Survivor split the merged tribe into two groups at the Immunity Challenge, one of which voted out Matt Blankinship instead of Yamil "Yam Yam" Arocho at Tribal Council during the Season 44 episode that aired Wednesday night on CBS.

Matt, a 27-year-old security software engineer from Albany, CA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA, was voted out of Survivor 44 through a 3-2 vote against Yam Yam, a 36-year-old salon owner from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico, on Night 14 of the game at Tribal Council.


"I don't think that the tribe split could've been any worse for me, but sometimes that's just how the cookie crumbles," Matt said in his final words.

"[Frannie Marin], I feel like we have developed an incredible relationship within the game and also outside the game. And I'm so very proud of you for winning [immunity for your whole team], and I don't want you to blame yourself for what happened."

The Survivor broadcast began on Night 13 of the game after the three tribes officially merged into one.

Yam Yam saw that his name had been written down at Tribal Council, and so he announced that he wasn't mad and still loved everyone.

Yam Yam was relieved Josh Wilder went home instead, and his goal was to just to keep being charming and making new friends.

While discussing a new tribe name, Matt and Frannie, a 23-year-old research coordinator from St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA, were off chatting in the jungle.

Matt finally had his vote back, and so he was looking forward to really playing the game of Survivor -- with an idol in his pocket.

Brandon Cottom, a 30-year-old security specialist from Newtown, PA, then shared with Matt how a real idol and a fake idol were both in play.

Matt wondered if he had a worthless piece of metal in his possession as a result, and he was correct. As viewers are aware, Danny Massa, a 32-year-old NYC firefighter from Bronx, NY, had set him up, and Matt finally realized it.

"I found the fake one, and I can show it to you," Matt announced to Brandon, Yam Yam and Kane Fritzler, a 25-year-old law student from Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan in Canada, who currently resides in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan.
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"So someone has the real one, and I'm 90 percent sure it's Danny."

Matt admitted to the cameras he had underestimated Danny, who was clearly making big moves.

Meanwhile, Danny spoke to Heidi Lagares-Greenblatt, a 43-year-old engineering manager from Ponce, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA, and Carson Garrett, a 20-year-old NASA engineering student from Rome, GA, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, how somebody had two votes.

Carson identified Lauren Harpe, a 31-year-old elementary school teacher from Port Arthur, TX, who currently resides in Mont Belvieu, TX, as being that person, and Danny confirmed such news was "common knowledge" at camp.

Danny told Carson and Frannie that it would be "an easy vote" to take out Lauren as a result. He also told Kane about his plan, and Danny prided himself on being "a devious snake" who was "causing mischief."

Kane, Matt, Frannie, and Carson, however, then discussed how they could allow Danny to feel like he was in charge -- only to turn around and blindside him, hopefully with an idol in his pocket.


Carson felt like he was in a great position, where everyone wanted to work with him.

Carson told Yam Yam and Carolyn Wiger, a 35-year-old drug counselor from North St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Hugo, MN, that they were in a good spot and everyone was discussing Danny or Lauren.

"Myself and [former] Tika are the ones deciding who's going to win the war between Soka and Ratu, and it's perfect," Carson boasted in a confessional.

On Day 14, the merged tribe met Survivor host Jeff Probst for the season's first Individual Immunity Challenge.

The castaways were required to stand on a narrow beam while balancing a ball at the end of a long pole. At regular intervals, they would move farther down the beam, making it more difficult. If, at any point, a person fell off his or her beam, or dropped the ball, he or she would be out.

"There is a twist to today's challenge. We're going to divide into two teams of five. The player who lasts the longest on each team earns Individual Immunity. You'll be safe at Tribal Council," Jeff announced, before declaring there was a second twist coming.

"Whoever lasts the longest out of everybody earns their team immunity. Everybody on that team will be safe tonight at Tribal Council... You will go to Tribal Council but you will watch Tribal from the jury box -- and you will not vote. You will have no say in who goes home. It is safety without power."

In addition, the castaways were playing for Reward in the form of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches with salty potato chips and iced tea. The next person voted out of the game would become the first member of the Season 44 jury.

By random draw, the two teams were Heidi, Kane, Danny, Frannie and Carolyn vs. Lauren, Yam Yam, Matt, Brandon and Jaime Lynn Ruiz, a 35-year-old Yogi from Mesa, AZ; and Matt Blankinship, a 27-year-old security software engineer from Albany, CA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA.

Since there were 11 players, one person had to sit out, and that person was Carson.

Carson predicted that Danny's team was going to win the challenge, and so if ended up being correct, Carson would receive immunity as well.

Carolyn was the first person out of the challenge, and she was followed by Lauren, Kane, Heidi, and Danny.

Frannie therefore won Individual Immunity, and then she faced almost the entire other team for the ultimate win.

The next person out was Jaime, and then Yam Yam.

The challenge came down to Frannie and Brandon, who both won Individual Immunity. In the end, Frannie won it all for Danny, Carson, Jaime, Kane, and Carolyn.

"Brandon gave everything he had but came out of this with Individual Immunity for himself in a huge battle between Brandon and Frannie," Jeff declared. "Wow!... [Frannie] won group immunity. It's never happened before."


Frannie's group enjoyed Reward at the "Va Va" merged tribe's regular camp, while the other five players were forced to go back to the old Soka beach without food and a limited amount of time to determine whom they should vote out.

