Everything in life comes at a cost, whether that’s in the outside world or the game of ‘Survivor.’ For research coordinator Frannie Marin, that lesson was learned expeditiously throughout her 19-day run in the game following a dominating performance in challenges that broke the record for most wins by a player in the new era (10). The Cambridge resident’s first immunity win came at the expense of her number one ally and boyfriend, Matt Blankinship, being voted out of the game. And in tonight’s episode, her reward challenge win — and third individual win overall — was all the remaining players needed as reason to vote her off at the next tribal council. They did just that in a 5-2-1 vote, which in itself is sure to bring some more drama next week as this season’s main character, Carolyn Wiger, was left out of it, even by her closest allies. Frannie now heads to the jury as juror number four, where she will join Matt, Brandon, Kane, and four yet-to-be-determined players in deciding the winner of ‘Survivor 44.’
Pop Crave spoke with Frannie following her elimination to discuss how it feels to break a new era ‘Survivor’ record, why the Tika three remains untouched, building a relationship with Carolyn, and more. Keep reading for the full exit interview!
I know there were a lot of conversations going on leading up to that tribal council. What was your understanding of where everyone was voting going into it?
So, for me, the most important conversation before tribal is the one that you see between me, Carolyn, Jaime, and Lauren. You know, there’s a lot of confusion and a lot of plans. But that conversation was maybe 10 minutes before we left for tribal, and we all stood around, and we were like, “This is too confusing. Let’s just put it on Heidi.” And I thought that’s what was going to happen. Oftentimes in ‘Survivor,’ especially in this faster-paced game, the last plan that you settle on is what happens. So I was confident that Heidi was going to go home that night.
Speaking of that conversation, was there ever any serious consideration for the women to take things to the end together since you had a majority over the guys?
Yeah, I mean, that’s what I was trying to make happen with the vote on Danny, but people just got too anxious and too confused. And we couldn’t make it happen. Like, I picked three women to come on the reward with me; I really wanted to make that happen. And then, all the way at the beginning of the season, I was troubled by all of the young women going home early; I didn’t like that trend at all. So I would have loved to have a strong group of women go to the end. But you know, I tried my best.
Danny’s flip on you felt like it came out of nowhere, especially after just using his idol on you a few weeks ago. How surprised were you by that?
It’s interesting. I think that Danny is a competitor, right? He really wants to win challenges, and it was starting to grate on him; I was always beating him at the last minute. I think that was a big factor for him. But honestly, with the idol play… I love Danny; he’s awesome. But I think that, for him, was more of a move of proving that he knew where the votes were; he has this big, flashy idol play, and he gets to establish control over that vote. I think it was more about that than it was about him and I being, like, very close allies. I mean, after that, we got back to camp, and I thanked him for playing the idol on me, but we didn’t really rebuild a strategic relationship. So I wasn’t that shocked by it. It wasn’t this big thing of, “Nooooo, Danny!?”
Last week, you threw out the idea of targeting Tika with a vote split between Carolyn and Yam Yam. What deterred you from going back to a similar plan for this vote?
Yeah, so honestly, I was very frustrated in the last episode because I saw this as an issue. I was like, “These Tika three are sitting in the middle. They have more information than anybody else, and I want to disrupt that. I want to be the one with the most information.” But people were just like, not on board with this plan. I think that Kane was interested in it. But then, of course, he goes home, and Danny and Heidi are not into it. Jaime and Lauren are also not into it. So I turned around, and I was like, “Okay, well, you know, if you can’t beat them, then join them.” So I really wanted to get very close with Carolyn, and I already felt close with Carson, and I wanted to be a part of that Tika three, because then maybe some of the information flow would come through me as well. That was kind of my mindset after that vote, where they left me out of the Kane situation.
Carson had a confessional, saying that your reward win was what put a target on your back for this vote. How did you balance the idea of wanting to win while also being aware that it could increase the target on your back?
Yeah, no, it was really hard. And also, I mean, Carson can say what he wants, but I think that the target was there beforehand. I mean, after literally winning that first immunity challenge, I was like, “This is going to be an issue.” It’s so hard because you’re there, and we’re all competitors. We all want to push ourselves and see what we’re made of. And for me, I never thought that I would do so well in challenges. Like, never. It’s not something I considered for a moment. And so when I’m there and I’m doing it, I’m like, “Hell yeah, I keep winning!” But it was so hard to break up that perception because people would talk about it, you know, leaving for a challenge. People would say, “Oh, well, we don’t need to go because Frannie is gonna win the necklace.” And I’m like, “Don’t say that!” But this is the thing that people were very concerned about. And you know, even after just that first win, I could not break out of that perception.
Speaking of the reward win, I saw a tweet from Omar where he said you officially hold the new era ‘Survivor’ record for most immunity challenges won (7 tribe/3 individual). What does it feel like to achieve that?
