Well, I hope your time at home with family and excessive carbohydrates was relaxing, because this was one of the more dramatic episodes of The Amazing Race in a while: there was triumph; there was defeat; there was backstabbing; there was so much writhing around in towels, it momentarily felt like TAR was being broadcast on HBO.
While the eighth leg of the game proved to be a real test of physical strength last week, the ninth leg is all mental, with a little core strength on the side. As with the Express Pass, when the Fast Forward is thrown into play, it’s all about calculating risk versus reward… and those sassy city Cyclists? They live life on the edge. Sometimes the hardest thing to swallow on The Amazing Race is that very competent teams can be eliminated because another team’s good decision one-ups their not particularly terrible decision. For example, the Cyclists, in first place, would have been sittin’ pretty at the surf-themed Fast Forward if the professional Surfers, in last place, hadn’t suddenly realized they were, y’know, professional surfers.
And if the Surfers weren’t sweetness and cupcakes personified, I might be mad at them for it. I can only blame myself though, for going full-force, “the Season 25 Final 3 has been cemented into the TCL Chinese Theater since the beginning of time” last week and jinxing it. Of course, if one of the “weaker” teams had been eliminated tonight, we wouldn’t get to see the fallout of the Brains vs. Brawn drama next week… Happy Thanksgiving, one and all!
Leg 9 starts with the teams setting out from Malta to Singapore. The Surfers are first and the clue tells them that the first leg of their flight has been booked to Paris. They’re to book their travel the rest of the way to Singapore, or if they find a flight altogether more “advantageous,” they can book a whole new flight. The Surfers book a second-leg flight that gets them from Paris to Singapore at 6:40. The Dentists quickly follow suit, but when the Cyclists come in and ask what gets them to Singapore the quickest, they find out there’s a flight through Rome that arrives at 6:00 instead, and book it. So, Jim goes right ahead and says to Bethany, “I thought you checked all this out… this is ridiculous,” and I almost jump through my TV to tell him that is not how we speak to the Surfers.
Tonight there’s a lot of frustration directed toward people who have poorly led the way by people who have blindly followed them. Where does the true blame lie, I ask you? There’s also just a lot of frustration; I guess that’s what happens when you get this close to $1 million. It’s possible, according to the way that Adam pronounced “ad-van-ta-ge-ous” that the Surfers didn’t understand they could book a different flight, but ultimately the two different flights only really matter to the Cyclists, who end up trying to use their first place position to their ad-van-tage with the Fast Forward, only to have it bite them in the bicycle seat.
Once the teams arrive in Singapore, they’re to catch a ferry to Pulau Ubin Island, run a mile into the jungle, find a marked coconut stand, and drink a coconut to get their next clue. The Cyclists, Scientists, and Wrestlers arrive first from the earlier flight and head out for the coconut stand. “I feel like Forrest Gump when he runs for like three years,” Mrs. Wrestler says three steps into their run. The clue for the next Detour comes with an optional Fast Forward, and the Cyclists decide to risk it once they realize the Scientists and Wrestlers aren’t attempting the Fast Forward. Forty-ish minutes ahead of two other teams, it seems like a good idea.
That is, until the Surfers and Dentists drink their coconuts, get their clues, say they’ll opt for the Detour, get back on the ferry, and then the Surfers decide, sure, why not take a look at what the Fast Forward is: Oh, what’s that, it’s a challenge where you have to surf on a wave simulator, and that’s a really hard thing to do, according to Bethany who’s done it a bunch of times and is also a professional surfer, along with her husband?
To the Fast Forward, good sir!
NEXT: You know the old joke about a cyclist on a (tiny) surfboard…