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.
After a more camp-focused episode last week, this episode was back to the advantage-heavy content of the week prior. Unfortunately, that meant more time spent at the Summit, which didn’t add much to the season’s overall narrative or tell us anything new about the characters.
We also had another round of idol/bead drama, this time on Baka, as Jeanine found the beware advantage. This was at least presented in a fun way and expanded on the characters and dynamics on the Baka tribe, as well as potentially setting up future storylines.
As for the overarching themes of the episode, there was a keen focus on delusion and a false sense of security. You had players believing they were in control, only to be undermined by the edit and other players. On Coco, Geo and Ryan were made to look delusional as they talked up their position and how secure they were in the votes; all the while, Karla and Cassidy mocked them. While on Baka, Elie and Jeanine continued to think they were pulling all the strings, not realizing the guys, Sami, in particular, were well aware of their shenanigans.
Now, let’s take a look at the individual character edits for the latest episode.
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Jesse — This was a mostly circumstantial episode for Jesse, who was the only member of Vesi to receive content. As a tribe, Vesi was pretty much ignored outside of the immunity challenge. Jesse, however, was chosen for the Summit journey, so we heard a lot of narrational content regarding the Risk or No Risk.
While most of Jesse’s content was basic narration, he did sprinkle in a little bit of personal content when talking about his decision. “I came out here, you know, to set an example for my kids, to dream big and go for it,” he said. This continues Jesse’s theme of being the changed family man who wants to be a good role model to his kids. On top of that, it shows him as a player willing to make bold moves, and he didn’t get any negative reaction for choosing to risk and subsequently losing his vote.
So nothing really expanded Jesse’s narrative or added any new dynamics to his relationships. But he did get to reaffirm some of his previously established character traits. And all signs point to him continuing to be an important strategic narrator of the season.
Karla — Another episode and another week of Karla looking good. Maybe too good? It worries me when a player seems to be this out in front and flawless this early in the season, almost as if we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. Remember, we’ve had players in the past that had great pre-merge edits, only for things to flip at the merge — Ken in Millennials vs. Gen-X is one that immediately springs to mind.
That said, for now, Karla continues to kill it. At the beginning of the episode, she laid out her plan. “At this point, we’re gonna try to decide whether Ryan or Geo go first,” she said. “I want their egos to be stroked and their heads to be big, because that’s when people make mistakes. And I’ll be watching and I’ll be waiting. So let them.” And, lo and behold, that is exactly what played out across the episode.
Ryan and Geo let their egos cloud their judgment, with both men thinking they controlled the Coco tribe. And Karla was right there to goad them along, as we saw Geo and Ryan trusting her with information. On top of this, Karla explained why she ultimately targeted Geo, noting that his Knowledge is Power advantage could come back to bite her.
As with last week, Karla and James were presented as the decision-makers on the Coco tribe. They were the pair with options, and we had various scenes of them together discussing the vote. However, we still haven’t had a proper alliance scene between Karla and James. This episode did have James talking about making the best move for “me and Karla,” but we’ve never heard Karla talk about James in the same way. So it makes me wonder how much faith to put in this alliance long-term.
Elie — Similarly to Jesse, Elie’s edit in this episode was mostly narrational and related to an advantage. She opened up the idol search scene, despite Jeanine being the one to actually find it. Elie also commented on the moment Owen caught them and the scene where Jeanine convinced Gabler to give her his bead. So even though Jeanine had a lot of content herself, it was noticeable that Elie got to narrate these key moments.
While those moments above point to Elie being a significant character, this episode didn’t do anything to increase her winner equity. She was one of the players presented as having a false sense of security. As we’ve seen many times now, Sami was the one to undermine her, taking the info she gave him straight to Gabler. We continue to be told that Elie is missing the bigger picture and is in for a rude awakening at some point in the season.
Owen — I’m bumping Owen back up into the Strategic Narrators category this week. Even though his content was minimal, the one confessional he received explained his position well, and he told us exactly why he was making a specific move and what he hoped to gain from it. It was very much a classic CP-lite edit.
Now, while it’s good that Owen had a chance to discuss his strategy, the move he made is more questionable. He seemingly trusts Elie and Jeanine, even though we’d just seen the two women talking about not trusting Owen. It kind of looks bad for all three. Owen wants to gain Elie & Jeanine’s trust, whereas they don’t trust him and instead have more faith in Sami, who is actually the one that doesn’t trust them.
All that is to say, Baka is a mess, and the merge is bound to get even messier for them. And I’m sure Owen will play a part in the disintegration, given the previous warnings of him being dangerous.
Cassidy — Joining the Strategic Narrators for the first time this season is Cassidy, who had her biggest episode yet. She got to explain herself throughout the episode, starting with the very first confessional, where she recapped what happened last week and addressed the vote she received. She told us she wanted to clear the air, and we saw her do that, as she kept her composure and talked things out with Geo.
