Competing on The Amazing Race is serious business. Contestants have to know directions. They have to be able to communicate in obscure ways with locals — or their partners, for that matter. They have to work well together and have a keen sense of time management.
And the dudes have to be willing to submit certain parts of their bodies so they can dangle from a harness.
To quote Phil, “It happens.”
Ten teams scramble to a local travel agency to book flights from Panama to São Paulo, Brazil. Six different flights will take our contestants to Brazil, where they will locate a helipad, fly over the bustling city, and pick up their next clue in the Praça da Sé, the city’s central point.
Vanck, Ashton, Matt, and Redmond are on the first flight and all agree to use the honor system when they land. Each will take a cab and wait for the other team at the helipad. They will flip a coin to see who gets to take off first.
Bless Ashton’s heart. She actually believed that the Army vet and snowboarder were going to honor their handshake. Even though they seem to be legitimately nice guys, Ashton forgets the cardinal rule and dismisses the “race” part of The Amazing Race. She considers this a slap in the face. Redmond and Matt can’t hear her because they are taking off in the first helicopter. Once on the ground, Matt and Redmond read the first DETOUR:
Keep the Beat: Keep the rhythm with a local samba group
Work Your Feet: Build a workout station using rudimentary equipment
Redmond suggests they work their feet, or foot in his case, and giggles at his own joke. The giggling stops when he and Matt find a makeshift outdoor gym with a highway for a roof. Phil’s voiceover makes the detour sound like a piece of cake. Simply grab that refrigerator, one giant truck tire over there, a few tin cans, and some spare auto parts and recreate a workout station to the exact specifications of the example. No problem.
In this particular case, that statement is true. They literally do not have a single problem. Other than forgetting to pour some water into a barrel, they dominate the task and work well as a team. Guess who else makes it work? Vanck and Ashton. If looks could kill, Matt and Redmond would be toes up by now.
Sara and Shamir decide to keep the beat, which, on paper, seems extremely easy. Unfortunately, both Sara and Shamir have difficulty stopping with the beat. As for Michael and Liz? Those band nerds get it right on their first attempt. So do fellow band nerds Floyd and Becca. As far as Sara and Shamir, well, Gloria Estefan was right. Eventually, the rhythm is going to get you. They succeed on their third try.
Meanwhile, Brooke and Scott are lost in Brazil and appear to be having extreme difficulty crossing the street. Brooke somehow falls on her elbow and tries to shrug off the pain. It’s temporary. Elimination is forever. Someone call Phil. I have the perfect Instagram post for him!
• Matt and Redmond — The first to make their way to Avenida Paulista to try and find a woman riding around on bicycle.
• Vanck and Ashton — Right behind Matt and Redmond.
• Seth and Olive — Having a little trouble in the patience department at the makeshift gym, but quickly tighten up their attitudes.
• Liz and Michael — Geeking out that they are no longer in last place.
• Logan and London — Finding the beat after three tries.
• Brooke and Scott — Scott does all of the heavy lifting at the gym, while Brooke insists that her arm hurts, but then insists it doesn’t.
• Tara and Joey — We barely see these two for the entire episode, but they kick it at the gym.
• Becca and Floyd — The fun meter is at an all-time high right now.
• Sara and Shamir — Shamir complains about his sore, raw hand and I wonder if the investment banker’s skin is the consistency of veal.
• Francesca and Jessie — How is it that these two are just now flying in the helicopter?
Matt and Redmond somehow get confused, or take a wrong turn, and are unable to find the lady riding the bike. Vanck and Ashton discover her immediately, to which Ashton probably thinks, “Suck it.” I had other thoughts, like, Why is that woman wearing a Gryffindor scarf?
ROAD BLOCK: Who likes things squeaky clean?
I’m sure when The Amazing Race show runners called the government of São Paulo to negotiate the terms of their stay, the Brazilians’ first priority was, “You will wash our windows.” Harness up, swing outside the 15-story building, scale down the side, and squeegee to your heart’s content.
Ashton doesn’t even ask Vanck. She harnesses up and gets to washing. Liz is quick to follow her, with Scott close behind. Home slice is having a legit panic attack in the elevator because he’s deathly afraid of heights. But since his partner has a severe case of tennis elbow, he has to step up. So he does. He literally talks himself through the entire challenge.
Liz takes first place and Ashton is moments behind her. Michael hails a cab to make it to the PIT STOP: Trianon Park. Phil will be waiting in the middle of an urban rainforest. So cool.
While Liz and Michael shove their backpacks in the trunk, Vanck does some quick math. He’s confident he and Ashton can run to the rainforest faster than a cab could get there there. Sweet Vanck was almost right!
I’d like to take this time to report that Francesca and Jessie are just now at the samba place, but they are having a glorious time and are feeling confident!
Back at the tall building, Seth and Redmond duke it out. Shamir is there too, and he is quite irritated to learn that if the official window washer judge doesn’t think you’ve done a good enough job, you have to rappel all the way down and then march back up the building to start over. I agree. That sucks.
Seth and Redmond receive approval just as Becca arrives. She tackles the building like she is Spider-Man. She even has a conversation with Scott, confirming, “Aren’t you afraid of heights?” He confesses that he cried the first twenty minutes, but he’s cool now. Tara and Logan harness up and and are manned with a squeegee.
At this point in the game, Shamir has failed his window washing challenge twice. He’s also really worried about his junk. And I’m not talking about the stuff in his backpack. I’m talking about his manhood. Convinced that his boys are about to rupture, Shamir punches the glass in front of him, rappels down, and demands to see a doctor. Logan rolls his eyes, adjusts his own situation, and finishes right after Becca and Scott. Tara follows.
Sara is freaked out that her partner is so clearly hurt. That compassion transitions to frustration when Francesca and Jessie come rolling up looking for the Hogwarts girl riding around on her bicycle. The girl pedals passed the teammates three times before Sara blatantly sends them in the opposite direction. Shamir takes his time on the ground, shifting things around. Sara’s frustration morphs to rage.
Francesca and Jessie finally find the lady on her bicycle (TEN POINTS FOR GRYFFINDOR). Francesca makes her way to the top of the building as Shamir finally receives a “good job” on his fifth attempt.
1. Michael and Liz — From last place to first place, these kids will celebrate in Barbados. Thanks Travelocity!
2. Vanck and Ashton — They may be polar opposites, but they have one thing in common: They believe in revenge.
3. Matt and Redmond
4. Seth and Olive
5. Becca and Floyd — May have finished in a higher rank had they not stopped to take a selfie with their cab driver at the airport.
6. Brooke and Scott
7. Tara and Joe
8. Logan and London
9. Shamir and Sara
Shamir throws Phil some shade for being “stuck by my balls hanging from a building.” Phil has one question for the duo: Can you see yourselves getting past this? Sara responds with a positive answer, but the sentiment is watered down by all her tears. Shamir isn’t a happy camper and may have anger management issues.
Oddly enough, #TeamSwoleSisters had a better attitude than Shamir, even though they reached Phil last. Don’t worry about these ladies. They are going to be best friends forever. The necklaces have already been ordered on Amazon.
Episode 2 was a wild ride. Is your favorite team winning? Are you rooting for Vanck and Ashton to keep the lead from Matt and Redmond? Do you think Shamir was being a little too testy about his predicament? (Sorry. I had to go there.)