Edit Bay this season is going to be a much shorter analysis due to spoilers. However, I will still assign ratings to each player, so readers can track the chart throughout the season. And I will highlight a few potential story arcs and important alliances. But there will be no discussion of potential winner edits.
As we head into the final episode of the season, the pieces are set up for a Tika triumph. Of course, that’s been the story all along. In many ways, this season’s edit reminds me of Ghost Island, in that there was one central focus, and everyone else was kind of brushed to the side. Ghost Island revolved around Dom & Wendell, with a couple of minor side stories, and the majority of the cast reduced to fodder. Similarly, Survivor 44 has been the story of the Tika 3, with everyone else playing background characters.
While it’s a frustrating editing technique, it’s somewhat understandable if we end with a Carolyn, Carson, and Yam Yam showdown at the final tribal council. Or even if just two of them make it and face off, you can sort of see why they chose to edit the season this way. However, if only one Tika member ends up at FTC, that is editorial negligence and very harsh on the other two finalists.
Last week’s episode continued a strong run of episodes that put twists aside in favor of camp life, strategy, and character moments. It was presented as Carolyn’s swang song, with her underestimated theme coming to an end as the others all realized she is much smarter and switched on than they initially assumed. The edit played up the emotion, particularly over Yam Yam’s conflicted state over whether to betray one of his closest allies.
And yes, this was a classic rug pull. Carolyn ended up surviving the vote, and Jaime went home. Jaime was a little hard done by here, though she did get to express her strategy in this episode as she plotted to split up the Tika trio. But it was too little, too late. Jaime’s edit across the season revolved primarily around her fake idol and incorrect assumptions about the game’s dynamics. We never quite cracked under the surface, which took some of the impact out of her boot. It was more about Carolyn’s survival than Jaime’s elimination.
There is that same lack of depth in Lauren and Heidi’s edits, the former especially. Even in this episode, where Lauren won both the reward challenge and the immunity challenge, we never had a moment to dig deeper into her strategy or personality. Had Lauren been a consistently featured player through the season, this episode could have been her crowning moment.
Heidi’s had a little more involvement than Lauren, but she is still severely lacking compared to the Tika 3. For the two episodes before this, she was presented as out of the loop, and this week she was seen as scraping to hold on, even using her idol unnecessarily. There is a nice element of not giving up in Heidi’s edit, which has been present since her fire-making scene in the premiere. That might propel her forward to a seat in the FTC, but it isn’t enough on its own.
Speaking of that premiere fire-making scene, there has been a significant amount of final four fire-making foreshadowing this season, even more so than usual. There have been numerous scenes of Carson staring into the fire, talking about fire, and all those shots of the flames in his glasses. Now, fire-making foreshadowing is tough to call; sometimes, these are just cool shots and don’t mean anything. But it’s been so consistently featured in Carson’s edit that it would be surprising not to see him take on fire at the final four. And if Heidi’s episode one scene was a hint, perhaps she will join him.
That leaves us with Carolyn and Yam Yam, two of the season’s central characters. While Carson has been shown as the Tika trio’s voice of reason, Carolyn and Yam Yam have had more emotionally complex edits. They are both presented as shrewd, clever players but also prone to hurt feelings and arguments. We’ve seen that they have a love for one another but also see each other as a threat, and that has led to them butting heads on several occasions.
This past episode was all about Yam Yam’s emotional struggle over whether or not to betray Carolyn. He talked up how big of a threat she was, how she could beat him in the end. And while he didn’t want to hurt her, he knew the right move for him was taking her out. Yet, he didn’t go through with it. The question now is whether that will come back to bite him. Will he end up losing to Carolyn? Or will he follow through on his betrayal in the finale?
Whatever happens, when all is said and done, Survivor 44 will be remembered as the story of the Tika 3.
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