LAST EDITED ON 11-28-07 AT 01:34 PM (EST)
The recap focused mainly on the problems of the Camel Detour and the race to avoid elimination that Jason and Lorena won over the sisters. Ronald’s struggle with a hernia was the only notable mention.
Donald and Nicolas: Nothing to Talk About
Nick left the pit stop by saying: “I like to have a Grandfather like Don because having 60 years of life experience is a great pool to draw from.”
Donald added: “Even if I can’t run with the 23, 25 year olds, I have 40 years experience on them so I must’ve learned something during that time.” Despite Don’s words, Nick thought they were running very fast.
On the way to Bouda Pelegtanga, Nick was happy: “We just passed the Pinkies and it seems that our taxi driver himself is racing for a million dollars.”
Donald told us they chose the Shake your Pan Detour because “I’ve done a little bit of mining.” They had a good method that enabled them to finish the detour fast, propelling them temporarily to 3rd place.
(I’d have quit the race and stayed there. Seems like there’s a lot of gold in them holes!)
After receiving their clue, Nick kept telling Don to “Let’s go, let’s go ” but as soon as Donald caught up, Nick asked: “Is this the right way? We could be going the wrong way…We’re clueless.”
Being 4th place finishers, Phil told them it must feel nice.
“We’re steadily moving up the ladder” replied Donald.
This team has already exceeded my expectations. Is that their story? Their lack of visibility and their poor racing skills don’t match with their results, proof that what we are doing here has its limitations. Futile? Maybe, especially since I have a feeling that an elimination order has been spoiled somewhere. Why continue then? Good question…
Ronald and Christina: Always Talking
Ronald commented at the beginning: “Our relationship is definitely improving. We’ve gone from the bottom place to fifth place so that is a vindication…Hopefully I’ll continue to change dramatically for the better.”
Christina added with a smile: “And I’ll continue to be patient with my dad.” Right after she had to tell him to “Stop talking, you’re wasting energy.”
They chose “Shake your Booty” as their Detour because Christina said “My dad is a wild dancer.” Despite her advice to always smile and finish strong, the team’s performance was greeted by the sounds of crickets and a 10 minute penalty.
Christina decided to do the Roadblock because Ronald can’t juggle. He can talk however! Even if Christina did a good job loading her bicycle, we heard Ronald giving his input. “OK, I shut my trap” he said when she asked him to be quiet. He wished her “Bon voyage…May the force of good fortune be with you” as she left the market place.
Ronald saluted their top 3 finish.
Christina commented; “We’re finally racing at our level so we’re very happy.”
Although there’s finally more respect between these two, their story is still about how Ronald can’t let his daughter act on her own and how she can’t let her father have his fun. They’re starting to get good results but we don’t hear any comments from other racers about them. The interactions they’ve had with other teams were more to show how tough it was for Christina to deal with her father than to establish rivalries. This was their best episode but we saw them less than in any other. We’ve had no confessionals about the race itself or their feelings about the location and its people. That shows us that their story is only about their personal relationship, not about winning the race. Usually the early season distraction doesn’t make it to the mid-season and I still expect they will leave us soon.
Kynt and Vyksin: Profound Talk
Kynt told us at the start: “When you see Gothic people, on the surface, they look kinda distant but we’re both really sincere and genuine people and it’s gone to our advantage so far.”
Vyksin was the one heard pushing her team mate to go faster again.
Doing the Dance Detour, Kynt improvised some Ninja moves and the crowd looked happy. The judges concurred, putting the Goths in 4th place.
Kynt spoke in the taxi to the Market: “We look like aliens who dropped out of the sky and yet, they’ve been warm and smiling and kind.”
Vyksin was in third place when she started the Roadblock but she had trouble loading her bike, falling behind Christina and Nicolas to Kynt’s despair. Shana and Rachel had time to start their Roadblock before Vyksin got on her way.
