The Amazing Race 27: There Is Still Good In The World

There’s no way that I can write about tonight’s episode of The Amazing Race without talking about the terrible and tragic events that happened in Paris earlier on November 13th.  As I sit here typing this, over 140 people have been confirmed dead in a series of terrorist attacks.  France is in a state of emergency and I think that we are all in a state of shock.

Myself, I’ve always loved France.  When I visited France the summer after graduating high school, I was struck by the beauty of both the countryside and the cities.  And, despite what we are constantly told, the majority of French citizens that I met were very friendly and very polite.

As I watched the latest episode of The Amazing Race, I could not help but think about that post-graduation trip to Europe.  One of the wonderful things about the Amazing Race is that it truly spans the globe.  Yes, the ultimate goal is to win and not be eliminated and yes, there have been more than a few racers who have acted like stereotypical ignorant tourists but, for me, the best parts of the Race are the moments racers stop obsessing over the money and instead, just appreciate the world around them.  The Amazing Race reminds us that the world can be a beautiful place and that was something about which we needed to be reminded tonight.

Tonight’s leg of The Amazing Race saw the racers traveling from The Netherlands to Poland.  From the start of this leg to the end, it was pretty obvious that Tanner and Josh were going to come in last.  They simply had no luck during this leg of the race.  From the minute they couldn’t find a taxi, I was dreading the thought of them being eliminated.

Fortunately, they were not.  When they reached the pit stop, they were informed that this was a non-elimination leg of the race.  I was so happy that Tanner and Josh were not eliminated but you know what?  If they had been eliminated, they could have left with their heads held high.  So far, they have run an honorable race and that continued tonight.  Even knowing that it could lead to them being eliminated, they worked with the cheerleaders at the final road block.  And when it came time to show off that tray of food and get the final clue that would lead them to go to the roadblock, they allowed the cheerleaders to go first.


Because the cheerleaders were there first and they felt it was the right thing to do.

Along with Tanner and Josh potentially sacrificing their race for the cheerleaders, the other big moment of Friday’s episode was when each team visited the offices of Oskar Schindler and reflected on his legacy.  Some of these racers I like more than others but still, it was touching to see how moved all of them were by the experience.  And it served to remind us that, in ways both large and small, there is still kindness in this world.  There are still good people.

Finally, here’s a few thoughts on how each team did tonight, in order of when they reached the pit stop:

Coming in first, Justin and Diana.  Justin and Diana are starting to look like they might be unstoppable.  There’s a U-turn in the next leg of the race and Justin and Diana better hope they reach it before everyone else.

Coming in second, Kelsey and Joey.  8 legs into the race and Kelsey and Joey remain both as strong and as boring as they were when the race began.

Coming in third, Denise and James Earl.  *Sigh*  You know what?  Every episode, I predict that Denise and James Earl are going to be eliminated.  Every episode, I’m wrong.  So, this episode I am going to predict that Denise and James Earl are going to win the Amazing Race.  Maybe that’ll get rid of them…

Coming in fourth, Logan and Chris.  Yep, the battling paparazzi are still there.  I’m as shock as anyone.

Coming in fifth, Tiffany and Krista.  I love the cheerleaders but they got a little bit whiny during this episode.  (Then again, it’s easy to judge when you’re just sitting at home and watching.  If I had been in the same situation — having to beg for money and then having to carry around a heavy tray — I probably would have been crying up a storm.)  Hopefully, they will recover and be a lot stronger during the next leg.

Coming in sixth, Tanner and Josh!  Thank God it wasn’t a double eviction.  After being one of the early front runners, Tanner and Josh have really been struggling lately.  They’re a strong team but they have the worst luck.  Here’s hoping that things look up for them during the next leg!

Next episode, it’s U-turn time!  Who will be make it and who will be eliminated?

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: Give ‘Em The Finger, Savage!

Hi everyone!

