Survivor: Winners At War

Episode 7 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after episode 7?

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”

FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — More fire token action in the latest episode both at the Edge of Extinction and in the main game. The inhabitants of the Edge went on a token scavenger hunt, which saw both Rob and Tyson snatch up some of the currency. While in the game, the Sele tribe was once again bargaining with the chips. We had a flashback of Michele giving a token to Wendell, and later, Yul tried to come up with a plan to gain Wendell’s tokens. Again, there was talk from the likes of Yul of the fire tokens becoming more important post-merge.

LIONS VS. HYENAS — This “big threats vs. non-threats” narrative remains a vital part of the season, particularly on the Dakal tribe. It’s a story mainly seen through Tony’s eyes. He talked about how Denise’s flashy move made her a big target and, therefore, a good shield to put in front of him going forward—and he needs shields.

The worry is that others still see Tony as the biggest threat on the board. For example, even though Jeremy said he likes Tony, he still views him as a big threat and a big name, no matter how much he tries to push Denise ahead of himself. That could suggest Tony will be a target come the merge.

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However, we never specifically heard Jeremy, or Kim for that matter, say they wanted to target Tony. So now that all four of this Dakal tribe have made the merge, it’s certainly possible that this foursome sticks together as big threat shields. Though it’s just as likely the trio of Denise, Jeremy, and Kim throw Tony to the hyenas to protect themselves. The first merge episode should be very telling for which direction this narrative will take.

BAD ROMANCE — There was still tension between Michele and Wendell in the latest episode. It’s a weird one because, in confessional, Michele talked about her distrust of Wendell and how he burned her in the past. But we also saw a flashback of her giving him a token, and she voted with him at Tribal Council. It’s a sort of love-hate relationship. And given its focus in the edit, I expect it to remain a key part of the episodes moving forward.

“SIDE STORIES”

ADAM’S ALL ALONE — The Yara tribe once again had the least amount of screen-time, but what we did see continued the story of Adam on the outs. The edit really piled on Adam here as he falsely accused Ben and then Sarah of having the idol. All the while, the audience knew Sophie was the one with the idol in her pocket.

Where is this storyline heading? I’m not quite sure. Adam has been undermined so much that there is no way he’s winning. Does he have Final Tribal goat upside? I guess. But there is also plenty of set-up for a post-merge blindside, maybe at the hands of Sophie’s idol, just for added irony.

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OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL — We saw the culmination of this storyline in the last episode as Yul became the final old-schooler sent to the Edge of Extinction. “New schoolers got the old schoolers,” Tyson said as Yul arrived on the Edge. Of course, with the Edge populated by old-schoolers, there is a high chance one of them returns and gets some redemption against the new schoolers. So this story might not be entirely closed off just yet.

“I’M WITH YOU” — This statement Nick made back before the swap finally came back around when he blindsided Yul. It always felt like there was some ironic foreshadowing there, given how much focus the edit put on the Dakals all promising loyalty come a swap. And even here, at the Sele Tribal, Nick again promised to stick with this four (Nick, Michele, Wendell, Yul) should he or one of them return from the Edge. Is that more irony? I would think so given a week earlier he said there will be betrayals in this game. Based on what we’ve seen so far, I don’t expect Michele/Nick/Wendell to remain a tight trio for long.

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

MICHELE, NICK, & WENDELL — This trio worked together at the last vote, but as I said above, I can’t see the three of them sticking together for long. There is tension between Michele and Wendell. Wendell has talked about his willingness to backstab this season. And Nick, too, has mentioned how he expects betrayals in Winners At War

DENISE, JEREMY, & KIM — Another trio was set up in the last episode on the Dakal tribe. Denise and Kim specifically talked about working together, both at camp and in confessional. It certainly seemed like both were on the same page. It’s a little harder to tell with Jeremy as he didn’t directly talk about this alliance in confessional, so we don’t know his true thoughts. Kim spoke about having a great bond with Jeremy, but I don’t feel like that has been represented well in the edit. 

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BEN, SARAH, & SOPHIE — We still don’t have anything officially cementing this trio as a long-term alliance, but they are clearly shown as being together on Yara. Adam is obviously on the outs, and we’ve heard previously about how Ben feels close with Sarah and Sophie. 

“ON-HOLD ALLIANCES”

These are the pre-swap alliances that survived the pre-merge and will reunite at the merge.

COPS R US — Sarah and Tony have both made the merge, and given the amount of focus this duo had pre-swap, I expect them to regain focus in the coming episodes.

