LAST EDITED ON 04-06-06 AT 05:46 PM (EST)
Since long threads are slow to open sometimes, I followed ECP’s advice and opened a new one. If you want to read the discussions in the first one, it is linked here
First we had many new posters at the end of the thread, so let me welcome Irishfan, Donracefan, JoeC and Mavs_fan. I hope to read more from you. Irishfan, I see you have good arguments for Fran and Barry. I had seen the confrontation between Lake and Michelle and them in episode #1 more to show Lake had strategy but it could be a sign of a future confrontation. We could say that F&B’s brush off last week was being mean for no good reason. We see L&M as villains but we haven’t seen them do anything bad to F&B (they did “help” however briefly). Of course anything bad happening to L&M is reason to cheer and could be seen as positive for our old couple.
This episode started with a recap of the whole season up to now. For the first 5 episodes, the statement that stood out was “MoJo excelled in leg #2”. Phil casually mentioned the first places by our 2 leading teams. This recap was meant to inform all the fans that hadn’t tuned in to the 10:00PM show. The early exposure for MoJo coming in a show where they would be heavily featured is something to take note. They received credit from Phil and an underdog status all at once.
As for the previous week’s recap, only 2 teams besides the DD’s had negative comments: Lake and Michelle for falling behind with a bad plane connection, which could be seen as unlucky to new viewers. And Dave and Lori when Lori FALTERED with the statue, which could be seen as undeserving to go on. No word on all the problems RaYolanda had. Was it really in question who would be eliminated? The same pattern has been observed in all recaps opening an elimination leg.
This short leg was a chance for teams to catch their breath. No major shuffling happened and if it hadn’t been for the traffic in Catania, there probably would not have been much drama either.
BJ and Tyler’s edit has changed slightly. The race is still fun. They make “Team order” signs to mess up the other teams. They were “wet cats” with the swordfish. What was new is that they gave us a comparative analysis of the Frat Boys. Telling us “It’s our game, we travel well and have experience in these situations”. Also saying “the Frat Boys are nice guys but they are dumb and… have dumb luck, which eventually will run out”. Did anyone see a touch of arrogance in the hippies? Calling Monica “Fish Barbie” after hugging her with their stained clothes wasn’t being nice either.
Those two teams see the race as only being between themselves, already practically dismissing the other teams. Can we really blame them? Until one team gets ahead of them, all discussions could be like comparing which team has the best farm system while the two top teams are 20 games ahead of everyone else. If BJ and Tyler do win this race, what part of their edit would be different?
If they were to win, I would expect to see at least some scenes where they are asking themselves which way to go. It would at least put some doubts in the viewer’s mind. Everything seems to flow TOO easily, to be TOO much fun. Can the Frat Boys’ early success be enough to “hide” the hippies’ final victory, to make us pay attention, hoping for a win by the “good guys”? I know not everyone likes the hippies but the editing goal was to have the majority of viewers on their side. With their popularity at 50% and all the other remaining teams under 10%, they’ve achieved their goal.
What about Eric and Jeremy? In the Frat Boys case, we’ve already established that we would have heard less talk about girls and seen less frowns from Phil. They have been lucky and indeed, it should run out. To rule them out, I would prefer hearing it in their confessionals rather than from an opposing team.
The Frat Boys say that they are “learning as we go”. They are focused now. That is two weeks in a row. Without the girls, they do well. They know they don’t match up to the hippies’ experience so they didn’t waste any time. They made sure to always be ahead and made a quick move to keep the advantage despite an agreement to stay together. They are more athletic and could be more ruthless when it will be needed.
It was MoJo’s episode more than anyone else’s. For the second time, Monica starts by telling us we should pay attention, that she has “a lot of strength…ambition…motivation and I am an asset to my team.” Joseph also notes “I am proud of Monica”. For the second time, the events didn’t quite prove them right.
Not that it mattered then, but was anyone surprised when Monica said 41 and Joseph said 40, that he immediately said “we’ll go with 41 then”? Will Joseph be right at some point but follow the wrong direction Monica points out? It stood out a bit as something that was useless to keep in but could foreshadow future dynamics in this team.
Their detour was painful to watch. Monica started by having fun, teasing passersby with the swordfish, then realizing “the fish is disgusting… is heavy” and that “this is ridiculous”. Later sitting down, almost giving up, saying “It’s the worst thing I’ve ever done”. The camera focusing on her tears seemed too much. I don’t think that if we were meant to cheer for these underdogs, they would be shown so miserably. Their pain could’ve been abbreviated. I don’t see winners portrayed that way. Especially Joseph saying “I’m gonna stab the locals in the head” and “I had to ask so many times that SOB if it was him”.
I could be reading their edit all wrong and the recognition Phil gave them in the recap was powerful as was her showing back then after saying “I could slow you down against the two guys’ teams” in that episode #2. She did hold her own quite well. There haven’t been many occasions that a team has competed on equal terms with the two top teams. But they haven’t returned to the big stage.