Well, as I watched Andrew Savage’s torch get snuffed out at the end of Tribal Council and as I saw Ciera grinning as if she had something to do with it and then Kelly Wentworth bragging about how loyal she is while Abi-Maria smirked and Kass sneered from her perch in the jury, I thought to myself, “Give them the finger, Savage.  Give them the finger.”

And he did!

And you know what?  Some people will probably say that wasn’t a classy way to go out or that he was being a sore loser but I don’t care.  Unfortunately, one of the realities of Survivor is that a good player can often be taken out by a total and complete moron.  It’s one of the things that keeps the show interesting but it’s never easy to watch.

Tonight, three of the stupidest people on the beach voted for Savage.  One of those stupid people had an idol.  It’s interesting to note that Wentworth didn’t both to tell Abi-Maria or Ciera about her idol.  (That was probably Wentworth’s smartest move of the entire game.  If either Abi or Ciera was smart, they would want to know why Wentworth didn’t trust them with that info but Ciera and Abi aren’t smart so Wentworth has nothing to worry about.)  As a result, Andrew Savage — who was playing a good game — was voted out.  Sadly, that’s the way it happens sometimes on Survivor.  If the rest of the tribe had voted for Ciera instead of Wentworth, the night would have gone much differently.

What suck is that Ciera is going to see that as being a great strategic move on her part.  Actually, it’s not.  Ciera got lucky.  Call it dumb luck.  You can call a lot of things about Ciera dumb.

Ciera, Abi, and Wentworth are still outnumbered but I have a feeling that Stephen might be willing to come over to their side.  The person who I really feel bad for is Joe.  Joe has to know that the minute he loses an immunity, he’s going to be a target.

Sorry, I can’t be too positive about this episode.  It was a good episode, don’t get me wrong.  In many ways, this is the type of episode that caused many of us to fall in love with Survivor.   And if you’re a Ciera fan, there is no hope for you you probably enjoyed this episode.

But, since Ciera reminds me of this girl that I couldn’t stand in High School and since I find her to be one of the most annoying Survivors ever, this episode left me feeling pretty frustrated.  Perhaps the best thing about this episode is that it’ll make it even more satisfying once Ciera is sent to the jury.

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 27: I’m not shocked but…

Hi, everyone!

Well, I was out for most of tonight (my sister and I went to see The Peanuts Movie, which was adorable, by the way) but I did set the DVR to record the latest episode of The Amazing Race.  I just watched it and my reaction …

Well, it’s hard to describe.

I can’t really say that I’m shocked to see Cindy and Rick eliminated from the race.  I don’t think anyone was expecting them to be one of the final three teams.  The high point of their race came when they finished third during the first leg.  Otherwise, they’ve generally been an inept team and have been stuck in the back of the pack.

I knew they would be eliminated eventually but I wasn’t expecting it to happen tonight.  Before I watched tonight’s episode, I was expecting that either Logan and Chris or Denise and James Earl would be the next to go.  However, as the race moved from France to the Netherlands, Logan and Chris managed to hold on.  Denise and James Earl came close to coming in last.  But, ultimately, it was Cindy and Rick who came in last and were eliminated.  Six teams are left and, by my calculations, there should be two more “non-elimination, you’re still racing” legs left.

Here’s how everyone did tonight, in order of arrival at the pit stop:

Coming in first, yet again — Justin and Diana!  They have now won 4 legs of the race and, despite the fact that they’ve been arguing, they’re starting to look almost unbeatable.  Then again, Rachel and Brendon occasionally looked unbeatable when they ran the race and both times, they came in third.

Coming in second (and coming very close to coming in first) — Kelsey and Joey!  Over these past few episodes, Kelsey and Joey have really emerged as a strong — if not a necessarily very interesting — team.  (They are, of course, both news anchors and you can always tell that they’re being very careful not to say or do anything that could harm their career.)  Though things can always change, it appears that Kelsey and Joey have replaced Tanner and Josh as Justin and Diana’s main competition.

Coming in third — Tiffany and Krista!  Back when Tiffany and Krista were regularly finishing in the back of the pack, I kept insisting that they were a lot stronger than they seemed.  And, every time I said that, a part of me was scared that they would get eliminated in the next episode and make me look totally foolish.  So, needless to say, I am thrilled to see them doing so well.  These past two episode have been vindication for both me and them.

