Coasterville Commentary

Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Amazing Race - Season 9 - Episode 12 - Finale

It sure is finale week in TV this week. Sunday brought this spring's Survivor to an end with the three hour conclusion, now we are ready to end The Amazing Race with wednesday's 2 hour finale.

To help us rememner our history (so we aren't doomed to repeat it) and refresh our memories of what has occured this season, we start with a cumulative previously with a couple scenes from episdoe.

From Ep 1 (Brazil) - We see the start from Red Rock Ampitheatre, Colorado, USA, then we see the "James Bond" helicopter detour (James Bond says "I wish I had it that easy"), then we see John and Scott get frustrated and bail their taxi without any idea of where to go. The show allows this is the cause they were eliminated.

From Ep 2 (Brazil) - We see Fran have troubles using the ascenders in the waterfall detour, then we see the Glamazons unable to drive stick. Their inability to drive stick and getting hopelessly lost led to their elimination.

From Ep 3 (Russia) - We see Wanda struggle at the high dive roadblock, then we get a taste of the Russian Nesting Dolls detour of Despair, they neglect to mention the fake pit stop.

From Ep 4 (Germany) - We see the Bavarian Film detour, with some teams breaking (trick) wine bottles over each others head, and others trying to learn and perform a folk dance. We also see Wanda and Desiree get hoepessly lost leading to their elimination.

From Ep 5 (Italy) - We see Dave and Lori struggling with the Greek statue roadblock (those extra pieces really confused them), then we see Lake and Michelle Yield Dannielle and Dani, causing their elimination.

From Ep 6 (Italy) - We see the Swordfish detour, featuring the start of Monica's meltdown, we see Dave and Lori check in last, the proximate cause of elimination is they could just not catch up after falling behind in episode 5.

From Ep 7 (Greece) - We see the stop in Rome (Da Vinci Code plug), we then see Eric/Jeremy win the plate breaking fast forward, then we see Ray feels exhillirated by the bungee jump roadblock and Fran terrified by same. Later on we See BJ/Tyler get really lost finding the detour, and despite completing the Herculean Games detour last, they were saved elimination becuase Lake/Michelle managed to get even moe lost than they did. Traingate is not mentioned.

From Ep 8 (Oman) - See see Ray/Yolandas bickering, we also see teams suffer in the extreme heat and sun of the Dig up your dinner roadblock. We see BJ/Tyler get way behind but are saved by non-elimination.

From Ep 9 (Australia) - We see teams help BJ/Tyler financially, and we see them vow to yield teams that did not help. We get footage of Fran/Barry in the Brush the Beach detour, then we see them unable to catch a taxi to the pirson break roadblock. Fran and Barry are thus eliminated.

From Ep 10 (Australia) - We see Eric/Jeremy cancelling teams taxis, and leaving Joseph/Monica the blame. I guess this kind of deceitful behavior is now sanctioned race strategy. We then see BJ/Tyler yield Joseph/Monica, and Monica whine about it. We also see all the teams catch up at the conclusion of the detour, and the three way photo finish at the pitstop. They were nice enough to leave in Monicas "Ha Ha we're stillin and your not" smile of glee and seething anger look as BJ/Tyler are once again saved by the non elimiation.

From Ep 11 (Thailand) - We see Joseph/Monica "receive bad advice from a local" causing them to miss anavailable bus. We see the Cricket Feast fast forward, and Ray/Yolanda conceeding same to BJ/Tyler. We see Eric get frustrated at the "Seve feast to sacred monkeys" roadblock. We then see most teams excel at the Paint your Buddha detour, while Monica prooved inept at the carry clay pots detour option. The show pins detour ineptitude on Joseph/Monica's elimination. We see BJ/Tyler come in first and not win a leg prize becuase the prize was awarded by random draw. Ray/Yolanda won the prize and thus got to spend the night in a luxury resort. We see them enjoy the resort and look up the travel package they just won. (Australia, private yacht,new years eve) - They give suitable cheers to the prize sponsor.

This leads us to the opening credits, and then without a commerical break even we start the new epsisode.

Phil tells s that Bangkok is known for its many Budhist temples, and the pitstop was at an example of one, the Marble Temple.

Teams will start with:
Clue #65 - Go to a certain province in Thailand and find an elephant exhbit. The elephants will be in ceremonal costume, and you will recieve a T-Mobile Sidekick from the elephant. The Sidekick contains your next clue,

We see BJ/Tyler take off in first place, courtesy of the fast forward. Seeing as the Fast Forward got them a secure spot in the finale, it was well worth going for it, even if they didn't know it was the last one. They also appear to gain 2 hours on Eric/Jeremy. Who else thinks the show will do its best to equalize the teams before too long? Yeah, me too.

We see BJ/Tyler have no trouble getting a taxi, and are soon delivered to the elephant pen. They comment that they quickly realize you have to be real careful where you step. You see them apper to enter the exhibit, but as you probably guessed there was a gate blocking the way. Seems the hours of operation are 4:00-6:00. What kind of attraction has those kind of hours, 4AM opening??? I smell hours cooking, and clearly planned to make sure that all teams catch up, but early enough for them to catch some good flights. (Oh, I can name annother attraction that will open at 4AM, we in the Cincinnati, Ohio (USA) area will be getting a Bridge Climb attraction in June much like those in Australia and New Zealand, opens at 4:15am)

So BJ/Tyler take a rest while we see Eric/Jeremy (E/J) and Ray/Yolanda(R/Y) each get leave the pit stop and arrive at the still closed elephant pen. Yep all teams are equal once again.

The elephants are ready to perform and they 'trunk' each team a Sidekick. There is apparently a text message on each Sidekick containing.

Clue #66 - Route Info
Go to Tokyo, Japan and fine Shibuya which is described as Japan's answer to TImes Square, its a very busy intersection and has video boards on just about every flat surface available. One of the video boards will be flashing a hint as to the location of the next clue.

Teams catch taxis to the airport. E/J and R/Y check with information and learn of a good flight to Tokyo. BJ/T decide to head directly to the desk for the Japanese airline. Not a bad theory as they are traveling to Japan, but the wrong theory. Once BJ/Tyler learn that another airline has a better option, the better flight (which contains the other two teams ) fills up. BJ/Tyler are refused tickets on the better flight. We cut to commercials.

We come back, and BJ/Tyler are back to having inferior plane reservations. The lead teams arrive in Tokyo, and learn their rental cars are parked in the lot of a nearby hotel. Luckily the hotel does run a courtesy shuttle and the lead teams collect their cars and are glad to not see BJ/Tyler. The teams head for Shibuya.

We see BJ/Tyler arrive, catch bus to hotel, pick up car. Here is where they tell us, and tell us, and tell us that they have experience with Japan and speak fluent Japannese. Eric/Jeremy find the designated parking garage and head to the square. They look around at the overwhelming array of video boards. The clue says something like "Find Hichaki" which Phil tells us is a statue right in that square of a dog that figures into Japaneese folklore. They make it appear that the status is almost right under the video board flashing the message. The local has an Amazing Race colored scarf, and he hands teams the next clue.

We then see Ray/Yolando get lost (perhaps I should just create a macro that says "Ray/Yolando get lost") How lost did they get? So lost that BJ/Tyler who were on the later flight manage to pass them up and arrive at Shibuya first (or at least thats how it appears) Ray/Yolanda finally arrive AFTER the other two teams have been shown to complete the detour. No teams have much trouble finding the video message or the statue once they find the suqare.

Clue #67 - Detour
Maiden or Messenger
In maiden they take a taxi to a certain park (what about their cars??), then find a maiden in a ceremonial encloded sedan like seat that the team mates have to carry on their shoulders to a tea house. Yep this is the physical task with a defined start and finish.
In Messenger they go on foot to a bike rental place where they pick up folding bikes, they have to figure out how to setup the bikes, then they are given messenger bags, each messenger must deliver a package to a local office building and return the bike and the signed delivery slips back to the bike rental place where they will get the next clue.

Eric/Jeremy take Maiden, and have no trouble finding the maiden, but they do comment on how physically demanding. Upon delivering the maiden and letting her ou of the sedan, they comment that its like a fantasy come true. Character is character.

BJ/Tyler take messenger and are shown to not only know exactly how to use the folding bikes, but they have a working knowledge of the city and are able to make short work of the deliveries.

Ray/Yolanda start bickering more as they have a real hard time finding Shibuya, but once they find it, they have no trouble getting the next clue. They choose Maiden. They appear to have no trouble finding the park, but they also comment on how physically demaning the task was. Yolanda switches from the bash Ray club to the Praise Ray club.

Either way they get:
Cllue #68 - Go to Capsule Land Hotel

They are given the hint the hotel is near Shibuya, and they don't seem to have trouble finding it. When they get to the hotel they learn that instead of merely getting their next clue, they must spend the night at Capsule Land Hotel.

Normally I would dissaprove of mid leg show supplied lodging, but this place is unique. This is one of those concept hotels where they literally cram as many people into the hotel as humanely possible. The way they do this is instead of giving you a room, they give you a capsule, the capsule looks to be barely larger than a morgue drawer. The hotel has rows of the capsules stacked row upon row. The capsules are large enough to hold a bed and a television, thats it, not for the claustrophobia. Sort of like people sized lockers. They have shared bathrooms.

Eric and Jeremy arrive first and get their towels and supplies and a 9:00AM departue time. The look about the hotel and find their capsules.

BJ/Tyler arrive next and get a 9:15AM departure time. They find their capsules.

Ray/Yolanda arrive later and get a 9:30AM departure time. They find the other two teams waiting up in a common room. They chat a little bit, but soon climb into their capsules, and the open ends have a curtain that provides some privacy. And here we have it set so the difference bettwen first and last is 30 minutes.

When they check out in the morning they get their next clue:
Clue #69 - Route Info
Go to Fujiku Highland

It's an amusement park located near Mt, Fuji.

The teams retrieve their cars from the parking garage and head to the amusement park. BJ/Tyler and E/J have little to no trouble finding the park or dealing with the turnpike. In fact the way at which E/J plucked the toll ticket out of the machine without even slowing down seems to indicate thy have experience with toll roads.

We see the two lead teams pull into the amusement park parking lot within seconds of each other. They find the next clue at the park entrance.

Ray/Yolando have trouble both finding the park, then when they prepare to exit the turnpike, they have somehow lost their toll ticket. They decide to park in the toll lane as they do a thorough but fruitless search of their car. They can't seem to find the toll ticket, and really how do you loose a toll ticket?? Cars start piling behind the and then start laying on the horns. The toll plaza staff directes them to pull off the road and Ray/Yolanda are scared they are going to jail. Naw, nothing like that, but they will now be paying what I presume to be the highest possible toll for their vehicle class. They are bickering the whole way of course, and I am sure Ray is taking the blame for loosing the toll ticket. I start to wonder how this relationship is going to last.

Clue #70 - Roadblock

"Whos ready to coast through their day?"

In this roadblock the person has the arduous task of entering the amusement park and riding three rides. (A spinning pendukum type ride, a launched rollercoaster with a near vertical up and down section, and a hypercoaster) (Doponda and Fujiyama) The catch is that somewhere on the ground as they are riding the rides will be someone holding a large sign with a secret message. The contestant has to tell the secret message to the park manager who is waiting for them at the exit to the third ride. If they fail to deliver the correct message, they have to do the task over, including riding all three rides again.

Put me in Coach! This is a challenge with my name on it. Imagine that riding coasters with the possibility of a million dollar prize.

B/T and E/J send their representatives in toether and they perform the task together. They don't see anything on the Giant Frisbee ride, and move on to Doponda. Tyler claims to have seen a message while riding this ride, which pus Eric/Jeremy at unease. They ride the third ride and the message is pretty obvious. They both respond to the park manager with the correct message, get their clues, return to their partners and head back to the cars.

