Depending on your perspective, the Double U-Turn is either a fun strategic twist with the potential to shake up the race and cause additional hard feelings between teams, or a lame gimmick that cheapens the competition. I tend to fall into the former camp, particularly on a night like tonight, when the outcome would otherwise be in no doubt whatsoever.
That’s because Nary and Jamie, the federal agents who would be teachers, are so far behind the rest of the pack, they don’t even appear in this episode for the first 15 minutes or so. Without the Double U-Turn in place to slow a couple of teams down, the hour would be a complete snooze with a foregone conclusion. Fortunately, Rachel and Dave and the Border Patrol have an agreement in place stating that whichever team reaches the Double U-Turn first will use its evil power on Team Big Brother. This is clearly an airtight pact that neither team would ever consider breaking.
That’s how Art and J.J. see it, anyway. Rachel and Dave, not so much. After the gentlemen from Kentucky, who reach the Double U-Turn first, refuse to use it, Rachel and Dave follow suit, reasoning that Nary and Jamie are so far behind, there’s no point in stirring the pot. What follows is a controversy so ridiculously blown out of proportion, it makes the border cops look like even bigger jackasses than they have so far. After all, it’s not as if they ended up getting U-Turned, even though they theoretically could have been, had another team slipped past them while they were waiting in line to fill up their water jugs at the Detour. Had that happened, I could understand them being so pissed, but seeing them blow a minor misdemeanor up into a major crime doesn’t exactly fill me with confidence in them as reasonable law enforcement agents.
Art and J.J. fulfill their end of the deal by U-Turning Brendon and Rachel, who in turn use the second U-Turn on Vanessa and Ralph. I don’t think Team Big Brother is too worried about making enemies in this particular case. In fact, this is one of the things I like about the U-Turn: its use as payback for bad race behavior. (Of course, in this case, there’s been plenty of bad behavior on both sides.) Neither of the Detour tasks was particularly thrilling (I was disappointed that “Air Supply” didn’t require teams to perform “All Out of Love” at a karaoke bar), although this is one of the few times The Amazing Race has featured a task I’ve actually performed: fixing a bicycle’s flat without removing the wheel. (Actually, I’ve probably waited in a long-ass line for water at one point or another, so make that two tasks.)
The Roadblock task would have been a little more exciting had the participants not been able to wear the protective suits, but getting a glimpse of Phil in his beekeeper outfit made up for a lot. (Phil had a good time this week, rocking out with an African band at the pit stop.) The moment many of us have been waiting for finally came to pass, as Team Holler finished in first place despite Bopper’s bum knee. I fear Bopper’s knee trouble may spell trouble down the road apiece, but it was nice to see them edge out the ever-squabbling Rachel and Dave for the prize.
While the outcome was briefly in doubt when it seemed the Feds had caught all the way up to Vanessa and Ralph, the Speed Bump removed any remaining suspense from the equation. Some teams get to sit on ice for 10 minutes; others have to set up an elaborate art display per the specifications of a detailed map. This was probably the toughest Speed Bump the show has ever featured, and even a flat tire wasn’t enough to keep Vanessa and Ralph from finishing ahead of Nary and Jamie. So the “teachers” are eliminated without ever revealing their secret identities, which is probably the smallest possible victory any team can claim.
- The title phrase was, of course, spoken by Big Brother Rachel. Also, she cried.
- I still don’t really get what that “Hillary Clington” thing was all about.
- “Coo-coo-ca-choo” is not the baboon mating call. Presumably, it’s not the “bamboon” mating call, either.
- Next week: The fun continues between Rachel and Dave and the Border Patrol.