“Amazing Race” Pro-Tip: If flying a long distance to a foreign country, whenever possible attempt to find out the traffic patterns in your destination city. It’s not hard. On an airplane, walk up and down the aisles saying, “Is anybody here from Istanbul? What’s morning congestion like?”
That’s about all there is to say about Sunday (November 4) night’s episode of “The Amazing Race.”
Once we get that out of the way, I’m only going to get into pointless moralizing tips like, “Yo. Don’t steal.”
Why should either of these tips be necessary?
Dunno. But we’ll discuss after the break…
Let’s go in reverse order with this week’s two important tips:
1) Don’t steal.
I’m not sure if this needs to be a no-brainer or if it needs to be codified in show rules, but come on!
Leaving Dhaka at the start of the Leg, all of the teams had to stop at the same travel agent. All of the teams discovered that there was only one way to get to Istanbul and that the teams would all be equalized heading into Turkey.
Somehow, shuffling between computers at the travel agent, Abba of Mark & Abba either dropped or put down the wad of cash they’d been give for the Leg, $100. At this point, either Natalie or Nadiya of Team Twins saw the money. Rather than saying, “Hey, did somebody misplace some money?” or just leaving the money on the ground, she brought Team Longhorn in on the criminal conspiracy and they agreed to keep the money, with Lexi convincing Trey to be part of the theft. The two teams knew with relative certainty that they were taking money that belonged to a fellow “Amazing Race” team and they basically had to know that they were stealing money from The Rockers. They also did it knowing how long would have to pass before the flight they were all on, so they would have known that the taking of the money wouldn’t lead to The Rockers being eliminated. It would just inconvenience them. And they did it anyway. The rules on “Survivor” have always been that you can poke around wherever you want and that nobody’s stuff is considered private, but you’re not allowed to take that stuff and make it your own, right? I think “Amazing Race” may need a similar rule, because there’s nothing you can say that’s going to convince me that what the Twins and Longhorns did was “part of the game.” They stole money from a guy whose father is dying and from a guy with a debilitating knee injury. Well-played, twits.
And, in doing so, they forced the Rockers into one of the positions I hate most on “The Amazing Race”: Contestants having to beg for money, in this case the not-unsubstantial sum of $100. There was a season or two that that was the penalty accrued by teams after surviving Non-Elimination Legs, but the producers must have realized how unseemly it was to have contestants begging native Egyptians for money and whatnot. I’m not sure what choice Mark & Abba had, with Abba taking responsibility for letting the money fall out of his bag. At least they walked past the neighborhood in which there were actual beggars. And at least they had the decency to feel guilty. And at least they appeared to only get the money from fairly well-to-do locals. And it made that one Bangladeshi guy look really magnanimous when he was all, “This is my country. You are my guest.” So they got their money and they got it in a hurry and they made it onto the same flight as everybody else. But at least the Twins and Longhorns came away from the Leg with 50 extra bucks. No literal penalty was incurred and no karmic penalty was visible.
Sigh. So it’ll just be something for me to wait and ask about when the Twins and Longhorns are eliminated: “Did you know you were stealing money from a grieving son and a cripple?”
As for the other tip, the tip that started this recap…
2) If flying a long distance to a foreign country, whenever possible attempt to find out the traffic patterns in your destination city.
The clue telling them to travel to Istanbul told them to go to a location and instructed them they could make it there via either cab or subway.
Five of the teams went with the cab. Did they ask on the plane and get information or did they flip a coin and go with the taxi? Dunno.
Two of the teams — Team Monster Truck and Team Chippendales — elected to go with the Metro, on the reasonable grounds that while taxi might theoretically be preferable, Metro might be faster in the event of traffic jams or whatever. Note that the flight into Istanbul was scheduled to arrive at 6:25 a.m. On the Metro, James & Jaymes asked a local about traffic, learned that early morning traffic in Istanbul is minimal and jumped out of the Metro and rushed to a cab. Rob & Kelley, preferring to be lone wolves, muttered snark about the Chippendales being followers and didn’t get off the train.
And that’s what determined Sunday’s Leg of “The Amazing Race.”
The five teams that took cabs were able to ferry across the Bosporus first and they maintained that advantage throughout, with one exception. By jumping out of the Metro and cabbing it, Team Chippendales got to the ferry ahead of Rob & Kelley. And Rob & Kelley crossed the Bosporus in last and were then in last at the Detour and last at the Roadblock and last to the Pit Stop and last to the mat and they were eliminated from “The Amazing Race.” After blaming a ferry conductor for costing them a million dollars two Legs ago, they had nobody but themselves to blame this time around.
