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The Amazing Race recap: Dutch Ado About Nothing

In Amsterdam, two teams fail so miserably at challenges, you wonder why they weren’t both eliminated

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Amazing Race Brian Ericka
Monty Brinton/CBS

The Amazing Race

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

I’m a pessimist, a glass is half empty kind of guy. So, last week, after we finally got an unexpectedly delightful episode after four weeks of dull Amazing Races, my reaction was not, “This Race is finally turning around!” But rather, “Oh, great, now that we’ve tasted the best Race has to offer, these teams and challenges are going to go right back to sucking.” After all, once you’ve seen a virgin who is saving himself for the day he marries his beloved try to shove that aforementioned acrophobic beloved down a six-story water slide for a million bucks, how can you ever be surprised again? To one up that, the show would have to feature Gary trying to sacrifice Matt in a challenge on Mount Moriah.

And for the first half of last night’s episode, I was underwhelmed. In fact, I was even a little more underwhelmed than I’d even planned to be – kind of subunderwhelmed. And then, in two challenges that, on their surfaces, seemed like cakewalks, everything went awry for two teams in ways that made them cry and me cheer. And that’s just the order I like it to go.

First things first: I was confused on this leg’s start. Meghan and Cheyne left first, at 1:13 p.m., which would imply that they arrived at the pit stop at 1:13 a.m., and yet they and everybody else had gotten there in broad daylight. Why was this a longer layover? Or was that water slide actually some sort of time-machine portal? No wonder Mika was so scared: sharks, water, heights, and a ruptured time-space continuum? That’s a lot going on. And suddenly her floaties make sense; if you look carefully, you can see that Doc Brown wore a life preserver all the way through Back to the Future 2.

And one other question: I thought the teams could mingle at a pit stop. So why, when everyone had bottlenecked at the Dubai airport, was everyone so surprised to learn that Canaan and Mika had been eliminated, not to mention the whole water slide story? Was everyone kept segregated this leg, or is it every leg? Damn it, where’s Phil to answer these questions when you need him?

Well, back to what we do know, and that is that the teams were off to Amsterdam. Ericka began the show talking about how she was trying to nip her “nagging wife” behavior in the bud before it got out of hand, which was clearly foreshadowing. But it wasn’t accurate. She doesn’t nag, she panics and berates. Nagging is the best possible spin on what she does wrong. When it comes to confessed weaknesses, nagging is to Amazing Race confessionals what “I try to take on too much” is to job interviews.

NEXT: If only Ericka had partnered with The Count…