Rio de Janeiro is a lusciously beautiful coastal metropolis populated by some of the most ungodly beautiful human beings to have ever walked on God’s green earth. It occupies a political and financial center of the world’s eighth largest economy, and sports a classic emerging-world disparity incredibly poverty and incredible decadence. The Brazilian
capital city is also the biggest movie star of 2011, with starring roles in the CGI animated film Rio and the steroid-engine ballet that is Fast Five, a film that I have recently become unhealthily obsessed with. (See here, and here, and here.)
The final four teams in this season of Amazing Race were all very, very happy to be sent on their way to Rio — the snows of Western Europe had not been very kind to any of them. Team Globetrotter was in a particularly good mood; Big Easy joked with Mallory about how “Some of the girls in Brazil are men, so check the neck!” There was a minor bit of airline drama at the Switzerland airport — Team Zinger and the Globetrotters both booked onto an early flight that would’ve arrived at 7:30 in the morning, while Team America and the sisters were initially booked on a flight that wouldn’t have gotten in until the late afternoon.
It would’ve been a massive lead. Unfortunately, the Globetrotters happened to swing by their opponents’ travel agency. Mallory asked, “Did you find an earlier flight?” Flight Time looked at the floor. Big Easy looked at the ceiling. They mumbled something about not finding an earlier flight. No one believed them. (Mallory did a funny impression of Big Easy trying to tell a lie.) It’s interesting to note that out of all the four remaining teams in this Race, there weren’t really any hardcore strategic people left. In fact, you could argue that one team in particular was injured in this last leg by a lack of strategy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
In Rio, the Globetrotters got a slow cabbie, which meant they were left behind by the train that carried the other teams up to Escadaleria Selaron. That put Flight Time and Big Easy a full half-hour behind the other teams. All three leading teams found the clue, hidden behind a tile, and made their way for the day’s first challenge. Blessedly, this was a costume challenge. Unfortunately for one adorably uncoordinated player, it was a dance challenge. Zev stepped up, since he wanted to equalize with Justin on roadblocks, but he admitted, “I have whiteboy rhythm.” Zev gamely stepped out in his costume, looking for all the world like a desperately uncomfortable fratboy pledge who had to dress up for an Aztec party. Alas, that was pretty much what he danced like, too. Justin, always Mr. Positive from the sidelines, noted gamely, “I have seen him dance, but not sober. But luckily, we have a lead.
That lead started disappearing almost immediately. Mallory stepped up for the Samba challenge and knocked everyone dead. “I love that stage! It’s where I belong!” she exclaimed. She led her impromptu parade, and all of Rio de Janeiro seemed to bend around her, as if she were starring in a South American remake of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. The Samba Matriarch was charmed. “Sim!” she exclaimed, with signage. She was less impressed with Zev, sending him back to the training octagon. Kisha joined him in the training area, and the Globetrotters weren’t far behind…
NEXT: The vibe! The vibe!