Survivor: Winners At War

Episode 11 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after episode 11?

Photo: CBS

Hello all, welcome to the Edit Bay, a swanky island resort located just south of the Edge of Extinction. As you may know, I’ve decided not to write Edgic this season due to a mix of fatigue and not having the time or desire to do a deep dive edit analysis on a season with the EOE in play. However, because readers have been asking for some form of edit-based content, I’ve decided to create the Edit Bay as a happy compromise. I won’t be assigning ratings or breaking down every character, instead, I will offer some “hot takes,” if you will, on the narrative arcs and top winner contenders.

THE STORIES

“MAIN HEADLINES”

TONY ON PROBATION — To say this episode belonged to Tony would be the understatement of the year. This was the Tony Vlachos Show from top to bottom. He broke free from his self-imposed probation and returned to the Tony of old. He found an idol, he ran around the jungle like a maniac, he played double agent, and he flipped on his allies to pull off an epic blindside.

At the start of the episode, Tony recapped his story so far about how he’s played patiently to avoid jeopardizing his game. He said that he hasn’t been able to go look for idols because he didn’t want to cause paranoia. And that slow and steady strategy worked, it got him to the merge and beyond. But now, he explained, it was time to get to work, and he succeeded in that work.

The question now is, will he succeed long-term? Is breaking probation a natural next step in his narrative? Or will it cause his downfall? There was a lot of talk at Tribal Council about the timing of big moves, and only time will tell if Tony made his big move too early.

FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — The most prominent focus on fire tokens yet saw Natalie and Parvati extorting Tony for a whopping six coins. Tony sprung into action, persuading friend and foe alike to lend him tokens to pay off his enormous debt. And again, he succeeded, not only in retrieving the tokens but by putting them to good use, winning the Immunity Challenge, and executing a flawless blindside with his vote.

As the season heads towards the finish line, I expect the fire tokens to become more prominent and more valuable. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see tokens play a major part in the remaining narratives of both the losers and the ultimate victory.

“SIDE STORIES”

KIM VS. TONY — Kim was the one player to see through Tony’s double agent scheming. She talked about not trusting Tony to Denise and in confessional. This isn’t the first time Kim has worried about Tony, as she previously aired her concerns on the post-swap Dakal tribe.

I imagine this is setting up a Kim and Tony showdown in the near future. And if Kim had a better edit overall, I might have even believed she would be successful in taking Tony down. However, Kim’s narrative has been rather inconsistent, at least in terms of air-time, which makes me see her more of an obstacle for Tony to overcome, rather than the warrior that brings him down.

JEREMY ON THE OUTS — Jeremy was still in a tough spot in the latest episode. Nobody would tell him what happened at the previous Tribal Council, and even his supposed allies, Denise and Kim, turned their back on him. He did seem to be back on board with Michele, but even then, he was clearly on the outs and the primary target heading into Tribal. If not for Tony’s last-minute flip, Jeremy would have been on the Edge.

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

COPS R US — There is trouble brewing in paradise for the blue blood buddies. Tony explained that he wanted Sophie out because she was getting too close to his partner, Sarah. But blindsiding one of Sarah’s closest allies with no warning is not going to go down well, at least judging by the next episode preview.

This push-and-pull between the Cops R Us has been a focal point of the last couple of episodes. Firstly, Tony questioned Sarah’s move of giving up her reward to Nick. The next week, the pair bickered back-and-forth over who the target should be. And this episode, Sarah threw doubt on Tony’s social game, basically claiming that he doesn’t have one.

It seems that this tension is leading to a clash between the two somewhere down the line. One is going to end up getting the better of the other. Whether that’s in a vote-off or at Final Tribal Council remains to be seen, but either would work. Whatever happens, I expect the Cops R Us to remain a significant focus of the narrative, as they have been for the majority of the season.

JEREMY, MICHELE, NICK, & TONY — This foursome came together towards the end of the last episode when Tony came up with his last-minute plan to blindside Sophie. I’m not sure if this will stick as a solid alliance, especially as it was thrown together out of nowhere, and we didn’t receive any perspective on it from Michele or Nick.

DENISE & KIM — These two seem to be aligned in a fairly solid partnership, which has its ties back to the post-swap Dakal tribe. There were a couple of scenes in the latest episode of them discussing strategy together. Again, though, neither Denise nor Kim really talks about the other or their alliance in confessional, at least not in any real depth.

TENUOUS RELATIONSHIPS

DENISE, JEREMY, MICHELE, & KIM — The edit placed this foursome together at the start of the episode, even neglecting to mention that Michele actually voted against them the week before. But with Denise & Kim voting for Jeremy in this episode, it’s hard to see the four coming back together for any lasting alliance.

BEN & JEREMY — More of a rivalry than an alliance, but the edit did connect them in the last episode. Jeremy mentioned how he liked Ben at the start, but that now everything he does annoys him. There was also a tense staredown between the two guys at Tribal. It will be interesting to see if this feud continues in the next episode.

BEN, NICK, & TONY — Ben and Nick were the two guys that helped Tony when he needed tokens. Nick also helped in Tony’s idol search (by being directed away) and was brought on board Tony’s Sophie blindside plan.

THE CONTENDERS

With Sophie out of the main game, it’s pretty much down to Tony or Sarah in my Contenders list now. The only way I can see a different outcome is if we’re heading for some Season 38 style weirdness. And with the Edge of Extinction in play, I suppose anything can happen. Perhaps the story between Sarah and Tony will lead to them causing each other’s downfall, and someone will rise up at the end to steal the win.