All the while, we heard Cassidy’s real thoughts. “Ryan and Geo think that they have the numbers right now, but the truth is they’re at the bottom,” she said. “I think they’re still gonna try to gun for me if we do have to go to another Tribal. And you know what they say, revenge is a dish best served cold, so I’m just biding my time until I can pay them back for that.”
Nothing Cassidy said there was a lie. Ryan and Geo did believe they had the numbers, and they did try to vote her out again. And ultimately, Cassidy got her revenge, as Geo was voted out and Ryan was blindsided.
Now, Cassidy did switch to targeting Ryan later in the episode, but even that was explained reasonably. She told us that Geo gaining an advantage made it riskier to vote for him, so she wanted to play it safe by voting for Ryan. She was right that if Geo did end up using an advantage to protect himself, it would be her butt on the line. Plus, she correctly saw through Ryan’s “acting” about wanting to be the boot.
However, Cassidy’s concerns about Geo did appear to rub her allies, Karla and James, the wrong way, so much so that they briefly toyed with voting her out over it. This could very well have been included to add more suspense to the vote, but still, it suggested Cassidy’s alliances aren’t as secure as she might think. That said, the edit gave us reasonable evidence for why Cassidy was paranoid.
Cassidy’s story could go a couple of different directions from here. The most simple would be that this vote secured her trust with Karla and James, and they’ll move forward as a trio. However, that alliance hasn’t really had much depth to it, so I’m not convinced it’s a long-term thing. The other story is that the trio breaks apart, either because Karla & James can’t trust Cassidy and cut her, or Cassidy feels unlistened to by Karla & James and looks for new allies elsewhere.
Cody — After having such a big presence across the first four episodes, there was barely anything for Cody this week. He was only featured in the brief Vesi camp scene where Jesse opened his Risk/Reward shell.
I don’t think this is the worst thing for Cody, as we already have a solid idea of his character. It perhaps knocks his overall importance to the season down a little, but it’s hard to fault it too much. Vesi, as a whole, was under-edited this week. But we did get a sense that the red tribe is cohesive heading into the merge. Not only are they winning challenges now, but Jesse discussed the Summit with the entire tribe.
Sami — This episode was more of the same for Sami. He once again told us he doesn’t trust Elie and Jeanine and used info against them to gain further trust with Gabler. It’s almost like Baka is in a holding pattern until the merge begins. There are all these combustible elements just waiting to blow.
Outside of the Baka dynamics, Sami did have one quote that could be telling for his later game (or perhaps for the season as a whole. “It’s just a funky and crazy way to play because as soon as somebody senses that you’re playing the game harder than anybody else, nobody will mind just getting rid of you, because that’s one step closer to their dream,” he said when discussing Jeanine’s decision to risk her vote.
We heard a similar quote earlier in the season from Cassidy when she said, “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 I’m interested to see if these are connected and hint at a wider theme for the season. Will the merge see the loud and more in-your-face players being targeted while the quieter players slip through?
Gabler — The up-and-down story of Gabler continued in this episode. After finding an ally in Sami in previous weeks, that relationship didn’t come in clutch when it came to the idol situation. Gabler ended up giving his bead away to Jeanine before Sami had a chance to tell him what was up, resulting in Gabler essentially handing the enemy an idol.
Gabler owned up to his mistake in confessional, noting that the game just became a lot more complicated. Again, this all continues to build the combustible Baka dynamics ahead of the merge. Outside of that, there wasn’t a lot of Gabler content in this episode.
We heard others talking about him, Jeanine, in particular, who said that Gabler’s “getting on everyone’s nerves,” and Owen, who said Gabler is a risk to play with because “you never know what you’re going to get with him.” However, I’m not sure the edit fully backed up their statements this week. We didn’t see Gabler doing anything to annoy people, and, in fact, he was shown to be amiable and kind in the bead situation.
I still don’t think Gabler has a chance at winning, but perhaps he will get to outlast at least one or two of his Baka tribemates.
James — There is always that one character every season whose edit I just don’t quite know where to place. James is that character this season. He has some good content; for example, we see him positioned well in his tribe as a decision-maker. And he seems to have a solid working relationship with Karla. He isn’t made to look foolish or delusional, unlike others in his tribe; see Geo and Ryan.
But there is also a lack of depth. Outside of the personal content in the premiere, we don’t know a great deal about James. And while he’s told us he wants to move forward with Karla, we haven’t heard Karla’s side of the story. Nor did we have any sort of official alliance-making scene between the pair. That last part isn’t a deal-breaker, but it would be nice for some more depth into James’ relationships and his goals moving forward.