Coming in fourth — Tanner and Josh!  I still believe in my Texas boys but, during the next leg, they need to do something to break out of being in the middle of the pack.  During this episode, they won my heart by sight-seeing around Paris.  True, that did put them behind some of the other teams but I would have done the exact same thing!

Coming in fifth — Logan and Chris!  Logan and Chris actually worked together fairly well during this leg but, according to the preview for next week’s episode, they will soon be back to behaving like the dysfunctional team that we all know and love.

Coming in sixth — Denise and James Earl!  I was so sure they would be eliminated tonight.  But, no, they survived to run another leg of the race.  As I mentioned last week, I’m over dealing with the nonstop dysfunction of their relationship.

And finally, coming in seventh — Rick and Cindy.  Peace be with you, eliminated team, because we hardly knew you.

And that was the 7th leg of the Amazing Race!  5 more legs to go!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: Finally!


I really was starting to get worried that Kass was going to be around for the rest of the season.  As I think I’ve made clear in the past, I am not a huge fan of Kass.  To be honest, everything about her annoys me.  Her smug manner, her half-smirk, her constant bragging on herself: all of it made her unbearable.  Even worse, she insisted on calling herself Chaos Kass and there’s nothing more pathetic than referring to yourself by a nickname that you came up with.

During tonight’s episode, the two tribes merged.  This is perhaps the earlier this tribes have ever merged.  It’s certainly the earliest that they’ve ever started to add players to the jury.  (This jury is either going to be huge or else the show is going to have a Final 4, instead of a Final 3.  Either way, it’s going to be different.)  But, regardless, the two tribes are one.  Tribal immunity is done with.  Now, it’s all about individual immunity.

Who made it to the merge?  Here’s a membership list of the new Orkun Tribe:











Andrew Savage

Kelley Wentworth

Kelly Wigglesworth

Someone from that list is going to be winner of Survivor 31.  However, it definitely will not be Kass.  After spending most of tonight’s episode bragging about how she was in the perfect position and getting cocky, Kass ended up getting sent to the jury tonight.  And I could not be happier!

Why did Kass end up getting voted?  Mostly it’s because she acted like Kass.  She attempted to form her own alliance with Ciera, Wentworth, and Abi-Maria (and it’s telling that Kass automatically made an alliance with the three stupidest people on the beach).  When she realized that the rest of the tribe was planning on splitting their votes between her and Ciera, Kass attempted to recruit Spencer into her alliance.  If Spencer would vote with her, that would be five votes and enough to send home Kass’s target.

Of course, Kass made a huge mistake.  She went after Tasha.  Kass is obsessed with Tasha but nobody else had any reason to want to vote her out.  In the end, Spencer clearly could not bring himself to fully trust Kass and he voted with the majority.  The final vote was 6 votes for Kass, 4 votes for Ciera, 2 votes for Tasha, and 1 vote for Andrew Savage.

That vote for Savage was cast by Kass’s main alley, Ciera.  Why did Ciera vote for Savage instead of Tasha?  I imagine that she realized that Kass was going home and she felt that maybe she could get Savage to lose control by voting for him.  Ciera spent a good deal of tonight’s episode bragging about her ability to create chaos around camp and making Savage paranoid would be a good way to do just that.

Of course, Savage has also announced that Ciera is his number one target.  This was largely because Ciera decided to help out Kass by telling a lot of lies and insinuating that Savage was looking to get rid of Jeremy.  Ciera was trying to be Chaos Ciera and, as I watched her, I couldn’t help but think about the last time Ciera played this game.  In both her seasons, Ciera didn’t really have to seem a strategy.  Instead, she just watched a stronger player and imitated whatever they did.  This season, she watched Kass and imitated her.  That may have been a mistake.