Ray/Yoland arrive at the park much later, and owing to not planning the roadblocks well, Yolanda is forced to take it, but she has no trouble with amusement rides. She was about ready to strangle Ray before she entered the park, but she was much happier and less stressed after the rollercoasters. The curative powers of coasters, perhaps. I know I was once on a family trip where there was bickering and such going on. We were in a tourst trap town, and I saw a rollercoaster at a go-kart place, tell you what two rides on that rollercoaster and I was a happy smiling camper again!

I did not that it seemed like Yolanda got to read a sign with much larger font, and with red letters on a yellow sign, ver eyecatching. The guys had black print on a white sign.

Yolando also gets the message on the first try. The message happens to be the name of the lakethey are headed to.

Clue #71 - Route Info
Head to Lake Yamaka(?) and find the sawnboat. - Caution this is a pitstop.

Okay the swanboat is a tourist attraction and is a large boat in the middle of the lake that is shaped to look like a swan. To get to the boat they have to ride out in pedalboats which also look like swans. Very cute adorable looking boats.

BJ/Tyler and Eric/Jeremy discuss Tylers little move, The hippies are laughing at the little misdirection about saying they saw the clue on the second ride, the frat boys (Eric/Jeremy) have lost their sense of humour and are taking it way too personally.

BJ Tyler get parked at the lake a few miutes before Eric/Jeremy ad grab the swan boat at the far end of the pier (and closer to the big Swan boat) Eric/Jeremy are close behind, and it looks like swan boat racing, except BJ/Tyler are much faster at it, and thus arrive at the pitstop first.

"BJ/Tyler you are team number one - and you have won Sidekicks with three years service" Yeah, that was the leg prize, Phil even had to tell them "This is where you are supposed to jump up and down and be excited".

Eric Jeremy are close on their heals and check in,not looking too happy. They then have the nerve to try to tattlle to Phil claiming the Hippies were dishonest to them. The hippies explain the ride message ruse, and take a Machavelian posture "Any means at our disposal", Eric/Jeremy vow revenge. I find it amazing that Eric/Jeremy have the nerve to question anybody's ethics after the cab cancelling incident. Eric/Jeremy aren't graceful losers.

Arriving at the Giant Swan much later are Ray/Yolando. Phil tells them they are in third place, but this is a non elimination round. He takes their money and posessions. (I was waiting for Phil to say "What's this toll ticket?") Phil then tells the teams there are no more eliminations, everybody is now in a three way race to the finish. (Silly Phil there were no elminations after Marble Temple)

Phil tells us to stay tuned to find out who wins the Amazing Race when te next leg starts in just a few minutes.

Teams start the final leg on the dock. The get:

Clue #72 - Route Info, Fly to Anchorage, Alaska, once they get there they will take a rental car to an ice fishing area.

BJ and Tyler return Yolanda's favors by dropping 2000 Yen off at Ray/Yolandas car before leaving for the airport. Eric/Jeremy, as you might expect, are in competition mode and leave nothing. The two are hot on each others tails on the highway, but at a fork in the road there is a disagreement and they each take a seperate fork.

Bj/Tyler arrive at the hotel first. Its the same hotel they picked the cars up at, so I suppose they are going to drop the cars off at the same point (Maybe the hotel has a rental car dealer). They learn the first courtesy shuttle to the airport isn't till 6:15. They ask about public internet access and are directed to the business center on the second floor. They tell the front desk clerk to not tell the other teams about the internet access point. BJ/Tyler locate a flight and book it online.

Eric/Jeremy arrive at the hotel, find the shuttle times, go inside and ask about internet. The clerk is a bad liar, first he says "Yes", then he remembers his promise and then changes his story to "No, we don't" I call this payback for the taxi episode except that Eric/Jeremy book an even better flight over the phone. BJ/Tyler even turn the lights off in the business center so it doesn't look so obvious.

Eric/Jeremy ask why BJ/Tyler are coming down from upstairs and BJ/Tyler lie that they were just spying on Eric/Jeremy. Both teams catch the same shuttle to he airport. Eric/Jeremy do some quick footing and hide so that BJ/Tyler dont follow them.

Eric/Jeremy leave Japan on the better flight alone.
BJ/Tyler check in fo their flight but ask if better connections are available, and wind up booking a deal that will have them connecting to the same flight as Eric/Jeremy in Taipei. Ray/Yolanda arrive at the hotel late enough where they just get right on the shuttle. Ray/Yolanda get even worse advice from the information desk, but they don't just blindly trust the info desk, and check at the internet kiosk. They find the same flights BJ/Tyler have but by the time they go to book it the flight is closed.

Cut to commericals, come back from commericals and suddenly everything is smoothed over, and Ray/Yolanda get the same flights as BJ/Tyler. Suspicous?

Meanwhile, Eric/Jeremy are sitting in China (Taiwan) and are closely eyeing the transfer terminal to see if any other teams come. They are relaly hoping no other teams make it in time. They are therefore less than excited when BJ/Tyler and Ray/Yolanda arrive and they are all therefore on the same flight to Anchorage, Alaska. Note here that all teams are even again!

Ther arrive in Anchorage and are really glad to be back in the Unted States of America. They get their cars and drive to the ice lake. When they get there:

Clue #73 - Detour
"Drill it" or "Deliver it"
In Drill it, they take an auger and drill out ten holes for an ice fishing camp, then they drag an ice fishing shack over and when it is setup at least two holes have to be accessible in the shack.
(Physical, defined task)
In Deliver It - they load first aid supplies onto a primitve airplane, and then using a map guide the pilot to an airfield about 75 mile s away, they unload the plane, deliver the supplies, and fly back.

Eric/Jeremy choose "Drill It", and BY/Tyler hot on their tails chooses "Deliver It", but upon talking to the pilot they learn that the weather is currently unsafe to fly his little plane, he also can't give them a good idea of when it will be clear. (I really think they should be thanking this pilot right about now)

They decide not to wait, and take Drill It (not so much of a detour now, is it) Eric/Jeremy are faster at the drill it task, but BJ/Tyler leave soon thereafter and are still pretty much right togehter going pn.

Ray/Yolanda managed to get lost again so arrive a bit later than the lead teams, they opt for Drill It, and they get the fast forward edit where they seem to finish up in record time.

Clue #74 - Go to some chalet, and don snowshoes and skipoles and navigate through snow trails to find your next clue.

Eric/Jeremy arrive at the chalet, spot the equipment sitting out in front of the chalet and get started with the challenge. BJ/Tyler arrive but they have a Fran/Barry momentand walk around the snowshoes multiple times and start exploring the chalet looking for a clue.

Cut to commercial, come back and the staff member inside the chalet is telling them where their equipment is waiting. A big DUH! moment ensues, and Bj/Tyler hit the trails, BJ/Tyler make a coupl wrong turns on the trials but the two lead teams get their clues.

Ray/Yolanda arrive soon thereafter, and are not even shown doing this task. Yep they are getting the Edit of the team that isn't really in the race.

Clue #75 - Route Info
Fly to your final Destination City - Denver, Colorado, go to some historical/cultural village and find your next clue. What I dont get is they are told to lock thier keys in their car, and catch a cab to the airport. Huh? Why?

They travel to the aiport. Eric Jeremy arrive at the airport and find a redeye flight to Denver, BJ/Ty;er borrow their cabbies cell phone and make the same booking. When both teams find themselves in the airport they try to fool each other, by doing stuff like going to the International Terminal , and they don't trust each other to reveal their own arangement, so they say they are going to say at the same time on the cout of three and then both give bogus information. Maybe they are friends outside the context of the game as BJ/Tyler asks flat out, "Is it the million dollars that is getting between us?" and Eric/Jeremy allow that it is. Ray/Yolando arrive at the airport and make the exact same booking.. Note then going into the final ity, all teams are dead even.

They catch taxis from the airport to the histrocial/cultural village. There is no clue box they have to search the ground for loose clue envelopes. And apparently this challenge favors lead teams as there are three clues in progessivley harder locations.

Eric/Jeremy arrive and seem to have no trouble
They leave just as BJ/Tyler show up.

BJ/Tyler have a little bit of trouble but Tyler sees it out of the corner of their eye in a hollowed out log looking thing.

They leave just as Ray/Yoland arrive.

Ray/Yolando have big trouble finding thier clue, and it takes them an awful long time to find it hidden in the henhouse.

Clue #76 - Return to Red Rock Park
Eric/Jeremy blurt out the clue before BJ/Tyler even find it.

Eric Jeremy arrive at Red Rock Park first, soon followed by BJ/Tyler

Clue #77- Roadblock
Its a memory challenge, the person seleced goes into a snow covered field that contains over 200 world flags on flagpoles (I wonder if they bough a complete UN flag set and then extras of the flags needed for the challenge) What they have to do is search through the flags for the 9 flags of he countries they visited (Brazil, Russia, Germany, Italy, Greece, Oman, Australia, Thailand, Japan), but not onloy that, they have to set the poles up into flagpole holders so that the flags are arranged in the order they visited the different nations. The USA flag has been setup at the start of the row for them. (And therefore their flags will follow federal flag code by having the American flag to the flags own right) To "help" teams flag reference markers are setup near their workstations. Phil tells us though they will find little help from the reference plaques as they flag icons on them are unlabeled, and they contain flags of nations they did not visit, and they don't contain all the flags they will need. In other words do it on your own. Oh and the other partnet can advise the person doing the roadblock, but they can't physically assist. Which means they aren't totally powerless watching, but they can't touch the flags. Not much of a roadblock,

Again Put me in coach! World Flags, I am somewhat of a flag fan!

Eric Jeremy get started first, soon followed by BJ/Tyler and both teams get Brazil easy enouh, but stumple on Russia when it isn't on their reference marker. Oman also causes them grief and I adit I am not exactly familiar with that flag myself.

Essentially it takes both teams several wrong guesses. It looked as if Eric/Jeremy had the series but they had one missing (Russia), where BJ/Tyler had them all jumbled up. In other words I don't think finding the right flags was the problem (and there were lots of flags of irrelevant nations in the context of the game scattered in the field) it was getting them in order.

I did want to slap BJ/Tyler when they were holding the Russian flag and didn't know where it went, one said "Just drop it on the ground", and the other did! I admit I bear no ties to Russia, but there should be some respect and decorum when dealing with world flags, even if they are for other countires than your own. Remmebr, that flag means something to somebody, I'm not asking you to salute it, just don't treat it like its merely a worthless scrap of cloth.

Anyway, I started cheeringas soon as BJ/Tyler completed their flag puzzle first. Another row of flags marks the runway from the roadblock to the finish line. Wee see BJ/Tyler race to the final mat. Much hugging and cheers from the other teams ensue. When Phil regains control he gives the usual speech and awards BJ/Tyler "You are officially the winners of the Amazing Race", and they will win the million dollars. Phil remarks how they always smiled at the ptstops, be it first place or last place. They remark that its all in how you treat others.

Yeah BJ/Tyler!!!!!

We then see Eric/Jeremy finish, and they are NOT happy about being second. Philtells them they are the second place finishers andthey just stand their with blank stares. (It came down to a mental challenge, and they beat us" Talk about your sour grapes.

Ray/Yolanda are next seen arriving at the finish mat, no flag challenge for them, and are awarded third place.

We get the usual parting words from the three teams and thats it. Not even a preview of next season.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 14 "Finale"

Just sit right back, this here was a 3 hour long mega episode.

It starts off however with a 10 minute recap of the season. I suppose its to remind everybody how we got to where we are now. I mean it goes all the way back t0 being spilt into four tribes, learning about Exile Island and the hidden immnity idol, to paper-rock-scissors, to Ciri sucessfully outing the tribes best member, to Shane wanting to quite in epsidoe 2, to Terry finding the idol, the schoolyard pick, and so on, through the merge, and Terrys challenge dominance, to the "Insult your tribemates challenge" which rubbede Courtney the wrong way, to Ciri stepping out of the shadows and masterminding the ousters of Courtnet and Shane, to the family visits, Terr's first immunioty challenge lost, and so forth until we end up right at tribal council before the tiebreaker between Ciri and Danielle. In other words just where we left it Thursday.

