The Amazing Race 29.7 “Have Fun and Get It Done”

Last night’s episode of The Amazing Race was a bit anti-climatic, just because it turned to be a non-elimination leg.  Even though Michael and Liz came in last, they were not eliminated.  Instead, they’ll just have to do a speed bump during the next leg of the race.

It’s interesting that, both times that Liz and Michael have come in last, it’s been a non-elimination leg.  Michael and Liz obviously have a lot of luck on their side and they need it because they’re always either great or terrible.  There’s no in-between when it comes to Liz and Michael.  For a while, I thought that Liz and Michael might make it to the finale.  After watching them over the past few legs, I’ve decided that they’ll probably finish in fourth place.  In many ways, they’re a strong team but they’re hardly perfect.  Liz occasionally get overwhelmed.  Whenever he gets frustrated, Michael turns into a stubborn jerk.  They’re strong enough to survive multiple legs but I don’t know if they’re strong enough to make it to the end.

As for the rest of last night’s episode, it was dominated by the beauty of Venice and some rather foolish melodrama over London and Logan not helping the other teams.  I always find it silly when teams get upset when another team doesn’t stick around to help them.  It’s a race.  You can’t win a race if you’re constantly stopping to help your competitors.  Michael’s constant whining — and there’s really no other way to describe it — about London and Logan not helping him made me lose some respect for him as a competitor.

That said, I’m always happy whenever the Amazing Race reaches Venice.  I spent the summer after high school graduation in Italy and I absolutely love Venice.  Last night’s episode brought back a lot of good memories.

Here’s how the teams did, in order of their finish:

Coming in first, Matt and Redmond!  They finally got their first place finish.  Perhaps it helped that they were no longer being distracted by their feud with Vanck and Ashton.

Coming in second, Becca and Floyd!  I’ve grown to actually like Floyd but Becca still drives me up the wall.  At least Becca has stopped talking about her fun meter.

Coming in third, Tara and Joey!  Team Boring is still running a strong race.

Coming in fourth, Brooke and Scott!  Brooke is still annoying and Scott is still trying to grin and bear it.  That everyone was shocked by Brooke’s success at the Roadblock shows you how little regard the rest of the teams have for Team Brooke and Scott.

Coming in fifth, London and Logan!  Everyone got so upset over London and Logan not helping anyone else find the first clue in Venice but I probably wouldn’t have helped either.  It’s a race and they’re getting way too close to the end to worry about anyone other than themselves.  Considering that London and Logan have always been at the back of the pack, I don’t blame them for looking out for themselves.

Coming in sixth, Liz and Michael!  It was a non-eliminated but they’ll have to do an extra task during the next leg. Also, the next leg will feature a double u-turn.  So, they’re success will largely depend on Michael not overreacting and getting frustrated.  Good luck with that.

As always, we’ll see what happens next week!

Lisa Marie

 

Survivor 34 Episode 9 “Reinventing How This Game Is Played”

As some of you have probably already noticed, the above picture, of Zeke being voted off the island, is not from tonight’s episode.

Instead, it’s from the previous season.  During Millennials vs. Gen X, Zeke was eliminated on Day 33 and he was the 11th person to voted out of the game.  This season, Zeke was the 9th person voted out of the game and he left on Day 29.  Zeke competed in two back-to-back seasons and he was eliminated at roughly the same point during each one of them.  Both times, he was also eliminated for roughly the same reason.

During both of his seasons, Zeke emerged as a strong player and a genuine threat to win.  He was good at making alliances.  He was a good strategist.  He’s a good social player, though perhaps not as good as he thinks he is.  (During both seasons, his fellow castaways either loved Zeke or totally distrusted him.)  Twice, Zeke’s downfall has been his ego.  During both this season and the last, Zeke ended up getting cocky and, twice, this self-described master strategist was blind-sided.

