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.
For those new to The Edit Bay, it is a condensed version of Edgic, highlighting some of the stand-out story beats from the most recent episode. It also includes my weekly Edgic ratings for each castaway at the end of the article.
Before we get into things, just a heads up that this will be a shorter version of The Edit Bay than usual. I’m in the middle of moving house, so things are pretty hectic over here!
Episode 6 marked the next stage of the game, a time when edits can either crumble or flourish. It was an episode where “revenge” became a central theme, especially between Kendra/Emily, Bruce/Emily, and Austin/Kellie/J. Maya. And it was an episode where the relationships that could rule the rest of the season’s story took center stage.
For this week, I’m just going to focus on my top contenders based on the edit so far.
While this wasn’t a huge episode for Dee, she got the kind of content I would expect from a top female contender. As soon as the tribe’s merged, she told us where her head was at in terms of the game, reemphasizing her loyalty to Julie, Drew, and Austin.
In addition, she explained why she wanted to target J. Maya, the person who ultimately ended up going home. I thought it was very telling that we heard Dee name J as the target but then saw nothing of her when Kaleb became the target. With Kaleb surviving the vote and J being eliminated, the edit sort of protected Dee.
However, Kaleb did call Dee out at tribal council as a threat, which could have its own story implications. It could set up a Dee versus Kaleb rivalry in the coming episodes while also giving Dee an obstacle to overcome. It could also begin setting the stage for Dee to be a threat to win, making her victory understandable in the end.
Going forward, I’d like to see more personal content for Dee. She did have the personal flashback in the previous episode, which was great, and I liked how she brought up being Cuban at tribal. But it wouldn’t hurt to have a little more insight into her character beyond just her in-game relationships.
This was an okay episode for Jake that didn’t particularly sway me in one direction over the other. I’d perhaps have liked to see more strategic content, especially after the tribes came together, rather than him just being scared. But the content he did get was perfectly fine.
The episode opened with him helping Bruce find the idol, and he explained exactly what he was doing with the “lost ring” idea. It was a funny little scene that would likely have been included regardless, but it did show that Jake can get creative when he needs to.
There was another interesting scene later in the episode between Jake and Dee, who both took different approaches. Jake kept his cards close to his chest, whereas Dee opened up about wanting to vote out J. Maya. The edit didn’t really suggest which strategy was better, but given that J did ultimately end up going home, this slightly favors Dee as of right now.
Also, similarly to Dee, we didn’t hear much from Jake when the target shifted to Kaleb. Again, this could have been a form of editorial protection. Remember, on post-swap Lulu, Jake and Kaleb had that scene about working together, so perhaps that will still come to fruition in the future.
That said, I do think Jake needs a big strategic episode for me to solidify him as a true top contender.
This was a mixed episode for Emily. On the one hand, she remains one of the most complexly edited players on the season. We always hear her thoughts on the game, how she’s approaching both her strategic and personal relationships, and her goals in doing so. She has one of, if not the biggest edits of the season (which comes with its own concerns, especially looking at the history of female winners).
However, there were a couple of worries for Emily’s edit in this episode. Firstly, the way the episode started, with her believing that Kendra took the Brando vote well and wasn’t annoyed by it. Obviously, we know that was wrong, as Kendra’s confessional showed her to be frustrated by Emily betraying her. Kendra promised to get revenge on Emily, and, as of now, Emily doesn’t appear to see it coming.
There were similar revenge-tinted elements to the scenes between Emily and Bruce. The two talked things out after Emily’s verbal attack on Bruce at the marooning, and, on the surface, they appeared to patch things up. But in confessional, Bruce promised that Emily’s “time was coming.”
Now, Emily wasn’t quite so oblivious this time, as she did note that trust between her and Bruce would be hard to forge given what had happened. But she also said she and Bruce can move forward and “not hold grudges,” which didn’t seem to be wholly correct, given that Bruce said, “I’m-a get you.”
So, there are these open threads with Bruce and Kendra that could play a part in Emily’s narrative moving forward. These could merely be obstacles for Emily to overcome on her path to the end. Or, they could wind up being her undoing.