I mentioned the one exception and that would be The Beekmans, who finished 90 minutes behind the second-to-last-place teams in the previous Leg and thus faced a Speed-Bump.
And what devilish task did the “Amazing Race” producers come up with for Brent & Josh?
They had to eat an ice cream cone.
That was their penalty.
They had to wait around through the obnoxious “entertainment” that allegedly precedes receiving ice cream in Turkey, but once they dealt with that clowning, their penalty for finishing 6.5 hours behind the leaders of the last Leg was… eating an ice cream cone. This makes that one Speed-Bump where the team had to sit in a sauna van for 15 minutes make arduous and time consuming. And even the eating of the ice cream cone proved moderately difficult for Josh & Brent, who ignored the requirement to find a marked truck, ate an ice cream from a different truck and then had to go and eat a second ice cream.
So their penalty was eating two ice cream cones.
But it was kinda that sort of leg for “The Amazing Race.”
It’s like the producers realized how difficult it was for the teams in Bangladesh. Certainly the teams complained about it enough. So the producers let the teams recover with a long equalizing flight, a series of scenic journeys and then, to prove the show means business, the teams faced a Detour that asked them to choose between Scrub It and Simit.
In Simit, teams had to deliver three carefully stacked trays of pretzels/bagels to three dining establishments balanced on their heads.
In Scrub It, teams had to go to a Turkish bath and get cleaned and massaged.
Ummm… How horrible?
In Scrub It, teams were required to do nothing, so it stood to reason that it was a task that would offer neither advantage nor disadvantage to the teams doing it, other than the advantage of being carefully bathed, exfoliated and massaged. So it made complete sense that the first teams arriving all picked Scrub It. The Beekmans, lagging a little after being forced to eat ice cream, did Simit, as did Rob & Kelley. They felt, very reasonably, that the Detour was structured in a way that practically promised that although Scrub It would be relaxing and humorous and therapeutic in every way, Simit would offer the compensating reward of possibly being faster. All signs pointed to that not being the case at all. Simit appeared to be harder and more time consuming and in all ways inferior to just getting a back rub. Ooops.
So the teams in Scrub It all got cleaned and scrubbed at roughly the same speed and so nothing in the finishing position was impacted.
There was a little shuffling thanks to the Roadblock, which asked one player from each team to serve 40 glasses of Turkish Sherbet (a beverage, it seems) for 1 lira apiece.
This is the kind of Roadblock we’ve seen all around the world and it generally has tended to reward a certain kind of outgoing contestant, usually outgoing pretty girls. So it wasn’t surprising that former cheerleader Lexi rocked the Roadblock and that Team Longhorn finished first for the Leg, winning a trip to Australia, in addition to the $50 they stole from the Rockers. Mazel Tov!
Although Abbie might have done better at the Roadblock by following Lexi’s template, Ryan did just fine — he got a local to help serve as intermediary, as he put it “I’ve engaged a broker on a commission structure” — and finished second, followed by the Rockers and the Twins, who may not have won, but at least they picked up the $50 they stole from the Rockers. The Chippendales made up time by doing Scrub It and finished fifth, followed by the Beekmans. The editors briefly pretended there was tension involving a traffic jam and cabs and whatnot, but that was just a ruse.
Rob & Kelley are gone. If Rob hadn’t lambasted that one employee for no reason, I’d have probably been OK with that. His larger-than-life personality and physicality were appealing enough and Kelley was capable as well. I liked them much more than I like the Beekmans, who need to stop saying over and over and over again that they’re not quitters. I get it. You’re not quitters. You’re just slow Racers.
Other thoughts on this week’s episode:
*** The ongoing tensions between The Twins and Abbie & Ryan remain mysterious, but they only seem to be escalating. Nadiya cheering for Team Longhorn to win just so they beat Abbie & Ryan is silly and while I assume Ryan was 100 percent joking with his “They’re so juvenile. They can suck it,” it’s not exactly defusing things. I sense that Ryan is too vocal in his annoyance at the Twins and that that probably rubs them the wrong way, but we haven’t seen much reinforcement for the notion that Ryan & Abbie are “weirdos.” Dunno. It’s odd.
*** I would have expected more pixelation at the Turkish Bath. I’m not saying I wanted more flex. It just seemed like everybody was really over-dressed.
*** Now I know never to get Turkish ice cream.
*** Nobody ate the Turkish Delight they were presented at the cluebox for the Detour. Me, I’d have done Scrub It and just noshed away while getting my rubdown. Yum.
What are your thoughts on this Leg? Any brilliant questions for Rob & Kelley?