Survivor: Winners At War

Episode 2 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after episode 2?

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”

OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL — The battle of eras is still the most prevalent storyline on the Sele tribe. This week it was directly referenced both at camp and during Tribal Council. The weird thing about this story is how it’s presented as if Old School is running the show, despite old-schooler Danni being voted out. Danni’s elimination wasn’t marked as a turning point for the new schoolers; instead, it was perceived as Danni tanking her own game and Ethan, Rob, and Parvati calling the shots.

This seems to suggest an impending New School uprising, which makes sense given the conversations we’ve seen between the likes of Adam, Ben, Jeremy, and Michele, all of whom have discussed making a move against the Old School coalition. The preview for the next episode focuses on this New School takeover, specifically. Whether the New Schoolers pull this off or not remains to be seen, but I think it’s safe to say that, as long as Sele keeps losing, the story will continue to revolve around Old School vs. New School.

FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — Last week, Nick stated that the players who learn how to use fire tokens to their advantage will have success in this season. Natalie and Jeremy picked up that storyline in this episode. After finding her second advantage on the EOE, it was Natalie who spoke about the barter system and the power of fire tokens. It should be noted there was uplifting music during Natalie’s discovery, as there was when Jeremy received the advantage from his old ally.

It’s hard to say if Natalie and Jeremy’s connection to the fire tokens points to a long-term storyline or if it’s merely circumstantial. After all, there is no way you couldn’t show Natalie sending Jeremy the Saftey Without Power. But the positively-toned presentation, and the way the tokens could tie into a potential revenge plot for one or both parties, could suggest deeper significance.

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TONY ON PROBATION — The big focus on Dakal this week was the incredible ladder antics from one Tony Vlachos. However, this wasn’t just a scene for comedy value. Tony’s ladder construction continued his storyline from the premiere. He wants to lower his threat level, and that involves sticking around camp and not darting off into the jungle to search for idols. Instead, he channeled his energy into building a ladder to go fruit picking and, as hilariously scary as it was, it worked on two levels. Not only did Tony retrieve the fruit, but he successfully lowered his threat status.

We heard from several of the Dakal tribe members who narrated this chaotic scene and talked of how much of a mad man Tony is. Tyson wondered how he isn’t dead by now. Sophie described him as a child. All the while, everyone was laughing and joking. This all ties back to what Tony said last week about wanting everybody to lower their guards around him so that they won’t see the sucker-punch coming.

“SIDE STORIES”

UNDERDOG KIM — Kim’s underdog story continued this episode as she talked about being on the outs and then found a hidden idol. The problem is, she shared the idol with Sophie, who undermined Kim in confessional by saying that it was a bad move. While this might hurt Kim’s chances as a winner contender, it doesn’t take away from her potential underdog story. It could even mean Kim outlasts Sophie if we’re meant to view the South Pacific winner as overconfident. 

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WILDCARD BEN — Ben has been such a big presence across the first two episodes. In the first episode, he was going around spilling secrets. This week he was calling people out and leading others to idols. Adam and Rob referred to him as a “wildcard,” and I think that is how we’re meant to perceive Ben right now. He is someone that will poke and prod and shake the game up. The question is whether it will work out for him in the long-run or if it will blow up Ben Bomb style in his face?

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

ADAM & DENISE — Perhaps the most established pair on the Sele tribe or at least a close tie with Parvati and Rob. This episode, Denise told Adam about her idol and shared half with him. This was after Adam cursed about Ben knowing about the idol and shot down Denise’s suggestion of sharing the idol with Parvati, which he called a “terrible” idea. It painted Adam as the one in control, but also, perhaps domineering? And when you add in that Adam doesn’t trust Ben, but Denise said she does trust Ben, it creates an interesting dichotomy.

It’s also difficult to know how much stock to put in this partnership long-term because a lot of the content could be circumstantial. Adam and Denise were targeted at the first Tribal Council, so it was necessary to explain why. And this week, Denise shared her idol with Adam, so, again, that needed to be shown. But, for now, at least, this pair is a main focus on team blue.