Finally, the first immunity challenge was won by Joe!  There was some brief speculation among the survivors about who has an immunity idol.  Right now, it appears that there are only two idols this season.  Wentworth has one.  Jeremy has the other.

Who knows what we’ll happen next week.  I’m just glad that Kass won’t be winning!

Lisa Marie


The Amazing Race 27: “And you’re still racing…”

Hi, everyone.

So, I guess that the producers of The Amazing Race decided to try to shake things up this season by doing away with the old non-elimination legs.  It used to be that if you came in last during a non-elimination leg, that meant that you would either lose all your money or you would be given an extra task during the next leg.

Now, it appears that, whenever there’s a non-elimination leg, that means that as soon as a team reaches the pit stop, they will be greeted by Phil who will tell them, “You’re the first to arrive but you’re still racing, here’s your next clue.”

And that really doesn’t bother me.  In past seasons, the extra task was never anything difficult and never really seemed to impact whether or not the team actually stayed in the race.  It worries me that none of the teams are going to get a chance to rest at the pit stop but then again, it’s totally possible that, when the teams get to Amsterdam during the next leg, they’ll be told to check into a hotel and get some sleep.  These things have a way of working themselves out.

In tonight’s episode, the racers flew to Paris, France.  I love France so I enjoyed this episode.  I also enjoyed watching the racers struggle to correctly pronounce the French national slogan.  Obviously, none of them took French in high school or college.

No one was eliminated during this leg, though we did see every team but one reach the pit stop before the end of the show.  What was interesting is that two underdog teams actually did rather well tonight.

Here’s my thoughts on the teams, in the order that they reached the pit stop:

Justin and Diana are still running strong and managed to come in first but there are signs of trouble.  They came in first but they also appeared to be fighting a lot.  That could be a case of selective editing (it’s always more dramatic when the teams fight) or it could be a sign of future trouble.  Or maybe they were just having a bad day.

Coming in second, Tiffany and Krista!  After being in the back of the pack for the entire race, my favorite underdog racers came in a strong second tonight.  They’ve been working well together and I think they’re proving why it was a mistake to underestimate them.

Coming in third, Kelsey and Joey.  Kelsey and Joey may not be all that interesting personality-wise but they’re a consistently strong team.

Coming in fourth, Tanner and Josh.  Tanner and Josh are also a strong team, even if they have made a few caress mistakes.  I like Tanner and Josh so I hope they’ll be around until the end.

Coming in fifth, Cindy and Rick.  Though they’re still in the back of the pack, Cindy and Rick actually ran a pretty good leg.  They work well together but it’s still hard to imagine either of them making it to the final leg.

Coming in sixth, Logan and Chris.  They  didn’t fight as much during this leg of the race but it still feels like only a matter of time until they’re eliminated.

And finally, Denise and James Earl.  After starting off in first place, Team Alabama had a TERRIBLE time during this latest leg of the race.  When we last saw them, they were still hung up at the detour, with Denise heroically engaged in a futile attempt to transform herself into a rapper.  I felt bad for her.  If they get eliminated, her son will probably never stop blaming her.

And that’s where things are as we start Leg 7 of The Amazing Race!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: So heart-breaking…

Hi, everyone.

Well, tonight’s episode of Survivor was just heart-breaking.  Now, before I go into too much detail, I should admit that I balanced watching Survivor with listening to my boyfriend talk about the Republican debate tonight.  So, bear with me as I attempt to recap what happened and feel free to let me know if I get anything wrong.

So, basically, tonight’s episode started with Jeff Probst visiting the Ta Keo Tribe in the middle of the night and letting Terry Dietz know that his son was in the hospital and that both his wife and his son’s doctor felt that it was serious enough that Terry should come home.  Without hesitating, Terry said goodbye to his tribe and then left the game.  And I have to say that this was Terry at his best.  There was no reluctance on his part.  There was no “Do I really want to give up the game?” drama that we’ve gotten from past contestants who, for whatever reason, had to leave early.  Terry heard that his family needed him and he left.