Of that ride, Vyksin told us: “There’s mountain of garbage you have to go through. It’s mucky and muddy…All these kids, they started leading me and cheering me and being great.” We heard her telling them “Merci”
Vyksin’s emotions caught up with her during the final ride: “It was crazy back there. Like mountains of garbage…It’s been kind of an emotional day. It’s the first day that it’s gotten to me, the people, the environment. We’ve been in Africa for 3 days now and initially, I was taking it all in…the people are wonderful…” She couldn’t go on and started crying on Kynt’s shoulder.
Bringing their chicken all the way to 5th place, Kynt responded to Phil’s question about the reactions they’ve received for their pink outfits: “It’s amazing how open and tolerant that these people are. Everyone has come up with a smile.”
His companion added: “It’s unbelievably life-altering and amazing.”
Vyksin spoke afterwards: “Some of the things we have seen are heartbreaking. Yes, it’s a race and yes, we are focused on a goal but we are also not blind. It was difficult for me to experience seeing such wonderful people have so little.”
If their story was to be accepted, they’ve more than accomplished that. It gave us very nice television moments, far from the race itself. If we see them focusing on the goal, they could be our winners but for now, they are the feel-good story of the season, the ones we’d be sorry to see eliminated.
Azaria and Hendekea: Mean Talk
Azaria left the pit stop in Bingo saying: “There’s nothing stopping Hendekea and I from getting first place every time and win the million dollars.”
He immediately started asking Hendekea to run faster on their way to the Tribal Chief and their first clue. His confessional continued: “I understand she has physical limitations and all that.” When she objected, he added “you know what I mean.”
She shrugged it off as a joke about a supposed “gimp leg”.
On the taxi to Bouda Pelegtanga, Azaria pressed the point: “What can I do to help you go faster?”
Hendekea answered: “I’m going as fast as I can, I’m telling you.”
Later in the taxi, Hedekea told us her feelings about being in Africa: “The feeling is amazing, the people are always so happy and friendly and warm.”
In the village of Bouda, they had to stop, as Azaria explained; “We’re in first right now, we have teams on our butt and Hendekea has to go to the bathroom.” He wasn’t pleased but it enabled them to observe that Nathan and Jennifer’s dance lacked creativity. Azaria commented “We’ve tried to pick up some of the moves.” It worked because they finished the Detour in first place.
Being first at the U-Turn, Hendekea said they didn’t need to use it so they went by Taxi to the Tampouy Goat Market for their next clue.
Azaria did the Roadblock even if they were first to arrive. He kept a slight lead over Jennifer. Their last clue instructed them to ride by taxi to the Hotel de Ville. Azaria ordered his driver not to let Nathan and Jennifer pass. “We want to get first.” To Hendekea, he said: “We’re going to get first place, I’m telling you. Get your mind focused.”
“It’s focused” was her simple answer.
Azaria almost missed the mat and Hendekea had to scream at him to get him back on course but he edged out Nate and Jenn for first place.
These two are better racers than the first 3 teams but their story is all about Azaria worrying that Hendekea can’t do the job. That storyline has been so reinforced that I wouldn’t be surprised if Azaria actually makes the fatal mistake and has to swallow his pride.
TK and Rachel: Running Around
TK and Rachel’s style of racing received acknowledgment from Phil at the start when the host said: “Will TK and Rachel’s calm and steady approach to the race keep them moving ahead?”
TK explained further: “The more pressure we put on ourselves, the better chance we have of messing up. We are just going to keep a calm head and enjoying ourselves.”
“Slow and steady” he told Rachel as they jogged to meet the Chief.
Rachel was happy with the Chief’s gift. She joked: “No Chicken, no check-in…Yeah! We get to keep a pet with us.” She was laughing in the taxi as TK told her the chicken wanted a kiss.
