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The Amazing Race 10: Thinking Smart in Episode 1by Jeffrey Clinard -- 09/21/2006
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Teams are starting to learn the lessons of previous races, as they were asking the right questions at the airport. Of course, getting to the parking lot was problematic for some teams. Several had a hard time finding the lot, and in some cases that trouble led to a seat on the second flight. The second flight carried both teams that were eliminated, showing once again that the flight that arrives first is a key to surviving the first leg of the race. Dustin & Kandice might have been eliminated if they hadn’t gotten seats on that aircraft.
Unfortunately, the final standings of the leg were muddied as teams which were thinking smart stalled out just short of the pit stop. While thinking smart can help teams, the race sometimes has a physical aspect to it. The loss of position by Lyn & Karlyn shows this quite dramatically. It moved them from a spot in the top four to nearly the bottom of the standings. I don’t really like it, but outrunning the competition has always been a part of the race, and there is little teams can do about it.
The Roadblock was largely irrelevant in determining the order of the teams reaching the finish line. The Detour offered a choice of labor or leisure, with most teams electing to do the brickwork. It was certainly a viable option, and teams did well at it once they figured out the trick. However, the leisure option was completed by two teams. Which was faster? Well, there isn’t much to go on, as the two teams that did the leisure task didn’t seem to gain or lose any ground. However, both teams did pick the option they felt was better suited to their talents.
Twelve teams started the race; only ten remain after one episode. Which teams were thinking smart in episode one?
Tyler & James: The first team out of the parking lot in Seattle was the winner for the leg. They stopped to ask directions to the airport, but still made it to the airport in time for the first flight. Out of the Roadblock, they were the last team to get a 7:00 departure time, but the first to figure out the secret of the labor task. Combined with their ability to scale the wall quickly, they earned a first place finish in this leg.
Duke & Lauren: The father / daughter combo ran an excellent leg, making the first flight and being the second team to get to the Forbidden City. At the Detour, they worked well together and were the second team to figure out the trick to the bricklaying. Overall they did a great job. As a footnote, Duke should start listen to Lauren more - her racing instincts were dead on when she suggested the Forbidden City might eliminate a team. That kind of edge might come in very useful later.
Peter & Sarah: This team has shown themselves as willing to take risks in order to get ahead. They took a chance on the side road to bypass the freeway accident, and were the first ones to the airport by far. They were the first team to the Forbidden City, and have always been at the front of the pack when racing. As a side note, while teams may not like Sarah saying she can work just as well as the rest of them with her prosthetic leg, Sarah and Peter should take advantage of it to gain any race advantage they can. It’s not much different than an older team getting senior citizen discounts.
Dustin & Kandice: The beauty queens have a knack for quickly recovering from setbacks. They first had some problems operating their car, but succeeded in making the first flight by bypassing the car accident on the freeway. Then they recovered from their cab driver taking them to the wrong location in Beijing, by getting a local guide to assist them. They completed the Detour at about the same time as Lyn & Karyln (meaning they completed it in about 15 minutes less time), and raced ahead to the fourth position.
Rob & Kimberly: Despite heavy bickering, the couple did a respectable job in the leg, coming out in fifth. They were seen trying to bribe a cab driver into going faster, which isn’t a bad idea. They completed the Detour fairly quickly, though Kimberly made a mistake in throwing bricks - a broken one means two trips. Overall, it was a solid leg for them.
Kellie & Jamie: The cheerleaders were the first of the teams of the second flight to get to the Roadblock, and one of the few teams to select the leisure detour option. This shows they were thinking smart by playing to their strengths. They also compared the rope climb to a cheerleading drill, which gave them a good boost to the middle of the pack.
Erwin & Godwin: The brothers didn’t run a stellar leg. They were one of several teams that went to the airport parking garage instead of the Thrifty return lot initially. They showed a sense of fun with the water pistols, but should have known better than to carry them into an airport. They were the last team to complete the Roadblock, and got very lucky when Bilal & Sa’eed had cab problems, otherwise they would have been eliminated. They are still in the race, but need to step up their game.
Tom & Terry: The boyfriends ran a solid, if somewhat dull leg, which put them behind several other teams. They were the first to complete the leisure detour, but stalled out a bit in getting to the pit stop. They are in the back of the pack, and it is yet to be seen just how well they can race.
Lyn & Karlyn: The single moms did an excellent job of racing which is not reflected in their position in the race. They were the first team to complete the Roadblock, and the third to the Forbidden City. While they were the last team of the first group to complete the Detour, they were hit hard by the physical part of the race when they tried to scale the wall. Fortunately, their excellent ability to race up to that point bought them the time needed to stay in the race. Unfortunately, this team has spent too much time worrying about Peter & Sarah. There is nothing they can do about how that team races.
David & Mary: This team managed the first flight because they were able to bypass the freeway traffic, but after that things seemed to go downhill for them. They had problems with their cab driver when getting to the Forbidden City, and seemed to stall out on the Detour. They were also hampered by their ability to climb the wall, but were able to eke out a slot in the next leg. If the race continues to have physical components, they might be in trouble.
Vipul & Arti: What went wrong? In short, they lost the race during the segment on the motorcycle. Their inability to find the pedicab station put them far behind the others, and the editors couldn’t even attempt to make the ending seem close. If they had done a better job at navigating, they would probably still be in the race.
Bilal & Sa’eed: What went wrong? They started off with problems with getting to the Thrifty car return, which put them on the second flight. They then proceeded to have difficulties with cab drivers, both in getting to the Gold House, and to the Forbidden City. In short, this team was unlucky, and luck always has its place in the race.
Jeffrey Clinard has written about the Amazing Race since its debut season, writing over 100 articles about the show. He can be reached at Realityfeedback@bookslv.com.
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