We are treated to the full version of the credits which introduces all 16 Survivors, I guess they want us to remember these other guys played, but at this point I don't really care about them.

So, finally around 8:15 the spisode really gets started. We start as Jeff reminds us the vote was tied 2-2 Ciri and Danielle. Ciri and Danielle are seated at their workstations for the fire building tie breaker challenge. We learn they have flint, a knife blade, wood, corn husks and other fire making supplies. Challenge is simple first person to build (and maintain) a fire capeable of burning through the rops several iinches above, will cause a signal flag to rasie, which will allow them to stay in the game. Loser gets the boot.

The challenge starts and it goes back and forth, Ciri is off to a quick lead, but her fire goes out before he rope burns, just as Danielle starts to get a fire going, and for a bit Ciri just siits back and watches Danielle. The lead keeps going back and forth as fires die down or go out and have to be restarted. Eventually we see Danielle building the 'teepee' like structure and soon thereafter we can visibly see her rope is on fire. Not long after we are congratulaing Danielle on making it to Final 3.

The tribemembers hug Ciri and wish her well, Ciri leaves, and Jeff tells them that they will have 2 challenges, 2 tribal councils. I think 2 challenges? Usually rewards end after the Final 4 week.

We return to camp, and we See Terry proudly hanging up the hidden immunity idol. He tells us the idol no longer has value in the game, and is now probably worth about 25 cents on eBay. (I don't know, I havent seen the Hidden Idol on eBay, but the regular immunity necklace was up over $7,000 last time I looked) Of coursee its not enough to hang it up, Terry has to make a great show of showing it to Aras and Danielle. Showing it off to the point where both Aras and Danielle made comments about how they perceived Terry as basically rubbing it in their faces, esspecialy Aras. Yep, here I think laying it out for people to see if they wanted to is fine, sticking it in their faces is going overboar. We cut to some clips about how Aras and Terry are ultra competetive and that is how they ven tnot liking each other. These two will compete at anything. Today Aras continues his winnning ways by bringing to the tribe a virtual seafood buffet.

Then we cut to a challenge. Jeff calls the 3 in and remarks "I bet you were expecting an immunity challenge today" Uhm, no Jeff, if they were Aras would have been wearing the immunity necklace to the challenge. Jeff introduces:

Reward Challenge #14
The Prize - billed as "A prize package designed to give you a big advantage at the final immunity challenge" We'll see about that later, Jeffy old pal. It consists of a catered nutritious meal and a cot with covers for the night. A big meal and a good nights sleep, says Jeff.

The challenge: Jeff shows them a climbing wall. Its not like at the amusement park or carnival, not even like at the outdoor sporting goods store or summer camp. This wall looks to be smooth polished wood set at a steep angle. There are no handholds, instead there are slots in which to insert handholds. To get the four tools they will need to climb the wall, Jeff explains the full challenge.

Stage 1: Navigate a handle through a table maze. The maze appears to have the patern clearly painted on it, but there are sudden dead ends. Succesfully getting the rod all they way through the maze will release a bag containig the first two hand tools for the wall. Untie the bag, ad take it with you.

Stage 2: It looks like a roulette wheel, but don't spin it. Sitting atop the wheel is a scroll with clues. using the clue rotate the wheel the designated number of spaces, like a combination lock dial. When you have dialed all the clues into the wheel, the pointed should be pointed at the only bag on the wheel to actually have your hand tools.

Stage 3: Use the 4 hand tools you have acquires to climb the climbing wall. You need all 4 to climb rhe wall, and must take all 4 with you when you reach the top.

Stage 4: Insert the 4 tools into their correct clots in the toolrack on top of the wall, inserting all 4 tools will cause your tribe flag to raise.

First person to raise their flag wins reward.

Jeff starts the challenge. They all seem to have some trouble wth the table maze, but Aras solves it with a healthy lead. At the puzzle wheel Aras and Terry have no troubles, but Danielle dials the wrong combo and gets a bag of immitation hand tools. She proceeds to race to the wall anway before Jeff informes her they are not the correct tools (the correct tools will be color coded). Really they should make it more obvious that he person chose the wrong bag.

On the wall the players slip some, and it appears that Aras has the challenge won when we starts sliding down just as he reaches the top, he is saved by the collar of his shirt snagging on oneof the tools still stuck ino the wall. At the end it still looks like Aras beat Terry to the top and was already inserting his tools into the rack, when Terry takes on superhuman powers to get his tools inserted and flag raised first.

Jeff informs them that since the hidden idol is no longer in play, no one is going to Exile Island, and no one gets to share the reward. Terry goes for lunch, the others go back to camp.

We only get to see a couple short shots of Terry eating lunch alone, but really, eating lunch alone, what is there really to show or tell. Back at camp Aras and Danielle are having a seafood feast, so everybody is eating. Aras uses the time to try to broker a deal with Danielle. It would not surprise me to see Danielle play both sides, after all she has openly admitted she is just using Terry.

We see the boat deliver Terry back to camp with his Ikea build it yourself cot. They ask Terr about the meal, and although he tries to downplay it by saving it wasn't much at all, it sounds like it would be good to me after 37 days of limited food intake. 2 chicken breasts, a lot of vegetables, some fruit, a power drink and some pure water. Not much happens and they switch to nighttime and Terry preparing to sleep on his cot and the others commenting on hos its not fair (What part of "reward" and "personal advantage"did they not understand). As Terry prepares to go to sleep, they asks if he gets the cot for the remainder of the game, and Terry responds that he would like to be around to use it for the rest of the game. Aras states that if Terry is voted off, Aras will sleep on the cot in Terry's honor, and Terry responds that perhaps Aras will have to fight Danielle for it, in a way hinting that Aras should not assume so fast he is second in line for the cot.

LAstly we hear Aras explain that Terry may have gotten a physcial advantage with the meal and the cot, but he also has the psychological baggage now that he is expected to win and now has even more pressure on him to win the challenge.

We go to Day 38, Terry goes to check tree mail, and reads the tree mail to himself beofre showing the others. It is basically just directions telling them that a boat will pick them up to take them to Exile Island, once there they will collect the torches of the other survivors that went before them, they will place the torches they collect on top of the giant skull and raise the Exile Island flag (for the last time ever, I can assure you). Then they will set the Giant Skull on Exile Island on fire, skull, torches, flag all going up in a big blaze of glory.

As tthey ride to Exile Island. (Is this a first, the tribe is on a waterfront and does no have a boat), it is refreshing to see them finally admit they shuttle the survivors from scene to scene. On the boat ride, they comment that between them they spent the most time on Exile Island, so its fitting that they get to set it ablaze. They fail to see the "remember your fallen comrads" part and are all "We don't ever have to go to this lousy island again".

They get to the island, and this is the traditional rite of passage where they are supposed to stop a moment at the torches of each player who went before them. Reflect on that person, maybe say a few words, then move on. The show will then helpfully provide a montage of that person's highlights and a voice over from that person on their Survivor experience. It's meant to be all reverent and emotional. The tribe members do this, then Danielle raises the flag and the other two help pass the torches up to Danielle to arrange on top of the skull. The skull is then set afire and our three newest pyromaniacs take fiendish delight in destroying Exile Island. (Well, at least thats one set they won't have to knock down). They edit out the part where the tribe asks for a box of graham crackers, some chocolate bars, and some marshmellows. :)

They transition to:
Immunity Challenge #14
Okay, I took one look at this challenge and said Danielle is golden. Actually she would have been no matter what the challenge. I don't see sworn enemies Aras and Terry possibly taking each other, especially as we have seen each brokering deals with Danielle.

But this challenge seems to be especially set for Danielle, which really is the only outcome that would provide some degree of suspense at tribal council.

The challenge is to stand on a small floating platform. The slightest movement in any direction will cause the platform to flip over dumping you into the water. Hmm, they must be connected to the frame in the same manner as the rope bridges in the "Jacob's Ladder" games seen at carnivals. They have to survive 15 minutes on each platform, if they survive they will move to an even smaller platform. On the tiniest platform there is no time limit, and they will compete till last man stands. Between each platform they will only have 1 minute to get setup and ready to start the challenge.

They step onto the largest platform, the guys platformsseem to take on a little water, but they all stand still as statues. At first Jeff can't even coax them into talking, and then tries to distract them to no avail. We do see Danielle ask about fishing. They pass the first round, and move to
round 2. A little harder to get balanced, but not mcuch happens and they advance to round 3. Jeff remarks about this is really where it gets hard.

Aras and Terry are having trouble even getting up ont he platform. Terry is particular is having trouble nad must have gotten flipped off the platform 4 times in his 1 minute setup time. He does just barely find his balance and avoids the embarassing disqualification. He doesn't last much longer though and is first out. I say right then and there "Terry's Done For!"

We see what may or may not have been some head signalling going on between Aras and Danielle. We then see Aras pretty much jump off his platform, handing the win to Danielle. To be fair Danielle would have probably won anyway as she looked steadier than Aras, but now Aras does not have to admit defeat.

Danielle gets the last and most powerful individual immunity. Jeff sends them back to camp via boat.

As soon as they arrive back at camp, Danielle says that winning the final immunity is both a blessing and a curse. She says she has no idea who to take with her. Time to cue the politking scnes. First Terry corners Danielle on a water run Terry is shocked that he isn't golden, Terry tells Danielle that is he had won, Danielle would be golden. (Easy to say now, buddy) Danielle responds that had Terry given her the hidden immuity idol last tribal council, Terry would have been golden (again, easy to say now). Terry does his sales pitch. Aras is rightfully paranoid.

They have chowm then Aras pulls Danielle aside for his own sales pitch. According to Aras Danielle and he exchanged signals at the challene indicating that Daielle agreed to take Aras. Danielle claims she never made said signals, much less a deal. Aras gives his sales pitch, which is a high pressure sales pitch actually, and Danielle claims she wasn't comfortable with it.

They prepare to leave for Tribal Council and Danielle claims she still hasn't chosen. Terry all "do what tou want to do" and Aras shoots her a look like "What do you mean, undecided'

They go to Tribal Council.

Jeff talks a bit about the immunity challenge. He tehn asks Terry specifically if he respects the powerful role and improtant decision Danielle must make. Terry totally ignores that question, and instead responds with the "Take Me" sales pitch. During said sales pitch, he of course has to make sure it is known to all he had the hidden immunity idol. Jeff does his best to act surprised. Aras on the other hand handles the question a lot better than Terry did.

Jeff asks Danielle how she feels (more nervous every minute), and how she is basing her vote. She still claims not to know, Aras looks stunned.

Danielle votes, which of course we don't see, Jeff goes to tally the single vote, Jeff returned to read the vote, and I don't think anybody was shcoked to see Terry voted out, well except maybe Terry. The one time the hidden idol could not save him, and he is gone. Jeff gives the usual comments about how all power is out of Aras and Danielles hands (you have gone as far as you can go o your own volition), how the jury will decide who wins, then he dismisses them back to camp to relax for a day befoe facing the jury at the final tribal council.

They return to camp, congratulate themselves, comment on how they are the two youngest players this season, Then the usual bonfire occures, it happens every season so I think it must be protocol, however this season they don't throw near as much stuff into the bonfire, so there are a lot of traces of camp left. In the morning they go to get tree mail, and get milk, orange juice, champagne, eggs, pancake batter and so go to prepare breakfast. First though they decide to make cocktails out of the champagne and orange juice. We see them eat breakfast, and appreciating every scrap of food they have been given, like the pan clean of the pancake batter.

They go off for some quiet reflection time, then it happens, they are enjoying each others company, and taking a jaunt down the beach when Aras trips over some rocks, whats worse, he is carrying the champagne glass. So now he has a split finger, open wounds on his back and such, and there are glass shards to be dealt with. He keels over from the pain. They do take the time to pull the glass shards out. Danielle helps Aras to the cot in the shelter.

