Breaking Down the Andrew Savage Winner’s Edit

Warning: the following content may contain elements that are not suitable for some audiences. Accordingly, if you don’t want to read a rampantly pro-Savage article, turn back now, because I will not be responsible for the seizure you have when confronted with the possibility that Andrew Savage is getting a winner’s edit.

If you listen to the echo chamber that is the Survivor internet community, you might think that Andrew Savage (henceforth referred to as just Savage, or occasionally Savage!) has no chance of winning and is in fact being set up by the edit for an epic fall. However, I would posit that the majority of the internet is reading Savage’s edit incorrectly and that rather than being set up for a fall, Savage is one of the few people on this season that is receiving a winner’s edit. Here is the case for the Andrew Savage Winner’s Edit.

Savage holding flag


This season, and the edit within this season, is pretty obvious. This is the second chance season and what has been repeatedly emphasized by basically everybody on the island is that the player that grows will win this season. Now here is an area that most people point to as a fatal flaw in Savage’s edit. The reason is simple, Savage’s downfall in Pearl Islands was his condescension and talking down to the bottom of his alliance made them not want to be in his alliance (shocker). And this is a quality that we have been shown that he is repeating. Kass and Ciera revolted from his leadership for this very reason. This alone would be a solid reason to say Savage is not getting a winner’s edit, except Survivor has not portrayed Savage’s downfall to be his social game. In this very season we were given the reason why Savage lost, and it is because of a twist in the game. So rather than observe how Savage’s social game isn’t changing, we should be watching for how Savage is reacting to twists in the game, and from that aspect Savage’s edit is much more positive.

When the tribe expansion hit, Savage reacted exactly like he had in Pearl Islands. He was mad, he sulked, and his obvious displeasure was, well, obvious (where is my thesaurus dammit?). Again, a lack of change does not fit the theme and story that Survivor is trying to tell this season, so this reaction bodes poorly. Except that when they merge back to two tribes Savage greets this development with guarded optimism, looking to reconnect with old allies (that didn’t work out so well). And then when we get the early merge, Savage greets this development with pure unadulterated joy. So the arc of Savage’s reaction to the game’s twists is a progression that sees him go from mirroring his Pearl Islands reaction, to greeting a twist with glee. And when confronted with this last twist it is important to remember that Savage won this vote. He met a twist and evolved to triumph. He has conquered what conquered him according to this story.

Oh and also, who did the show give the line “this is my second chance!” to in the premiere? Andrew Savage.


So let us say that the theme does support a winner’s edit, do the moments that we see from Savage support it? Let’s examine a few moments that the internet has reacted to negatively and see what the show is trying to tell us.

The first moment is Savage’s story about meeting his (model) wife. Now the reaction online was so full of eye-rolls that Ciera gifed it and studied it for future use.

Cambodia- Ciera eye roll at tribal council

But that wasn’t the reaction we were shown on the show! On the show, we saw a number of people crying at his story, including Kass (someone the show does not feature positive emotions from very often) and Jeremy. In fact, the show depicted Jeremy being so moved by his story that he had to remove himself from the rest of the tribe to cry. From our home we may find this ridiculous, but the show makes it clear what we should be feeling from this moment. And what we should be feeling is an emotional connection with Savage.

Another moment that the internet has reacted negatively to came at the beginning of the most recent episode. In this episode, Savage starts the episode off by saying that Ciera and Kass are liars and “fuck them”. A lot of people look at this moment as an ugly moment, that the show wouldn’t have their winner cursing out another contestant.  Which yeah I get that…

Oh right, Sandra loved to curse.  Whatever happened to her?

Sandra Is a Badass

Also how did this Savage scene end?

Could this be the Rob Cesternino theory of returnees emulating the winners of their season? Was Savage pulling a Sandra?

