I know very little about women. I will be the first to admit that, and there will plenty of women lining up to confirm that analysis. However, I am confident to say one thing with certainty, it is not a good idea to threaten to toss your new girlfriend down a six story water slide at 90 miles per hour, past a tank full of sharks, if she doesn’t want to go. There could be $100 million, your own private island, and a cure for cancer at stake, and it is still a really, really bad idea.
It seems that I know a bit more about women than Canaan knows.
As I was watching this episode and the Roadblock and Detour happened right away, I looked at the time remaining and saw a whole lot of time left. Then I remembered the previews from last week and started to wonder, what the heck is up with that water slide? Even as Mika started to fall apart up there, and the editors showed us the Globetrotters steadily moving along, I didn’t believe anything was going to happen. I’ve seen this show before and I know when they are just fabricating drama, because the Trotters had no chance of catching up …
Wait a minute … boom, there they were. As Canaan stated (I could not hear him too well for the exact number) in Elimination Station, they were up at the top of that water slide for 25 to 45 minutes. This allowed their only competition to stage, as Phil described, one of the most dramatic finishes in Race history.
The drama did not come from a desperate sprint to the finish (see Ray/Deana vs. Brian/Greg), a marriage proposal (Hayden/Aaron) or even pee breaks (Kisha/Jen). It came from a very public and uncomfortable breakdown of a woman and the desperate and insensitive actions of her boyfriend. Let’s take this step by step:
1. We were treated to quick flashbacks of Mika’s fear of heights and of water. (Which by the way, explains the attention the tallest building in Dubai received)
2. Mika showed up at the top of the Water Slide tower wearing water wings.
3. Canaan began to get a bit incredulous – “We are not losing the race because of this” – and then moved to a soothing approach – “let me hold your hand.”
4. Mika was out of control from the start – and if you have ever suffered from a phobia, much less two of them simultaneously, you know the feeling. She was “scared to death.”
5. Canaan tried to get her to calm down. She wasn’t. But he was able to ease her over to the starting point.
6. It was here that he lost her completely. She trusted him enough to let him inch forward, but then he tried to actually push her down the slide! That is stunning to me. That’s like pushing someone petrified of dogs into a kennel cage. She lost it, “You Can’t Make Me!! Help Me!!” Mika had gone bye bye.
7. It got to a point where she completely regressed and started to stamp her feet in protest. Canaan tried to go back to soothing. Ain’t gonna happen, buddy! That horse left the barn when you tried to push her down. He offered to sit behind her, and she was quickly wise to that ploy.
8. Mika starts calling the task “stupid.” Moving from fear to anger.
9. Canaan elects to let loose with all guns – “You’re breaking my heart” and “You’re going to regret this.” Guilt. The last weapon to be used by manipulators.
10. Amazingly, she tries to get in place again and grabs the bar above her head. Canaan doesn’t learn from his mistakes and tries to pry her hands off the bar like he’s a friggin’ Bond villain.
11. It is officially over for her. She asks him why he hates her. And he doesn’t answer – or at least we don’t see an answer.
The next part of the breakdown was genius because if there was any glimmer of hope that she would do the challenge, it went away when the Globetrotters showed up. Perhaps the immediate competition would trigger her to act, like Patrick eating the meat challenge in AR7. But they taunted her, “Don’t do it!” Again, that could have triggered her to defy them, but it only reinforced her fears. Canaan didn’t care for that, but the Trotters did what they had to do.
Canaan was wrong. You can’t physically force someone to overcome fears. Fears are irrational. It is the only thing we have to fear for a reason. I have no sympathies for him on this one. As for Mika, as a fellow acrophobe, I understand. But if you go on the Amazing Race, you must be ready for these things. If you are not, then don’t go, there are plenty of people willing to take your place.