They decide the situation is seriou and signal (however they signal) for the medical team. The meidical team arrives, and Aras is not evacuated, which is good becuase I had a moment of thinking Danielle would be declared winner by forfeit. The medics take care of Aras stitches and bandaging up. Hey that cot Terry won is coming in handy now.

Both tribe members are still in good spirits as Aras asks for them to go light on the drugs so that he can think and speak clearly at tribal council, and Danielle responds that they should just go ahead and drug him up.

Aras takes a huge ego dive, and Danielle does try her best to comfort him. Aww how nice, we then see the montage of the remnants of Camp Gitanos as Aras and Danielle abandon camp for the last tribal council.

They go to tribal council. Jeff first makes specific mention of Aras's injury and Aras gives the jury an accuracte descrtipion of what happened. Jeff remarks that they dont have to worry about going back to that beach.

Same format as always: opening statement, each jury member gets to ask a question, closing statement, voting.

Opening statements weren't too memorable, though I think Danielle did a better sales job and ended with a confident vote for me, and Aras just let his peter out. Danielle did explain her last vote, as voting in solidarity with Casaya (There are 4 Casaya on the jury afterall).

The questions were the usual variety: "Who was the greatest member of Casaya", they both go with Ciri, who just happens to be sitting on the jury, and both for much the same reason. "NAme your best highlight and name on time you did something you aren't proud of" Highlight moments differ, but lowlight they both went with voting out (backstabbing) Shane, Very tightyl played tribal council.

Bruce brings in samauri warrior imagery, and a new take on the old "What will you do with the money?", into ""Now that you have had this experience what will you do as part of your responsiblity to grow from it". Aras states he needs more self examination, Danielle states she wants to become aspeaker and share the stories of her expeirnce with others.

For the most part, its the usual tribal council fare, though with tribal starting at 9:40, its much shorter than the older 1 hour final tribal councils. Terry preceeds his question by telling off Danielle, even ending with, "You'll wish you took the Navy pilot", his question is for the two to rate themselves on challenge ability. See Terry still thinks its a real survivial game, not an interpersonal dynamics game, maybe thats why his socail game skills were so weak, he put too much emphasis on challenges. They both give themsevles a 9 and say they put forth maximum effort. Courtney shows why she may be the most annoying at camp, her question is something like "What ldid you learn from this experience?" and instead of letting the two anser she has to keep interupting them with interjections like she is their counselor, instead of letting them speak their mind and finsih their thought. If she kept interrrupting people while they were trying to talk back at campk its no wonder why she got voted "Most annoying?

They saved Shane for last, and you know they save the most incidiary speech/question for last. Shane boldly states that the true winner of the game should be Terry, that he wishes he could abstain from voting. He tehn goes and gives each finalist a laundry list of all their faults. He ends with something like since I can't abstasin, and I don't really care which one of you wins, give me a number between 1 and 1,000,000. Danniele choses 4, and Aras chooses 10. Both very low numbers which means they don't really care what Aras thinks anyway.

Danielle does use her closing arguments time to refutre Shane;s diatribe, as does Aras.

Jeff tells them to vote FOR a winner. The voting begins, we see Terry vote for Aras. "I was so used to writing his name" I think he voted Aras both because he is still feeling the sting from Danielles last backstab, and becuase Aras also played the physical competitor, whch as we have seen, is what Terry values. We do see a vote for Danielle, and this is not good, only two votes shown. must gonna be a landslide,

Well, now its time to see how we transition back to the United States. They seem to either flow right into reading the votes while acting like they are still on location (which incolves some directed neglect of personal hygene/groomng), or Jeff leaves them on location to read the votes later. This time he took the latter course, but the audince was spared the absurd, though sometimes humerours montage of Jeff going from location to the United States. He merely walk off the tribal council set in Panma, and walks ontothe set in New York City (Ed Sullivan Theater, home of David Letterman's Late Show)

We waste not time getting right to the vote. I note the winner gets bragging rights, the title of Sole Survivor, and a million dollars, but no car, usually the game winner also gets a car. Jeff also offers the winner some advice ""Pay your taxes", in obvious reference to Richard Hatch who just got 4 plus years in the federal slam for not paying taxes on his Survivor winnings. Hey tax evasion was Al Capone's downfall too with the legal system.

The votes are read,and we start with the two votes that were shown being cast, which allows each group of fans to cheer wildly, but soon it becomes clear that Aras is our winner. Got that Internet Betting Spoiler?. You though wrong this season.

We take a break, but then its back for the reunion show,

The reunion showis ment to provide insight on things that happened during the game, and what is going on in the players real lives.

Of couse we interview Aras and he talks about how great it is to win, then we interview Danielle. Jeff calls her out on her saying her decision to boot out Terry was strictly tribal politics. Danielle admits the real reason is that since Terry was either nn La Mina, or was always voting for Aras, he had a cleaner record, he was not involved in the backstabbings, and thus could have played the "honor and integrity" card, whereas Aras had participated in all the sae backstabbings and dirty deeds she did. Jeff asks her now that she has lost if she made a mistake. Here is where you should just humour Jeff and say "Yes, I messed up" Instead she says she had no better odds against Terry. Jeff then decided to repoll the Jury based on how a Terry-Danielle vote would have gone. It goes overwhelmingly in Terry's favor, Jeff rubs it in Terry's face "Oh, so close", and Danielle is about to cry as she realizes she had no chance of winning.

Of course its not a fair polling of the jury, I mean we now have a jury months removed from the game, emotions have had time to heal, they have seen more about the other characters as the TV show unfolded, they got to see things they would not have known as jury members, or being in different tribes, or being exiled, or being on reward or whatever, they have hade access to pther people opinions via internet and water cooler converations. Hardly a fair unbiased jury.

We check in with Ciri and celebrate her going from couch potato and scared of leaves, to being a firebuilder/fish catcher all around outdoorsey type person who has proven to herself what she is capeable of. They also check in with her husband, and Jeff practially feeds him the line to priase Ciri on national TV, but he instead babbles on about how they used him as forced labor around camp.

We check in with Shane who looks a lot different now, Shane talks about the tobacco addiction, how it was even harder as he had no fesh water during his detox. He claims he went crazy during detox, then decided that instead of cooling out and becoming norma, he deicded instead to "Fairplay" it and at the rolleof the insane psychotic player. Of course Boston is mentioned and how Boston was shocked at some of Shanes actions on TV. "You made death threats on national TV?" Shane does give a mothers day props to Bird, who is Boston's mother.

Speaking of Mothers Day, Jeff decided to USE Tina at this point for a poignant and sad Mothers day story about Tina (voted off first), how she lost her only son in an automobile accident, how she was supposed to be on Survivor Guatemala. It seemed totally gratuitous and unneccesary, and a downe to the whole party atmosphere as well.

Jeff congratualtes Terry on his challenge prowess, and talks about how the immunity idol didn't get played but it defintely had an effect on the game. Jeff goes on to theorize that since Terry was set on surprise ousting Aras if Terry had to use the idol, that in fact Terry's challenge run really benefited Aras, in a twist of irony. Its a reach. Terry also decided to take the peace pipe offered by Jeff and to go with the story that he yelled at Ciri purely out of frustration for Shane being voted off.

Jeff aks Courntey a question out of courtesy and Courtney's out there free spirit answers it in a way that doesn't really say anything, Jeff moves on.

Jeff asks Bruce about the medical emergency. Bruce tells us he let it go on for 12 days, getting worse and worse each day, but now hes totally healed and everything is alright, he also had the tooth that got chipped in the machete to the face incident repaired. We also learn that Bruce was threatened with termination if he want on the show. IT seems they reconsidered and went with an unpaid suspension. I wonder if the reconsideration had anyting to do with tthe potential for threatened media blackmail by Bruce mentionng it during the show.

Jeff then feels compelled to explain the Survivir rules pertaining to medical emergency. It would really be nice if these big reality game shows would make their complet unabrdiged rule books available. for one it would give the show accountability, and two it would let the true plans better understand the mechanics of the game. But maybe the shows don't want accountability, or they conside the rules to be proprietary and could be used by a rival show, or maybe they don't want to give a player too much time to understand the rules and figue out how to abuse them.

Anyway the rules releated to medical emergeny state that medical assistance will be provided to any Survivor that asks for it, after all the show is concerned for their safety. The risk is that you may call for medical help at any time, but once you call for them, your game eligibility rests solely in the hands of the medical team. If the team declares you unfit to continue, thats it, game over, no appeal.

Jeff goes around to those that did not have a chance to speak and gets a short soundbite from them on what they will take away from the experience. Thats it for the live interaction.

They do waste time on a non Survivor promotional tie in for Click, a movie coming out this summer. A summer comedy about a guy who goes to buy a universal remote control, and gets just that a remote control for the universe. The extended preview tells us the movie then takes a "Dont play with magic you don't understand" tone, as the remote control starts conrolling him.. I'm not exactly eager to go watch the move,.

The more importabt video clip was of Survivor 13, coming this fall, which will take place on the Cook Islands (near Australia, but loosely alligned with New Zealand, though they claim to be independant, but they outsource their military needs to New Zealand, and have the UK flag in the canton of their own flag. Political babbling asside, it figures into the first explorations of Polynessia, and into Mutiny on the Bounty. Why do I see another pirates, nautical theme coming? Oh, and Exile Island will be back in play next season, and of course he promises new twists.

Oh, and props are for auction on eBay - use

Oh, and applications are being accepted for future Survivor seasons.

GMS and CBS ran an America's Choice internet poll o determine which Survivor ismost worth y of a GMC Yukon. Ciri won this car. I was sure Bruce would get in as a sympathy vote. Jeff reminds us that this season Terry won the car on the island, and lost the game, so the infamous Survivor Car Curse is still intact.

Thats it, take care!

Sunday, May 14, 2006

The Amazing Race - Episode 11 (Leg 10)

Whew, that was quite the finish at the end of the last leg. Last week we were surprised when teams all finished within an hour of each other, well this week they started within 10 minutes of each other.

You may recall last week's finish included the three way photo finish involving Eric/JEremy who were not penalized for sabotaging other teams taxis. Joseph/Monica who we got to see Monica's facial recation go from giddy with delight at the thought they had eliminated enemy BJ/Tyler to seething angry when BJ/Tyler once again became the beneficiaries of a non elimination leg. Sure they had to give up their money and posessions once again, but they are still in the race.

We had seen at the end of the last leg they did not have any shoes or pants on at the mat, and wondered if the show was going to show them some mercy. No, the show did not, they did the right thing and are making them live with their decision. We see Ray/Yolanda leave first and they stop by BJ/Tyler's car. This time they are not leaving money, they are leaving some spare pants. Huh? Can you say Race? Can you say contest for a million dollars? This is when teams should be 'kicking them while they are down' or surely not offering any help. BJ/Tyler had been consistantly toward the top of the standings, if you are Ray/Yolanda this is the sort of team you don't want around in the finals. I do give Yolando a pass becuase she left them a pair of purple female pants, and was cackling about who is going to wear those.

Next we see Eric/Jeremy leave, you recall last time not only did they not leave the hippies money, they were the team man emough to leave a note saying they didn't leave any money. Surely they will remember this is a competition, but no they stopped by the hippies car to drop off spare footwear, in the form of sandals or flip/flops. WHAT!!??!! Competition, guys. Imagine how hard it would be to do this race in bare feet, isn't that what you want your competition to go through? Why on earth are they suddenly going soft? A theory that has been advanced is they don't want to cheapen their win by leaving doubt as to if the hippies would have been able to beat them if they had shoes. Still, make em suffer!

Next, a minute later due to the rule of minimum spacing between departures, is Jonathan/Monica, you can safely bet they left nothing for their sworn ememies. The motive may not have been right, but they alone realize this is a competition, take any advantage ytou legalley can.

