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Did Fan Favorite Martha Bath Advance to Champions Wildcard Final?

[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for the January 29 episode of Jeopardy!]

Fan-favorite Jeopardy! champion Martha Bath was going for, as she put it, “the core” of the apple in the latest episode of the game show. But did she get it?

Martha, a retired CPA from Seattle, Washington, faced off against Andy Tirrell, a political science and international relations professor from San Diego, California, and Lloyd Sy, a professor of American literature originally from Rockford, Illinois in the semifinals of Champions Wildcard. Prior to this latest tournament, she’d appeared twice, first in 1972 (on the daytime version hosted by Art Fleming), then in 2022 (when she won one episode, then came in second in the next). A win in this semifinals would mean advancing to the finals to possibly secure a spot in the Tournament of Champions (and $100,000).

At the first break, in the middle of the Jeopardy! round, Martha was leading with $3,800, and during her interview, host Ken Jennings brought up her long career with the show and asked, “With such a long and storied Jeopardy! legacy, what’s it like playing in Champions Wildcard?”

Martha said it was “unbelievable,” sharing, “When I came back and I got to win, that was such great redemption, 50 years in the making. And then when you announced last April that you were going to do the Jeopardy! Champions Wildcard and you actually said my name, I think I had to listen about five times to the podcast before I believed it. That was the third bite at the apple. And I won, this is my fourth. I’m going for the core.”

But that was the last time Martha led in the game solo; first Andy tied her, then Lloyd, too, had the same amount when Andy chose a Daily Double and bet it all. Martha then tied Andy after picking a Daily Double in the Double Jeopardy! round and getting it correct (with a wager of $3,000). She was in third heading into Final Jeopardy! (with $11,200), and lost $4,000 with her incorrect answer. Only Andy got it right, and he advanced to the finals.

Over on Reddit, one fan wrote this was a “great battle between Andy and Lloyd,” and in response, another said, “Martha kept up with them better than I thought she would. I know she’s a good player, but Andy and Lloyd defeated the top two seeds of the 2024 ToC in Cris Pannullo and Ray Lalonde. Despite this, she actually had the upper hand for the first quarter.”

And hey, who knows, with new tournaments, maybe this wasn’t the last time we see Martha. What did you think of her return to Jeopardy?

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