Last week on the Amazing Race, everyone scrambled to get an advantage so good it put the team who got it in 9th place. The DoucheBros got the Express Pass, and TMZ got a one-way ticket home. On to the next installment!
Josh and Tanner leave at 9:40 AM, which is strange because it didn’t look like they checked in at 9:40 PM. It looks like there might have been an extended layover, possibly weather-related because there’s a lot of gray skies around. They’re told to go to Buenos Aires and find the church Pope Francis was baptized in, which feels like it should be one of those things that you can just Google but which turns out to require a bit of legwork even when teams do get access to the Internet. Justin makes a joke about not sharing the information with anyone once he and a couple of other teams work it out, which Tanner and Josh take as a) a serious attempt to knock them out of the race, and b) an excuse to be violently upset at them and swear eternal revenge on them. Which isn’t really how the Race works, but hey, Tanner and Josh were bound to get hypercompetitive with someone sooner or later and this is the team they picked.
There’s an Hours of Operation bunch once everyone gets on their planes and gets to the church, mitigated slightly by a “take a number and get in line” sign. Justin and Diana get there first, prompting another death glare from Josh and Tanner, and get their next clue, which leads to the Detour. The two choices are “Cartoneros”, which requires you to collect 100 kilos of cardboard from recycling bins around town and bring it to a truck, and “Fletero”, which requires you to collect a statue from a local store and take it apart for travel, guide a truck driver around town with it, and then reassemble it at a local park. Justin and Diana decide that their strengths lie more in hauling than navigation, and start on Cartoneros.
The Paparazzi get their clue next, and get into a sudden, violent, 0-60 argument because he initially suggested that they do the statue task and then hesitated. I don’t know if it’s just totally out of nowhere, or whether they’re always like this and they just didn’t get any screen time last week. They settle on cardboard and head out (still bickering–Logan drops “I am talking to the taxi driver” in the same approximate tone as another person might say, “I am going to murder you with a salad fork if you don’t shut up this instant”) while Josh and Tanner are getting their clue in third.
Alex and Adam get their clue in fourth, and decide to go with the cardboard as well. So do Rick and Cindy, in fifth. The reporters, in sixth, decide to go on location with their Mobile Broadcast Unit and do a segment on the lives of statue haulers in Buenos Aires. This proves to be a smarter decision than you might imagine, for reasons soon to be revealed. Ernest and Jin take the cardboard in seventh, Tiffany and Krista go with it in eighth, Denise and James Earl go with it in ninth, and Jazmine and Danielle go with it in tenth and last…or so they think.
Because when everyone gets to the Detour, they find there are only eight carts. With nine teams having opted for the cardboard, that means one team is going to have to either switch detours or wait for someone to finish. Jazmine and Danielle make the possibly unwise choice of waiting for someone to finish rather than switch. Rick makes the even more possibly unwise choice of cracking a joke about how it’s beneath him, a professional doctor who makes tons of money, to do manual labor just like the proles who live there.
Kelsey and Joey find their statue, get it ready for transport, and ask a native for directions to the park. His one-word response is a masterpiece of bemused condescension: “Google?” Seriously, it’s a thing of beauty. He packs a whole lifetime of, “What, do they not have the Internet where you people come from?” into a single word. Their reply, though, was a much better episode title than the one we got: “Can we use your Google?” He agrees, and they prepare to do a segment on the wonders of 21st century technology.
Justin and Diana get more excited about cardboard than most other people will in their lives. They load up with cardboard and head to the weighing station, as do Josh and Tanner. Unsurprisingly, Josh and Tanner are treating this like the fourth quarter of the Superbowl. Many other teams have now joined in, but they don’t immediately realize which bins are trash and which are recycling, so there’s a lot of confusion that gives the teams in the lead a chance to extend further. They drop off their first load of cardboard, realize it’s not quite enough, and go back for more. (Thankfully, it’s not “100 kilos in one trip”.)
Jazmine and Danielle finally get to the Detour and make their aforementioned decision to wait. They decide to wait at the weighing station, on the grounds that they can then grab a cart as soon as someone finishes with it. People get really dramatic about cardboard at this point, with the standout badassery coming from Tanner and Josh (“Let’s end this”) and Denise and James Earl (“Don’t doubt me!” she screams after he momentarily questions the holding capacity of their cart). Justin and Diana finish in first, with Tanner and Josh in second expressing their confusion over how they could possibly lose to another team. They both head to the Roadblock, with Josh and Tanner taking a moment to point to the waiting last-place team where their carts are.
Logan and Chris get out in third, and all teams now head off to do the horizontal tango…um, that’s not a euphemism for anything. They’re actually doing a dancing challenge in harnesses, which involves literally dancing along the floor and up the wall as if the regular dancing challenges on this show haven’t been punishingly difficult enough. Diana takes the roadblock for Team Green, and Tanner takes it for the DoucheBros. (Tanner’s reaction when he’s told “You are going to be the woman”, needs to be framed as a platonic ideal of fratboy gay panic, by the way.) Logan takes the challenge for her team in third.
Denise and James Earl come out of the cardboard in fourth, with Cindy and Rick taking fifth. The reporters, meanwhile, deposit their statue in sixth. Tiffany and Krista get out of the Detour in seventh, Ernest and Jin in eighth, and Alex and Adam in ninth. Jazmine and Danielle get theirs in last, although crucially we don’t see any other teams in shot with them so we don’t know how much time they made up.
