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.
Survivor 44 finally gave us an episode we could properly sink our teeth into last week. The idols and advantages took a backseat to relationships and character moments, giving us a better insight into the stories and dynamics heading into the merge.
Episode 5 saw Matthew’s story arc come to a conclusion as he sadly had to exit the game due to his shoulder injury. Since the premiere, Matthew’s edit has been about embracing the Survivor experience as part of his “mid-life adventure.” And in subsequent episodes, we’ve seen him playing hard, building bonds, and giving it his all in challenges despite his injury.
Despite all that, Matthew had no choice but to put his own health first, but he was given a positive exit. Jeff Probst commended Matthew for his efforts, both when speaking to Matthew himself and later when he broke the news to the Tika tribe. So not only was this a thematically fitting end to Matthew’s story, but it tied into the broader narrative of playing hard and leaving it all out there.
Elsewhere, Carolyn, Carson, and Yam Yam continued to be the focal points of their tribes and the season as a whole. Ratu’s dynamics are still the least fleshed out of all the tribes, but we were shown Carson to be fitting in well and making several bonds, particularly with Matthew and Kane. It’s perhaps not the best look for Lauren and Brandon that they were left out of all this, but it continues to show that Carson is a key figure in the season’s narrative.
Meanwhile, the Carolyn and Yam Yam back and forth was the focus on Tika, with Josh trapped in the middle. We saw the fallout of the Sarah tribal council, with Yam Yam losing his trust in his former ally. But by the end of the episode, the pair appeared to be back on the same page due to the info Carolyn gleaned on the journey.
But now we also have this story of Tika’s second chance, with one of them avoiding what should have been a torch snuffing. Jeff really played this up when he visited their camp. So it will be interesting to see how these surviving Tikas approach the next stage of the game.
There is also the story of Josh, who bonded with Yam Yam over their coming out stories. It seemed like Josh and Yam Yam might have worked together, that was, until the fake idol debacle and the news of the bro alliance. Where Josh lands at the merge should be a focal point of the next episode.
Speaking of the bro alliance, that was the other key takeaway from this episode. Danny and Brandon and their obnoxious bro-ing out in front of Carolyn was a highlight of the episode. It certainly painted the two guys in a negative light as it showed them to be completely oblivious. And it continued Carolyn’s arc of being the underestimated odd-one-out. But as we’ve seen so far, Carolyn is not to be counted out.
The Soka tribe was probably the least eventful of the episode. There was more focus on Frannie and Matt’s growing relationship. Matt’s edit is becoming very one-dimensional as he is portrayed as a love-sick puppy. Frannie, meanwhile, still has strategic scenes outside of her showmance content.
As for Soka’s strategy, it mostly focused on Jaime, who believes she fits in with Soka due to their similarities, meditation, and what have you. But we saw that her reads on the dynamics were not accurate, as she didn’t even realise that Frannie and Matt are close. Yet, given the attention Jaime has been given in the edit, I don’t expect this to be leading to a downfall just yet,
ALLIANCES & CONNECTIONS
Frannie & Matt (Pair) — Another check-in with the showmance this episode, still flirting and working together. With the merge incoming, I suspect they’ll start to draw far more attention.
Carolyn & Yam Yam (Pair?) — They might bicker like a married couple, but Carolyn and Yam Yam seemed to be back together by the end of Episode 5. Although it’s clear neither fully trusts the other.
Josh & Yam Yam (Pair?) — This pairing seemed to form more out of necessity than anything, but given the drama with the idol and the threat of a bro alliance, I’m not sure this duo will last.
Carson & Kane (Pair?) — We saw these two nerding out on Ratu, but right now, it’s hard to say whether this was the sign of a solid alliance or just an example of Carson’s social game at work.
Danny & Brandon (Pair) — Both these guys obviously want to work together and made that abundantly clear during the journey. But given the way the edit framed that scene, I can’t see this alliance having long-term success.
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