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Amazing Race 22 – Ep 3 – Return To Middle Earth

So, this “leg” of the Amazing Race taught me one thing – it seems that you can continue to run the Amazing Race even if you get injured and require assistance. I did not realize that was an option. This is one aspect where the show differs from Survivor – the Amazing Race will give you medical treatment, just as long as you do it while on the course.

Last week’s injury suffered by Daddy Ribbon is the focus of this episode, as it turns out I owe him an apology. After they leave the Pit Stop, he hobbles along with a wrapped up ankle and crutches most likely provided by the show. He is told to see a specialist – not The Specialist (and I have officially made that joke in two columns) – once they land in Tahiti, on the way to New Zealand. That is basically the challenge for injured Racers – if it is serious enough, they have to get it checked out in the local hospitals and they have to do it during Race time. You have to get lucky, should you get hurt, that it happens on a leg with a lot of down time. Daddy Ribbon got hurt right before a major travel leg – he got lots of airplane down time, and enough of a layover on flights in Tahiti to get checked out.

Oh, it’s a rupture. This ain’t getting better without serious medical attention – likely surgery. That would take them out of the Race. For now, they have chosen to go as long as Daddy can handle. I do think that they can go pretty far based solely on the fact that Daddy Ribbon can move faster on crutches than some can on their own feet. It’s rather impressive – he moves like a half-man, half-giant metal insect.

One thing came to a close – the Saga of the Second Express Pass. The Dudes saw an opportunity to play their card in a way that benefits them the most. Upon learning of Daddy Ribbon’s injury, they agree to honor the Fight Club Alliance and give the hobbled team the agreed upon Express Pass. The reason they chose to accept the deal? Ribbon probably ain’t long for the game, so this Pass won’t come back to bite them later on. Plus they keep their word. I think they needed to accept the terms in the first place, but in the end, this was the best case for them. Not to mention – Ribbon used it right away. And why not, if they are unsure how long they can make it, just use it ASAP before Daddy’s leg gives out.

One side effect from this transaction, and from other developments…The Fight Club Alliance is over. However, the less cool sequel – Fight Club 2: Tyler Durden’s Revenge – has begun. The Dudes have now teamed up with YouTube, Derby Moms and the Newlyweds in an effort to knock out Slap Shot. I understand the desire to be Racing without the large male professional athletes against you, but I have said this before, and will say it again – Run your Race. Don’t worry about anyone else.

So we lost the Express Pass drama, only to replace it with some anti-hockey drama.

The other development was the fact that this was an early Race Super Leg. As Ribbon hit the mat, they won a nice father-son trip to Bangkok – and I hope they have not watched The Hangover: Part Two. For many reasons. However, Phil surprised them with the news that this leg was still going. While Ribbon got lucky in this leg early on with the travel, doctors, Express Pass, etc. to help Daddy rest the leg, they got very unlucky to have gotten hurt just in time to essentially be Racing for three or four days straight.

Meanwhile, the Anti-Hockey Alliance earned some early success as the Newlyweds managed to get themselves and Slap Shot very lost. That’s the danger of following another team on the road – if they messed up, you’ve messed up. The Newlyweds drove very far the wrong way, but managed to take the following boys with them. The two teams arrived very late to the Roadblock and were lagging in eighth and ninth place when the episode ended mid-leg.

The Leg began with teams being told to leave Bora Bora and get to Phil’s hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand. I am sure the native Maori were not the ones to name that town. Slap Shot left at 8:54 am, and we learn that the first six teams finished the last leg separated by 12 minutes. Underwood leaves almost two hours after Slap Shot, the Newlyweds about 20 minutes after the singers, and Pam/Winnie take off about three hours after the first team. However, we have airport bunching coming up.

Upon landing at the transfer, the last become first as Pam and Winnie hustle and get on the first plane, earning a 30-minute lead. Slap Shot is tardy and winds up on the third plane heading out, but Mullet has managed to bungle the flights and has booked one about 90 minutes behind the others. They wander around the airport wondering aloud, “so where’s everybody at?” When you are asking that question on the Amazing Race, you most likely have done something very wrong.

