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This season of Survivor started with two horrifying injuries. Matthew Grinstead-Mayle tried to push forward after dislocating his arm and was in a good position on Ratu. Showbiz Cheat Sheet talked about his run on Survivor 44 over Zoom on March 30 and what might happen after the merge.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from Survivor 44 Episode 5, “The Third Turd.”]

Matthew Grinstead-Mayle explains ‘Survivor 44’ Ratu alliances

Q: We have not seen Ratu in a hot minute. It feels like since that first tribal. So can you help us? What did the alliances on Ratu look like before you left?

Matthew: So before I left, obviously, Kane [Fritzler,] and I were very closely aligned. Brandon [Cottom] and I were still very much aligned. And on the surface, Jamie and I are obviously extremely tight. And then she gets shipped off.

When Carson [Garrett] comes in, that changed the tribe dynamic. And Lauren [Harpe] and I really buried the hatchet, and we’re doing well. And so Brandon and Lauren are trying to say, ‘Hey, let’s keep Carson comfortable. Let’s make you think he’s OK and try–thinking that they’re going to vote him out. Well, I didn’t trust them.

So, I obviously, Kane and I made a very strategic plan to hit Carson with everything that we got. So I hit him with knowledge, and he came in and with the social game and tried to connect with him on a personal level, the nerd level, something that I couldn’t do. So that was the conversation that we had, was to try and immediately try and get that third back.

So it definitely changed the tribe dynamic. I think that the tribe would have liked Carson to think that he was safe, but there was definitely a hole from both sides.

Q: So you watch what happened down at the sanctuary with Brandon, Danny [Massa]. They’re getting along. They kind of count Carolyn [Wiger] out because she could have gone home that night, to be fair. But also, what was going through your mind watching them specifically talk about ‘We’re like the bigger dudes. Other people are going to, like, be after us.’ Were you surprised by that strategy?

Matthew: I wasn’t surprised. I mean, we as a group chose Brandon to go with Danny because we thought that they would connect we wanted to have that connection. As a group, we were talking about picking up Tika as a voting block to go after Soka.

So we really were trying to get as much information out of Danny, and we felt like Danny would talk to Brandon. So we wanted that bro session. That’s what we expected, and that’s what we were looking for because we wanted as much information as possible.

In hindsight, Carolyn she did exactly what she should have done. I mean she knows what’s up. She knows the game. So she, you know, she’s like, no, I’m not going to stand for this bro amigo situation. I’m going to stand up and say no. And that putting Josh [Wilder] in a very precarious situation.

Matthew is happy to represent gay dads on ‘Survivor’

Q: Talking about Tika, this season had a good number of LGBTQ castaways. Six of them, I believe. And then the new version of Tika actually became the first tribe to be totally LGBTQ. What do you think of this big feat in Survivor history?

Matthew: I mean, representation matters so much. I mean, I applaud them with their casting decision to increase the diversity. And it’s just them people that they have found is amazing.

Some of the most impactful comments that I’ve gotten from people reaching out to me on social media are those gay dads that are just like, ‘Thank you for representing for us.’ Like, ‘Thank you for going out there and showing like as a dad or as a gay person. Like, don’t count me out.’ Like, I’m not, […] I can still represent.

And so that’s the constant. Like those are the opinions that I value the most is those people that say, thank you for doing this for me. You know, you make me so happy to see you doing that because I see myself in you. Or they say, because you did it, I’m going to apply and I want to try, as I want to show my son or my daughter that I got the goods. The inspiration that I found within myself. And then to share that with other people is just tremendous.

So I applaud Survivor for the casting. I think they nailed it on season 44. Absolutely nailed it. Everybody is a rock star. And every single one of those people that played that game is a lethal threat in this game without a doubt.

Tika and Ratu might target Soka after the merge

Matthew Grinstead-Mayle, a castaway on 'Survivor 44' on CBS, wears a light orange tank top and a orange and brown plaid sling for his arm.
Matthew Grinstead-Mayle | Photo: Robert Voets/CBS

Q: So we’re left with Tika going into the merge, possibly altogether. What are you hoping for them, like watching as a viewer, is there anyone specifically that you’re rooting for?

Matthew: The conversation at camp was like, ‘merge, let’s get Tika.’ We want to get them into our numbers. We want to take out Soka one by one. We, as a group, saw Soka as being the most competent team, most well-rounded team. So that was the drive, is having Carson on our team, on our tribe, we’re like, we need to get him to get [Yamil “Yam Yam” Arocho] and Carolyn over to us because then we have the numbers, and we start knocking them off one by one. And so that was really the plan was to get with to absorb them into our group and then start taking out those big players.

This interview has been condensed for this article.

Other Survivor 44 Exit Interviews:

‘Survivor 44’: Bruce Perreault’s Memory Was Shortly Affected By His Concussion, ‘I Find Some Pieces That I Still Do Miss’

‘Survivor 44’: Maddy Pomilla Knew Her Exit Would Be a ‘Crazy History-Making Thing’

‘Survivor 44’: Helen Wants ‘More Original Puzzles’ and Talks Accessibility for Pregaming

‘Survivor 44’: Did Claire Try to Break Up Frannie and Matt? ‘I Loved It, I Do Hate PDA’

‘Survivor 44’: Sarah Wade Planned to Have a ‘Boomerang’ Idol With Her Inheritance Advantage