OLD SCHOOLERS — Ethan, Parvati, and Rob are firmly established as the Old School alliance. Although, with how quickly Danni was cast aside this week, there is a chance it could fall apart at any minute. However, the edit presented Danni’s paranoia as a mistake, one which cost her her own game. The trio of Ethan, Parv, and Rob seems much tighter and is set up as the controlling alliance of the tribe. But there is no denying that the Old Schoolers are significantly outnumbered, and the New Schoolers are circling.

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COPS R US — Sarah and Tony are back together and received a scene in this episode re-establishing their partnership. Both of them talked about how things fell apart for the Cops R Us duo in Cagayan, but this time, both players seemed happy to make it work. Tony promised to “make it up” to Sarah this time, and Sarah said the alliance can work as long as nobody knows about it. Can the Cops R Us partnership stay undercover is the big question?

THE FREE AGENTS — There was nothing new for the foursome of Nick, Sophie, Wendell, and Yul this episode. But they were one of the key alliances set up in the premiere, so it would be remiss not to mention them here.

SOPHIE & YUL — Within that free agents quartet, Sophie and Yul formed a deeper partnership that received significant focus in the premiere. Again, we didn’t get a follow-up this episode, but it is worth keeping in mind.

SANDRA, SARAH, & TONY — This Game Changers trio were linked together last week. There was nothing new from them as a threesome this week, though, as stated, Sarah and Tony had their Cops R Us scene.

“TENUOUS RELATIONSHIPS”

JEREMY & MICHELE — While the content has been minimal, we’ve seen Jeremy and Michele share a couple of strategic conversations across the first two episodes. This week they weighed the odds of shaking up the game by targeting Parvati or sticking with the consensus Danni vote. Neither Jeremy nor Michele have spoken about being aligned in confessional, however, so there isn’t enough right now to call this a solid alliance.

BEN & DENISE — Ben led Denise to her first idol find or at least that’s how it was presented by both the edit and Denise herself. This tied into Ben’s story of wanting to improve his social game, and that involved using his idol sniffing skills to help others. The intriguing thing here is that Denise said that she felt she could trust Ben after he didn’t force her to give him half of the idol. This sets up a potential working relationship going forward and perhaps a push-and-pull between Adam and Ben.

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KIM & TYSON — While they haven’t had an official alliance-building scene, Kim and Tyson have been linked together, mainly through the perspective of others. They were linked together as part of the poker alliance, and this episode, Sophie said Kim should have told Tyson about her idol, not her.

KIM & SOPHIE — These two are now linked through the idol, though it’s up in the air whether this is the start of an alliance or a brewing rivalry. Right now, with the way Sophie mocked Kim’s decision to share her idol “with the devil,” it suggests a rivalry.

THE CONTENDERS

The below list is just the edits that currently stand out. It doesn’t mean that all those not mentioned are out of contention. 

SOPHIE

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit. 
  • She is part of a clear alliance in the “free agents” group.
  • She is part of an established duo with Yul.
  • Continued to be a presence in episode two despite Dakal not attending Tribal Council. She narrated the Tony ladder scene and had a strategic confessional about Kim and her idol.
  • Described by Kim has “having a really good spot in the tribe right now.”
  • We know about her “nerd-shield” strategy.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • Her confessional about Kim could have come across slightly villainous. She referred to herself as the devil and sort of mocked Kim for choosing to share the idol with her. This could be set up for a future downfall.
  • There was no follow-up this episode with her alliances, either with Yul or the free agents. Although, as Dakal didn’t attend Tribal, this isn’t a major concern.

TONY

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • A clear strategy of lowering his threat level, which was followed up on this episode.
  • His strategy is also presented as if it’s working. People are seeing Tony as the camp clown, which means they are lowering their guards down, just as he wanted.
  • His crazy ladder scheme worked, despite the concerns. It was also nicely contrasted with Yul’s fruit-picking approach. Both methods worked, but Tony retrieved more fruit than Yul. “Top that, Yul!” Tony yelled.
  • He had a solid alliance-building scene with Sarah, where they reformed the Cops R Us partnership and committed to making it work this time.
  • He received positive comments from Sarah, who said, “I’ve known Tony for six years, I love the guy, and I knew people would to if they just got to know him.” This was matched with footage of Tony and the tribe laughing and high-fiving after the successful ladder expedition.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • While he might be lowering his threat-level as a strategic, idol-hunter, Tony could be making himself a social threat. 
  • Sarah said Cops R Us could work as long as nobody knows about it. This could mean things fall apart if people discover how closely Tony and Sarah are working together. 
  • He wanted Tyson out in the premiere and didn’t get his way, although there was no follow up on that this week, so perhaps it isn’t relevant long-term. 
  • The one-upmanship with Yul could suggest a future face-off between the two. Tony and Yul have two of the best edits right now, so it’s hard to say who would come out on top in that scenario.
  • He’s Tony.

