Honest to Blog! The Amazing Race has an episode which turned on wind. Wind! Phuket, Thailand!!
But seriously, amazing how the Phuket (pronounced Poo-ket, folks) winds played such a major factor in the Detour. Granted, for the second time in four episodes, we had a non-elimination leg, so the stakes were less than they could have been. However, it was still fascinating and just a small taste of how cool this show continues to be. This came down to something as simple as weather. For such a huge show, played out over the game board called The Entire Earth, it is amazing how such tiny details can occasionally make a huge difference. Strong winds, a flat tire, traffic, things like that are the factors that teams cannot prepare for prior to the Race, no matter how much Cindy may want to.
In this case, the Detour presented the options of helping to rebuild Phuket’s tsunami-destroyed coral reef, or doing an tradition AR task of mimicking a display (similar to the task in last year’s finale at the trailer park). At first, most teams chose the coral challenge. I would tend to agree with that choice – first of all, it is a much cooler task. Second, those display challenges require such a precise attention to detail which I find difficult normally, much less under extreme pressure and lack of rest.
The Dudes were first out on the kayak after assembling the blue frame of the Phuket IKEA Coral Nursery Collection. They had to balance the structure on the kayak and hold onto the tray with the little coral babies. There’s a cartoon just waiting to be written, by the way. The wind out on the ocean was very, very strong and kept blowing the items and the kayak around. Thankfully for them, the Dudes have surfing skills not just on snow but on the water and had some game. They were also wise to find a rock down below to place upon the frame to hold it in place. Their ability to keep the kayak around the location, tread water effectively and manage the props served them well. The Siblings also managed to pull it off, but did so by accident when the frame drifted into a rock. Nevertheless, only these two teams managed to get this task right.
Meanwhile, over at the other location, teams had to find their assigned beach chairs and umbrellas and then set them up to match the proper layout of Phuket Beach Society. I don’t know, it was just what it was. The Twins were excited about doing this one because they have lifeguarding experience. I need to call a foul on this one. Last time I checked, and it may have been in an episode of Baywatch , lifeguards have a lot of things they have to do. Setting up umbrellas is not one of them. I want my lifeguard paying attention to me as the waves come crashing down, not worrying about how many chairs need to line up in a row. So, saying your lifeguard skills will help the beach layout is like saying that an NFL referee’s skills on the football field will help him throw a touchdown pass.
The wind was brutal on this task, especially to the Twins, who spent hours trying to do it. The wind knocked over the umbrellas, one time right onto one of the Twins’ head, it blew around the chairs. It was a serious wild card in the challenge. It took some strength to get the umbrellas done – Marcus and Sandy each tried to give them some help. Sandy gave them a hand opening an umbrella, Marcus told them to spin it into the ground to get it to stay. I don’t know if it was anything other than the Twins’ lack of upper body strength, but that seemed to be a primary problem. They just could not get that umbrella to stay in the ground.
We did get some interesting character moments from the teams through all of the wind gusts. The Dudes continue to be a joy to watch. I found it interesting that upon learning that they messed up their flight and squandered their lead that they didn’t respond with anger, they essentially said, “bummer.” Magellans really didn’t have much of an episode except for one moment – on the speedboats heading towards the Pit Stop, they managed to get lost. The guys who circumnavigated the globe got lost on a boat. Classic. Basic Navigation, guys. Their attitude was not anger or rage, it was self-deprecation, a bunch of useless sailors we are. Sounds like the makings of a good shanty.
New Jeremy finally got some attention, and after their nasty bickering, I would like them to fad back into the background. Jeremy barked at her to “come here, now” on the beach and continued to talk fairly aggressively to her. If this how they are going to find out about their relationship, I sense a lot of uncomfortable moments during Thanksgiving dinners for them. Regardless, it sure ain’t fun to watch that unfold on television.
The Siblings fought again. Sigh. However, they also were successful, even if some luck was involved regarding the coral. Successful and bickering is not a good combination for the viewers of the show. The Twins are kind of fun, but they cry a lot, and break down a lot. They got saved this week, but can you really see them going very deep into the season with so much self-imposed drama? Geritol just keeps hanging around and Bill is proving to be a surprisingly tough challenge guy. He scaled that mountain during the Roadblock like a pro.
