Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Amazing Race Round-Up, 18-4

I suspect this one must have been a difficult one for the editors; it's always tricky when one team gets way behind the others. Do you try to use clever editing techniques in order to make it seem like the lagging team is closer than they are, or do you just go ahead and acknowledge that there's not going to be much suspense in this episode and show how far behind they really are?

In the case of Kent and Vyxsin, the team that pretty much dominated this week's episode, the situation was complicated by some major bunching that kept them at least theoretically in the race long after what should have been sheer, unmitigated disaster. Driving a full three hours in the wrong direction and missing the flight that every single one of the other teams was on should have meant doom, full stop. (Especially since the subsequent flight wasn't for five hours. You do not want to spot everyone else a five-hour lead on the Amazing Race.) But when everyone else has to wait for an 8 AM bus, suddenly some of that lead gets eaten away, and it's worth focusing on the drama of whether or not running one of the worst legs in Race history is enough to get Kent and Vyxsin eliminated.

And it was a spectacular trainwreck of a leg. Vyxsin starts by insisting the theme for the day is "Positive Mental Attitude", then proceeds to get lost, sob into the map, scream at herself, stare into space, sob at the map some more, give up, lose her passport temporarily, and then berate herself a lot more while attempting the Road Block. Kent, meanwhile, has decided that the best way to deal with a partner who's having difficulties is to stare into space and wander around like an automaton, then say to her, "Well, I was just doing what you told me to do." (In case I haven't made it obvious yet, Kent's checking out was just as bad as Vyxsin's freaking out.) Oh, and then he loses his passport for good measure.

Next to all that, everyone else's mistakes seemed like amusing larks. Ron had his bizarre food cravings (I get that he's a fan of the local cuisine and doesn't get to eat Chinese food this authentic very often, but the man was actually stopping on the way to a Detour to smell the fish frying. I think if Christina had one of those toddler leashes for him, she'd have used it.) The Globetrotters didn't know what sign of the Chinese Zodiac they were (they've never gotten bored at a Chinese restaurant?) Mallory screamed, Jen admitted that there's really no way to feel good about yourself after calling a deaf guy a bitch, and the only racers who had any real trouble were Zev and Justin, and even they were way ahead of Kent and Vyxsin by the end.

(Assuming penalties don't come into play. Kent and Vyxsin might get a penalty for not taking the mandatory flight, although to me the penalty should be the five hours they had to wait for the next flight, and Justin might get a penalty for throwing one of his charms in the grass when he found out it was a duplicate, thus making it potentially harder for Vyxsin to find hers. Oh, and Ron and Christina might get a penalty for flinging themselves out of a moving trolley and throwing rocks at a bus to get it to stop instead of going back and taking the bus all the way like the clue said. No, really. They actually did that.)

And then, of course, we find out that the end isn't the end after all. Yes, for the first time in Race history, we get two double legs! (Which has led to some speculation that there will be no non-elimination legs, only double legs. That's a pretty big advantage to the teams at the back--no Speed Bumps!) Which means that Kent and Vyxsin are saved for another week. Even better for them, next week's leg includes a Double U-Turn (the only fair kind, in my opinion--being U-Turned is such a huge disadvantage that the only way to keep it from being "automatically eliminate one team" is to make it a double-team penalty)...and frankly, given how inept Kent and Vyxsin were this week, nobody's going to see them as enough of a threat to U-Turn.

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