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The Amazing Race recap: Reading is Fundamental

Ken and Tina overcome their speed bump, while Kelly and Christy continue to misread the clues and seal their fate

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Ken Tina
Monty Brinton/CBS

The Amazing Race

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Phil Keoghan
Jerry Bruckheimer
Current Status:
In Season

Finally! I’ve been waiting all season for a challenge that has all the criteria to make a good Amazing Race episode: It has to be exotic and indigenous to the episode’s country; it must be frustrating; and it must make the most ridiculous teams look really, really silly. Thank you, Delhi, and thank you, Holi festival!

In this festival, people celebrate by running around pelting each other with paint dye and water. It seems odd that they would hit people with the ingredients for paint rather than just splattering them with paint. Seems pretty inefficient: In vaudeville, what if instead of being hit in the face with a pie, the straight man was splattered with flour, water, sugar, eggs, and cream, and then tossed into an oven preheated at 350? But I’m not complaining: This roadblock would not have been half as fun without the giant multicolored mushroom clouds enveloping our players.

This was the rare episode that was actually better than the previous week’s teaser. And I have the divorcées to thank for that. To see Kelly, in second place, darting into the melee, only to be instantly set upon by hordes of paint tossers, was to have Christmas come early. It was as if the celebrants had been alerted to their arrival and told, “Color with extreme prejudice.” Kelly dashed in circles, only to be pooped back out onto the sidelines without going up the ladder she needed to in order to grab an envelope.

The attack on Kelly might have seemed a bit beyond the pale, which is why, before their arrival, the producers stuck in some careful reminders about why she deserved it. First we saw her and Christy snickering about how awful it would be to kiss either Andrew or Dan: Mean Girls 101. And then, as their lost cab driver took them through slums, they turned up their noses at the smell. I’m not saying it didn’t smell, but what better way to legitimize the people attacking her than by first showing her calling their home stinky? If I heard them walking down my block, bitching about how bad my street was and how they couldn’t believe anyone would live there, I would be within my rights to run out and scribble on their faces with a Sharpie. I think it’s in the Constitution.

It would have been enough to see Kelly repeatedly pelted in the face with paint, but the icing on the canvas was that she had completely misread the clue. Each player was supposed to thumb through a ring of hanging envelopes, all but six of which had the words “TRY AGAIN” written in big letters on them; to move on, you had to find the envelope marked “THE AMAZING RACE.” The divorcées thought you had to yank down one envelope at a time, bring it back to your teammate, and then open it up. Even if you’re prone to misinterpreting clues, as the divorcées are, wouldn’t the fact that the envelope had the words “TRY AGAIN” in huge letters be a huge clue that perhaps it was a dead end? I’ve been racking my brains trying to think of anything that the producers could have written on the envelopes that could be more obvious, and I can’t come up with anything. “YOU’RE AN IDIOT”? Nope, still not as clear as “TRY AGAIN.” Anything short of electrifying the wrong envelopes wouldn’t work, and even that might not dissuade them. Lab rats in mazes could have figured this out faster than they did.

NEXT: The divorcées try to catch a cab