This week’s extremely predictable episode was basically all about the fight. This was the smackdown Phil has been hyping for weeks. The Battle of the Racers. Jen vs. Luke.
Umm…that was it?
Was it me, or did that argument seem a bit of a letdown? I don’t think it was the most shocking mat event – nothing will beat Jonathan and Victoria in Germany – but there were some interesting moments in that battle. Which I’ll get into in a moment.
First, kudos to reader Arthur for correctly anticipating Mark and Michael being substantially behind this week and not being saved by airport bunching. He checked into Asian departure and arrival times – which is far and away beyond anything I will be doing for this column, my friends. I was wondering what the reason was for the delay in departure to start the leg – if you listened carefully, they didn’t leave 12 hours after arrival – and was curious if flight times would be affected.
Mark and Michael not only were not helped by the airport but the teams arrived in China at night and the task did not begin until daybreak. Either the cab ride from the airport was endless, or there was a second bunching that we didn’t see. Either way, Mark and Michael were never in the race this week, and coupled with the Speed Bump, were never seen in the same frame as any other team. The only mystery was a second non-elimination in a row – like what happened in All-Stars – but it was not to be.
We are now guaranteed at least one all-female team racing to the finish this year – joining Bama, Charla/Mirna and the Beauty Queens.
Ok, the fight. The seed was sown last week with the cab driver deception by Margie. She asked her cab not to tell the sisters’ cab where to go. My ruling – no big deal. That is part of racing, especially in the Final Five. They were not in any type of alliance. Kisha and Jen overreacted to that one.
Then we had the race to the first clue box. We got to see the replay of this about as many times as the Joe Theismann broken leg. That’s right; I just made a 20+ year old football injury joke. Thanks for asking. I still can’t tell what really happened. It looks like they arrived at the same time and Jen placed her hand on Luke’s back, perhaps shoving just a bit. Remember, Luke can’t hear footsteps. I am sure he felt the vibrations, but he was likely startled by the sudden force on his back and as a result, he gave her a hip check and an elbow. If it was hockey, he’d probably get two minutes in the penalty box for that.
My ruling – I think it was rather harmless physical contact that both sides overreacted to. Jen forgot that Luke was deaf for a moment and lashed out with some unfortunate name calling. Luke probably didn’t need the elbow throwing, as it was still just a clue box.
Margie was right in citing race rules – you can’t be physical or push. However, this seemed to be in-the-moment incidental contact. I did love Luke’s reaction once his mom told him he was insulted. What was that sign that he made? That’s probably not one that should be translated for CBS.
The second clue box. Now they sort of meant it. Luke did give her a bit of a shove into the box and she did retaliate. If it was hockey, they’d probably both get penalties for that one. Now Margie and Kisha get into it – each defending their loved ones. Jen then tattles on Luke to the other teams, making sure that this argument doesn’t rise to adult level and stays down in adolescent tones.
Skip ahead to the mat. Hilarious that the teams had to do the Detour together, by the way. Kisha and Jen are now giving Margie and Luke the Romber treatment – unnecessary focus given to beating one other team rather than focus on winning. The two teams race with Tammy/Victor to the mat – clearly Kisha and Jen’s athleticism will take that race. And now Phil reaches into his inner Probst and decides to draw the argument out.
Luke wants to get into it and Phil tries to ask if this was a misunderstanding. No, Phil. Not that easy. The two sides do a he said, she said playground explanation. Then Luke finally says he wants to talk and Kisha laughs at him. No. She mocks him. I understand what she is staying about laughing at inappropriate times. However, she makes a “huh huh” sound that is awfully similar to Luke’s cadence when he tries to talk. It’s as if she is channeling her inner Beavis.
Margie flips out at this point – she has probably had to deal with this for years – and takes it to the next level by saying she expected more from two African-American racers regarding tolerance. Phil said this went on for 20 minutes. I have gone on for long enough about this; it was rather infantile from both teams. However, my favorite part of this? Wait, my two favorite parts. First, the cutaway to the elderly greeters watching the crazy Americans while eating their noodles. And second, poor Tammy and Victor watching this all play out. We have all been in the room for uncomfortable fights and not been able to leave. Great cutaway to Victor at one point showing that feeling.