Last out are of course BJ/Tyler who look through their goodwill offering, then augment it by raiding the resort's lost and found box. No one else seemed to make mention of the ethical implications of stealing other peoples things, so I won't either.

And where are they all headed?

Clue #61 - Route Info
Fly to Bangkok, Thailand, once there take a bus to Lopburi Thailand and go to the Three Spires Pagoda.

The teams had no trouble finding their way back to the airport, and the three lead teams all made reservations on the same flights to Bangkok. There is some interaction in the airport, specifically that of Joseph/Monica calling Eric/Jeremy on leaving the hippies shoes. Monica states that BJ/Tyler would not have been allowed in the airport without shoes. Eric/Jeremy lie about it, which makes no sense as they know Monica left after them, and had the chance to inspect the hippies car.

We see BJ/Tyler arrive at the airport, we see them learn the flight doesn't leave until the morning, so instead of making reservations while they were right there at the airport, they leave the airport to go to downtown Darwin to beg. They claim it was profitable, but they didn't claim how much the take to the chairty of BJ/Tyler was this week. They do know other teams were given over $200 this leg.

When Bj/Tyler return to the airport they learn the team flght is full. There is some speculation as to weather or not the flight would have been full if they had gone to the ticket counter when they were there erlier, but who cares, its nice to think they got penalized for stupidity. BJ/Tyler do however seem to come out smelling like roses when they find an alternate flight plan that is suppoed to get them there 15 minutes ahead of the other teams.

Flights fly and there are flight time changes, the flight with the three leading teams arrives early, and BJ/Tyler' flight arrives late, such that BJ/Tyler are 45 minutes behind the others in Bangkock. The three lead teams catch taxis. Eric/Jeremy and Ray/Yolanda have no trouble hailing taxis and getting to the Mo Chit Bus Terminal. They also have no trouble getting tickets on a midnight bus. They are seen going downstairs to the loading areas and boarding the bus.

Joseph takes an instant distrust to his taxi driver and has the nerve to say so right in earshot of the friendly cabbie who is just loading thier bags into his trunk for them. They arrive at the bus terminal and he drops them off in front of a set of closed ticket windows. The cmaera pans over so that we can see the open windows a short distance away. The cabbie claims the bus terminal is closed for the night and will reopen at 4:50. There has been specualtionas to weather or not this is payback for Joesph's comments, or if the cabbie was trying to convince them to let him drive them all the way to the pagoda. J/M head to a hotel. They show us a shot of the clock to let us know J/M should have been able to easily make the same bus as the other two teams. The only thing that would have made this scene better is if Eric/Jeremy would have waved out the bus windows to them as they departed. Remember it is ultimately Joseph/Monicas decision not to check out the entire bus station for themselves.

We see BJ/Tyler arrive on their later flight, we see them have no trouble getting to the bus station. They do, however arrive after midnight, They search around the terminal and find tickets on a 4:20 bus. Recall that Joseph/Monica think ticket sales do not begin until 4:50 for a 5:20 bus. We see BJ/Tyler walk around the station distraught at not seeing any other teams. We then see Joseph/Monica saying that they will arrive about at the time the the ticket window opens.

This sets up wonderful footage of BJ/Tyler being able to board the 4:20 bus (wondering where everybody else is) before Joseph/Monica evena rrived to book the 5:20 bus. Way to gain a place there, guys. Joseph/Monica arrive buy tickets and are very distraught wondering why there are no other teams there. They catch the bus alone. I think waht happened is that here in America our inter-city ground transportation systems are neglected and mostly ridiculed as being only for the lower class. The teams may not have realized that other nations actually utilize their bus/train systems to the point where there meay be multiple bus lines out of a single station. Joseph/Monica may have been directed to a bus lines office that had closed for the night, when a little exploration may have helped them find an open carrier.

Eric/Jeremy and RAy/Yolanda arrive at the 3 spires pagoda to learn it doesn't open until 8. The pagoda is overrun with 'sacred monkeys' who can't contain themselves and even jump the fences to play with the teams. BJ/Tyler arrive not to much later and they all make their way to:

Clue #62 - This is a real packet. It contains:
- a Travelocity clue that is not to be opened until the Pit Stop
- A Fast Forward clude
- A Roadblock clue

Okay, lets deal with these:

The Travelocity clue, well just keep that in mind, I don't want to spoil the surprise just yet
The Fast Forward can be claimed by going to a local restaurant and eating a bowl of stir fried crickets, of course teams are merely told they will go to a restaurant and partake in a favorite after school ritual.
The Roadblock required one team member to decorate and set a table. The task demands exactly replicating a table of food, fancy cut fruit and other items. The table will then be taken into the courtyard of the pagodas and offered to the sacred monkeys. This is supposedly an imitation of an annual ritual. (It's arts and crafts day on Amazing Race)

Eric and Jeremy and Ray and Yolndas are first in, and grab their packets, since Eric/Jeremy have used their one roadblock allotment they go ahead and slect Eric to compete in the Roadblock. Ray and Yolanda decide to try for fast forward.

The two teams are suprised to see BJ/Tyler beat Joseph/Monica to the pagoda. BJ/Tyler opt for the Fast Forward. BJ/Tyler pull ahaed of Ray/Yolanda and are first to the restaurant, Yolanda tried to guess the popular afterschool pasttime and gueses football, crickets? Just as they switch to a shot of a bowl of crickets.

BJ/Tyler enter the restaurant and it appears that they are given freshly stir fried bowls, but I think each got a family size bowl that is probably meant to be shared under normal circumstances, but they get their own giant bowl for each of them. Let me say I don't care much for the gross foods challenges, and am glad they have seemed to have gone away from Survivor, but this one is a Fast Forward and is completely optional, so no worries mate. Phil explains about a Fast Forward and tells us this is the second of only two fast forwards. I want to know if teams know this is the last available fast forward, as that would seem to moot the whole strategy of "decide when its most advantageous"

Ray and Yolanda come in and join BJ/Tyler already eating. They both eat for a while, and then Ray/Yolanda don't seen enthusiastic about the crickets and don't think they can finsih. BJ/Tyler are happy to help convine Ray/Yolanda that no they can't finishe the crickets, so that Ray/Yolanda actually give up on the Fast Forward and head back to the Roadblock. We know that Yolanda must take all remaining roadblocks so off she goes.

Ray/Yolanda and Eric/Jeremy exchange notes and they wonder if BJ/Tyler can finsihe the fast forward, Ray/Yolanda tells Eric/Jeremy that they will be at it for a while.

Let me short circuit this by saying that we keep alternating between shots of the roadblock and shots of the fast forward. The fast forward shots contain mostly shots of them puking, wonderng if they can finish, and continuing to shovel in the food. Basically eat a few crickets, puke, bitch, eat a few more crickets, puke, bitch, repeat. Oh my I wonder if they will be able to finish, suffice to say they do, and are given the pit stop clue.

Back at the Roadblock, Joseph/Monica arrive and are shocked to see everybody there already. "We thought we were in first place" Monica protests, "Well you thought wrong" Jeremy snarks back. Joseph/Monica also are probably not happy that BJ/Tyler are off claiming the fast forward pass. They send Joesph to do this roadblock.

Okay, now lets talk about the roadblcok, the teams have to decorate a pretty intricate table compelte with cutting, preparing and arranging the food on the table (mostly fruit) in just the right pattern, along with other decorations, when they complete it they take it into the courtyard to give to the monkeys. Nothing says "Job satisfaction" like seeing your demanging intricate work ravaged to shreds in seconds by a few monkeys who have somehow lucked into living the life of being sacred. That and the monkeys may not even wait for you to finish, thats your tough loss as the table must meet approval before you can take it in. In other words if the task wasn't exactling enough as it is, the added aggravtion of the monkeys would be enough to send anybody over the edgema dn indeed a few contestants get a bit testy.

Teams taking the Roadblock are given:
Clue #62 - Route Info
Go to the Buhhda Garden on Ka Kret Island - The clue is hidden in the garden.

Teams take taxis, but there seems to be no trouble finding the ferry serivce to Ka Kret Island, where they do have trouble is in finding the entrance to the Buddha Garden desipte the signage, in English even. Once they find the garden the clue is in an obvious location.

Clue #63 - Detour
Move it - move 72 clay pots from a pottery to the boat dock - you do this by putting them on a long board which you balance on your shoulders. You can make as many trips as you need.
Alter it - (Or should it say Altar it) - Basically build an altar to Buddha based on an example given. (Its arts and crafts day!)

E/J and R/Y choose Aler it, and learn that most of the altar building challenge is simple, just laying out the pieces in the right places, and the challenge is right next to a shrine where they can go in and have a look for reference. The operative part of this challenge is gold leafing a Buddha head. I told you it was arts and crafts day.

Joseph/Monica arrive at this challenge and see the other two teams already working at it and decide to go off and try the other detour playting the odds that the physical detour may be faster.

We see the Alter it teams gold leafing and its apparently a time consuming and not very exciting process. More exciting is watching Joseph/Monica try to balance the boards with the clay pots. The boards are long enough to be unwieldy, then its not a straight shot, there are several turns along the way. In other words this is going to be challenging. They do pretty well on the first run and get about half the required number of pots to the boat with minimal breakage. Its on round 2, Joseph adds 4 pots as their 'safety net', which doesn't help when Monica starts dropping pots, and you know how it goes, once the first two drop, the others soon follow, especially when you start panicing and going hysterical like Monica did, by the time they get to the dock Monica has like maybe 2 or 3 pots left. On round 3 Monica does nothing and lets Joseph carry the remainder of the pots by himself.

The Buddha judges are a little bit more picky than the dancing judges in Germany, but neither team seems to have trouble gold leafing their Buddha. (Closes I have come to a Buddha statue is as an obstacle on a miniature golf course that was in Biloxi, MS before Katrina, the city apparently had a sizeable Budhist population. But hey, at least I was cultured enough to know I was looking at a Buddha. (They had the shot arranged where you shot the ball through a tunnel which then went up soe kind of ramp so that it looked like the ball came out Buddhas sleeve as he delivered it (hopefully) towards the hole. But I digresss... )

One by one they finish their tasks and are far enough apart that each team gets its own ferry back to the mainland. Order was Eric/Jeremy, Ray/Yolanda, Joesph/Monica)

Clue #64 - Go to the Marble Temple, Bangkok - Warning this is a pit stop.

We see Bj/Tyler show up first by virtue of the fast forward, but sorry guys no prize. The prize for this round is based on, you guessed it, the Travelocity Clue. Recall each team had free choice of taking a clue out of the clue box at random, so thisis essentially a lucky chance, and since the show went two episodes without a luck based challenge I guess they needed some random element. BJ/Tylers envelope did not contain the Gold Travelocity Gnome. Sorry guys, but hey you are in the finals, and are in first place despite starting the leg with no money, no shoes, no pants.

NExt in are Eric/Jeremy, they take their second place finsih well. (Recall they knew BJ/Tyler fast forwarded), but alas no Gold Gnome for them either.

So its edited to look like a race between Ray/Yolanda and Joseph/Monica. Ray/Yolanda apparently decide they have to enter the temple, or enter the ground through the wrong door and they are stopped so that Yolanda can put on some religious appropriate attire that was loaned to her at the gate. This delay still doesn't help Joseph/Monica.

Ray and Yolanda check in, glad to have made the cut to be in the finals, and in their Travelocity Clue is the Golden Travelocity Gnome, by Travelocity, which awards them a Travelocity Vacation to Australlia, (actually a luxury vacation it sounds like, private yacht and all), paid for by Travelocity. Oh, and they also get an in-race reward, they get to spend the night at a luxury hotel courtesy of Travelocity where they will learn more about their prize. Ya know this just about makes up for the pathetic 1 year lease on a car prize they won last week. I am also glad becuase this means Mojo doesn't get a prize. I'm already happy. Just be an elimination round.

