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The Amazing Race recap: King of the Jungle

Attitude isn’t everything in ‘The Amazing Race,’ but reading clues is pretty darn important.

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The Amazing Race

TV Show
Reality TV
run date:
Phil Keoghan
Jerry Bruckheimer
Current Status:
In Season

“Oh good, he didn’t die.” –Logan, regarding her husband, not seeming entirely sincere.

This has to be one of the more stressful episodes of The Amazing Race in recent memory. Everyone is freaking the freak out. And they’re all doing it in perhaps the worst place to have an accelerated heart rate and distracted mind: In extremely close proximity to free-roaming apex predators. The Texans have cooled their jets about the Green Team, but they’re still beating themselves up about wasting the Express Pass; Denise is pretty much always operating at level-crazy-eyes-100; and the Runners made enough careless mistakes to fuel the entire season, let alone one leg of the race…

But no one—no one—is more frantic than Team Paparazzi. You probably stopped rooting for The Paps to win around the time you heard the way they speak to each other; if you’re like me, you actively started rooting for them to lose when they donated $20 of the $175 leftover from the Rose of Charity Orphanage when everyone else had happily emptied out their purses. But in this rrrrrrace around the world, attitude isn’t everything.

Sure, the Cheerleaders are constantly making themselves have good attitudes and seemed to jump up three places as a result, but Team Paparazzi spent the majority of leg 5 compulsively telling the other to shut up, and they still weren’t eliminated… but we’ll get there. First, it must be said:

This. Leg. Was. Amazing. To have competed in it would have been the experience of a lifetime and it makes me appreciate teams like Justin and Diana who are, uh, aggressively trying to win, sure, but also seem to be soaking up every second of their extended stay in Zambia/Zimbabwe. This episode picks up where last week’s To Be Continued left off, with the Green Team in first and Texas right behind them, deciding whom to give their Express Pass to. They decide on Team Alabama because they’re middle of the pack, so they won’t feel like they’re responsible for whichever of the bottom teams ends up being eliminated.

But, in fact, no one is eliminated at the mat because it’s a continuing leg. None of the teams use the U-Turnexcept the Cheerleaders—and they head into Leg 5 as follows: Alabama, Reporters, Chac Attack (I’ve decided to embrace this name), Paparazzi, Runner, Cheerleaders. They’re off to where it all began in season 1, episode 1, at the Batoka Gorge for the ROAD BLOCK: TAKE A BIG SWING. As with the racers who preceded them 27 seasons ago, one person from each team must swing over the Zambezi River, which involves free-falling for three full seconds and then swinging 95 meters over the river. The Texans continue to pray for the important things: Dear lord, just help me not scream like a girl.”

Like everything else on this leg, it looks incredible, but it presents a bit of a problem for Chac Attack and Team Paparazzi. After getting the clue at Bakota Gorge, Chac hopes back in their taxi to zoom off to wherever they think the Road Block is, but the Road Block is, in fact, a few yards away from them. Logan and Chris, presumably calling on their paparazzi instincts, just follow them, letting the Runners and Cheerleaders swoop in the five and six spots, and leaving them in last once they follow Chac—who’ve figured out their mistake—back to the Road Block. The editors have a juxtaposition field day with these two married couples as Chac kisses and gets excited about the river swing, relieved that they’ve recovered from their mistake, and Team Paparazzi alternate between chanting “We suck,” and “It’s over,” on a loop.

NEXT: It wasn’t over—it still isn’t over!