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The Amazing Race 8 (Family Edition): Thinking Smart in Episode 2by Jeffrey Clinard -- 10/11/2005
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The Family Edition of The Amazing Race has rewarded teams with superior navigation skills, as every segment of every leg has been a drive-yourself task. Some teams have done well in navigating the streets and highways of America, and they have been rewarded for it. Others have been eliminated because of their errors. The Rogers family was eliminated due to faulty navigation, going east on Route 30 instead of west. That time lost was never recovered.
In fact, since so much of the race appears to be drive yourself travel, it’s going to be very important for teams to correctly read maps and navigate the roads of America. Good maps are a wise investment, as are a few minutes asking directions at a gas station if needed. In fact, gas stations should provide triple duty – buy gas, get or confirm directions, and use the facilities (if needed). It wouldn’t hurt to ask if there are any shortcuts either. The Godlewski family filled up the tank toward the beginning of the leg and sailed right through it. The Paolo family was reduced to finding a gas station in the suburbs, and it cost them.
However, a few other teams lost a lot of time because they failed to follow my number one thinking smart tip: follow the directions. The clue said to look by the reflecting pool by the U.S. Capitol. However, some teams failed to read the entire clue, or didn’t quite understand it, as they went to the one closer to the Washington Monument. Only four teams made the right choice the first time, and they are now in first, second, third, and eighth place (the Paolo family, while making the right choice, had other problems that led to their poor showing in this leg). In short, teams that read their clue and follow the directions were rewarded for it.
The Detour was another task where team composition was a consideration in terms of considering which task to perform. If a team had four strong members, the “Heat of the Battle” (carrying five wounded soldiers off the battlefield) was a good option. If they didn’t, “Heat of the Night” (moving an oil barrel, filling 20 lamps, moving them, and lighting them) was the better option. However, I think most teams were better off with the “Heat of the Night” option no matter what the composition of the team was. The main bottleneck on the task was the flow of oil out of the barrel, but after that each team member could easily carry five lamps and light them up.
The Roadblock was an amusing spy game, where briefcases were exchanged after the code words were spoken. The only clue was that the briefcases were identical, though there was no penalty for making an incorrect guess as there has been in similar tasks (such as the masquerade ball in The Amazing Race 2). Thus, it was kind of a waste of time to try to identify the right spy through the briefcase; all they needed to do was provide the code phrase. I suspect the real reason for the identical briefcases was so the spy could insert another clue envelope in the one they just received.
With two legs finished, some teams are starting to emerge as excellent racing teams, while others appear to be struggling. Which teams were thinking smart in episode two?
Weaver Family: This family has made a lot of good decisions, which placed them in the top three ranks in both legs, winning this leg. They wisely asked somebody about the reflecting pool and were the first to obtain the clue located there. After being the second to complete the roadblock, they showed they had learned something from the previous leg, where they realized in the “Buggy It” option that strength wasn’t their strong suit. By selecting the “Heat of the Night” option, they more than made up for their difficulty locating the detour location and ended up in first place. Well done.
Linz Family: The Linz family made a huge jump in standings this week, going from ninth to second in the standings. This is largely due to a vast improvement in making decisions in this episode, showing they have learned something from the first leg of the race. They got a map, which was good enough to show the U.S. Capitol reflecting pool. This alone moved them from last to fifth place. They dropped a few places after the Roadblock, but their “master map” moved them forward to third place at the Detour. Since the team consists of strong young adults, they were the team best suited to the “Heat of the Battle” option, and passed up the Godleski sisters in the process. Overall, they did a great job of racing in this episode.1 2 Next-->
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