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Survivor: Winners At War Episode 9 – The Edit Bay


What is the edit telling us after episode 9?

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 — The season’s most consistent narrative remained a part of the latest episode. Again, Tony continues to be the mouthpiece for this ongoing story.

“My big concern from day one was the lower profile players, as I would call the hyenas of the game, would all start coming after the higher profile players and pick us off one-by-one,” he said. “So, right now, I wanna try and get rid of the hyenas because they’re gonna wait for the lions to go at it, and then they’re gonna come in and clean up shop.”

This confessional is almost becoming repetitive at this point, but it tells us that this storyline is crucial. It started off in the pre-merge with Tony being unable to get the lions together, as many of the big profile players were eliminated. Now, in the early post-merge, his strategy is finally working, as the big names are working together. But can this last? And if not, does it signal a hyena outlasting the lions?

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FIRE TOKENS REPRESENT YOUR LIFE — More fire token action in the latest episode both at the Edge of Extinction and in the game. This time it revolved around Danni & Parvati sending Michele a 50/50 coin and charging her four tokens for it. We’ve previously been told that those who use the tokens correctly will find success this season, so the question we have to ask is, did Michele use her tokens wisely?

My read of the edit makes me believe Michele made the right choice. Not only has she had a mostly positive edit across the season, but the way they tied this decision into the fortune cookies and “not being afraid to take a big step” made Michele seem justified in her decision. I would lean towards the 50/50 coin working out in Michele’s favor when the time comes.

Meanwhile, the quest for tokens showed us that alliances are beginning to form on the Edge. There is somewhat of a divide between the early vote-outs and the more recent Edge inhabitants. As the group split into pairs to search for the tokens, Natalie explained that she sent Wendell and Yul off together because they haven’t starved as long as the others. Similarly, Parvati only shared the advantage with Natalie, Ethan, Amber, Danni, and Rob.

“SIDE STORIES”

NICK’S REVENGE — Nick vowed to get revenge on all those that blindsided him in the last episode. He talked a lot about bloodshed and war and complained that others weren’t treating him as a real player. And while he didn’t get rid of his intended target of Sarah, he did receive some credit for causing chaos back at camp. It will be interesting to see if Nick’s revenge arc takes off or if he’ll continue to be outplayed.

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NICK VS. SARAH — An off-shoot of the Nick revenge storyline is his relationship with Sarah. In the latest episode, Sarah gave up her Chinese take-out reward to Nick, for what she said was a genuine, human decision because it was his birthday. Nick, on the other hand, didn’t buy it and said he still didn’t trust Sarah; he even pushed for elimination later in the episode. It’s worth keeping an eye on this relationship going forward.

THE CONNECTIONS

“ALLIANCES”

The current edit is really playing up the chaotic nature of the game; therefore, there has been some real under editing of the alliances and relationships. That means we sometimes have to read between the lines, but there were a couple of important alliance scenes in the past episode.

COPS R US — Sarah and Tony finally had another one-on-one scene. It came after Sarah gave up her reward to Nick—a decision that Tony thought was shortsighted. Tony said that Sarah got caught up in the moment and how others will see it as a game move. Sarah didn’t think so, but the edit backed up Tony’s claims, showing the likes of Adam, Denise, and Jeremy, all agreeing that Sarah’s move was strategic.

There are two takeaways I have from this scene. Firstly, it was a good look for Tony that the edit backed him up. Secondly, it showed that Tony was looking out for Sarah. Remember, in the second episode, Tony said he wanted to make it up to Sarah and genuinely make Cops R Us work this season? The way he handled this moment was as if he had her best interests at heart.

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THE LIONS — This alliance is really too broad to define, but I include the majority that decided the latest vote. So, that means, Ben, Denise, Kim, Sophie, Sarah, Jeremy, Tony, and Tyson. But, like I said, this isn’t really anything more than an alliance of convenience at the minute.

MICHELE & NICK — The pair left out of the Wendell vote, Michele and Nick are essentially tied together by circumstance. Again, like most of Michele and Nick’s alliances, we haven’t heard them talk about them in confessional. Their narratives tend to be individual.

BEN & SARAH — I don’t think we saw a direct scene of them together, but they were namechecked as a tight pair by Adam, news which got back to Ben, who then confronted Adam about it.

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. 