Lucky for them, we have a double bunching – they eventually catch up at the Detour, and later on Chuck’s prowess with hillbilly tasks translated perfectly to the bizarre New Zealand obstacle course.

But first, the teams have to pick departure times at Buckleberry Ferry …er…at the Jet Boat Tours in Christchurch. You see, YouTube, if you’re going to make Lord of the Rings jokes, try and make them creative. Don’t just fall back on a “where’s Frodo” cop out. The teams start to file in with Ribbon amazingly arriving first. Followed by – Dudes, YouTube, Newlyweds, Pam/Winnie, Derby Moms, Underwood, Slap Shot, and Mullets at the rear.

After the boat ride – complete with yet another James Bond reference, and a more creative Miami Vice reference – we get the DetourRev it up or Reel it in. Basically, both tasks require driving an ATV to the location. Rev has them drive a vintage car through a coned course and the two drivers must combine to complete it in 83 seconds or less. In Reel, they have to fish in a pond and catch a fish at least one foot long. New Amazing Race stars Flash and Dirk are on site to hand out the clues.

Ribbon can’t drive the cars, so they have to bail. Connor offers to give the fishing five minutes of attempt – because there is one thing about fishing that we all know…you usually catch one instantly every time. Sigh. It is here where they choose to use the X-Pass and move on to the Roadblock. Dude Jessica is worried about her driving skills, but Dude John is the one who starts off with the parking brake on. YouTube Joey giggles his way though comparing it to a video game. Newlywed Katie just learned stick, and them proceeds to school her husband on how to drive. Max’s fourth try comes hysterically with him running over virtually every cone. TURN!!! PIVOT!!!

Roadblock – They have to go to Mt. Hutt Station and try to free Han Solo from the carbonite. Actually, while there they have to complete a wild obstacle course, I think created by very drunk hillbillies. Let me see if I get this right. They have to put on boots and a burlap sack and collect a dozen eggs from obstacles. They crawl through a molasses laden tunnel in The Box. Then through The Tube full of chicken feathers. Then the Season Six Lena Memorial hay bales. Then over a bunch of tires. Then down a big slip and slide on one of the tires, ending in a gross manure pond. Then they have to do at least one more time to get all of the eggs along the way. It is called the shemozzle. Which I thought was part of the Laverne and Shirley song.

Newlyweds and Slap Shot get lost along the way. Connor rocks it before most of the others arrive – including a rather impressive flip into the crap pool. Not sure how he managed to hold those eggs intact. Jennifer’s Beverly Hills upbringing becomes an issue – Grandpa John Wayne (really) would be ashamed at how little cowboy made it two generations.

Ribbon impressively arrives at the Pit Stop – wins their Bangkok trip and are told to keep going. Let’s assume that this is a non-elimination leg, because I doubt the show would have two eliminations in the same leg – that has been very rare in 21 previous Races. To be continued…

Route Markers
• I do not think YouTube actually speaks English. They are speaking some sort of made-up twin language or something. I need captions on these guys – it’s almost as bad as some of the foreign born Top Chef stars that I have to try to translate.
• Something has to be done about Dude John’s hair. He is getting close to resembling vintage Vanilla Ice. Word to your mother.
• Underwood thinks sleeping on cardboard lain on the airport floor is “Ghetto Fabulous.” Coincidentally, the name of the band that played at my prom.
• Anyone catch the evil looks exchanged between the Derby Moms in the Detour car? Just me? Well, watch for these two – I think mischief may follow them around. The fact that they nailed it on the first try may indicate some hard-core adventures in their past.
• Stunned. Stunned to see Mullet do the fishing task. Stunned.
• Newlyweds are a “warm-blooded Italian and a cold German” – which coincidentally was the special at the deli when I got my lunch yesterday.

Detour Rev – Just about everyone. Reel – just the Mullets. Express Pass – Ribbon

Roadblock – Shemozzle. Connor, John, Winnie, Chuck, Jennifer, Megan, Beth, Katie, and I think Anthony.

Order of Finish – Ribbon is first, the rest are on the course.

Next Week – Ribbon’s health is again an issue. We go to Bali and find monkeys. Caroline breaks down. And it appears we have the Season 14 Luke Memorial Surfboard challenge.

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