Joseph/Monica check in, don't win the prize, and gets eliminated. I'm happy as this is the one team remaing I would not like to see win the race just becuase she started channeling Flo at the end. Oh, and they were part of the bitter rivalry between themselves and the Hippies, and I like the hippies better. Life not fair. I think the whole tone of the race will benefit from this rivalry being gone. The teams finsih up the episode with the usual montage of "We're gonna beet em now" comments. Next week, the 2 hour finale epsiode, which means 2 legs, a non-elimination and the final leg. Can Bj/Tyler hit the Non-Elimination Trifecta?

Oh and in the preview sit looks like Japan and a very cold North Atlantic counry are involved. Oh and whats this rollercoasters and amusement rides. Challenges that involve going to an open amusement park??? Sign me up for this game!!!!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 13

Well, hey same night service on this one, unlike the episode 12 summary below.

This episode starts with what I think is a planned element of the game. These people have now been with each other for 33 days, they have talked about every conveivable topic, and are probably at each others throats.

The episode starts with the walk back from tribal council in the dark. Ciri accidently places her torch in the wrong spot in camp, and Terri goes nuts, saying how thats not proper camp procedure (Note to Terry: these aren't your soldiers, boy scout troops, or children) Ciri may have touched on one of Tery's pet peeves (order and tidiness), but in this situation Terry should have just let it slide. He didnt it degenerated into an argument, and Terry was the one who left early to go to bed. The other laugh at Terry behind his back and remark that Terry is just upset that Shane was voted out.

We don't loose much time before going to:
Reward Challenge #13
Reward: Trip down the Panama Canal in a 100' luxury yacht, complete with 5 course meal and open bar during the cruise.
Challenge: It's a memory puzzle challenge. Each survivor must be attached to the rope course at all times by at least one of to carabeaners. The course is desinged so that passing the other players is necessary. (You can pass by moving one oy your two carabeaners around the other person), the ropes lead to 6 different stations. (poles, rocks, crabs, iguanas, etc) at each station you have to count the number of objects, then race back to start once st start you will find a pile of number tiles, find the tile that matches the number of onjects put it in your tile rack. Repeat for each station, you may hit the stations in any order. Once you have all 6 tiles, you can move those to a puzzle station, on the puzzle station there are labeled boxes for you to move the tiles from the tile rack to the boxes on the puzzle station. Once you have matched your numbers with the correct station, the numbers will give you the combination to one of the three combinations locks. Opening all three locks will allow your flag to unwrap. First person to get their flag unrolled wins reward, and gets to decide who goes to exile island.

The challenge starts and it is clear that it is everyone against Terry, andything you can do to hinder Terry's progress is okay. Really not much exciting except they runl, count, get number, run back, fine the tile, run out get another number. Sure, at one point Aras tried to block Terry and Terry basically shoved Aras out of the way, earning a warning from Jeff. All that didn't matter as all four were back to the stations working on the locks at about the same time. Everybody had to go back becuase they messed somethin up. Here is where Terry made a mistake, Terry thought that you could only check one station at a time on the second or third pass. In reality there was no such rule on repeat visits. Terry thinking Aras cheated calls foul, and Jeff says that Aras is fine. Aras smarts off some immature comment to Terry.

In the end Aras wins the challenge, and immediately thereafter, Terry polietely goes to Jeff and merely asks for a rules clarification. Aras accuses Terry of arguing and making excuses for his loss. Aras asks, are you going to complain every time you lose? Tery responds that this is his first loss. There are limits to trash talking, and Aras doesn't know when to stop, so Aras says "Wahts next Terry, are you going to make disparaging comments about women?" You could see Terry was offende on a personal level. Jeff regains control, and tells Aras that he can choose one person to go with him on reward (you can build a bank its not Terry), and that the other two will both go to Exile Island.

Aras chooses Ciri to go on reward, and apologizes to both Danielle and Terry. Danielle looks upset and Terry taking the moral upper road just says "Do what you have to do".

We see Ciri and Aras go to the yacht. Aras interviews that Ciri and him have been close for a long time now. Aras also interviews in what appear to be his street clothes (not any clothes he had for the game, which leads me to beleive that the 'confessional' was taped AFTER the whole series ended and then spliced back in. This confessional really is a confessional where he owns up to maybe giing too far in egging on Terry, and thats hes not really proud of what he did.

Enogh of that Ciri is clearly impressed with the yacht and giddy with excitement that she gets to ride in one. They have a wondewrful time touring the Panama Canal, they enjoy some cocktails, we get to see how a canal lock works, but the never did show what was for dinner. The ride ends with the yahct returing them to camp. Now they were shown being taken by airplane to board the yacht, so perhaps the Pearl Islands are located near one end of the canal.

Meanwhile on Exile Island, Terry lets Danielle hold the idol, and thus there was no idol searching. The two appear to bond. We then hear Daniielle admit that he will use Terry any way she can to win, In other words neither the friendship nor 'alliance' are genuine. During this time we also get to hear both sides dicuss the trash talking at the end of the reward challenge. Terry/Danielle agreee that Aras is too emotional and is becoming unraveled. Ciri/Aras are laughing at Terry behind his back, seeing nothing wrong in what Aras said.

Back at camp, Aras is taking a nap and Ciri decided to learn how to start fire with a flint, commenting that for the past 33+ days she always found someone else to do it. It takes her a while, but she does suceed in getting fire. We then get to see Ciri genuinely happy for herself and what all she has accompished. Aras also seems happy for her.

We cut to the immunity challenge

Immunity Challenge #13
In this oe they dig up more bags out of a ring. This time they are given two ropes and coordinates makres on stakes to help locate where the bag should be.

At the start of the challenge everybody's ropes are preset to mark the location of the first bag, so they run from the puzle station to the sand ring, dig for the bag, return to the puzzle station, untie the bag and dump out puzzle pieces to solve puzzle 1, puzzle 1 will give the corrdinates to set the ropes to to locate bag 2. Back to the sand pit, dig up bag 2, get the pieces, aeemble puzzle 2 at the puzzle station, get the coordinates for bag 3, run out get the bag, run back to the puzzle station to put puzzle 3 together. First person to complete all three jigsaws wins immunity.

You will be surprised to hear that Terry falls behind in this one, honestly. It is pretty evident Aras is going to win when he is working on puzzle 3 and Terry is only on puzzle 2, and Ciri can't figure out how to set the ropes to find bag 2 and starts digging randomly. Oh it comes close as Aras takes his own time with puzzle three, giving Terry almost but not quite enough time catch up. Aras wins reward, ending Terrys immunity challenge winning streak. Danielle takes the news bad, as this means being able to use Tery for the hidden idol has just been taken off the table. We know that both Aras and Terry are secure. (What would a final be without a rivalry).

Back at camp, Terry calls a heart to hert with Aras, alone in private. (Or at least as private can get on their beach) Terry starts off talking down to Aras and I fear its not going to go well, but the two do have an honest heartfelt reconcilliation. Terry explains how slanderous Aras comments were, and the two talk it out and I don't know if it will help the game, but perhaps it may help the two co-exist for the rest of the game. Ciri and Danielle are sure they are planning something for Tribal Council. Always gotta be on your guard.

We hear Terry talk about sharing the immunity idol with Danielle, whichin this case would leave Terry vulnerable and exposed. He admits its a risk, I shout at the TV "Are you of your mind?"

Perahps its just editing to give Tribal council suspense. Ciri and Danielle then talk about what will happen if Terry keeps the hidden idol, that means that there would most likely be a tie as ARas/Ciri would vote for Danielle and Terry/Danielle would vote for Ciri. They speculat, and they are edited so that you know they are onlyspeculating that the tie breaker is a fire making challenge. We get a montage of Aras coaching Ciri and Terry coaching Danielle. I think we know who the final alliances are...

Soon its off to tribal council.

Jeff brings in the jury, and then comments that the game started 36 days ago with 4 tribes, and lo and behold in the final 4 there is a representative from each of the initial 4 tribes.

Jeff then notes that for the first time Aras is safe and TerrY is in danger. He probes Aras asking if Aras has caught a streak and is gaining momentum, and Aras responds back that he has and is ver positive. Basically he said i he never gave up and kept trying, he knew he would suceed someday. Jeff then probes Terry asking if he feels vulnerable, Terry answers with a resounding NO, he feels totally safe and is smiling. I think thats what poker players would call a tell. No mystery now who has the idol, no matter how the editing tries. The other players accuse Terry of having the idol, Terry says he may have the idol, he may not. Aras remakks its quite a risk if Terry gave it away.

Jeff comments that after tongiht the idol is worthless, and that it will be played after the vote. Its time to vote:

No votes are shown during casting. Jeff goes and gets the votes, and starts to tally. He reads the two votes for Danielle. Courtney is visibly excited about the prospect of Danilelle getting the boot (in revenge). Then Jeff reads the two Ciri votes. He declared the tirbal council deadlocked.

Jeff says that if you have the hidden idol, play it now. Both Ciri and Danielle say they don't have the idol, Jeff calls the idol VOID. Jeff then proceeds to tell them about the fire building challenge, the two take their places, Jeff says "Survivor's Ready!", then CUT. TO BE CONTINUED on Sunday

What a rip, what kind of ending is that.

Oh, and here must be a rule about passing the iodl to another playing DURING tribal council, or Terry could have just palmed Danielle the idol. Oh, and what happened to the chance to make your case and have one last revote before a deadlock is called.

Tune in Sunday for the finale and reunion show,

Survivor Exile Island - Episode 12

Okay, a bit late again, deal with it. I'm not sure anybody reads these anyhow.

Last week, when we returned from tribal council to check in wih the tribe, Terry was dealing with the fact that his 'alliance' with Danielle and Courtney was just a figment of his imagination, but that was nothing compared to what must have been running through Shane's mind, Ciri may have been the squeamish city girl when she arrived on the scene, but she has come into her own and will take her place as one of the great strategists in the game. We should have seen it coming ever since she convinced her first tribe to vote out its strongest member first.

I know I was expecting Shane to throw a tantrum, so I was a bit disapointed when he appeared to be able to talk about Courtney's boot in a civilized manner. Whats more he totally bought Ciri's story about how Shane had gotten too far in front of them on the hike to tribal council so they could not fill him in on the change of plans, then he bought that he was still part of the alliance. At least Terry realizes he is on the outside looking in, Shane still thinks he is in his throne.

But not much to talk about so lets go to:
Reward Challenge #12:
The prize: The winner gets to "allocate the love" and decide who goes to exile island.
The challenge: Second Chances - this is the challenge that is made of of elements from previous challenges. In this case it is an elimination obstacle course, after each stage, the person in last place gets eliminated.

Stage #1: Dash into a ringed circle and dig until you find a bag. Take the bag with you across the line. Top 4 advance,
Stage #2: Taking your bag with you, crawl under the belly crawl, tied to one of the horizontal poles is a wood snake. Untie the snake, take both the bag and the snake with you over the next line. Top 3 advance.
Stage #3: Taking both the snake and bag with you, climb over a sand hill, and then through a water hazard. Suspeneded over the water is a giant fish. Untie the fish, take the bag, snake and fish with you over the next line. Top 2 advance,
Stage #4: It looks like the same tunnel/tower arangement seen in the immunity challenge a few weeks ago. Taking all three objects (bag/snake/fish) make your way through the wood tunnel/tower arangement. First one through the tunnel and over the line with all three of their objects gets to "allocate the love"

Ok, it's the loved ones challenge, and there are a variety of 'experiences' that will hopefully allow the survivors to interact with their loved one. The person who wins the challenge gets to decide who gets which experience. It's a similar concept to the restaurant challenge where Jeff takes every player to a restaurant, but the challenge winner gets to order for everybody, and there is great disparity in the quality of the meals. In other words normally this is one of those landmine challenges you don't want to win, cause the winner has to essentially rank all the players.

