Survivor 43

Episode 2 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after Episode 2?

Photo: CBS

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.


For a 90-minute episode, I expected a more balanced edit. Instead, the Coco tribe was almost neglected entirely, as the episode centered primarily on the Vesi and Baka tribes. It’s still early days, though, so we shouldn’t write off the blue tribe just yet. We know from Survivor 41 that it’s unwise to dismiss a tribe outright.

If there was a consistent theme across the episode, it was the concern over tight pairs. On Vesi, of course, there were worries about the close relationship between Justine and Noelle, which ultimately led to Justine getting the boot. Meanwhile, on Coco, Karla pointed out the closeness between Ryan and Geo and how that is making her cautious. And finally, on Baka, the three boys noted how tight Elie and Jeanine are and how they might need to make a move against them.

Strategic Narrators

Jesse — This episode cemented Jesse as one of the season’s main narrators. He had a massive 12 confessionals (matched only by Cody). The goings-on of the Vesi tribe was primarily presented from Jesse’s perspective. He described the dynamics and where each person on the tribe stood and how he fit into the equation. We heard his opinion on the different personalities and how each person helps or hinders his game.

Even when it came to Cody’s beware advantage drama, the episode made sure to check in with Jesse and how he thought about it all. And ultimately, Jesse got his way, both in suggesting Cody use his palm frond hat as a ruse to collect the beads and getting out his target Justine. So, this tells us that Jesse is not only a strong narrator but also a capable strategist and someone whose perspective matters.

Photo: CBS

Are there any downsides? Perhaps. There was a big deal made over Justine being a salesperson and how this made her dangerous. Jesse listed that as one of the reason’s to target her. At the same time, Jesse played down Dwight’s fears over Cody, noting that Cody is just a “fun guy” and so he isn’t worried about him. However, we know that Cody is a salesperson himself, and, judging by his ability to collect the beads, he is a pretty good one. So there is a potential story arc there of Jesse overlooking Cody as a threat (or at least someone that could screw things up later down the line).

Overall, this episode cemented my feelings about Jesse as one of the season’s lead characters and top contenders. I still feel a bit off about him not receiving an intro confessional, and the Cody stuff gives me some pause, but I fully expect Jesse to remain a strategic frontrunner.

Karla — As I mentioned earlier, the Coco tribe was short-changed in this episode. However, one person we did hear from was Karla. She essentially just reiterated what she said last week, outlining the tribe dynamics and how she’s positioned in the middle. She name-checked both alliances and revealed her worries about Ryan’s closeness with Geo.

While this wasn’t anything groundbreaking, it did its job in reminding us of the alliance structure on Coco and where Karla fits within it. That tells us that Karla has a key role to play in the future of this tribe; her decision of which way to go will likely be Coco’s defining pre-merge story. And choosing to include her concerns about the Ryan & Geo relationship lays the groundwork for where the story is heading next.

It’s important to note that Karla didn’t say she was cautious about Ryan & Geo as a pair; she specifically said she was worried about Ryan being close to Geo. That suggests that Ryan would be her target, so she can sever that relationship. This would make sense, as the premiere showed Karla and Geo bonding at camp. So it’s reasonable to expect Karla to want to remove Ryan from the equation and bring Geo closer to her.

Elie — Once again, Elie was the most prominent character in the Baka tribe. She is presented as the one calling shots. Or, at least, the one that thinks she is calling the shots. Because, again, there were some big red flags in Elie’s edit that suggest things won’t end well.

It started with her confessional about Owen and Sami and how she sees them as her children. They even included a shot of Elie giving Owen a patronizing head pat. This was followed by Elie and Jeanine discussing how the boys aren’t strategizing or even thinking about the game. While the edit initially made us think the girls were right, the narrative soon shifted as we saw Sami, Gabler, and Owen talking about working together against the two girls. In his confessional, Sami said that Elie and Jeanine are underestimating the guys, which we saw was true.

Photo: CBS

Elie did have a personal moment later in the episode when she talked about growing up with ADHD and how tough that made things for her at school. This kind of personal depth is what helps make Elie a more rounded character and makes her stand out as one of the season’s main characters. And it’s probably what stops her from being portrayed as an outright villain, because with the bag-snooping stuff that comes later, the edit could definitely have amped up the villainy.

My opinion hasn’t changed much from the premiere. I feel like Elie is set up for a downfall. Her decision to boot Morriah was littered with ominous signs, and now that we’ve seen the boys talking of working together against the girls, it looks like those signs could become a reality. The question is whether Elie’s downfall will be the end of her narrative or if it will be a wake-up call and opportunity for a redemption narrative.

