Phil had no clue what was coming when they sat down at the first Australian Survivor: Brains V Brawn tribal council.
Most of the tribe had agreed to cut author Wai from their ranks that night, but Political Operative George dropped a bomb on those plans.
He revealed he had an advantage that let him save himself and five other members of the Brains tribe from elimination, including Wai.
But Phil wasn't among those saved, and tells TV WEEK: "When he left me behind, I knew I was done... we didn't have a plan B."
The "over-powered" advantage shocked the castaways (and viewers), and Phil says no one on the Brains tribe saw it coming.
No one knew George had the advantage, and Phil only found out when and where George found it when they watched the episode last night.
"You're on Survivor so you do anticipate idols, advantages, but I think none of us were expecting a day one advantage. Especially one that had so much power," they say.
"We were all in suck a state of shock… you can't think straight."
What followed was an incredibly tense tribal council where the six Brains tribe members who weren't saved had to decide who to eliminate after their carefully laid plans went to hell in a handbasket.
"It was a lot more tense that you probably would have seen on screen," Phil admits of the moments the cameras didn't catch.
In the end, they were voted off and became the first castaway to be eliminated from Australian Survivor this season.
Despite the shocking nature of their departure, Phil says there was one consolation: "At least I can say I got voted out because of some crazy twist and not necessarily because I did something wrong."
There's no denying they made an impression; with their charming personality and crocheted crocodile hat, Phil earned themselves plenty of fans in their brief stint on the show.
"I like to think that people did see something in me that they can relate to, and I think the thing that speaks to that the most is that a lot of the fans are upset that I got voted out," they say.
"I'm sure if I was generic person number 5 not many people could differentiate, I'm sure people wouldn't react in the same way. But I was truly myself out there."
As a queer person of colour (QPOC), Phil knew going into the show that they would stand out as "a very specific type of person".
Having rarely seen QPOC represented on Australian TV, Phil was eager to stand up so other young people could see "someone like them" on Survivor.
They tell TV WEEK: "I hope the younger queer kids at home or even POC - especially young Asian kids - saw me as someone they can really relate to and someone that was doing the things that they want to do in the future."
That representation was important to Phil as a long-time Survivor fan who was so eager to "finally play the game".
If they had more time on the show, their strategy was to be the "glue" of a larger alliance, being very personable and playing the social game to stay ahead.
Though they were disappointed to be voted out so soon, Phil is hopeful that one of their fellow Brains tribe members will go on to become sole survivor.
"The person I want to do well – because we were in the same situation at that tribal council and were kindred spirits – was Hayley. She's a super fan as well, she's super smart, we bonded quite a bit out there," they say.
"If it wasn't going to be me it was probably going to be her, so I'm really rooting for her to push past that and succeed."
As for the rest of the Brains tribe, Phil thinks the Brawn tribe – and the rest of Australia – have seriously underestimated them.
"A lot of people online are saying they aren't necessarily as physical as the brawn tribe" they say, but size isn't everything and Phil says the Brains will be able to prove that. "The brains have a surprising amount of strength."
*Phil identifies as non-binary and uses they/them pronouns.