MICHELE & JEREMY — While they never cemented or talked about their alliance in confessional, Michele and Jeremy were obviously working together on the original Sele tribe. It’s certainly possible they will reform next week.

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ADAM, BEN, & DENISE — Another group that had an early connection on the original Sele, though not necessarily as a threesome. Both Adam and Ben had separate relationships with Denise. I don’t feel we ever got a proper pay-off to this narrative, so this could be one to pay attention to as we head into the merge.

NICK, SOPHIE, & WENDELL — These three were part of the free agents alliance, but that group was mostly credited to Yul. I don’t think we ever heard these three talk about each other pre-swap. If anything, I expect Sophie to be annoyed with the boys for getting rid of Yul, who was also tightly aligned with Sophie. 

EDGE CONTENDERS

Next week will see the first battle back challenge of the season. Who will return? Well, let’s have a look at the contenders.

NATALIE — The first three or four episodes were huge for Natalie, as she went on a token spree at the Edge. She received a ton of positivity in the edit and from her fellow players. However, she’s sunken into the background in the past couple of weeks. Does that suggest her early content was merely circumstantial? It’s possible. Still, she has four tokens, which means she can buy challenge advantages. And even with a quieter edit in recent weeks, I would still put her chances of returning high.

AMBER — I feel like Amber is one of the least likely to win her way back in. She’s had a little bit of content on the Edge, but it doesn’t have that drive or story-hook of a player coming back into the game.

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DANNI — Danni’s had the least amount of content of all the Edge inhabitants, and that makes it hard to see her as a returnee. That said, maybe her “slow and steady wins the race” line was foreshadowing. It certainly wouldn’t be the first time a quiet Edge edit resulted in a return to the game, given what we saw with Chris in Season 38. But you would like to think in an all-winners season, the Edge player would receive a bit more focus.

ETHAN — Ethan’s had a decent amount of air-time on the Edge, but I tend to think his story is more about surviving. It’s about him fighting through the pain and showing his body can handle the elements. Perhaps that fighting spirit will result in him winning the battle back, but he’s not in my top contenders list.

TYSON — Tyson has to be a favorite to return, given his edit and the way others have spoken about him. Not only is there the whole “lose the battle but win the war” narrative, but we’ve seen the likes of Nick talking about maybe getting a chance to work with Tyson, and, of course, that odd focus on his bond with Sarah. He’s also had a strong edit on the Edge itself, which has shown him working hard for tokens.

ROB — Rob had a big edit in the game, and last week, he was shown outsmarting his fellow Edge inhabitants. Not only is Rob a strong challenge performer, but he now has tokens to use on advantages. So when combined with his significant edit, there is certainly a chance Rob could win his way back into the game.

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PARVATI — Parvati’s main focus in the latest episode was as a friend to Ethan. There wasn’t any real talk about her own game or foreshadowing of her return. Also, unlike, say, Tyson, there aren’t any lingering stories for her to pick up on in the game—other than maybe realigning with Michele. Again, it’s hard to predict an Edge returnee edit, but Parvati is low on my list.

YUL — As the latest arrival to the Edge, we don’t have anything to go on in terms of an Edge edit. However, there are hanging threads within the game that Yul could pick back up should he return. Not only is there a potential revenge arc with Nick and Wendell, but there is a lingering alliance with Sophie. So I would say there is a solid chance for Yul.

So, with that said, I would put the top four Edge contenders to return as Tyson, Yul, Natalie, and Rob, in that order.

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’s had a fair amount of content, whether narration or strategy, and is rarely undermined.
  • She has various connections and relationships with the likes of Ben, Sarah, Nick, and Wendell. 
  • Was shown to have empathy for those living on the Edge, which shows her in a positive light.
  • Ben spoke highly of her in a previous episode, referring to her as a “good person.”
  • She started on the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • Her main alliance focus was with Yul in the premiere, and now he’s been voted out. This isn’t so bad if Yul returns from the Edge, but it’s somewhat concerning if not. It could suggest that the relationship only received focus to explain Yul gifting his token to Sophie.
  • Also, if Yul doesn’t return, it ruins Sophie’s “nerd-shield” strategy.
  • Her other premiere alliance of the free agents is also fractured, and she never really shared her personal perspective on this group in the first place.
  • She kind of disappeared in episodes three and four, which is a little concerning, especially in the episode where Dakal went to Tribal.
  • She bonded with Sarah on Yara, but we never heard from Sarah on her thoughts on a potential long-term alliance with Sophie. 