Owen — I debated back and forth over whether to put Owen in the Strategic Narrator category or the Personalities category. He is a bit of both. There are definitely some fun character moments in his edit, specifically the “lovable curmudgeon” stuff and the “Junior Deputy Waterboy” scene. But he is allowed to talk through these moments, like discussing how he is attempting to keep some of his personality quirks under wraps. Whether he is succeeding is another question entirely.

But what does stand out is that Owen has a nice little narrative. Last week, we were given tons of warnings about how Owen might be dangerous down the line if he’s kept around. Well, Owen survived the vote, and now he seems to be set up well within the Baka tribe. He has Sami and Gabler wanting to work with him, and the girls see him as a more reliable asset than Gabler, whose stock continues to sink. So we know Owen has options and the chance to become the danger others previously worried about.

However, I didn’t see anything in this episode that made me feel like he’s a winner contender. The goofy moments, like the shot of him dropping his water bottle and showing him being wrong on multiple occasions regarding Gabler’s idol clue, just don’t scream winner. So while he has similar foreshadowing as Maryanne did last season, he doesn’t have the same level of editorial protection.


Cody — This episode continued Cody’s “live fast, die young” theme. He was shown to be living up to this “LIVIN'” mantra, jumping off of rocks and generally making the best of the island experience. Jesse described him as someone that initially comes off as “the crazy guy” but is really just someone trying to have fun. And I think this episode highlighted that perfectly, particularly with the palm frond hat arc.

The hat was a prime example of Cody having fun, but it became a crucial plot point towards the end of the episode. That’s because Cody opened the beware advantage, forcing him into a tough predicament. Again, Cody opening the advantage fit into his play hard and fast approach to the game. And we saw how that can get him into trouble. Yet, it also showed us that Cody does have the social skills to dig himself out of a hole.

Photo: CBS

I expect Cody to continue getting into difficult situations as the season progresses, but I’m not sure if it will end up causing his own downfall or one of his allies. Jesse doesn’t see Cody as a worry, but we know that Cody has already lied about being a salesperson, and his bold gameplay almost cost his alliance in this episode. So I do worry that Cody will wind up doing something that gets Jesse into trouble down the line.

Overall, though, I see Cody’s edit in a positive light. He’s very much a big personality type edit, but it isn’t simply one-note. Cody was given a nice personal scene in this episode when he talked about losing his high school best friend to cancer. It gave us some context of Cody’s attitude towards life and helped us better understand him as a person.

Sami — There are some similarities between Sami and Cody. They’re both prominent personalities who are soaking up the Survivor experience and are clearly having fun on the island. But they’re also aware of the dynamics of their respective tribes.

For Sami, not only did he clock that Elie and Jeanine are tight, but he correctly read that they are underestimating the men of the tribe. While Elie and Jeanine were saying the boys weren’t even playing, Sami was the one suggesting to Gabler and Owen that they should stick together as a trio. This told us that Sami is a perceptive player and not just there for the ride, as the Baka girls might assume.

A key thing to note here, though, is that we never heard from Owen or Gabler in regard to the boys working together. They all agreed at camp, but there were no follow-up confessionals from Gabler or Owen. So we only know for sure that Sami is the one pushing for this. As for Owen, earlier in the episode, he pointed out how weak Gabler had become and whether that made him a detriment to the tribe. So, this could be a case of the boys not being as committed to one another as Sami would hope.

That said, even if the guys can’t get their stuff together, I think Sami will ultimately be okay, at least for a while. The edit has gone out of its way so far to make him look good, both as a provider at camp and as a person who has a solid read on the game.

Gabler — On the other end of the spectrum, things don’t look so bright for Gabler. This episode really hammered him, from the opening scenes of him looking weak and not handling the elements well to the later scene of him failing with the Hawaiin sling. It painted the picture of a player out of his element and letting the game get the best of him.

Now, on the plus side, Gabler was at least aware of how these things could negatively impact his game. He realized that he could be losing social capital, which he was, perhaps even quicker than he imagined. Owen, Elie, and Jeanine all picked up on Gabler’s weakness and how he might not be best for the tribe moving forward.

Photo: CBS

All in all, I do not think Gabler is long for this game, even though his idol seems likely to give him a significant short-term story. But between not receiving an intro confessional in the premiere, to his scrambling before the first Tribal Council, to the way the edit made him look this week, I can’t see long-term success for Gabler.

Geo — So far, Geo’s edit hasn’t contained much game talk. Instead, its focus has been on Geo as a human being. In the premiere, we heard him talk about his sexuality and relationship with his family in a conversation with Karla. In episode two, Geo expanded on that story in a confessional (with flashback). He talked about overcoming his struggles and learning to not let anyone or anything stop him from achieving his goals.

