Survivor featured the "Ratu Tribe" voting out Maddy Pomilla with just one vote after an idol and two "Shots in the Dark" were played, Bruce Perreault's medical evacuation, two more medical scares, and the introduction of brand new advantages during Season 44's premiere Wednesday night on CBS.

Maddy, a 28-year-old charity projects manager from Huntingtown, MD, who currently resides in Brooklyn, NY, was voted out of Survivor 44 on Night 3 at Tribal Council with just one vote instead of her "Ratu" tribemate, Brandon Cottom, a 30-year-old security specialist from Newtown, PA, who had received two votes but played a hidden Immunity Idol.


"I put my money where my mouth is and I just came up short, but it feels good to come out and play really hard," Maddy said in her final words.

"It was a great run. I had a lot of fun doing it the way I did it, and I just wish I could've done it for longer. But I know I was walking a balance beam and it went a little topsy turvy.

In addition, Bruce, a 46-year-old insurance agent from West Warwick, RI, was medically evacuated from the game on Day 1.

The jam-packed Survivor broadcast began with the 18 castaways arriving to an island in Fiji via speed boats.

Carson Garrett, a 20-year-old NASA engineering student from Rome, GA, who currently resides in Atlanta, GA, shared how he had made numerous Survivor spread sheets and homemade puzzles to practice for this season, and Yamil "Yam Yam" Arocho, a 36-year-old salon owner from Bayamon, Puerto Rico, who currently resides in San Juan, Puerto Rico, gushed about how he was going to be starved and poop in the ocean.

The entire cast was thrilled to begin the game, and Survivor's host of 22 years, Jeff Probst, greeted and welcomed them to Survivor 44.

Yam Yam announced how he was going to treat his tribemates like family, and Frannie Marin, a 23-year-old research coordinator from St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Cambridge, MA, agreed everyone was breathing each other's bad breath already and couldn't wait to live together and build bonds.

Jeff then revealed the three tribe names -- Tika in pink, Ratu in orange, and Soka in green -- and kicked off the first Reward Challenge.

The "Tika Tribe" featured Bruce; Carson; Yam Yam; Helen Li, a 29-year-old product manager from Wayland, MA, who currently resides in San Francisco, CA; Sarah Wade, a 27-year-old management consultant from Rochester, MN, who currently resides in Chicago, IL; and Carolyn Wiger, a 35-year-old drug counselor from North St. Paul, MN, who currently resides in Hugo, MN.

The "Ratu Tribe" was comprised of Brandon; Maddy; Jaime Lynn Ruiz, 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.
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And the "Soka Tribe" was made up of Frannie; 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; 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.

For the Reward Challenge, one pair from each tribe was required to race down the beach and under a series of obstacles, grab a puzzle piece, and then run back to the start, which would allow the next pair to go.

Once every player was able to retrieve one puzzle piece after the obstacle course, meaning all of the pieces were collected, two players from each tribe would then solve a puzzle. Once a puzzle was solved, three different tribemates would race to release rings sitting at the bottom of a very tall pole.


The first tribe to finish would receive camp supplies, including a machete and flint. The second tribe to finish would get to choose between a "Sweat" or "Savvy" task, and the losing tribe would receive whatever was left.

During the brutal challenge, Bruce hit his head on a wooden beam when trying to crawl beneath it and his forehead started bleeding. Bruce continued to fight through the challenge, but during the puzzle portion, he appeared faint and started to stumble and fall down in the sand.

Bruce was immediately treated by a medic and given oxygen, and he turned out to be just fine. In fact, he was medically cleared to continue competing on Survivor, although he would remain under observation.

Soka ultimately finished the Reward Challenge in first place, and Ratu placed second.

Once Soka returned to camp on Day 1, the tribe immediately got along and no one seemed to be an outside.

A handful of castaways then stumbled upon a locked bird cage right out in the open. There was a canvas bag hanging inside, and everyone assumed an advantage awaited them. No one, however, had the key or knew where the key may have been hidden.

Over at Ratu, the tribe walked up to a sign with instructions on how to earn their necessary camp supplies.

They had to choose between a "Sweat" or "Savvy" task.