And they are off, and it comes as no big surprise that Shane is out in the first round, The last few weeks it has been pointed out just how inept Shane is at challenges, like he isn't even trying. The cmaera lingers on his "Boston" tatoo to tug at heart strings that he may not get to see his son.
In Stage 2, Danielle is the first accross, and Ciri is eliminated.
In stage 3, Danielle has a lot of trouble geetting the fish untied, so while she was first to the fish, since she could not get it untied she was eliminated.
In stage 4, rivals Aras and Terry faced off. It was pretty even through the first half and at the crossover Terry was able to musclehis way past Aras. That didn't matter as Aras dropped his fish and it fell to the ground when he was in the high part of the structure, and Jeff ruled that he had to retrieve the fish and start the element over. This allowed Terry to take the easy win.

I said normally its a political landmine, but since Terry knows he is on the outside looking in, he really doesn't have much to lose, and if he lost the challenge he could be assured he would get the worst prize.

Jeff brings out the loved ones and there are two line several feet apart seperating the survivors from their loved ones. They are allowed to say a few words to each other from a distance, maybe blow a kiss but thats about it. Jeff or the producers must have put the fear in them not to try to rush accorss the line for an unauthorized hug.

After the survivors get a few seconds with the loved ones, Jeff explains the experiences available for Terry to "allocate the love",and I don't know about you, but I was getting tired of hearing Jeff say "allocate the love".

Experience #1: Its an overnight stay at a resort villa, which includes a stocked kitchen. There are two of these available, and Jeff adds that each couple will have a private bedroom for the night.

Experience #2: It's an overnight stay at the tribe camp. No extra food, but the survivor will get to spend time with their loved one and the loved one will get to see what Survivor life is all about. 1 of these available.

Experience #3: It's a few moments of up close contact with their loved one (hugs, kisses that type of thing) at the challenge site, then the survivor returns to camp alone.

Experience #4: It's a trip to Exile Island, with NO additional contact with their loved one. As Jeff says, "This is as good as it gets", as they are sperated by mere feet.

The reason there are two of the best package available is, I think, becuase it can be presumed the challenge winner will take the best package for themselves, so since there are two of them, he still has one to award.

Jeff, goes down the list. As you would guess, Terry takes the Villa overnight for himself, and gives the other villa overnight to Shane. Terry then gives the overnight camping experience to Ciri, the personal contact moment at the challenge site to Aras, and the trip to Exile Island with no contact with their loved one to Danielle.

Recall that Terri though he was in the alliance with Courtney and Danielle, but it became obvious that Danielle helped vote out Courtney, so Terry paid her back by refusing her loved one visit. Spite and revenge I tell you. Aras gets the second worst prize, its no surprise that Terry and Aras are rivals so it should come as no surprise he got one of the bad prizes, and it also shows how hurt he felt by Danielle that he gave her a worse prize than arch rival Aras.

The other two are interesting. I will agree with the people that say that Terry should have given the villa package to Ciri and the camping package to Shane. He knows Ciri's family is not the outdoorsy type, and Ciri might appreciate the private bedroom, meanwhile Shanes son would have probably loved an overnight at camp. Camping with Shane and Aras, and getting to experince the game would have probably been more fun to Shane's son than the villa home. The reason I think Terry gave Shane the better package is that Terry realizes Shane is an outcast, even if Shane himself doesen't realize it, so I think it was all about getting on Shane's side. I wonder how the prizes would have been passed out if Terry knew then that Ciri orchestrated Courtney's ouster.

Jeff dismissed everybody to their respective destinations. We first go to Danielle. She is obviously upset as she slices that coconut like its someones head. She has a confessional, and I'm sure the cameraperson egged her on. She states how bad is sucked that she did not get a hug or anything from her loved one who was mere feet away. Yeah, I'll buy that, She goes on to state pretty clearly why she got what she got, for screwing over Terry at tribal council. She say right away that it was purely an act of revenge, Again, I'll buy that, but then she goes on to say shes not going to cry about it. Uhm, what have you been doing for the last few minutes? She does look on the bright side, she doesn't have to share her food tonight.

We then go to the villa where the 4 winners are partaking in the pizza party provided to them at the villa, and note that the package includes beer and wine. They enjoy dinner, Terri takes his wife to the bedroom to discuss strategy, and we learn that his wife is the real strategist in the family. H also shows her the hidden immunity idol. We then cut to Shane in the yard telling Boston all about his experience, then we see all four having a nice social conversation, where Shane tries to trick Terrys wife into revealing that Terry has the idol, but hi wife can lie like a rug and denies ever having seen it. We find out the house has all the fixins for snacks and breakfast. We then see Terri and his wife retire to their bedroom and get into bed. We don't know what Shane/Boston did.

At camp we see Ciri showing HB all around camp, It is clear HB is not the outdoor type either. He seemed repusled at their 'drinking water' mistaking it for bath water, or a foot wash. Ciri takes great pride in showing HB around camp and showing him the lifestyle. Ciri seems genuinely proud of what she has accomplished. So, perhaps the experiece will be good for her character development. Aras is pretty much ignored. The next morning, we see Ciri and Aras practically use HB as a slave, stating that they will let HB do all the manual labor and they can rest up for the immunity challenge. HB seems irritated, but he realizes its onlyfor a few hours, so whatever he can do for Ciri. I think its a great move, HB gets to life more fo the camp life, and Aras and Ciri just might gain some strength (or at least save their strength).

We then see the boat come and pick up HB, then we see the boat drop off Shane and Terry. We see a discussio on why Terry gave Aras the shaft,and Terry states that it was more important for Ciri and himself to see their spoue than it was for Aras to see his mother. That doesn' explain the choice to take Shane to see his son. Terry didn't have the guts to tell Aras that he didn't get chosen becuase DUH, he is Terry's biggest enemy right now in the game. Aras got visibly upset and Terry and him had a few words. Both though they got the better deal, Terry thought he shook Arass concentration, and Aras thought hw is gaining more desire and will for the next challenge.

Speaking of the next challenge.
Immunity Challenge #12:
Oh it looked like an endurance challenge but it isn't. In this one each Suvivor stands atop a 20' perch on a block not much bigger than a large book. they have a bucket on a rope they can lower down into the lake to get water, hoist it up, then pour the water out, hoping to get as mush as possible into a thin bamboo shoot. The more water that goes into the tube, the higher a handheld signal flag will rise. Eventually the signal flag will be high enough the survivor can reach down and grab it. First person to wave their signal flag above their head wins. Oh, and only your feet can touch the wooden perch, no other body parts allowed.

The challenge starts, and noteworthy is that while everybody else seems to more or less get the hang of it, Shane just doesn't seem to get it. Jeff even calls Shane on not taking the challenge seriously, and Shane proceeds to joke about it. As you might expect it becomes a race between Aras and Terry (and here I thought this challenge had Danielle written all over it when I first heard it decribed). It was close but Terry wins his 5th straight immunity.

They head back to camp. Although they reassure Shane that yes they are voting our Danielle, and they assure Terry that yes they are voting out Aras, the core three (Aras, Ciri, Danielle) actually have Shane in their sights. Way to ruin the tribal council suspense. I knew Shane was done when Jeff called Shane on not taking immunity challenges seriously during the challenge, and Shane arrogantly stating that he will be in the finals. Oh, we also hear Terry comment that he could totally sit out the next immunity challenge if he wanted, after all after the next round, the idol becomes worthless.

On to tribal council. Jeff probes Tery about the reward challenge and Tery probably irked some people by saying it was a tough job playing the role of God, but he thinks he treated everybody fairly. Jeff then probes Shane about not taking immunity seriously, and Shane responds that he doesn't have to, he is on the majority alliance and his fellow alliance members will protect him. If thats not hubris or knocking on Karmas door, I don't know what is. hey go to vote, we see a vote for Shane and we see Shane vote for Danielle. We also see Terry vote for Aras.

It is time to read the votes, Jeff reads off Shane's vote for Danielle, then we see Jeff read off the three Shane votes. Shanes facial reaction and awe get stronger everytime, I think me might have even been in shock. I was sort of disapointed that we didn't see him fume and explode. He does rub it in their faces that he is about to have a big chocolate ice cream bar. The others are thinking "Enjoy your miillion dollar ice cream"

We see Shane go quite peacefully, and Jeff comments that if trust wasn't a factor before, it certainly is now, and that now he has ssen two people go that had no idea they had it coming.

Till next time.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

TR: Amazing Race - Epsiode 10 (Leg 9)

So we begin again from Australlia at the Freemantle Sailing Club. The race is now down to 4 teams with the elimination of Fran & Barry.

All teams arrived pretty close to each other at the end of the last leg, and I note that Phil does not specifically say its a 12 hour pit stop again.

So however long the teams were told to stay at the pit stop, they leave with:

Clue #54:
"Go to the Swan Bell Tower"

Its a pretty straighforward task, and the named attraction/tourist site is just 15 miles from the pitstop. The bell tower is a modern metal and glass structure which houses some church bells it recieved as a gift from England.

There is little mystery as teams leave the pit stop, hail taxis, and proceed without incident to the tower. I did know that we were in trouble as soon as Phil said the clue was at the top of the tower. The teams are leaving in the middle of the night, and are thus headed to a bottleneck. Not as though the teams needed it as they all left the pitstop within 45 minutes of each other.

Sure enough they arrive to learn the tower does not open until the morning. I don't get it, the bell tower really plays no part in the race other than being a clue point, would it have been so wrong to set the clue box up right outside the bell tower so the teams can grab the clue and continue racing? This is not to say nothing of interest happened. It seems as though while Eric/Jeremy and Joseph/Monica can at least stand to be around each other, neither team cares much for BJ/Tyler. Now to be fair, BJ/Tylers first question upon seeing the other two teams together at a bus stop just outside the pit stop is "Have you figured out how to get to the Sawn Bell Tower?" which to me sounds like a direct request for help. Not exactly a great conversation starter, and when Eric/Jeremy correctly answer his question with "Yes", it sounds as if BJ/Tyler expect Eric/Jeremy to tell them. The conversation gets worse as BJ/Tyler again try to get a conversation started or at least try to mooch help by asking "So, you're waiting for a bus?" to which Eric answers "Yes", right before their cabs comes and picks them and Joseph/Monica up. You might say Eric/Jeremy were being mean/dishonest, but really when it comes to a contest for a million dollars, why should you do anything that might even vaguely help the other teams. Ray and Yolanda start just a bit late to see this routine, but one by one they all get cabs, all go to the Bell Tower, all find out about the opening time, and then fail to find a hotel.

They comment about wanting to find a cheap hotel, and of all people Monica starts asking people milling about the area for cheap places to stay. The guy she asks reads this as a pick up line and responds that she can stay at his place for free. Jospeh then comes out of hiding for a bit of an awkward moment. They eventually just decide to sleep in the park surrounding the tower.

Early the next day we see Ray and Tyler on the phone ordering taxis for their teams to arrive at 8:05am, in anticipation that they might have to go somewhere after reading the clue. Good planning. We then see Eric/Jeremy on a different phone, also ordering a cab, but they use an assumed nickname. Here is where things get dirty, Eric/Jeremy then proceed to repeatedly call the cab company and CANCEL Ray and Tyler's taxis. Big alarm bells of flagrant cheating much less unsportsmanlike conduct start ringing, and I wait for the show to call them on it.

Eric/Jeremy talk trash like "They should have used fake names", well no they should not have had to think of using fake names, as they should not expect another team to venture into the category of sabotage. I thought there was a rule against flagrant acts of trying to sabotage another team. If they show doesn't step in here, they are setting a bad precedent, and we can excpet to see similar clever if unsportmanlike unethical moves made by teams in future races.

So the bell tower opens and the teams climb the stairs, admire the view (optional), and head back to the ground. Who cares, really? The show has set us up to not care so much about the task as in seeing how the dust settles in Taxigate.

