Here is what I saw: Almost everyone has a story of some sort. How each team’s story progresses and evolves will help determine who will last until the Final Three.
The big stories:
The recap from last week focused on the dating couples. Phil praised the Goths saying they impressed all the other teams and highlighting Kynt’s quote “The bitch-ass Goth kids lead the pack.” He then went on to emphasize that Nate and Jen and Lorena and Jason need better teamwork, he recalled that some teams flourished (Christina and Ron and Kate and Pat shown), while others came to a complete halt (Jen and Nate again, Ari and Staella). The siblings, Azaria and Hendekea, came in first, while Jen and Nate edged out Staella and Ari. Since we don’t have an alpha male team this season, the dating couples could dominate the competition and those were the teams that were featured.
After we return from the commercial break, Phil again reminds us of Kynt and Vxysin and Jen and Nate: “Will the dating Goths continue to impress the other teams with another strong showing and will Nate and Jen overcome their bickering and move out of last place?”
Even though Jason and Lorena came in first, I felt like this was Nate and Jen’s episode. When they left the pit stop we heard Nate say, “Jen and I are very competitive. That’s what I love about her.” She said, “This was a wakeup call, it’s all Donkey Kong from here.” That was an odd, but appropriate analogy – they will have a lot of obstacles to dodge to get to the end. They bickered at the detour, with Jen badmouthing Nate for his lack of “manly skills,” but figured out quickly who should be tying the knots and hoisting the furniture. Jen was a ball of fire at the roadblock. She is an intense person! (I found them humorous this week as well and I’m not sure if I was supposed to. At the airline counter Nate said, “We were so lucky,” Jen retorts, “the other lady was just quicker.” At the roadblock Nate says to the camera, “She’s tough, (Jen comments, “That was nasty!”), she kicks butt,” and to Jen he says, “I’m so proud of you.” Jen scoffs at him, “That was pathetic.”) They have a dynamic that viewers will hate or love to hate! As they were riding their bikes to the mat, Jen spits on the road. Shana then says, “I can’t believe that frickin’ little bitch did it.” I’m not sure that quote was in regards to Jen’s spit, or to something she did at the roadblock. In any event it didn’t need to be included unless the editors wanted to put an even more negative spin on Jen. A villainess in the making?! Their bickering and competitiveness, plus their potential for nastiness, is giving them fleshed-out edit.
Kynt and Vxysin are going to be featured because they are so unique; that they are decent racers and may be competitive is a bonus. One story is their “cartoon character” lifestyle. Kynt said, “I can’t wait to get to Amsterdam. They’ll love us…” At the detour we saw another reference to a cartoon when Vxysin said she felt like Bugs Bunny with the heavy weight swinging over her head. Kynt said, “When you’re playing The Amazing Race, you’re in the dark—“and Vxysin added, “and usually of course, the dark is our favorite place to dwell.” Was this just a Goth statement or foreshadowing? They are also being shown as competitive. Last week Staella said they were, and this week Hendekea said, “Kynt and Vxysin are serious competitors. Kynt runs around like he’s on speed. He has some serious adrenaline. We need to watch out for him.” The Goths are characters, they are performing well and the other racers are noticing Kynt and Vxysin. There are several directions their story could go; they should be around for a while.
Ronald and Christina have been all over the first two episodes! In the first episode Ronald was the jovial father reuniting with his daughter for a grand adventure and getting to know each other. This episode his true colors came out. He is demanding and irrational. Leaving the pit stop Christina misplaces her fanny pack and Ronald berates her. Christina said, “My father and I are learning to work out the kinks in our relationship.” (How many times are we going to hear her say that before they’re eliminated?!) When they stop to use the internet he badgers her to hurry up, “Let’s move. Do you have your fanny pack?” Just about every time Ronald opened his mouth he said something negative. He didn’t want to “Hoist It” because he didn’t understand the knots, but then complained about the searching task. He denigrated her at the pole vault roadblock. Throughout it all Christina kept her State Dept. cool! But at the end she looked pretty demoralized. Ronald admitted that “the key is communication skills and I’ve been a little crass towards my daughter. I’m like the Archie Bunker of the home where anything goes.” She replied, “You should treat your family like gold if there’s love there.” (Ouch!) Christina added, “In this race you need to make improvements overnight.” Their story is can they?
The teams with potential:
Azaria and Hendekea: They raced well this week but lost time by choosing the bike detour and then by missing the bakfiet drop-off. Last week Hendekea said she wanted Azaria to know she can make good decisions. At the beginning of this episode, Hendekea said that she would like to prove something to her brother. “He’s constantly pushing me, pushing me.” However, they worked well together at the detour and Azaria was very supportive of Hendekea at the roadblock, so their story was on a holding pattern this week.
Jason and Lorena: Their story is the typical dating couple one: how they communicate and how they fall apart when they don’t. The first thing out of Lorena’s mouth when they left the pit stop was, “We’re golden, we’re calm and composed now” Jason said, “These challenges are supposed to get us connected. We’re getting along now, wait till we make a wrong turn.” (With the previews from next week, we have a little foreshadowing. When they’re calm, they do well. When they’re not….) We saw them blow through the detour and saw a brief commentary, “The detour was a really good moment for us. We worked together fast.” Jason pole vaulted over the bog on the first try and they were off to the pit stop in first place. Lorena said, “Jason and I feel more confident with each other and our discussions.” Jason said, “We want this to be a stepping stone in our relationship.” Their story is to be continued…
Nicolas and Donald: They don’t have much of a story yet, but they don’t have a big conflict between them either. Nicolas said he won’t yell at his grandfather to run or hurry up, but it drives him insane that he goes slowly. Their airline encounter with Ronald and Christina interested me. Nic appeared anxious and assertive, but he was always polite, “Please move faster.” We never saw him act disrespectful towards the agent. Rather we heard Ronald say that Nic was abrasive and used bad language and Christina trying to tell them to act with more courtesy, that it will get them further. This helped show Ronald in a poor light, but I also wonder what else we’ll see from Nicolas and Donald down the road. Despite seeing Donald in his skivvies, they were portrayed sympathetically this episode. I think Donald could be the one with the mouth on him!
The teams without a story yet:
Rachel and TK: At the pit stop, TK said, “My relationship is way more important than the race. Why don’t we enjoy it at the same time?” They’ve made stupid mistakes and their heads may not be in the race the way the other teams are. But once again the editing did not focus on their struggling. At the detour, Nate and Jen struggled, switched and finished before Rachel and TK decided to switch positions, yet it was barely emphasized. On the bikes, neither one of them saw Phil! Was Rachel foreshadowing their demise when she commented, “It’s a crappy feeling to know that teams are passing you when you’re trying so hard and it’s slowly slipping away.” They need to step it up a notch if they’re going to make it past mid-point (unless they are Ray and Yolanda v.2.0).
Shana and Jennifer: They’ve finished well the past two episodes but we don’t know much about them past their shallowness: shopping, manicures and facials, and their stupidity Jennifer said, “I can’t figure out how to work the bright lights unless I’m just an idiot,” “She says that a lot.” replies Shana. They have enough physical skills (especially Shana) to last a while, but they complained the race was much tougher than they expected. If we don’t get to know them next week, I doubt they’re long term players.
Marianna and Julia: The prospects for this team are bleak. They weren’t given a quote leaving the pit stop; we only saw them pick a slower route to the airport which caused them to miss the plane everyone else was on. We barely heard from them this leg (except to learn that Julia(?) was a track star and pole vault was her favorite event!). They found the bakfiet drop-off no problem, but they don’t seem to have good enough racing skills to keep up.
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