Fran and Barry started by telling us “we know where we’re going and we don’t have to stop to ask for directions”. It is the second week in a row that their initial comments are disproved in the ensuing episode. Last week they had learned from their mistakes yet passed right by another clue box twice. This week, it wasn’t long before Barry realized “This is not good at all” Fran agreed “We don’t know where we are” to which Barry replied “we are screwed”, Fran had to “calm down” her partner. He went on that “the traffic is impossible, we are going around in circles. This is a total disaster” to which Fran suggested “we should go back out of town and come back the other end” (??) They wasted time calling out the ground-keeper instead of going to him. Once more they let us know that since it was “Lake… helping him isn’t happening.”
Fran thought Barry “is pathetic” at the roadblock. What will happen when they are confronted to tougher challenges? I know they have good editing signs but this isn’t a race where the winner will squeeze by. There seems to be less automatic bunching points this season. This season could “make or break” the concession’s future. I think the heat will increase to get the best team to win.
Phil lets us know right at the start that Lake and Michelle have to control their bickering to get out of the bottom. Lake again talks for both, letting it known that “we are disappointed, we’ve made a couple of major mistakes” Michelle sees their arguing as “they’ve only been snags, not major tears.” He was about to make a scene for missing $2 in his envelop and had the title quote about “sleep deprivation” which isn’t a positive comment so it made him look like a complainer once more.
Getting stuck in traffic was like “all 400 000 people are all right here.” Michelle had a better reaction than Monica to the detour, noting, “I have a three year old who weighs 40 pounds, I can carry a 35 pound swordfish”. She did well.
Lake said he was “overruling” Michelle for directions to Siracusa but she told him to “look, it is right there”. He thought “we got lucky on that”. She had to correct him: “No, I am smart”.
The roadblock had to be done by her since he had done all 4. Lake wasn’t very encouraging saying they are “wasting time” and “I should’ve done it”. The feeling we have is that they cannot control their bickering. According to Phil, they will not get out of the bottom.
Phil doesn’t criticize R&Y for last place. He says “will they capitalize on how well they’ve been working together to get out of last place?” To the new viewer, it would appear they didn’t deserve that rank even if we know differently. Yolanda had other comments about her admiration for Ray. It could be getting too much for many. I can’t help to note that they are in last place and trailed by over 4 hours the first place team. They had to have some worries. We saw none of that. It must mean something. Their edit, to me, shows a team that has confidence, knows their limitations and their abilities and are aware of their competition.
When Serendipity told us they have been made to look better than they are, I answered that the simplest reason for that was to create sympathetic winners. An alternate reason could be that disaster awaits them and we are meant to feel sorry to see them go. That was the nerds’ story. R&Y seems to fit more as the real underdog story.
They know they can’t navigate so they stop to ask directions. They have to “make up every second we can” so they decide to park the car and walk. It could’ve been a fatal mistake. Would they find their car after? It wasn’t even of concern and they were on their way to Siracusa as soon as they got their clue. A little drama was added when Ray tipped over in his kayak but nothing came of it. They didn’t have to worry about being eliminated after that.
Dave and Lori’s story was never about winning the race. It was good to see their feelings hadn’t suffered from their turmoil.
This short leg still had some interesting editing developments. I know it is less adventurous to announce a final three that would include both the hippies and the Frat Boys but it seems difficult to rule out. At least, I still don’t see any one of these two as winners. Strangely enough, the Frat Boys have taken a small step in the right direction by being more focused.
What about the showdown between Lake and Michelle and Ray and Yolanda? I still expect something to come from that, but it may not be for the final mat. What could help us decide what happens? If the Frat Boys start expressing some doubts about their luck, it could indicate some incident will eliminate them. If the hippies’ self-confidence grows even more, it would indicate their downfall could happen soon. In each of these cases, I see L&M and R&Y getting to final 3 with the remaining front-runner.
More likely, teams will start mentioning that BJ&T and E&J are certain to make the finale. It will then be interesting to note who says that and who is mentioned as likely third place. If they themselves tell us they’ll make the finals, we can be sure it won’t happen. If other teams mention it, it becomes more likely to happen. Third place team could be seen as belonging to L&M. That is where the confrontation between L&M and R&Y could happen. If R&Y continue to beat each team from the bottom all the way to the top, do you think they’d be stopped before finishing the task? I still see them as winners despite everything.
Fran and Barry are getting close to the end. It should happen as soon as the tasks become more physical. I still don’t see exactly where MoJo fit in this story. They are good racers who can have meltdowns. They seem to be the exact opposite of L&M. L&M have made more mistakes yet haven’t lost focus the way Monica has a few times. All I can say is that I don’t see them as winners.