As excpeted we get to see Ray/Yolanda and BJ/Tyler looking for their cabs. BJ/Tyler find a cab and get it, but the driver is under hire to Jonathan. One of the hippies ask the other why he surrendered the cab so easy, and I think it has something to do with the fact he realized it wasn't legally his cab, and that nothing would be gained by stalling or aggravating the scene. Jonathan/Monica of course view this as a flagrant move by BJ/Tyler of cab theft, not that they weren't caught on camera just one leg earlier planning to commit cab theft themselves. Lucky for them both cabs they came upon just happned to be theirs anyway. Its that holier-than-thou syndrome. "We'd never do THAT" (just because we haven't been offered the chance)

Anyway the way it shakes up, not only did Ray and Tyler's cabs not show up, but Eric/Jeremys cab also didn't show up. There has been a clever theory that maybe the show cancelled the cab as a subtle informal penalty, but what I think happened was the taxi disptacher, who might have had caller ID for all we know, had a bunch of calls one after the other, three from what sounded like the same guy, ordering and cancelling taxis. She may have viewed the whole thing as a prank and just cancelled all the cabs. (If they really need one, they'll call back). That and don't use a movie stars name as you alias, she may have recognized the name and thought something was fishy or pranky.

But, look harder this means that Eric/Jeremy, Ray/Yolanda, and BJ/Tyler are all stranded without cabs, and they saw a cab pick Joseph/Monica up. BJ/Tyler called the taxi dispatcher again to arrange for a cab and learned the other cab was canceled. Looking at what just happened they assume Joseph/Monica cancelled the taxi, and Eric/Jeremy are certainly not going to do anything to set the record straight. I mean, if not for the stunt backfiring and leaving them without a cab, they pulled off a great tactic, and another team gets setup to take the credit for it. What's not to like.

The teams do all eventually get cabs and there is a bunch of trash talking in cabs. Joseph/Monica continue their rant on how evil BJ/Tyler are, while the other teams are vowing revenge on J/M for canceling their cabs. BJ/Tyler decide to make it personal and accuse Monica of getting a bit too close to E/J just to try to upset Joseph.

Anyway, with all the excietment of taxigate, I almost forgot, the bell tower did hold:

Clue #55 - Route Info
"Travel by plane to Darwin, Australlia, once there go to a named crocodile zoo attrction, the clue will be suspended over one of the crocodile exhibits"

So not suprisingly Joseph/Monica make it to the airport first, but they must not have gained too much time as they were still at the ticket counter when the other teams arrived. Joseph tried to channel Rob and asks the ticket agent not to tell anybody else about this flight. The ticket agent, willing to be corrupt (or at least act like he can be corrupt to earn a few extra dollars) asks Joseph what its worth. Joseh answers back half a million dollars. The ticket agent rephrases his request "What's it worth to me?" Joseph responds "A kiss from my girlfriend" Uhm, way to totally fail to read the situation, Joesph. The ticket agent looks repulsed. All in all it doesn't really matter becuase the other teams go to the other ticket agent, and as it turns out everybody gets the exact same travel arrangements anyway. BJ/Tyler start their campaign to cause disharmony amongst E/J and J/M with the whole Monica playing E/J rumour/lie. It's doesn't appear to be working. It also means the whole taxi thing didn't mater, as no team gained any advantage from it, the only thing is the purportator could have earned some bad will from it.

They fly to Darwin, and travel to the crocodile zoo. Guess what, the zoo is closed for the night, so again all teams get re equalized. At least they have cars they can sleep in this time. The next morning the zoo opens, teams get safety directions, and they have to carefully make their way through the crocodile exhibit to the clue, and return to safety. A few teams (like J/M) were a bit nervous at first, but this appeared to be a non event as no team really had trouble getting their clue.

Once back to the car:
Clue #56 - Route Info
"Go to Batchelor Airstrip - Caution: Yield Ahead"
Phill tells us this is the second of only two yields along the entire race, and gives the usual explanation of what a yeild is. Lake/Michelle used the first Yield to eliminate Double D. Which means all teams still have full yield power. There is some competitive road racing, vowing to use the yield, fast driving and so on. They arrive at Batchelor Airstrip at about the same time. We see J/M pull in, park the car, and run to the Yield mat only to see BJ/Tyler standing there.
You can bet this doesn't go well.

BJ/Tyler yield J/M as promised, and then J/M have to stand and watch the other two teams zip right past them. I think it is clear no one is loosing any sleep over this yield. Of course J/M are screaming bloody murder about how unfair it is that they have to stop and let the others go ahead. Its that whole ("We were here first","Yeah, but they beat you to the mat") concept. ) Actually Joseph seems to be taking this in stride, its Monica who is totally loosing it, acting like Flo, and ranting and raving about how unfair it is. She is totally that over competitve player who is taking this way to personally and letting it get to her. Joseph tries to calm her down, but in reality its only making it worse. Monica shrieks about how BJ/Tyler parked alongside the driveway instead of in the parking lot. Well, unless there was a rule specifically saying you had to park in the parking lot, thats fair game as BJ/Tyler would then be risking having their car towed, which I bet would eat more time than the Yield timer.

We alternate between shots of Monica going ballistic and the other receiving;
clue #57 - ROADBLOCK!
In this roadblock the player has to perform a tandem skydive with a professional skydiver. Its one of those roadblocks that requires no skill on the part of the player, except pushiing through the fear. In other words, its agreat roadblock to pass off to the weaker team member.

Also I don't know about the airfield, its runways, or how the contest was run, but it may have also been a first come first serve roadblock, where the teams each have to take their turn, can do nothing to try to improve their position as the other take their turns. Much like the bungee jump a few epsisodes back. In fact, I would not doubt if the sheer time it took for the Roadblock merely put J/M at the back of the group, and not really far behind the other teams.

So we see teams skydive, and collect the next clue.
Clue #58 - Go to the Magnetic Termite Mounds

Teams leave the airfield to head to this tourist site in what appears to be a large park. Oh, and Joseph/Monica are so distracted yelling about how unfair the Yield was, they lost track of the hourglass and didn't realize the time had expired. Doh! All teams drive to te tourist site and upon seeing all the mounds and hearing the words "Search amongst" I was fearing yet another lucky chance task, but the clue box was pretty obvious and teams did not seem to have any trouble finding it. The clue box contained

Clue #59 - Detour
"wet" or "Dry"
In wet - teams drive to a river and proceed to trek 1 mile down the river. I beleive teams were warned that there would be hazards like snakes, spiders, and that this would not be as fast as swimming laps in the pool.
In Dry - teams drive to antoher part of the park, then drive another 6 miles off road to a designated spot, pick up a diggerido, then find the aborigianese (by following the sound) with a matching Diggerido. They must then take lessons on the instrument and make one note.

Okay, os it appears that we have the physical, potentially scary even, defined length task, or the non physical task they involved a random chance element (finding the aboriganese) and then learning to play a note.

BJ/Tyer and Eric/Jeremy decide to take the physical task, which on its surface sounds better. They have no trouble finding the river, getting directions, donning safety gear, but then they enter the river and learn its gonna be no picnic as it will be a very slow go.

Ray/Ylanda are next and they decide to take the "dry" task, owing to Yolanda can't swim. We see Ray/Yolanda heading out of the park just as Joseph/Monica are pulling in. This helps my theory that the Yield of a second place team in that situation merely rearranged the order in which teams completed the droadblock, it didn't slow them down any further. Which alos means I think BJ/Tyler used that Yield purely out of spite, I won't say they wasted it as there are no more Yields, but it wasn't good game play. We see the "Amazing One Lane Road Rule" again, it seems that if there is a one lane road, a team going 'out' of the attraction has priority on the team coming in. Joseph/Monica of course act, maybe even prompted to act like this is another death blow.

See see Ray/Yolanda take their detour, the off road driving part was a marked trail, and sure they had to try two locals before they found the matching diggerido, but we see that all in all it was a fast task. Cut back to E/J and B/T still struggling with the miracle mile in the riverbed. They seem to be at least edited to be like the are helping each other, but I think even if they were its probably just a 'misery loves company' deal.

We go to J/M at the clue box, it is evident that if they take "Dry" they have a good chance at finsihing this leg in a competetive position, if they choose "wet" they can' just hang it up. They choose "Dry", your reaction will very depending on how you like J/M. We cut back to E/J and B/T continuig to struggle in the river as Ray./Yalonda are checking in at the pitstop.

We see J/M start to perform their detour, the guys are still struggling, and it is edited so that it looks like J/M finish their detour first, and then the River Crew finally finishes up. If they had to then hike back to their cars is not shown. They are clearly in a three way road race to the pitstop.

Speaking of which:
Clue #60 - Route Info
"Go to Lake Bennet Wilderness Reserve" - Caution this is a pit stop.

As I mentioned Ray/Yolanda check in and are visibly surprised to be in first place. It now leaves no doubt as to which was the better detour option. Phill awards their leg prize. "Congratulations - you have each won a 1 year lease of a Mercedes M class, just like you have been driving today"

Rather than the overjoyed screams of delight of a team that has just won a car on your typcial game show, they seem rather non challant, Ray even cracks a joke by asking if the steering wheel will be on the proper side, Phil assures him it will be. That prize was chinzy, I mean its not a new car, its a short lease on a luxry car. This will mean their auto insurance rated will soar for a year as they tack on what will be viewed as a luxury SUV here in the States. Then if they already have cars, they have to pay their expenses as well as the Mercedes expenses, along with all taxes. Man, they might actually lose on this deal by the time its all over. I think Donald Trump said in year 1 of the Apprentice "If you want to create exictement, you don't give away a lease on a car, you give away a car"

Back to the real Amazing Race. The other three teams are clearly neck in neck, they all pull intot the resort at about the same time, they are all seem running towards Phil. The camera pulls back far enough so se can't see the mat. It's gonna be a photo finish, and when the dust finally clears, we see Phil award the places.

2nd place to Eric/Jeremy
3rd place to Jonathan/Monia
4th place to BJ/Tyler

Joseph/Monica refuse to shake BJ/Tylers hands. Bad sportsmanship there, intense rivalries have started as a result of refusing the ceremonial post competition hand shake. (see XU/UC during the Huggins years after Bob Huggins refued to shake Skip Prosser's hand) I mean even player who are sworm mortal enemies should (and commonly do) at least follow the protocol and formalities of sport.

Here is where I expect to see Eric and Jeremy repaid by Phil for sabotaging the other teamss taxi cab reservations. But no such luck, Phil remains silent on that issue. Phil does inform BJ/Tyler that this is a non elimination leg. You can see Monica SEETHING when she learns they have not gotten ride of BJ/Tyler. Hold on to your seats, this race is about to get ugly.

BJ/Tyler don't have many posessions to take away, however it appears that at least BJ didn't put his shoes back on after the detour. That poses the question as to weather the show will at leave give him a pair of shoes. The rest of their money is of course taken away. So much for tht $300 collection on the airplane ride from Oman. It will now go to benefit CBS.

Next week - Team travel to Thailand! Challenges include setting table for dinner for sacred monkeys. (Who appear to not wait till meal is served to mess up the table) It looks like they have to set multiple tables, snd I have visions of the old tv routine where the guy is trying to keep plates spinning on the tops of several poles simultaneouly, and if a plate slowed down it would fall off. Also it looks like another challenge involves balancing a lot of clay pots on a wooden board while carrying the board. The preview promises another Monica meltdown. I pencil Monica as being safely into the final three.

Oh, on the subject of future legs:

Roadblocks - It appears Ray has perfomed all 6 roadblocks to which he is entitled, Yolanda will now have to pick up any more roadblocks they come accorss, regardless of the task. I hope that was a good choice Ray, to pick one that should have obviosuly gome to Yolanda this leg. (This of course assumes that the 6 maximum rule still applies)

(BJ, and Monica each have 5 to their partners 4, and Eric and Jeremy have 4 each owing to that fast forward)

Speaking of which, there should be one more fast forward this race *unless it was not used, and therefore not shown*, only Eric and Jeremy are ineligible. Will this come back to haunt them?