LAST EDITED ON 11-14-07 AT 10:53 PM (EST)
Thanks Beau for starting this. Always feel welcomed to post your thoughts.
I enjoyed seeing you posting again Peetah. Villains are always fun to watch.
I was glad to read your impressions also CTGirl. We have some differing views on some teams. That should help us figure what is meaningfull and what is fluff. I'll need more time to compare our impressions. For now, here is what I saw:
Women Power and Male Horror
As I watched this episode, I realized how many of the women were strong this season compared to the men who ranged from average to horrible with a big dose of pathetic. Could it mean that an all-woman team will win this time? Let’s not go too fast. That could’ve been only the theme of this episode but if it is the theme of the season, that women are strong racers, then it is worth looking at that angle.
But first, may as well start with the ugly. Two teams served only as
Ronald and Christina: The Horrible Attitude.
Christina said: “My dad and I are learning to work out the kinks in our relation.”
Could this team have been so focused on avoiding the first philimination that they didn’t expect to have to endure each other more than 2 days? Their story took up a lot of airtime and started when Ronald criticised his daughter when she forgot her fannypack.
They left for the airport with the Ministers following them. Ron said: “We are in control leading. It isn’t the blind leading the blind” Father and daughter along with the Ministers stopped to look up information on the internet. Ronald kept telling his daughter to hurry up: “Don’t waste time, come on. You’re becoming ADD like me…Do you have your fanny pack.”
Kate told us: “He was hard on her. I’m just hoping she isn’t having a miserable time.”
In Dublin, Ronald and Christina raced Gramps and Nicolas to the counter to be first on Stand-By. They each found an agent to help them. Nicolas was stressing out. Ronald told us that he was using his usual politeness and not trying to be pushy. He didn’t appreciate Nick’s aggressive behavior so he let him have it:
“You have a mouth that starts with bad energy…That’s your problem, your Grand-Pa is the good cop and you’re the Bad Cop…Booger, Booger!”
Christina had to bring the peace and apologize for her father.
In the end, Nick and Don received the last two tickets to Amsterdam, frustrating Ronald even more. Ronald was still frustrated when he saw the sisters arriving. He told his Daughter: “Now it’s a foot race. Do you have your shoes and everything?”
In Amsterdam, they decided to “Hoist it”. Ronald wasn’t sure: “I don’t know, I’m already confused by that knot.”
Christina told him she knew what she was doing.
Ronald said she could decide but quickly lost patience and said they were losing time and should switch task. But then, he didn’t know in which direction was the parking lot.
Arriving at the parking lot, they saw the Ministers and were happy to still be in the race. Ronald was all over the place in that “ocean of Bikes” but since the Ministers kept losing track, Father and Daughter completed the task in 9th place. They were still fighting, Ronald saying to his daughter “I’m optimistic with the real truth flavor….You have Boogers in your bones”.
Despite that, they made it to the bus stop while the sisters were still there.
The argument continued at the bus Stop, Ronald wanting to reconstruct what they did wrong. “You were vascillating, I let you loose on this thing and you disappointed me.”
Christina was taking it as calmly as she could but said his words hit her like punches. At least he gave her a hug but said it’s not easy for him to change. They got on the bus, leaving the ministers behind. The last team had to wait for a minibus service as there were no night buses to Ransdorp.
At the Roadblock, Ronald started coaching his daughter. He was explaining the principle of the jump, Christina asked him to be quiet so she could concentrate. She finally made it across. Ronald joked that he thought he could’ve done it better.
Riding the cargo bike, Ronald told his daughter that she needed to lose weight and then he took a spill.
At the pit stop, Phil asked about their problems.
Christina said that they wanted it badly for each other, only calling it a differnce in work style.
Ronald recognized the importance of communication skills, ackowledging that he was a little bit crass in the way he treated his daughter. “I’ve become the Archie Bunker of the home”.
Christina had the final words: “You should treat your family like gold.”
Despite Christina’s admirable calm and determination, this team has no chance to win and not only because of their edit. They are the distraction of the first part of the season and it will be hard to get the full storylines of the season while they are there. With that horrible display, hopefully they won’t last long.
Nicolas and Donald: The Horrible Image
Grandfather and Grandson left in 5th place. Nicolas said that: “I would never yell at my Grandfather to run or to hurry up but he has an attitude sometimes of going slowly and that just drives me insane.”
