Hi all! Sorry for the delay on posting this, but I got a stomach bug that sidelined me for a few days. I’m feeling much better now, so let’s go ahead and recap, shall we? As you may recall, we were in Buenos Aires, with Justin and Diana coming in first and the Douchebros injuring themselves in an attempt to make up for lost time. But the cousins, Alex and Adam, were the ones who finally went out in defeat. On with the Race!
We start with said Douchebros, examining the extent of Tanner’s injury. He says it’s feeling pretty bad, and then gets into how he believes that a) God has a plan for them, and that b) they were taking the physical gifts God gave them for granted and getting overconfident. This seems to imply that c) God is literally smiting them for their arrogance, which certainly makes me feel like going to church more, but they don’t dwell on it. Instead, they limp off to their next adventure.
But it’s Justin and Diana who came in first, so they get to leave first. They’re taking a bus trip to a little town called San Antonio de Areco, where they will take the kind of flatbed truck trip that kids like me took all the time back when seat belts were purely decorative and bouncing around a hard metal surface with a totally open bed was just Darwin’s way of someday breeding an impact-proof child. Justin and Diana go for it with gusto, getting on the first bus they see and asking that bus to take them to the actual bus. While talking about how smart and well-prepared they are.
Josh and Tanner and Denise and James Earl go by taxi to the bus station, with Denise starting in early today on her efforts to someday turn James Earl into the next Norman Bates. Chris and Logan leave in fourth, Rick and Cindy in fifth, Tiffany and Krista in sixth, the Reporters in seventh…and ominously, we don’t see any other teams leaving in this montage.
But due to the vagaries of bus departure times and station locations and taxi speeds (and, one would suspect, a little unearned luck for Justin and Diana, who seem to have a bus that took them to a different station where they caught up with the earlier riders in a way they weren’t penalized for, perhaps because they did technically take a bus everywhere) it’s the Douchebros, the Green Team and the Reporters on the first bus, and everyone else on the second bus…except, even more ominously than the first ominous ominousness, Ernest and Jin. Who are not in time to catch that bus. It is about here that the astute viewer begins to suspect that unless there’s serious bunching or a non-elimination leg, Ernest and Jin are not going to have a happy day.
Meanwhile, in the bus that is soon to pick up the Green Team, Josh and Tanner are beginning their dastardly strategy to eliminate Justin and Diana. They promise to the Reporters that they will pass their Express Pass on to whoever U-Turns the Green Team at the next opportunity. To be honest, it’s not the worst strategy in the world, although given the penchant the Race has had for Double U-Turns of late (which I whole-heartedly endorse) it probably still won’t get rid of Justin and Diana without some good luck for Bro Nation. Still, it’s a better strategy than simply badmouthing them and hoping they get eliminated at the next tribal council.
After what looks like a frankly terrifying ride through the Argentinian countryside, the teams from the first bus arrive at a countryside estate, where Phil introduces them to their first Roadblock. Justin, Josh and Joey are each given a rack of lambs and a rack of beef ribs and must properly crucify them in order to precisely mimic the grotesque altar of meat that the gauchos have prepared. Once they’ve perfectly prepped their food for the fire, they will get their next clue. It requires a lot of attention to detail, and it probably doesn’t help that several farm dogs are sniffing around as if to say, “FOR ME? YOU SHOULDN’T HAVE!”
Meanwhile, Ernest and Jin are just now leaving on their bus. Vultures fly overhead.
The first three teams are having problems with their meat, in a sequence sponsored by Cialis. Most of them have it flipped the wrong way around, in a sequence sponsored by PornHub. They’re still going at it as the other teams start showing up, and pretty much everyone is getting irritated with Justin’s mugging to the judge and begging for a lenient grade. (To be honest, he probably is a little much if you’re frustrated and not in the mood for schtick, but he’s not that bad to us sitting at home.) Logan, Cindy, James Earl, Tiffany and Danielle take it for their respective teams, although I had to wait until they started shouting each other’s names to figure out some of the who’s who on some teams. (To be honest, I had the same problem with Josh and Tanner until one of them was nice enough to start limping.)