Stephen v Savage

One other reason the internet cognoscenti are predicting Savage’s downfall is because they are seeing the show set up Stephen and Savage’s obvious opposition (Savage did read the Survivor Wiki remember). Much of the first two episodes focused on their opposition, but if you think the edit here is setting up Stephen positively I urge you to reconsider the prescription on your glasses. Let us consider how Stephen and Savage were portrayed during their moments of opposition. In the first two episodes, we see Stephen hunting for the idol while everyone else was bonding in the shelter, and picking an ill-advised moment to doubt Jeremy’s emotions. Meanwhile, Savage was telling a story that brought tears to the eyes of a number of contestants and was shown as a central part of the Bayon tribe. Oh yeah, also this:

The sad fact is that Stephen, as much as we may wish this isn’t the case, has been getting a bad edit. He has been portrayed as hapless frequently (whether it be his various camp misadventures or scoring for the other team in a challenge). When he later acquired close allies in Kimmi and Jeremy, we have been shown that he is unable to convince them to make a move they might not be ready to consider (taking out Joe). Should Stephen’s attention turn to ousting Savage, everything the edit has said thus far suggests that he won’t be able to convince his allies to support this vote. According to the edit thus far, he is too hapless and doesn’t have the social capital to convince his allies that this should be the move. So the idea that Savage is doomed because of Stephen? Well that is just not based in the edit the show has given us thus far.

Savage’s Story

So if Savage were to win, what is the story the show is telling us about him? First, let’s look at where Savage has been getting his airtime. I believe that a winner doesn’t have to constantly be getting a ton of positive airtime but that in important episodes they will be featured and the classic important episodes are the premiere and the merge. In the premiere, Savage was one of the people to speak in the opening where he frames his story as one of overcoming the Outcasts twist and he sets his sights at nothing less than winning the game. It was that first episode that we see him taking down that tree single-handedly, a moment that the show edited as a celebration. His high point might have been his triumph at the so-called Hero Challenge, which had the show hitting the big music cues and his tribemates celebrating his win and his character. And then in the merge episode, Savage receives a huge amount of screen time, dominating the first half of the episode. In fact, we see it being Savage as one of the central forces in the winning alliance.

So what would be Savage’s story? Savage’s story would, oddly enough, be an underdog overcoming obstacles story. And I know this seems ridiculous to us, because Savage is the biggest overdog on the show in terms of his life, but look at his story thus far. He starts off in a great position, and then a twist of the game sends him to the shit camp with the shit tribe where he is part of the minority. So what happens? His alliance flips the game! (OK, Tasha flips the game, but Savage benefits). And in a few episodes time, Savage comes out of Angkor at the center of a new alliance. Now does his good fortune continue? Nope, once again he experiences a setback, and yet once again he survives to play another day. And that next day we see him get to the merge, despite being the underdog, and being at the center of a massive majority alliance. His story thus far is of someone overcoming setbacks, and were he to win I imagine this pattern continues. He encounters setbacks, he survives setbacks, he winds up back on top after the setbacks. And how does he do that?


So, you know… you might want to start mentally preparing now.

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Matt has an irrational dislike for all contestants named Michel(l)e. Also if he ever takes a strong stance about why everyone else is wrong, it is he that is inevitably wrong.

Favorite seasons: Micronesia, Heroes vs. Villains, Palau, Philippines, Pearl Islands, Cagayan
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  • Roswulf

    As a devoted hater of Savage, I agree with all of this.

    But nevertheless…here are two arguments against the Savage edit.

    1. While I see elements of grown in Savage’s arc, they haven’t been bashing us over the head with the idea that SAVAGE HAS GROWN! See Spencer’s edit for what being hit on the head by an edit sledgehammer looks like. On Survivor: Second Chances, an edit with lots of growth seems preferable to one with moderate amounts of growth.

    2. Savage was shown as something of a bystander at Angkor. Tasha and Savage emerging as the controllers of Angkor was probably the most impressive strategic move we’ve seen thus far in the season. And, as told by Survivor, this was a move that Tasha gets the lion’s share of the credit for. Maybe there was no usable Savage footage, but Savage the Winner feels like he could have gotten more credit- especially as this was a chance to show Savage succeeding strategically without any sort of treachery.

    But again, I totally agree with your premise. Now, Savage is probably being set up for a fall, because all but one player on a season will fall. But the groundwork for a Savage win is firmly in place.