At the end of the show, we found out what had happened.  Terry’s son needed a heart transplant and, happily, he got one.  Seeing him sitting next to Terry and looking healthy, it brought tears to my eyes.  And so, we say farewell to Terry and wish the best for his son, Danny.

Anyway, Terry leaving did not affect the game as much as you might think because, as soon as the tribes met for the reward challenge, Jeff announced that they were once again doing a tribal shuffle.  The Angkor tribe no longer existed and, through a random draw, the new Bayon and Ta Keo Tribes were selected.

After the shuffle, here’s what the two tribes looked like:

Ta Keo:

Woo (former Ta Keo, former Angkor)

Spencer (Former Ta Keo, Former Bayon)

Ciera (Former Bayon)

Abi-Maria (Former Ta Keo, Former Angkor)

Kass (Former Bayon)

Andrew Savage (Former Bayon, Former Angkor)

Kelly Wigglesworth (Former Ta Keo, Former Bayon)


Joe (former Bayon, former Ta Keo)



Tahsha (former Bayon, Former Angkor)


Keith (Former Bayon, Former Ta Keo)

Kelley Wentworth (Former Ta Keo)

Out of all the remaining castaways, only Jeremy, Stephen, and Kimmi have never had to change tribes.  They have been together on Bayon since this game began.  Meanwhile, Andrew Savage — who never hesitates to voice his displeasure about shaking up the tribes — is the only castaway to have been on all three different tribes.

Actually, I was worried about Savage during this episode.  He was getting the overconfident edit.  Every time I heard him brag about how strong his alliance was, I grew more and more convinced that he was going to be voted out.  Well, Ta Keo did lose immunity and they did go to tribal but Savage was not voted out.  Instead, it was his ally Woo and that’s the other reason I’m heart broken.

I mean, seriously — Ta Keo decided to keep Spencer over Woo?  Woo is awesome!  Spencer’s just come guy who has to remind himself to act like a human being.  Another reason that I’m heartbroken is that Kass, who has almost been normal over the past few episodes, was the deciding vote to get rid of Woo.  And before Kass voted him out, we had to listen to her talk about “Chaos Kass” again and it reminded me of why few of us could stand her in the first place.

So, right now, Kass and Spencer have a fragile alliance over on the Ta Keo Tribe.  They are working with the incredibly annoying Ciera and Abi.  Savage, who made the huge mistake of getting cocky and alienating Ciera (who is so needy that she’ll probably vote with anyone who compliments her), may be in some trouble if he doesn’t repair some bridges next episode.

Meanwhile, over on the Bayon Tribe …. well, not much happened over there.  They won immunity so they had nothing to worry about.  I will say that Stephen is slowly starting to win me over.  Tonight, during his confessional, he talked about what it means to get a second chance and he broke down crying!  I just wanted to give him a big hug.

And that’s pretty much it for this episode of Survivor!  What did everyone else think?

Lisa Marie

The Amazing Race 27: Read Your Clues!

Hi, everyone!

If there’s anything to be learned from the latest episode of The Amazing Race, it’s that you have to always read your clue.  Going into tonight’s leg, Jazmine and Danielle seemed like a strong team.  They were both professional athletes.  They worked well together.  Though the team had yet to come in first (though they did come in 2nd at the end of the beginning leg), they did seem like they were a legitimate threat to move up and come on strong during the latter half of the race.

But tonight, their entire race fell apart.  Despite being ahead of three other teams, when it came time to go on the lion encounter, they failed to properly read their clue.  First, they ran to the pit stop.  Then, once they realized that they still needed to go on the lion encounter, they didn’t read enough of the clue to know that they were looking for a skull.  They wasted a lot of time, three teams got ahead of them, and — when they finally reached the mat — they had been eliminated from the race.

If you want to win the Amazing Race, read your clue and pay attention to the small details.  If you don’t do that, it doesn’t matter how athletic you are or how well you work with your partner.

As for the rest of Friday’s episode, the racers are still in Africa.  During tonight’s leg of the race, the really strong contenders finally started to emerge.  At the same time, we found out a little bit more about the teams that seem to be fated to continually finish at the back of the pack.

