The Amazing Race 17 is down to the final 5 already! Where did the season go? It seemed like just yesterday that Ron and Tony were getting lost in the UK, Connor and Jonathan were making us uncomfortable with their random singing to cab drivers, and Claire was getting slammed in the face by a watermelon. We had the very uneventful “game-changing” addition of the express pass that many didn’t even notice enter the game and fewer saw it leave. And finally the pairing of a mother and a daughter who just met for the first time and had less chemistry than Bristol Palin and The Situation.
Now we’re left with 4 teams after last night’s episode, which means before I know it the season will be over and my Sunday nights will consist of me staring at the clock waiting for The Amazing Race 18! Ok, I’m not really that boring, but close. This is my first season blogging the show and it’s been very interesting and quite a learning experience. It’s a lot harder than it looks to summarize a show that bounces around between up to 11 teams within seconds of each other, and I give credit to sites like Reality Blurred who can sum up an episode brilliantly in less than the 20 paragraphs it takes me.
Ok enough boring shit, it’s time for the episode which was a pretty good one this week, despite the U-Turn which I’m not really a fan of. Not only was it the U-Turn week, but was the double U-Turn which I’m even more torn on. The double U-Turn likely means it’s the only one this season, which is kind of lame. I liked how in prior seasons that teams would debate on using the first one for fear of putting a target on their back later in the season, but that was wiped out putting them on the same leg. However, I also didn’t like how a team can dominate the season, have a nice lead then get held up at the airport, get unlucky with a lousy cab driver and suddenly face a U-Turn which almost always eliminates them. If a team dominates challenges and deserves to win, they should at least get a 2nd chance to prove themselves which is what the double U-Turn does.
It was a very long stay in Oman with the leg taking 16 hours for Gary and Mallory and the Doctors, but it was one and done in the Middle East, as this week teams were flying to Dhaka, Bangladesh which is just east of India. Regardless of where they finished, again it was another barrier at the airport where all teams met up to hop on the flight together, or so it seemed. As Jill and Thomas kept pushing for earlier flights, Chad decided he wanted a cheeseburger and a blizzard, which proved to be a very costly blizzard. Jill and Thomas were rewarded for their persistence with a flight that arrives 7 hours earlier than the other teams.
That wasn’t lost on Brook and Claire as they were the only teams paying attention to Jill and Thomas. They noticed the earlier flight, so they made an effort to get on the same flight, but were denied. It didn’t stop them from tipping off Team Tattoo (Nick and Vicki) who then got a little motivation to find an earlier flight as well, and appeared to get a quicker worker and got the last season on a plane that arrived roughly 3 1/2 hours before the other teams. Now we know why Nick yells at Vicki for helping other teams, sometimes it comes around to bite you in the ass as Brook and Claire just learned.
I did enjoy this airport drama as this is how the race should be. Racing around the World should consist of different flights and different times. Smart and persistent teams should be ahead of the pack, and teams that would rather have a cheeseburger and blizzard should be in the back. For awhile the show was basically becoming a show that just does random challenges in different countries. I felt they were one step away from scheduling teams plane tickets in advance, and throwing them all in the same bus from the airport to challenges. It’s good to see a little variety this leg.
With a 7 hour lead over most teams, and a 3 1/2 hour lead over Team Tattoo, it was pretty evident that Jill and Thomas were going to finish this leg of the race in first barring any major meltdown. Maybe that’s why they don’t mind teams flying in together because I guess the race would get a bit boring if one team was like 3 days ahead of the other teams and was clearly going to win it all after like the fourth episode of the season. Watching Jill and Thomas cruise through the race uncontested was probably the least entertaining thing I’ve seen all season, except for the bright spots when Thomas would correct her errors. Not because it’s fun to embarrass her on national TV, but because we know each time he had to correct her, a little piece of him died inside.
As if having a 7 hour lead is not comforting enough, Jill and Thomas decided it would be a good chance for them to play the U-Turn, and chose Team Watermelon Face as victim #1. I’d like to bash them for this because it may seem like the doctors or even Chad and Stephanie are a bigger threat, but Brook and Claire are really tough and probably the most competitive team on the race right now. Claire took a watermelon to the face, Brook cut her eye open and neither of them missed a beat when they did it. Both have energy like they have a hidden IV mainlining them with coffee 24 hours a day, and is likely the team with the best chance to beat anyone in a challenge with all things equal (which it will probably be on the final leg).
The detour this leg was Balanced Meal or Balanced Brick. Teams must either deliver a bunch of cans of this horrible looking food to workers on a boat, or they must carry bricks in a basket on their head from one place to another until they’ve done 100 unbroken bricks. Because Thomas has a hard head and he feels Jill has nothing in her head to damage, they chose Balanced Brick, while the other teams chose Balanced Meal (to start).
The roadblock was for one member of each team to assemble a rickshaw with streamers on the handlebars and everything! Pretty easy challenge compared to lugging 100 bricks on your head, but they must have figured they’d be nice considering 2 teams were likely going to do both detours this leg.
As team Tattoo also cruised through also uncontested, they didn’t have many moments like Jill and Thomas. Sure, neither of them have their PhD’s (or MD’s), but they also don’t bring down each other if they say something like mistaking extremities for a loud voice (poor Jill). Vicki seems to be a genuinely nice person and even convinced Nick not to play the U-Turn, which he wasn’t too pleased about. Will being nice eventually cost her? It’s hard to say about the future, but so far karma has been on their side and they’re going to the final 4.
It was down to a 3 team race between the Doctors, Brook and Claire, and Chad and Stephanie and that’s when the show started getting exciting. The doctors got an early lead on the crew, but Brook and Claire were right behind on the boat challenge with Chad and Stephanie lost again. Maybe he was looking for another Dairy Queen? Because of the early lead, the doctors were able to throw down the other U-Turn, and by this moment it was only Chad and Stephanie left, so it was going to be a race of who can do the 2nd challenge faster.
Brook absolutely destroyed the brick challenge, while Claire was dragging a bit. My guess is her coffee IV became dislodged during the food challenge and she was actually running out of energy! It didn’t matter though because the challenge was done and it was time to hit the rickshaw like a spider monkey, which she did. Nat on the other hand, she hit the challenge like a sloth and allowed not only Brook and Claire to catch up, but even Chad and Stephanie making it interesting yet again.
When Chad hit the road block, he decided to take out his frustrations on Nat by making fun of her for doing the challenge slow. She handled it maturely and the drama quickly fizzled especially when she said she loved him. She finally finished the challenge making it a race between the spider monkey and Stephanie, who was also cruising through it. Both got stuck at certain parts of the challenge, but overcame them and actually finished right around the same time. It was now down to a race to the finish line, and the winner was….
Brook and Claire meaning Chad and Stephanie finished last, and you know what that means. They can go home, get married and enjoy all the Dairy Queen they want, which is likely the reason they did not make the final 4 to begin with.
Order of finish:
- Jill and Thomas ($15k gift card)
- Nick and Vicki
- Nat and Kat
- Brook and Claire
- Chad and Stepanie
Here is a gallery, and see you for the final 4!