To be honest, this was kind of a confusing episode.  For most of the episode, I suspected that Zeke was going to be voted out.  He was too strong of a player and even the majority of his alliance didn’t seem to really trust him.  I knew that if Zeke didn’t go tonight, he would probably go next week.  But, with all that in mind, it was still hard to keep track of what led to the votes coming down the way that they did.

The final tally was 5 votes for Zeke, 3 votes for Tai, and 2 votes for Sierra.  Andrea, who was really the mastermind of the whole plot to get rid of Zeke, did a very good job of keeping both Zeke and the other alliance from finding out about her plan.  As far as I can, it appears that Brad, Sierra, Troyzan, Tai, and Zeke all believed that 1) the target was Sierra and that 2) the plan was to split the vote between Sierra and Tai.  That’s the only way that I can explain those 3 votes for Tai.  Just imagine if all five of those non-Zeke votes had been cast for either Tai or Sierra.  It would have led to a tie.  The final vote was either the result of brilliant strategy or dumb luck.

(Hopefully, next week’s episode will fill us in on why Brad, Sierra, and Troyzan all voted for Tai.)

As for the rest of tonight’s episode, I enjoyed the reward challenge.  I liked the fact that Jeff Probst’s endless monologue actually contained the solution to the puzzle.  I know if I was on Survivor, I would probably tune out Jeff during any of the challenges but tonight’s episode showed why that would probably be a mistake.

I’ll admit that I yelled at the TV when Sarah told Cirie about her special advantage.  Sarah’s putting a lot of trust in Cirie and I’m not sure that’s a great idea.

Speaking of yelling, was anyone else briefly excited at the idea of Tai being the first player to get voted out with not just one but two immunity idols on him?  If that had happened, it would be a legendary moment in Survivor history.

Finally, I’m not sure that tonight was the right moment to vote out Zeke.  I would have gotten rid of all the members of Brad’s alliance before turning on one of my own allies.  Next week, I imagine that we’re going to see two new alliances form.  Cirie is in a position of power right now but so far, all of the power players have been getting blind-sided.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 29.6 “Double U-Turn Ahead”

There were two good things about tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race.

First off, the sixth leg of the race took the teams to Italy.  The summer after I graduated high school, I went to Italy so I spent this entire episode pointing at the TV and going, “I’ve been there!”  I’m sure that probably got annoying after a little while but Italy is a beautiful country and I have a lot of good memories of my trip.  It was nice to be reminded of that summer.

The other good thing was that it proved something that I’ve always said about this show.  If you live by the U-turn, you will eventually die by the U-turn.  Earlier in the race, for no particular reason, Vanck and Ashton used the U-turn on Matt and Redmond.  When that U-turn failed to knock their rivals out of the race, Ashton responded by taunting them over only coming in third at the end of the third leg.

Subsequently, Ashton has managed get on everyone’s nerves with her superior attitude.  She has also treated her partner with almost nonstop disdain, constantly complaining about having to run the race with him.  While I can understand not wanting to race with Vanck (because, let’s be honest, he just gives off a creepy vibe), Vanck was her partner.  She was stuck with him.  All the complaining in the world wasn’t going to change that and, at the very least, Vanck was still a better partner to Ashton than Shamir was to Sarah.

This episode, Ashton’s attitude finally came back to bite her.  In Italy, with a U-turn approaching, all of the other teams conspired to get Vanck and Ashton out of the race.  Liz and Michael u-turned Vanck and Ashton.  Becca and Floyd, who arrived right after, then u-turned Liz and Michael knowing that Liz and Michael would not be affected by it and that, as a result, only Vanck and Ashton would have to do both tasks of the detour.

From the minute Vanck and Ashton were detoured, it was pretty much over for them.  They were already running behind and, as soon as they saw that they would have to do both tasks, they seemed to give up.  I would feel bad for them if not for the way Ashton had treated everyone else.  I hate to see people gang up once team but, in this case, Ashton and Vanck brought it on themselves.

Karma.  Don’t mess with it.

