Episode 4 of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction” was a shocking one for many who follow “the edit” when trying to figure out the winner. Rick Devens had been at the top or close to the top of many superfans’ lists of who had the winner’s edit this season, my own included, so it was a blindside to see him be voted out. He still has a chance of getting back into the game and winning thanks to Extinction Island, but this early elimination will surely make his path much harder.
With Rick off the board for now, we now look to other castaways still in the game to see if it is indeed they who have the winner’s edit. Let’s take a look at the top seven winner contenders after four episodes of “Survivor: Edge of Extinction.”
1. Dan “The Wardog” DaSilva
Wardog has emerged as a top contender thanks to his control of the game so far and his generally positive edit. He has been instrumental in decision-making, helping orchestrate the vote against Chris Underwood and being the swing vote to send out Rick. What pushes him to the top here, though, is how we’ve seen sprinkles of his personal background, highlighting his adaptability as an army veteran-turned-law student.
2. Victoria Baamonde
It’s not clear exactly where Victoria’s story will end, but she is easily the newbie we know most about from the original Kama tribe. She even has more confessionals than returnees Joe Anglim and Aubry Bracco, and has generally commented on everything that has happened so far on her tribe. We have seen occasional missteps from her, like talking within earshot of Joe while plotting against him, but she has been presented as having a savvy mind for the game, so once she goes to a Tribal Council, we may see her become crystallized as a winner possibility even further.
3. Julie Rosenberg
While Julie hasn’t had a big breakout moment yet, we have seen multiple confessionals from her even when she doesn’t fit into the major stories of each episode. If Julie is our winner, she could be following a similar edit as Michele Fitzgerald, who didn’t go to a Tribal Council in the pre-merge of “Survivor: Kaoh Rong” but the editors would check in with her through that stretch of episodes anyway. We know Julie’s story as a fish out of water and in Episode 4 she had a confessional during the tribe swap to remind us of her presence. Even if Julie doesn’t end up winning, she has the makings of a contestant bound to go deep into the post-merge.
Kelley certainly hasn’t had the most comfortable starts to her third “Survivor” season. Her name has frequently been brought up and is generally the center of attention in most scenes where we check in on her tribe. She has narrowly avoided going to Extinction Island in the first four vote-outs of the season, but now it seems she is in a more comfortable position, with Wardog and Lauren O’Connell as strong allies. In the edit, we have seen her struggle to stay in the game and she had a sympathetic moment at Tribal Council in Episode 4 where she broke down in tears. It could be tough for Kelley to get to the end but she has a level of respect among her castmates that she could win a jury vote.
5. Lauren O’Connell
Kelley’s righthand woman has also had it tough through the first four episodes. Lauren may have found a Hidden Immunity Idol in Episode 2, but the rigors of the island life were starting to get to her in Episode 4. Breaking down in tears about being homesick, the audience was divided in their reactions, but it was still a sympathetic moment to witness. While she has been the least developed of the four remaining original Manu tribemates, she will likely have a good story of struggle if she manages to make it to the end.
6. Aubry Bracco
It’s been hard to read Aubry’s edit up to this point. We saw a montage in Episode 2 that made her gameplay look forced and ineffective but then in Episode 3 she had a major positive moment where she was able to check “finding an Idol” off her “Survivor” bucket list. It feels like Aubry is in a similar position as Cirie Fields in “Survivor: Game Changers,” where going to a pre-merge Tribal Council would likely put her in grave danger, but she might just hold on until the merge and proceed to work her Aubry magic. Highlighting her bad moments alongside good ones doesn’t necessarily put her out of the running, as we’ve seen with recent winners like Nick Wilson and Adam Klein.
7. Ron Clark
Ron’s edit has been up and down, which is what puts him smack dab in the middle of the remaining players as far as winner chances. The only moments we’ve focused on him so far is his Secret Advantage find in the premiere, and in Episode 4, his assuring Joe he is good with him while also instructing Julia Carter to search through Joe’s bag to see if he has a Hidden Immunity Idol. His edit has mostly been centered on strategy, despite having a compelling backstory.
As for the contestants in limbo on Extinction Island, Chris and Rick probably have the best edits, compared to Reem Daly and Keith Sowell, but it remains to be seen if the jury will respect a player who got voted out of the game and give them the $1 million and the title of Sole Survivor.
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