It’s only the second episode of Survivor: Redemption Island, but damn this season is white hot. Unlike Nicaragua, these players are ready to play, and in just two shows, we’ve seen scheming, blindsides, and blowups. It feels like we’ve already spent five weeks with these people; although, admittedly, there are about eight nameless faces wandering around camp who have yet to make an impression. No matter. Our plate is full with colorful characters as it is: from Rob and Russell to Ralph and, of course, Phillip.
Did I ever mention that I spent an afternoon with Phillip?It was about two years ago. My friend IndianJones and I were at local LA watering hole Cabo Cantina on Sunset. Phillip sat next to us, and from what we could tell, he seemed like a chill, understated guy. I remember distinctly that he wore a white shirt, a little fedora, and mirrored sunglasses that quite frankly made him look pretty cool. Somehow or another he wound up chatting with us, and at first everything was normal. He seemed affable and friendly, and when he told us that he used to be a special agent (yes, he told us that) we were very impressed. Phillip even pulled off his sunglasses and stared into each of our eyes, saying “I can always tell when someone’s lying to me.” This was when it became uncomfortable. As much as I enjoy bar tricks, rehashing interrogation tactics is not always a crowd pleaser.
Phillip then went on to detail all the methods he would use to extract information from people. It was somewhat interesting at first, but he kept talking… and talking… and talking. I’m not lying when I say an hour went by, and he wouldn’t shut up. It probably would have been okay if he had engaged us in conversation, but he was just talking at us. After about fifteen minutes, I was already trying to inch away, but IndianJones was totally fascinated. That asshole kept egging Phillip on, which meant I was stuck listening to him yammer on for what felt like an eternity. Finally, Phillip (who was still alone) left to go to the bathroom, and I informed IndianJones that I was bored with Phillip and would he please not engage him further upon his return.
We pretty much ignored Phillip when he got back, and soon he went wandering around the bar in search of ladies. It was such a strange, silly episode that we often mention it from time to time. “Hey, remember that special agent guy from Cabo?” I might ask, causing IndianJones to reply “That guy was awesome!” which would in turn make me say, “He was the worst.”
Well, when I saw that Phillip was going to be on Survivor, I immediately emailed IndianJones, who was just as amused as I was. We both knew he’d be a character, but neither of us expected him to be the token crazy one, let alone the breakout star of the season. Sadly, I have no photos of our chance encounter with Phillip, but I’m going to double check because I swear I’ve got one somewhere.
Nevertheless, this season is all about Phillip, and how could it not be? The guy is crazy. As last night’s show opened up, we saw him hunting around the jungle with a spear as if he were about to take down a rhinoceros. His intended prey? A crab the size of a Matchbox car. The producers highlighted the silliness of this hunt by cutting to closeups of said crab scurrying about in a taunting manner, occasionally flapping its claws as if to say, “Over here, MORON!”
While his tribe mates mocked him behind his back, Phlilip did triumph over nature, successfully disabling a crab with a rock — but not before weeping on camera about his devotion to America. Only Survivor could get away with making a ridiculous crab hunt the symbolic journey of one man’s patriotism.
As we saw from last week, Phillip and his former ally Kristina were on the outs with Boston Rob’s alliance, but things change quickly on Survivor, and this episode was no exception. Upon return from Tribal Council, Rob gathered his crew and said the plan was to stick together as six and just vote out the others. No backstabbing, no scheming — just keep it simple.
Naturally, we knew that wouldn’t happen.
What surprised me was that it was Rob who betrayed his alliance first. After seeing Matt (the devout Christian) and Andrea getting buddy buddy, Rob sensed danger. He knew that a couple was a dangerous thing, and he became determined to break them up. Later, after the tribe lost immunity, and Matt shook the hands of the other team as a show of sportsmanship, Rob was further incensed. His pride and his paranoia drove a new battle plan for Tribal: blindside Matt. The scheme was actually pretty awesome: everyone in Rob’s alliance would vote for Matt, but they’d tell Matt and Andrea to split the vote between Phillip and Kristina. It would be both a blindside and a flushing of Kristina’s hidden immunity idol. Amazingly, all of Rob’s alliance stuck with him. No one ran back to Matt and Andrea and no one suspected that their leader’s disloyalty was actually something of a threat.