As for how the others team did, here they are in order of finish:

Becca and Floyd came in first!  They call themselves Team Fun and I know a lot of people love them but I think I would go insane if I had to spend more than five minutes in the presence of either one of them.  Positive energy is good in theory but sometimes, you need a break from the relentless joy.

Matt and Redmond came in second!  They’re both obviously frustrated by the fact that they have yet to get a first place finish but they’re running a strong race and I do think they might very well end up winning it all.  They work well together and they have no obvious weaknesses.  Tonight, it was just a matter of luck that Becca and Floyd reached the mat first.

Tara and Joey came in third.  Team Boring is still running strong.

Liz and Michael came in fourth.  They’ve got a way to go to return to their former glory but at least Liz and Michael are actually talking to each other again.  They’re either going to be put the last leg’s meltdown behind them or it’s going to happen again and they’ll end up being eliminated.

Brooke and Scott came in fifth.  I pretty much lost what little patience I had for Brooke tonight.  Her partner has twice conquered his crippling fear of heights.  Tonight, Brooke was the one who had to climb a mountain and look for a clue and, as always happens whenever she has to do something difficult, Brooke’s response was to have an emotional meltdown.  I mean, I’m scared of heights too but sometimes, you have to stop whining and just do whatever has to be done.  Brooke and Scott have been consistently in the back of the pack so, if they don’t get it together, they’re not going to be around much longer.

Logan and London came in sixth.  London and Logan should be a strong team but, for whatever reason, they have yet to move up in the rankings.  So far, over the course of six legs, they have finished: 8th twice, 5th three times, and now in 6th.  I’ve grown to like London and Logan but there’s only so many times you can narrowly avoid finishing last.

And finally, in seventh, Vanck and Ashton!  Sorry, y’all.  It’s always good to have a villain on any reality show but no one actually wants to see the villains stick around for too long.  With the season halfway over, it was time for Vanck and Ashton to get their comeuppance and move on.

Next week, they’re in Venice!

Ah, what wonderful memories.

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 8 “A Line Drawn in Concrete”

Ding dong, the witch is dead!

To be honest, that’s the same thing that I said the last time that Debbie was voted out of the game.  A part of me feels that may be unfair on my part.  Debbie, after all, is just trying to win a game and it’s always been totally possible that she’s either been the victim of a bad edit or that she was deliberately playing crazy just to get more screen time.  She could be a perfectly normal and reasonable person outside of Survivor.  I kinda doubt it but stranger things turned out to be true.

That said, though, there’s only so much Debbie that you can take in a season.  Every season of Survivor needs a crazy person but, at the same time, every season of Survivor needs for that crazy person to be voted out at some point.  My concern was that Debbie would get taken to the final three, just because everyone would assume that they could easily beat her.

But no, Debbie was voted out tonight.  She was blindsided.  Really, she should have seen it coming.  First off, she put way too much faith in the idea that her six person alliance was rock solid.  The closer a tribe is divided, the more likely that someone is going to flip and betray their alliance.  Secondly, Debbie made the mistake of trying to talk about Sarah behind her back.  When Aubry told Sarah about what Debbie had been saying, there was a little doubt that Sarah would flip on her alliance.

After spending most of this season in the background, Sarah was pretty active tonight.  In fact, this episode basically was the Sarah Show.  First off, at the end of the reward challenge, she was the one who not only found the extra advantage but managed to grab it without anyone noticing.  This time, the advantage was the power to steal one person’s vote.  That’s a good advantage, assuming that Sarah plays it correctly.

Then, back at camp, Sarah’s alliance — Brad, Sierra, Tai, Troyzan, and Debbie — made the mistake of deciding to target Andrea without even talking to Sarah about it.  Cirie, meanwhile, told Sarah that she needed to make a big move if she was going to have any hope at winning the game.  And so, Sarah made that move.