Why did this team decide to change Detour after seeing Jennifer and Nathan fail but receive only a 10 minute penalty? Rachel found it too hard but changing Detour made them waste a lot more time than the 10 minutes especially since they got lost on the way to the gold mining station. They fell from 2nd to 7th place.
Realizing that the women hadn’t used the U-turn on them but rather on Jason and Lorena, Rachel had this pragmatic comment: “So we’re not last, no matter what now.”
TK’s confessional had a different angle: “I think it was a bad move on the Blondes part, strategically. I think the Blondes, now, have a target on their back.”
In the taxi, he added: “It’s unfortunate that Jason and Lorena got U-Turned. We wouldn’t have done that.”
Rachel did the Roadblock with TK advising her: “Calm and collected all the way through.”
She was calm but it didn’t help. “I’m sorry TK. I don’t know what’s going on right now” she said when she couldn’t load the bike. She still stayed with Shana all the way to the drop point but then she got lost again. “It’s so confusing…I have no clue where I am” she said. She returned to Safi Baba who told her where the market was. She finally made it back, telling TK: “It was the hardest thing I did in my whole life. I had no clue where I was the whole time.”
“It’s OK babe” was TK’s answer.
They finished in 7th place.
With Phil’s introduction, it felt as if their story arc finally took off. We had seen that Rachel had strong self-control but their story was confusing, the camera focusing on them only when they ran into problems. It’s not good that the answer to Phil’s question about their running style received an immediate, negative answer. Wanting to avoid pressure is a good way to start the race but, in the last leg especially, everyone eventually feels the pressure. I don't think they'd fare very well under those conditions. They could be that popular team that falls just short in the end.
Nathan and Jennifer: Running Late
Jennifer was determined from the start: “The last two legs, we finished in the top three. If we’re this close, we’re gonna make first place.”
The team was first at the Detour and chose Shake your Booty. Jennifer explained her choice: “I just finished being a dancer for the Los Angeles Clippers basketball team.” She learned the moves and tried teaching them to Nathan who seemed to lack rhythm. They made their demonstration to the judges but it ended with the sound of crickets! The team was given a 10 minute penalty, leading Jennifer to comment: “We didn’t show enough of our own creativity. I was very disappointed because I’m a dancer…That could cost us first place.”
After the penalty, Jenn added: “I’m going to get so much crap from the dancing world when I get back.”
Choosing not to use the U-Turn, Jennifer commented: “We’re going to win this race like freakin’ men.”
Jenn was the one chosen to do the juggling act even if she had this comment: “What the heck am I doing?” Nate was stressing her out but she got someone to accompany her to Safi Baba, keeping pace with Azaria.
She had a confessional: “That was the most culture shock I ever had because I don’t speak a lick of French.” At least she knew how to say “Merci.”
We saw her intensity on the taxi ride, especially when they spotted Phil on the mat. That led to a foot race and this comment from Jenn: “Come on guys, you got first two times.” They still lost the foot race.
Phil noted her frustration: “Jenn, it looks to me that you really want to come in first.”
She said: “It’s very frustrating. I want to come in first. I want it very bad and I just feel everyone should get their time and they’ve already had their time, two times before this.”
That prompted a response from Hendekea: “I love Nate and Jenn but we’re here to go as far as we can go and I didn’t feel comfortable letting anyone else come in first when I knew we could run and get here first.”
In every episode, we’ve had Jennifer's comments explaining almost every move. This team has been fleshed out both as strong racers and as villains. If TK and Rachel are the “Good Team” that makes the final leg, this one would be the “Bad team”. They’ve had good results but harping on everyone deserving their time showed poor competitive spirit. It was frustrating to finish second in this leg but nothing compared to what the frustration would be finishing second in the last leg. With their initial talk of being so close they’re sure of being first soon, that’s where their story seems to be heading.
Shana and Jennifer: Making a Run
Shana had a confessional at the start: “Jennifer and I are friends. We both definitely have input, we both speak our minds and we bicker about things.”