With that, Donald drove the car 10 miles below the speed limit, still managed to jump a curb and get a flat tire. Once they had figured how a jack worked, Nicolas took the wheel.
At the airport, Nicolas told us: “It was a competition to see who could get on the first flight.” They didn’t get reserved seats but the team was lucky to get aboard with stand-by tickets to Amsterdam. (CTGirl we did see the ticket agent ask Nicolas twice to step aside, he didn't and then she went to her supervisor. It was my impression that there was enough to show him as pushy especially since Gramps agreed)
Arriving at destination, they walked to the bridge while everyone else ran. They decided to “Hunt it” and managed to make it to the bus stop tied with 3 other teams in the second group, well ahead of the last group.
In Ransdorp, Nicolas and Donald observed Hendekea doing the pole vault before deciding which one was the acrobat. Why did they settle on Donald after seeing the athletic engineer take a dive in the ditch? I don’t know. Seeing Rachel barely getting over on her first try made Donald think he could do it.
Nicolas wanted to “watch Pinky do it.”
Despite Kynt’s missed attempt, Donald was now convinced he was ready for the task.
Nicolas said: “That could be a costly decision.”
The three other teams were off to meet Phil while Don kept getting bogged down. His clothes got so muddy, he felt he was being weighed down so he got rid of all extra layers, going down to his shorts.
They finally arrived 8th at the Pit stop, being passed by the sisters.
This team has no story focusing on the future. The argument with Ron was mainly to display Ronald, not Nicolas or Donald. Since they are not racers either, we can eliminate them.
Teams with Strong Women
Marianna and Julia: Strong Character
The sisters arrived last at the airport and were told that all the other teams had boarded a plane to Dublin. Julia commented: “Anything you do at this point can cost you the race. One wrong turn, you’re in last place.”
They were thrilled to see the Ministers and the Father-Daughter teams in Dublin even if the feeling wasn’t returned.
In Amsterdam, the sisters ran ahead of their older competition and chose: “Let’s do the bikes. It’s a nice day for a bike ride.”
Confused by the multitude of bikes, Julia said: “It’s amazing. We’ve seen every single bike.”
Marianna commented in a singing voice: “That’s why they call it the Amazing Race.”
Just then, Julia exclaimed: “Rina, it’s here.”
She had found their second bike. They were the first of the last three teams to complete the “Hunt It” task. They had to wait for a bus which put them tied for next to last place with Father and Daughter.
Julia said: “We don’t see Kate and Pat anywhere. We’re hoping this bus gets here before they do.”
With the Ministers missing the last bus, they were practically assured of being safe.
In Ransdorp, Julia told us why she did the ditch vault: “I love track and field. Pole vaulting was my main field event.”
Julia’s first attempt cleared the ditch by a large margin so the team quickly got on their cargo bike. They even managed to pass the team of Nick and Don to arrive in 7th.
For the second week in a row, this team fell to last place during the leg, yet they never panicked or yelled at each other. That shows strength of character. Unfortunaltely, you have to look hard to see even just that as a story for them. I think that Julia was the one with the black sweater who did the pole vault while Marianna was in white because at one point, the sister with the black sweater called the other Rina, I think. However, Marianna is supposed to be the athlete and last week she was called Nanni!?! Two episode and not having a better idea which is which isn’t a good sign. Their future is very much in doubt. I hope to be able to tell them apart before then because they appear to be likeable.
Azaria and Hendekea: Strong Will
First to leave the Connemare Heritage Center were the siblings. The first clue told them to fly to Amsterdam then take a train to Central Station and look for a bridge.
Hendekea commented: “I want to prove something to my brother. He’s constantly pushing me, pushing me.”
Arriving to Schiphol international airport in Amsterdam Hendekea made the right decision by telling Azaria: “We can just run into the train and pay there.” The other teams, trying to buy tickets, missed the first train.
Azaria reached the bridge first and went for the clue. It was a Detour They had a choice between: “Hoist it” or “Hunt it”. In “Hoist it” teams needed to use a traditional rope and pulley system to hoist 5 pieces of furniture up a building. The task required brains and brawn. In “Hunt it”, teams had to make their way to a parking lot and search through thousands of bicycles to find the two bikes tagged with the specific colors designated in their clue. After finding their bikes, teams had to ride them five miles.