Cindy and Rick (and I’ll make this confession right now, I keep typing his name as “Ernie” because I keep confusing them with Ernie and Cindy from TAR 19–I think I’ve fixed every one I’ve found, but I’m really hoping they get eliminated before I miss one) gain a march in the taxi, and come to the Roadblock in fourth. Cindy takes it for their team as Diana makes her first effort at the tango. Unsurprisingly, she doesn’t nail it the first time out. Kelsey takes it for the reporters in fifth (note how teams are rising and falling based on the taxi ride) as Tanner fails his first try. Justin tries to joke with Josh about how hard it is, and Josh glares straight ahead as if he’s trying to kill Justin with his mind. Because he is.
Logan takes her first try, and does pretty well until the transition to the wall, at which point she contorts in a way that looks like she’s being set up to be powerbombed right into the floor and fails. This gives Diana a chance to do it again, and she nails her second take (and it’s really awesome to watch, because the camera tilts with her and the props are nailed to the wall so it looks really weird and seamless). Tanner and Josh fume impotently.
Tiffany and Krista arrive in sixth, thrilled to find out the Roadblock involves choreography, just as Justin and Diana are leaving for the Pit Stop (a polo stadium nicknamed “The Cathedral of Polo”) and Tanner is failing again. My hopes gradually rise for a second-leg elimination as Logan nails it and leaves in second for the Pit Stop. Ernest and Jin arrive in 8th, which means Denise and James Earl got there in 7th but didn’t get shown, and the cousins arrive in 9th. Again, this is the problem with the early legs–there are just too many teams to give everyone screen time. Luckily, we’re due for an elimination…
Tanner fails, and continues to fail as we enter the commercial break. The accordion music claims victim after victim, to the point where I suspect that some of the contestants will have PTSD on hearing this music. Sadly, Tanner and Josh finally get out in third, dashing my hopes that they will simply dance their way out of the show. We see a montage of teams practicing, which finally tells us that Alex and James Earl are taking it for their team, and Denise and James Earl get out in fourth. But Tanner and Josh are still looking for a taxi that knows where the Pit Stop is, giving them a chance to catch up.
Jazmine and Danielle finally get there, as Cindy and Rick leave. Tanner and Josh finally get a taxi, and spend their ride planning to “turn the other teams against” Justin and Diana. Which is funny because a) this is the Amazing Race, not Survivor, and being hated has very little downside, and b) Josh and Tanner are so obviously petty and spiteful that I can’t imagine them having any success in telling everyone, “Hate these guys as much as we do!”
Justin and Diana check into the Pit Stop in first, completely oblivious to the enmity they’ve generated, and I’ll be damned if they don’t make me like them even more by being cheerful and grateful and thrilled to just come in first one leg. Tiffany and Krista get out in sixth, by the way, and Kelsey and Joey in seventh. Getting busy in here.
Tanner and Josh, Denise and James Earl, and Logan and Chris all get to the Pit Stop at roughly the same time, and Tanner and Josh decide to make it a foot race for second. Denise and James Earl are trotting to the mat, completely oblivious to the fact that Tanner and Josh are dropping their packs and sprinting up from behind, and are a little dismayed to see themselves downgraded to third. Not as dismayed as Tanner, though, who pulls up short and limps the last few feet to the mat. Chris and Logan are satisfied with fourth, and with not pulling their hamstring on the last twenty feet.
I do feel sorry for Tanner–I’m of the firm belief that nobody deserves to be injured on the Race, no matter how annoying I find them–but I also wonder what they were thinking. The difference between third and fourth is so slim here that I can’t imagine it having any competitive advantage, and I really feel like this was a case where their deep and abiding commitment to macho cost them. We’ll see next week just how badly.
Ernest and Jin make it out in eighth, after a really beautiful performance by Ernest that his partner cheers along with magnificent enthusiasm, and I gotta admit, I would love to see these guys win the whole thing even if they’ve been sitting at the back of the pack so far, because they are awesome. They’re fun, they support each other, they really need the money, and they’re just generally nice. They’re also having a lot of trouble finding a taxi that knows where the Pit Stop is.
Cindy and Rick get to the mat in fifth, and get their marital relationship dissed by the greeter. Seriously, what was up with that?
Alex and Adam get out in ninth, while Ernest and Jin are still taxi-hunting. The cousins have no better luck with the cabbies, though, and Jazmine and Danielle finish the Roadblock while they hunt. A genuinely tense and frustrating sequence of taxi hunting follows, with the last three teams all simultaneously looking for a cab that a) will take them and b) knows where the Pit Stop is. Jazmine still hasn’t put her shoes on after the tango, leading Danielle to deliver my other alternate episode title, “It’s a million dollars! I’ll buy you new feet!”
Tiffany and Krista, meanwhile, make it to the mat in sixth, with the reporters coming in seventh.
In the end, Jazmine and Danielle take eighth (after Phil rather cruelly taunts them with a vaguely-worded greeting) and Ernest and Jin cry with happiness on being told they’re sticking around for another week. Which leaves Alex and Adam as the last-place team. Alex flings the clue in frustration before composing himself enough to thank Phil for the opportunity. It’s a reminder that the Race is unlike any other reality show, a competition in its truest sense that challenges everyone who tries. It’s a show where coming in tenth really can be an achievement, and I think in this case it was.
And next week, there’s a heavier emphasis on polo, and Team Douchebro’s entirely one-sided feud with the people daring to be competent without being assholes continues! See you then!