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 was a strange episode, at least in terms of character development. The Coco tribe finally received focus, but it came with sudden character shifts that didn’t fit the story of the previous three episodes. For example, Geo, who had been likable and easygoing so far, was suddenly portrayed as an arrogant dictator. Likewise, Lindsay, who previously appeared level-headed, succumbed to crazy paranoia out of nowhere.
What to make of that? Well, you could look at it as a lack of care put into the edit of the Coco tribe. The dynamics haven’t been explored in that tribe as much as Baka and Vesi. Or perhaps it’s a signal that modern Survivor is more focused on episodic storytelling than season-long narratives. In that case, a player’s actions only really matter in that single episode and could quite easily change the following week, depending on the story being told.
I don’t like to think the latter is true because not only does it make Edgic less useful, but it makes for a less cohesive narrative. I still believe that the main characters and contenders are treated with more careful edits and consistency that help tell an effective story. But maybe there is less care given to those that aren’t relevant to the overall season narrative.
With that said, let’s take a look at the stories and contenders after the fourth episode.
Jesse — This was a quieter episode for Jesse, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing given his presence over the past couple of weeks. We already have a good understanding of who he is as a person and a player. And even in this lighter episode, he still reminded us of his gang background and his current status in life and how that played into his approach to the game, specifically in his decision not to upset the other tribes.
I think a positive for Jesse is that there was no continuation of Dwight and Noelle’s wariness toward him. Instead, the episode made sure to highlight Vesi as a new and improved unit, focusing on their challenge comeback story. So this paints the Nneka vote-off in a better light for Jesse, as it doesn’t seem it will be hugely detrimental to his game. Of course, just because it wasn’t a focus this week doesn’t mean Dwight and Noelle’s distrust of Jesse couldn’t come back later.
Karla — Once again, Karla is one of the only Coco members protected by the edit. She always has her finger on the pulse. Even in the scene where Cody bamboozled the Coco tribe, Karla redeemed herself by figuring out that Cody played them. She appeared to be the only one not buying what Cody was selling, which not only made her look good but could set up a potential clash between the two down the line.
She was also the one that voiced why the vote had turned against Lindsay and seemed to get the credit for putting it in motion. That said, it was somewhat confusing why Karla suddenly saw Geo as a power-hungry player that needed to go. The last we saw of them together, they appeared to have bonded. So there is a bit of a narrative gap there that might need explaining sooner or later.
But Karla voting out Lindsay rather than the obvious Geo vote comes back to her shedding her nervousness last week. She is now prepared to play a bolder, more confident game. And this was a great example of her playing with confidence and not being afraid to put herself out there and make a move.
Elie — There wasn’t a great deal of Elie this week, and what we did get essentially reemphasized her growing rivalry with Gabler. Her one confessional was about personality clashes on Survivor and how Gabler was rubbing her the wrong way. We then saw a prime example of this when the two of them bickered over how to make the fire.
Initially, I thought this whole Elie versus Gabler thing might just be a short-term storyline. But with each passing week, it looks more and more like a long-term deal. Or, at the very least, the repercussions of this rivalry will be long-lasting.
Another thing, I’m starting to get Angelina vibes from Elie’s edit. In the sense that she’s a big personality in her tribe and can sometimes butt heads with others. But she also has moments where she is clearly in the right but perhaps doesn’t put her point across in the most tactful way. While there is logic to what she does, there is also a sense of obliviousness that suggests all will not end well.
Cody — This was a mixed bag of an episode for Cody. On the one hand, he got to address voting out his ally Nneka last week. And he was the one that set up Vesi’s story arc for the episode, the down-and-out underdogs coming back to win two challenges in a row. He also got his way during the tribe steal negotiations, where he reestablished his theme of the crafty salesman.
On the other hand, his approach to the game didn’t go unnoticed, and his methods were questioned. Firstly, before Cody left for his visit to Coco, the other Vesi members had to talk him down from going in aggressive at the negotiations. Dwight, specifically, aired his worries about sending a “wild card” like Cody to the other tribe, which continued the Dwight vs. Cody narrative, even though Dwight did acknowledge Cody as “likable.”
Secondly, despite Cody’s success over at Coco, Karla saw through his salesman tactics. She correctly called that he had played them and told us she didn’t trust him. This could potentially set up a Cody vs. Karla situation for later down the line. But it also tells us that, for as likable and charming as Cody can be, his strategy is not infallible.
Sami — Another quiet episode for Sami, who was only really seen to continue the ongoing Elie vs. Gabler storyline. This time, Sami noted that while he’s working with Gabler, he can also be a liability. “Sometimes he’s not aware,” Sami said. This carries on the back-and-forth on Baka, where one week, the momentum shifts in Gabler’s favor, the next into Elie’s, and so on and so forth.
As for Sami’s edit as a whole, there is no real change here. He perhaps drops a couple of points for the lack of visibility, but he is at least part of the action at Baka, unlike Jeanine and Owen this week.
Gabler — After a better episode last week, Gabler was back looking like a hindrance in this episode. It started with him placing palm fronds on Sami and Elie in the middle of the night, which was supposed to be an act of kindness but only served to annoy Elie. He continued getting in the way the following day when he bickered with Elie over the fire.
