Survivor: Winners At War

Episode 8 – The Edit Bay

What is the edit telling us after episode 8?

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”

LIONS VS. HYENAS — This is perhaps the most consistent narrative of the season, and it only grew more prominent in the merge episode. Upon hitting the merge beach, this story of “big threats vs. little threats” took center stage as Ben and Tyson discussed keeping the big targets together lest they get picked off. It wasn’t long before we had a coalition of lions comprised of Ben, Jeremy, Tony, and Tyson.

Tony has been the main focus of this storyline from the start (he was the one that gave it the name of “lions and hyenas”). And I found it interesting how he was edited here. While Ben was quick to label it “big threats” vs. “little threats,” Tony corrected him to say not “little threats,” but “lower profile.” It made it seem like Tony wasn’t arrogant about his position. “They’re good players,” he said about the likes of Adam, Michele, Nick, and Wendell. “But they’re low profile. They’re not in the spotlight.” I think that was a good look for Tony, as he wasn’t underestimating the skills of these lower-profile players. Sarah said something similar when she referred to everyone remaining as lions, it’s just who has the biggest mane.

On top of this, Tony was proven right with what he said last week about Denise’s flashy move making her a big target and, therefore, a good shield. Denise was dubbed the “Queen Slayer” at the merge feast, and the likes of Jeremy, Sophie, and Wendell spoke about how much of a threat she is to the point she became a target of the vote before she won Immunity.

Lastly, there was some potential foreshadowing of a Nick vs. Tony battle within this narrative. Tony referred to Nick as a “hyena,” a scavenger who waits on the outskirts while the lions go at it and then comes in to pick up the scraps. The edit then played into this with a montage of Nick skulking around, drifting in and out of people’s conversations. So I think the interactions between Nick and Tony will be worth keeping an eye in the coming episodes with regards to this storyline.

survivor.s40e08.internal.720p.web.x264-trump 088

FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — We saw the effect of fire tokens in the latest episode as the Edge of Extinction inhabitants bought advantages and idols ahead of their Battle Back challenge. Meanwhile, in the game, tokens were not only offered to the Immunity Challenge winners, but they were the talk around camp too.

Tony mentioned being “poor” and not having enough tokens to buy anything. Denise regaled the tribe about Sandra’s fire token offer that cost her the game. During the rainstorm, Tyson suggested spending tokens on a tarp, to which Wendell said, “I’ll let one of these rich folk buy it.” And, of course, we ended with Wendell willing his tokens to Michele and Nick.

Tokens remain a hot topic of the season, and as more tokens are earned, the more the narrative will center around them. We could end up with a story of the rich versus the poor as the merge rolls on.

“SIDE STORIES”

ADAM THE SCARED — Adam continues to have one of the biggest edits of the season. He remains an outsider, struggling to fit in with any group and often referred to as untrustworthy. In this episode, he was shown to be scared (both in the Immunity Challenge and before Tribal), fretting about his fate in the game. His testy relationship with Ben also continued.

This is really a story about Adam hanging on against all the odds. How long will it go on for? Who knows? I think in another timeline, this could have been a potential underdog winning story. But the edit has undermined Adam so much this season that I can’t see this one having a happy ending.

OLD SCHOOL VS. NEW SCHOOL — This is the storyline that just won’t die. The talk of old school and new school still dominated a lot of the conversation. Adam made a couple of references to all the old-schoolers being wiped out pre-merge. Before the Battle Back, Rob talked about how the old-schoolers never got off the ground, but that they don’t quit. And Tyson was billed as the lone old-schooler amongst the field of newbies.

survivor.s40e08.internal.720p.web.x264-trump 054

FAMILY COMES FIRST — There have been little sprinkles of family talk throughout the season, most prominently in the premiere, and it was mostly centered around Tyson. That came back into play in the latest episode, and, once again, it was Tyson at the forefront. He got choked up about his two little girls back home and whether he was making the right decision sticking around on the Edge.

It really feels like we’re heading for a big, emotional family reunion for Tyson at some point this season. However, knowing that everybody this season gets a family visit, whether on the Edge or in the game, it doesn’t really tell us much about where Tyson ends up.

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

This was kind of a strange episode in the sense that a lot of the pre-merge alliances didn’t receive focus. For example, no Cops R Us scene, nothing of substance between Sarah and Sophie, or the Denise, Jeremy, and Kim trio, or Jeremy and Michele. There was no follow-up on the Sarah/Tyson relationship or Nick wanting to work with Tyson. I find it hard to believe that all of these are irrelevant, so I put it down to a lack of time given all the events going on in this episode.

MICHELE, NICK, & WENDELL — This trio received a bit of focus, in the sense that Wendell mentioned being close to them both, and all three ended up on the outs (or voted out in Wendell’s case). But there was a terrible lack of consistency.

For the past three weeks, we’ve seen this awkward beef between Michele and Wendell based on their past relationship. Michele has talked about her distrust of Wendell and how she would get rid of them. But that storyline completely disappeared in this episode, as did Michele.

survivor.s40e08.internal.720p.web.x264-trump 149

BEN, JEREMY, TONY, & TYSON — I’m not sure if this should be considered a legitimate alliance or just a temporary voting bloc based on their perceived threat level. But we did see them together discussing the vote in several scenes. That said, they weren’t always on the same page, and Sophie was also shown to be aware of this foursome. So I don’t see the four sticking solid for too long.

