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.
With just 10 players remaining, it’s time to start separating the true contenders from the rest. Last week’s double boot improved the chances of some while adding doubt to others.
Based on what I’m seeing, I feel confident ruling out at least half the remaining players from winning. Those five are Bruce, Drew, Austin, Julie, and Kendra.
While there is always the chance of another Gabler-type victory, I don’t see it happening for Bruce, whose edit has received far too much negativity. Even though he has moments of perception and insight, such as clocking that Kendra was campaigning against him and explaining why he called out Katurah in public, it’s not enough to override the OTTN vibe of his edit.
The other players constantly undermine him, and even his supposed allies, like Kellie, continue to criticize him as a liability. For the most part, the edit backs them up. And, speaking of Kellie, her alliance with Bruce feels incoherent. Sure, they had brief scenes back on old Belo, but suddenly becoming each other’s number ones? There is a disconnect there that shows a lack of care in both their edits.
Onto Drew, he’s had a lot of strong strategic content, but his edit overall is so dry. There is a serious lack of personal content, and when you combine that with the slightly cocky confessionals, it doesn’t scream winner. Maybe he’d be a contender pre-New Era Survivor, but winners tend to have more tone and character these days.
Also, what really made me rule out Drew (and Austin) in this past episode was that they were split up, and yet neither commented on that fact once. If this was the season’s most important duo and contained the winner, I’d expect at least one of them to remark on being separated from their closest ally.
It’s especially bad for Austin, who basically disappeared once separated from Drew. Other than telling Dee her target could increase once Kabel is out, Austin barely had any pre-Tribal content. Outside of that, his content was once again tied to advantages, as he recapped how he upgraded his idol into a fully-fledged idol.
As for Julie, we always get to check in with her, but her strategic depth is lacking. She was a boot target in this episode, which would have been a prime spot to give her increased screen time. But that’s not what we got. Instead, the focus was mostly centered on Kaleb, Katurah, and Jake, with Julie merely a side character.
Lastly, Kendra didn’t quite have the breakout episode she needed here, and so, for that reason, I’ve put her in my “ruled out” pile. That said, if I’m wrong and one of these five does end up winning, I feel like Kendra probably has the best chance.
My major issue with Kendra’s edit is the lack of consistency in her story arcs. In the episode before last, she was the big proponent for staying “Belo strong,” working with Bruce to put the target on Kaleb. Then, in last week’s episode, she suddenly led the charge against Bruce. Worse still, Bruce clocked what she was doing.
Now, Kendra did get to acknowledge that Kellie didn’t want Bruce out and explained why Sifu was also a good option. So it wasn’t wholly awful for her edit that Bruce didn’t end up going home. But with Bruce knowing her game (and he has an idol), it could be foreshadowing a rude awakening for Kendra in the future.
Now, let’s move on to the contenders.
This was the episode Katurah needed to bump her back up into contention. There was still the focus on her beef with Bruce, but, as usual, she was known to be perceptive of Bruce’s game. She recognized what he was doing by calling her out in front of the other players. As always, the edit backs up Katurah’s opinions on Bruce.
Katurah was presented as the swing vote on the split tribe, and we saw the decision through her eyes. It was all about what the vote would do for her game moving forward. She initially wanted to keep Kaleb around as an ally and a shield but ended up voting him out. But we understood why; once she found out Kaleb and Jake kept Bruce’s idol hidden from her, it made Katurah realize she couldn’t fully trust them.
Now, whether that was the right choice for Katurah in the long run remains to be seen. There were certainly signs that it could end up backfiring. She told us she didn’t want to fall into the “trap” of making an emotional decision, but it appears that’s what happened. She also said if she turns on Kaleb, she’d be voting with “people she doesn’t even know in Reba.”
I could see this going one of two ways. Either Katurah’s move here is what leads to the downfall of Belo, allowing the Reba foursome to take over the game. Or it will be her game-winning move, one that gives her more agency moving forward. But, for the latter, we need to see her building new allies/relationships soon (and some personal content wouldn’t go amiss either).
Kellie finally broke out of MOR hell for a very strong CP episode. She really got to talk through her plans in-depth here, especially regarding Bruce and her decision to keep him around. Even though she shared her frustrations with Bruce and his approach to the game, she acknowledged that he trusts her and acts as a shield.
With that in mind, Kellie went to work later in the episode to convince Kendra that keeping Bruce around was best for now. And that’s what ended up happening. Kellie got her way. This backed up previous statements from Kaleb, who called Kellie one of the best and smartest players in the game.