At Tribal, Troyzan had immunity.  The Debbie/Brad alliance targeted Andrea.  The Cirie/Zeke alliance targeted Debbie.  Sarah was the deciding vote and, when she flipped and switched sides, the final vote was 6-5 in favor of sending Debbie to the jury.

And, just like that, the power has shifted.  Brad, Troyzan, and Sierra are now at the bottom of the tribe.  Tai would be in trouble, except for the fact that he has two immunity idols and, assuming he’s smart enough to 1) keep them for himself and 2) realize if he’s being targeted so that he’ll know when to play them, those idols should keep him safe long enough for him to make a new alliance.  For now, Cirie is the most powerful player in the game, though you have to wonder how long it will be before she and Zeke turn on each other.

And finally, who is Sarah going to side with next week?  Is she going to permanently become an ally of the Cirie/Zeke alliance?  Is she going to go back to the Brad alliance?  Or is she going to remain in the middle?

We’ll find out next week!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 29.4 “Another One Bites The Dust” and 29.5 “Have Faith In Me, Borski”

Last night, we had two episodes of the Amazing Race.  During the first episode, the racers remained in Tanzania and it ended with an elimination.  During the second episode, the remaining teams went to Norway and the episode ended with Phil announcing, at the Pit Stop, that the leg was only halfway over and, as such, the final team to arrive was not eliminated.

There was nothing that surprising about what happened in Tanzania.  It was a tough leg but, for the most part, the teams that have been doing well continued to do well and the teams that have been struggling continued to struggle.  I don’t think anyone was shocked when Sara and Shamir were eliminated.  Ever since Shamir’s breakdown in Brazil, that teams had been obviously doomed.  I felt bad for Sarah.  She seemed like a strong competitior but she got stuck with a terrible partner.  It definitely wasn’t fair to her.

The Norway leg of the race was a lot more fun to watch than the Tanzania leg.  Norway is a beautiful country and the detour with the trolls was really cute.  What was shocking about Norway was that, after working so well together, Liz and Michael had a complete meltdown.  They stopped communicated.  They started arguing.  Michael got his feelings hurt because he wasn’t in charge.  Even when they discovered that they had not been eliminated from the race, they stood at the mat arguing.  Will these two be able to continue?  I think they will, if just because they’re both racing for their families.  But they’ve got to get over being mad at each other or they’re doomed.

Here’s some thoughts on the racers, in order of their finish in Norway:

Tara and Joey — After coming in first in both Tanzania and Norway, Tara and Joey are suddenly the new front-runners.  Personality-wise, they’re still pretty bland but they’re running a good race.

Matt and Redmond — They came in fourth in Tanzania and second in Norway.  That first place finish continues to elude them but I still wouldn’t be surprised to see them win.

Becca and Floyd — Team fun is coming on strong!  Becca and Floyd did not annoy me as much as they usually do.  They came in 2nd in Tanzania and 3rd in Norway, despite doing the fast forward.

Vanck and Ashton — Team Unlikable.  After taunting Matt and Redmond about always coming in third, Vanck and Ashton came in 6th in Tanzania and 4th in Norway.  Vanck still seems to be off in his own little world most of the time.  Ashton has managed to annoy everyone and she is probably going to get her team u-turned.

London and Logan — They came in fifth in Tanzania and 5th in Norway.  They haven’t had any major missteps but they have yet to really show themselves to be the type of team that will make it to the end.

Brooke and Scott — They came in seventh in Tanzania and 6th in Norway.  With Shamir and Scott gone, Brooke and Scott are the new dysfunctional team.  Scott is regularly conquering his fear of heights.  Brooke had a nervous breakdown because she had to make a ladle.

Liz and Michael — Third in Tanzania and then 7th in Norway!  As soon as they got to Europe, Liz and Michael had an epic meltdown.  They stopped communicating.  They stopped working together.  They’ve got to get it together as they will be the next to go.  I put most of the blame on Michael, who can’t handle not being in charge.  He nearly sacrificed their race for his ego.

