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The Amazing Race Review: We're Only Just Getting Started

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Now this is what I’m talking about.

In the 18th edition of The Amazing Race we’re finally being treated to a race that has been difficult throughout and seems to be getting harder.  Historically, the whole of the race has always been challenging, but occasionally had some legs that the best teams would just breeze through.  Not this season.  Not for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business.

Cord Rides a Yak

At first glance, this week’s leg wasn’t all that difficult.  The travel between Tokyo and Lijiang, China was interesting, but mostly because Vyxsin had her first of many emotional break downs to come.  The Roadblock was difficult solely for Zev and Vyxsin with the latter once again breaking down.  The Detour didn’t seem to be hard for anyone, particularly if they chose the candy option.

But, that’s the best part of this episode: the leg’s not over!  The moments when Phil told the teams that they were still racing were simply tremendous.  Ron’s reaction obviously takes the cake when he erupted in joy upon learning he and Christina arrived at the mat in fourth and then crumpled when learning he was still racing.  The man was starving, after all!

Equally hungry was Big Easy who’s first reaction upon learning he and Flight Time had to keep racing was “We don’t get no food?”  Similarly endearing was Mallory who couldn’t hide her classic southern personality with an “Aw Nuts!”  The only team unfazed was Jet and Cord who simply uttered “Sweet” at Phil’s news.

In previous seasons there were eleven legs for eleven teams, but three non-elimination legs.  With two fake Pit Stops in the first four episodes perhaps the plan for The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business is to go with just eight legs, no non-elimination legs, but three two-part legs in the place of the non-elimination legs.  If that is the case, it’s one of the best ideas The Amazing Race has come up with in a while.

Mallory Rides a Yak

While I love the idea of longer legs and no non-elimination legs, if Kent and Vyxsin somehow defy the odds and rally to not be eliminated in this leg, perhaps the idea is too redeeming.  It has been a while since a team who was trying 100% has been this bad for this long.  After all the errors they’ve made (and we’re not even done, they still need to find their fanny pack) they do not deserve to stay in the race.

And yet, they’re not dead.  Even with this latest mistake that we were left with as a cliff hanger, they’ve erased much of the six hour deficit they had to start the leg and are not far behind Zev and Justin.  The previews of next week show us that a double U-Turn is coming and no one is going to give Zev and Justin a chance to U-Turn Kent and Vyxsin.  At least two teams ahead of the trailing teams will have to do both halves of the Detour.

On second thought, if Kent and Vyxsin somehow beat Ron and Christina, I could live with that.  I didn’t understand why they were included in the first place and they’ve done nothing since to warrant their inclusion.  In fact, they’ve become even more annoying than I remember, which I didn’t think was possible.  

Ron Rides a Yak

Does Ron bring anything to the table for the entertainment value of the show or the benefit of his team?  Anytime Ron and Christina get in to trouble, Ron seems to be the one at fault.  Zev hasn’t brought much to his team yet, but at least he’s hilarious.  He certainly keeps Justin loose.  All Ron does is aggravate Christina.

More from this week:

  • The Amazing Race has definitely had more of a controlled slant to it in recent seasons, but the beauty of reality television is that there’s only so much the producers can control.  Who could have ever predicted that Kent and Vyxsin couldn’t make an approximately six hour drive in twelve hours?
  • Will Kent and Vyxsin be penalized for not taking the mandatory flight?  Considering they received no advantage from doing so, but actually fell behind by six hours, I’m guessing not.  They’ve been penalized enough already.
  • Kent’s rationale for lying to Justin about his car breaking down must have been to try and remove the implication that they might be penalized for missing the flight due to their own error.
  • I like when the method of getting from one place to another has options to it.  I wish there were more instances where a flight wasn’t the best option and searching for a train made more sense.
  • How cool was the place where the racers rode a Yak through the water falls?

Review

Editor Rating: 3.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.4 / 5.0 (8 Votes)
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Mr-probst

@Piecar - I love suggestion #7. Why teams follow each other so much always drives (no pun intended) me insane. What I'm always stunned by with teams is those who have maps and can't read them. The ability to read a map is a 50/50 proposition at best with any given team.

Piecar

Top Seven AR Etiquette, in my opinion... 1. Read the clue TWICE! Make your partner read the clue TWICE!
2. When you get off a plane...Find a kiosk, get a map. If you can't find a map....take out your digital camera and take a pic of any map you can find posted on a wall.....then GET A MAP!
3. Bring a compass (first compass I ever saw on this show was in Vyxsin's hand. YEAH!)
4. If asking for directions...Ask at least TWO people, seriously.
5. Stay calm...If you or your partner boned each other, yell "Shit!" Then apologize, stop the car, and figure out the issue together. You live and die by your team.
6. Say "thank you" even if someone fails to give you good info. People have a strange tendency to think of things only after the spotlight is off them. Better that they think of it and call you back cause you're swell, than think of it and watch you leave cause you're a knob.
7. Following automatically puts you behind. Think for yourself. Think outside the box....You can stay in the box, and think outside. You just have to finagle a little bit. I love this show.

The Amazing Race Season 18 Episode 4 Quotes

Justin: Zev's had a couple of rocking chair legs so far. He's done very little bit sit in the back of a car.
Zev: I'm good at it.

There's a lot of people in China. I'm not much of a people person.

Zev
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