In "Sweat," two tribe members must work together to collect coconuts and place them in a net. Only one coconut could be picked up at a time, and the players must alternate between piles. In a twist, the players must move with the net as they walk back and forth together.

In addition, the person picking up a coconut must have at least one hand on the net while doing so. With each coconut added, the net would naturally become heavier to carry around.

In "Savvy," two tribe members must work together to solve a brain teaser. They would only have 15 minutes to come up with an answer, and they'd only receive one guess at it.

If the tribe completed its chosen task, they would receive camp supplies immediately. But if they failed, they'd have to wait until Day 3 for their supplies.

The tribe discussed how they didn't want to take on a potentially difficult puzzle when they had just lost the puzzle Reward Challenge. Brandon and Matthew therefore agreed to take on "Sweat" for the tribe.

"I needed to prove to everyone I'm not a detriment to my tribe," Matthew told the cameras.

Afterward, Tika was given the "Savvy" task, and Helen volunteered to do it. On the other hand, Carson -- who definitely wanted to participate -- waited for his tribe to push him into doing the brain teaser so he wouldn't be viewed as a confident or arrogant strategic threat right away.

Helen and Carson were asked to count the number of rings within two spheres that were hanging and slowing rotating. One small sphere of rings was inside the larger sphere, and the two players were instructed to write their guess on a chalkboard.

Helen and Carson agreed on 18 rings as their answer, and they got it right! Yam Yam laughed and cheered about how "the other tribe is still dragging coconuts!"


Meanwhile, Brandon and Matthew grew tired and sweaty, especially around "Coconut No. 32." They had a "brutal" experience with exhaustion and cramping as their tribemates discovered a birdcage of their own with a padlock on it at camp.

"I played in the NFL, but I've never felt anything like this. But I'm no quitter!" Brandon told the cameras.

In the end, Brandon and Matthew were successful, and Matthew noted how it was just "the appetizer" of what was about to come. Matthew admitted he had failed a lot in life but this success was indicative of what he's capable of achieving in the future.

Over at Tika's camp, Yam Yam attempted to make fire with the flint, and he got the job done.

Carson then revealed he didn't have a girlfriend but had gained 30 pounds for this Survivor season. He had never been to the gym before -- with "the jocks" -- in his life, and so he hoped weighing 145 pounds would help him be strategic in the game rather than focus on hunger.

In a similar sense, Heidi, a self-declared "tiny but mighty" Latina, said she thought people were going to underestimate her in the game. She made fire by herself and impressed her tribemates.

Frannie and Matt were then shown hitting it off with their quirky personalities. They both determined that they wanted to work together going forward because they're "cut from the same cloth."

At Tika's camp on Night 1, Bruce -- who had seemed to bounce back quickly from his injury at the challenge -- was quiet and wandering around with a glazed look in his eyes that worried Carson and their fellow tribemates. The medical team therefore checked Bruce out again.

The medics said Bruce had "suddenly taken a turn" and so they decided to pull him from the game.

Bruce was crying about his medical evacuation and lamented, "I wanted this so bad."

Jeff Probst called Bruce "a shining light," and everyone wished him well. The tribe intended to play for Bruce, who had acted as a leader, coach and organizer.

On Day 2, the three tribes were busy building their shelters, finding firewood, and getting settled on their respective beaches.

Matthew started checking things off his Survivor bucket list as a huge fan, and that included climbing a rock wall. However, as Matthew began ascending the cliff, he slipped on a rock and fell into a rock pit filled with water!

Matthew said he dislocated his shoulder but was able to pop it back in, and then he started feeling a burning sensation in his bloody foot. Matthew, who dreamt of playing the game and had been preparing for three years for Season 44, didn't want this to be the end for him.

A medic put Matthew's arm into a sling, and so he was worried about being "damaged goods" for the next challenge.

Helen, Carson and Sarah then made a quick connection and agreed to work together. While they spoke, Yam Yam hit it off with Carolyn, but she felt like no one else was talking to her.

"I don't want to be that person who is chasing everybody... but I don't want to let the game pass me by. Do I wait for people to come to me? What if they never come to me?!" Carolyn questioned in a confessional.

"I'm always the weird one or the odd one. People, my entire life, say, 'This one is loud, crazy, or a little emotional.'"


