Drama. Drama. DRAAAAMA. Now, the Texans will tell you over and over again that no one likes the Green Team and all the teams are ready to get them out. But I ask you this: Have you heard that from any other teams? It’s not that I don’t get where the Texans are coming from —Justin is loud and has apparently seen every season three times—but is it worth it to intentionally make an enemy this early in the game… especially in a team that doesn’t seem like it’s going anywhere… and with only three healthy hamstrings?
Only time will tell, but it’s interesting to have two teams so exaggeratedly far in the lead with everyone else battling it out for the bottom seven spots. The Texans and the Green Team seem to be playing their own game, which makes it seem like everyone else is sitting at the kids’ table. But it all makes for an endearing season 27, which also happens to be getting cutthroat pretty quickly. There is an exorbitant amount of planning already going into next week’s double U-Turn, and it guarantees to be a Texas-sized blood bath.
But tonight, the strategy isn’t so primal. As opposed to last week’s high-speed race through the big city of Buenos Aires, the transition to San Antonio De Areco puts the focus all in the details. The teams head for the rural Argentina town in the order that they finished the last leg, with the Green Team heading out first. They elect to take what looks to be a public bus to the charter bus that they need, but the Texans and Reporters behind them hop in taxis and get to the first bus to San Antonio de Arco ahead of them, and that’s where the Texans lay out their plans: They’ll use their Express Pass to U-Turn the Green Team, and they promise to fork it over to any team who doubles up the efforts on Green behind them. Their intentions are clear. Crystal.
So it’s sickly sweet for the viewer at home, safely tucked away from drama, to watch the Green Team get on that first bus at the next stop, just as the Texans have wrapped up their scheming session. Just delicious.
The rest of the teams are shortly behind the frontrunners on a second bus… well, all of them except for the Street Dancers, who were never destined to win anything on The Amazing Race but our hearts. They’re on a third bus and, sure, they’re behind, but everyone is headed to the same ROAD BLOCK: GAUCHO GRILL. There, in a foggy field full of animal carcasses, one member of each team has to properly mount three racks of meat—two lamb, one beef—to the standards of local Argentinian cowboys, a.k.a., gauchos.
While no one seems to struggle much with handling the animal meat, the details that go into mounting the racks give ’em a hell of a time: all three racks must be skewered properly, right side up, and with the bones facing out. The skewering is certainly the most time consuming, but it’s the bones facing out that seems to stump everyone, save the Doctors, with Rick using his knack for details to cruise through in one try. Justin spends a lot of his time paling around with gaucho judges and not really focusing, so though the Green Team gets there at the same time as the Reporters and Texans, they leave much later to head to the…
DETOUR: HORSE OR CARRIAGE. In Horse, up to six teams must select a polo mallet, get in uniform, and properly dress a fake polo horse according to the live example. Most of the teams choose it over Carriage, where teams must select a buggy whip, clean up a carriage, and carry it to the same plaza where the Horse teams must carry their polo horse. Little do the Horse teams know that the Carriage judges don’t have very high cleaning standards, and once they’re done, they get a ride in their carriages. (To be fair, Horse isn’t particularly difficult either, once they figured out that darn mouth chain.)
Though the Street Dancers are clearly the last to get to Carriage, they haul ass with their buggy. The Cheerleaders forget their buggy whip and have to make the trip on foot one extra time, and a few teams struggle to figure out how to actually get to the PIT STOP at MUSEO GAUCHESCO, so it almost seems like the Street Dancer stand a chance, but alas…
1: TEXANS, who just barely beat the Green Team in a foot race for first place and a trip to Cambodia, despite Tanner’s perma-hobble.
2: GREEN TEAM—May I introduce you to Phil, the Instigator: “Sometime the next leg of the race, there’s going to be a double U-Turn. Would you be keen on slowing each other down at some point?” Oh, would they ever. Everyone is all passive aggressive handshakes on the mats, but Justin tells the camera that if the Texans play dirty with the U-Turns, they’ll be happy to return that in kind.
3: REPORTERS, who say they’re hitting their stride
4: RUNNERS—They really worked their way up the ranks!
5: ALABAMA—Now, here’s something interesting: During some of her bountiful constructive criticism for “James Earl,” Denise got a little too specific with her encouragement at the Road Block and earned Team Alabama a 30-minute penalty at the Pit Stop mat, meaning…
5: TEAM PAPARAZZI gets fifth place instead.
6: ALABAMA, who uses their mandatory break to remind each other that they’re partners, not enemies, and James kindly suggests that his mom stop, uh, freaking out all the time.
7: DOCTORS, being sweet with each other despite last week’s polo player premonition.
8: CHEERLEADERS: “It’s better than last!”
ELIMINATED: We’ll miss you, Street Dancers. But according to a few TAR commenters, we can catch you on any number of reality shows in the future. Ernest and Jin wished they could have gotten this million-dollar boost to pursue their dreams back home, but they’re happy to have experienced so many new things. And as Phil reminds, “Life is about moments.” Bring on the Argentinian dancers, and everybody do the worm!
What do you think about the growing animosity between the Team Texas and Team Green? Will the Texans’ gamble pay off? Do you find Justin as irritating as they do? Is Tanner pushing his leg too hard? And which of the other six teams are you rooting for to pull a David on their double-Goliath?