And finally…

Shamir and Sara — Eliminated in Tanzania.  No one was surprised.  Poor Sara.

That’s it for now!  We’ll see what happens next week,

Lisa Marie

Survivor 34 Episode 8 “There’s A New Sheriff In Town”

Tonight’s episode of Survivor was a two-hour episode.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps there’s some sort of sporting event next week, since The Amazing Race is doing a two-hour episode tomorrow as well.

One thing about these double-sized episodes is that, because they’re longer than usual and feature twice as money comps and councils as usual, there’s always a tendency to think that they’re more dramatic than they actually are.  To be honest, nothing unexpected really happened tonight.  No one expected Hali to be a major force in the game and she wasn’t.  Everyone knew Ozzy would probably end up blindsided and he was.

First Hali was voted out.  I’m not totally sure why everyone suddenly turned against Hali.  To be honest, I’m still not totally sure how she came to be the one who was voted out.  Maybe it was because she didn’t really have any close allies and no one felt guilty for voting for her.  I know that Sierra was apparently worried that Hali had an idol, because Hali was acting too confident after the merge.

Of course, the original target was Michaela who, like Hali, didn’t have any close allies and was seen as being an “easy” vote.  But then Michaela and Cirie teamed up and, when Sierra started talking about splitting the votes between Hali and Michaela, Cirie saw an opportunity to convince everyone to just vote for Hali instead.

After spending much of this season in the background, Cirie really stepped up and proved herself tonight.  Cirie’s smartest move was to go ahead and vote for Michaela, even though she had convinced enough people to vote for Hali.  That way, if Cirie’s plan hadn’t worked, she could have claimed to have been targeting Michaela from the beginning.  It was a risky move but it paid off for her.

Here’s how that first vote went:

Andrea — Michaela

Aubry — Hali

Brad — Hali

Ciriie — Michaela

Debbie — Hali

Michaela — Zeke

Sara — Michaela

Sierra — Hali

Tai — Hali

Troyzan — Hali

Zeke — Michaela

Ozzy — Hali

Hali — Zeke

As I said, it was a messy tribal and I’m still not totally sure why everyone voted the way that they did.  But the important thing is that Hali was evicted with 4 votes and became the first member of the jury.

As for Ozzy — well, we all knew Ozzy wasn’t going to last.  What’s amazing is that, for all the times that Ozzy has been on the show, he still doesn’t seem to understand the importance of having a good social game.  Just being the “provider” and bragging about catching fish is not enough, especially after the merge.  The minute that Ozzy started bragging on himself while holding onto the pole during the immunity challenge, I knew he was doomed.

And I was sorry to see Ozzy go.  I like Ozzy.  I wanted Ozzy to finally win this season.  But Ozzy has got to learn from his mistakes or he’s going to get blindsided every time he appears on Survivor.

The second tribal vote was, in many ways, just as confusing as the first.  A lot of people received just one vote, which would seem to indicate that none of the alliances (if you can call them that) are particularly solid.  Personally, I think that it would have made more sense to get rid of Zeke, who is actually more of a threat to win than Ozzy.  But, at the last minute, Sierra and Debbie decided to go after Ozzy.  Debbie even wasted her extra vote on him.

(By the way, if I have to listen to Debbie talk about how difficult Exile was one more time…)

Here’s how the vote went:

Andrea — Zeke

Aubry — Zeke

Brad — Ozzy

Cirie — Sierra

Debbie — Two votes for Ozzy

Michaela — Zeke

Sarah — Ozzy

Sierrra — Ozzy

Tai — Ozzy

Troyzan — Ozzy

Zeke — Aubry

Ozzy — Zeke

By seven votes, Ozzy was voted out.

