Survivor featured the "Tika Tribe" voting out Helen Li, two birdcages opened, and a blossoming showmance between Frannie Marin and Matt Blankinship during the Season 44 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.

Helen, a 29-year-old product manager from Wayland, MA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA, was voted out of her Tika tribe in a 3-1 vote on Night 5 at Tribal Council instead of Carolyn Wiger, a 35-year-old drug counselor from North St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Hugo, MN.


"I've dreamed of being on this show for so long, and to be the third person voted out is not how I wanted this to end," Helen lamented in her final words.

"I feel like I'm second guessing every connection that I made, but it's a game, so I respect the move. Every single person played their part very, very well. I had no idea they were protecting their own game. So, kudos to them! They did a great job."

The Survivor broadcast began with the "Ratu Tribe" returning to camp on Night 3 after Maddy Pomilla was voted out with a single vote at Tribal Council because Brandon Cottom had played an idol and Jaime Lynn Ruiz had played her "Shot in the Dark" and shockingly won safety.

The "Ratu Tribe" was comprised of Brandon, a 30-year-old security specialist from Newtown, PA; Jaime, a 35-year-old Yogi from Mesa, AZ; Kane Fritzler, a 25-year-old law student from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, who currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan; Lauren Harpe, a 31-year-old elementary school teacher from Port Arthur, TX, who currently resides in Mont Belvieu, TX; and Matthew Grinstead-Mayle, a 43-year-old barbershop owner from Pickerington, OH, who currently resides in Columbus, OH.

Matthew said Tribal Council couldn't have gone any better because he wanted Brandon to stay but Brandon's idol was flushed.

Matthew, who had played his "Shot in the Dark" but lost, congratulated Jaime on being the first player in Survivor history to actually be declared safe by the risky "Shot in the Dark."

"In reality, I knew I was safe, and I didn't want any of the heat on me," Matthew boasted of his decision to give up his vote at Tribal Council.

"So I played my 'Shot in the Dark' really as more of a play of strategy so that I didn't have to vote, which means that no one knew where my lines were."


Meanwhile, Lauren had banked her vote at Tribal Council, and so she was proceeding in the game with an extra vote, which she could use to her advantage. She felt she had more power than anyone else in her tribe at this point.
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"I'm the powerful one now!" Lauren exclaimed in a confessional.

Kane, on the other hand, thought Tribal had gone "as poorly as possible." Kane was the only guy who actually voted for Brandon, and so he questioned if he'd be able to repair his relationship with a "shocked" Brandon.

Brandon admitted to the cameras how Kane putting the second vote on him -- considering Maddy had been the other vote -- was very "eye opening." He said he was trying to act cool, calm and collected at camp in order to not portray he's mad or upset.

"But in reality, I take that to heart. I don't trust Kane at all!" Brandon vented.

Meanwhile, over at the "Soka Tribe" on Day 4, the castaways were talking about their dogs.

The "Soka Tribe" was made up of Claire Rafson, a 25-year-old tech investor from Highland Park, IL, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY; Danny Massa, a 32-year-old NYC firefighter from Bronx, NY; Frannie Marin, a 23-year-old research coordinator from St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA; Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, a 43-year-old engineering manager from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA; Josh Wilder, a 34-year-old surgical podiatrist from Cincinnati, OH, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA; and Matt Blankinship, a 27-year-old security software engineer from Albany, CA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

Coming into this game, Matt explained how he was in a "very vulnerable state" because he had recently gotten out of a relationship that meant the world to him. The woman was also able to keep his beloved dog.

Matt was also upset because he had lost his vote at the next two Tribal Councils due to his risky choices on the boat adventure earlier in the game.

Matt, however, said he found "an incredible connection" with Frannie and that he really liked her. The pair was flirting while building their shelter.

"She is really cute. She's got a really funny laugh. The snorts, it makes my heart gush. I would 100 percent ask Frannie out, and I think she likes me too! And we trust each other completely," Matt said in a confessional.

Matt therefore came clean about the risky game he had played, which resulted in the lost votes.


Frannie told the cameras that Matt was so much fun to have around and she felt good about the fact he trusted her with this information. She was worried, however, other people in their tribe may view them as a pair or potential power couple.

Frannie didn't want to spend time away from Matt, but she also thought it would be a good idea for them to distance themselves from one another.

"It's so hard because Matt and I can't stop talking. I think we just gravitate towards each other. We're just two big, dorky magnets that can't be pulled apart," Frannie lamented in a confessional.

Claire acknowledged Frannie's close relationship with Matt could be a liability to her.

Over at the "Tika Tribe" on Day 4, the castaways were divvying up Bruce Perreault's belongings following his medical evacuation.

In addition to Helen and Carolyn, the "Tika Tribe" also featured Carson Garrett, a 20-year-old NASA engineering student from Rome, GA, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA; Sarah Wade, a 27-year-old management consultant from Rochester, MN, who currently resides in Chicago, IL; and Yamil "Yam Yam" Arocho, a 36-year-old salon owner from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Helen said she could feel some underlying tension at camp because the birdcage -- which likely caged an advantage or idol -- was in the back of everyone's mind.

Helen was afraid the advantage was going to end up in someone's hands whom she wasn't working with, and the birdcage was driving Yam Yam crazy.

"I don't know what it is, but I'm going to get it!" Yam Yam insisted in a confessional.

But Carolyn was also exploring the island from top to bottom, climbing trees and such, looking for a key that would open the birdcage. A snake got in her way and scared her, but she eventually found the key to the birdcage at the bottom of a tree with thick roots.

