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Freelance entertainment writer, martial arts instructor, and mother of two.

The Amazing Race, Mar. 2 – Heartbreaking

Last night’s episode of The Amazing Race was completely heartbreaking. Mark and Bopper were such emotional favorites in their first season, and to have Bopper be told the night before the Race began that he had a disease that would prevent him from racing, then be told the following day that they had found a new partner for him was a huge emotional roller coaster. This week it didn’t get any easier for Mark and his new partner Mallory.

Mark and Mallory made it out of the Roadblock quickly, overtaking the lead. He put that kids’ car together in record time. He knew that going into it, though, that if it was putting something mechanical together, he had it. But their lead didn’t last long.

Since Mark had to carry the huge kids’ car, he asked Mallory to carry his backpack for him. She did, and once they were getting into a cab, she just set it down on the ground by Mark’s feet without saying anything, as if he was just supposed to know that’s what she was doing with it.

Once they had driven away, the two realized they didn’t have Mark’s backpack. Mallory wanted him to just forget about his backpack. He insisted on getting it back, as he had medications in there, not to mention all his clothes. She made the mistake of leaving the backpack there, then expected him to do without. I’m sure she would have felt differently if it was her backpack containing all her makeup.

Mark and Mallory continued on and delivered the kids’ car, then went back and got the backpack, then went to the Detour. They had a chance, as there were still teams working their way through a game that was called Featherball. Groups of people would stand in a circle and kick the shuttlecock back and forth. The challenge was to create a volley of ten kicks without it falling on the ground. Mark and Mallory had a chance, but couldn’t get it going in time and were the last to come in and were eliminated.

Luke and Margie continue to do well. He’s still pulling her along, yet on the car-building challenge she rocked. She put that thing together very quickly. She must have some experience from Christmas when Luke was younger. That was always the worst part to me. After your kids open everything up, then you need to put it all together.

Flight Time and Big Easy, aka the Harlem Globetrotters, did well. Any time a challenge involves the word “ball,” they’re probably going to do well. They just needed to pretend the shuttlecock was a basketball and do the same type of tricks, but we didn’t get to see too much of them playing Featherball.

Jet and Cord went from first to last at one point. While they came in first last week, and started first this week, they misunderstood a local’s hand signals. He was telling them it would be a fifty-minute walk to the Roadblock, but they thought he was saying fifteen. The Cowboys ended up arriving at the challenge as the last team.

Brendon and Rachel continue to do well. They went from second place to being first on Phil Keoghan’s mat this week. I know many people don’t like Rachel, but you’re probably in it for the long haul with her. The girl is a big competitor and keeps playing until she wins. And hey, there was no crying or whining this week.

Caroline and Jennifer could have been stuck in last and saved Mark and Mallory from being eliminated, but instead they finagled the second Express Pass from the Cowboys. The guys really didn’t want to have to deal with it and don’t see the country singers as threats, so gave it up to them. However, then “the blondes” ended up reaching the pit stop before the Cowboys.

Dave and Connor are in the middle of the pack and doing well. They weren’t the focus of this episode at all, as he still has two good ankles.

Jessica and John were struggling in the car-building challenge. Actually he was doing the Roadblock, so he was struggling. Meghan figured hers out, then came over to help him. It was pointed out that they helped each other out back in season 22 as well.

Joey and Meghan are in last place, but they’re still in it. They could have been up at least one spot, but she helped out old pals Jessica and John. Good karma will hopefully keep them around.

Leo and Jamal are in the middle of the pack, and weren’t focused on in this episode at all, which is quite a change of pace for them. Usually there’s a big focus on the Afghanimals.

There was no big travel to erase leads. The teams stayed in China. Their first clue had them finding a group practicing tai chi. Once they found the master, he stamped their next clue onto their foreheads. This left the teams asking locals for directions to what was stamped onto their foreheads.

The forehead clue sent teams to the Chinese version of a Chuck E. Cheese to build a child-size car in a Roadblock. The thought here is that it would be hard to concentrate with screaming kids all over, but it really didn’t trip up too many people other than John.

The teams were then sent to another business to deliver the car they built and get another clue. This took them to a park to play Featherball. It seemed very frustrating for them, as sometimes they would get as far as nine volleys, then they’d miss the tenth one and have to start over. Once they made it, it was a quick run to the pit stop.

By the end of the episode, though, it was just an overall feeling of heartbreak for Mark and Mallory. It would be hard to compete in this Race with someone you just met. You have to rely so much on communication, quick communication. Much of it is accomplished by knowing what your partner would want to do or is going to do. But to go out because she left his backpack behind, she really should have told him, “Here’s your backpack,” instead of just leaving it at his feet. And worse than that, she couldn’t even take ownership for her mistake. This elimination rests solely on her.

What did you think of the episode? Do you think it was Mark’s or Mallory’s fault? Chime in with your thoughts in the comments below.

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