This confessional was coupled with scenes of Geo and Ryan bonding while out collecting almonds. It showed us both Geo’s survival and social skills, as we got a strong sense that Geo and Ryan had become tight. Ryan backed this up as he said in confessional that he and Geo could go far together. As I’ve said before, it’s good for the edit to establish a pair early in the season. However, Karla has already noted this Geo & Ryan relationship as a concern. So this early focus could be setting the duo up to be targeted soon.

I’m not getting winner contender vibes from Geo at this point. This is primarily due to the lack of intro confessional in the premiere and overall lack of game talk. I do feel like we’re meant to like him and see him as a positive character, but he hasn’t stood out as one of the main characters of the season, at least not yet.

Supporting Roles

Noelle — While she had a pretty nice introduction in the premiere, Noelle hasn’t yet had that breakout moment. Her primary function until this point has been as a pair with Justine, which was used as a reason to vote out Justine. So she hasn’t really had an individual story of her own. Nor do we have a real grasp on her strategy and plans moving forward.

There is still time for Noelle to emerge, though, especially now that she’s lost her partner. This could provide an opportunity for Noelle to kick-start her own narrative. Or she could fall further into the background. Time will tell. Her intro did set up a theme of overcoming adversity, so one would assume Noelle will do her best to turn her current predicament around.

Nneka — Nneka kind of fills a similar role to Noelle but within the other alliance. So far, she has been presented as secondary to Cody and Jesse, who receive most of the screen time and confessionals. Nneka is shown to be a number and a helpful contributor to her alliance, but we don’t have a deeper understanding of her own strategy.

On top of that, she was highlighted as a challenge liability, with even her own alliance teammates noting how badly she performed. So it will be interesting to see if that becomes a bigger story in the coming episodes.

Photo: CBS

Dwight — This second episode continued Dwight’s theme of not getting what he wants. We saw this in the premiere when he lost his vote, and here, he was unable to persuade Jesse to vote out Nneka over Justine.

On the plus side, Dwight received a personal flashback scene that tied nicely into his approach to the game. And his pairing with Jesse was necessary, seeing as Dwight didn’t have any alliance scenes in the premiere. Sure, this partnership with Jesse already has flaws, but even an adversarial relationship is good from an edit standpoint. It at least gives Dwight a story moving forward.

Jeanine — We saw a lot more of Jeanine in this episode, which you could take either positively or negatively. Sometimes increased air-time is setting up a forthcoming boot. That could certainly be the case for Jeanine, based on what we saw in this episode.

Her partnership with Elie was highlighted once again, but, as mentioned in Elie’s write-up, there were red flags. Both Jeanine and Elie underestimated the boys and believed they weren’t playing, though Jeanine did at least question whether they were off the mark. But, as we saw, the boys did talk and realized that Jeanine & Elie were tight.

If the guys do stick together, Jeanine could be in trouble, particularly as she doesn’t have the intro and personal content that Elie has. That would suggest Jeanine is more liable to go home before Elie. Jeanine also went through Gabler’s bag, which looks set to become a big topic of discussion. And who witnessed the bag snooping? Owen, who Jeanine previously worried about keeping around.

Photo: CBS

Ryan — The only sustained time we spent on the Coco beach in this episode was with Ryan and Geo. The edit established them as a duo as we saw them bonding and working together. Ryan vouched for Geo in confessional and hoped to go far with him in the game.

However, while it’s a good thing for Ryan to have an alliance firmly established, the fact others know about it is worrying. Karla specifically called out Ryan’s closeness to Geo, something she said: “made her cautious.” That presents Ryan as an obstacle for Karla and the potential girls’ alliance.

Low Vis

Cassidy — The rest of the Coco tribe was practically invisible in this second episode. It’s not necessarily the worst thing for Cassidy, as she outlined her strategy in the premiere as playing a sneaky game in the background. So her disappearing here isn’t the end of the world, especially in an episode where Coco didn’t attend tribal. But too many episodes like this can sink someone’s chances.

Lindsay — There was basically nothing from Lindsay in this episode apart from a couple of lines during the Coco tribe yoga scene. Karla did at least reiterate the girls’ alliance, which includes Lindsay (and Cassidy), so we still know where Lindsay currently stands game-wise. Again, it’s early days, so not the end of the world, but another episode or two like this in a row would be damaging.

James — Similarly, James was short-changed by this week’s edit. Like Lindsay and Cassidy, he was name-checked by Karla as part of the alliance, so we at least know his position within the Coco dynamics. But we had nothing from his perspective.



