The Amazing Race recap: 'As Easy as Stacking Cups'
We’ve reached a crucial time in The Amazing Race. Contestants do not want to mess up this leg, because a slight miscalculation could cost them a spot in the finals. They can practically taste victory at this point. No one wants to be the team who goes home one step away from a shot at a million dollars.
Sadly, someone has to come in fourth place.
We begin with a hop, skip, and jump from Vietnam to Seoul, South Korea. All the teams are pretty much even once they disembark the airplane, so strategy comes into play. It’s go big or go home, and The Boys decide to take a risk by catching the subway to the Gangnam District. Props to these guys for conducting some light research with fellow travelers returning home. According to the locals, the subway is faster than a taxi.
Matt and Redmond’s gamble might have kept them in their first-place lead had they not missed their connecting subway. Suddenly, that one decision thrusts them into last place, since everyone else takes a taxi to Gangnam.
Joey and Tara are the first to arrive. A dancing girl hands over a clue, which instructs teams to head to Hanyang University. Brooke and Scott, along with Team LoLo, are close behind. Mom and Dad arrive at the Olympic gym to find a bunch of elementary school kids “playing” with cups.
RELATED: 6 Celebs Who Went From Rags to Riches
ROAD BLOCK: Who stacks up?
Stacking cups is not only a cool thing the kids are doing these days, but it’s a highly competitive sport, too. Teams must race against the clock to complete a sequence of cup stacking in less than seven seconds. Phil would like you to know that the world record is less than two seconds.
Who cares about fidget spinners? Get your kids a stack of cups and let the energy run wild!
Joey is first to arrive, but his large hands hinder him from properly grasping the cups. Brooke scurries in next, proclaiming that SHE CAN DO THIS. Do you know what? She does do this. It only takes her a dozen or so times to master the cadence. I guess Gloria Estefan was right. Eventually, the rhythm is going to get you.
Brooke grabs the clue and reads, “Make your way to the Whatever Arts and Cultural Center. LET’S GO!”
This made me laugh out loud. That “whatever” is the Mugyewon Arts and Cultural Center. Could Brooke’s wacky personality be growing on me? What is happening?
As Brooke and Scott rush off to find a taxi, Joey finishes the cup challenge right along with Logan. Where are Matt and Redmond, you ask? Great question. The Boys received their clue in the Gangnam District but are still trying to make it to the university gym. In another stroke of terrible luck, their taxi driver took them 20 minutes in the wrong direction. Never fear. The taxi cab driver is going to give them a discount. That should equal out the potential loss of a million bucks, don’t you think?
They finally make it to the gym, but everyone else has already left. The Boys figure they are in last place, but they can’t be sure. Redmond steps up to the table and knocks out the cup challenge in a normal amount of time.
(Recap continues on page 2)
Next up is a food challenge. Teams must make a batch of kimchi, which is a spicy cabbage dish. All three teams become eerily quiet, nervous that the others will overhear their strategies when it comes to mixing the ingredients. Well, Brooke and Scott are as quiet as the two of them can be, which is a dull nag. I’ll take it.
The challenge is relatively easy. Two of the three teams have to rewrap their dishes, but all accomplish the task in no time. It’s another close race as all six players travel to Seoul OGN E-Stadium. Again, the placement will come down to the taxi driver’s knowledge of the English language and his or her willingness to break the rules by speeding. All arrive at basically the same time.
In this ROAD BLOCK, individuals must compete against a professional while playing a martial arts video game. You may be wondering how in the world that’s fair. Thankfully, there’s a twist. After every 10 rounds, the professional is given a handicap. This way, the eager, sweaty Americans have a fighting chance.
Everyone attacks with a different mentality while playing his or her professional. Scott curses at the avatar across from him and catcalls the professional to his right at the same time. London chastises her professional for knocking her out so many times. Doesn’t he know that London is a lady and his incessant need to digitally punch her is rude? Tara manages to die before she even presses a button or moves a joystick. This can’t be good.
Round after round, the professionals kill the players. At one point, Tara’s soul is punched out of her body. Just as I become bored, the first handicap is implemented, and these jokers still beat London, Tara, and Scott. When my finger itches to utilize the fast forward button on my remote, the professionals are blindfolded.
The teams still have trouble beating their counterparts. From the audience, Joey starts bad-mouthing Tara’s professional. How do you say “cheater” in Korean? As his blood begins to boil, London beats her guy during round 20-something and practically weeps for joy. She and Logan book it out the door just as Scott defeats his enemy. Tara begs someone to help her understand how she isn’t winning against a guy playing with one hand who can’t see. No one seems to know this answer. Especially Joey, who is turning a wicked shade of crimson.
Oh look! There’s Matt and Redmond making kimchi, crushing it on the first try, and securing their clue. Hurry up, guys!
Meanwhile, Scott, Brooke, and Team LoLo sprint to the PIT STOP at Some Gavit, where Phil is waiting for them on a floating island. I imagine him stacking cups to pass the time.
Back inside, Tara suffers through round 27 just as Matt strolls in to take his seat at the controls. After ten rounds, Matt’s professional admits that Matt is really good. Once the professional has his hand tied behind his back, Matt begins to dominate. Fortunately for Tara, this is when she beats her own professional.
Over at the islands, strategy takes precedence again. Phil is on the fourth level. Team LoLo chooses the stairs, while Brooke and Scott take the elevator. Who will be in the finals? The anticipation is killing me!
1. Brooke and Scott: Elevators are faster than stairs, people. Congratulations to this team for their first No. 1 win.
2. Logan and London: Remember when I called them the dark horse? I think they could win it all if they play smart and don’t have any hiccups along the way.
3. Tara and Joey: I hope Tara has a soft cast in her fanny pack for the carpal tunnel syndrome she just developed.
4. Matt and Redmond: I’d like to point out that if their taxi driver hadn’t driven them 20 minutes in the wrong direction, The Boys would have pulled it off. Instead, they’ll have to make do with their trip to Costa Rica with the gnome. Thanks Travelocity!
We’re down to the final three. Do you think there’s any strategy to winning at this point? If so, what is it? Or do you think it’s luck of the draw… or taxi driver? Also, do you think London and Logan have started dating yet?
Phil Keoghan hosts the globe-trotting adventure series.