Recap: ‘The Amazing Race’ – ‘Smells Like a Million Bucks’

04.10.15 3 years ago

I know that sometimes teams are going to get lost on “The Amazing Race” and that every once in a while, getting lost is going to get a team eliminated on “The Amazing Race.”

But if you're going to get lost on “The Amazing Race” and that's going to be your undoing… Try to make it dramatic. Ask 50 people for directions and get increasingly more flummoxed. Fight and throw your maps in the air in outrage. Bang your head against your car horn repeatedly. Go the wrong way and end up in an ocean or accidentally steer yourself into a foreign country, through a hostile border, forcing armed guards to shoot out your tires.

Oh and don't get so horribly lost that you get eliminated from “The Amazing Race” when you're in one of the smallest countries in the world.


More on Friday's (April 10) “The Amazing Race” after the break. But not much more. I don't care a lot…

Farewell to Jeff & Jackie, whose “Amazing Race” blind date ended because they got lost in Monaco. How did they get so lost? Dunno. Where did they go versus where they were supposed to go? No clue. How far behind the other teams did they get and how close did they come to skating by? Shrug.

Perhaps because of the close quarters of the Monaco streets or maybe partially restricted airspace or… Well, I don't know what… I don't know why the “Amazing Race” editors and photographers were so incapable of providing footage that contextualized what happened to Jeff & Jackie on tonight's “Amazing Race,” but the flaccid inability to depict the story of their elimination in any clear way had me convinced that they were about to be spared by a Non-Elimination Leg, because I don't know what to say about their axing other than that several teams got lost, but Jeff & Jackie apparently got more lost and that was that.

The gimmick of Friday's episode was that even though there were several flights leaving Munich for Nice and there may have been gaps separating the teams from that, they were basically equalized because it was important that the teams play dress-up, which meant that the men all looked dapper, the women all were falling out of their gowns and wearing inappropriate shoes and the teams were basically racing in tandem with minor variation based on randomness and minor directional difficulties. It was a pretty episode and a well-dressed episode, but it was an episode designed for dating and not for competition. Value such things as you see fit.

The episode began with a cute — but again, not all that competitive — Roadblock in which one Racer from each pair had to follow directions to collect a dozen Princess Grace roses and a box of chocolates for their partner, who was lounging on a yacht. Olympic athlete Steve gained a little time in this Roadblock because he was able to jog up and down hills much faster than anybody else and more consistently, because it's nice to be in great shape. [His partner Aly wouldn't have had the same advantage, because although she's also an Olympic athlete and also in great shape, she'd have been doing the same task in truly inconvenient footwear. It concerns me when there are tasks that have this problem, because it's not like Aly was begging to be in dumb shoes. But… whatever.] And Mike, of Mike & Rochelle, lost a bit of time because not only is he not in the best shape — Rochelle called him “Sweaty Mike” — but he also got lost on foot, though he didn't seem to falter too much, giving us the indication that it's hard to get permanently lost in Monaco. This would prove to be not completely true.

Then teams had to go to a casino and place a bet on a roulette table. Depending on the color the ball landed on, teams went to either Don't Slack Off or Win By a Nose. This was called a Detour. It was not a Detour. Don't pretend it was a Detour. A Detour is a choice between two tasks. Sometimes, rarely, teams have to make a guess based on name, which isn't really a true Detour either. In a true Detour, you're making a guess, but you also have the ability to quit the task you choose and try the other, sometimes for better and sometimes for worse. In this situation, teams were assigned a place to go and they did what they were required to do and that was that. There seemed to be advantages and disadvantages to the different tasks, but nobody was making choices so that didn't matter.

In Win By a Nose, teams got to brew up a perfume and a cologne using a selection of labeled and unlabeled scents associated with Fragonard. The challenge was mostly linked to the unmarked bottles, which corresponded to recognizable smells like coconut and orange and caramel, but who's to say what scents are recognizable after you've had your nose in 20 other aromas following multiple sinus-impacting plane flights and nights of limited sleep.  So it was a bit slow and each team that did the task failed at least once.

