Alliances begin to form, and then break up again, as The Amazing Race enters its second leg. We find that there is justice here, though, as some of the worst sports end up finishing last.
After being postponed for a week due to the terrible events of September 11, the second leg of The Amazing Race has ended with some interesting twists and turns. The second team eliminated was Kim & Leslie (teacher/roommates). I must say I was glad to see them go, but I’ll get into that later. Last episode ended with the teams resting for 12 hours at the first “pit-stop” of the race, Songwe Village in Zambia. There teams have a mandatory rest, and then leave exactly 12 hours after the time that they each arrived. The clue they were given to get to the next route marker was “Find the Songwe museum.” This was somewhat of a trick clue, because although they didn’t know it, the Songwe Museum was only a 5 minutes walk from the village itself. All of the villagers knew exactly where the “museum” was (it was really nothing more than a hut), but no one outside the village even knew of its existence. Very sly; in fact, this whole episode indicates that the producers of AR are going to be very creative in the clues and routes they give the teams.
The top 3 teams (the life partners, the lawyers, and the separated couple) decided at the beginning to join together and pool their resources. No one thought to ask the villagers first, and since Margarita (of the separated couple) thought she had seen a road sign indicating the museum, all 6 people jumped into their SUVs and sped out of the village. I must say that I was surprised that only ONE team (the grandparents) thought to ask the villagers first, and they easily found their way down to the museum. All the other teams left the village by car until they started one by one to figure out that the museum had been right under their nose. Once the teams got to the route marker, they were given a camera and an option for their next task. They had to go to one of two game preserves and take polaroids of specific animals. They could either choose to go to a nearby game preserve, where they had to photograph 3 somewhat elusive animals (rhino, zebra, impala), or they could go to a game preserve that was farther away where they only had to get one picture of a relatively easy to find elephant. Almost every team chose Near rather than Far.
But they all had a third option: the Fast Forward pass. If they found this pass, they could go directly to the next pit stop. However, you can only use the Fast Forward option once per game, and only the first team to reach it can use it. Pat & Brenda (single mothers/ best friends) decided to try their luck with the pass. The clue said they needed to find Bundu, which it turns out was a white-water rafting outfit. There they had to make their way down-river through some very treacherous looking rapids in order to find the pass. They succeeded, and were informed of the location of the next pit stop, the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.
All the other teams made steady progress getting their pictures at the game preserve. Bill and Joe (life partners) decided to ditch one of the teams in the top three alliance: Frank and Margarita. They did this basically because frank is a huge a**hole, and an extremely bossy control freak. He treats his wife, Margarita, like total crap, and it’s very clear to see why they are separated. So for the moment the alliance was just between the top two teams, lawyers and the life partners. Once the teams took the necessary photos, they had to present them to Chief Mukuni, of Mukuni village. He gave them their next clue, a figurine of the Eiffel Tower. Next stop, Paris.
This proved much harder than it might seem. Getting a 6,000-mile flight from Africa to Paris, at a moment’s notice, is not exactly easy. All the teams scrambled to the airport, and there was real tension as the teams begged, pleaded, cried, and argued with the airport personnel in desperate attempts to get the earliest flight out. At the airport there was a small “incident” between two of the teams, the teacher/roommates (Kim & Leslie) and the engaged couple (Paul & Amie). Amie was waiting next to Leslie as the latter argued with a ticket agent about getting tickets. When the agent asked if Leslie needed four tickets, Leslie very rudely put her open palm in Amie’s face in the “talk to the hand gesture” and sniped, “I’m not with her.” This understandably pissed Amie off, and as she waited with her fiancÚ she said that she’d like to kick Leslie’s ass, or push her off a cliff. Catfight, woo-hoo! The teams spent several frustrating and impatient hours trying to book their flights. Pat and Brenda’s fast forward advantage all but disappeared during the bottleneck at the airport.
One by one the teams eventually got in the air headed for Paris. At the Paris airport Kim and Leslie again showed their true character, or lack thereof. As the teams scrambled to get rides to the Eiffel Tower, Paul and Amie were sitting of the back seat of a taxi as it waited in line to leave the airport. All of a sudden Leslie jumped in the front seat, yelled at the driver, and finally offered him a bribe to ditch Paul & Amie, and take them instead. Not only was this a truly spiteful thing to do, it was really pointless; as there was a long line of taxis they could have chosen from. Amie was dumbstruck and infuriated by Leslie’s actions, and as she was forced to leave the cab, she yelled at Leslie, “You’re a fat bitch!” Amie cried most of the way to the Eiffel tower.
As the teams arrived at the tower, they found the flag at the base and were confronted with a “road block.” This is a task the teams must complete before they move on to the next location. The trick is, only one member of the team can attempt the task, and they must choose which one before they are informed what the task is. The clue was “Make your way to the second level of the tower, and check out the telescopic view, it’s monumental.” What this meant is that they were to put a ten-franc piece in a sightseeing telescope, and find the yellow flag located on top of Paris’s second most famous landmark, the Arc de Triomphe. By this time, Bill & Joe had abandoned their alliance altogether. They found out that the lawyers had never traveled outside the USA. Since Bill and Joe had lived in Paris for several years, they concluded that the lawyers would just be dead weight. Bill & Joe, or “Team Guido” as they like to call themselves, quickly found the flag. Rob and Brennan, Frank and Margarita, Kevin and Drew, and David and Margaretta (the grandparents), all found the flag relatively easily, and made their way in that order to the pit stop. Pat and Brenda had arrived first, since they were allowed to bypass the roadblock. There they were informed by a Frenchman, “Welcome in Paris (sic), you are in first place.”
Back at the tower, Paul and Amie took a while to figure it out where to go, mainly because Paul was very stressed out and unfocused after of the taxi incident. Lenny made a huge mistake, when he gave up on locating the flag, and just made a wild assumption that he and Karyn were to make their way to Notre Dame. Kim and Leslie really screwed ups when they totally missed the flag and the roadblock at the base of the Eiffel tower. They wasted tons of time while they blindly made their way up and down the tower trying to find the clue. Back at Notre Dame, Lenny and Karyn quickly realized their folly, and after some bickering made their way back to the tower. They arrived just as Kim and Leslie had finally found the roadblock, and were themselves trying to figure out where to go next. Lenny and Kim both noticed the final flag at the same instant, and rushed to the Arc.
Kim and Leslie blew the race at this point because they for some reason assumed that there were teams behind them, and didn’t realize that they had to race Lenny and Karyn for the last slot. Leslie said, “There’s no need to run.” After they arrived by taxi at the Arc, they wasted more even precious time as they haggled with the cab driver over their change. Apparently they value 30 francs more than a shot at winning a million dollars. They knew the jig was up when they saw the host waiting for them at the base of the arc. He informed them that they were in last place, and were out of the race. Good riddance.
If I had to bet at this point, my money would be on Bill and Joe. They are well-traveled and intelligent, they work together as a team, and most importantly, they speak fluent French. No matter where they are in the world, that is going to be an advantage. This week’s episode was even better than the last one. There was more drama between the teams, and the race was much closer. I can’t wait to see if it gets even better next week.