Wow, after two weeks of seeing things differently, I went back and edited my post down a little since we noticed a lot of the same things! I don’t think there is a boot list spoiler out there; I’m not aware of any spoilers other than the one that Banzai posted, but I haven’t really looked for it either.
Azaria and Hendekea came in first again. This week we saw Azaria being cocky. At the start of the leg he said, “There’s nothing stopping Hendekea and I from getting first place every time and winning the million dollars.” Azaria was also obsessed with getting Hendekea to go faster, “Can you run a little faster?” “Pick it up.” “What can I do to get you to move faster?” She replies, “I’m going as fast as I can! I’m telling you!” We see them happily and confidently go about on their African adventure, Hendekea tells us, “Azaria and I travel to Ethiopia together and the feeling I always get when I travel to Africa is amazing. The people are always so happy and friendly and warm.” Again we see how comfortable they are in Africa. They breeze through the “Shake your Booty” dance, we even see Azaria give a leprechaun leap. At the goat market, Azaria is still on Hendekea’s case, “Hendekea, come on!” Ironically, Hendekea is the one who spots Phil at the mat and her quickness gets them their first place finish.
Despite three first place finishes we aren’t getting a rounded view of them. We see no strategy, just confidence and a bit of cockiness. Even their sibling rivalry isn’t much, but that little bit of conflict is their story. They’ve hit their stride in Africa, but I don’t see a storyline that will carry them to the finish.
Jen and Nate have recovered from their first leg to finish 2nd (or almost 2nd!) place three times in a row, something they are not happy with. Jen swears, “The last two legs we’ve finished in the top three. If we’re this close, we’re going to make first place.” They seem to have gotten their mouths under control, and we saw them enjoying the race. Jen said “Yay, we get to keep a pet with us.” Later we hear that Jen was a LA Clipper dancer and she was fairly good-natured about their penalty seeing the irony in it. They chose not to U turn anyone because as Jen says, “We’re going to win this like frickin’ men.” (Oh, the irony of that compared to her speech at the mat!) At the market, Jen and Nate are intent on coming in first; Nate mentions several times that they want to beat the siblings and want first so bad. They want it so badly that Jen asks them to let them win! (That’s manly?!) As they’re running, “Come on you guys, you’ve gotten first three times!” When Phil tells her that she looks like she really wants to come in first, she told him, “It’s very frustrating. I want to come in first. We want it really bad. I feel like everyone should have their time and they’ve had their time two times before this.”
Jenny is intensely competitive (and slightly entitled acting) and they both want this badly. We have seen them in a negative light fighting and we have seen them enjoying the racing experience, now we’ve seen how close they’ve come to finishing first. Their quest for first place is their story.
Ronald and Christina came in third, their best finish yet. In the recap, Phil once again reminded us of Ronald’s hernia. Ronald rates their relationship by how they are performing in the leg, “Our relationship is definitely improving. We have moved from bottom place to fifth place. That’s a vindication (cut to Ronald walking and talking about his hernia). Hope I can change even more dramatically.” Christina adds, “I’ll continue to be patient.” At the roadblock, Ron starts ordering Christina around again (in Chinese). “Daddy!” “Okay, I’ll shut my trap. May the force of good fortune be with you,” and it was. Christina’s sharp eyes spot Phil first in the race to the mat against Don and Nick. Ronald complains about his hernia again as they run to the finish mat. They tell Phil, “We’re finally racing at our level and we’re happy."
We haven’t learned much more about them and their story hasn’t progressed. They have been mentioned in every recap, and now Ron’s hernia is acting up. Their comment at the mat shows tells us that they have met their goal. Their story is drawing to an end.
Don and Nick also had their best showing, coming in fourth. Nick tells us, “I like having a grandfather like Don, 60 years of life experiences is a great pool to draw from.” Don added, “Even though I still can’t run with the 23-25 year olds, I’ve got 40 f***ing years on them so I must have learned something during that time.” Nick was nicely accommodating his grandfather’s ability to run or not. This team’s edit has interested me - you know that Gramps has a mouth on him, but we haven’t really seen it yet. Nick is a bit boring, but has a dry sense of humor, “We just passed the pinkies and it seems like our taxi cab driver himself is racing for a million dollars.” (I wonder why the editors chose to include that particular phrase?) They chose the “Shake your Pan” detour and it turns out that Don has some experience in panning too. His sharp eyes helped to spot the market and Phil singled them out on the mat this week, “This feels nice, four legs in 4th place. It must feel good.” Don tells him, “We’re steadily moving up the ladder.”
Also of note, Nick and Christina have formed a friendship. She told him “Good job Nick” in the market and he tapped her on the head. Later on the mat, he wrapped his arm around her shoulders. I don’t know if it’ll affect the outcome, but the editors were showing us a friendly side to their personalities.
Don and Nick are having a great grandfather-grandson adventure. Nick can be a little clueless, but Don’s experience is keeping them in the game and so far, that is their story.