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 edit backed up his point about Sarah making herself a target due to her giving up the reward to Nick.
  • 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 pre-swap, and was featured in the latest episode.
  • 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, he was the one player we saw talking to Michele and Nick after they were blindsided, highlighting his social game.
  • The “lowering guards sucker punch” confessional from the opening moments of the premiere was referenced in the previous 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. 
  • He was proven right in the merge episode 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.”
  • He is shown to be aware of the danger the big targets face. His reasonings are validated by others and the edit, even if he hasn’t always gotten his way at the vote. Now, at the merge, 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 other players wary of him.
  • 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 a “sucker punch” could be ironic foreshadowing, and perhaps it is Tony who is the victim of a sucker punch blindside. 
  • The talk of him not having enough tokens to buy anything could be foreshadowing a reason his game comes undone.

SOPHIE

Pros:

  • Strong premiere edit. 
  • Strong merge episode edit.
  • She is often shown to be aware of the dynamics. In the previous episode, she called out the “big threats” alliance and that Jeremy & Wendell were tight. 
  • She was given credit for Wendell’s boot.
  • 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, and Nick, 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:

  • There are episodes where she disappears, including the latest one, but also pre-merge, in an episode where her tribe attended Tribal Council.
  • She lacks solid alliance content. Her main alliance focus was with Yul in the premiere, but he is now on the Edge. 
  • Yul being out of the game affects Sophie’s “nerd-shield” strategy, as people could realize she is a smart player, which was already beginning to happen in the merge episode when Wendell threw out her name, and this episode, Nick mentioned her name.
  • She was shown cold, shivering, and crying at the previous episode’s Immunity Challenge—winners are rarely shown struggling with the elements. 
  • She bonded with Sarah on Yara, but we never heard from Sarah on her thoughts on a potential long-term alliance with Sophie. 

MICHELE

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, but also her decision-making, like her choice to buy the 50/50 coin in the latest episode.
  • She got to talk about the previous vote, explaining that she was more than willing to vote out Wendell and had told the other players that. This somewhat redeemed the lack of consistency in that story-arc.
  • 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 was shown to be on the wrong side of the vote at Tribal in the merge episode.
  • She was shown to take being left out of the Wendell vote personally, calling the other players “dingbats” and “bumbling fools.” 
  • 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.

SARAH

Pros:

  • A clear alliance with Tony, which received significant focus pre-swap, and had some follow-up in the latest episode.
  • She has a secondary alliance with Ben and Sophie, though, that alliance hasn’t received as much focus.
  • She explained her decision to give up her reward to Nick.
  • She previously referred to everyone at the merge as “lion,” showing that she not underestimating her opponents.
  • She correctly called that Adam would be eliminated after she found out he threw her name out. 
  • 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. Although, this could have just been about the latest episode when Tyson told Sarah her name came up.
  • 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 edit presented her decision to give up her reward to Nick as a mistake. Tony said that the others would see it as a game move, which was backed up by the edit. Tony also said it is the kind of move that can cost you the game.
  • Nick himself didn’t buy Sarah’s gesture, stating that he would still write her name down, perhaps setting up a potential downfall.
  • She hasn’t spoken directly about her alliance with Ben or Sophie in confessional and has had no real follow-up on these relationships at the merge.
  • She hasn’t always gotten her way in terms of targets, specifically the Tyson vote, although the edit but the blame on Sandra.

Martin is a 31-year-old 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 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.



  • Andy Pfeiffer

    1. Tony
    2. Sophie

    3. Tyson
    4. Michele

    Nobody else has a chance. I have now ruled out Sarah. Would they have shown Jeremy’s confessional or the scene with Tony if Sarah won? Probably not.

    Tyson’s edit is uneven but I still put him above Michele because of her terrible merge episode edit and starting on Sele. Sophie could have just had a cooldown UTR1 here – it’s the last time where that’s not going to torpedo one’s chances (episode after the merge). Other things make me unsure, though. This clearly seems like Tony’s narrative, though I do wonder about the lack of personal content. We haven’t gotten anything from him regarding his life beyond the game, except something we already knew (he’s a cop). Nothing about his kids, no cop stories, nothing about his relationships beyond the game – just who he’s played with before. Sophie hasn’t had much, either. But Tyson and Michele have. I wouldn’t be surprised if three of them were still around at the post-EOE F6.

  • Michael DiPietro

    I’d add tyson to the contender list and knock sarah off. Enjoyed the write up as always, thank you!