SARAH

Pros:

  • A clear alliance with Tony, which received significant focus for three episodes in a row, and both members talked about the alliance in confessional.
  • She and Tony have now made the merge, which means the Cops R Us story can continue.
  • She has a secondary alliance with Ben and Sophie, though it hasn’t received the same amount of focus as Cops R Us.
  • Ben spoke highly of her in a previous episode.
  • She received some emotional content when she was shown offering Yul a hug after his talk about Jonathan Penner’s wife and her battle with ALS. In hindsight, this could have been included to explain why Yul gave Sarah one of his tokens.
  • She’s had a decent amount of strategic content throughout the season so far. 
  • She’s had a flashback to her previous season.
  • She has received some personal content about her job as a police officer.
  • There was a weird focus on her relationship with Tyson pre-swap, which perhaps was setting up something for the future.
  • She started on the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • An underwhelming premiere edit.
  • Tony was presented as the more important member of Cops R Us.
  • She hasn’t spoken directly about her alliance with Ben or Sophie in confessional.
  • A limited amount of content in the past couple of episodes, though Yara hasn’t attended Tribal, so it’s not the worst thing in the world.
  • Even though the blame was put on Sandra, she didn’t get her way in keeping Tyson, and that could suggest a downfall if the big threats continue to be targeted.
  • She said Cops R Us could work as long as nobody knows about it. This might mean the alliance falls apart later down the line if it becomes public knowledge. 

TONY

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • A clear story arc and strategy about playing down his threat level and lowering the guards of his fellow players, though he has reverted to old ways on a couple of occasions.
  • A clear secondary storyline about wanting to keep the big threats together as shields for each other.
  • 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.
  • A clear alliance with Sarah, which received significant focus for three episodes in a row, and both members talked about the alliance in confessional.
  • He and Sarah have now made the merge, which means the Cops R Us story can continue.
  • He got to talk about how Sandra leaving was a positive for his game.
  • 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). 
  • He is shown to be aware of the danger the big threats face, and his reasonings are validated by others, even if he hasn’t gotten his way at the vote. This could be leading to a “last lion standing” underdog arc.
  • He started on the complex tribe. 

Cons:

  • Even though he’s been shown to be right about the big threats needing each other, he hasn’t got his way in saving them. This could suggest a downfall if the big threats continue to be targeted.
  • He talked about how he can use Denise as a shield, but Jeremy said that Tony is still the biggest threat in the game.
  • He has fallen back into old Tony habits on a couple of occasions, which has made players like Kim wary of him.
  • Sarah said Cops R Us could work as long as nobody knows about it. This might mean the alliance falls apart later down the line if it becomes public knowledge. 
  • It seemed like Denise, Jeremy, and Kim might have formed an alliance without him.
  • The focus on Tony’s likability could be setting him up as a social threat this time around. 

MICHELE

As I’ve said before, I’m pretty low on anyone who originally started on original Sele winning, but I like to at least keep one or two in the conversation for the sake of balance.

Pros:

  • She has a clear storyline of wanting to prove herself, which was first mentioned in the premiere and has been reiterated in subsequent episodes, including the most recent one.
  • She has a secondary story with Wendell, which continued in the latest episode, and she is shown in the more positive light.
  • She’s had a lot of focus throughout the season so far.
  • She and Nick were shown as the deciding factors in the latest vote-off of Yul.
  • She was given credit as the first person to name Ethan as the target in his boot episode.
  • She had an alliance with Jeremy, though it wasn’t directly talked about in confessional.
  • Big, uplifting music in her pre-Tribal confessional in the latest episode.
  • She was presented as a decision-maker on the original Sele tribe.

Cons:

  • She had a very under the radar premiere.
  • Even though she has alliances, none of them are particularly well defined or directly talked about in confessional.
  • Her “proving myself” story could be more of a journey arc than a winning narrative. 
  • The story with Wendell could potentially lead to a downfall; for example, giving him a token could have been a sign of been swayed to the wrong side. 
  • She was shown to be somewhat duped by Rob in a previous episode when she ate up his lie about Adam.
  • She didn’t start on 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 7 – The Edit Bay”

  1. I admit that this episode was not great for Adam’s edit, but this was the first time that I’ve really seen him undermined. Every other episode where he did something that blew up in his face, he was shown to be self-aware and doing damage control. Not that different from his winning season. So maybe I’m just seeing things though rose-colored glasses here, but can anyone point out other examples where he was being undermined in a way that hurt his winner’s edit?

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