In Don't Slack Off, teams had to zipline across the hills of Monaco at 2000+ feet and then walk a slack line back. Granted that if people had serious issues with heights, this was awful, but nobody did. What would have happened if somebody had been reduced to a quivering bag of fleshy phobias? We never found out. Jeff was scared, but Jackie loves heights, so they cancelled each other out. Nobody else had a negative reaction and most of the reactions were excited.

Don't Slack Off took significantly less time. Nobody failed. Nobody really hesitated. The teams did what they needed to do and ran along and the top teams all seemed to have pulled ahead of the Win By a Nose teams. 

However, the top three teams to finish the Leg came from Win By a Nose. Does that mean Win by a Nose was closer? Does that mean Win By a Nose had an easier path to the Pit Stop? Does that mean that the three teams who did Win By a Nose were smarter and got better directions? 

I have no clue. [Friend and colleague Myles McNutt did some mapping.]

So Hayley & Blair somehow won the Leg, even though they weren't the first team to complete Win By a Nose, no matter how much pleasure Hayley took in their shared experience as chemistry minors. Was her point that they were both experienced using pipettes? We saw nothing that confirmed her assessment that they were doing things that rewarded their skillset. They were behind Aly & Steve and Tyler & Laura in finishing the Fake Detour, but they made it to the Pit Stop first. Congrats to Hayley & Blair, who didn't fight at all in this episode and took that as a sign of some sort. They also won a trip to South Africa, a five-night vacation for two. Was I reading into Blair's reaction the terror and discomfort at winning a vacation with Hayley? 

Four teams did Win By a Nose and they were the first three teams to finish, only Tyler & Laura, who got lost but not as lost as Jeff & Jackie, I guess, finished after Don't Slack Off Teams. 

Why did this happen? Dunno.

Not much else to say about this episode. Jeff & Jackie were cute in elimination.

“I had the most badass girl out of all of them,” Jeff said. 

“He's gonna be in my life forever. I'm gonna give him my number,” Jackie agreed.

Farewell, I guess.

Other thoughts on this episode:

*** This was the first time we saw Mike & Rochelle fight. I didn't like it. They need to be functional and loving together, darnit. They made a smart move to go to the gate at the Munich airport and get on standby for an earlier flight, making up a gap of three hours on several teams that just settled for later flights. It didn't matter because of the post-tailoring semi-Equalizer. Oh well. Still, I didn't like Tyler talking about Mike & Rochelle as a weak team. Laura & Tyler? Zero Leg wins. Mike & Rochelle? One. 

*** This episode definitely set a record for most uses of the word “bougie” in an “Amazing Race” episode. “Bougie” is a term that I detest, because nobody uses it the same way. As I understand it, it's about putting on airs, thinking you're upper class if you're not. Monaco's not bougie, yo. Monaco's wealthy. And nobody was using “bougie” to refer to putting on airs, they were using it to refer to being classic and rich. But I did laugh at Laura & Tyler taking their middle names — Magdalena and Hays — as their new “bougie” names, even though it was just a one-off joke rather than a running joke.

*** We've now eliminated two straight Blind Dating couples after starting the season with three quickly eliminated established couples. Of the remaining Blind Dating couples, only Laura & Tyler seem to be approaching this as anything other than a temporary business agreement, not that they're getting romantic on-camera, no matter how much Phil Keoghan is begging people for juicy details. The desperate pushes for prurient teases haven't brought out the best in Phil.

*** Jelani and Jenny didn't do well this episode. Jenny was stressed and Jelani announced he'd had enough of her hectoring. Last week, Jeff & Jackie hid Laura & Tyler's fanny packs. This week, they went home. This week, Laura & Tyler specifically didn't mention to Jenny that they had her map, which caused some of the Jenny/Jelani discord. We'll see if there's karmic payback next week.

That's that for that! Your thoughts? 

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