Survivor Review: Phillip Dominates For the Wrong Reasons

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Just when Phillip was starting to be a little bit watchable, he went racial on us.

Ok, he did more than go racial.  He couldn't keep his mouth shut. He sounded ridiculous. He made an ass out of himself. Let’s be honest about this: he went crazy.

Phillip didn’t want to hear the truth coming out of Steve’s lips this week, but no one on Phillip’s tribe agreed with him and certainly no one watching agreed.

Phillip Sheppard In His Underwear

What was most frustrating about the “Rice War” between Phillip and Steve is that we were forced to watch it. Certainly I get it – the footage was dramatic, fiery, contained adult language (always a ratings booster) and seemed like it might be integral in the actual game.

There was no way we were not going to be subject to the footage.  nlike previous Survivor fights, however, it didn’t impact who was sent home at all and that made it basically useless.

Unlike many other verbal spats in Survivor history, there was nothing unique or interesting about Phillip going off. All that happened is that he came off looking terribly, especially in the face of Steve handling the situation almost flawlessly.

At least in previous fights we got to see an unknown or unique side to someone.

Additionally, those fights often result in one of the combatants being sent home. Phillip was never realistically going home, but why was Julie sent home instead of Steve?

Does she pose more of a threat to win challenges than Steve or Ralph?

Perhaps worst of all, the fight completely hijacked tribal council (if not the entire episode). We were subject to a long therapy session with Dr. Jeff Probst and his nine misfit castaways. While Jeff delivered an A+ performance trying to diffuse what initially seemed like a potentially explosive racial situation, did we really need to see it? 

Was it interesting television? It certainly had nothing to do with the game.

Phillip was making a rational argument to Steve for storing the rice, if they existed in a vacuum. But the former Ometepes have been freezing out the ex Zapateras since the merge. What did Phillip thing they were going to do?  Willfully help them out?

Boston Rob Talks To Phillip

Once the whole story is told, of course what Phillip was asking for wasn’t as rationale as he thought it was. Beyond that, Steve’s comment had more to do with Phillip’s entire persona this season, not just his allegedly rational suggestion for storing the rice. 

A problem with focusing so much time on Phillip’s tirades was that it lent credence to the ravings of a crazy person. (Yes, Phillip’s crazy.  I’m a white male and saying he’s crazy has nothing to do with his color.) Jeff may have calmed Phillip down, but he also placated him and gave him the incorrect feeling that he may have been right to act the way he did. 

Not only did Phillip’s actions hijack the episode, they hijacked this review!  Let’s move on. 

Survivor took another twist this week with a move to a trial (I agree with David, a duel can not incorporate three or more people. They are trials now.) instead of a duel. As someone who wasn’t very enamored with Redemption Island to begin with, moving to a format where it doesn’t really matter if you finish first, only if you don’t finish last is even less exciting. 

I really liked my own idea of filling Redemption Island with all of the people voted off and doing one final endurance-based challenge at the end to determine who gets to go back in the game. Yes, I know there are logistical issues with this as far as who’s on the jury, etc, but I’m sure the producers could figure out a work around.  Is it crucial that whoever returns to the game doesn’t get to see the tribal councils as a potential jury member?

More from this week:

  • I loved the Julie hid Phillip’s shorts and was thoroughly disappointed when she fessed up to it.  It would have been really awesome if Ralph was voted off and after voting off he told Phillip that he’d never find his shorts, as Julie did, but just to take the heat off of Julie or Steve (presuming he doesn’t know who took the shorts either).  You know what would have been even funnier?  If Boston Rob (or one of the ex-Ometepes) had hid the shorts just to shake the bees nest, so to speak.
  • For all of you who are huge Matt lovers, what do you think of him not wanting to stay in the game?  Is he still deserving of coming back if he wins the trials?
  • After Steve just barely lost to Boston Rob in a puzzle-based challenge, why wasn’t he sent home instead of Julie?  I’ll guess that wasn’t the last puzzle challenge we’ll see.


Editor Rating: 2.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 3.5 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

This past episode was bonkers. It didn't really do a whole lot for me as a viewer. However, I was really hoping Phillip's vote for Julie was out of spite for taking his shorts, and somehow that vote would have cost Phillip such as a 4-4-1 tie. Would have been cool if someone had switched and voted for Phillip and Steve or Ralph had gotten the other votes. I really hope something happens soon because the post-merge show has been a sleeper. I agree with Luke about the new Redemption Island format. Leave it one v. one or make it one long endurance challenge. Will someone from the Ometepe tribe ever snap out of it and shake things up a bit? If anything, there are only 4 episodes left so a lot should happen between now and then.


One thing I thought interesting and rather bothersome that no one has talked about yet was when he was being interviewed away from the others. He talked about how he was just like "other black guys." He said something like he could "go off" just like other black guys, "bang, bang, bang, bang," and pretending to shoot around him. We just looked at each other when he did that. What the heck was that about? If I was black, I would have been horribly offended by that. I really do think he's nuts.


Pretty sure Phillip is acting ala Joaquim Phoenix -- I even saw him drop character for a second when he was "ranting" and start to laugh for a second.

Mr probst

@emmitt mak - what were the reactions of your viewing partners?


I watched the show last night with two black men. THey had a much different take on this weeks episode than what is being discussed here.


The novelty of Phillip's rantings and ravings has worn off for me and now all I want to do is slap the stupidity out of him. I can't be held responsible for my actions if I hear him say one more time "I was an agent for...". I don't know why no one has poisoned his food yet. While Coach got on my nerves at least he approached things with a spiritual attitude which was much easier to swallow. As far as I'm concerned, Phillip pulling out the race card was ridiculous and I've lost any shred of respect I had for him, which to be honest wasn't much anyway. It's obvious why he hasn't been voted off yet. Whoever is left with him at the end will have an overwhelming advantage in the voting because Phillip has burned all his bridges. I was blindsided by Julie being voted off. I never heard anyone say a thing about her so how/why did that happen? I felt that she was flying in under the radar but obviously I was wrong. I'd like to know the reasoning for that vote. While Survivor remains one of my favorite TV shows, I have to say this season has been exhausting to watch, courtesy of Phillip. If I had to live with him in such close quarters he'd be dead and buried by now, never to be found.


Phil is making Survivor completely unwatchable for me. But on the other hand...I've completely forgotten Russell was even part of the season.


Phillip was just a clerk not a bona fide agent in the text he is presenting. Why do these people lie about their careers and personal life when everyone can go online and read their bios. I can't wait for him to be voted off. I have been sick of him since day one.


OR, maybe he is playing being a lunatic, knowing Boston Rob will take him to the end, thinking he wouldn't get any votes, then reveals it was his game play to make it to the end. Would you vote for him them? ; )


One thing I kept repeating, and I'm still really annoyed that no one else had said it, but why on earth would you put rice full of maggots in with the GOOD RICE? That isn't any CIA or whatever he is. He would know that you don't contaminate the only good source of food. It seemed to me that he was trying to exert control over THEIR ration of rice. His argument for storing the contaminated rice was flawed, but it did not stop him from attempting to exert control over their food supply any way that he possibly could. He really is crazy.

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Survivor Season 22 Episode 10 Quotes

Redemption Island, Part 2, let's do it. And then, curveball.


I haven't really figured Philip out. I can't figure out how anyone can be that strange.