Kynt and Vxysin struggled a bit and finished in fifth place. Kynt narrated about the Goth lifestyle several times, and then we heard Vxysin emotionally speak about her experiences in Burkina Faso. Kynt said, “Typically when you see Gothic oriented people, on the surface they look kind of distant. But we are both sincere and genuine people and it’s gone to our advantage so far.” And we saw in the marketplace how the children helped lead and cheer Vxysin to find her way. Vxysin had some trouble at the roadblock but was emotionally moved by the culture and their environment. We hear more about her experiences in the market during their cab ride. She gets teary describing it, “It was so crazy back there…mountains of garbage and muddy. It’s been an emotional day…We’ve been in Africa for a few days. Initially I was just taking it all in and you know…the people are so wonderful and they grow up and live, and that’s it for you, you know.” And we heard from them again at the mat when Phil asked them what kind of reaction they had gotten from “walking around in your pink outfits and white make-up?” Kynt said,”it’s amazing how open and tolerant these people are. Everyone has come up with a smile.” Vxysin continued, “This is just unbelievable, life-altering and amazing. Some of the things we have seen are absolutely heartbreaking. Yes it’s a race and yes we’re focused on a goal, but we’re also not blind. It was difficult for me to experience such wonderful people who have so little.”
One last thing to note, Kynt, at the U Turn says, they’ll “wait and use it later.” (hmmm.)
To give so much attention to two unique individuals and their experiences in Africa seems to indicate that they are long-term players. I would like to see some strategy from them and not just a focus on their idiosyncrasies.
Shana and Jennifer spent another week at the back of the pack. At the pit stop Shana says, “Jen and I are great friends. We both definitely have input and we both definitely speak our minds. We bicker back and forth about things.” That sets the stage for next week’s quarrel with each other. This week their story revolved around their use of the U turn. Thinking that only Lorena and Jason were behind them they chose to make JayLo do the extra task. It was all Shana’s decision, “We have to, it’s a game. They are right behind us and they are a strong team. (One of them commented, “That’s a really good picture of us!” In case we’d forgotten how shallow they can be!) When Jennifer balks, Shana says “Jen, it’s not about being nice. You want to be out of the game because we’re nice?” Jen replies, “I just think karma’s a bitch.” Shana is insistent, “its part of the game. It’s not a bad karma thing. They’re not our friends, they are our competition and it’s for a million dollars and I’m not going to risk it for someone to be mad at me.” Shana’s competitive streak comes out again when Rachel and TK’s van passes them, “we have to be better than them at the roadblock; we have to be better.” Jennifer still thinks it’s a mistake when she talks to TK. So much time was spent on their decision to U-turn a team that is no longer in the competition, that it must be an issue at some point in the future. Shana keeps her cool during the roadblock, but is a little negative, “I can’t deal with this.” We’re so screwed.” Jennifer continued to worry that Jason and Lorena would catch up and zoom past them. They were happy and relieved to finish in sixth place.
They are the only team to have two stories at this point. One is the stress in their friendship, the other is the fact that they used the U Turn and how this is going to be perceived by the other racers left in the game.
Rachel and TK had miserable leg and finished in seventh place. Phil asked at the beginning of the leg, “Will TK and Rachel’s calm and steady approach keep them moving ahead?” Well this week, it was just barely. TK comments, “I think the more pressure we put on ourselves, the better chance we have of messing up. So we’re keeping a calm head, enjoying ourselves; slow and steady.” In the beginning we saw TK fooling around with the chicken and teasing Rachel. The laughs are gone when they get to the detour. They decide to switch to panning and can’t find it. They are frustratingly unobservant! We hear from TK about the U-Turn, “I think it was a bad move on the Blondes part strategically. I think the Blondes might have a target on their back.” Later he says, “its unfortunate Jason and Lorena got U turned. We would not have done it.” Time well tell if he’s just commenting on this situation since Jason can’t or if those words will come back to haunt him. At the roadblock, they know that they are in the back of the pack, but TK stays calm, “its show time! Calm and collected all the way,” he reminds Rachel. “Do you know where you’re going?” “Yes,” she’s sure. She got hopelessly lost! Rachel keeps her cool, goes back to Safi Baba and gets pointed in the right directions. At the pit stop Rachel is stunned to find out they weren’t last.
Rachel and TK are athletic racers and have a positive partnership. They are severely directionally challenged though! We wouldn’t be surprised if they get eliminated because of it. Their story is if they can stay calm, cool and collected and still stay in the game.
It seems as if Jen and Nate, Kynt and Vxysin, Shana and Jennifer and Rachel and TK could be our final four. But I don’t want to forget that The Amazing Race editing is never clear-cut. Remember that we never thought Lynn and Karlyn would make the final three at this point in the game! Azaria and Hendekea and even Don and Nick could be a surprise final four team. At this point, I agree that Shana and Jennifer and Kynt and Vxksin have the right balance of stories, desire and talent to be the winner.
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