Carolyn said she wasn't going to tell anybody about her find, and she was able to play it pretty cool. Carolyn said Survivor is a game of deception and so she was prepared to be deceitful.

Meanwhile, Ratu's cast members were looking for the re-hidden Immunity Idol on Day 4, and Soka's tribe member Danny was also searching for an idol.

Suddenly, Danny found the key to the birdcage, and he decided that he wasn't going to tell anybody about it. He said it felt so great to be on top.

At Soka's camp on Day 4, Danny opened the birdcage when no one was around or looking. Inside the cage was an "old-school" Individual Immunity Idol, according to Danny, who also received a silver coin with absolutely no power.

"What you do with it is totally up to you," Danny read from the scroll in regards to the silver coin.

Danny even made sure to hang up the package the same way as before so his tribemates would think no one had found the key and opened it.

Carolyn was then shown opening up her tribe's birdcage. She grabbed the package, put it in her pants, and ran away. However, she left the cage open, and she was the only castaway who had been away from the group.

Carolyn therefore ran back to the birdcage and shoved the package back inside. She also relocked it and got away with the hidden Immunity Idol in her pocket. Carolyn also received a string of beads with no power.

Carolyn wasn't sure what she was going to do with the beads, but she was happy regardless.


Once Carolyn's tribemates returned to camp from their walk, Carson immediately noticed the pouch inside the birdcage looked different from before, like its drawstrings had been pulled opened.

"Someone has gotten it," Carson declared. "It's been messed with."

Carson, who had read many interrogation books prior to his Survivor stint, started reading his tribemates' body language. Yam Yam didn't think Carolyn had it because her bag was out in the open and nothing was inside of it.

Since Helen's arms were crossed, Carson believed she wasn't telling the truth about something. He was pretty convinced that Helen knew something he didn't.

The group showed each other what was inside of their bags, and Yam Yam said he noticed a nervousness from Sarah, who was breathing hard and touching her chest. Yam Yam therefore thought Sarah was hiding the advantage or idol between her breasts.

Sarah, in turn, suspected Yam Yam had found it because he was "looking the most and wanted it the most."

Carson then called Carolyn over and asked her to take a look at the cage, and Carolyn acted shocked and disappointed.

On Day 5, the three tribes gathered together and met Survivor host Jeff Probst for the season's second Immunity Challenge.

For the challenge, each tribe was required to race up and over an obstacle to a pile of large sandbags. After emptying the sandbags, the castaways would find a bag containing a ball.

Afterward, each tribe must lift a heavy ladder, climb it, use a rope to raise a bridge, and then race across the bridge to the finish, where one tribe member would maneuver that ball to the top of a snake maze.


The first two tribes to complete the challenge would win immunity as well as Reward in the form of fishing gear. The second tribe to finish would receive a smaller fishing kit that would still get the job done.

The last-place tribe would attend Tribal Council that evening and vote someone out. As a penalty for losing, Jeff would also take the tribe's flint.

Soka sat out Claire for the second time, and Claire told Jeff that she had volunteered but it was also a tribe decision.

Matthew, Josh, and Sarah attempted the snake maze for their respective tribes.

In the end, Matthew -- who had gone against doctor's orders and taken his arm out of his sling -- finished the maze for Ratu and so they finished in first place. Matthew had actually built a replica of this maze in his backyard, and so he said he knew he could do it, and fast at that.

Josh then closed the deal for Soka, who placed second in the challenge.

Tika would therefore be going to Tribal Council that night, resulting in the third person getting voted out of Survivor 44.

At Tika's camp after the challenge, Carson, who was studying to be a rocket scientist and said he had great problem-solving abilities, admitted he had also printed Survivor 3-D puzzles at home and practiced before entering the game.

Carson didn't want to inform anyone of his intelligence, and so he tried to work his social game.

Helen thought Carolyn was emotional and unfiltered, which would make it difficult to work with her in the future. And so she, Sarah and Carson were on the same page to vote out Carolyn.

Sarah, however, had lost her vote. There were five castaways and only four votes, so Sarah knew she had to lock in three people with her. She therefore attempted to pull Yam Yam in with them to vote out Carolyn.


Yam Yam said he was going to follow through with the plan, but he warned Carolyn about the tribe conspiring against her. Yam Yam said he had a connection with Carolyn because they're "both crazy people."

Both Yam Yam and Carolyn wanted to get rid of Helen because she's smart and was "constantly working scenarios out," according to Yam Yam. Yam Yam also said that if Sarah no longer had Helen, Sarah would only have Yam Yam and Carolyn left going forward.

Carolyn and Yam Yam tried to get Carson onboard. Carolyn noticed that Carson was "in good" with everybody, and so she was afraid Carson was lying to them.

Carson said he liked playing both sides -- the cool side, Helen and Sarah, vs. the crazy side, Yam Yam and Carolyn.

At Tribal Council on Night 5, everyone was trying to define "tribe strength," and then Carolyn started to cry because she said she was scared.

Yam Yam said Carolyn got emotional very easily, even over a ripe papaya, and Carolyn expressed how she just felt grateful to play.

Yam Yam said he looked forward to finding out where their family stood and drawing lines in the sand.

When it became time to vote, Helen was shown writing Carolyn's name down, and Sarah was unable to cast a vote.


Jeff then read the votes aloud in the following order: Carolyn, Helen, Helen, and Helen.

The episode's closing credits later showed that Carson, Yam Yam and Carolyn voted for Helen, while Helen voted for Carolyn.

About The Author: Elizabeth Kwiatkowski
Elizabeth Kwiatkowski is Associate Editor of Reality TV World and has been covering the reality TV genre for more than a decade.