    • Barbara Anderson

      Yeah, how they showed Tasha vs. Savage at Angkor is a major issue for me in regards of Savage’s winners edit. Tasha is the one who is shown to be in control of Abi, not Savage. I still think that if Tasha had gone to Ta Keo with Savage, she could have prevented Ciera flipping on him and they could have gotten out Spencer. Other than that, as an avid love-to hate Savage person, there is some good stuff in this theory.

  • gouis

    • andythesaint

      • gouis

        I’ve got nothing. Guess I’m banned to /r/Survivor until Savage is unceremoniously booted to the curb.

        • Other Scott

          Gotta go somewhere that meets the standards of “hardcore fans.”

          I think the price of entrance into the subreddit is to rewatch Nicaragua though.

          • Purplerockmatt

            rewatch and love nicaragua. And we wouldn’t wish that on our worst enemies

          • Brenda4evah


  • VoicOff

    If Savage of all people had won, he would have been featured a lot more, and we would have heard a lot more about his growth arc as remarked by Roswulf. Pre-merge i think i remmeber you agreing that Savage was toasted, and now it’s “prepare yourself for his victory”.

    I also think that comparing Sandra edit from more than 20 seasons ago to the edit Savage is getting now is not the moOOst solid of arguments. Survivor is a show that is building itself before our eyes season after season.
    A winner in 2015 30 is not edited the same way he would have been in 2003

    • Purplerockmatt

      He has been featured a lot, I think you are forgetting how much! I usually don’t refer to outside sources, but Edgic characterizes his visibility every week but one as 3 or better, with multiple 5s. This is actually much more visible than Jeremy or basically anyone else that isn’t Spencer. So the argument that he would be featured more is just ignoring that he has the second most visibility of the remaining cast. And unlike say Spencer, he was one of the lower vote getters among these returnees so they wouldn’t feature him just to appeal to their viewers

    • Purplerockmatt

      Oh and the other points, I don’t remember ever saying Savage was toasted, but if i did remember i put Mike in the 0 percent club last season so the week to week swings from me aren’t to be trusted. And the Sandra edit thing actually I think speaks more towards the lack of harm in his cursing, because I think that was a very radical edit for the time, whereas a cursing winner now is just Natalie Anderson

      • VoicOff

        I think one or two of your purplepodcast mates have said that about Savage tbh

        • Purplerockmatt

          Well as I said I didn’t. We aren’t a hive mind.

          • VoicOff

            Which is why is ended on to be honest, it was an implicit admission i confused you with someone else

    • andythesaint
  • Other Scott

    Winner edits, ranked:
    1. Jeremy (Keep in mind he was also at #1 of this point in SJDS – maybe #2)
    2. Spencer (normally I’d say too over the top, but Mike won last season)
    3. Tasha (Editwise she’s gold. I actually think she has a much lower chance of winning than a lot of people below here)
    4. Kelley
    5.Stephen (I honestly think we are supposed to sympathize with him)
    6. Savage (A Savage win would just be so fascinating)
    7. Joe
    8. Ciera
    9. Kimmi
    10. Abi (Definitely a story there)
    11. Keith (Haven’t seen Gabon to know how Bob was edited. Maybe I’d have him higher otherwise)
    12. Kelly

    • andythesaint

      Flip 5 and 6, maybe 3 and 4, and I think I agree.

      • Other Scott

        I think Tasha’s had a better edit than Kelley. As many have noted, Kelley’s edit has revolved a lot around the idol and we didn’t even get an explanation of her jumping ship to vote Kass last week. It’s just the off-show stuff that’s been unkind to Tasha and making it clear she’s going to have a tough road to get the jury votes if she did make the finals.

        My opinion on the Stephen/ Savage thing is we’ve seen Savage make pretty clear strategic blunders while being presented as the heroic leader, where we’ve seen Stephen presented as pathetic in certain ways but with very clearly laid out and sensical strategy confessionals. I think the show tends to give its winners the latter rather than the former. Though I don’t think it’s ever happened for a male winner.

        • Roswulf

          They couldn’t explain why Kelley bailed on Kass since the editors need to maintain some modicum of Tribal Counsel uncertainty. She bailed because Stephen had informed her that Kass was already dead, and the audience couldn’t know that.

