If your heart did not beat faster during this week’s episode of The Amazing Race, "We Are Charlie Chaplin," then either you don’t like the show or don’t have a pulse.
What fans of the series were treated to here spanned the gamut of emotions, culminating in one of the most dramatic finishes ever.
The first challenge of the leg gave the promise of one filled with twists and turns. Clues that require the teams to talk to the locals and use some problem solving are always far more interesting than any that essentially say: Go here. As expected, one team, Andy and Tommy, were unable to get the clue correct and fell from first to last.
As exciting as the opening challenge was, it was short lived. Any separation the teams created was eliminated by the flight to Panama City, which had all four teams. Why does the race waste such great challenges right before an equalizer like a flight?
The Roadblock in Panama City was incredibly scary and thus awesome to see. However, it did nothing to help any of the trailing teams catch up. Things seemed equally bleak when the first three teams chose the ‘Salt’ option of the ensuing Detour.
Amani and Marcus breathed life in to the Detour by choosing the other option, only to be driven to the same one as the rest of the teams. Surprisingly and ultimately intelligently, they did not panic and just complete the challenge they were at. They made their driver take them to the ‘Filet’ option and passed Ernie and Cindy and Jeremy and Sandy in the process.
What appeared like it might be a boring episode suddenly became interesting. The leg saved its biggest challenge for last: finding the name of the Pit Stop with their only hint being the destination of some dancers.
As Andy and Tommy directed their taxi cab to the wrong destination, suddenly anything became possible. Amani and Marcus seemed to have a chance to leap from last in to first, but couldn’t figure out where to go either. When the remaining two teams finished the Detour, my heart started racing.
The teams were so close and yes so far away. Everyone had the Pit Stop in their mental sights but had no idea where to go. Andy and Tommy were hopelessly lost. Ernie and Cindy seemed headed down the same path. Jeremy brilliantly drew a picture of the destination and his cab driver was able to figure out. Amani and Marcus remained at the Pit Stop.
Each team was heading in a different direction, something that must be a The Amazing Race first. With only one team heading in the right direction – and not even remotely being convinced of that anyway – the leg had dissolved in to the biggest mess we’ve ever seen. It was awesome!
Just as quickly as the tension and excitement developed, it evaporated. The cab drivers of Ernie and Cindy, Jeremy and Sandy and Amani and Marcus were all working together and Jeremy and Sandy’s cab driver directed the others where to go. Despite not being able to figure out the clue, Ernie and Cindy and Amani and Marcus were heading to the final leg.
This left Andy and Tommy out of the running despite winning six legs during the course of the race. Afterward, I’m sure they were furious to find out exactly how they lost. Sure, they made a mistake, but Ernie and Cindy and potentially Amani and Marcus (it wasn’t clear) were able to make the same mistake.
It is a mistake The Amazing Race will not let happen again. The rural cab drivers used at the start of the day knew each other and likely talked about what was going on the entire time. They’re just trying to help one another, having no idea that they’re messing with a race. There’s no way the race will be designed with such a potential flaw in the future.
With the clear favorites out of The Amazing Race, the final leg is anyone’s to win. I can’t pick between Ernie and Cindy and Amani and Marcus. What I do believe is that Jeremy and Sandy will not win. If I had to pick, I’d take Amani and Marcus. Picking with my heart for sure.
More from this episode:
- Interestingly, the addition of Tin Tin to the episode was not a promotional ploy. There’s a Tin Tin movie coming out soon, but we were not subjected to any product placement-like advertisement for the movie.
- The only good thing about the train ride and plane flight being an equalizer is that no time was wasted showing the travel. Normally, I love that part of the legs, but in this case seeing more of the ending was worth it.
- The way Phil congratulated the final three teams, didn’t you think it was possible Andy and Tommy were not eliminated and we were going to have a final four? It would have felt cheap afterward, but they did a great job of building the tension.