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'Survivor' recap: What looks like crazy on an ordinary day

April 21, 2011 | 10:17 am

99556_D07552 At the beginning of this week’s “Survivor,” Matt’s praying because he fears he’s going insane out on Redemption Island. But the episode would center mainly on someone else’s crazy levels boiling over and neatly edited together. The producers built up strong cases for the audience to go either way as to whether something was crazy or racist, making for a unique tribal council that could serve as a talk-show pilot for host Jeff Probst.

First, Matt and Mike are joined at RI by “Murphy, David Murphy,” and don’t know what to make of a three-person duel. Likewise, Steve and the Zapatera tribe (and us viewers) don’t know what to make of Phillip. When we first see him this week, he’s speaking  some other language, then talks about his meditation being a part of Buddhism. Honestly, when someone can’t pronounce many pronouns correctly and blames it on dry mouth, it’s hard to listen to their religious teachings.

After Phillip is shown at his peaceful, happy place, he’s then upset over Zapatera’s abundance of rice. One assumes the tribes have the same amount of rice, but of course there are only three people left to divvy everything up in Zapatera compared with Ometepe’s six. What would Buddha do? As a former federal agent turned rice policeman, Phillip takes it upon himself to steal some of Zapatera’s rice.

The entire tribe travels over to RI for a house of cards-like stacking “duel,” where Mike, and then Matt, win, staying alive. David is now our first member of the jury, and like Matt and Mike I’m wondering how the rest of these duels will go, or if RI will be over before we know it.

Back at camp, Ometepe’s having a grand ol’ time, singing some song about rice wars as Phillip dances. But then karma strikes. Andrea opens their container of rice only to find it full of maggots. Phillip decides to dump it all and pick out the maggots and the bad rice. Rob then says they should just combine their good rice with Zapatera’s rice. Phillip says that they won’t go for that, and that Ometepe wouldn’t either if it were the other way around.

Of course, this moment of lucidity doesn’t last for Phillip. Steve says they don’t want to combine the rice. Next thing you know, he’s calling himself the chief of counterintelligence (ha), and after Steve calls him crazy, Phillip calls him a racist and throws the N-word around. It was all a bunch of ridiculousness.

It’s challenge time, and everyone has to spin a puzzle base off a stick then solve a puzzle in said base. The first six (Rob, Julie, Ralph, Andrea, Steve and Grant) then had to solve another puzzle for individual immunity, which was won by Rob. And yes, that was as unimportant as it seemed. So let’s return to camp, where Julie, fed up with Phillip, decides to bury his swim trunks. This leads Phillip to further act crazy by threatening Zapatera members, saying he’ll “go off,” while still acting upset over them calling him crazy.

Tribal council time. Probst questions Phillip’s outfit, Phillip blames Steve and then we get into a debate on racism. Phillip does make it all sound OK by referencing Richard Pryor’s stand-up routines and says how, just as only a woman knows when a guy’s being sexist, only a black person knows what’s racist. All this over some rice.

Unfortunately, Julie thinks her confessing to stealing Phillip’s shorts is funny. In the end she was voted out and sent to RI.

OK, guys, what did you think of the episode? Or should I ask, what didn’t you think about it? Like the new format of the duels? Who are you more tired of: Rob, Phillip, or someone else?


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— Anthony Williams / anthonyw_ent

Photos: Rob, left, and Phillip have a chat. Credit: Michael Yarish / CBS