          In general, I think you are overrating screen time (Tasha, Stephen, Abi), and underrating tone and growth (Savage, Kelly, Spencer).

          • Other Scott

            Yeah, I thought of that after I posted. I think if you proceed from the assumption that the winner needs to have been positively compared to their first season where they failed, then yes, I’m overrating the Jeremy’s and Tasha’s of the world. I’m just not ready to proceed from that assumption yet.

            And that said, I think the groundwork for the proper tone and growth is there for Stephen. It just needs to start to happen.

            I’d like to think the show knows better than to get away with the edit they’re doing for Spencer as a winner’s edit. I’d like to think that.

        • Sylvisual

          They can’t be overt about Tasha because I bet you she’s in the finale and they have to keep up suspense. But even on the show I get a little bit of her temper and nastiness. It’s not all glowing, no matter how many times she grins.

    • sharculese

      Keith vs. Bob – It’s hard to say, since this is a returnee season. On the one hand Keith at least got to explain that he was in an alliance, Gabon generally let Corinne explain that for Bob. On the other hand, Bob was generally a dud in confessionals in a way Keith is not, so it’s suspicious that he’s not being allowed to talk. That said, I find Andy’s suggestion that they just have too much actually gameplay to explain to waste time on Keith-isms credible.

  • Sad Lil


    • Roswulf

      In a sense, Lil is getting the best edit of all. What is more emblematic of the second chance experience than a player inserted into the game by overwhelming popular demand at final four just to fuck with Andrew Savage?

      • Sad Lil

        Shhh, don’t give away my big surprise!

    • andythesaint

      We may have done this post just to draw you back. It’s possible.

  • sharculese

    Gonna say the same thing I said last week – I buy this as a Savage winner’s edit. I think it’s very plausibly a Savage winner edit. I also don’t think it’s markedly dissimilar from the edit Spencer got in Cagayan,which a lot of people were also certain was a winner’s edit.

    • andythesaint

      It’s possible that you gave us the idea for this post.

  • Ethan Kyle

    Keith obviously has the best winner edit, ALL HAIL BOB 2.0

    • Saturday Evening Palsy

      This is truth.

  • Eliceo


  • bder19

    Am I the first one back to this post to say LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL?

  • turgid_legume


    • gouis

  • Saturday Evening Palsy

    I have to ask a serious two-part question, mratfink. What tribe do you think that Savage would be on in a HvV situation and would you be comfortable with him being classified that way?

    • sharculese

      If it was the same premise as the previous HvV he would be a hero for sure. The Heroes were all about the dudes who forewent strategizing to beast it in challenges, which is why they had to give the Villains Tyson just to not make it too lopsided.

      • Saturday Evening Palsy

        I think Tyson was a villain from the get-go.

        • sharculese

          Oh no, I’m not saying Tyson was ever a non-Villain, it’s more about whether he was an all-star, and the calculus seems very much like ‘welp we gave the Heroes all of the best challenge beasts in history and the Villains have… Rob and… Rob, we should probably give them someone else who has recently been good at challenges and is also kind of a dick.”

          • Saturday Evening Palsy

            Makes sense.

          • andythesaint

            This could also explain A) Danielle’s placement and B) Danielle’s casting. She’s a captain of sports!

  • Prom King

    I just have to say, in a totally non-ironic way, that reading this article after Savage’s blindside was a wonderful experience. Kudos! It made me smile from beginning to end.

  • Dave

    Thankfully, this article was wrong.

    • Roswulf

      Even to the end, I will stand by its premise. I don’t think what we saw was the tale of Savage’s fall because of his personal flaws. They could have shown us Savage agreeing that a split vote was unnecessary. Instead the moment we got where Savage sealed his own fate was him agreeing to stay loyal despite his personal issues with Stephen. “Strong man who is ultimately loyal to his bros” is surely a positive edit.

      For me, this episode was edited primarily to make Wentworth play as a badass, taking down a strong, non-buffoonish alpha. Savage WAS getting a winner’s edit- but the point was to make Wentworth look awesome and to make this episode supremely entertaining.

  • Wagner

    The greatest thing about this post it is the fact the didn’t end up true lol