DANGER! Not all fans believed Thursday’s colossal niche dinosaur-related final question.
The clue, which specifically sought the first name of a 1990s paleontologist, cost Pam Sung the big lead she had in a two-part finale.
Ken, 49, is hosting a three-week Second Chance tournament that kicked off its 40th season last week.
Previous participants who initially lost fight for an unexpected second chance at great success.
Last week, Hari Parameswaran won $35,000 and a spot in a follow-up tournament that will air immediately afterwards.
The special is now in its second week and the three best of the week have been chosen.
Deanna Bolio, a community outreach worker from Campbell, California, meets Rob Kim, an attorney from Portland, Oregon, and Pam, a doctor and scientist from Amherst, New York.
They all progressed by winning their qualifying matches earlier in the week – and now face a two-day final where the results are combined to determine the week’s winner.
Pam had a stunning Double Jeopardy! round (which included a fun “Johnny Gilbert Goes Country” category), collecting about 12 correct answers and both Daily Doubles.
Since there are 30 questions in each round, that meant she almost stole the show.
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“You’ve gotten strong, Pam, you’re in the lead now!” Ken applauded once.
The final danger goes too deep
She ended up on Final Jeopardy with $18,000, Deanna with $12,200 and Rob with $6,200.
“Final Jeopardy” under “First Names in Science” read: “First name of the paleontologist who noticed some large vortices protruding from an eroding cliff in South Dakota in 1990.”
All three contestants seemed a little lost when the 30-second timer started, especially Pam (a scientist).
Rob revealed that he had written: “Louis”, which was incorrect and cost him $2,800, leaving him with $3,400 left tomorrow.
Deanna was right about “Sue,” which means “Sue Hendrickson.”
She discovered the remains of a Tyrannosaurus rex, the most complete Tyrannosaurus skeleton known to science, on August 12, 1990 in South Dakota on the Cheyenne River Reservation.
Ken explained: “Sue Hendrixon has discovered the famous T-Rex – Sue – now at the Chicago Field Museum.”
“She figured it out!” Ken applauded, suggesting that it was difficult even for him.
Deanna added $4,000, giving her $16,200 in tomorrow’s game, and suddenly the leg was higher. She looked surprised when Ken said she was right.
Ken admitted she got it: “Put some pressure on Pam.”
Pam looked dejected as she revealed that she wrote “Lucy” and lost $8,000, meaning she ended up with $10,000 and had significantly less chance of staying in the competition after tomorrow.
FANS COMPLAIN ABOUT “SUE” FINAL JEOPARDY
One fan wrote on Reddit: “Tough Final Jeopardy!” another wrote: “Tough break for Pam.”
A third wrote: “Someone please tell me I’m not the only idiot I thought the answer might be: Rex.”
A fourth wrote: “This seemed to be one of those geographically biased clues that only someone who currently or previously lived in the Chicago area (or was a paleontologist) would know.” I had never heard of Sue and had to google it to find out the background.”
A fifth wrote that they had seen “Sue” in person and still hadn’t guessed: “Having seen the dino in person a few times, I always assumed it was discovered much earlier.”
And one more thing: “The same applies here. I started listing dinosaur names in my head and picked a part of them that might work.”
A sixth argued that it was a failure that South Dakota was the focus instead of Chicago, where “Sue” lives.
“Sue the T-Rex has only appeared in the archives 13 times, and almost always as part of a clue pointing to Chicago, the Field Museum, or the type of skeleton. Great, Deanna.”
A seventh wondered: “So Final Jeopardy asked the paleontologist’s first name and I asked ‘Who is Susan?’ Her full first name is Susan, although she is primarily known as Sue, so I guess my answer would have been accepted?”
One in eight wrote: “Still rooting for Pam to win this thing. I think she’ll recover and finish this thing before Final Jeopardy tomorrow.”
ALL ABOUT THE SECOND CHANCE TOURNAMENT
Each tournament week begins with three qualifying matches by Season 37 participants in place of new players.
The three winners of the week compete in a Thursday/Friday final like this one.
This winner advances to the next tournament; Champions Wildcard.
Next week is the final special where another champion will rise.
Champions Wildcard will air immediately afterwards and the winners of this series will face the short champions of Seasons 37 and 38 – the line-up to be announced.
The prize for the subsequent eight-week tournament is a ticket to the currently postponed Tournament of Champions.
This takes fans into December, but given the writer’s strikes, it’s unknown what will air after that.
EVERYTHING YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEASON 40
The monumental 40th season of Jeopardy! premiered on September 11th and runs until July 26th, 2024.
Ken is hosting the entire season alone and Mayim Bialik is not currently involved.
She bowed out in solidarity with the strikers, which came as a huge shock since she and Ken were chosen to co-host following the death of Alex Trebek in 2020.
This is by no means the only major change on the board.
Aside from there being no new contestants or Mayim, the other big change is the clues.
The game show reuses questions from past seasons without their writers present.
Showrunner Michael Davies explained in “Internal Danger!” Podcast that it “wouldn’t be fair for new contestants to appear on the show for the first time” with material that is not original or that was written before the strike.
“The material we will be using is a combination of material that our WGA writers wrote before the strike and that is still in the database, and material that will be reused from several, several seasons of the show.”
Davies also announced a $1,000 increase in consolation prizes and said he admires and misses the series’ beloved writers.
The news sparked a scathing reaction from Masters winner James Holzhauer, who took to the platform X, formerly known as Twitter, to denounce the show.
“If you don’t have time to listen, here is the recap of today’s announcement,” James, 39, wrote, sharing a link to the podcast episode.
“1:00-2:00: The writers of Jeopardy are invaluable and without them we couldn’t produce the show,” he continued.
“2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.: This is how we will produce the coming season without them.”
Meanwhile, the 2023 Tournament of Champions will not take place until the strikes are over.
Several Season 39 champions, including Ray LaLonde, Cris Pannullo, Hannah Wilson and Ben Chan, said they would not participate in TOC until the strikes were completed.
Ken remained relatively quiet on the subject, repeating a statement from the series’ executive producer in which he referenced the late Alex continuing to serve as host during the 2007–08 writers’ strike.
Mayim is also represented by Ken in Celebrity Jeopardy! which will air the entire next season on ABC.