Well, tonight we learned a very important Race lesson – actually, we learned two lessons. Now, I am not sure that most of us really needed to learn these lessons, as at least I thought that basic logic would take care of it. However, two Racers seem to have needed a crash course in Friggin Obvious Race Skills.
The first lesson – don’t just stand around. Unless the Roadblock is a test of how long you can stand in one place – and I think the Speed Bumps may actually start being that simple – an important thing to remember is that you can’t actually go anywhere, if you don’t go anywhere. I bring this up because Jennifer seemed to think that the best course of action for her dilemma was to wait for inspiration to cycle up to her and smack her upside the head. It didn’t.
The Roadblock task required the Racer to get on a bike, with a guy and a fish on board (really, only on the Amazing Race), go find an address, and come back. Fairly straight forward. Unless you handed your clue to your partner and forgot what it said. Oopsie. That’s what Jennifer did during the Roadblock. Before she left on the challenge, for some reason, she handed the clue to her partner. Unsure why she did that – the clue doesn’t do him any good, but provides her with instructions.
Regardless, that’s what she did and so after she dropped off the man and his fish, she could not remember what the next step was exactly. She knew she had to deliver the payment, but could not remember where. So, she decided to wait for another team to show up and then to latch on to them. With only seven teams left, and three different locations to deliver the fish, this was a flawed strategy from the start. More importantly, waiting around for help from another team is just a bad idea. What she needed to do upon discovering she lacked the clue was to head back to get it. Doing so would at minimum get her the exact instructions, and potentially the starting point was where she needed to be (which was true). Worst case, she gets the clue and has to double back, but at least she would know for a fact, do it right, and not risk everything on random chance.
It was a bad mistake and it cost them the Race. Good for Justin for not blaming her – his first concern was her safety, not their Race positioning. A far cry from their early leg bickering, the siblings went out with class. Of course, learning early on in the episode that Justin chose his sister to come out to was doubly touching and telling that they were probably the one going home. It’s often stories such as that which foreshadow a team’s demise. I thought I would dislike this team, but as it turns out, I am sad to see them go.
The second lesson – pay attention to what just ran past you. The U-Turn has returned this week – and factors in next week as well – and I must quickly revisit my U-Turn rules. First, there is nothing wrong with using the U-Turn if you are using it to better your chances for finishing the leg, or eliminating a team you see as an endgame threat. That’s as much a part of the Race as finding a short cut to a task. It is provided to be a tool for Racers. It is not bad karma, it is not bad gamesmanship. Unless used for spite – which it has been used before.
Now, this week most teams arrived at the U-Turn and chose not to use it. Some made soapbox comments about the tool. Cindy said they didn’t want to be mean spirited. Based on next week’s previews, that sentiment goes away quickly. Anyway, using it on the Dudes at this point would have been a good use of the tool. First, it would have earned Control Freak a cool $15K prize, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Second, it may not have eliminated the Dudes, but it would have at least put them potentially in position to fail. They had a bit of a cushion thanks to the Siblings’ error, but Control Freak didn’t know that they were so far behind.
Jeremy 2.0 chose not to use it on the Magellans or Peytons – two teams that they knew were behind them. This would have been a choice moment to use the tool, as they knew others were there ahead of them. This could have been an elimination situation. The wise move for them is to U-Turn one of those teams. They wound up not needing it – but you never know.