YUL

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • Even though it was one-upped by Tony, Yul’s fruit-picking method did work and perfectly highlighted his calm and methodical approach to Survivor.
  • He is part of a clear alliance in the “free agents” group.
  • He is part of an established duo with Sophie.
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • There was no follow-up this episode with his alliances, either with Sophie or the free agents. Although, as Dakal didn’t attend Tribal, this isn’t a major concern. 
  • No real strategic significance in this episode. 
  • Even though his fruit-picking method worked, he was one-upped by Tony’s crazier, flashier method. This could suggest a future face-off between the two, but, as I said earlier, it’s hard to say who would come out on top.  
  • Sophie previously referred to him as her “nerd-shield,” which means he could be voted out ahead of her.

TYSON 

Pros: 

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • Continued to be a presence in episode two despite Dakal not attending Tribal Council. Narrated the Tony ladder scene.
  • Has a tenuous connection to Kim.
  • Has a potential underdog story, tying back to his “survival mode” confessional from last week. 
  • Is part of the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • No real strategic significance in this episode. 
  • He does not have a solid relationship or alliance scene yet. He’s only tenuously connected to Kim (and I guess Yul/Nick after he begged them last week). This might not be a huge concern yet with his “survival mode” underdog story, but I think every contender needs a solid relationship at some point early on.
  • His family confessional last week could point to a growth/journey edit rather than a winner story.

WENDELL

Pros:

  • A fairly solid premiere edit.
  • He is part of a clear alliance in the “free agents” group.
  • He laid out his strategy of wanting to kick-back and chill while he gets a read on the other players. 
  • He had a small presence in this episode as he was one of the narrator’s of Tony’s idol scene.
  • Is on the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • No real strategic significance in this episode. 
  • No follow-up on his alliances, although his “keep cool and chill” strategy could explain an under-the-radar edit, especially in an episode where Dakal didn’t attend Tribal.

JEREMY

Pros:

  • I’m pretty low on anyone from Sele winning, but just to keep someone as a talking point from that tribe, Jeremy at least has the potential for a revenge sort of arc.
  • He received uplifting music when he received the advantage from Natalie. 
  • He’s tied to the “fire tokens” theme, which we’re told is important this season. 
  • He got to talk about being on the bottom, which gives him an underdog story. He even mentioned “losing the battle” similar to Tyson last week. 
  • He has a connection to Natalie and a tenuous relationship with Michele. 
  • He talked about wanting to be in control, and there is enough set up for him to potentially do that in the coming weeks between his advantages and talks with the New Schoolers.

Cons:

  • He had a mixed bag of a premiere edit. 
  • His closest relationship/alliance is Natalie, who is currently on the EOE. 
  • Despite his strategic chats with Michele, neither of them have talked directly about working together yet.
  • A fair amount of his content could be circumstantial, such as receiving tokens and advantages.
  • He isn’t part of the complex tribe.

 


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 2 – The Edit Bay”

    • And yet five of their players seem like they have legitimate winners edits and only one from Sele does…
      The content at Dakal has depth, even when it’s just about Tony’s ladder. The content at Sele often lacks depth, even when it’s strategic.

  1. I think that Adam is also a contender, he’s so far the one with the most number of confessionals (excluding people in EoE).

  2. Completely agree with your 6. A lot of people seem to be sleeping on Jeremy’s edit, but he’s right in there. I’d be surprised if the winner isn’t found in this group of 6 – I suppose I could sort of squint and see that Adam’s edit isn’t so different from season 33 and so it might be that his edit could be ‘awkward but savvy’.

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