Matt told the cameras that he felt like "an idiot" because he had left his bag back at camp with his fake idol and "Shot in the Dark" in it. However, he was proud of Frannie and was secretly rooting her on.

While eating sandwiches, Frannie worried about her crush and best friend in the game, Matt, going home. She said watching Matt fight for his life in the game "terrified" her.

Carolyn also wished she could protect Yam Yam, whom she figured was going to be in trouble.

Over at the old Soka camp on Day 14, the group called Frannie "a monster," and Brandon thought he had Lauren and Jaime on his side given they had been "Ratu strong" up to that point. Brandon thought he had the numbers over Yam Yam and Matt.

Matt said he was feeling very vulnerable, knowing the three Ratu would most likely decide the vote between Yam Yam and himself. Matt attempted to flip one of the Ratu, but his plan didn't work.

Matt then entered self-preservation mode, and Yam Yam also warned Lauren that he had heard Danny say he wanted her out because she had an extra vote. Yam Yam also called Matt "intelligent," and Lauren said she wanted Matt out.

Lauren told the cameras that she was wary of Danny but getting rid of Matt would cause his alliance to crumble. Lauren also liked the idea of breaking up Matt and Frannie, a powerful duo in the game.

"Everybody might be playing me and telling me lies," Yam Yam said in a confessional.

Meanwhile, at Va Va's camp, the group opened a note that was wrapped in red string.

The note read, "There is a new advantage locked in the cage. There are keys scattered in the jungle. One of them opens the cage. Each time you find a key, you must race to the cage and try it. If it doesn't work, then you can search for another. First person to open the cage gets the advantage inside. Go!"

It was a mad dash to find keys, and everyone was excited. Some of the keys were hanging from trees in plain sight while others were more difficult to find.

It appears about a dozen keys were useless, and then finally, Heidi found the right key and opened the cage in front of Frannie.

Heidi found "the Control a Vote Advantage," which allowed her to control the vote of one player for that night's Tribal Council. She had to play the advantage once Jeff announced, "It's time to vote."

"You will tell one player who you want them to vote for," Heidi read. "They must cast their vote for that player. This advantage is only good for tonight."

Heidi realized she could sway the vote however she wanted and potentially save Yam Yam and Matt.


After Matt was shown saying he missed Frannie and hated feeling alone, Yam Yam talked to Matt about how they should vote together against either Lauren or Jaime. If they convinced Ratu to split their votes, the outcome would be two against two.

"That's risky though, but I came here to play hard!" Yam Yam said in a confessional.

But Lauren, Brandon and Jaime were acting strong together. Jaime thought Yam Yam was a major threat in the game because he's "fantastically socially," but she said getting rid of Matt would cause a ripple through Soka.

In case Matt had an idol or planned to play his "Shot in the Dark," Lauren suggested they should split their votes just in case.

"God is working with me today, because either way, I'm not going home," Lauren said.

Meanwhile, Frannie tried to convince Heidi to use her advantage to save Matt. Danny asked Heidi to steal Lauren's vote, and Carolyn was working to save Yam Yam.

Heidi worried Matt was dangerous because he was close to Frannie, and Kane agreed, but Frannie kept fighting for her man. And since Lauren had an extra vote, Heidi considered targeting Lauren and making her vote out Yam Yam.

But at the same time, Heidi liked Yam Yam and could picture herself working with him in the future.

On Night 14, Yam Yam, Matt, Danny, Lauren and Jaime attended Tribal Council with the other half of the merged tribe watching from the jury box.

Frannie didn't bring Matt's bag with her, and so Matt playfully offered Jeff a papaya in exchange for safety, which made everybody laugh.

Yam Yam announced how he felt "hopeless," and the consensus seemed to be a Matt vs. Yam Yam vote. Matt therefore pitched how he has great qualities -- including being trustworthy -- in an alliance member and had worked with a few of the players in that group before.

Yam Yam said he loved Matt but was also good for a player's long game, and Jaime pointed out how they were considering someone vulnerable (Yam Yam) vs. someone with numbers (Matt) in the other group.

Matt announced how he had overcome social anxiety and other fears to play the game, which he had put his "all" into. Matt got emotional and said he was very, very proud of himself for how he had played up to this point.

And Yam Yam, who often deflected with humor, said he was able to compete, run and push with the best of them.

"I have blisters to show for it. I can be a badass... and that's freaking awesome!" Yam Yam gushed.

It then became time to vote, and with that being said, Heidi stood up and used her advantage.

Heidi decided to control Lauren's vote, and so she told Lauren to vote for Yam Yam. Since Lauren had an extra vote entering Tribal Council, she still had another vote she could use.

Jeff proceeded to tally the votes and read them aloud in the following order: Yam Yam, Matt, Yam Yam, Matt, and Matt.

It appears Lauren decided to save her extra vote for a future Tribal Council session.


Once Matt's elimination was announced, Frannie immediately starting crying. Carolyn, on the other hand, celebrated Yam Yam's victory with tears streaming down her face.

Yam Yam thanked the other members in his group while Matt's torch was snuffed, and then Matt said on his way out, "I am proud of you, Frannie, for winning today."

The episode's closing credits later showed that Lauren and Matt each cast one vote for Yam Yam while Jaime, Brandon and Yam Yam voted to oust Matt from Survivor 44.

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.