Now, the question is, was keeping Bruce here the right move for Kellie in the long run? In the context of this episode, it felt like the right move, especially as Kellie had no working relationship with Sifu. But something she said in her final confessional felt very ominous.
“When I choose to take Bruce out is probably going to be the most important moment of my game,” she said. To me, that says one of two things. Either, she eventually takes out Bruce, and that will be the move that propels her to the end and potential victory. Or, she attempts a move on Bruce, and it backfires and causes her game to blow up.
I’m not sold either way yet, but if forced to choose, I’d lean slightly towards the latter. All this talk of Bruce being a liability, even from Kellie herself, could be set up for Bruce causing her downfall, even if unintentional. That said, if Kellie can successfully take Bruce out, she will put herself right at the top of the contender list.
This was a solid episode for Dee, with some nice positivity at the challenge, where she got emotional talking about her family. It was also fun to see the “big toe” foreshadowing come back as Dee credited her oversized toes for helping her win the immunity challenge, just as she predicted earlier in the season. That shows us there is definitely some care being taken in crafting Dee’s edit.
She also got to name Kaleb as the target and successfully got him out. So, on paper, that looks like a point in the Dee column. However, there were a couple of signs of cockiness coming through in Dee’s confessionals, similar to some of Drew’s previous. She said that Jake is someone who can be easily persuaded, and yet he spent the episode campaigning to save Kaleb and voted against Julie.
That could prove to be a red flag for Dee, especially when combined with Austin’s warning about her threat level rising once Kaleb is out of the game. It’s perhaps an early sign of the tide shifting against Dee as the game heats up.
Or, it could simply be to give her more obstacles to overcome on her path to victory, especially as Kaleb and Sifu, two of her rivals, are now out of the game. Perhaps Dee versus Jake will be a new rivalry for the end stretch of the season.
I’d still have Dee at the top of my contenders for now, as I think she has a great mix of personal and strategic content combined with allies and potential rivals, all without being too visible. But if this cockiness continues in the coming episodes, she might start dropping down the chart.
Even though Jake didn’t get his way, I still thought this was a strong episode for him. We got his thoughts a lot throughout the episode, starting with him explaining why he was happy that Kaleb survived the last vote. He told us that Kaleb is a shield and a number for the old Belos, who need to stick together to fend off the old Rebas.
Jake targeting Julie to disarm Dee made sense, as we’ve seen Dee presented as a big threat in the past few episodes. He also undermined what Dee said about him being easily persuaded as he talked through his idea to go against Dee’s plan. He also mentioned winning against, which is now the third time this season.
In addition, Jake had the first ever flash-forward scene, which showed a clip of tribal council as Jake narrated his plan for the vote. Even though it didn’t work out, this felt like the edit was supporting Jake and wanting the audience to root for it to happen.
It will be interesting to see where Jake goes from here, especially as he openly admitted to voting for Julie. He could become public enemy number one, returning to his premiere position. But I’m not so sure his demise will be immediate. A big part of Jake’s edit and personal story has been about getting back up after being knocked down, so I suspect an underdog run moving forward.
Last but not least is Emily, who had her quietest episode of the season so far but still had enough strategic insight to make her feel present. You could certainly view this as a much-needed cooldown for what has been an extremely visible edit.
Even though her closest ally, Kaleb, went home, Emily had a chance to put a bow on that relationship earlier in the episode. She said she was happy he survived, but she acknowledged that he had to go, and she couldn’t stick her neck out too far due to her relationship with the OG Rebas. That softened Kaleb’s exit for her while highlighting her other bonds that can flourish moving forward.
She didn’t have much content in the pre-Tribal scramble, so we don’t truly know where her head was in regards to the Bruce versus Sifu vote. It could be she was as bullish about getting Bruce out as Kendra, but the edit protected her from failing to get her way.
The good thing about Emily’s edit is she has many threads to follow, even with Kaleb’s exit. She has the alliance with Austin and Drew formed at the swap, there is Kendra’s revenge arc against her, and her past beef with Bruce, all the way back from the marooning. She also has one of the clearest story arcs, one that fits the season’s authenticity theme, of learning to overcome her flaws.
That said, even with cooldown episode, I still think Emily’s edit is way too big overall. As much as I’d love to see, Survivor just doesn’t edit its female winners in this fashion. That’s why part of me still leans more towards Emily having a growth/journey edit rather than a winner’s edit. But time will tell.
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