Surprisingly, Azaria told us: “I don’t feel comfortable with tying ropes together with knots and pulling up clocks and couches.” This physically fit team chose “Hunt it” and fell out of first place. They were surprised by the size of the garage but went through it.
We had some scenes of them searching the bikes and, after completing the task, we saw them join the Goths who were already waiting for the second bus. In Ransdorp, we saw Hendekea do the Ditch Vault and she asked for directions to the pit stop.
We really didn’t race much with this team after they reached the Detour. Hendekea is determined to prove herself to her brother and she made a strong case, especially at the train station. Their lack of airtime suggests that it is all that their story will amount to. Azaria isn’t shown in such a bad light that we would wonder if she can prove herself. There were no real conflicts between them and no one commented on their nice showing on the first leg. A solid team that should have a solid finish but they look like they will be out of the money finishing neither win, place or show.
Jennifer and Nathan: Coming on Too Strong
Nathan said: “Jenn and I are very competitve. She makes me get on my A game all the time. That’s what I love about her.”
Jennifer, sitting in the back seat, realized that the team ahead took a different road. “The sisters took a right but we found out that this way is faster. So we’re fine.” Nearing the airport she added: “We made it to the airport. We’re praying that the other team will still be there. Most of all, the sisters took a different route than we did. I cannot wait to see who got here first. Ha! Ha!”
Not only did they beat the sisters but two other teams. They exchanged “high fives”. Better yet, quick work by their ticket agent got them the last seats on the first connecting flight from Dublin to Amsterdam, ahead of Nicolas and Donald.
Choosing to “Hoist it”, Nathan started off very well, quickly getting 4 pieces up to Jennifer. After that, it started getting bad as Jennifer grew frustrated because, for some reason, Nathan couldn’t figure out how to do the last knot. He was all mixed up with his ropes.
Jennifer said: “Oh! My Gosh! You’re a guy! You need to do these physical things.”
They had to switch position. Jennifer said: “We’re going to have to switch because Nate cannot, for the life of him, figure out how to make a knot.”
She hoisted the last piece of furniture and the team still finished 4th. Better, they wound up tied for first at the bus station where only the teams of Lorena and Jason and Shana and Jennifer were still waiting.
At the roadblock, Jennifer smartly chose to do the vault but she had problems. She took a hard dive into the ditch. She wasn’t pleased when the judge signaled “No Goot”.
Since Shana had made it on her first attempt, Nathan had this unsavory comment: “Jenn, she freakin’ made it.”
Jennifer wasn’t pleased: “I Know. Nate, do not do this right now.”
Jennifer made it on her third attempt.
Nate commented: “I know she was trying her hardest…She’s tough, she kicks butt.”
He told her he was proud of her but she thought it was pathetic.
They were in third place heading to the Pit Stop in the cargo bike. Jen was seen spitting and, still angry, she said: “That frikin’ little b*tch did it.”
The team caught up to the friends and Jennifer was very nervous looking for the drop off point, not wanting to get passed again. They found it before the two women and arrived at the pit stop in second. We had no comments from them.
Our villains should last far into the race. This was the second episode that Jennifer made disparaging comments about the Blondes without any provocation. This tells me that Shana and Jennifer should outlast this team. Even if that doesn’t happen, this team won’t be our winners. Jennifer is a strong woman, she can kick butt but she is coming on too strong. For two legs, we’ve been shown their bad behavior without any attempt to put it in context. Worse, we saw on screen that Jennifer had no reason to freak out at the Detour as Nathan was doing fairly well at first.
Shana and Jennifer: Strong Showing.
Leaving in the second half of the pack, Jennifer said: “It’s creepy driving at night, you can’t see anything.”
Shana had a confessional: “The race is a shock to our system. Clearly, I haven’t had a facial or a manucure. It’s even tougher than you can ever imagine.”
Jennifer couldn’t figure out how to turn on the car’s lights and asked: “Am I an idiot?”
Shana had a perfect reply: “She asks that question a lot.”
The friends saw that team of “Gramps and the boy” was stopped and they passed them, saying they wouldn’t stop unless they were injured. She added: “We don’t want them to win the race. Ha! Ha!”
The friends arrived at the bridge in 4th place. The two women decided to “Hoist it”.