She wasn’t too sure about putting a chicken in a bag but, once in the taxi, she joked: “Let’s try to think of a good name for him. Let’s name the chicken Phil. He’s got kinda Phil’s hairdo with his spike hair. Looks like Phil!” (We then had a shot of Phil to confirm the “resemblance”!)
The women finished the Detour dance in 7th place but beat TK and Rachel to the U-Turn box.
Jennifer said: “I don’t want to do this.”
Shana countered: “We have to…it’s a game, they’ll understand… They’re right behind us and they’re such a strong team.” They forced the teams of Jason and Lorena to do a U-Turn, Jennifer still saying it was wrong.
Shana didn’t change her mind, her comments before leaving the U-Turn box were: “That’s a really good picture of us”!
(Since TK and Rachel were originally well ahead in 2nd place, it's possible the girls mistook them for Jason and Lorena when they came up behind)
Shana had this to say in a confessional: “We thought we saw Jason and Lorena behind us and not by very far. We figured we would still be the second to last team and they are an extremely strong team so we decided to U-Turn Jason and Lorena.”
Running to the taxi, Shana didn’t like Jennifer’s comments: “It’s not about being nice. Do you want to be out of the game because we were being nice?” In the taxi, she added: “I know Jason and Lorena are going to hate us. We had no choice. We want to say we’re sorry and we love them. It was the smartest thing to do.”
Jennifer objected: “I just think Karma’s a b*tch.”
Shana wouldn’t relent: “It’s a game it’s not a bad karma thing, it’s a part of the game. Right now, no one’s our friend, they are our competition and it’s for 1 million dollars. I’m not risking it for someone to get back at me.”
Jennifer’s look wasn’t one of approval.
With Shana doing the Roadblock, Jennifer stayed behind with TK. She said: “We U-Turned another team.”
He answered: “We would not have made that decision.”
Jennifer gave the excuse: “I wasn’t very happy about it. It was Shana’s decision.”
Jennifer had her say about the U-Turn in confessional: “Strategically, I think it was a grave mistake that we made…/…Jason and Lorena are going to come right around the corner and soon pass us.”
Shana was having her own problems: “There are no marked street signs or anything and trying to ask people who don’t speak the same language as you made it very, very difficult.”
Shana still found her way back before Rachel and told TK she had lost sight of her.
Just before arriving at the pit stop in 6th place, we had a shot of Jason and Lorena in their taxi still heading for the market with Jason saying: “We going to screw over the Blondes.” Phil checking in the Blondes put an end to that.
Was Jennifer’s repent shown to balance Shana’s resolve? It could be a question of balance afterall! The U-Turn itself was probably meaningless, the “Shake your Pan” Detour probably taking less than 10 minutes to complete. I’d like to know how far behind Jason and Lorena were from the 7th place team but they never seemed to have a chance. For something that was insignificant, we certainly heard a lot about it, especially with TK taking over the battle that Jason can’t carry on. Jason and Lorena's story of being the villains, which I misread as a good sign for their own future, could have been stressed to soften the image of Shana and Jennifer. Many viewers will say something like: “At least they used the U-Turn on those two.”
The Blondes already had a conflict with Nate and Jennifer, now the stage is set with TK and Rachel also. Shana and Jennifer fit the theme of pushing their limits to win the race. They would complete “The Good, The Bad and The Ugly” trio of finalists by representing the “Ugly Team”. Despite all their ugly scenes, they still aren’t without good ones. We have seen their humorous side, calling their chicken “Phil” being the latest example. The “Hoist It” detour and the use of the U-Turn showed their determination. If Nathan and Jennifer do finish second, we already know that Jennifer will say she can’t believe the freakin’ Blondes did it. Besides Kynt and Vyksin, who I still see as wild-cards, the Blondes are the only team that have a story pointing to a win.
With that said, Karma could still catch up to them at the second U-Turn. What is the expiration date on bad Karma?