If you remember, in the premiere, James told us he thrives in chaos, but that hasn’t been the game we’ve seen from him so far. In fact, when things start to get chaotic (like Lindsay’s paranoia and Cassidy’s reservations this week), James errs on the side of caution. It’s like he’s trying to make the game less chaotic and unpredictable as possible.
Maybe James will be that character that has a turnabout-face at the merge. But for now, I can’t quite get a grasp on his arc.
Jeanine — This was easily Jeanine’s most visible episode after being all but absent the past couple of weeks. A lot of this was circumstantial due to finding the beware advantage and attending the Summit. Now, on the one hand, Jeanine looked good as she was able to collect all the beads and even received praise from Elie for how she was able to sway Gabler. And her taking the risk at the Summit showed her to be the kind of player that is willing to play a bold game.
However, Jeanine’s moves in this episode did not go unnoticed. Not only did Owen literally catch her in the act, but Sami filled Gabler in on Jeanine’s bead collection. Adding to that, Sami noted how Jeanine’s idol and her willingness to take risks made him realize she is playing hard and how those kinds of players become targets. On top of that, Jesse noticed Jeanine’s threat-level at the Summit, noting her scars as a sign of how hard she’s playing. Given Jeanine’s lack of awareness for what is really going on on Baka, it doesn’t give much faith that her story is going to end well in the long run.
Ryan — Oh, Ryan. For a moment, I thought his edit was about to go full Drew Christy. Luckily for Ryan, he survived the episode, but he did not come out of it smelling like roses. Ryan was made to look completely delusional, from his throwing of the challenge to his “acting” skills to throw Cassidy off the scene. He spent the whole episode thinking he was running the show, only to realize he knew nothing by the end of it.
While this pretty much slashes any winner chances, Ryan at least has one thing to fall back on. In the premiere, he told us that he has the determination to overcome even the most life-threatening setbacks. So there is still a chance for Ryan to have something of a comeback story now that he’s had a wake-up call.
Noelle & Dwight — I’m pairing Noelle and Dwight together this week as they basically had the same edit. They didn’t receive any content outside of the challenge and the one Vesi group camp scene. So there is no real change to their story. They are part of the Vesi team unity arc that seems to be the driving factor heading into the merge.
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
There was no change or expansion on the Vesi dynamics this week. The tribe has now been presented as a unit after suffering two defeats early on. Elsewhere, we know from earlier episodes that Cody & Jesse are a pair and Dwight & Noelle are a pair, with Jesse sort of floating between the two alliances.
At this point, the alliances on Baka seem firmly set as Elie & Jeanine on one side and Sami & Gabler on the other. And then there is Owen in the middle. This week, Owen told us that he wants to work with Elie & Jeanine over the guys, but he does not realize that the girls don’t trust him as much as Sami.
The alliances on Coco seem a little looser than the others, as they haven’t been as fleshed out. It appears that Karla & James are a pair, as we’ve seen them as the decision-makers the past two weeks. Then we have Cassidy as their third, but there are already some cracks showing there. And Ryan is now on his own following Geo’s elimination.
Karla — There is no reason for me to remove Karla from the top spot other than a sense of dread that it’s “too good, too soon.” But just looking at her edit, there is nothing wrong with it. She once again laid out her thoughts and ideas, we saw her put them into action, and she got her way at tribal. She is never undermined or made to look foolish, and her reads are often proven correct.
If I had to pick one fault, it would be that she hasn’t full explained her alliances. As mentioned earlier, she rarely talks about her relationship with James. And we don’t quite know how she truly feels about Cassidy. On top of that, we’ve now heard twice that those playing hard will be targeted as threats, and we know Karla has been playing a bold game since she found the idol. Could that be foreshadowing?
Jesse — Even if this episode was mostly just narrational, there was nothing bad here for Jesse. We always hear what he’s thinking about the game and why he’s making certain decisions. He’s had a ton of personal content across the pre-merge. And we have a solid understanding of his relationships and position in the Vesi tribe.
Sami — I think I would like to see some new layers to Sami’s edit over the next couple of episodes. He still looks pretty good, and has been presented as the most aware player in the Baka tribe. But his story has been stuck in this holding pattern. That’s not totally his fault, as it’s par for the course for a tribe that doesn’t go to tribal. However, I need to see more come the merge to move Sami up the list.
Cassidy — This episode was a mixed bag for Cassidy, but she doesn’t have the glaring flaws of other players. So, for that reason, I can’t rule her out as a contender. She got to detail her position in the Coco tribe this week and explained the reasons for the moves she was making. Her reads on the other players were proven correct, and while she didn’t get to vote out Ryan, she still got her way by booting Geo.
The potential issue for Cassidy is that she is quickly rising up on the target list, despite her strategy of playing a sneaky, behind-the-scenes game. The more her theme is contradicted, the worse it looks. But there is still time to course correct that at the merge.
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