But Carolyn concluded it's okay to be different and a little bit loud, and so she decided to play the game as her authentic self but not be very aggressive.

Suddenly, a boat pulled into shore and dropped off a letter to Tika. It requested that one person hop in the boat and return to camp later on.

Carolyn and Yam Yam really wanted to go, but the tribe drew sticks to see who would get to go on the adventure -- and that person was Sarah.

Matt then drew the short straw for Soka and went on the boat, and his anxiety was getting the best of him.

Ratu was shown drawing rocks to figure out the lucky castaway, and Lauren picked the winning rock. She had initially picked up the rocks on the beach to put in the bag, and so she said she knew which rock she had to choose in order to go the trip. Lauren admitted she was playing to win.

Once Lauren left, Matthew suggested that everyone should split up in groups and look for the key to the birdcage. That way, if someone found it, he or she wouldn't be able to hide it from anyone.

Maddy wondered if the cage existed simply to cause paranoia.

While searching for a key, Brandon found a little package hidden underneath a rock. He attempted to hide his findings from Maddy, but she noticed him making a strange gesture and putting something into his pants.

Just in case Maddy did see him find the advantage, Brandon came clean to her about the fact he had discovered a key. The pair discussed opening the cage together, with Maddy suggesting they should keep it a secret.

But Maddy's reaction to the advantage made him think he couldn't trust her. Brandon therefore shared the news with the whole tribe.

"Sometimes you're at the mercy of other people's moves and obviously he doesn't want to work with me," Maddy complained in a confessional.

Brandon then opened the birdcage and the entire tribe, except for Lauren, found out he had a hidden Immunity Idol. He also received an orange medallion with no power.

"I just messed up. I just put the biggest target on my back... Now everyone knows I have an idol. I should've kept it a secret," Brandon admitted.

Meanwhile, Sarah, Matt and Lauren were told to pick a path and make an individual decision.

Matt came across a bag. Inside the bag, there were three packages. Two of them said, "Lose your vote," and one of them held a secret advantage. Lauren and Sarah were given the same game, and the players were asked to choose a package. (They apparently weren't given the option not to play).

If a player picked the secret advantage, the game would be over.

If a castaway selected a "Lose your vote" package, he or she would have the option to draw again from the remaining two packages. If the person picked a second "Lose your vote" package, he or she would lose his or her vote at the next two Tribal Council sessions.

Sarah initially drew "Lose your vote," but then she tried again and picked the secret advantage -- a brand new one called the "Inheritance Advantage," which would allow her to secretly inherit all advantages and idols played at one Tribal Council.

"I think that's totally worth losing one vote!" Sarah gushed.

In Round 1, Matt lost his vote at the first Tribal Council. He decided to go for it a second time, and then he also lost his vote at the second Tribal Council. Matt therefore felt totally worthless.

Lauren was lucky enough to draw a secret advantage on her first attempt. Lauren won the "Bank Your Vote Advantage," which would allow her to secretly not vote at one Tribal Council and keep the voting parchment to use as an extra vote at a future Tribal Council."

When Matt returned to camp, he told his tribemates that he lost his vote at the first Tribal Council. However, he didn't tell the truth about losing his vote at the second Tribal Council as well.

Sarah told her tribe that she risked her vote but only one of the three players were going to receive a secret advantage. Sarah therefore said she wasn't sure if she was going to win it, and she withheld the information she had lost her vote from them.

For Lauren's part, she explained to her tribe that she had lost her vote. She thought it would be best to keep her secret advantage to herself and not trust anyone else with it.


On Day 3, the three tribes gathered together and met Jeff Probst for the season's first Immunity Challenge. Everyone saw that Bruce was no longer in the game.

Jeff announced that Bruce had received further medical testing after his evacuation and he was "in great shape" with "no danger" and "no damage."

For the first Immunity Challenge, each tribe was required to push a boat into the ocean and paddle out and around a buoy. A tribe would then jump off the boat and move a very heavy chest to shore, putting it on a track.

Using a large rope, each tribe must pull that chest to the end of the track and use the key inside to release a giant slide puzzle.

The first tribe two tribes to solve their puzzle would win immunity, while the losing tribe would be forced to attend Tribal Council and vote one person out of the game.

And as a penalty for losing, Jeff planned to take the tribe's flint away from them.