Here’s a few thoughts on the teams:

Coming in first were Denise and James Earl.  This was their first time to win a leg of the race but that victory was largely due to Tanner and Josh giving them the express pass.  And, to be honest, both Denise and James Earl still annoy me.  There’s so much bitterness in that relationship that I find it hard to believe that it’s not going to blow up at some point during the race.  So, despite the first place finish, I’m still not prepared to declare them to be one of the front runners to be the first team to cross the finish line.  If they can come in first without using an express pass, I’ll probably change my mind.

Coming in second, Justin and Diana.  Love them or hate them, they are definitely a strong team and I get the feeling that they’re going to be around for a while.  Is it just me or does it seem like, after discovering that everyone wanted to u-turn them, Justin has gotten a little less obnoxious?  I know a lot of people dislike Justin but I’m actually glad he’s there.  He makes for good television and, honestly, it can’t be denied that, with the exception of the first leg (and that was due to circumstances out of their control), Justin and Diana have finished consistently strong since the race started.

Coming in a strong third, Tanner and Josh.  Judging from tonight’s episode, I think Tanner and Josh may have learned a lesson from the fiasco with the express pass.  If nothing else, they do seem to have moved passed obsessing on Justin and Diana and it was nice to see that there’s a sort of mutual respect between the two teams.

Coming in fourth, Kelsey and Joey!  The reporters are still coming on strong.  I have to wonder if they said anything to Tanner and Josh about them giving the express pass to Denise and James Earl.

Coming in fifth, Tiffany and Krista!  For a lot of Friday’s episode, Tiffany and Krista looked like they were in danger of being eliminated but, fortunately, all of the other teams made careless mistakes and Tiffany and Krista were able to move up to fifth place.  I still think Tiffany and Krista are stronger than we’ve seen so far.

Coming in sixth, Logan and Chris.  Logan and Chris are so obviously doomed.  They are not working well together, they are getting on each other’s nerves, and they’re making too many stupid errors.

And speaking of doomed, Cindy and Rick came in 7th.  Right now, probably the only thing that will keep Cindy and Rick from being eliminated will be a major meltdown on the part of Logan and Chris.

And finally, Jazmine and Danielle came in 8th and were eliminated.

As for tonight’s roadblocks and detours, most of them seemed designed to freak people like me out.  Speaking as someone who is both scared of heights and drowning, I would have been totally useless during this leg of the race.  There’s no way I would have fed a crocodile.

However, I do think I would have enjoyed the lion encounter!

That’s it for now!  I have a feeling that next week will be a non-elimination leg.  There’s 7 legs left and 7 teams.  So, in order to get down to a final three by the start of the final leg, there’s going to have to be a few non-elimination legs coming up.

We’ll see what happens!

Lisa Marie


Survivor 31: BLINDSIDE!!!!

Hi everyone!

For the past few episodes, the Bayon Tribe has pretty much been untouchable.  And, as a result, we haven’t seen much of what’s going on with that tribe.  Instead, we’ve just seen the conflicts going on in the Ta Keo and the Angkor Tribes.  As far as Bayon is concerned,  we’ve just assumed that there were no conflicts and everyone was getting along famously and waiting for the merge.

As soon as Wednesday’s episode began and I saw that the Survivor editors had decided to devote the first few minutes to the Bayon Tribe, I knew that Bayon’s dominance was about to come to an end.  From the minute that Monica and Kimmi started arguing about the clams, I knew that it would either be Monica or Kimmi going home.  By the time that tribal council began, it was pretty obvious that Monica was about to get voted out.  Monica was blindsided but the audience was not.

That said, it was still fun to watch.  Monica had absolutely no idea that she was being targeted.  She went into Tribal Council about as confident as I’ve ever seen anyone in that situation.  Jeremy, Stephen, and Kimmi did such a good job of blindsiding Monica that not only was Monica totally shocked but so were Spencer and Kelly Wigglesworth.

That look on Monica’s face as the votes were read was priceless!

