Survivor 43

Episode 3 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after Episode 3?

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.


In the first regular-length episode of the season, the key stories so far added new directions while other stories began to emerge. The Baka tribe continued its men versus women narrative, with the momentum suddenly swinging in Gabler’s favor. Meanwhile, on Vesi, Jesse and Cody were forced to cannibalize one of their own allies as Noelle proved herself a valuable tribe member, kicking off her own individual story.

Again, it was the Coco tribe that fell by the wayside, with only Karla having sustained focus. However, Karla’s content this week fits into an overarching theme of the episode, all to do with overcoming fear. As I’d pointed out in the first two weeks, Karla talked a lot about being nervous and cautious; this week, she voiced those facets of her character again but overcame them to play a bolder game. This theme was echoed by Noelle, who said, “I want to play this freaking game. Like, I want to stop playing scared,” during her Summit visit. I think it’s worth noting to see if this becomes a wider theme of the season.

Strategic Narrators

Jesse — While not quite as present as last week, Jesse remains one of the season’s main strategic narrators. You can often tell whether a certain character is important by whether they receive a post-tribal confessional. Jesse got just that in this episode, as he explained what went down at the previous tribal council, plus his current relationships with his fellow tribemates. We always know where Jesse stands.

Even when he’s not the focus of a vote, his opinion on what happens is presented as crucial. Take, for example, the Nneka vote, which was partly framed as Jesse’s tough decision, as he told us how Nneka reminded him of his late mother. Not only did this provide more personal info for Jesse, but it gave him an emotional attachment to the vote and, therefore, more reason for the audience to invest.

As with last week, however, Jesse’s edit has some red flags. Dwight told us that he’s now wary of Jesse, and Noelle said that Jessed “burned” her and Dwight, which had her considering using her Steal a Vote against him. This sets up potential obstacles for Jesse moving forward, especially as he ultimately voted out his trusted ally Nneka over the people he feels less comfortable with. Add to this his previous misread of Cody as just a “fun guy,” and we could be seeing where Jesse’s early game decisions will come back to bite him later in the game.

It’s not necessarily a bad thing to have obstacles in your edit, though. It’s actually nice to have some potential roadblocks to overcome. It only becomes a serious detriment if a player continues to pile up obstacles without ever getting the chance to comment on or overcome them.

Karla — As I said earlier, Karla was, once again, one of the only tribe members on Coco to receive screen time. She dominated the action this week, in large part because she found the beware advantage and went on a bead-collecting mission. Given the nature of the advantage, a lot of this had to be shown regardless, but the way it was presented was a very good look for Karla.

The entire scene was presented as Karla overcoming her fears and succeeding with her social skills. She initially left the beware advantage where it was because, as she noted, so far, she’d been playing a “safe” game and didn’t want to take an unnecessary risk. However, she later went back on this and decided to take the risk. “This game is all about overcoming fear,” she said. “That powered me. That gave me the freaking confidence to say, ‘do it.'”

Photo: CBS

She continued to hammer this theme when she said, ‘This was kind of like my giant leap of forget the fear and play a game that you would be proud of.” And it was presented as the right decision, as Karla successfully retrieved beads from each of her tribemates, using her social skills to expertly get what she wanted. And she now has the confidence to continue playing a bigger and bolder game.

This was a really good episode for Karla, as the nervousness was my one major hang-up with her edit in the previous episodes. But that was all part of an intentional story arc, as she’s now shed that image and found her confidence. This sets her up to be a big player going forward. Of course, on the flip side, you could view this as her story being tied up too soon, which is certainly possible. However, I feel like Karla has a lot more to show us now that she’s rid herself of the fear.

Elie — On the plus side, Elie is still a vital focus of the Baka tribe and continues to let us in on her plans and thoughts on the other players. On the negative sign of things, she continues to be undermined as the building blocks for her downfall start to take shape.

In this episode, Elie told us that she had changed her mind about Gabler as an ally after his weakness around camp was becoming a liability. This was at least backed up in the edit, as we’ve seen several scenes of Gabler feeling the effects of island life. But then came her plan to find out whether or not Gabler knew about his idol’s expiry date.

Elie believed Gabler didn’t know that his idol lasted two his first two tribals but wanted to ensure this by duping him in a conversation about making a fake idol. She told her plan to Sami and Jeanine and then put it into action, thinking she’d successfully fooled Gabler. Little did she know that Sami had told Gabler about her plan, as well as the previous bag snooping. On top of that, Gabler already knew his idol was still good for his next tribal, and so he was the one that ended up fooling Elie.

