The Amazing Race Season 13 – “Episode Eight”

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“I’m Like An Angry Cow”

November 16th, 2008

As far as basic human capacities go, thinking logically and reading comprehension appear to be the first to disappear when people go on The Amazing Race. Last week, Kelly and Christy finally saw their inability to read clues (or even think that what they were doing made absolutely no sense) prove their undoing, getting sent home to leave five teams standing. And while Nick and Starr and Toni and Dallas seem to be mostly capable of avoiding these particular concerns, and Ken and Tina’s few reading mistakes can be explained (but not excused) by the tense nature of their relationship, the two teams that find themselves at odds with these basic human capacities are the ones caught in a battle of who’s headed home.

The result of that battle, ultimately, is the one that feels right. At this stage, so close to the end of the race, I’m concerned with one thing: having teams in the final three that, if they win, I will not want to throw things at the television. And, if that’s our barometer, then this week’s episode has us on the right path (even if there’s one more team to go).

From India to Kazakhstan

The opening sequence of this leg is very slight, even if they try to pull a lot of drama out of it – the second it is clear that there are multiple red-eye options to major European airports that will have red eyes of their own to the country in question, it is clear that the front teams will arrive in the middle of the night, and the back teams will arrive before the morning task becomes available. The only real thing of note during the airport period is the absolutely amazing shot (thank you, Amazing Camerapeople) of Toni staring blankly at a computer screen while, behind her, Dallas and Starr are flirting up a storm. It’s such a great shot.

Fast Forward – Sheep’s Ass

The second they get to the chicken farm, however, things get interesting – the green envelope, as always, indicates that this is the race’s last fast forward. Now, Nick and Starr immediately rush to it because, well, they’re in a position where they are confident in their abilities. It probably wasn’t necessary: chances are that they would have been able to complete the later tasks without coming in last place, but nonetheless it’s their prerogative to do so. So, they head off to feast on a giant bowl/plate of a local delicacy: Sheep’s anus.

But for Terence & Sarah, it was not as smart a move. While you could argue they have as much right, they knew they were second coming out of the parking lot, and based on the location of the fast forward they could have surmised it would be an eating challenge. If Terence knew this, why was he pushing so heavily for the Fast Forward if not for the purpose of his blindly competitive perspective? If he had sat back and logically thought it out, risking their position in the race for a task he knew he probably wouldn’t be able to finish (or that he also wouldn’t want to finish) would be a serious problem.

Nick and Starr arrived first, but Terence and Sarah would have been competitive if he could stomach it. However, meat wasn’t going to happen, and the end result was them heading all the way back to the Roadblock, conceding defeat once Starr was completely finished before Terence had really even started. It was an auspicious beginning for the couple, while Nick and Starr waltzed their way into first place.

Roadblock – Eggs and…Crane Trucks

Really, the roadblock was simple: run in a giant room of chickens searching for golden eggs. They left in the expected order (Toni and Dallas in the lead, Andrew and Dan and Ken and Tina close behind), but the real part of the task that they would be driven to their next location by crane trucks, with drivers who didn’t know where they were going. They have their various ways of getting there: Toni and Dallas ask someone, and then spot road signs that lead the way. Ken and Tina seem to have very few issues at all, and make their way safely there. Even later, when Terence and Sarah arrive, they pay a guy to let them follow him. All reasonable strategies.

I don’t know how, then, Andrew and Dan managed to get so far behind during this task, and how it would eventually boil over into an all-out feud between them. They just couldn’t find the place, both due to their unfortunate way of trying to get people to help them (just not very friendly, Dan in particular), and also due to their inability to check for any type of direction beyond those individuals. They just didn’t think it through, as they’ve done after most roadblocks to be honest. I don’t know why they didn’t just follow Ken and Tina’s truck, considering they left shortly after, but regardless: their mistake actually kept Terence and Sarah within striking distance, or so the editing makes us think.

Detour: Play Like Mad or Act Like Fools

Well, all four teams complete the latter detour, dressing in a cow costume and walking the streets of Almaty, so the former detour (Where you learn a song and then collect tips) is completely out the window, and probably for good reason. The task starts, though, with Mongol Warriors completing this awesome Falcon routine, where the Falcon brings the clue to the racers: the Race needs more falcons, I’d say.

Toni and Dallas definitely have the most fun with this Detour, particularly Dallas who makes, well, a complete ass of himself (in a good way, I guess, although he was the head of the cow) by dancing, Mooing melodically and just generally being a goofball. He was pretty much acting like Starr was watching, and they were in seventh grade, and he wanted her to notice him; meanwhile, if they actually became an item after the race, she was probably watching that and questioning his commitment to a serious relationship, just a little. Still, despite missing the milk stand the first time through, they’re careful to read the clue about finding their location on the bottom of the glass, and easily move into second place.

For Ken and Tina, things are a bit more complicated: first they forget about the part about reading the glass, then Tina insists that they’re supposed to take off the cow costume before they complete the next part of the task, then they realize their mistake and have to walk back to put on the cow costume, and then they still easily finish in third place because of mistakes behind them. Hopefully they learn from this lesson, because if they want to make the Top 3 they need to be very careful about things like this.

In the meantime, their mistakes are nothing compared to Dan and Andrew, who start off by leaving their shoes at the costume shop. They get through the rest fine, but then they ignore the “On Foot” part of the Pit Stop clue, and arrive in a taxi for Phil to give them the “You’re the fourth team to arrive BUT” line that Dan knows is coming halfway through. So they have to rush back, and then walk, but since they didn’t bring their shoes they can’t really run in the rubber boots that came with the costume, so they’re quite slow, and bickering, and just generally self-destructive…

The Eliminated Team

Unfortunately, for Terence and Sarah, that wasn’t enough for them to come from behind: after the amount of time they spent going after the Fast Forward, it just wasn’t in the cards for them to catch up to the main teams (I’d be curious to see how far they really were behind, to be honest). The pair just never caught up after that initial error, one that will likely haunt Terence for a while. It’s hard to know if he had enough information to know that he wouldn’t be able to do it, but entering into a situation where meat was even possible seems like an unnecessary risk. I know myself, for example, that I’m a ridiculously picky eater, so I wouldn’t go anywhere near a Restaurant in a situation like that.

But, the race does strange things; for Terence and Sarah, it brought out his bossy and manipulative side and likely tested the limits of their relationship. Still, though, they got a fairly classy exit – that said, I am glad they’re gone, because they had every chance of being like a Freddy and Kendra, and that just isn’t what I want to see in the Final Three.

Cultural Observations

  • So, do we think that Dan and Andrew’s shoes will still be at the costume shop when they try to go back for them? I’d laugh if someone stole them.
  • At this point, next week is pretty much confirmed to be a non-elimination leg (there’s two left, and putting them back to back kind of doesn’t make any sense), so the preview’s scare tactics won’t suck me in.
  • Still confused how anyone would think that Andrew and Dan were villains: Dan is a jerk, especially with his idea that patience only implies when HE is patient of Andrew being slow and not when Andrew is patient with him being a douchebag, but the team as a whole is just bad at this game, as opposed to being a major personality factor.
  • It’s a good thing Dallas has Toni on this race, or else someone would have punched him in the face for mentioning Borat – I’m convinced of it.

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