How Survivor 44's Bloody Season Premiere Made Show History

The two-hour season premiere of Survivor 44 on CBS saw one medivac, two timeouts, three new tribes and the first successful use of a particular advantage.

By JD Knapp Mar 02, 2023 5:16 PMTags

That's how you do it on Survivor.

Host Jeff Probst has often said his contestants give their blood, sweat and tears in an effort to outwit, outplay and outlast their competition. Unfortunately for the cast of season 44, they took that just a bit too literally.

Following introductions on the beach, the two-hour season premiere on March 1 began innocently enough with a reward challenge that looked to drag the 18 castaways through the mud. However, when Bruce Perreault dove headfirst into the obstacle course, he ended up injuring himself enough for Jeff to pause the game for a medical inspection.

While Bruce was initially allowed to continue on once he found his bearings, he was eventually pulled from the game when he became too lightheaded back at camp. But that was just the start of the evening's injuries.

Meet the Cast of Survivor 44

In an attempt to climb every square inch of his new home, Matthew Grinstead-Mayle took a terrible fall off some rocks that landed him in a sling. Elsewhere, during the episode's immunity challenge, Jeff called a second timeout when Brandon Cottom found himself lightheaded due to heat exposure. Luckily, both men were allowed to stay in the game.

The episode also saw a series of new twists for season 44, including the inheritance advantage, which allows a player to inherit anything played at tribal, and the bank your vote advantage, which lets a player to hold onto their vote for a future tribal. Separately, all three tribes' camps came equipped with locked bird cages containing "hidden" immunity idols and fake medallions of power, with the corresponding keys hidden away.

While the show's two-hour season premiere resulted in not one, but two surprising exits from the game, it was a different moment at tribal that made history. That's because after four seasons of the new era of the CBS competition, the shot in the dark advantage has finally been played correctly.

Robert Voets/CBS

Introduced in season 41, the shot in the dark allows contestants to sacrifice their vote in favor of rolling the dice—or drawing a scroll—for a one-in-six chance of immunity. While six past players had all risked their votes and lost, Jaime Lynn Ruiz and Matthew took their shots in the premiere, with Jaime becoming the first person to ever select 'Safe.'

The double shots spooked Brandon into playing his newly acquired public immunity idol, which resulted in Maddy Pomilla being the first person voted out of season 44 with just a single vote.

Tune in every Wednesday at 8 p.m. EST on CBS to see how the rest of the season plays out, next time on Survivor.

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