It’s not out of the realm of possibility for another Chris Underwood situation to happen, with the Edge returnee storming to the Final Tribal and grabbing enough votes from the jury. Or if the foreshadowing in the “lions vs. hyenas” story leads to the lions taking each other out, leaving the path open for a hyena to sneak in. If that’s the case, then perhaps Michele can crawl back into contention? It’s difficult to imagine though with the so-called hyenas being so underedited.

TONY

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • Strong merge episode edit.
  • Great edit in the latest episode.
  • He has two clear story arcs, both the “lions vs. hyenas” one and the “Tony on probation.”
  • His “probation” storyline retook focus in this episode with him explaining how his patient gameplay had worked, and now it was the time to switch things up.
  • He succeeded in everything he set out to do in the latest episode, from finding the idol, to borrowing tokens, to winning Immunity, to blindsiding Sophie.
  • A clear alliance with Sarah, which has remained a significant focus across the season. 
  • We always hear from him and his perspective on his own game and the wider dynamics. A lot of the story is told through his eyes.
  • He has mostly been presented as a likable presence around camp, even when he’s acting like a mad man. Several players have talked about how much they like Tony (Sarah, Yul, Jeremy, and Kim). In the latest episode, we saw multiple players smiling and congratulating him for his challenge win.
  • The “lowering guards sucker punch” confessional from the opening moments of the premiere was referenced again post-merge, when Sarah said, “In past seasons, you’d see the punch coming, this season, people are gonna get sniped,” as the camera panned to a smiling Tony. It could be argued that Tony successfully pulled off that sucker punch in the latest episode with his Sophie blindside.
  • He was proven right in the merge episode about Denise making herself a target with her flashy move against Sandra.
  • The edit backed him up when he said Sarah made the wrong move giving her reward to Nick.
  • He was shown not to be underestimating his competitors, referring to them as “good players” but just “low profile.”
  • His reasonings about the big targets being in trouble were always validated in the edit. 
  • He started on the complex tribe. 

Cons:

  • He started this episode saying he needed Jeremy out but then later went against his own plan.
  • Kim saw through his double agent scheming.
  • Sarah said that he doesn’t have a social game, though it’s unclear if we should take this at face value, as the edit has often supported Tony’s social play this season.
  • Both Jeremy and Sarah said that Tony doesn’t listen in the last episode.
  • The Cops R Us tension could be set up for them causing each others’ downfall.
  • There was no talk of the big threats alliance or “lions vs. hyenas” storyline this week.
  • Falling back into old Tony ways could put a target on his back.
  • The lion vs. hyena story could be set up for him being devoured by the hyenas at some point, even if he’s the last lion standing.
  • The talk of a “sucker punch” could be ironic foreshadowing, and perhaps it is Tony who is the victim of a sucker punch blindside. 

SARAH

Pros:

  • A clear alliance with Tony, which has received significant focus across the season, including the most recent episode.
  • She had a secondary alliance with Sophie, which received a decent amount of focus across the season.
  • She has a relationship with Ben from the post-swap Yara tribe, though it hasn’t had much focus recently.
  • She talked up her social game in the latest episode, and the edit backed her up by showing her Fiji fashion show. 
  • She previously referred to everyone at the merge as “lion,” showing that she is not underestimating her opponents.
  • She correctly called that Adam would be eliminated after she found out he threw her name out. 
  • She has received some emotional and personal content across the season (the hug with Yul being non-family-visit stand-out).
  • She’s had a decent amount of strategic content throughout the season so far, including in the most recent episode with talking through the split vote plan.
  • She’s had a flashback to her previous season.
  • She has received some personal content about her job as a police officer.
  • She started on the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • An underwhelming premiere edit.
  • An average merge episode edit.
  • Tony is presented as the more important member of Cops R Us.
  • The bickering between her and Tony could lead to them causing each other’s downfall.
  • Her decision to give up her reward to Nick as presented as a mistake.
  • She said that Tony has no social game, but this contradicts the edit, including Sarah’s own words about Tony in the past. Pre-swap, Sarah talked about how people would love Tony if they got to know him, and players such as Yul backed this up, speaking positively about Tony. 
  • She wanted Kim out last week and Jeremy out this episode, and both times she failed to get her way.
  • She hasn’t spoken directly about her alliance with Ben or Sophie in confessional.

Written by

Martin Holmes

Martin is a freelance writer from England. He’s represented by Berlin Associates for comedy writing and writes about TV and entertainment, currently for TV Insider and Vulture, previously Digital Spy, ET Canada, and Yahoo. A finalist for the Shortlist Sitcom Search in 2012 for “Siblings,” Martin received his BA in English with Creative Writing from The University of Hull.


4 responses to “Episode 11 – The Edit Bay”

  1. I think back to Nick confessional in the premiere about the winner being someone who can correctly use fire tokens well, and Tony demonstrated that really well last episode. Another massive tick for him.

  2. Hi Martin, thanks for the article! Have a couple questions..

    Why did you remove Sophie as a contender? Just because she is on the edge or did you see this episode as a logical conclusion to her edit?

  3. Many people have bequeathed fire tokens to Michele; being Kim the last one. That’s evidence of her social game. If she gets rid of Tony, that would be a move that can get her the $2 million. I even believe that she can beat Sarah in a final 3. For the edit, I think Tony is the winner. If not, Michele is. I don’t see anyone else winning.

    It would be interesting if one-time players (Ben, Nick, Michele, Denise) teamed up. They would be majority and have more chances of winning in a final 3 than sitting with Jeremy, Sarah, and/or Tony.

    The storyline of “lions vs hyenas” has been brought up many times by Tony (even in the last episode) that it might be his downfall.

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