As with the ‘underestimating the men’ scene last week, Elie was made to look overconfident and out-of-the-loop. It seemingly positions her for an embarrassing wake-up call in the coming weeks. However, if Elie has one saving grace, it’s that Gabler hasn’t exactly been protected by the edit either. Sure, he looked better than Elie this week, but he has been shown to be weak, fatigued, and paranoid. So there could certainly be another twist in this tale to come.

Owen — The outcome of the Elie vs. Gabler battle will very likely come down to what Owen decides. Once again, Owen is set up as being in the middle. He didn’t have a lot of air-time this week, but we got to hear his thoughts on the Gabler idol situation. He reiterated that he was in the middle, admitting that he was there during the bag search but also recognizing that Gabler is no idiot.

Photo: CBS

The edit is being clever by not showing Owen’s hand just yet. We’ve seen him discussing game with both the guys and the girls. But we don’t know for sure where his true loyalties lie. And we also know that previously, Sami, Elie, and Jeanine all worried about Owen being dangerous down the line. So it suggests that Owen will ultimately make an important decision that will have negative ramifications for at least one-half of the Baka tribe.


Cody — While I’m still listing Cody in the personalities category, I don’t want you to take this as Cody being one-dimensional. Sure, he has a big personality, but he’s also presented as strategic and playing the game while also taking the time to soak up the experience.

His strategic thoughts might not be as expansive as Jesse’s, but we do always know where his head is at. In this episode, he recapped the whole idol/bead drama from last week, and he weighed up his options of voting out Nneka or Noelle. As he said, it came down to loyalty or tribe strength, and he ultimately sided with tribe strength.

The question for Cody going forward will be whether the Nneka vote-off was the right decision or not. We already know Dwight has reservations regarding Cody, and Dwight is aligned with Noelle, who now has a Steal a Vote advantage. So there is every chance those early Dwight v Cody moments could have been foreshadowing an upcoming showdown.

Sami — There wasn’t a lot of Sami in this episode, but what we did see of him added nicely to his overall narrative. He reiterated his strategy of being a 19-year-old pretending to be 22. And he once again pointed out how the women, Elie, in particular, were underestimating him and the other men in the Baka tribe.

It was Sami that spilled the beans to Gabler about Elie and Jeanine looking through his bag. This made Elie fall into a trap, as she believed he had pulled one over on Gabler. But Sami (and Gabler) were one step ahead, laying the groundwork for a potential Elie blindside.

Photo: CBS

So Sami’s edit still looks really solid. The only flaws I can see are the goofy moments in his premiere intro confessional and his concerns about Owen being a threat down the line. While we’ve seen Sami and Gabler seemingly on the same page, we don’t know exactly where Owen stands, and this seems intentional to build suspense for the eventual Sami & Gabler versus Elie & Jeanine battle. Sami’s success seems reliant on what Owen decides to do.

Gabler — This was a better episode for Gabler, at least compared to the first two weeks. At the very least, he wasn’t presented as the most unaware person in the tribe. He actually got to one-up Elie, even if it did require Sami to fill him in on what had been happening.

That said, the episode started off with Gabler looking weak again. There has been a consistent focus on Gabler not handling the elements well, and his tribemates are becoming increasingly aware. Elie said that Gabler is starting to “deteriorate physically” and that others are “babying” him. And while Elie isn’t the most reliable narrator, we did see shots of Gabler sleeping on the beach and looking rather lethargic.

Because of the focus on Gabler’s physical state, I don’t see him heading for a deep run. It feels set up for him to take a fall for the strength of a tribe, even if he is part of plans to target the girls.

Geo — There was barely anything from Geo this week, sadly. His only content was part of Karla’s bead-collecting sequence. Besides his friendship with Ryan, we know nothing of Geo’s alliances or strategic plans. This kind of goes for the Coco tribe as a whole, but Geo is definitely one of the most underedited of the season so far.

Supporting Roles

Noelle — I said last week that losing Justine could provide the opportunity for Noelle to kick-start her own narrative. And that’s precisely what happened here. This was easily Noelle’s best episode of the season so far, as she received both personal and strategic content, reiterated her overall theme, and also fit into the episode’s specific theme of overcoming fear.

