I am going to compare Vixen with Jack Shepherd – We have to go back! I’ll get back to that.
Phil warned the Racers that they should expect the unexpected, and he wasn’t kidding. Two surprise double legs right off the bat for the Racers – something never before done by the show. That is simply brutal. I can only imagine the fatigue that overcomes these teams in the middle legs – normal Races are intense, but this one is double the torture.
A small part of me is a bit disappointed in these twists as we have had four episodes now and only two eliminations, but I must admit that I kind of like it this way. There is nothing wrong with some surprises, as early leg eliminations have been the norm for virtually the whole run of the show. Not a lot of drama in the early legs in that capacity. Plus, a lot of these teams have been one ep or two and then gone. Hope and Norm, we barely knew thee! It’s even worse for the All-Star seasons. The last time, we lost two of the more likeable teams right off the bat helping add to a Race dominated by some fairly annoying Racers rather than the nicer ones.
So, I’m glad that this season has presented two double legs early on. Double legs may be a slight letdown as they are revealed, but it usually leads to some memorable moments as the Racers begin to suffer fatigue. Having two of them so close to each other and coupled with a LOT of travel, means that fatigue is becoming a factor a lot earlier than usual. I hope that we don’t have a big equalizer coming up – the partial one to start Ep 2 was disappointing enough – but I fully expect one to come our way.
The first one enabled the Cowboys to recover and actually finish well for the first elimination, the question remains if the Goths can pull it together to make the most of their second chance as well. Others, not as happy. Margie said it best – “You don’t know what I want to say.” However, while the Cowboys were just overcoming a poor challenge performance and some bad navigation, the Goths had one of the worst legs (or half-legs as it turns out) in Race history.
Before getting into the Goths’ performance, as that totally dominated this episode, just a note of the irony running rampant this season. As I previously mentioned, Amanda/Kris’ unfinished business was related to their elimination via U-Turn, and their second elimination came due to another U-Turn. Irony. Well, Mike/Mel got lost the first time, but it was related to their fatigue. This time, their fatigue kicked in from the start of the Race, probably leading to their inability to finish the frog Roadblock. Less irony. However, having the Goths totally lose it and melt down while hopelessly lost…mucho irony.
Now, the Goths. I don’t know if you could write a Handbook for Racers and include a section about how to run with the worst leg possible. In fact, the Goths may have run the worst leg of the Amazing Race since the Gutsy Grannies chose to go from Brazil to South Africa through New York and London. I mean, this was ugly. It was so bad that they actually missed the spoon-fed equalizer flight provided by the show. At the airport which was about five minutes from the Pit Stop. And boy, did Vixen break down. She acknowledged her horrible de ja vu to their meltdown in Italy. She monitored the compass for an hour before realizing they were going the wrong way. Interestingly, as she panicked her Kentucky accent started to slip out, “I lost ma mind.”
After going three hours the wrong way, and missing the assigned flight, they finally arrived and got a later flight. Will this present a penalty? No idea, because I don’t think it has happened before. In addition, Vixen left her passport at the ticket counter. Foreshadowing? To Kent’s credit, despite a throw away “I’m going to shoot you” after the passport mistake, he kept his frustrations and temper under control throughout her whole meltdown. I did not see him really throw blame on her.
When they arrived in China, they had missed all of the trains and buses. However, amazingly enough, they got to the Roadblock while Zev/Justin (dropping the Team Rain Man, don’t think I like it as much as I thought) were still there. They still had a fighting chance. And then Vixen had trouble finding the zodiac signs and had another meltdown. Back in last place. But that’s not all, after she finished the challenge – and the rest of us found out that this was a double leg, and thus no elimination coming their way – Kent dropped the fanny pack on the gondola. They did not discover this until they were on the shuttle bus travelling on a road that did not appear to have many turns.
This prompted Vixen to panic again and shout out that they had to go back. She also made it quite clear that HE lost the fanny pack. Interesting choice of pronouns, especially after the train wreck we just watched from her.