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Survivor‘s [Spoiler] on Why She Couldn’t Diminish Her Own Target — Plus, ‘Release the Ponderosa Tapes!’

Survivor 44 Episode 10 Recap
Courtesy of CBS

The following contains spoilers from Wednesday’s episode of Survivor.

In the game of Survivor, managing one’s own threat level should be extremely high on a player’s to-do list, but that’s the one thing Frannie Marin lost sight of. After winning two crucial immunity challenges, she just couldn’t help herself when an overnight taco fiesta at the Sanctuary, the season’s biggest reward thus far, was up for grabs. She gunned for the glory, firmly instating her challenge beast status and choosing to take Carolyn, Heidi and Lauren on the reward. Unfortunately for her, that left Jaime, Danny, Carson and Yam Yam behind at camp, allotting them ample time to plot her downfall at Wednesday’s Tribal Council. (Read a full recap here.)

Below, TVLine talks to Frannie about her impressive challenge run, whether she considered throwing competitions, trying to axe Danny and so much more.

TVLINE | First off, how was your Ethiopian dinner with Matt after the show?
FRANNIE MARIN | Oh, it was perfect. It was a hot date! [Laughs] It was so good.

Survivor 44 FrannieTVLINE | You were a challenge beast out there! We saw how much preparation that people like Matthew and Carson did before heading out to Fiji. Did you do anything special to prepare?
This is hilarious because I had the best intentions. I wrote out a workout schedule and I was like, “I’m gonna go and practice all the puzzles” and whatever. I didn’t do any of that. [Laughs] I did nothing. Literally my biggest preparation was carrying my three grocery bags 10 blocks from the grocery store, so I do not know how I pulled this stuff out. I don’t play sports! It was a shock to me as much as everyone else.

TVLINE | Hey, 10 blocks is pretty far!
Yeah, and I buy a lot of groceries, so they’re heavy!

TVLINE | After winning your second immunity, did you ever think that maybe you should pump the brakes and stop winning so much?
Oh, yeah. I had that thought as I was about to win my first one. I was like, “Maybe I should stop.” Even from the group challenges, when I showed up at the merge people were like, “You’re really strong!” I was like, “Me? Have you been watching… like, what are you referring to?” So people already had this perception that I was going to be good in challenges, and of course, as soon as I’m fulfilling that expectation, I cannot get the target off my back. So I considered slowing down or stopping. But first of all, I’m in survival mode, right? If I have an opportunity to win, I’m gonna take it. And second of all, the challenges are just so much fun that I genuinely could not help myself. I loved them! As I’m spinning [during the immunity challenge], I was like, “Oh, I should probably not win this!” [Laughs]

TVLINE | How much do you think winning this reward challenge specifically factored into your vote-out, or would you have been the primary target regardless?
I think no matter who wins the reward or no matter who I take, if I do not win immunity, I’m getting votes. At this point, I think I’ve created a big enough target on my back and I have people in my corner, but not to the point where I’ve got four or five people who are going to fight to get the votes off of me. You can see Carolyn and I are working closely together right before I go and she’s going around trying to figure out what’s happening and how to get the vote off of me. But I just did not have the social capital at this point to take my name out of the bucket.

Survivor 44 FrannieI also think that with the reward, bringing the moms, I was like, “This is like the most neutral thing I could do,” right? I could genuinely come back to camp and say, “It was not strategic. I wanted them to have their letters from their kids. I’m sorry, I love you guys very much.” Was it a little strategic? Of course, it was! But you know, I don’t think that that particular choice really impacted how I went.

TVLINE | Quick sidebar here: Did you go “full tilt boogie” at Ponderosa?
Oh, I’ve been going full tilt boogie since I left! But I went full tilt boogie every moment at Ponderosa. I’ll tell you, this is why we need the Ponderosa tapes. Release the tapes!

TVLINE | I couldn’t agree more. We need Ponderosa clips back ASAP! In this episode, there were so many plans circling about. Was there more chaos this time around than usual?
Yes. So what’s interesting is that all of the merge votes up until this point have just been like boom, boom, boom, one day after another. We had one rest day before Kane went home. But then after Kane goes home, we had like three full days until I go home. And that’s a lot of time for people to start thinking, and we’ve got rice now! So I think that we had enough time that we actually got to start strategizing, but then people kind of stressed themselves out. So I remember there was a lot of anxiety before this Tribal Council. People just felt very confused and didn’t really know what was going on. That wasn’t just me, that was like a common feeling. I think it’s attributable to more time and more rice. And you know, Jeff says the words “full tilt boogie” and we go, “Ahhh!”