The Peytons are fun – there is no doubt. Marcus shouting “go crazy” was endearing and gave me two flashbacks. One was Prince. Another was Jack Buck. Leave it to my warped mind to combine the Amazing Race, Marcus Pollard, 80s pop, and famous playoff homeruns. And it was a nice moment for them when they paid back the Race karma earned when the Dudes gave them the help last week by helping the Twins with the umbrellas.
Lastly, Control Freak and Cindy’s mad prep. We previously heard all about her prep plan, and this week we learned you could add rock climbing to the list. This could be fun this season; I sense a lot of comedy in my future. Not sure if it will be funny…but nevertheless, I’ll be mining the Cindy prep book. Not in the book – speedboat navigation. How do you get lost on the ocean, with a land mass as your clue? Heck, I think Wilson the Volleyball could find it quicker.
So, in Phuket – not Bucket or Kirby Puckett – we revisit a location where Mel/Mike got knocked out in S14, and it looks like quite the nice place to visit and the continuation of a fun season. I think that the Show putting two early non-elim legs in this season was a good idea. We got to know these teams a bit. It likely means fewer non-elims later on – and to me, that’s a good thing. It adds a lot more drama late in the season, where it belongs, and makes the early episodes have a little bit more mystery.
• Indonesia has 129 volcanoes. I have nothing there, I just found that interesting.
• Laurence said something wise about Race strategy – he said that if they make a mistake, he wants to make sure they make it with another team. That makes sense since you know that at least you have a 50-50 shot to beat one team.
• Jeremy 2.0 said that going to Bucket (sigh) was going to be foreign. Great, we have another Captain Obvious this season.
• I know the show harped on the Dudes and Magellans mistake about going to Jakarta, but that wasn’t the problem. Their problem was not booking the second leg. Unless the rules changed, they can book that and change for a better flight. If they did change, then it was risky to pass up on the easy safe option for what might have been just a slight gain.
• It was worth it though to see the Dudes fool around and tickle the Magellans on the line. That was pretty funny. And how did they pass the Magellans in Phuket? That seems like an inconsequential bad cab ride to me.
• Gotta love hilarious cab drivers. A Race staple.
• Anyone not see the Bunching coming after the flight? Oh, well, hello and welcome to your first episode of The Amazing Race. Better late than never.
• How come I am not surprised that the Siblings were the ones to make the King of the World Titanic joke?
• How fortunate the Pollards watched a show on the 2004 tsunami with the kids before the Race. That sounds like something Cindy would do.
• Juvenile Humor of the Week – Sandy: “Why is this not long enough?”
• I love how Thailand has all of these fun names for the islands. This season it is Soap Island, in Season 1 it was Chicken Island. Lots of fun.
• Either the NFL is not as tough as I thought, or the Amazing Race is tougher than it appears, but a kayak challenge whipped Marcus more than anything in his life? This man was a pro football player!
• There exists a floating village in this world? That was cool. And they have their own soccer field!
• How many people upon learning that they just won five thousand dollars would instantly think of other people? Dudes – “Our wives are coming on the trips with us!” And, complementing the greeter’s beard? Perfect.
• My son has a responsibility chart on his wall, where he gets magnets for doing tasks and chores. One chore is to not whine. I hate whining. Meanwhile, the Twins, not so much. “You’re going so sa-low-uh!” Ugh. Bad moment.
Detour – Coral Restoration or Beach Preparation – In Coral, teams help rebuild the coral reef and Thai tourism years after the 2004 tsunami hit. In Beach, they put 20 chairs and 10 umbrellas in the proper order on the beach. Coral – Dudes and Siblings. Peytons, New Jeremy, and Geritol all flipped from this to Beach. Beach also had Control Freak, Magellans and the Twins.
Roadblock – Who wants to be King of the Hill? Climb the side of an island rock face to get a clue out of a birds nest. I wonder what kind of bird lays Amazing Race clues. Roadblock taken by – Andy, Jennifer, Zac, Amani, Jeremy, Ernie, Bill and Marie.
Order of Finish – Dudes (win five grand each), Siblings, New Jeremy, Magellans, Control Freak, Peytons, Geritol and Twins (NOT ELIMINATED)
Next week – We have elephants. And somehow the Twins have no money.
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