ADAM & DENISE — The only pre-merge alliance to get a mention here was Adam and Denise. When Jeremy brought up Adam as a target to Denise, she talked about how she would be okay with it. She said that her plan is to just go with the flow, which was mentioned a lot in this episode. Then later she told Adam to “trust the process,” and, ultimately, she voted with him and kept him around.

Does this alliance have more legs than it originally seemed? Maybe. But I think Denise putting it out there that she is willing to cut Adam is probably not the greatest sign for this duo’s longevity.

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. 
  • Strong merge episode edit.
  • Named her preferred target of Wendell and her reasonings, and that is how the vote went down.
  • She was shown to be aware of the merge dynamics, calling out the “big threats” foursome, the Jeremy and Wendell friendship, and the fact Jeremy was trying to control the power.
  • She’s had a fair amount of content across the season, whether narration or strategy and is rarely undermined.
  • She has various connections and relationships with the likes of Ben, Sarah, Nick, and Wendell, even if they aren’t all particularly well-defined.
  • She 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:

  • She lacks solid alliance content. Her main alliance focus was with Yul in the premiere, but he is now on the Edge. 
  • Other than her shocked reaction at the tribe mats, there was no follow-up with her thoughts on Yul’s departure.
  • Likewise, she didn’t share her thoughts on Nick and Wendell breaking up the “free agents” alliance.
  • Yul being out of the game also affects Sophie’s “nerd-shield” strategy. People could realize she is a smart player, which was already beginning to happen in the merge episode with the likes of Wendell pointing out that she is “playing.”
  • The scene of her cold, shivering, and crying at the Immunity Challenge could be worrying. Winners are rarely shown struggling with the elements. 
  • There were episodes pre-merge where she disappeared from the action, most alarmingly in an episode where Dakal attended Tribal.
  • She bonded with Sarah on Yara, but we never heard from Sarah on her thoughts on a potential long-term alliance with Sophie. 

TONY

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit.
  • Strong merge episode edit.
  • He has two clear story arcs, both the “lions vs. hyenas” one and the narrative of playing down his threat level and lowering the guards of his opponents. 
  • The “lowering guards sucker punch” confessional from the opening moments of the premiere was referenced in the latest episode. At Tribal Council, 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. 
  • 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 was proven right about Denise making herself a target with her flashy move against Sandra.
  • He was shown not to be underestimating his competitors, referring to them as “good players” but just “low profile.”
  • At Tribal, he laid out his current strategy of going with the flow and not swimming against the current. This fluidity has been backed up by his actions back at camp as we see him open to ideas and moving with what the majority wants. 
  • A clear alliance with Sarah, which received significant focus pre-swap, though it has yet to have a follow-up post-merge.
  • 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 targets face, and his reasonings are validated by others and the edit, even if he hasn’t gotten his way at the vote. Now, at the merge, at least for this vote, the big names are finally working together. 
  • 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 always got his way in saving them. 
  • He has fallen back into old Tony habits on a couple of occasions, which has made players like Kim wary of him.
  • There was no follow-up with Cops R Us in the merge episode.
  • 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 focus on Tony’s likability could be setting him up as a social threat this time around. 
  • The talk of him not having enough tokens to buy anything could be foreshadowing a reason his game comes undone.

SARAH

Pros:

  • A clear alliance with Tony, which received significant focus pre-swap, though there was no follow-up in the merge episode.
  • She has a secondary alliance with Ben and Sophie, though, again, it didn’t receive significant focus in the merge episode.
  • She mentioned the merge been full of lions, tying into the “lions vs. hyena” storyline, but showing that she is aware of everyone being a threat and not underestimating her opponents.
  • 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. 
  • 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, especially now Tyson is back in the game.
  • She started on the complex tribe.

Cons:

  • An underwhelming premiere edit.
  • An average merge episode edit.
  • Tony was presented as the more important member of Cops R Us, and there was no follow-up on the alliance in the merge episode.
  • She hasn’t spoken directly about her alliance with Ben or Sophie in confessional and no follow-up on these relationships at the merge.
  • A limited amount of content in the past few episodes.
  • Hasn’t always gotten her way in terms of targets, specifically the Tyson vote, although the edit but the blame on Sandra.

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.
  • Usually shown in a positive light, especially in her storyline with Wendell.
  • Her lack of air-time in the merge episode could perhaps have been editorial protection, given that she was on the wrong side of the votes. That said, she was highlighted as been on the outs at Tribal itself.
  • She was given credit as the first person to name Ethan as the target in his boot episode and shown as a deciding factor in Yul’s vote-off.
  • She has relationships with the likes of Jeremy and Nick, even if they aren’t directly talked about in confessional.
  • Presented as a decision-maker on the original Sele tribe.

Cons:

  • A very under the radar premiere.
  • A poor merge episode edit. She didn’t receive a single confessional and was barely featured in camp scenes.
  • There was a lack of consistency in her story-arc with Wendell and how it concluded—unless there is a follow-up to come with the EOE.
  • She was shown to be on the wrong side of the vote at Tribal in the merge episode.
  • 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. 
  • 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 8 – The Edit Bay”

  1. After that rather sub-par merge episode, it’s really hard to see anyone except Sophie, Tony, or Tyson winning this. I haven’t wholly ruled out Michele, but she’s most likely destined to reunite with Wendell on Extinction and it’s doubtful that this jury would allow a Chris Underwood to recur. And Sarah still has a very slight chance, but I just don’t see it.

  2. I would think that Kim would be considered old school as well, but the fact that people keep forgetting she seems to even be in the game is telltale.

  3. Wow. I don`t think that you even mentioned Kim in this write-up.

    Tells us where she stands in this season.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *