I have to give the Race producers credit. One of my biggest complaints about the Yield and the U-Turn has been the lack of consequence. Far too often in past races teams that endured a Yield or a U-Turn (especially the Yield) were given a reprieve by a non-elimination leg. It seems that the days of wine and roses for U-Turned teams are finally over.
Looking back at the last few seasons, Lorena/Jason were U-Turned and got the axe. Luke and Margie Blind U-Turned Amanda/Kris – elimination. Later that season, Tammy/Victor U-Turned Kisha/Jen – elimination (barely). And this season both Joe/Heidi and now Crandy were issued U-Turns and they are both out.
Consequence. It makes this Race tool all the more important. It gives it the weight the Yield lacked. Finally, I think, it has become a true part of the game and strategy.
Case in point – two items from this week that prove the strategic aspect of a U-Turn with consequence.
1 – Good Strategy. The Detectives used their U-Turn on Joe/Heidi to target a team they felt could be formidable down the road. Also, because Joe had been mouthing off a bit, but also due to the competition they felt from the couple. It worked. I didn’t like that choice, since the Detectives and Joe/Heidi were at the front of the pack at the time, the guys should have targeted a lower team. However, due to the impossible nature of the Morse Code task, it worked.
So, without a U-Turn, the Detectives started to sow the seeds of resentment felt by Brent/Caite towards Crandy. Not because they felt threatened by Crandy, but to put the scent on another team rather than themselves. It is a brilliant move. They played Brent/Caite completely. All of the badmouthing of Crandy by the Detectives I would suspect is a case of creative editing. Think about it, and re-watch it, and imagine the context of their comments being that this is how Brent/Caite felt and how they are going to use it. Am I wrong? Perhaps. But based on their later statement about putting the Models on the warpath with the U-Turn, I think this is what happened.
2 – Bad Strategy. Brent/Caite have been criticized for being dumb. Caite has gotten it for years, publicly. This move by them – dumb. Recall that they arrived at the U-Turn spot in second place with the Detectives, the Cowboys and Crandy all behind them. Give them a pass on the Detectives – the guys had left for the Fast Forward at that point, so they could guess they were far ahead. At worst, they had no idea where the Brothers were, and they KNEW the Cowboys were behind them. Why, oh why, would you not target the Cowboys? They have won legs. And the Amazing Race has a rich history of all-male teams winning the Race, and of NO all-female teams winning.
As Dan suggested, it was personal. And as he questioned, I fear it was because they are lesbians. Why was Caite continually referring to them as lesbians? There was such derision in her voice that it made me uncomfortable to hear it. Like how the Beauty Queens would call Lyn/Karlyn the “sistas.” I hope, like with that, it comes out with a better answer – Lyn/Karlyn called themselves the “sistas,” it was just unfortunate editing.
While the Detectives benefitted from questionable strategy in knocking out Joe/Heidi, I hope Brent/Caite do not benefit from this poor judgment by actually making it to the Finish Line. But I fear they may.
Lastly, before moving on to some observations, I have said it before, but now is my last chance to say it again. The Brent/Caite vs. Crandy feud is one with no heroes. While Brent/Caite was at best thin-skinned, and at worst homophobic, Crandy was far from being without fault. From the start they were dismissive to the models and mocked Caite’s infamous video. Interesting though that every time Caite has brought up the “meanness” we only get the one clip about the tiara. What we did see was Crandy’s irritating internal bickering and their cattiness (mostly Brandy) during confessionals. Carol also had a tendency to blame Brandy for every misstep.
This unlikable quality came across most especially in the bitter response they had to the U-Turn. Now, the Race is replete with overreactions to the fair usage (if not intelligent) of Race rules in the past, but Brandy got really nasty. Describing them as Forrest Gumps (is that an insult to the models, or to Forrest?), and the mocking tone, and another shot at Caite’s video. Carol joined in by describing their enemies as having first grade intelligence.
There is a classy way to lose and there is the way Crandy lost. They lost to a team they felt intellectually superior to and it kills them. For that, I have no sympathy.