Monica’s mistake was a mistake that seems to be made every season of Survivor.  Not only was she overconfident but she also tried to start an all-girl alliance.  In 31 seasons of Survivor, I have lost track of how many times that someone has tried to form an all-girl alliance.  I can think of exactly two times that it has actually worked.  Monica assumed that Kimmi would automatically want to be a member of an all-girl alliance and would have no problem with Monica being in charge of it.  In other words, Monica totally misread Kimmi and she paid the price.

As for the rest of tonight’s episode, it was nice to see Angkor finally win immunity and a reward.  In the past, I’ve actually defended Abi-Maria because I felt that her presence made for good television but, after tonight’s episode, I’m kind of done with her.  Her comments about Woo’s story pretty much epitomized everything that people dislike about her and revealed that Abi-Maria has absolutely no idea how to relate to other people.  Considering how well the members of Angkor worked together at the immunity and reward challenge, it seems as if Abi-Maria may have served her purpose.  She helped Savage and Tasha survive the first Angkor tribal council.  Then she helped to make sure that Varner left and Woo stayed.  And, having done those two good deeds, it’s debatable whether there’s any more need for her on the tribe.  If I was on Angkor, I’m not sure I would feel very comfortable about the idea of going into the merge with someone as erratic and unpredictable as Abi.

As for the Ta Keo Tribe, it’s good to see that Joe’s making an effort to form a strong alliance.  He obviously knows that, after the merge, he’s going to be a huge target.

What did everyone else think of tonight’s episode?

Lisa Marie



The Amazing Race 27: To Be Continued…

The latest episode of the Amazing Race was a bit frustrating and anti-climatic, no?

After all the talk about Tanner and Josh using their express pass early and plotting to u-turn Justin and Diana, it all turned out that it really didn’t matter.  Tanner and Josh did use the pass to skip the road block and go straight to the detour but, once they arrived at the detour, they discovered that the detour wasn’t even scheduled to begin until the next morning.  So, in short, they wasted their express pass and made one of the biggest mistakes in the history of the Amazing Race.

And really, it was kind of predictable.  I imagine that most regular viewers of the show knew automatically that they were making a huge mistake.  I get the feeling that Tanner and Josh may not be that familiar with the Amazing Race.  But, after 27 seasons, we all know that detours and road blocks are often specifically set up to allow all of the racers to catch up with each other.  We also know that legs with the double U-turn often turn out to be non-elimination legs.

Another thing that regular viewers know is that Africa is a regular destination in the race.  The African episodes have traditionally been some of the best of the series.  Tonight’s episode featured a lot of beautiful scenery and it was fun to see how all the racers reacted to being spit on.  (Denise of Team Alabama did not look happy about it at all!)

Unfortunately, the pretty scenery wasn’t quite enough to make up for just how anti-climatic tonight’s episode was.  After all the talk about the double u-turn, neither Justin and Diana nor Tanner and Josh decided to use it.

When Justin and Diana (followed by Tanner and Josh) reached the pit stop, they were informed that they were still racing.  So, this is a two-part leg of the race.  Though Justin and Diana and Tanner and Josh have decided not use the U-turn, the teams behind them may.  Also, since Tanner and Josh used the express pass, they now have to give it to another team.  I have a feeling that they’ll end up giving it to Kelsey and Joey.

After watching Friday’s episode, here’s my current thoughts on the racers:

Love them or hate them, Justin and Diana are coming on strong.  Justin may be loud and a bit too cocky but he’s no dummy.  He truly does understand the race and I respect the fact that he kept his word as far as the u-turn was concerned.

Tanner and Josh made a huge mistake giving up their express pass but hopefully, they learned their lesson and will stop obsessing on defeating Justin and Diana and instead, just concentrate on running the race.

Kelsey and Joey finally showed some personality!  They seem to be a pretty strong team and they’re working well together.  As well, they’re both news anchors and it’s obvious that they know how to play up to the camera.  So, at the very least, they’re entertaining to watch.