It feels really good. I mean, it’s so funny because, like, I love ‘Survivor.’ I love the strategy. When I’m watching the show, with the challenges, I’m kind of like, “Yadda yadda,” but out there, I was like, “This is the coolest thing!” So you know, it makes me feel good to stand up there with the Jonathans and others.
Carson and Yam Yam mentioned being worried that keeping you in the game could leave room for you and Carolyn to become each other’s #1. Was that a valid concern of theirs?
That was very valid. So Carolyn and I established a bond, I think early at the merge. I feel like a lot of people don’t get Carolyn, or people out there didn’t always get Carolyn. But I feel like I got her. I was like, “I see you. I understand you. I respect you. Let’s work together.” And especially those last, like, three days before I got voted out, we got very close. We were spending a lot of time together and having a lot of strategic conversations together. And, I mean, good on Carson and Yam Yam for seeing that that might become a problem, because I do think had I stayed in, at that point, Carolyn was my number one. And I think I was hopefully on the way to becoming hers.
What were your strategic conversations like? A lot of what we saw between you and her was your connection on a personal level.
We were really trying to organize something against Danny. As you can see in the episode, Danny was kind of making a name for himself with the idol play, and he was always kind of right there in challenges, so there was this idea that he could become a challenge beast in the future. So we talked about that and also wanted to get the women together to vote against Danny. Get all these people together now that we finally have more women in the game than men. Not that we’re just voting along gender lines, because it’s so much more complicated than that. But it was exciting, and we were trying to make something happen. But I really wanted to be part of the Tika three. I was like, “Can I be your fourth?” I would have loved to continue through the game with Carson, Carolyn, and Yam Yam, but it didn’t happen, unfortunately.
The game could have turned out differently had Matt been there. Looking back, do you have any regrets about not throwing the immunity challenge to Brandon when the tribes split into two?
I’m gonna be honest; I think that everyone saying I should have thrown the challenge is, frankly, ridiculous. I’m like, “What are you talking about?” I literally gave like five people food and safety. And these are all people I want to work with. Like, shut your mouth. But I mean, truly, at the beginning of the merge, Matt was doing really, really well socially. Everybody loved him, which of course became an issue. That’s a big part of why he got voted out. But I wasn’t that concerned about him going into tribal. I was like, “He’s been doing well socially. I think he has it in him to make it through this vote.” And there comes a time when I’m like, “I am planning for myself,” right? I hope that you’re here tomorrow, but you gotta stay up on your own two feet. Of course there were feelings of regret there, especially before I got the chance to talk to Matt and hear him say, “I don’t blame you; don’t feel bad.” It was a hard moment for me. But ultimately, I’m proud of the way that I did it.
At tribal council, when Jaime insisted on making it clear that Kane went home with her (fake) idol, how accurate was the edit in terms of Kane’s poker face during that moment? How did you perceive his reaction to her saying that?
Okay, Kane was stone cold [laughs]. That man did not move a muscle. It was impressive. And you can see Danny and I are, like, trying to get anything from him. But he gave us absolutely nothing. And frankly, I don’t think any of us believed Jaime’s story for a second, which is so ridiculous because she’s like, finally telling the truth. But, you know, short of Kane holding up the idol, I don’t think anything would have made me believe that she was telling the truth.
What was it like reconnecting with Matt at Ponderosa?
Oh, it was so good. I ran into Ponderosa, and we gave each other the biggest hug you could possibly imagine. And, I mean, I was devastated when I got voted out. But then I started thinking, “Hang on. I got like a week-long vacation with this guy I’m trying to make something happen with, so it was all good.
I saw a couple weeks ago that you asked people on Twitter for recommendations on what seasons of ‘The Amazing Race’ you should start with. Which season did you go with?
I started season five. I had literally never even seen an episode. But a lot of people were like, “Watch season five! Season five!” So Matt and I actually watched the first episode of it together, and we liked it. It was fun. Yeah, I’m, like, so true to ‘Survivor.’ I don’t watch any of that other stuff. So I’m trying to, you know, keep up with the culture here [laughs].
The past couple seasons of ‘The Amazing Race’ have been amazing. So I definitely recommend those.
I know. I want to watch the one with Derek and Claire. I heard that’s good.
I know you’ve probably been asked this a bunch of times, but would you consider doing the show with Matt?
Oh my god, I would love it. I think it would be such a hoot [laughs]. Anything with me and Matt is a yes. Always.
You’re officially juror #4! What are you looking for in the winner of ‘Survivor 44’?
I’m looking for somebody who can demonstrate that they had a lot of awareness in the game. As you can see with this season, we’re a little chaotic. There’s always a lot of plans going on, and things get changed at the last minute. But I think the people who can demonstrate that they have an awareness of what’s going on in the game and also an awareness of themselves and how they move through the game are what I’m looking for in a winner. And for me, that’s more important than… At tribal, people are talking about, “Oh, Frannie is a threat because she’s like, winning challenges and stuff.” That’s not really what I care about. I care that you had agency and can tell me about it. That’s what I’m looking for.
New episodes of Survivor air Wednesday nights at 8/7c on CBS.