Since its Saturday already, I was going to keep this short and sweet like this holiday week, and then I read Michel’s post and I could make it even shorter: Ditto!
The two big stories continue to be Ron and Christina and Jen and Nate. Phil concentrated on them during the “previously on” segment, “While Ron and Christina continued to flourish, Nate and Jen completely disintegrated. The strong teamwork paid off for the father-daughter team while another top three finish left Jen and Nate with bigger problems to solve. After the commercial break Phil asked, “Will Ron continue to let Christina step up and take charge and will Nate and Jen be able to fix their deteriorating relationship before it’s too late?
Ron and Christina
In my mind, their story has been done to death. We haven’t learned anything else about them, and its time for them to go. They peaked when they finished the Croatian leg in first place and they have no place else to go but down! The editors use a lot more irony to highlight things as we get towards the end of the race and we caught a glimpse of it when Christina said, ““Coming in first place is a testament to our relationship and how far we’ve come. Now that the competition is heating up, it is key that our relationship remains cohesive and strong.” We see hints that Ron hasn’t totally changed his ways this week and there is more to come next week. I also took it as a bad sign when serene Rachel comments, “I have no forgiveness or respect for the way Ron treats his daughter.” I expected their demise last week; I really expect it this week!
Nicolas and Donald
As Michel said, their story is about perseverance and avoiding last place. On the way to the fast forward Nic said, “We gotta take a risk,” and Don replied, “I’m with you all the way.” It also continues to be Gramps Great Adventure and he added another one when they went for the fast forward and got tattoos. Don wasn’t overjoyed with his tattoo but now has another thing to add to his list of life experiences. “I never thought at my age I’d be getting a tattoo.” Their story has been in the background for the entire race so even though Don says that he’s getting into the race and he thinks they can win it, I don’t think they will.
Kynt and Vyxsin
Their sharp negative downturn in editing also gave me pause. If it continues I would say they would be getting the fourth place edit like Danny and Oswald and Season 10 Dustin and Kandice. The previews indicate that they get devious, but they are marked for elimination, so this could just be a momentary dip in their luck. How they are portrayed next week should help explain how far they make it.
Rachel and TK
Their positive outlook on the race and with each other is good, but TK’s self-described, “I’m too mellow for this,” also describes their editing! We don’t know very much about them at this point in the game, but just to play Devil’s Advocate for a moment: TK’s mom’s text message was very appropriate to them, “Dig down and grab that strength,” and TK comments, “It just gives me more confidence in the race to know that I can win this thing.” We are shown their weak moments and I still think that the editing is hiding their strengths. We see them constantly lost, but Rachel was the first one to notice the clue in Ancona and she was confident that the invention detour was something she could easily do. Despite the fact that they can be very poor racers, there is something about them that I can’t put my finger on.
Jen and Nate
During the two week hiatus, after I got over their horrible behavior in Dubrovnik, I kept going back to the image of Jen and Nate on the train in Burkina Faso. That was a winner’s scene – they were enjoying the scenery, commenting on the culture and appreciating being a part of it all. They are going in an opposite editing arc from Christina and Ron. As Phil asks, will Nate and Jen be able to fix their deteriorating relationship before it’s too late?” I think the answer is yes, but we still have 4 or 5 more episodes to go, and the chance for more conflict to arise between these two. They have gotten a lot of attention, and their story has been linked to Ron and Christina’s for the past few weeks. How they are edited once Ron and Christina are eliminated will help determine if they are the winners or not.
Jen asks in the beginning, “As far as Nate and I being together at the end, it’s totally unpredictable.” The average viewer would think she was saying that about their relationship, but I wondered if it was also a clue to the end of the race - that they would still be together and in it for the million dollars. If they can keep it together and win, I won’t find it scary; it’s the Mr. Hyde side of their relationship that is scary to watch!
Some of the balanced teams are starting to fall apart, but Jen and Nate are strong racers when they are calm. I will try to rewatch the first episode again for clues to the final three that we may not have seen at the beginning of the race.