The Amazing Race: Thinking Smart in Week 8by Jeffrey Clinard -- 07/10/2002
To begin with, I felt no tension in this episode, largely because the host pretty much gave away that this was a non-elimination checkpoint at the beginning. "Who will finish last tonight?" is not "Who will be eliminated tonight?". The one question I had during the middle of the episode is if I'd be happy or frustrated by it being a non-elimination checkpoint. I'd love to see Team Guido go down, but on the other hand, I'd hate to see Nancy and Emily get tossed. In the end, what I knew in my heart happened, and Joe and Bill checked in before our mother/daughter combo. Fortunately, it didn't make a difference this time.
That given, how did the teams do this week in applying their best resource – brainpower – this week?
Drew and Kevin (Frat Brothers). It's hard to argue with results since they ended up in first place. However, they stumbled a few times. Drew losing the route information wasn't the smartest move they made, and it cost them time. Then again, the train neutralized that, and they ended up in the lead. No worries for this team next time; they are in the race unless something totally unexpected happens.
Frank and Margarita (Separated Parents). Losing an 11 hour advantage hurt them a lot this time. Fortunately, they have picked up the pieces of their relationship and are working well together now. If there was a bad move on their part, it was taking a bus. It didn't hurt them, since the train bottlenecked all teams, but speed over money can win this race. This team is in good shape right now, and almost certain to make the next cut.
Rob and Brennan (Lawyers). They are in third place and are almost certain to survive the next leg of the race because of their time advantage. They made mistakes though. The elephant was slower than the rowboat. Again, it didn't cost them, because they were bottlenecked at the train station. They will make the next cut.
Joe and Bill (Life Partners, Team Guido, Ernie and Bert). One of the strongest teams took a tumble this time, and it might cost them big time. Their real issue seems to be money. It's a hidden resource in this game, and from all appearances, it seems that they may have squandered their funds. Economizing every step of the way this episode almost certainly cost them the 3:00 train. Right now, they are running scared... and no other team feels a bit sorry for them. Next time out it's a duel between them and Nancy and Emily for the Fast Forward. If they get it, they are safe. If they don't, they are doomed. They are a smart team who held in reserve their Fast Forward option just in case of this kind of situation. They know it is time to use it to stay in the race.
Nancy and Emily (Mother/Daughter). These ladies got lucky this time. It was them or the Guidos if it was elimination time, and they were on the losing end of that race. Fortunately, they survived. I'm going to point out two facts though. First, they missed the 3:00 train. That was a result of their bad decision to ride an elephant. Sure it is more fun than a rowboat, but gliding was more fun than biking and they decided then to try and stay in the race instead of go out with a bang. However, even if they had gotten to the train station before the 3:00 train, they'd probably have missed it, due to the horrible discrimination they encountered. Next week, it's either them or Joe and Bill to get eliminated, and it all depends on whether they can get the Fast Forward pass first. The Guidos have extra time on their side, so they are more likely to get it, but the ladies were smart enough to realize their position and go for it as well. The previews show them battling for it, so it's a 50/50 shot for them. The Fast Forward now is a move of desperation, but one they have kept in reserve, a smart move for them. If any other team was put in their situation, they would be doomed, since all the others have burned their Fast Forward. Nancy and Emily have had their problems in the race, but they have survived longer than I ever expected. I wish them the best, partly because they are my favorite team, and partly because I'd love to see the Guidos go down.
Jeffrey Clinard has a Master's degree in marketing, a job he could not be paid enough to return to. He applies logic and strategy to the events of reality TV shows.
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