Dan called this week’s leg of The Amazing Race the most difficult the racers had faced so far, but what made it challenging, specifically Dan and Jordan and Steve and Allie, were the tough decisions they needed to make during the leg.
Michael said it best when he reiterated an age old The Amazing Race adage that a cab can be the difference between winning and losing a million dollars. Typically the statement pertains to the cab drivers and how fast they drive, what route they take, etc. This week the cabs were a vital component to the episode, but only with respect to how the teams managed their cab rides.
From the start of the episode, cabs played a crucial role in determining a team’s fate. In the normal sense of how cabs impact the race, Dan and Jordan lucked into the best cab driver in Malaysia whose speedy driving took them from fifth place leaving the airport to the first team to the Detour clue box.
What made the episode interesting, however, was the decision Dan and Jordan made next. They did not ask/pay to have their cab driver stick around and drive them to the Detour choice destination and the difficulties simply compounded from there.Needing a cab, the pair went searching for the cab driver, who was long gone. Immediately regretting their decision, the brothers’ blood pressure clearly rose and they started to get a bit rushed with their decision making.
Fortunately for them, they were the first team to get to the clue box so they were able to get a cab. However, on the way to the Buddhist Tradition option they got stuck in traffic along with Steve and Allie and Louie and Michael. Still regretting their decision not to keep their old cab, they panicked when they saw Steve and Allie running and decided to do the same thing. The impulse decision sent Dan and Jordan from first to fifth.
At least Dan and Jordan stuck with their original Detour choice despite the bad decision to get out of their cab before getting there. Steve and Allie flip-flopped Detour options not once, but twice – a decision that cost them valuable time and ultimately resulted in their elimination from the game.
What was particularly frustrating about Steve and Allie was that they inadvertently made the right decision when they changed to the Chinese Custom option, but Allie was seemingly unwilling to even try the pole balancing before giving up and changing directions yet again. Steve has quietly been the most dominant player on the race so far and to see him undone by his daughter’s petulance was unfortunate. If they had stuck with Chinese Custom chances are they would have passed Dan and Jordan and stayed in the race.
It’s certainly possible she would not have been able to balance the pole, but considering how easily Jet and Cord completed the task, it had to be easier than it looked. They had to have known that they were last place anyway and needed a game changer such as doing a different Detour and completing it faster than the teams in front of them doing the other option. Allie had been such a willing partner for her father all race and to see her get discouraged at the absolute wrong time was tough to watch.
One team that benefited from the other team’s cab decisions was Jet and Cord. There was certainly a lot of luck that came into play for them, but look at the sequence of events that result in Jet and Cord coming in first place:
Dan and Jordan let their cab go
Other teams arrive at snake temple
Dan and Jordan go to leave, take other teams cabs
Jet and Cord arrive at snake temple
Earlier teams need a cab, take Jet and Cord’s cab
Jet and Cord (as well as Brent and Caite) are left without cabs
Normally, that’s not a recipe for a first place finish in The Amazing Race. However, that’s exactly what happened for Jet and Cord. Based on Brent and Caite also avoiding traffic with a later cab, we can presume Jet and Cord encountered the same good fortune. They combined it with an amazing run through the Chinese Custom and completely dominated the leg.
This brings us to our final cab-influenced team, Brent and Caite. What a roller coaster ride (pun intended) for them! First out of the airport, a slow cab lands them in second at the snake temple. They can’t find a cab to head to the Detour and despondently depart in fifth. Somehow the pair avoid traffic and are the first team to arrive at Buddhist Tradition. Caite’s a trooper through the physical challenge and the leave in first. Bad cab brings them to the complete wrong place and they arrive at the Roadblock in fourth, where they would finish. Talk about up and down!
Perhaps most impressive were the performances of Jet and Cord and Louie and Michael while under stress. We watched Dan and Jordan and Steve and Allie make incorrect, impulse decisions that put the former in last and the latter out of the race. Louie and Michael, meanwhile, decided to stay in their cab and wound up in third place because of their level-headedness.
Jet and Cord showed even more poise under even greater pressure. In last place getting into the snake temple, they could have melted down when they were unable to get a cab and still had the Speed Bump to overcome before finishing the leg. In what has become a staple of their game, however, the stayed calm, dominated the Chinese Custom challenge.
Jet and Cord and Louie and Michael’s calm demeanor under pressure and ability to work well together make them the clear favorites with just five teams left. With that in mind, we ask these five questions:
- Who can challenge Jet and Cord or Louie and Michael to win the race?
- Are Brandi and Carol now running under the radar after an uneventful leg?
- Despite difficulties, Brent and Caite had a very positive leg. Can they keep their attitude up?
- Can Dan and Jordan avoid the crucial mistakes that keep them from falling back to the pack every time they get in front?
- Are Jet and Cord two of the nicest human beings ever born?