I could say that I held my analysis of last week’s Amazing Race episode because; a) Laura’s recap was more than sufficient (it pretty much is each week, and yet I keep yapping anyway), or b) I thought that with the Amazing Race ceding ground to the Country Music Awards today that Race fans would like to revisit last week’s in order to prepare for the show’s return next week.
I wish it were for such reasons. Basically, I was out of town, didn’t see the episode until Tuesday, had to write Survivor and Top Chef which aired on Wednesday, got epically slammed at work, had tons of weekend chores to do and only now, in the late Sunday afternoon have I begun work on the analysis of the “latest” episode of my favorite show.
Or maybe it’s taken this long to get over seeing Luke break down, again, after struggling at a Roadblock. Seriously, it is getting a bit weird now that teams keep getting eliminated for the same reason the second time around. U-turns, fatigue, bad cabbies, and now a mangled Roadblock have all reclaimed Amanda/Kris, the M&M Boys, the Gingers and now Margie/Luke. Just last week I was praising Margie’s Race skills – and that holds – but there is only so much you can do when a teammate just cannot finish the Roadblock in ample time. Clearly my prediction of their future success was wildly overblown.
And before anyone really considers this a knock on Luke, who does deserve some real blame, this was yet another needle in the haystack challenge. These kind of either purely, or mostly, luck based challenges can result in a team getting hopelessly delayed. Back on AR14, in the Finale, Luke was unable to get the proper order of surfboards and it cost them the Race. That was a memory challenge, this one was almost purely luck – at least it was the way that Luke, Flight Time and some others were playing it.
Ron showed how you can use some skill in identifying the proper cup of tea amongst the hundreds of cups. He identified the color and the aroma and was able to find the mango/papaya tea. Others took longer than Ron, but did the same. Luke and Flight Time – the last two left at the challenge – just seemed to be randomly drinking cups of tea and hoping the next one was correct. This is a totally random strategy that was begging for failure.
Where Luke gets real blame – and if he truly forgot the aroma, flavor and appearance of the tea, then there is nothing he really could have done otherwise – is in his reaction to the struggles. It is the same reaction he had in past challenges when he struggled – he threw up his hands, broke down into tears and sought out Margie. Flight Time also struggled here, but he just kept plugging along. This is what really hurt Luke in this challenge – he lost his composure and started bleeding time as the drama increased.
Luke is a credit to the whole world of deaf people living in the world – he has proven so much in his real life and his Race life, showing that deaf people can do almost anything at all. That cannot be taken away from him, but boy, it is painful to watch him in a pressure situation fall completely apart. That’s something that people who can and cannot hear succumb to all of the time, so that is a Luke as a man thing, not Luke as a deaf man thing. I hope no one out there tries to equate the two. Bottom line – Luke rocks, hearing be damned. Unless the Roadblock is too hard, then, not so much.
And in an example of how even in tough situations, some truly awesome moments take hold – I think as Luke struggled to find the tea that we were treated to one of the best spontaneous moments in Race history. The various Indian men working in the tearoom at Town Hall started to applaud Luke to encourage him to finish. Even better – the hoisted him up in the air after he did it and seemed poised to parade him around like Lupus in The Bad News Bears. It made me laugh out loud and get a bit goosepimply. Great moment.