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The Amazing Race 10: Thinking Smart in Episode 4by Jeffrey Clinard -- 10/11/2006
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This was quite a difficult leg, with problems coming in the form of audible clues and physical challenges. However, another form of challenge emerged with teammates having annoying partners when they were trying to do something. Peter is especially guilty, as he did nothing but cheerleading for Sarah (including when she was trying to listen to directions), then turned around and snapped at her when she did the same thing.
Actually, I was kind of disappointed that teams who did the smart thing by getting a local to learn the audio clue (and possibly writing it down in the native language) gained no advantage over the other teams. I figured they'd all bunch up at the hydrofoil, but instead they bunched up at the bus station. Any team that had problems with the clue would have easily been able to follow another team. It was another point where it might have been better to race in a pack with a few allies so nobody got totally lost. Overall, I liked the audio clue, though it didn't end up shuffling positions of any team.
Teams also had to pick up their dong from a local at a table. That was a nice idea, but I'd have liked a trap where the teams would have been shortchanged if they didn't check it before leaving. It's called taking care of your possessions, and it's a thinking smart tip. Taking care of your clue falls in that category, and Dustin & Kandice blew that one. I think teams should pack zip lock baggies to keep their current clue in – nice and dry instead of the soggy mess the beauty queens ended up with.
The Roadblock was one where the strongest team member should have participated, though with four gone, some teams are starting to be unbalanced in the number done by each team member. The Detour had a choice of “Under” or “Over,” which was largely dictated by the wind. It was simply easier to row with the current to the oyster traps. Only Lyn & Karlyn did the “Over” option, but they didn't seem to gain or lose position through that option choice.
It was quite a physical leg, and one where thinking smart did not come into play very often. Indeed, the most important ability in the leg was the ability to row a boat. Teams were better off if one person did the rowing. Still, what moves were the teams making in the leg that resulted in their overall positions? Who was thinking smart in Episode 4?
Rob & Kimberly: The bickering couple stalled out quite a bit in the early part of the leg, having the most difficult time getting their cab driver to take them to the correct spot. If that clue had been at the end of the leg, they would have lost. However, once to the bus station, they bottlenecked with the others and really made the most of their early jump to the Roadblock. By being one of the first three teams there, Rob was in the first group of climbers, and was the speediest. That allowed them to get a further jump on the Detour. Plus, even when they didn't know what a junk was, they were smart enough to look for the yellow and white flags to guide them (race historians will remember that the flags are yellow and white in Vietnam to avoid confusion with their national face of yellow and red). Overall, it translated to a first place finish.
Peter & Sarah: I'll say this much of their racing – they are doing a great job at the tasks. Speed in completing them has given this team the edge. Also, Peter knew what he was doing when rowing the boat. This allowed them to pass several teams who had problems moving their boats. Overall they had a good leg, despite Peter's unwanted cheerleading of Sarah, who also performed unwanted cheerleading on him.
Tyler & James: The recovering addicts turned in another strong leg, though they often seem to have no luck. They did refuse to help Lyn & Karlyn in the cave, though they probably should have; Lyn & Karlyn are not looking like strong competition at this point in the race. They might have had an better position if their boat driver had remembered to pull up the anchor before they set sail to the pit stop. Still, they are making the most of their physical abilities and doing very well in the race.
Erwin & Godwin: The brothers had a middle position in this leg, which reflects their own ability to row a boat. They passed several teams with poor rowing abilities, but were passed by several other teams. Overall it balanced out, and left them in a pretty good position at the end of the leg.
David & Mary: This team had a strong start out of the gate, but ended up falling behind because of poor rowing abilities. It cost them several positions as teams which started out behind them gained several places. They did most of the other things correctly, but are not looking good at this time.
Lyn & Karlyn: The only team to do the “Over” option did not perform well in the leg, possibly because there was more rowing involved in that option. At times it seemed they did well, with one person at a time rowing, but when going back to the junk they were both trying, and it didn't work as well. They are still the in race, but are not looking good after four legs.
Dustin & Kandice: The beauty queens were behind for much of the leg, and all things being equal they should have lost the race. Losing the clue (in this case, through getting it shredded) is a major thinking smart tip violation, as it led to the violation of the number one thinking smart tip of following the instructions. They wasted valuable time trying to find the pit stop by rowboat. I'm not sure what tipped them to the idea of returning to the junk (perhaps they noticed another team's junk speeding towards the Pit Stop), but they were lucky not to be eliminated. They'll have to do a lot better if they want to be the first all-female team to win.
Tom & Terry: What went wrong? A complete failure in their ability to row, either separately or together. More than anything else, this sent them from a mostly second place position in the leg to dead last. I'll give them credit for using a creative approach to getting their rowboat back to their junk, but by then it wasn't enough to save them.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Amazing Race 9 articles:
Jeffrey Clinard has written about the Amazing Race since its debut season, writing over 100 articles about the show. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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