Shana explained: “My arms muscles are probably the strongest part of my body. I can hoist anything.”
She did attack the furniture with a lot of determination She started lifting the furniture or more exactly, the furniture started lifting her!! That was a funny sight.
She said: “It’s heavier than me so I may lift off the ground.”
But she never stopped. Shana completed the task in third place and collapsed to the ground requesting, with a smile, a chiropracter.
Jennifer commented: “Shana did the furniture faster than most of the men.”
The roadblock was another occasion for Shana to shine. She completed the vault on her first attempt. “Goot Job, Get your clue” said the lady judge. In Shana’s hurry to return to her partner who was cheering on, Shana took a nose dive in the ditch. With mud in her face but still smilling, Shana said: “Oh! My God! I could die”
Jennifer was laughing: “You’re such a good sport.”
Jennifer rode the bike and they finished in third, Phil, seeing Shana covered in mud and Jennifer’s small congratulation gesture, commented as a joke: “You don’t even want to hug your partner.” Jennifer signaled no, she wanted to stay clean.
I felt almost justified seeing this team have a strong showing in this episode. Ever since the sun rose over the Bed & Breakfast in Ireland, ending their first horrible day, this team has done surprisingly well. As with Shana redoing her make-up while waiting for the bus, this may be more about image than substance. I’m still going to say this team not only outlasts Nathan and Jennifer but makes it to the top 4(…or 5)! We saw Shana’s determination and how they have fun during the race, even when full of mud or completely exhausted. I thought the editors wanted us to have fun along with them. That’s a good sign. There remains to see if Jennifer can contribute to the team. It could help!
TK and Rachel: Strong Self-Control
TK and Rachel were happy to go to Amsterdam. TK said: “My relationship with Rachel is way more important than the race. We’ll be going to places we’ve never been before. Why not enjoy it at the same time?”
In Amsterdam, the team decided to do “Hoist it” but TK was unable to make a knot. Rachel was looking on, not worried at all even if they had not scored one piece of furniture yet while others were quickly progressing. TK said: “I’m still on the TV. I haven’t put one piece up yet…I don’t know how to do this…Babe, Kynt and Vyksin finished.”
Rachel tried to explain how to make a knot but TK said: “I don’t think you’ll be able to explain from up there.”
Rachel then told us “It’s a crappy feeling knowing that teams are passing you when you feel you are trying so hard and then it starts slowly slipping away.”
She calmly told TK that it wasn’t working and he replied “That’s because you don’t know what you’re doing...Can you stop talking now.” The team was even showed as Kate, from well behind, told us that others team could be running into trouble.
TK said: “I don’t know what to do…I hit a wall. Do you want to come down here and try?”
They switched and as Rachel tied the TV, the local gave us a weird look. Either she was impressing him with her knot tying skills or worrying him by scrapping the TV on the ground! She said: “My dad would be proud of me right now…It’s not bad. I’m so glad to see that stupid thing up there.”
It was the little Rachel who lifted the 5 pieces of furniture. TK commented: “The furniture went flying up like nothing.”
They were in 6th place. They joined the “Goths” and the Siblings who were still waiting for a bus to Ransdorp. They were also joined by Nick and Don.
Rachel completed the ditch vault on her first attempt and they were off to the pit stop on 4th. TK rode his bike straight in front of Phil without seeing him. Phil looked on, amused at the mistake! They rode all the way back out of the Yatch club and saw Azaria and Hendekea approaching. The siblings gave them proper directions and both teams rode together to the bike drop. TK and Rachel wound up in 6th place.
This team is still bland but I found Rachel to be very Zen, having a lot of self-control. TK fell way behind at the Detour, incapable of doing the task. He even got snappy with her. Instead of getting impatient, Rachel took it all in stride, kept encouraging him and then, when she took over, she was amazing. He was also shown as being resposible for missing the pit stop but she didn’t say a word as they circled the Yatch Club. Does she have the winning attitude? I don’t know if it will suffice. Maybe not because their story has remained in the background for now. It has time to blossom.
Kynt and Vyksin: Strong Impression
The “Goths” had a lot of people talking about them in the recap. From Phil pointing out: “Once in Ireland, Kynt and Vyksin impressed all the others”. We saw Ari and Stealla complimenting their abilities. They left the pit stop in second place and raced to the airport. Kynt couldn’t wait to get to Amsterdam because people there would love them.