Kellie is just about hanging onto my contenders list, but she’s slipping, and if she doesn’t have a breakout merge episode next week, it might be time to drop her completely.
Her consistent MOR rating across the season has become concerning. There is some solid stuff there, but a lack of depth when it comes to strategy and relationships. We’re given hints of these things, but they are rarely expanded upon. Or story elements/relationships suddenly disappear without comment.
For example, in this episode, Kellie didn’t comment on the Brando boot at all. Given that she once called him her closest ally, that was a pretty big thing to leave out of her edit. Similarly, there was no follow-up on her early women’s alliance with Kendra and Katurah. Nor did we hear her thoughts on Kaleb after they had that bonding scene last week (however, much like Dee and Jake, this could have been editorial protection, seeing as Kaleb didn’t go home).
The positives for Kellie is that she did explain why J going home would be a benefit for her game, and she’s had a consistent presence across the season. We always check in with her, even if it lacks the complexity of some of her fellow players. And she’s had a couple of personal moments in regards to her job as a nurse. But, as I said, she needs a proper breakout episode soon to keep within the contender bracket.
Much like Kellie, Katurah is another one just barely hanging on to the contender list. She has been getting by on a lot of goodwill from her fantastic premiere edit and the fact that her Bruce criticisms have been backed up by the edit. But this wasn’t a particularly strong episode for Katurah, and she, too, is in need of a big breakout moment.
The positive for Katurah in this episode was that her previous statements about Bruce proved true. It had felt like she was banging a drum and nobody was listening for so long, but this episode saw others becoming annoyed with Bruce, in particular, Kellie and Kaleb. So, while the Katurah versus Bruce content was excessive, it at least painted Katurah as the one in the right.
But other than that, Katurah had little presence in this episode. We did hear that she didn’t want Kaleb to go home as she questioned Kendra and Bruce’s strategy. Given that Kaleb ultimately survived, that could prove a good thing for her edit. Her differing opinions from her old tribemates could also set up the disintegration of the original Belo tribe in the coming weeks.
The Katurah and Bruce feud is surely set to come to a head soon (unless they’re both making Final Tribal!), and with Bruce now having an idol (which he promised to use to blow up someone’s game) that could spell disaster for Katurah.
Putting Edgic aside, I don’t see how Kaleb could make it to the end, given the size of the target on his back. But his edit is undeniably strong, full of charm and strategy, and clearly positively presented. There is always the chance he underdogs his way to the end and fully lifts that Lulu curse.
That said, my gut leans more towards Kaleb simply being a big player that the producers loved. And his succeeding with the Shot in the Dark and surviving the vote was more likely the curse-lifting moment. In many ways, last week’s episode explained Kaleb’s big pre-merge edit, as the show knew his arc was leading to his historic tribal moment. It could have also been the conclusion to his story arc, leaving Emily behind to continue in his stead.
QUICK THOUGHTS ON THE REST
Austin — While he did explain why J going would be great for his game (and his amulet), his edit felt very OTT to me, with its constant focus on the sandwich revenge.
Drew — We know where Drew stands, but he still has these cocky confessionals that suggest a rude awakening. I think if anyone makes a move against the Reba 4, Drew would be the one who takes the hit.
Bruce — Is there a world where Bruce could pull off a Gabler? In the new era, anything is possible. But logic would suggest he’s been undermined a bit too much.
Julie — As with Drew, we know where Julie stands, and she’s had a decent consistency in terms of edit, which is rare for the older woman archetype. But she still comes across as secondary to Dee in terms of that duo/alliance.
Kendra — There is lots to like about Kendra’s edit, and she’s someone I could see bringing back into contendership with a breakout episode. She’s had some great personal moments; we’ve seen her make alliances/bonds with Katurah/Kellie, Bruce, and Jake. She’s had lots of positive SPV. And her revenge arc with Emily could prove to be a great post-merge storyline. But she’s also had these moments of disappearance (especially in the swap episode) that give me pause.
Sifu — What else is there to really say about Sifu? He’s very much the OTT cartoon character of the season with his tai-chi moves and super-expressive confessionals. He didn’t do much in this episode apart from celebrate the rain and incorrectly believe that J wrote his name down.
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