Cody, Jesse, & Nneka (Alliance) — This trio seems to be sticking together, at least for the time being. All three worked hand-in-hand in this episode to pull off the Justine vote, as well as gain Cody his beads. So this alliance might have more legs than initially seemed. However, I still worry about Cody’s chaotic nature, plus the emphasis on his relationship with Nneka (which could push out Jesse) and Jesse underestimating Cody’s salesperson spiel.

Photo: CBS

Dwight & Jesse (Frenemies?) — This marriage of convenience has already hit a bump in the road. Jesse voting out Justine did clearly not sit well with Dwight, so there will undoubtedly be some fallout. However, it’s good to have some tension and obstacles in the edit, and I think it particularly serves Jesse well.


Elie & Jeanine (Pair) — These two recommitted to each other in this episode, but, much like Justine & Noelle, their pair is becoming obvious to the other tribemates. The boys, particularly Sami, have started to paint a target on this pair, which could put them in imminent danger.

Elie and Jeanine
Photo: CBS

Gabler, Owen, & Sami (Alliance?) — While the guys agreed to look out for each other at camp, it’s hard to say whether this is an official alliance. We only heard Sami’s thoughts in confessional, and while he seemed committed, we don’t quite know how on board Owen or Gabler are. And it should be noted that for as much as Jeanine worried about Owen being a threat in the premiere, so did Sami. So Owen will likely be the deciding factor on whether this boys’ alliance ultimately succeeds or fails.


Cassidy, Karla, & Lindsay + James (Alliance) — According to Karla’s confessional, this alliance still exists, but we didn’t get much expansion on the dynamics within the foursome.

Geo & Ryan
Photo: CBS

Geo & Ryan (Pair) — After working together in the Sweat challenge in the premiere, Geo and Ryan officially paired up this week. There wasn’t any game talk between them; it was focused on survival and personal. So that could suggest this isn’t a long-term strategic partnership. Also, Karla clocking their closeness is somewhat ominous.


Sami — I’m still keeping Sami in the top spot for now. As I mentioned last week, his premiere hit a number of key factors: an intro confessional, personal content, a clear explanation of his goals and strategy, and positivity from his tribemates. This second episode added to that by showing that he was aware of the tribe dynamics, specifically, realizing that Elie & Jeanine were tight and, therefore, a threat.

The only real downside is the lack of a firmly established alliance. He did suggest working together to Owen and Gabler, but we don’t know for sure where those two stand.

Jesse — Despite the lack of premiere intro confessional, Jesse continues to look very good. He has the personal and strategic content that positions him as one of the season’s lead narrators and players. We always hear his perspective on the game, his fellow tribemates, and the moves he and others are making. And we always get his reasons for making a particular move.

The negatives are as mentioned earlier. Jesse is perhaps blinded by Cody’s “fun guy” persona. He might not realize until it’s too late that Cody’s brand of chaos could be detrimental to his game. On top of that, there is a possible case of “too much, too soon” with Jesse’s edit. He’s out in front as a strategic narrator, and that might be too on the nose for a winner contender in modern Survivor.

Karla — While there wasn’t much to add for Karla’s overall edit, it stands out that she was one of the three Coco tribe members we checked in with. She was the one that reminded us of the tribe dynamics, where she was positioned within them, and her thoughts on other tribemates. So, at the very least, this tells us that Karla’s thoughts matter.

The downside? There is still this theme of nervousness in Karla’s edit. She talked a lot about being nervous in the premiere, and again, here, she said she was “cautious” about Ryan’s closeness to Geo. And I’m not sure playing from a position of fear is an overall good look.




Name EP 1 EP 2 EP 3 EP 4 EP 5 EP 6 EP 7 EP 8 EP 9 EP 10 EP 11 EP 12 EP 13 EP 14
Cassidy2Cassidy CP2 UTR1                        
Cody2Cody OTT4 OTTM5                        
Dwight2Dwight MOR4 CP4                        
Elie2Elie CPP5 MORM4                        
Gabler2Gabler CPM5 OTTN3                        
Geo2Geo MORP2 OTTP2                        
James2James MOR3 UTR1                        
Jeanine2Jeanine UTR2 MOR3                        
Jesse2Jesse CPP3 CP5                        
Karla2Karla CPP3 UTR2                        
Lindsay2Lindsay MOR3 UTR1                        
Noelle2Noelle UTRP2 MOR3                        
Nneka2Nneka UTR2 MORM3                        
Owen2Owen MOR3 OTT3                        
Ryan2Ryan MORP3 MOR2                        
Sami2Sami CPP4 CP2                        
Justine2Justine UTR2 MORN3                        
Morriah2Morriah MOR3                          

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull. Martin is the owner and editor-in-chief of Insider Survivor.

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