Kynt commented: “When you play the Amazing Race, 9 times out of 10 you are in the dark.”
Vyksin completed the thought by saying: “The dark is my favorite place in which to dwell.”
On the way to the airport, we heard Hendekea comment: “Kynt and Vyksin are serious competitiors. Kynt runs around like he’s on speed. He has some serious adrenaline. We’ll have to watch out for them” We will too!
Vyksin told us that she can do the knots because she used to do macrame. Up to that point, Kynt had only done the driving. While doing the task, Vyksin had a few problems with the knot but she still had a funny quote:“At one point, it was very like Bugs Bunny. I had a 300lbs weight over my head, so I was…Yikes!!” After lifting 4 pieces, Vyksin told Kynt he’d have to do the last one. At least, he finished the task quickly, his partner telling him: “You are lovely and Amazing. They maintained their second place.
Arriving with the three other teams of the second group at the Ransdorp Roadblock, Kynt decided to do the task. Somehow he was under the impression that Ditch Vaulting had something to do with a sheep that was in the field. When Kynt found out exactly what the roadblock was, he told us: “I’m not one of those ‘get-down-and-dirty’ kind of boys. I’m kinda prissy.”
After a few pityful attempts, Kynt jumped the ditch and they were on their way to the pit stop in 5th place.
On the way there, Kynt complained that he didn’t want to fall in the ditch: “I’ve had enough mud baths today.”
That got Vyksin upset. She stopped the bike, slapped his rear and told him to ride the bike.
Kynt and Vyksin profited from the mistake from TK and Rachel to reach the pit stop in 4th place.
Was Phil spoiling the winners with all his praise during the recap and the introduction? It almost sounded like a sales pitch to me. Add all the comments from other racers and we have a team that, almost certainly, makes it to the end. Kynt received more comments than his partner but don’t be fooled; Vyksin is the motor of this team. She did most of the detour, she rides the bikes and makes the decisions while Kynt is “prissy”. She has also gotten bit parts as entertainer which is also a very strong sign. Don’t place money yet on them but they have to be considered the favorites to win right now.
That leaves one team where the woman wasn’t particularly impressive in this episode after a poor showing in the first. If the theme of the season is that the women are strong, she’ll have to step up. Unless the theme is: “Don’t underestimate any racer”!
Lorena and Jason: Strong Results
Lorena and Jason were ready to prove they could work together.
“We’re calm now” said Lorena.
Jason seemed to know better when he replied: “Wait ‘till we make a wrong turn.”
He told us: “These challenges are supposed to get us coinnected and I hope they do.”
This team arrived in 2nd place at the detour and Jason started working on the furniture to “Hoist it”. Lorena was excited when she ran in the building. She said: “Baby, you’re doing so good. You are a pro…One more to go, figure it out.”
Jason made quick work of the furniture.
Lorena was amazed and told us: “The detour was one of the best moment for us because we worked together really well and really fast, to move ourselves forward.”
They completed the task first and the clue told them to take the bus to the rural village of Ransdorp and locate a field to find their next clue. They just missed the first bus available.
Lorena and Jason were in the group of three teams to arrive first in the Ransdorp field to discover a Roadblock. One person had to master a skill once used by Dutch farmers in their fields: Ditch Vaulting. With two women competing for the other teams and being well ahead of the rest of the pack, it could be troubling that Jason did the roadblock as it is already his second. At least, he rushed right through the task. Jason and Lorena were in first place. The clue told them to ride “Cargo Bikes”, Bakfiets, through the countryside while searching for the Pit Stop at the “Durgerdam Yatch Club.” Lorena excitedly told Jason: “You’re my hero! We made it!”
They finished first and received bikes as prize.
Jason said: “We’re happy about today…This could be a stepping stone for us in our relationship.”
Lorena added: “We’re more confident with each other and our decisions.”
As stated before, this is the only team in which the male partner did all the tasks. He has done both Roadblocks up to now so Lorena may HAVE to step up at one point if they want to have a chance to win. What is encouraging is that they are the most developed team besides the distractions and the Goths. We have seen both their bad side and their good side and one cannot argue with results. They led most of the first leg, finishing 4th and won this one. They wanted to see if they can work together and they have. Now, we’ll have to see what happens in another difficult leg as the next one appears to be but I see this team in the final leg.