Matthew sat out for Ratu to even up the players, and Claire sat out for Soka.

Lauren struggled in the water for Ratu, allowing Soka to gain a lead in the ocean. And each tribe struggled to move the heavy chest, with Jeff pointing out it was only Day 3 of their time in Fiji and everyone already looked exhausted.

Soka began working on their puzzle in first place, and at that point, the other two tribes were dead even for second place.

For the puzzles, there was a caller for each tribe, giving instructions on where to move the giant pieces.

In the middle of the challenge, Claire asked Matthew from the wings what he had heard from the person who went on the secret boat trip. Matthew said the castaway claimed she had lost her vote, and then Claire shared how her tribemate claimed the same thing and had proof of that.

Suddenly, Brandon sat down and said he wasn't sure if he could stand up. The medical team popped in and determined that Brandon was overheated, dehydrated and needed some time in the shade.

In the end, Soka won the challenge, and Tika finished in second place.

Ratu was therefore going to attend Tribal Council.

Brandon felt he had let his tribe down, and so he wondered if he should play his idol that night. Brandon apologized to his tribe, but everyone said they weren't going to fault him for feeling sick.

After the challenge, Matthew shared with Brandon how Lauren wasn't being honest with them. He said he found out at the challenge Matt had lost his vote and had evidence of that.

"Why didn't Lauren show that to us? I think she's playing us," Matthew said. "She's playing us, dude!"

Brandon started thinking Lauren was dangerous, and a few more of their tribemates seemed to agree. But then Maddy told Lauren that Brandon had an idol and was playing everyone.

"He is the most powerful person here right now. He's like the Godfather," Maddy said, adding how she didn't trust him and they weren't on the same page based on "the cage debacle."

The women talked about how they needed to get Jaime and Kane onboard with their vote, and Lauren said she was down. Lauren didn't plan on voting so she could bank the parchment paper, but Lauren seemed to like the idea of targeting Brandon early.

Jaime talked about playing "Shot in the Dark" because she was nervous, but the women didn't want her to waste her vote when she only had a one-in-six chance of being safe that night.

Kane thought it was a little early to take out Brandon, who was a strong tribe member, and he was worried about Brandon playing his idol. Kane therefore said he had some thinking to do. Maddy also told Matthew the plan, assuring him that they still had several strong players left.

"[Brandon] is my closest ally so far. But if [the women] have the numbers, I don't know if I have a choice," Matthew lamented in a confessional.

"Lauren is someone I cannot trust," he continued, "but I don't know how much I can trust Brandon vs. anybody else at this point. It's only once names get written down will we know where people actually stand."

On Night 3 at Tribal Council, Jaime admitted the vibe was "tense" in her tribe and the game was moving quickly, and Matthew said that no one was comfortable or confident, not even himself.

Brandon declared how it seemed like it was going to be an easy vote but he wasn't entirely sure.

Maddy suggested the vote that night would make them a stronger tribe of five going forward, and Brandon agreed there were "weaker links" among them.

Jaime then announced that she was going to play her "Shot in the Dark," which she didn't think would affect the numbers or ultimate outcome.

"If she doesn't think her vote will even matter, I'm curious about what was said to her," Brandon noted.

When casting her vote, Lauren decided to bank her vote and keep the parchment.

Jaime and Matthew both decided to play "Shot in the Dark," and so neither castaway was able to vote. They sacrificed their vote for a one-in-six shot at safety.

Matthew was "Not Safe," and Jaime's scroll read, "Safe."

Jaime's victory marked the first time in Survivor history a player was deemed safe by using "Shot in the Dark." Any votes cast against her would therefore not count.

With that being said, Brandon apparently got nervous and opted to play his hidden Immunity Idol, which made Maddy's face go white like a ghost. Brandon acknowledged how it might be a dumb move but he wasn't sure whom he could trust yet.

Jeff then read the votes in the following order: Brandon, Brandon, and Maddy.

Maddy was therefore voted out of Survivor 44 with a single vote! Jaime seemed upset since her vote could've resulted in a tie and a re-vote that may have saved her female tribemate.


The episode's closing credits later showed that Maddy and Kane voted to oust Brandon from Survivor, and Brandon voted for Maddy.

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.