And so Tribal Council came, Phillip made a ridiculous speech about lions and gorillas, Kristina played her idol, and Matt was sent home in a vicious blindside. He looked surprised, but it was Andrea’s face that was most priceless. Nothing like watching a player realize she’s on the outside of a group she once felt secure in. It was a risky move for Rob because now Andrea will surely rally with Kristina. We’ll see if she can turn the game upside down (I think she can).
Over on the other tribe, furry country bumpkin Ralph stumbled upon the hidden immunity idol while he was picking up rocks for no apparent reason. I don’t know why Ralph likes to collect rocks, but I’m happy he does because now it means he has that vital token that Russell seeks so badly. Surely Russell thought he’d find the idol first (it probably kills him that two different people found idols before he did this season), and it’s going to be awesome watching him go on a wild goose chase for something that’s already gone.
Even better was watching Ralph taunt the beast by asking Russell about the hidden immunity idol clue. You see, after having returned with the reward, Russell quietly scooped up the clue when he thought no one was looking, but guess what? Ralphy saw it all! He happily spread word that Russell had the clue and then just for the hell of it, he confronted the guy about it. Russell denied having the clue; although, based on the fear in his eyes, it was evident to everyone that he was lying. It was certainly fun watching Ralph ruffle some feathers, but truth be told, it wasn’t a smart move. Even with an immunity idol, Russell can still take you down…
Here are pics…
“There are only two things that make me cry: my country… and gorillas hugging.”
“Preach on, brother!”
“VICTORY! The mighty lion has caught a crab the size of his little paw. Dominance has been exerted! HOO-AH!”
“You know what I love? Being part of a majority that will never cave in on itself and therefore being totally safe at Tribal Council.”
“COCK A DOODLE DOOO!!!!!! Hahahhaa. Okay, so now who’s ready for a little Puccini? ‘Nessun dorma, nessun dorma…’“
“I don’t know what I’m more excited about: finding the hidden idol or pickin’ up rocks!!!”
“I can beat any man on the other team. I am ferocious, like a giant, rabid CHIPMUNK! And the giant, rabid chipmunk never QUITS!!!!!!”
“A wise man once said ‘Watch. Out. ‘Cause here we come. We’re the chipmunks. Coming on stronger than ever before. We’re the chipmunks. Alvin. Simon. Theodore.’ Jeff, I am Alvin. I am Simon. I am… THEODORE!”
Phillip: “Pardon me, Jeff, but before we begin, will there be a continental breakfast?”
“And now I shall throw like the mighty GAZELLE!”
Matt: “Hey guys, good game. I’m sure this benign show of sportsmanship won’t get me voted out or anything.”
Well, this is exciting.
“The air is warm, the sun is shining, I got my Jams on — time to confront Russell!”
“Hey Russell, you gonna show us the clue or what?”
“I don’t like how you’re coming at me, Ralph.”
“How am I coming at you, Russell?”
“All fuzzy like a Muppet.”
“Wocka wocka wocka.”
“See? You’re Fozzie Bear. I don’t like that. Can’t trust it.”
“Show us the clue, then.”
“I don’t have no clue. And as you can tell by the alarm in my face and carefully clenched lips, I’m clearly not lying.”
“Wocka wocka wocka.”
“See, you just did it again!”
“I know you have the clue. I saw it.”
“What you saw was an illusion. I have no clue. And I certainly don’t have it hiding under my shirt under my waistband.”
“If you’re lying to me, so help me God, I will tie you down and tickle you with my man-fuzz.”
“Oops, looks like I got a little Jesus stuck in my teeth.”
Phillip: “Okay, so the plan is that we go to Tribal Council and I go on a tirade.”
“No, you stay quiet.”
“Got it. I make noise.”
“No, you keep your mouth closed.”
“Just like the mighty seagull.”
“Uh… and the seagull keeps his mouth—?”
“Check it out: it’s the gorilla. Oh wait, that’s just a freckle.”
“Man, this Tribal Council is SO good. Hey, wait a second. Am I on this show?”
“Wow. I’m totally the Purple Kelly of this season, aren’t I?”
“Yup, just a standard Tribal Council. Phillip or Kristina going home.”
“Yup. No surprises here.”
“Wait, did Jeff just read my name?”
“Okay, Jesus, that’s enough fooling around.”
“Oh no. My inner Philip Glass soundtrack is starting.”
“I’m having a Julianne Moore moment. Someone help me!”
“Wow guys. You got me good. Enjoy your trip to HELL.”
“I just realized… I forgot to set my DVR for Top Chef.”
What did you think about the episode?