Everyone grabs their meat, in a sequence sponsored by Vivid Video, and gets to work. Just as they’re getting underway, Josh figures out what he was missing and gets his clue, sending them out of there with some pre-cooked meat in first. They head toward the Plaza Principal, and Tanner confides in Josh that he’d just prayed for them seconds before Josh got it right. So apparently God’s cool with them again. Good to know. Danielle confesses that she loves meat, in a sequence sponsored by Trojan, and Justin continues to use every decibel his voice is capable of to call for the judge. Still, he’s self-aware enough to call himself “el stupido Americano”, which is cute as heck.
Joey and Kelsey get out in second, and Cindy and Rick in third. Justin decides to go back to first principles and this time, he gets it right. He and Diana leave in fourth. They all head to the Plaza just as Tanner and Josh get there and get their next clue, which is this episode’s Detour. It’s a choice between “Horse” and “Carriage”, with the former being a chance to properly saddle and bridle a fake polo horse on wheels to match a live model horse, which you must then roll along back to the Plaza; and the latter being a chance to clean out a dusty carriage before rolling it along to get it hitched up to horses who will carry you back to the Plaza. Despite seeing first-hand and very recently how hard tasks can be that require you to precisely match a model with a number of detailed visual clues, Josh and Tanner pick Horse.
On the way to the Detour, Justin freely admits that he was sloppy and failed to pay attention to key details. Probably being a bit hard on himself (Diana agrees) but I’d much rather see someone engage in a little introspection than a little boasting. Meanwhile, the Reporters choose Horse and Cindy and Rick (and by all that is holy, I will not call them Chacattack) choose Carriage. Justin and Diana get to the Detour in fourth and choose Horse, again despite all available evidence regarding their capabilities in that field.
Everyone gets changed into polo outfits, because it wouldn’t be a season of the Race without someone getting stuck in goofy local outfits, and heads off to their respective tasks. Josh and Tanner lose some ground here due to Tanner’s injury, but it’s hard to tell how much because of the Amazing Editing. Speaking of which, we still have not seen Ernest and Jin in the same frame as any other team. Still, there are a lot of teams at the Roadblock…which is where we see Denise make a mistake so big I honestly wasn’t sure if it was a penalty or not at first because I have never seen anyone ever do it on the Race before. She shouts a hint out to James Earl.
This just isn’t done. You can encourage, you can cheer, you can scream and belittle if you really want to, but you don’t get to shout out advice to the person doing the Roadblock. It’s got to be all their own effort. And Denise yells out a huge hint as to what James Earl is doing wrong. I understand perfectly the urge to do this–it’d probably be the thing I’d have the toughest time with on the Race, because I can barely resist the urge to help my wife with Sporkle quizzes, but a rule is a rule. Nonetheless, with that help James Earl solves the problem and they get out in fifth. Jazmine and Danielle quickly follow in sixth. Everyone else is stuck, and Ernest and Jin are disembarking from the bus. Could the Dancers be closer than they appeared?
No they could not. Logan gets out in seventh and Tiffany in eighth without ever seeing Ernest and Jin. Meanwhile, Justin and Diana and the Reporters catch up with Josh and Tanner, who admit that they assumed they would breeze through the hardest reality competition this side of American Ninja Warrior without ever seeing another team. Meanwhile, in the immortal words of my forbear, Miss Alli, God has a good laugh in his tub.
The Bates Family and the Track Stars grab their Detour clues, and both choose Horse. I can only assume that the Carriage Detour involves licking the damn things clean. Or, you know, that it involves walking all the way to the carriage house only to realize that you forgot to change into the polo outfits and grab your buggy whips, like Cindy and Rick did, so you have to go all the way back to the beginning to change. The Fail Gong will ring loud and long in the halls of the Gods tonight.