I still don’t feel like I really know Jazmine and Danielle but they seem to be consistently strong racers as well.

Logan and Chris started out this episode by admitting that they need to stop arguing with each other.  And admitting you have a problem is always the first step.  That said, I still don’t expect them to be around for more than a few more legs of the race.

Denise and James Earl are similarly doomed.  Sorry, Denise, but that was not steam rising off of Victoria Falls.  It’s called mist.

Cindy and Rick … who?  Oh yeah, Cindy and Rick.  I always forget about the two of them.

Tiffany and Krista were not prominently featured in tonight’s episode.  I still think they could be a very strong team if they ever manage to get out from the back of the pack.

Anyway, tonight’s episode ended with a big “TO BE CONTINUED” so we’ll find out who gets eliminated next week!

Lisa Marie

Survivor 31: Bye Bye, Varner

Two weeks ago, I was convinced that Jeff Varner was going to make it to the merge and maybe even to the final four or five.  I really wasn’t expecting him to go any further than that because I figured that he’d probably be so ruthless and so obsessed with scheming that Survivor karma would eventually catch up with him.  But, with that in mind, I still assumed that his alliance with Abi-Maria and the other members of Ta Keo would take him far.

However, that was before the big tribal shakeup.  Once Varner was taken out of Ta Keo and away from needed allies like Terry Deitz, Wigglesworth, and Wentworth, his days were pretty obviously numbered.

First off, he made the huge mistake of getting cocky and assuming that, because the new Angkor Tribe was dominated by former members of Ta Keo, he would be safe.  He didn’t make any effort to get to know Savage and Tasha.  Hence, when he suddenly found himself abandoned by his old allies, he didn’t have any new allies to which to turn.

Secondly, he made that huge mistake of trying to communicate with Wigglesworth during his first immunity challenge as a member of the Angkor Tribe.  That convinced everyone on the tribe that Varner could not be trusted.  Abi-Maria, who has a trust issues on a good day and is completely paranoid on a bad one, abandoned him and decided she would do whatever Savage and Tasha wanted.

Third, during tonight’s immunity challenge, he managed to hurt his foot.  Did he break it?  I’m not sure.  I did notice that Jeff Probst didn’t seem to be too concerned with it.  The Survivor medics did not show up, as they usually tend to do with even the most minor of injuries.  A part of me feels that Varner may have played up his injury to convince everyone that he wasn’t a threat.  But, at this point, the Angkor Tribe needs to start winning immunity challenges and Varner was obviously not going to be any help as far as that was concerned.

That said, up until the votes were read, I really thought that Woo would be voted out.  Abi-Maria is all about holding grudges and, as she continually reminded everyone, Woo did vote for her twice.  But, when it came time for tribal, Woo did make a pretty good case for himself and he swore to be loyal to Abi-Maria, Savage, and Tasha.  Wisely, when Varner tried to rush the vote, Woo spoke up for himself.  And I think that’s what saved Woo because if Woo hadn’t spoken up, Varner would have gotten the last word and the last word is what Abi-Maria usually bases her votes on.  When the votes were read, it was Jeff Varner who hobbled away and left the island.

I liked tonight’s episode of Survivor.  It kept me guessing and it featured two epic challenges.  Angkor managed to win reward but they lost the immunity challenge.  The reward challenge was won entirely due to the efforts of Andrew Savage but, when it came to immunity, not even he could get much done.  The entire tribe — exhausted by the physical effort — collapsed and appeared to just give up.  It was sad but fascinating to watch.

While tonight’s episode was dominated by the drama at Angkor, we did get to see a little of the other two tribes.  Over on Bayon, Spencer is still trying to fit in with everyone and Jeremy has wisely decided not to tell anyone that he has the immunity idol.  On Ta Keo, Kass is making an effort not to be a trouble maker.  We’ll see how long that lasts.

What did everyone think about tonight’s episode?  Was it a good idea to keep Woo over Varner?  Do you think Kass and Spencer can ever convince people that they are actual human beings?  Let us know in the comments!

Love ya,

Lisa Marie