From early in the episode, Noelle described the previous tribal as “100% a wake-up” and committed to stepping up her game. “So it’s a new day, and I’m gonna try to do whatever it takes to start getting my feet really in this game,” she said. That was basically her mantra for the episode, and we saw her putting it into motion. Not only did we see her discussing game with Dwight, but she massively stepped up at the challenge, receiving much praise from her fellow tribemates for her efforts.

Photo: CBS

This culminated with her gaining the Steal a Vote advantage at the Summit, where we got further insight into her leg injury and how that inspired her in life and in the game of Survivor. “I am absolutely here to prove that anybody can play the game of Survivor, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes,” she said. “So, I want to play this freaking game. I want to stop playing scared.”

If there was a potential downside here, it’s that Noelle said she wanted the advantage to take out a big player. And James and Owen allowed her to have it on that basis. Yet, Noelle did not take out a big player. So I wonder if that could come back to bite her. However, it didn’t have to mean immediately taking out a big player. And Noelle did explain that this tribal was all about “reassuring that I’m gonna be here when I wake up tomorrow.” And she achieved that.

So, I think Noelle’s story now will be whether she commits to playing a bolder game and taking out a big player. She has commented on her distrust of Jesse, so there is a potential story to build there. Will she seize her moment? Or will she miss it and pay the price?

Dwight — Another player that had a wake-up call at the last tribal was Dwight, who told us, “This tribal council, in a way, woke me up to the kind of game Jesse is playing.” Again, there is a consistent theme of skepticism arising in regard to Jesse’s game. And while Dwight said he didn’t feel wholly betrayed by Jesse, he did note that he is now wary of him.

He reiterated his worries about Jesse later in the episode as Vesi prepared for their second tribal. “The biggest concern of mine going to tribal is Jesse. He’s burned me once,” Dwight said as he mentioned how Jesse could easily vote with Cody & Nneka again. However, he gained some confidence after Noelle returned with the Steal a Vote, and the edit gave us a good sense that Noelle & Dwight were a strong duo.

Ultimately, the vote went Dwight’s way this week, the first time this season that he’s got his way. So I think the story now will be whether Dwight begins to trust Jesse again, which could be to his detriment, or if he’ll still remain skeptical and target Jesse in the near future.

Jeanine — There wasn’t much of Jeanine at all in this episode. She didn’t receive any confessionals. She was very much a supporting character, seen only in camp scenes with Elie and Sami. And while we didn’t hear from her directly, it appeared that she, too, bought Gabler’s lie after Elie shared the news with her. So, not the greatest look.

If you wanted to take a positive away from this episode for Jeanine, you could say that Elie took most of the heat. She was the one that Sami and Gabler were badmouthing. And she was the one that got straight-up duped by Gabler. So perhaps there was some form of editorial protection there for Jeanine, giving her a chance to escape this situation in the future. But for now, Jeanine is tied to Elie, and that isn’t an ideal spot.

Ryan — This was also a quiet episode for Ryan, who, much like Geo, was only seen during Karla’s bead-collecting mission. There was nothing particularly bad here but nothing good either. We still don’t know much about Ryan or the Coco tribe dynamics outside of the obvious girls + James alliance and Ryan & Geo duo.

Low Vis

James — Despite it being his birthday and going to the Summit, this was a relatively quiet episode for James. His one confessional was a brief sentence about why he chose to let Noelle have the advantage. He did have the scene with Karla, where he talked about how winning Survivor means taking risks, but this was more about Karla’s story than his own.

Cassidy — While Cassidy received a confessional this week, it was pretty much just basic narration. She talked about James’ birthday and how the Coco tribe had become a community. However, she did at least drop a line that suggests the game is still in the back of her mind. “We’re building it slowly. Slowly until we slit each other’s throats, but, you know, for now, everything’s peachy,” she said.

Photo: CBS

You could look at that last line as continuing Cassidy’s theme. She is playing the quiet, behind-the-scenes game until it’s time to jump out and start making moves. It’s not a lot. But it’s something.

Lindsay — Similarly, Lindsay had the one confessional this week, but again, it was rather generic. She talked about how idol searching can paint a target on your back and how, as the days pass, people are starting to go looking. “I’d be shocked if someone didn’t have something already,” she said, which wasn’t correct at the time, though it would soon be after Karla found the beware advantage.

