So The Race continues in Botswana. Our hockey brothers are the first to depart, and they manage to get to the next clue box without any adventures whatsoever. Or misadventures for that matter. At the clue box they get an option to take a Fast Forward and decide to go for it. The Fast Forward seems to be tailor-made for these strapping boys – it’s some water skiing. To make it sound less like fun and more like a serious challenge, the production tries to convince us that the water is infested with crocodiles: we are shown several shots of these reptiles (mostly in a state of repose) and some warning signs implying how dangerous, hungry and vicious these crocodiles might prove to be upon a close encounter. Color me skeptical – crocodiles or not, the production would go to a great length to make sure the contestants’ lives and health are not compromised. So I never thought crocodiles would be a problem. What seems to be a problem is that one of the brothers apparently failed water skiing in the past and was slightly nervous about this challenge. Such a big, young, athletic guy – and couldn’t get up? – Funny. But somehow he managed to rise to the occasion (on his water skies) and – along with his brother – complete the Fast Forward just fine. They come to the Pit Stop first and win $7500 each. The cameras at the Pit Stop show a toothless brother without his false teeth – maybe he lost them along the way, or maybe it’s his way of showing us on what he is planning to spend his prize money.
Meanwhile, the remaining teams are trying to get to the clue box. Three of the teams – Pam and Winnie, Chuck and Wynona and the roller derby moms – make it there fine, while three other teams struggle. You-Tubers struggle with navigation, and it seems they are circling Maun for the 100th time (and I’ve been to Maun – it is NOT a big city!). The Barbies and The Newlyweds got pulled over by local police for speeding. They had to go to the police station to pay the fine. Surprisingly neither of the ticketed teams was slowed down too much by this. As for the You-Tubers – they finally got lucky by spotting one of the teams (The Newlyweds) whom the followed to the clue box. If it were not for that – they would be circling Maun for as long as the capacity of the gas tank would allow. Anyway, everybody finally got to the Roadblock. The Newlyweds had a Speed Bump (dressing up and dancing with the locals) which hardly even slowed them down.
For the Roadblock one member of the team had to navigate a dugout canoe called mokoro along a – guess what? – a crocodile-infested river (a few shots of vicious crocodiles are shown to make us better believe it!). Two little goats had to ride in a canoe along with the teams. I think the whole purpose of the goats was to be sacrificed upon an encounter with a crocodile. But everybody completes the Roadblock, and no goats are sacrificed in the process.
The Detour of this leg of The Race is Brains or Brawn. In Brains the teams had to ride horses at a leisurely pace and spot 10 cut-out animals along the ride. Then they had to arrange the pictures of these animals in the order in which they encountered them. I wouldn’t say the task requires you to have a super IQ, but at least it does require paying attention and memory. I love these types of challenges! Using one’s memory, erudition, knowledge, brain power – it is delicious to watch (educational and inspirational, too). I was pleasantly surprised to see Chuck and Wynona choosing this task and completing it successfully. Funny, but our self-proclaimed super smart Newlyweds (PhD and all notwithstanding) decided to forgo Brains and went with Brawn instead.
In Brawn the teams had to transport some wood for half a mile in a cart pulled by donkeys. Donkeys are notoriously stubborn and unpredictable animals, and – although I bet it was not much fun for the contestants – it was amusing to watch the teams struggling to control these animals. Unfortunately, Pam and Winnie gave up the donkeys too quickly and switched to the other task. Failing the Brains twice, they switched back to donkeys, lost a lot of time and came in last. I feel bad for these girls – in my view they had quite a bit of potential. But! Being indecisive and switching back and forth between different tasks of the Detour is never a good idea. Remember Maria and Tiffany and leg 7 of The Amazing Race Season 15? Switching once might make sense once in a while, but switching back and forth is never a good idea.
Anyway, I am sad to see Pam and Winnie go. I wish it were You-Tubers instead. They are still annoying, irritating and immature. I understand that by casting them the production hopes to attract some of the You Tube audience to The Amazing Race. They might or might not succeed, but in the process they could repel some of the long-term fans. Consider pros and cons. Just saying.
I am warming up more and more to the Barbies. I don’t find them especially beautiful or smart. And they still look like identical twins to me. Sure, they are sweet and nice and silly in a good way. But they have something more precious than that, they have something I dig a lot in contestants – the light-hearted attitude. It has been always painful and unpleasant for me to watch when contestants make solemn proclamations (roll my eyes), when they say they want to prove something to somebody (who cares?), when they take mishaps way too seriously (please – it’s a game!). Sure, there is a million dollar prize for the winner of this game, but it is still a game, so – take it lightly, make it fun for yourself and for the viewers. And I think that’s what the Barbies do. And it is very refreshing to watch. And fun.
I am trying to make myself like roller derby moms – Mona and Beth, but I just can’t. Not because there is something wrong about them – rather because there is nothing really about them. They are not interesting, not controversial, not fun. There is nothing to hate about them, there is nothing much to like about them. They are just there. They might cruise all the way to the end, to the first place even. But they are just so boring. Argh.
The Newlyweds are still mean – in general and to each other. Well, at least they are not boring. I would take anything over boring …except the You Tubers maybe…on the second thought…yep, I would take anything over boring!
Chuck and Wynona did quite well during this leg, but I still have a sinking feeling they might be the next to go. They went far though. Mostly on Chuck’s enthusiasm and his palpable happiness from just being on The Race. That is inspiring to me. Not some supposedly tear-inducing stories and personal confessions and what not, but this – happiness, light-heartedness and enthusiasm. It is contagious and fun to watch. And it is more inspirational than any supposedly “inspirational” story re-told over and over again for (supposedly) our benefit. Again – just saying.
I am looking forward to the next episode with some slight apprehension: I am afraid that one of the teams that I want the most to stay in The Race (The Barbies or Chuck and Wynona) might go home. I still hope it would be You Tubers, but things don’t always happen the way I hope them to be. Oh well – we shall see.
Do share your thoughts. Who do you want to see eliminated next? Who do you want to win? How do you like the Detours where at least some grey matter (brain or memory – no matter) is involved?
Do comment please.
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