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Amazing Race 20 – Ep 8 – Not The Bees, Not The Bees!!

Due to a very full, very crazy week, I have not been able to post my Amazing Race column all week long. So for the sake of brevity, we’ll be going with one analysis of the Double U-Turn, a much larger series of Route Markers, a description of tasks, and the order of finish.

The drama of the results for the week was not really there as the Feds started out in a two hour hole, and despite catching up later on in the leg, for once, the Speed Bump actually mattered. With no real chance of Stalker getting lost, the Feds were doomed as soon as they started the Bump.

So, without further ado – The Double U-Turn.

We have talked ad nauseum about the U-Turns and Yields and the outcry and outrage Racers experience when it happens to them. I will sum up my thoughts on this again – once the Race makes it part of the game, then you can’t bitch, just like you can’t bitch when you land on Boardwalk with a hotel. It’s the rules. Use of the U-Turn are primarily to protect your own team from elimination, or perceived elimination; to target a really tough team for elimination; or to safely eliminate a team behind you just to make sure it isn’t you.

Not all teams use it in this manner. Many use it for spite.

That brings me to JJArt and this week’s drama. It seems JJArt and Army Wife had a pact to U-Turn Baby Brother when they had the chance. Why? Because they’re annoying. A super dumb reason to use a U-Turn. Anyway, now that we have one, JJArt expect the pact to be honored, while Army Wife expects to win the Race. They arrive at the mat first and choose to not U-Turn. Their spot-on reasoning? The Feds were so far behind that they posed no threat this leg. And I’ll add, the Feds were never a threat anyway even if they managed to slip into fifth and survive.

JJArt lost their ever-loving minds when they realized Army Wife actually changed their minds. It was a betrayal on the level of Judas, Benedict Arnold, and Anakin Skywalker. They even confronted Army Wife about it at the Roadblock. And when presented with Rachel’s calm analysis, they stuck their noses in the air and vowed revenge. Despite the whole “breaking their word” thing that JJArt seemed to be focused upon, I am squarely on Army Wife’s side on this one. It was a dumb pact and using the U-Turn when you arrived first and enjoyed a gigantic lead is not a great moment to use the tool. They were right. JJArt’s sense of betrayal comes solely from their dislike of Baby Brother. While I get that, boy, we all get that, dislike is not a reason to use the U-Turn and it is not a reason to overreact.

Seriously, the border patrol guys may be the biggest enigma team in show history. They have moments that are incredibly endearing and make them so easy to root for, and then they do these things which are just so frustrating. I don’t know what to make of them anymore. But in a season full of unlikable Racers still hanging around, they are still near the top of the list of teams to pull for.

That’s because Baby Brother and Stalker are still around. The second part of the Double U-Turn came from Baby Brother using it on Stalker. While the JJArt use of the U-Turn was solely from dislike (the strategic move would be to nail the Feds to ensure their elimination), Baby Brother was about half from dislike. They knew Stalker was behind them, and when you factor in the Baby/Vanessa battles this season, it was clear that the U-Turn would go to them and not the Feds. In addition, at this point, the Feds were actually much closer than expected, and Brendon threw a bone to them in helping them when they crossed paths.

The U-Turn. Such a polarizing game choice – and thus the reason the show uses it. And in an episode where the Feds’ last place finish was pretty much expected, it gave us some interesting moments in what could have been a snoozefest episode.

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