Amazing Race 4: Thinking Smart in Episode 10by Jeffrey Clinard -- 08/07/2003
Four teams are left, with each of them racing to South Korea. They encountered language barriers, cultural differences, and traffic jams. The players hit their most shocking Roadblock to date – one that required medical help both before and after it was completed. A final Detour gave teams a choice between strong hands and strong stomachs.
We have a situation here in which three of the four teams have Fast Forwards left to use, and probably only two legs left to use them in. Next episode will eliminate another team and then there are two legs left in the race. I seriously doubt a team could Fast Forward to the finish line; the producers want the end tight, not a runaway. So the real question becomes which teams take the plunge and go for the next two. If two teams try, one will gain hours, and the other might be eliminated. It will be the largest bet made in the game's history.
The risk is greater than ever, since trying and missing puts a team further behind, but the reward is also great, as it finally allows a team to get a sustainable time advantage. It was shown in the first race, where two teams finally grabbed a twenty-four hour lead over the third place team.
As I guessed, it was not an elimination round, but it remained a tight race. The advantage the clowns and goats got for their earlier flight was chewed up by a lost taxi driver, and rush hour traffic stalled out the remaining teams. Ironically, the only team that didn't give up their taxi and take the subway made the fastest time. The Detour gave teams a choice between eating live baby octopi or breaking boards with their bare hands. I've broken boards before, so I know that option was quick and easy. The food wouldn't have been so bad, except the tentacles kept clinging to the teeth. Breaking boards was definitely the way to go.
The Roadblock was the first time I've ever had a serious disagreement with the producers over a task. There is fun, scary, and then there is dangerous. Any task that required medical attention before and after it should never have been produced. It's a task I don't know if I could do, simply because I hate being cold more than almost anything else. It separated the teams, but not by much.
In order of their arrivals, which teams were thinking smart in Episode 10?
Kelly & Jon. The last coed team in the race squandered their opportunity to get a faster flight to Korea, but otherwise played well. While the other teams tried their luck with the subway system, it seemed the taxi ride was the fastest way to get to platform 228. They opted to use Strong Hands instead of Strong Stomachs at the Detour, and while Kelly didn't perform as well as the others, she still got the job done. A well earned first place finish and vacation reward capped off a good leg.
Reichen & Chip (have used Fast Forward). Like Kelly & Jon, they didn't look for other flight arrangements while in Singapore. However, they had better luck with cabs this time, finally getting one that could get them where they needed to go. They spent quite a bit of time searching for the clue at subway station 228, losing position to Kelly & Jon, who found them quickly. Of all the teams that investigated the option, only they stuck with the Strong Stomach Detour, which cost them additional time. Also, one question: Why didn't they observe or ask how the locals ate it to prevent the tentacles from clinging to their teeth?
Jon & Al. Getting the standby tickets to get into Seoul was a good move, turning layover time into productive time. Sharing a cab ride with the goats once they reached Seoul was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time, but could have backfired. They could have been ditched completely after the Detour. At this point in the race, saving money takes a back seat to distancing themselves from other teams.
David & Jeff. This was one of the guys’ worst legs in some time. They did well to get an earlier flight to Korea, but their travel time with and without the clowns was the poorest of any team in this leg of the race. While it seemed like a good idea to save money on a cab when they were in the lead, they should have taken it out by themselves to get some distance between their closest competitors. They were also forced to change Detour options as they couldn't handle the octopi, cementing their last place finish. The good news for them is that it was not an elimination round.
Jeffrey Clinard lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, with his cats, Lam and Princess. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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