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Amazing Race 21 – Ep 2 – A Big Yellow Taxi Took My Race Dreams Away

Don’t it always seem to go, that you don’t know what you’ve got, til it’s gone?
I need to stop finding teams I like. Upon watching this week’s episode with my wife, she asked me which teams I liked early on. It is fairly early to get a good sense of the teams – not a lot of airtime to go around for each one – but I mentioned some early affection for Fantasy Island (Gary/Will), The Hairs (James/Abba), and Amy/Daniel (no good nickname). So, obviously, one of them was going to get eliminated. Kiss. Of. Death.

In reality, all three teams struggled in some manner this week – in fact, most teams struggled at some point as the Race took them from China to Indonesia. Only the Twins, Texas and Magic Mike seemed to be without any real challenges. The rest of them either had trouble with the Race tasks, airport navigation or the dreaded local taxi problems. In the end, it was the taxi issue which claimed yet another victim. No other factor in Race history has claimed more teams’ scalps than bad taxi drivers. Not Killer Fatigue. Not bad clue reading. Not bad challenge performances. Not even bad team navigation has done more damage than the taxi driver. And it is the reason why we get so many clue instructions telling teams to take taxis.

First, the airport navigation. And I am looking right at you, Monsters. You guys got lucky. Really lucky. Teams have been hopelessly left behind because they got too adventurous with tickets. Remember All-Stars’ Uchenna/Joyce? Here is a basic rule – if you are the only team on a flight – double check the details of that flight. Twice. There is no excuse for being on a flight with a four-hour layover with this many teams left. None. If you didn’t get some serious good fortune with an overnight arrival and a semi-bunching, that could have been Race fatal. As it was, you would up last to go with the bull racing challenge. If that challenge took any skill whatsoever, you could have still been behind by a substantial margin heading towards the Roadblock. Bad Race move – learn from it.

Speaking of the bull racing? How useless was that? It didn’t have to be. The actual bull racing looked cool – a rickety old sled attached to two bulls that tears it up down a field? Put Racers on there and it would be hysterical. But no. Instead they race alongside on mopeds. Wait, correction, they RIDE alongside on mopeds. At least there’s some consequence should the bulls beat the mopeds to the finish. They have to go to the end of the line and try again, right? No. They don’t. They could lose by a mile to the bulls and just walk the mopeds to the end and get the clue. They whole thing was just an excuse to send the teams off to the Roadblock with staggered times. Useless.

Then the Roadblock happened. And it is one of the goofiest ones in a while. Racers had to generate power for a tiny kiddie merry-go-round – or as my son calls it, an “American Round” – by pedaling a bicycle. Let me just say – Worst. Ride. Ever. Those poor kids were going around and around at a snail’s pace. How is that fun? They’d move faster if they were blown by the wind. Adding to the challenge weirdness, Racers have to blow up several balloon animals while pedaling. Is this common behavior for parents in Indonesia? It is one of the oddest bits of multitasking I can recall seeing. Seriously, are there no clowns in Indonesia? The Hairs were the first to arrive and find the red and yellow balloons marking the location of the weird challenge. Amy and Dan arrive next. Remember that.

Hair James, Amy and Abbie all struggle to get the balloons done as Magic Mike and Texas arrive. James with a Y and Lexi take the challenge and kill it. Y is worried the kids were afraid of him. Heck, I was a little afraid of him. Dude acts at all times like he just did a line of coke in the bathroom. Lexi thinks her multi-tasking skills will do her well here – and I wonder what kind of sorority pledge she did that was similar to this kind of multi-tasking. She is proven to be correct as she and Y finish first, most of the others follow suit, with the Twins squawking at giant volumes all the way through. If Y was doing coke, these two drank a case of Red Bull at the Pit Stop.

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