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Flower Power and Taxi Driving on "The Amazing Race"

If Ron would shut up for once, I'd gladly give him the million dollars at this point.

Some of you may be surprised by that statement, given the fact that I've bemoaned abrasive father Ron's treatment of Christina during this season of The Amazing Race, but at the end of the day they're the only team I'd really be happy with winning at this point, now that Goths Kynt and Vyxsin are out of the race.

On this week's episode of The Amazing Race ("I Just Hope He Doesn't Croak On Us"), Ron did try his damned not to be overbearing, which brought the contestants to Osaka, Japan, and to support saintly daughter Christina as they raced their way to a first place finish. While Ron does find it impossible not to say anything (just take a look at the way he harped on the taxi driver dropping them off away from the airline terminal entrance for an example), I was impressed this week with the way he stayed level-headed and optimistic for a change.

Christina was much, much better at the taxi-driving Roadblock than I thought she'd be, given her lack of driving skills, though her deficiency in that area was made up for by her Japanese language skills. I truly expected her to be caught in the serpentine streets of Osaka for quite some time while Ron had a conniption waiting for his daughter to return. Instead, she kept her cool (though she did forget the keys in the car when she got out to ask for directions) and calmly found the Post Office and made it back to JR Kanjosan Noda Station again without getting lost... which couldn't be said for Nicolas, who definitely got into the spirit of the challenge by channeling a lost native taxi driver.

How random was it, though, that the cleaning man at Noda Station handed them their clue?

I had a feeling it would be a non-elimination leg as soon as I saw that the producers were forcing last-place TK and Rachel to complete all of the challenges, despite being three hours behind the other teams, thanks to a nasty flight-related screw-up that had them leaving India first but arriving in Osaka last. Ouch. Still, they managed to complete their tasks quickly (I wrongly thought they were at least six hours behind the other teams) but will now have to hope for an equalizer AND complete their Speed Bump quickly if they have any chance at staying in the race.

Were you a little surprised that there was another non-elimination so soon on the heels of the last one? Still, it's a lesson to future contestants on TAR: always check for flights yourself. If you've got the time, find someplace that has Internet access and look at the available flights online; otherwise, check with as many ticketing agents and travel agents as possible for the best possible flight. Don't just take one guy's opinion as tacit truth, as TK and Rachel did, without checking for other flights, especially as they had several hours to do so.

Nate and Jennifer, meanwhile, found themselves bickering once again, despite the umpteenth promise that they are going to be more supportive and stop squabbling on the next leg ("Today we had first right in our hands, but we've been bickering at each other, so we need to learn our lesson and I think we're learning it the hard way"). These two simply cannot get along and their constant in-fighting and tension make me want them to "come in last" as Nate inanely predicted before being corrected by Jen. And, oh, I didn't think that Nate pushed her when she was getting into the taxi at all. Can we please lighten up a little, Jen?

I thought the flower Detour was a nice iteration on the search and find challenges that have been a mainstay of The Amazing Race; this time teams had to smell out a single real flower among thousands of artificial ones in a two-story flower shop. While it looked daunting, I do think it was a faster choice than Don and Nicolas doing the robot-soccer Detour...

Funniest moment: the rewind-your-TiVo flash of Jen trying to pass a cyclist on the sidewalk, only to freeze in place, unsure of what direction to dive in. While not as outright hilarious as Shana and Jennifer reversing their car into oncoming traffic, it's a subtly funny blink and you'll miss it moment.

Next week on The Amazing Race ("Sorry, Guys, I'm Not Happy to See You"), one contestant wants a place in the final three teams for her birthday wish, one team tries to convince an airline ticketing agent not to sell tickets to another team, and one of the remaining teams becomes the target of attacks and criticism.


My favorite moment from this week's episode was Ron and Don sharing a candy bar while waiting for their partners to finish the taxi challenge. Classic.
Anonymous said…
Danielle - I loved that moment, too.

I am still rooting hard for TK & Rachel, and really hope there is an immediate equalizer to erase the 3 hours (the equalizer worked against K&V last week, but I hope it works for T&R next week). But I'd be fine w/C&R, too. Just as long as it's not J&N.

About halfway through, I turned to my friends and said, "Is it just me or is this the least suspenseful episode ever?" But before they showed TK & Rachel completing the tasks, I started to become pretty convinced it was non-elimination. Every year they say something like, "Christina and Ron - you're team #1 and the first of our three teams in the final." When they didn't do that, I figured T&R were safe...for now.
Jon88 said…
Any idea why the usual 12-hour rest period between legs was 24 hours?
rockauteur said…
Jon - often the producers change the pit stop times due to available flights out of the city... or for scheduling conflicts in the next city.

The editing of this episode was odd... From Rachel/TK disappearing for most of the episode - WITHOUT explanation of what went wrong for them (remember how much time was devoted to the airport antics of the teams from the all star season when they were 36 hours behind the other teams?)... to the bizarre shot of the airplane that looked straight out of Snakes on a Plane. It was also odd when Nathan and Jen checked into the pit stop it was sunny.. then it cut to Phil and it was much darker, and then back to Nathan/Jen and it was even more darker. Seems like a reshoot or the contestants were held for such problems like lighting adjustments or camera problems (though it wouldnt affect the outcome obviously and a time credit would be given for the following day).

And what was with that prize?
Anonymous said…
I cant wait to see the next episode... besties show EVER!!!!

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