Weren’t we supposed to come out of this whole Double U-Turn thing with a villain? Or with, I don’t know, a U-Turn, at least?! But instead of setting up the Green Team for an elimination, this episode just served up a big ol’ slice of humble pie to the Texans. This episode also ended with a To Be Continued title card after only two teams had crossed the Finish Line. Excuse me, but what-the-what, Phil?! I require at least one bout of weeping per episode, either from a team that’s just had their dreams dashed by an elimination, or a team that just found out it’s a Non-Elimination Leg and they’re still in the game. (I guess Justin cried, but that’s kind of par for the course at this point).
Really, I could have taken or left what any of the teams were doing tonight—except Denise’s face after she got her Zambian blessing—because the star of this episode was obviously Zambia itself. We got to see an elephant walk across the street in front of a taxi, a little spit-blessing, one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, and got more than a few minutes with the locals.
There are a few gameplay details to go over before the eight remaining teams move on from Argentina to Zambia, though. You see, the Texans have been talking mad trash about the Green Team since pretty much the first Detour. Both because they find Justin annoying, and because they’ve been neck-and-neck throughout most of the race. They’ve been plotting to use their Express Pass this leg to get ahead of the pack and U-Turn the Green Team, and have promised to pass along their Express Pass to anyone who helps them.
Naturally, their “flawless plan” doesn’t go so flawlessly…
First, the teams have to take a bus from San Antonio de Arco to Buenos Aires, and a flight from Buenos Aires to Livingston, Zambia. There are only four spots on the first flight out, and they’re nabbed by the Texans, Reporters, Green Team, and Runners. Everyone is buzzing about the “deal” the Texans have proposed, and though it’s probably for less, uh, personal reasons, it quickly becomes clear that all of the other teams are also down to push the Green Team into last place.
After flying 6,000 miles, the teams first head to Mukuni Village to receive a traditional Mukuni welcome to Zambia, which involves being blessed by a woman of the village in the form of spitting water onto each of the teams’ general face region. And everyone loves it. Then the teams take cabs to one of theVictoria Falls, where they receive the clue for their next ROAD BLOCK: RISE ABOVE. One member of each team must take an open cockpit microlight aircraft—basically a Vespa with wings—over Victoria Falls, looking out for a yellow and red flag that will be the location of their next clue.
And it looks incredible.
It also looks like it won’t take much time. There’s no real effort to be put forth except taking in one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World on a flying bicycle, which makes it especially odd that the Texans choose this Road Block to use their Express Pass. Almost immediately they know they’ve made a mistake, as do the rest of the teams who were in on their plan. The seven teams at the Road Block go up, they have the time of their lives, they come down, and then they’re pretty much on their way to the next clue, crossing the border from Zambia into Zimbabwe to Shoestrings Backpacker’s Lodge. That’s right, a lodge, which means…
NEXT: Big Mistake. Huge.[pagebreak]
The Detour isn’t until the next morning, and since the start times are only staggered by 10 minutes in order of arrival at the Lodge, and the Green Team grabs an 8 a.m. start time just like the Texans, the Under Armour boys have essentially wasted their Express Pass. I don’t really enjoy this much plotting in a typical Amazing Race season, but I wouldn’t have minded the drama of a double U-Turn; because things ultimately end up taking an unexpectedly cordial turn after the DETOUR: WOOD OR CROQUET.
In Wood, the teams must stain and polish a wooden giraffe carving, which half of the teams choose, probably not realizing they’ll have to meticulously apply the stain and polish with toothbrushes, and then wait in between steps for the stain to dry. Coincidentally, most of the teams that were already in front chose Croquet: the Texans, Green Team, and Reporters, plus Team Alabama, who pronounce “croquet” with a hard emphasis on the silent “t.” They have to score five points against a local team, which takes a little time, but seems fun and not terribly difficult. And wouldn’t you know it… the Green Team finishes first, cruising out just before the Texans and choosing not to U-Turn them when they have the chance.
Before they left the Backpacker’s Lodge that morning, the Texans and Green Team agreed that they wouldn’t U-Turn each other, but it really didn’t seem like either one of them intended to keep that promise. My suspicion is that if the Texans had gotten their first, this might have been a much different story. But neither team chooses to U-Turn, so it’s on to the PIT STOP at ROSE OF CHARITY ORPHANAGE where the teams have the opportunity to donate their remaining funds from this leg to the precious, precious children being cared for at Rose of Charity.
1: GREEN TEAM—Justin and Diana get emotional thinking about the children at Rose of Charity and the care that’s being provided for them there, but they still have their eye on the prize when it comes to the race. They say that, sure, they had the opportunity to U-Turn the strongest team in the race, but they’ll “let them fail on their own.”
2: THE TEXANS, say they have more respect for the Green Team now, but they still have U-Turn plans for them in the future. But right this second, they have to choose who to give their Express Pass to next, because this is a continuing leg…
TO. BE CONTINUED.
Since the Texans/Green Team mostly dominated this leg and this recap, a few points about some of the other teams:
I enjoyed getting to know the Reporters a little better this episode, and think it’s pretty hilarious that they have two opposing secret alliances when they seem like the most wholesome team there.
The Doctors were “hoping to get a toothbrush challenge.” WHAT.
This might be stating the obvious, but those Cheerleaders sure are cheerful!
I hope this reality television show doesn’t destroy the Team Paparazzi’s marriage…
What did you think about this episode and the seemingly ongoing (seemingly one-sided) feud between the Texans and the Green Team? Too much? Want more? Should the Green Team have utilized the U-Turn? Sound off in the comments!