In confessional, he described himself and Elie as “strong personalities,” and that’s why they clash. That pretty much describes why I’ve placed him in the Personalities category. He’s never going to be presented as a strategic force or a challenge beast, or even a journey edit. Gabler is the divisive personality that is oblivious to how his actions are being perceived by others.
Also worth noting is that Gabler said, “If we get too far with [Elie], we will all regret it.” That’s now two Baka members who have been given this foreshadowing, Owen and Elie. So it most certainly seems like the Baka tribe will turn on each other when given the opportunity, and that is going to prove detrimental to at least some of their games.
Geo — As I mentioned earlier, this was a really weird edit turn for Geo. While he wasn’t a major presence across the first couple of episodes, he was shown to be friendly and amiable. We got a good sense of his background via a touching flashback sequence. And his friendship with Ryan had a positive tint to it. Then, this episode happened.
Firstly, he was wrong about Cody not coming to steal from the Coco tribe, so already, his read was shown to be off. That’s not the be-all and end-all. But later in the episode, he was portrayed as overconfident and “power-hungry.” He believed he was calling the shots and said his master plan was to take out Cassidy. Obviously, that didn’t end up happening. And while Geo ultimately survived the vote, he basically turned himself into a potential target due to his arrogance.
Now, Geo’s read on Cassidy wasn’t completely inaccurate. He said he couldn’t trust her and felt she would easily turn around and backstab. We know from previous episodes that Cassidy’s game plan is to lay low at first before it’s time to cut throats. So Geo is right to be wary of Cassidy. But the edit didn’t back up his approach, as others quickly saw through his plan and wanted to target him instead.
This abrupt character shift doesn’t give me much hope for Geo’s chances or his overall story. There is a lack of care and consistency there, to the point where it wouldn’t surprise me if he was one of the next people to go home.
Noelle — This was a quieter episode for Noelle after her breakout episode last week. On the one hand, it probably hurts her winning chances that she didn’t get to comment on surviving the previous tribal council. There was a big deal made the week before about whether she could trust Jesse, and yet there was no follow-up with that here.
Instead, Noelle was part of Vesi’s overall episode arc of being the challenge comeback kids. She talked about dominating the challenge and how huge it was for them to win the camp raid. But she was still thinking about the game too. “You don’t want to piss too many people off, but then I have to think, you know, I’m playing the game of Survivor,” she said. It’s a cut-throat freaking game.
I’m getting the vibe that Noelle is meant to be an inspirational character that will probably fight hard for as long as she’s in the game. And maybe she’ll be part of a big move or two. But the lack of follow-up on last week’s vote made me second-think her winner chances.
Dwight — Yet another episode of Dwight not getting what he wants, which is becoming a trend at this point. This time around, he volunteered to be the one to do the camp raid. He thought he’d be more diplomatic than Cody. However, Cody ended up getting his way, leaving Dwight back at camp to worry whether sending Cody was the right decision.
And that’s all we really got from Dwight. Like Noelle, there was no follow-up to last week’s vote for Nneka. There was no development to his relationship with Jesse. So all this to say that Dwight is still very much positioned as a supporting character in the season.
Cassidy — Moving up into the Supporting Characters category this week is Cassidy. While her content wasn’t anything groundbreaking, she was shown to have a decent grasp of the tribe dynamics. And even though she was targeted by Geo, she remained calm and played in the background, like she previously told us she would.
Her read that Vesi wanted to weaken their tribe because of their numbers advantage was accurate. She also correctly read that Geo would have no problem stabbing her in the back, which we knew to be true because Geo was targeting her. And she was involved in the strategy conversations, but she wasn’t leading the charge like Geo, Karla, or James.
It’s important to note those following a consistent theme, especially in a season with more episodic storytelling. In the premiere, Cassidy told us she wanted “to play like a fox, clever and cunning” and “to be sneaky.” She added, “I don’t want to play a loud, in-your-face game because, a lot of times, women can’t get away with that the same way that men can.”
So far, Cassidy has played an in-the-background game, though we haven’t quite seen how sneaky and cunning she can be yet.
James — Also moving into the Supporting Characters category is James, who was one of the driving forces of the Coco vote, along with Karla. He talked through his ideas with his fellow tribemates and also told us in confessional why the vote was suddenly shifting to Lindsay.
The issue with James’ edit is that his relationships aren’t very fleshed out, especially now that Lindsay has gone. He seemed to be working closely with Karla, but neither spoke about their alliance in any real depth. In addition, Ryan talked about working with James, but we saw nothing of that relationship either. So unless James’ key relationships are with others not currently on his tribe (and we did see him with Owen and Noelle at the Summit), it’s hard to see James as anything other than a supporting role.
Ryan — This was a bit of an odd episode for Ryan. He only had the one confessional, where he told us he trusted Geo and James. And it was his goal to keep the people he trusted in the game. Ultimately, he got his wish, as Geo survived, and Lindsay went home. So, on the surface, that looks pretty good.