So, after tonight’s episode, here’s who is left in the newly formed Maku Maku Tribe:

Andrea

Aubry

Brad

Cirie

Debbie

Michaela

Sarah

Sierra

Tai

Troyzan

Zeke

Right now, Cirie seems to be playing the best game.  Zeke is also a threat to win, though he’s starting to get a little bit cocky.  (The same thing proved to be his downfall last season.)  As for who is playing the worst game, both Sierra and Debbie are coming on way too strong and getting rid of Ozzy is only going to make them worse.  I’m predicting blindsides for both of them.

That’s it for now!

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 29.3 “Bucket List Type Stuff”

Things change quickly on The Amazing Race.

At the end of the first leg, I thought that Seth and Olive were the team to beat and that Liz and Michael were obviously doomed.  Now, two legs later, Seth and Olive have been eliminated and Liz and Michael are quickly emerging as the team to beat.

Last night’s episode saw our teams going from Brazil (home of my friend, Alexandre Rothier — hi, Alex, if you’re reading!) to Tanzania.  The episode also saw this season’s first appearance of a Blind Double U-Turn.  Ashton and Vanck used the U-Turn on Matt and Redmond, largely because Ashton is still mad over … well, nothing.  (Ashton is convinced that Matt and Redmond went back on a promise they had made but the fact of the matter is that, when Matt and Redmond arrived at that travel office, Ashton was nowhere to be seen and…AGCK!  I get annoyed just writing about it.)  Tara and Joey used the U-turn on Seth and Olive and essentially knocked them out of the race.

This was supposed to be a blind U-turn but it didn’t work out that way.  Matt and Redmond figured out that Ashton and Vanck u-turned them and, since Ashton and Vanck were the 2nd team to arrive at the u-turn, that meant that the first team — Tara and Joey — must have u-turned Seth and Olive.

Matt and Redmond were not happy about being u-turned and they quickly showed how scary a team they can actually be.  They not only flew through both tasks in the detour but then managed to finish in fourth place.  For no good reason, Ashton and Vanck have now made permanent enemies.

Seth and Olive were less successful.  In fact, they almost seemed to give up once they saw that they were u-turned.  A final mistake — Seth deciding to run to the pit stop instead of taking a taxi — sealed their last place finish.  Despite the fact that there was a delay in checking in Becca and Floyd (as a result of Floyd temporarily misplacing his passport), Seth and Olive were eliminated from the race.

Here’s how each team finished, along with a few thoughts:

In first place, Liz and Michael.  After a terrible first leg, they are working well together and are now the new front-runners to win it all.  Who would’ve guessed?

In second place, Tara and Joey.  They’re not an exciting team but they are emerging as a strong one.  Playing the U-turn paid off for them.

In third place, Vanck and Ashton.  They’ve run two good legs but it’s hard not to feel that they’re about to fall apart.  Ashton is way too hung up on Matt and Redmond’s supposed betrayal.  Meanwhile, Vanck remains as detached as ever.

In fourth, Matt and Redmond.  In must be said, Matt and Redmond went a little bit overboard when it came to getting upset about the U-turn.  It really is just a part of the game.  But it was hard not to be impressed by the fact that the U-turn didn’t even slow them down.  They are a scary team and definitely contenders to win it all.

In fifth, London and Logan.  So far, they’ve shown no personality but they’re just so pretty!

In sixth, Brooke and Scott.  They seem like they a strong team but they are perennially stuck in the back of the pack.

In seventh, Shamir and Sara.  I’m tempted to call them Team Whiny Little Bitch but that’s not fair to Sara.  There’s only one whiny little bitch in this team and it’s not her.  Sara’s strong but she’s found herself stuck with one of the worst partners in the history of the Amazing Race.  What’s funny is that, every time they check in, you can tell that Phil absolutely loathes Shamir.

In eighth, Becca and Floyd!  They would have been in fifth place but Floyd misplaced his passport.  Oh, how I was hoping to see Team Fun eliminated.

In ninth, Seth and Olive.  Bye bye, former front runners.

Who will be eliminated next?  I’m going to guess Shamir and Sara because it’s going to have to happen at some point.  Poor Sara.

Lisa Marie