Survivor 44 FrannieTVLINE | When you left the Sanctuary, how confident were you that those four women would stick together? Or were you just like, “Eh, whatever. That’s just taco talk.”?
Taco talk! [Laughs] Hey, taco talk is important! I was actually very confident that that group would stick together. They only show it a little bit, but at that reward, we talked a lot. We talked through that entire plan to vote Danny. We all felt really good about it. We got Heidi to feel confident and on board. And I think it made sense, right? Danny was kind of making a name for himself. He had played his idol correctly. People were concerned that he was looking for another one. So I felt like this was a reasonable plan for people to hop on board with. I think that the folks who I left out of the reward put in a lot of work solidifying their plan. So by the time I get back, trying to loop in Jamie, Yam Yam and Carson on this plan to vote Danny, they’ve had 24 hours of planning to vote me out should I lose the immunity challenge. So I think that that was just very, very difficult to overcome.

TVLINE | I can’t figure out why everyone isn’t gunning harder for Danny.
I know, I know! I felt like the Danny plan made sense! I think that honestly, I did not realize how big of a target I had created on my own back, so I didn’t do enough with people, like on a one-to-one basis, trying to minimize my threat level. After Matt went home, I was like, “Who’s working with me?” At the last vote, nobody told me that they were voting for Kane. And so I was kind of like, “Oh, people see me as being on the bottom. People see me as a threat at challenges, but it’s not concerning otherwise.” So I think that in trying to get people to vote for Danny, I should have put more effort into making them feel less concerned about me.

TVLINE | It was hysterical that Jaime told all of you the truth about her idol (sure, it was fake) — and none of you believed her! Why not and when did you find out she was actually being truthful?
Survivor 44 Episode 10 RecapThat was such a funny one because the layers of it are so good! She’s telling the truth, but we think she’s lying, but the whole thing is actually fake. So I had good reason to believe that Jamie was an adept liar because when she swapped to Soka, she shows up and completely lied about the state of Ratu. She told us that that infamous first Ratu vote, she was like, “Yeah, that was a unanimous vote on Maddy,” and we were like, “OK, that sounds right.” She didn’t tell us about the Shot in the Dark play. She didn’t tell us that Ratu opened their birdcage together, and then once we hit the merge, information is flowing and I find all that out and I’m like, “Whoa, she lied to me very adeptly about what was happening at Ratu.” Now all of a sudden, I am much more concerned about her ability to deceive. So when she’s coming to me with this crackpot story, like Kane left with a sock idol, I was like, “I’m not that silly. I don’t believe this for a second,” and I love that! Jamie is so awesome. She’s got that big smile no matter what. So funny to watch.

TVLINE | We saw you speak very highly of Carolyn in a couple confessionals and she seemed to really take to you too. How far would you have gone with her had you survived that vote, and what were your Final 3 plans?
I would have gone all the way to the end with Carolyn for sure. At this point in the game, people are discounting her, right? She says it herself. But I feel like I really just, as a person, I get Carolyn. I love her. I understand her. I respect her. So I was like, “Hey, if nobody is listening to you or nobody thinks you know what’s going on, why don’t we be the people who know what’s going on and let’s work together?” So I definitely wanted to go to the end with her and then I was really trying to work on something with Lauren and Jamie because, especially after Kane leaves, I felt like that pair was kind of floating around and it wasn’t exactly clear who they were working with. I would have loved a Final 3 where somehow I get to the end with myself, Carolyn and either Lauren or Jamie. I think that’s a situation where I could potentially talk my way into a win. Obviously that’s not how it worked out.

TVLINE | So when you’re brought back for a second chances season, how will you change your game up, if at all?
Try not to win challenges. [Laughs] I’ll like, I don’t know, break my leg before I go or something! I think that for me, the thing that I feel I could have done better, genuinely, is just constantly checking in with everyone. You see me say at Tribal Council that you cannot sleep on any permutation of people working together, and I think that I started to fall into some assumptions. I never, ever thought that Lauren and Danny would work together, and then the next thing I know, they’re working together to write my name. So I think more checking in, more awareness of all the possibilities at every stage of the game. That’s a concept I want to bring in should I come back for a second run.

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