Oh, this season 27 group is shaping up to be a wily bunch, isn’t it? They’re so emotional — simultaneously a little too buddy-buddy from the jump, and already plotting ways to take eachother down. Well, those coup plans are reserved mostly for the Green Team and its rather vocal, teary leader, Justin.
So far this season, I find myself swinging between rooting for a team and thinking they might be the capital-W-worst all within 40 minutes of airtime. Except for the Street Dancers — I pretty much like them all the time, and I don’t care how many variations of “When we go home, we don’t have a home to go back to” they produce; I now know that they’re racing this to take the $1 million home to their mamas, so it will probably give me a throat lump every time.
Okay, and just one more glaring theme before we get down to the competitive environment-saving and wall-dancing… you guys, how badly does Phil want to create a TAR origin love story? Apparently the host with the most (pants pockets in Buenos Aires) got a taste of the romance TAR could bring — following season 26, he insisted that Blind Date champions Tyler and Laura were harboring secret L-U-V feelings for each other — and he wants some more. Stay tuned to this week’s Finish Line for Host Phil’s latest matchmaking attempt.
In the second leg of the race around the world, the 10 remaining teams are traveling from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to Buenos Aires, capital of Argentina, and — “TAR is On the Pulse of Culture” alert — birthplace of Pope Francis. All of the teams get booked on the same flight, giving the Green Team a chance to finally meet everybody else in the airport and make a few allies. So Justin decides to do that by letting Team Alabama track down the location of their next clue in Buenos Aires (the church where Pope Francis was baptized), and then telling them not to tell anyone else. And then confronting them while they tell everyone else about how they thought they had an agreement. Pick your battles, folks.
Meanwhile in The Drama-less Street Dancers Corner: The Street Dancers are doing a coordinated dance and cooing, “Hi, and welcome to the airport.” Get them on your little screens, Delta!
The teams are admitted into the Church of San Carlos and Maria Auxiliadora one at a time for the clue to their next DETOUR: CARTONEROS or FLETERO. Cartoneros, a.k.a. “the people of cardboard,” work the streets of Buenos Aires, collecting cardboard to make a living. In the Detour, teams must collect 100 kilograms of cardboard from recycling bins and deliver it to a recycling truck for their next clue. Every single team chooses Cartoneros except for the Reporters, which normally leads to a lot of Detour switching, but here, everyone just hunkers down and collects their 100 kilos. The simplicity is partly due to the kindness of the Texans (one of those aforementioned teams I swing back and forth on); there are only eight recycling carts available in Cartoneros, but the Texans are finished by the time the Runners arrive, so they tell them where their already used cart is so they don’t have to switch Detours.
NEXT: Dancing on the walls again…[pagebreak]
Over at Fletero, the Reporters have to pick up a valuable statue, navigate a truck through Buenos Aires, and deliver it intact for their next clue. These are not the most entertaining Detours, but all the dumpster diving does get this line out of the Street Dancers: “Ohhhhhhh, wooooooah, there’s doodoo in there!” So, I guess watching everyone collecting cardboard for 15 minutes straight was worth it.
The Texans and Green Team get out of Cartoneros very quickly and are off to the ROAD BLOCK, a much more passionate affair: TILTED TANGO. One member of each team must join a professional partner to learn a tango that starts on the ground and transitions to dancing sideways on a wall in a harness. Justin says like six times that he would be better than Diana at this challenge (do you think there’s any challenge he thinks he’d be worse at than her?) while she’s learning the dance, but after getting off to a rough start, she nails it on the second try. He is, at least, very proud of her.
But all of his obnoxious cheering from the sidelines very much annoys the Texans as Tanner is having a much more difficult time completing the dance successfully. I don’t know if it was the editing or the dudes who took on the Road Block’s own open-mindedness, but I appreciated the absence of silly comments about all the competitors having to dance the traditionally female role in the tango. And they all got through it without too much struggle. James Earl (real name) of Team Alabama cruised through in one try, and Cheerleader Krista was very excited to be able to dance. That moved them up a few pegs in the lineup, and left three teams battling it out for last place: the Cousins, the Runners, and the Street Dancers. If you’re keeping track, that’s an Underdog team, an Athletic team, and a Heart team, so it really could have gone any way.
It seemed like it might come down to the tough time everyone was having getting a taxi, but since each team had the same struggle, these three ultimately reached the PIT STOP at the “Cathedral of Polo” in the same order that they finished their horizontal tango (this time — and only this time — that is not a euphemism).
1. GREEN TEAM — They are VERY excited to be in first place, and Justin keeps it to a single tear upon hearing they’ve won a trip for two to Morocco
2: TEXANS — Oh guys… thinking they might still grab first, they take off in a sprint and overcome two teams, only to find that they’ve finished second and Tanner has pulled his hamstring.
3. TEAM ALABAMA, fine with finishing third and not pulling any hamstrings
4. TEAM PAPARAZZI, who did a lot of snipping at each other this leg.
5. THE DRs — Unprompted, the polo representative tells the Drs their new marriage will be “a short time of happiness.” Phil only refrains from decking him because…
6. DANCERS — He has other plans for the handsome man. And those plans are to prompt him to tango with Krista so that they can ultimately fall in love, get married, do the horizontal tango, and name their firstborn Phil.
7. REPORTERS, neither helped nor hindered by their lone Detour pick.
8. THE RUNNERS get the total fakeout from Phil: “Jasmine and Danielle, I’m very sorry to tell you that you’re at the back of the pack,” and as they begin to weep, “You are number eight!”
9. STREET DANCERS — yet another team who thinks they’ve finished last and begin the tearful process of coming to grips with it only to have Papa Phil let them know, “It’s okay for you to cry, and I want to tell you something — you are team No. 9.” PHIL!!! I’m crying, everybody’s crying, and there are only two who really should be…
ELIMINATED: The cousins don’t hold back their disappointment at going out so early, but they “couldn’t be happier” that they came on the show: “It’s been incredible.” TAR may have been only two legs, but family is forever, boys!
So, what do you think of the season 27 teams so far? Are you as annoyed by Justin as the Texans? Can Tanner bounce back from his needless injury? Early predictions to take it all? Sound off in the comments!