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Amazing Race 16, Ep. 8 Commentary – Cowboy Comeback


This episode was really all about two things – the huge comeback made by the Cowboys, and the explanation of the non-existent edit received by Steve/Allie. It was weird why a team that seemed to consistently finish in the top two or three got such little screen time. It can now be explained appropriately – they were just too nice and functional, and they only finished in sixth place. Yes, the baseball coach and his daughter became the latest in a series of Race teams to have their hopes dashed by the simple twist of fate of the taxi cab.

But before Steve/Allie’s fate can be discussed, there are the Cowboys. Last week, the boys had a bad leg, being spared from elimination by luck of the draw. Actually, after further review, they only finished three minutes behind Crandy. So, not as bad as once thought, but still, they were making errors and starting to appear to be more and more affected by being out of their rural element.

Not this week.

The Cowboys started out in last, but got helped by the airport bunching on the way to Malaysia. However, even there, they were last out of the airport and lost their taxi upon finding the Detour clue. Not boding well for them. However, the tide turned with one decision – the boys went for the “Chinese Tradition” detour, where you balance a giant flag pole on your forehead and walk 120 feet with it there. As you would imagine, a couple of rodeo pros have some good balance and dexterity. Cord flew across the field while Jet needed a couple of tries, but instantly did it as well.

Despite arriving late to the Detour, the Cowboys left in first place. However, they still had their busywork to do – the Speed Bump. I have said before that I like how the Speed Bump is never very difficult, just a pain in the behind to accomplish. Busywork. Despite choosing the wrong tea to deliver to the guru – anyone else have bad Mike Myers flashbacks? – They kept their cool and finished this before any other team had actually finished the other Detour! On the way to the Roadblock, Crandy was stunned when the Cowboys pulled out in front of them. And at the Roadblock, despite admittedly being “not very crafty,” Jet created the little coconut contraption and made it all the way to the Pit Stop. Thus, the boys became the first team to go from last place with a Speed Bump all the way to first place on the ensuing leg. Great job, guys!

Meanwhile, the team that finished first last week had the exact opposite experience as Jet and Cord. Steve and Allie had been moving right along the last few weeks, not very excitingly, but certainly efficiently. They may have lost their bags in the previous leg, but they were still working well together and getting things done. However, maybe their good luck was tucked away in their bags.

It all came down to taxi-based decisions for them. While stuck in traffic – along with the brothers and the Detectives – Steve/Allie elected to trust the cab driver’s description of how long it would take to get to the temple on foot. So they bailed on the taxi and took to the streets. Clearly, it was a bad decision. As Michael indicated, “one bad cab driver can cost you a million bucks.” Ask Frank about that. Or many of the others who had their hopes dashed in Races since.

It got worse. They figured out it was a bad idea and found a cab – who took them to the wrong temple. They elected to find the flagpole task instead. When they got there, Allie made the decision that ultimately doomed them – she said she was unable to do it. That little side trip put them far enough behind the brothers that barring an equally bad navigation error by the guys, it was curtains for them.

At the end, Steve made his daughter choke up by declaring his Race experience to be dearer to his heart than his 2008 World Series ring as part of the Philadelphia Phillies coaching staff. For anyone that has knowledge of the mind of a professional athlete and the sheer madness that overtakes some of them when striving to win a championship, this statement was pretty amazing. Allie knows her dad and what being part of a ballclub means to him, and how it has probably taken him away from the family for half the year for her entire life. And that’s why she cried. And, I have said this before and will say it again, THAT is why some of us watch reality shows. For reality.

I can speak for myself that I don’t watch shows such as these for ridiculous feuds such as the one between Crandy and Brent/Caite. How can you watch a rivalry based on superficiality and actually have anyone to root for? What is this based on? Crandy was catty to Caite? Caite and Brent have the intelligence and depth of garden tools? Crandy feels superior, while the models use the word “lesbian” almost as an insult? These are not people I care to root for, so I could care less who is mean to whom. I want all four of them to shut up.

I am stuck rooting for the Cowboys – which at the start of the Race, I would not have anticipated – and the Detectives. Both teams have the right attitudes – although the cops better stop dipping their toes into that stupid feud, just leave it alone guys – and are at least fun to watch.

Next week, the feud seems to come to a head, which I assume is going to be Yield-related based on the Detectives’ prodding of Caite to use the Yield on Crandy. Because that’s what this nonsense needed – Yield-induced sniping. Lovely.


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