He brings out the chivalrous side of me. What can I say?” Later Kynt says, “Help me Vxysin; we have to help each other down.” (That was pretty funny!) They’ve performed well three weeks in a row and their story is established. I wouldn’t worry about their invisible week yet. A little Goth goes a long way!
Donald and Nicolas’s story was introduced this week. Don says “I’ll be 69 in a couple of months and I don’t consider myself old and that is why I am letting it all hang out on this trip. It’s a once in a lifetime chance to show what a guy my age can do.” The story was illustrated when we saw Gramps dancing with one of the “feisty and hot” sisters in the streets of Ouagadougou. In Bingo, Nic says “I feel more confident this time going into the roadblock.” Don said, “I’ve certainly been around animals and farms and that’s where the older wisdom part comes in.” Sorry Michel, I think that vision of The Horror is going to be stitched into your eyelids for a few more weeks! I think Donald is going to have a few more experiences and outlast one of the “big” stories before they get eliminated. I’m going to be stubborn and say their story arc is beginning and not ending.
Azaria and Hendekea have finished first two out of the last three weeks and they should be perceived as the front runners. They are of Ethiopian heritage and they were excited to go to Africa, “the cradle of civilization.” Later Azaria says, “Africa feels like home. The opportunity to come here was a thrill for me and Hendekea. Hendekea says “I definitely feel comfortable in Africa and later says of the Blondes “I don’t think the Blondes feel very comfortable in West Africa.” There is an element of cockiness in her attitude towards the other racers. Reflecting on the detour she was almost rolling her eye balls telling the camera about their system of each learning 5 words. “It doesn’t take a brainiac to memorize ten words.” This is the second time they’ve acted “smarter” than the other racers. They've had success in Europe and in Africa. Perhaps another culture/third world country is their undoing.
Lorena and Jason went from first place to last place when Lorena had her breakdown. Jason said, “Lorena and I do have our issues. She gets stressed out a lot. It reminds me of the movie The Exorcist, her head starts spinning – whaaaa – but that’s the stuff we’ve got to start working out.” Normally I would think that their passion would take them far, but I am concerned that after Ronald and Christina, BVM has shoved their story down our throats. They were featured in both episode two and three’s recap and episode two, three and four “next week on…” (Ronald and Christina were featured all those times and the first episode’s “next week on.”) Long term players don’t usually get that much attention this early. At the pit stop Lorena reflects on milking the camel, “I get really stressed out under pressure and being able to get past that is really hard for me.” Jason said, “Emotionally to watch your girlfriend break down and have one of the most horrific times of her life is sad. She kept looking to me for help and I couldn’t help her.” Later when they came in next to last, Jason says, “She’s awesome….The reason why she’s so emotional is that she’s passionate. She’s passionate about life, passionate about doing well, passionate about pleasing me. She has a love for competition and that’s why we’re not eliminated right now.” Their story could be coming to an end. At the beginning of the race Jason talked about not wanting to be committed and here he was supportive of her and effusive in his praise for her. They have passion, but no balance.
Nate and Jen’s editing took a turn this week. Jen’s bitchiness almost disappeared and we saw them, Nate especially, enjoying the journey. At the beginning we saw Nate comment on their team dynamics, “Sometimes Jen, she stresses me out. If I’m doing something wrong she’s going to kick me in the butt for it.” “Sometimes Nate needs to keep his cool and watch his mouth. I’m a little lippy and I know I provoke him sometimes too, but I know I’m definitely working on it, in my heart I know I am.” Later at the roadblock Jen was more supportive of Nathan’s efforts than she had been in the past. Her nipple quote was priceless (and said with a straight face!), and she commented “Good job, Nate," several times. Nate and Jen were happy to be in Paris, they were happy to be in Burkina Faso, they enjoyed the train ride and seeing a soccer game. He says, “It was an incredible, incredible sight. Seeing these villages, knowing that these types of places really do exist in the world and how lucky we are to be here.” This is not the same team we saw during the previous two weeks! Nate talks (on the first flight out of Amsterdam) about wanting to, “take advantage of the time because you never know what will come next in this race.” This is the second time this team has commented about how the race can turn quickly. Is this foreshadowing for them or for another team? This team has passion and they are learning balance.
Ronald and Christina had to deal with Ron’s hernia during the pit stop. We saw a new facet to “Who’s Your Daddy” this week as he became quite the whiner. They however have the desire to win. As they leave the pit stop he comments, “Right now we’re in out deepest low. On the last leg I was not at my finest as a father. I was too harsh in a way that demoralized Christina. If we’re going to win this race, I have to be more uplifting and not criticize her.” Later we see Ronald appreciating his daughter. At the roadblock, Christina didn’t want to follow the others until she saw the marked route. Ronald was impatient and just wanted to go. “Dammit Daddy, I did not want to follow those teams.” He said, “I need to be more trusting about Christina’s ability to lead. She’s leading better than me at this point in time.” This story is starting to come to a conclusion. He did make an improvement overnight like Christina said he needed to do last week. He is changing his attitude towards his daughter.
Shana and Jennifer’s edit really expanded this week. Shana left the pit stop saying: “Jen and I may not look as good as we would like to look right now but there is no alternative. There’s a million dollars at stake. We want to win that million.” That was a shift away from complaining about needing facials and massages. It seems like we spent a lot of time with them this week and what we saw wasn’t pretty! As a team, they could become our villains. They had problems negotiating the price of their cab fare in Ouagadougou. But instead of feeling sorry for them, we found their behavior unpleasant. Jennifer said, “Shana, relax, this guy isn’t going to take our money.” Then she comments, “This place is scary, where are we going?” Shana replies, “to be sold to people…for money.” Then when the cab driver only gave them 1,000 change instead of 2,000, Shana muttered, “I told you so.” As they exited, the cab driver called “bon voyage" with a leering grin. Later in the train station, Shana commented negatively, “I’m pissed everyone caught up to us.” We aren’t meant to like them. Their insensitivity on the train added to that. Shana made fun of the passengers and Jennifer complained about the dirt as she was bathing herself with antibacterial lotion. But later Shana (who agreed that her teammate was an idiot last week) was complimentary, “I was impressed with Jen. She didn’t complain. She just drank it, ” and told her “I’m really proud of you. You did a great job.” They were also singled out for a mat chat when Phil asked Jennifer why she was so passionate about wanting to stay in the race, “We’ve worked so hard to be here and I don’t want to be eliminated right now. I want to stay in it as long as possible. It means so much to me.” They’ve raced well and we haven’t seen them doing anything stupid yet. This team is shallow, but they’re not afraid to get down and dirty, and they want it (which is different than being passionate about it). I think they could go far.
If I had to guess at the final three I’d say TK and Rachel, Shana and Jennifer and Jen and Nate (but I reserve the right to change my mind next week – a calm, a passionate and an in-between.). The fan favs often go out in 4th place and I’d give that spot to Kynt and Vxysin.
surfkitty sig shop 2007