After seven tremendous legs, The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business finally had a disappointing leg. Many of the facets of the previous legs that made them so interesting and challenging were missing from the eighth leg.
For starters, the previous seven legs featured difficult challenges that forced the leading teams to be efficient or risk allowing the trailing teams to get back in the race.
Heading to the Roadblock this week, Gary hoped aloud that the challenge would be difficult allowing him and Mallory to get back in to the race.
The chimney sweeping Roadblock was fun and culturally interesting, but didn’t shake up the standings at all.To be fair, the Detour prior to the Roadblock was definitely challenging and provided some drama to the leg. Who would have guessed that the Quick and Easy Meal option was virtually impossible?
Fortunately for Jet and Cord, they didn’t choose it. This allowed everyone’s favorite team to get back in to the race. That’s the point, however. The Detour was the only chance for a dramatic change.
Along with difficult challenges, the earlier legs were often very dynamic, with teams going from last to first within the same leg. Certainly the nature of the challenges led to frequent lead changes, but other aspects such as different transportation methods and language barriers helped this process. Driving a 2012 Ford Focus around Austria was not nearly as challenging as getting a cab in India (right, Kent?).
The most disappointing aspect of the leg was that it ended in a non-elimination. It’s not that non-elimination legs are not interesting, but up until this point it seemed like the race producers have gone with the mantra of making a leg a double-leg with a fake Pit Stop rather than have a non-elimination.
I loved that wrinkle and believed that was the direction the race would take throughout. I would have rather seen a fake Pit Stop in Austria than Gary and Mallory have to complete a Speed Bump next leg.
Despite what was a fairly simple, cut and dry episode to the viewers, it was definitely interesting to see that the teams did not realize what was going on. Certainly the best example of this was Zev and Justin’s utter shock and disbelief at finishing in first place.
Justin uttered a truly surprised “what just happened?!?” when Phil informed them that they were the winners of two new cars. They had no idea that they had jumped from fifth out of the Detour, to second at the Roadblock to first place all because teams struggled with direction.
(While I like Flight Time and Big Easy, it made no sense for them to win this leg and win the cars. Those two giants, particularly Big Easy, wouldn’t fit in a Ford Focus! I was glad to see that Zev and Justin, two people who’d actually keep the cars, win the leg and the cars)
Similarly, Kent and Vyxsin thought they were in danger of getting eliminated because of the driving woes the dating couple had going from Vienna to Salzburg. They were almost as shocked finishing third as Zev and Justin were at finishing first. The Goth pair knew Kisha and Jen were near them, but likely figured that meant they would finish fifth or sixth.
The good news is that if this was a less than exciting leg, it’s been a really good race so far.
More from this episode:
- I think Jet and Cord made the right move taking the one connection flight option to Austria. How many times have we seen teams get burned by a flight connection? The other five teams were juggling two connections. What we do not know, however, is how long those layovers were. If they were very long, there’s little risk involved.
- What was Flight Time doing peeing on the corner of the Austrian National Library?!?
- Kent was a jerk last week and just plain annoying this week. Vyxsin continues to impress while he disappoints. Even Vyxsin was frustrated with him this week: “I need you to quit acting like a chick and go in to problem solving mode not emotional mean blaming mode".