Now that is more like it.
This was a great episode of The Amazing Race following a couple of, forgive me, speed bumps the last couple of weeks. It had unbelievably bad mistakes – some of which managed to not be killer. It had curious decisions, great comebacks and the most kick ass rabbit since this guy.
Racers left the poverty of Malawi and made the Race’s first ever stop in Denmark. It is hard to believe that after 19 seasons there are still places left the Race has yet to visit, other than some of the more dangerous places in the world. And yet, Copenhagen for the first time. Perhaps because of the scarcity of many travelers desiring the Malawi-Denmark flights, the show spoon fed plane tickets to the Racers with the usual caveat that if they can find something better than they should do so. Most everyone who has ever watched an Amazing Race episode knows that these tickets usually suck.
Apparently the Peytons have not actually been paying attention over the years. While the other five teams worked hard to find new flights – and did – the Peytons took things easy. It led to the amazing job of cross cutting between the teams flying out of Malawi to either London or Amsterdam en route to Copenhagen with the Peytons napping in the Malawi airport. The Magellans took a big risk by heading to London to find better flights and managed to get a huge lead as a result.
They were extremely lucky – a common thread this season for this team – that they only trailed the others by 90 minutes as a result. This was flight related and on-the-ground bunching related. The first stop was not open in time to accommodate the Magellans, nor the other four teams when they arrived, but still opened up before the Peytons touched down in Copenhagen and got into their product placement cars.
Their luck continued thanks to Jeremy 2.0’s inability to follow the clue properly. In another classic Race technique, the teams had to climb up a building/old church/fort/whatever and find the clue out in the landscape. This one had a twist in that a flag perched at the observation point was half of the clue, and the other half was on a nearby rooftop. However, that part was omitted from the clue. Sneaky. It took keen eyes and a bit of Race knowledge to know to look out at the other buildings. Jeremy 2.0 did not do this and thus went to the wrong location before doubling back. This put them on par with the Peytons.
Despite getting lost again later on, and having Marcus fall into a seriously bad place with doom and gloom, the Peytons made yet another comeback thanks to the Double U-Turn and the navigation troubles of others. Seriously, this team has lady luck shining down on them. Let’s see if it lasts.
The Double U-Turn. Not gonna rehash much of last week’s column, but I am glad to see the teams use it this week, even if not completely correctly. Control Freak has its eye on the prize – albeit the wrong prize. After blowing the Express Pass last week, Ernie and Cindy wanted to win this leg. Really badly. So much so that despite arriving to the Detour first, they still chose to use their U-Turn. I am fine with that, but their choice of victim was curious. Because the Geritols were behind them at the Detour, they elected to U-Turn them in order to ensure their victory in this leg. Mission accomplished and the couple will be going on a trip to Fiji. After the Race, of course, and hopefully not anywhere near these people.
The problem was that this was a strategy designed to win this leg, and this leg only. The strategy should be to win the Race. And the bigger threat to them to do that is the Dudes, not Geritol. They had no idea how far back the Dudes were, for all they knew, a U-Turn against them could have eliminated the team that has already won five legs. This was the move to make – take your chances that your current lead over Geritol would be enough to win the leg anyway. I hope for their sake that this decision doesn’t haunt them when the Dudes cross the finish line ahead of them.
Meanwhile, Geritol had to go back and do the second part of the Detour, which they did quite effectively. They did the right move first – they slapped a U-Turn on another team. This ensured that another team would have a challenge passing them. This is similar to the Boston Rob Meatblock technique – take the Roadblock penalty, but get someone else to follow suit so you know someone is behind you. The thing I have to ding Geritol on is the attitude. You can’t bitch about being U-Turned while you are U-Turning someone else. And make no mistake, they did complain. Pot. Kettle. Hello!
However, my favorite part of the episode came from the Detour and the choice I would not have made. I usually like to answer quickly as Phil gives the Detour choice as to what I would do if I were Racing. I immediately said that I would have churned the butter here. The reason is simply – and mentioned by another team – avoiding the randomness of working with animals. The butter seemed very straight forward physical challenge, and rabbits are not known for being a domesticated trained animal.
But then we would have never met Speckles.