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Amazing Race 15, Ep. 3 Commentary – Justin Pulls A Dallas


Ugh, what a terrible way to go.

This episode immediately made me think of the departure of Heather and Eve from Amazing Race 3. If you remember, after finishing the soccer roadblock first in Portugal, the law students completely misread their clue, which instructed them to walk to the mat. They took a cab, and managed to talk themselves into a ridiculous rationalization, after they discovered the mistake, by thinking it only meant to walk from the cab to the mat. They arrived first, took the penalty, and in a very contained leg, were passed by the other eight remaining teams to lead to them being eliminated.

Combine that past leg with Amazing Race 13’s penultimate leg where Dallas left his fanny pack with the team’s passports and cash in his cab, stranding him and his mom in Russia. This likely cost the team a berth in the Finals.

Zev and Justin managed the worst of both worlds here. They ran an outstanding leg, after getting a bit lost in Vietnam on the way to the airport, to earn a first place finish. Then while preparing for the post finish interviews, Justin discovers that Zev’s passport is gone. Informing Phil of this, the boys learn that they cannot check in if they cannot find the document. Just like with Heather and Eve, this was a fairly contained leg and by the time they tracked down their cab, the other teams were all checked in.

One thing that bothered me about this is why not being able to check in is the penalty? Losing the passport does not change their first place finish; it stops them from being able to move to the next location. Shouldn’t they get the opportunity to find it first? What if it was somewhere on the ground near the pit stop and no one saw it? I say, give them the twelve hours in between legs to find it. They have to do their interviews and whatnot, so they have even less time to search. If they find it, great, they get to continue, but at a bit of a disadvantage as they will be fatigued, hungry and dirty. If they fail to find it, then the last place team (Maria and Tiffany, in this case) will get a reprieve and continue to race. Production-wise, that makes for a heck of a good cliffhanger, no?

For those who care, on CBS.com’s Elimination Station, Justin and Zev head to the American Embassy and find their passport has been returned. It turns out the boys went to the wrong temple on the way to the monkey task, and Justin dropped the passport while taking out his headlamp to read the clue in the darkened temple. Needless to say, Justin is beating himself up over that, and probably will for a while. Call Dallas, or Heather and Eve, and perhaps they can shed some light on how long it takes.

In addition to the passport fiasco, another part of the episode that really bothered me was the inability of these eighteen Americans to recognize Jackie Kennedy. Could you imagine folks in 2039 being shown pictures of Michelle Obama and not have any clue who she was? Or think she was British royalty? It is a sad state of affairs in our country that an icon such as Jackie Kennedy could go unrecognized like that. It’s not like they were shown a photo of Grace Coolidge! Jackie Effing Kennedy! Arguably the most famous First Lady ever (sorry Eleanor and Hillary!)

Also, the Amazing Race goes to Cambodia and not a mention of the Killing Fields? Considering that they go to Dubai next week, it doesn’t appear that it will be mentioned at all. When All-Stars went to Poland they visited a concentration camp. Having an opportunity to inform millions of Americans who may not know anything about Pol Pot and the unspeakable horrors he inflicted on his own people, the Amazing Race seriously missed an opportunity. Sadly, most people in our country know nothing of the Khmer Rouge and murder of millions in Cambodia, which took place in the wake of our bombing of the nation during the Vietnam War. Simply put, they should. This show has often been a learning tool, for better or for worse, and this leg could have been one of the best.

Instead, we got scarves and monkey men.

Now don’t get me wrong, I dug the monkey man task. I know I totally would have done it if I were on the race. I’m just saying … missed opportunity.

So, the last major event of the episode was the Poker Chicks actually finished last for the second time in the first four legs and are still in the Race. Needless to say, that is unprecedented. As Tiffany said, they have never had so much luck in any game of poker before. They have been blessed with a couple of stays of execution so far; let’s see if they can take advantage of that.


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