It’s hard to say right now whether these players aren’t important to the overall narrative or if they’re just in the background for now because Coco keeps winning immunity. There is always that possibility that the Coco tribe is the new Luvu and that the majority will make the merge and become more of a central focus down the line.



Cody & Jesse (Alliance) — With Nneka gone, this former trio is now down to a pair. Jesse and Cody have worked well together so far, but there are definitely red flags, particularly with how Dwight and Noelle are becoming wary of Jesse’s game. On top of that, we still have the lingering story of Jesse not realizing Cody is a salesperson schemer.

Dwight & Noelle (Alliance) — This pairing feels kind of forced together out of necessity, but this episode did a good job of showing them on the same page. They do have the power to make some serious moves. But I think it will all come down to whether they start trusting Jesse again or not.


Elie & Jeanine (Pair) — Nothing has changed her. Elie and Jeanine are still shown as being close and working together. This episode saw them celebrating over Gabler supposedly not knowing his idol still works. It certainly seems like this duo is in for a rude awakening.

Elie and Jeanine
Photo: CBS

Gabler, Owen, & Sami (Alliance?) — There was still nothing in this episode to fully cement this trio as a working alliance. Sami and Gabler had a scene together and looked to be on the same page. But, as Owen himself has stated, he is in the middle. It definitely seems like the edit is keeping Owen’s position unclear to build suspense for a future tribal.


Cassidy, Karla, & Lindsay + James (Alliance) — No update on this alliance in this episode, so I guess we just have to presume nothing changed and it’s still in effect.

Geo & Ryan (Pair) — Similarly, no movement on this duo, which received a big focus in the previous episode.


Karla — I’m moving Karla up to the top spot as I feel like this was a very strong episode for her. Sure, you could say that her finding the advantage meant she had to be shown. Still, the amount of focus given to Karla throughout that scene and how positive it made her look really stood out.

Not only did she succeed in collecting her beads, which showed off her impressive social game, but she hit on the key points of her theme and even overcame some previously laid obstacles. She acknowledged the nervousness she had been playing with and finally shed that fear in favor of playing a bolder game. Of course, you could question whether this concluded her narrative arc too early, but one would hope it’s just the start of Karla playing a bigger, braver game.

Sami — Despite my worries about his goofiness and the Owen red flags, I’m still sticking with Sami in my contenders, for now, at least. There isn’t anything majorly wrong with his edit. We understand his goals and strategy, he has the undercover young guy theme, and he’s shown to be a step ahead of at least a couple of his tribemates.

Photo: CBS

Jesse — Similarly to Sami, I have a couple of worries regarding Jesse’s edit, mostly relating to him underestimating Cody and Noelle & Dwight catching onto his game. But overall, there are no significant red flags. He continues to be a big focus of the season and receives a lot of strategic and personal content. I think how Jesse reacts to the Nneka vote in the upcoming episode will be very telling for where his story is heading.

Noelle — In the balance of adding someone new to the contenders’ list, I’m going to put Noelle here. I’m not fully convinced, but this was a really solid episode that hit all the key points she needed coming after Justine’s boot. Her first two episodes were very much in the supporting role, but she now has the chance to step up into a main character position. But I’ll need to see if that is sustained in the coming weeks and wasn’t just a one-off to set up and incoming downfall.




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 UTR2                      
Cody2Cody OTT4 OTTM5 MOR4                      
Dwight2Dwight MOR4 CP4 MOR3                      
Elie2Elie CPP5 MORM4 MORN3                      
Gabler2Gabler CPM5 OTTN3 CP3                      
Geo2Geo MORP2 OTTP2 UTR1                      
James2James MOR3 UTR1 UTR2                      
Jeanine2Jeanine UTR2 MOR3 UTR1                      
Jesse2Jesse CPP3 CP5 CPP4                      
Karla2Karla CPP3 UTR2 CPP5                      
Lindsay2Lindsay MOR3 UTR1 UTR2                      
Noelle2Noelle UTRP2 MOR3 CPP5                      
Owen2Owen MOR3 OTT3 MOR3                      
Ryan2Ryan MORP3 MOR2 UTR1                      
Sami2Sami CPP4 CP2 MOR3                      
Nneka2Nneka UTR2 MORM3 MORP4                      
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.

3 responses to “Episode 3 – The Edit Bay”

  1. Does the small scene of Geo checking the sit-out bench mean anything? Sure it could just be a ‘fun’ moment they just decided to keep in, but subtitling ‘Just checking’ could be a minor hint.

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