Ernest and Jin finally get to the Roadblock. Ernest takes it, although at this point it’s clear that nothing short of a non-elimination leg will save them.
Josh and Tanner finally figure out their horse’s tack, and head back to the Plaza just as Logan and Chris take their clue and decide on Horse as well. Jazmine and Danielle and Denise and Norman get to the horses, which makes Justin and Diana and the Reporters a bit nervous but they’re not getting a pass from the judges yet. They’re having the same problem, with the strap just under the horse’s chin. While they futz with it, Josh and Tanner get their clue and start toward the Pit Stop.
Justin and Diana figure it out and get their horse heading back to the Plaza around the time that Cindy and Rick get back to the Plaza and get their buggy whips. Ernest is still mired in meat, in a sequence brought to you by Arby’s. He perseveres, though, and gets his clue just as the Reporters take off with their horse.
Justin and Diana return to the Plaza as Tiffany and Krista get there for the first time. One heads off to the Pit Stop, the other chooses Carriage. (I’ll let you work out which one.) The Reporters aren’t far behind. Meanwhile, the Chac Family gets back to the carriage house.
The Bateses get their horse going and begin a string of bickers over how best to roll it back to the Plaza. Meanwhile, the Douchebros get to the Pit Stop narrowly in front of Justin and Diana, and react to the news that they’re getting a trip to Cambodia with a “Wow…” that makes it sound like they’re just dying to ask the question, “Where’s that?” Justin and Diana get there right behind, and Phil drops a mention that there’s a U-Turn waiting in the next leg. The Douchebros can barely contain their glee, while Justin takes the news in stride much like anyone who’s ever seen the Race before or knows what it is and what the rules to it are would do. Josh and Tanner privately confide in the camera that they don’t expect to see Justin after the next leg, which is a level of hope I feel borders on “delusional”.
Cindy and Rick dust off their carriage just as the Reporters get to the Pit Stop in third. Tiffany and Krista get to the carriage house not far behind the Chacs, while Denise shrieks random and incoherent demands to James Earl. Nonetheless, they get back to the Plaza in fourth and head for the Pit Stop, just ahead of Jazmine and Danielle. The Paparazzi, meanwhile, are just getting their horse straight.
Cindy and Rick and the Cheerleaders both get their carriage cleaned off, but set off without their buggy whips. The Fail Gong tells us that they really should have paid more attention to the cameraman filming something the opposite direction from them with great intensity.
Jazmine and Danielle get to the Pit Stop just inches ahead of Denise and James Earl, but it doesn’t matter because this is where Denise’s loose lips come back to haunt them. They get a half-hour penalty for helping on a Roadblock, and have to wait it out before they can check in. This gives Logan and Chris the chance to overtake them into fifth. Denise complains that James Earl is too upset with her, which has to be about the absolute limit of bullshit, but they finally check in as the sixth place team.
Ernest and Jin get to the Plaza, but still haven’t seen any other teams. The Cheerleaders deliver their carriage, but are told they can’t proceed without the whips. They head back on foot to get the missing whips. Thankfully, they don’t have to take the cart the whole way back and then deliver it again. Still, it means that Cindy and Rick have no real difficulties getting to the Pit Stop in Seventh.
That leaves just the question of whether it will take longer for Tiffany and Krista to get their whips, get back to the carriage, and get the carriage back to the Plaza in less time than it takes for Ernest and Jin to do it right the first time. Again, though, given that we never see any of the other teams in the same scene as Ernest and Jin gives the biggest clue as to how this is going to play out, that and the clearly different position of the shadows in the shots they’re in. That leaves only the hope of a non-elimination leg, and you can tell that Phil hates to let them down by telling them they’re out. Still, they dance cheerfully with the locals in the wake of their elimination, and I at least hope this leads to a few good jobs for them in their chosen profession.
Next time, U-TURN U-TURN U-TURN! See you then!