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The Amazing Race 10: Thinking Smart in Episode 9by Jeffrey Clinard -- 11/15/2006
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It’s easier to armchair quarterback The Amazing Race when watching from home. By examining the signs, I was totally unsurprised that the episode was the first part of a double-leg. The first clue was the large amount of money given to the teams at the start of the leg. While they were going to a developed country where prices are higher, teams still received $265, and should always be wary when they receive a lot of cash. It either means double-legs or a low amount of cash to be received in an upcoming leg.
After completing the Detour and the Roadblock, the next set of route information did not mention anything about a Pit Stop at Olympic Stadium. While the first leg of the race had a task before the Pit Stop, James & Tyler not only did not see Phil and a mat outside the stadium, there wasn’t one inside the stadium either. That should have set off more warning bells (they also should have checked their remaining cash against their expenses in the leg. If there is a lot of cash left over, it’s time to start worrying).
While viewing, talk about finishing first or second among Tyler & James and Dustin & Kandice was a clear case of the assumption fairy smiling. Teams really should have noticed that most races now contain a double-leg. Now that teams have been told to keep racing, they should keep in mind Phil’s warning at the start of the race that there were new twists. In short, I wouldn’t be surprised if this ends up being a triple-leg with a double-elimination at the end of it.
During the leg, many teams said they wanted to eliminate another team, either for personal reasons or because they recognize them as a threat. Smart teams should know teams can’t really eliminate other teams. Each team runs their own race, and succeed or fail on their own merits 90% of the time. Between getting mad, getting even, or getting better, the best choice is to get better and outrun the other teams.
Finally, there was the question of whether it was right to jump the taxi queue. It’s certainly not morally right, but as there are no race penalties, Erwin & Godwin were correct in that being polite sucks sometimes. They might have the moral high ground on the issue, but if it were the end-game, they could have ended up losing the entire race. While The Amazing Race allows an ethical team almost as good a shot as winning as an unethical one, there are times when cutting moral corners are a race advantage.
The Detour was a choice of “Swamp This” or “Swamp That” which involved either a mud obstacle course or cross country skiing on mud. Which was faster? Well, this probably depended on the team. The obstacle course was faster for stronger teams, particularly those where one team member had the strength to carry the other. Otherwise, teams were better off with the skiing. The Roadblock did change a few positions, as Rob’s extra strength allowed him to pass Karyln while coming back up the mine shaft.
No team was eliminated, the race continues. Which teams were thinking smart in episode 9?
Tyler & James: The team ran a great leg, starting off by asking the right question about the flight departing Madagascar while they were in the ticket line. After that it was smooth sailing. They grabbed a cab to make it to the school in a close second to Dustin & Kandice. They ran through the Detour quickly enough to make the first train back to Turko. They did a stellar job at the Roadblock and completed the first part of the leg in first place. They’d have done better if they had followed the flags to the stadium office. They also should have waited to change their clothes when they were on the train. While they made the first train, those few minutes might have come into play with a different departure time. Still, for now they are in first place, and it’s hard to argue with that.
Dustin & Kandice: The beauty queens made an amusing statement in that things aren’t handed to them. No, they just grab them. In all fairness, they are running a great race right now, asking the right questions about earlier flights, then getting them. They pushed through the tasks quickly. They were able to grab the first train to Turko (and realized they could change clothes on it), which allowed them to gain an hour on three teams. They performed well at both the Detour and Fast Forward. Their only mishap was missing the race flag at the mine, which cost them a few minutes of time. Still, they are a strong team who are running their own race very well.
Rob & Kimberly: The dating couple ran a fairly good leg with a few missteps at critical points that cost them some time. They jumped the queue in order to get a taxi more quickly, which wasn’t exactly fair to the other people in line, but they paid for it with the bad karma of being brought to the wrong location. That event cost them a chance at the first train to Turko. Worse, they got a bit lost in finding the Roadblock, even driving down a mine at one point. When in doubt, teams should look for the flags. Rob made up the time with a strong performance, but they are still bunched in the back of the pack during this half-leg.
Lyn & Karlyn: The single moms pushed hard to get on the flight out of Madagascar, and were lucky in making it. However, it shows their perseverance, and trading the airline meal for the seats was a good move. They made a good choice at the Detour, and did as well as they could at the Roadblock. More importantly, they understand that they’ll have to abandon their former allies at some point if they wish to win the race. Still, they are failing to recognize they have to run their own race when it comes to Dustin & Kandice and Rob & Kimberly, and are rather hypocritical in taking the high moral ground when they cut in line to grab a taxicab despite the objections of the man at the front of the queue.
Erwin & Godwin: The brothers are struggling, and are in the bottom three teams due to their problems. They made a mistake of running the wrong way to the first train station and had to backtrack. Those few minutes might have cost them a train. Second, while they took the moral high ground in waiting for a cab, they lost time and were the last team to depart for the school. However, their biggest mistake is still attempting to work with Lyn & Karyln. They don’t realize it’s time to play for themselves. By passing on the information about the flight to the single moms, they made them their competition instead of the next team eliminated. It also might have cost them the race in the car chase to Olympic Stadium. They are nice guys, but they shouldn’t be nice guys at the cost of coming in last.
If you haven’t already, be sure to check out these other recent Amazing Race 10 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 email@example.com.
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