But Ryan was also shown to be somewhat out of the loop, as well as not having his head fully in the game. He seemed unwilling to talk strategy, instead choosing to eat papaya while the game went on around him. This could very well have been an intentional strategy, but he didn’t get to voice that to the audience. And he didn’t seem aware at all that the vote was initially going against Geo until Lindsay tanked her own game.
Overall, this episode did not fill me with confidence for Ryan’s strategic chances in this game.
Owen — Sadly, I’ve had to drop Owen down into the Low Vis category because he got absolutely nothing here. He was one of two players that didn’t receive a single confessional. The only content he received was him being “sassy” towards his tribemates during the challenge. That’s not the greatest look.
I still think Owen is set up to make a crucial decision in the ongoing Elie vs. Gable feud. But when that will come, who knows?
Jeanine — In an even worse situation than Owen is Jeanine, who received her second zero confessional episode of the season. She didn’t even have any camp scenes with Elie this week to continue that relationship. So all in all, not a great forecast for Jeanine as a key character or contender.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Cody & Jesse (Pair) — While there was no strategic content for this alliance this week, we did have a moment where Jesse said part of him agreed with Cody’s tactic to take Coco’s machete. As far as we’re aware, these two are still working together.
Dwight & Noelle (Pair) — Similar to Cody & Jesse, there was no direct strategy scene between Dwight and Noelle in this episode, but we have no reason to believe they aren’t still paired.
Elie & Jeanine (Pair) — Nothing new here, either. In fact, this episode as a whole didn’t add much to the ongoing alliance dynamics in any of the three tribes. Again, all we can assume is that Elie & Jeanine are still working together.
Gabler & Sami (& Owen?) — Sami told us that he and Gabler were working together, so it at least seems like that pair is still going. But it’s left open to interpretation whether Owen is with them or not.
With Coco going to tribal council, this was a perfect opportunity to flesh out the tribe dynamics. But things were left more confusing than ever on the blue tribe.
Cassidy & Karla (& James?) — Is this an alliance? Maybe. It’s sort of the remnants of Lindsay’s women’s alliance. But after they voted Lindsay out, how strong are the actual bonds in this group? While we saw them talking game together, we haven’t had any in-depth relationship bonding.
Geo & Ryan (Pair) — We at least know that these two have been working together from previous episodes. And Ryan did reiterate that he trusts Geo and wants him around. But there was no real focus on them working together as a strategic pair in this episode.
Karla — I’m keeping Karla at the top spot for now as her edit continues to look very strong. She was the one Coco member that got to acknowledge that Cody had played them. And she was the Coco member that spoke the most in the pre-tribal scramble, detailing her thoughts on the vote and why things had shifted from Geo to Lindsay. She also made it clear that Cassidy was not going home, and that proved to be right.
If there was one flaw in her edit in this episode, it was the sudden shift in her relationship with Geo. We had previously seen the pair of them bonding in the premiere, but here, Karla was ready to take Geo out. That’s perhaps more detrimental to Geo’s edit than Karla’s, but it’s still worth mentioning.
Jesse — Despite a quieter episode, Jesse is still in good standing. He didn’t receive any more suspicion or wariness from Dwight or Noelle, so he’s protected on that front, for now, anyway. And he also reestablished his character arc as the former gang member who turned a new leaf and is trying to play a smart and social game.
Sami — A minimal episode for Sami, but he at least reminded us of his current working relationship and shared his thoughts on the current camp dynamics. There was nothing to move him up the contender list, though.
At this point, I think it’s worth looking into some more of the potential under-the-radar or unexpected contenders. Karla, Jesse, and Sami remain the frontrunners, but their edits are perhaps too focal and clean for the time being, at least.
Survivor winners, especially these days, aren’t usually that straightforward. If we look back at the last two seasons, Survivor 41 saw Erika win with an under-the-radar pre-merge edit that didn’t really take off until the merge. And on Survivor 42, Maryanne began the season with a sort of kooky, OTT edit that almost acted as a distraction while the more straightforward strategic edits took precedence.
So, with that in mind, let’s take a look at this season’s potential Erika and/or Maryanne.
Cassidy — If this season is to have an UTR-type winner, I think Cassidy is the most likely of those remaining. She isn’t entirely invisible like Jeanine, and she’s spoken more about her overall strategic approach than the likes of Ryan and Owen.
Her plan is to play a sneaky game in the background so that people don’t realize she’s a threat until it’s too late. That definitely has similarities to Erika. There is even the animal analogy; remember, Erika was the lion, and Cassidy described her approach as a fox. There is also the similarity in one of her tribemates wanting to take her out pre-merge; for Erika, it was Deshawn, and for Cassidy, it’s Geo. It’ll be interesting to see if Cassidy & Geo becomes a long-term relationship like Erika & Deshawn in Survivor 41.
Cody — Now, Cody and Maryanne are very different personalities, but what they have in common is they’re both a big presence in their tribes and have OTT elements to their edit. It’s easy to overlook Cody because he is a bit of a wild card jokester. But in between those quirky moments, he does have relationships, alliances, and a pretty good grasp on the game.
I do think there are too many red flags for Cody to be the winner, but if there was to be another OTT-type character to claim the crown, Cody would make the most sense of this cast.
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