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.