare to Erika-Dehsawn, it’s probably Maryanne and Jonathan. Like Erika and Deshawn, Maryanne and Jonathan have both worked together and wanted to target each other. Could both of them make it to the end like Erika and Deshawn? That seems wild, but I don’t think we should rule it out.
Romeo — This was an okay episode for Romeo, I guess. He sort of got one-up on Hai at the start of the episode by getting Hai to freak out about the vote. But his overall negative vibe towards his tribemates (“I just want to kick them in the face”) and desire to cause chaos seem like the words of a desperate man who knows his game is hanging on by a thread.
He did survive the vote, so there’s that. But the edit didn’t portray him as proactive. In fact, he was sure that he was going home because there was “nothing” he could do. It was Omar who wound up turning things around when he came to Romeo with the plan to vote Rocksroy. So it kind of seems to me that Romeo has occupied that Tori spot, surviving by hook or crook… even though he’s more pessimistic than Tori.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
The Seven — With the elimination of Rocksroy, I think we can officially say this alliance is over. It was always heading that way, and the double Tribal simply sped up the process. I suspect it will now split off into various smaller factions from within the larger majority.
Taku 4 — All four are still in the game, but tensions are rising between Jonathan and Lindsay/Maryanne.
Jonathan & Mike — We saw these two bonding back in the merge episode, and this week, they were part of Rocksroy’s proposed men’s alliance. As I mentioned earlier, all three were highlighted when Maryanne mentioned the cool kids last week. Even though Rocksroy has gone, I suspect Mike and Jonathan will continue working together.
Omar & the Outliers — Omar continues to keep his options open with the outliers. This week he used his connection with Romeo to turn the vote on Rocksroy.
Hai & Mike — Tension continues to mount between this pair as their approach to the game has differed in the past two weeks.
Omar — I have to keep Omar at the top for now. Despite my worries about his game being exposed, Omar continues to control the votes from the shadows. He is portrayed as an intelligent and influential player who knows how to approach people to get what he wants. His gameplay is consistent with the strategy he laid out back in the premiere, giving him a clear narrative across the season so far.
On top of being presented as a competent strategist, we’ve also received some nice personal content from Omar. In fact, there was a noteworthy moment during the second Tribal when Maryanne brought up Omar’s name. She mentioned how he was the first Muslim player to make the merge. This was a nice touch and a way to bring Omar into the wider conversation of diversity on Survivor. It also showed that Maryanne still has a tight connection with Omar.
I still have my worries about people catching on to Omar’s game at some point, but that hasn’t been the case so far. There is also a slight concern that he might be overlooked if people don’t recognize his strategy should he make the end. The flashier players might overshadow his game. But for now, Omar sits comfortably at the top spot of the contenders.
Maryanne — As I said last week, those early OTT ratings give me some pause, but it’s hard to deny how strong Maryanne’s edit has been post-merge. She has a clear underdog storyline as the outsider that is underestimated. That alone wouldn’t necessarily give me winner vibes, but Maryanne has more to her edit than just being the outsider. She is shown to have a keen sense of game awareness.
From early in the season, we’ve heard how Maryanne could be dangerous if she goes far — that she could be a wildcard. Players like Lindsay have referenced Maryanne as having power that others are perhaps overlooking or underestimating. If those early concerns were foreshadowing, then Maryanne is about to have her breakout, which perhaps started with this most recent Tribal.
On top of that, Maryanne has a running arc with Jonathan as tenuous allies/potential adversaries. This continued in the most recent episode and I’m sure we haven’t seen the last of it yet. Maryanne would certainly be a unique winner, but in an episode where other top contenders started trending downwards, Maryanne continues to rise.
Mike — I was already wavering on Mike last week after his revenge-orientated edit against Chanelle. But this week cemented my fears. As I mentioned earlier, Mike going against his word and voting out Rocksroy spells disaster. He was worried about the consequences and how it might make others not trust him, and I feel like his fears will be realized.
The positive for Mike is that he has been shown to have a good social game in the past. So perhaps he can turn things around and get himself back in a solid spot. If he recovers in this next episode, then I’ll feel more confident about jumping back on the Mike bandwagon. But for now, I can’t shake those fears that a downfall is coming.
Drea — I’ve never felt that sold on an Ika win, but I’m keeping Drea in contention because she has been presented as a smart player willing to make moves. She had a hugely memorable moment at Tribal this week and has set forth her new plan of playing harder. I fully expect to see a more proactive and risk-taking Drea in the coming episodes. But will that result in a victory? It’s not impossible.
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