Last week, the twenty-first season of The Amazing Race got underway. Eleven teams made their way from Los Angeles to Shanghai, China, where they had to play table tennis, eat frogs’ Fallopian tubes (I’m still queasy thinking about that) and scour a huge waterfront area for the first Pit Stop. Dating divorcees Abbie and Ryan edged several other teams for first place, and for this, they will earn an additional $1 million should they end up winning the race. Chippendale dancers Jaymes and James squandered a huge lead, and ended up beating married lumberjacks Rob and Sheila to the mat by scant inches in order to stay alive. Ten teams remain.
Starting Line - The Bund Observatory, where teams checked in at the end of the last leg. Their first clue in Leg Two told them that they would be traveling across the South China Sea to Indonesia, where they would then locate the Alun Alun Stadium near the town of Surabaya. Teams were also informed that the winner of Leg Two would receive the coveted Express Pass, which would allow the team that holds it to skip any Roadblock or Detour that they want to in a future leg.
After the stadium opened, the teams found out that the challenge involved one team member climbing on the back of a moped behind a professional drive, and then they would race alongside a pair of tethered racing bulls. And I’ll tell you this… those bulls were FAST, way faster than most of the pokey mopeds, which took a long time to get up to any kind of speed at all. Anyway, the next clue told them to make their way to the Genteng Kali Bridge.
Once at the bridge, teams got their third Roadblock of the season, which required one team member to operate a bicycle-powered children’s ride called an adongadong, and while pedaling, they would have to make four children a balloon animal and a balloon hat each. The rides were kind of like those quarter-powered machines you see in front of supermarkets. The pedaling wasn’t that hard, but the balloons weren’t made of the sturdiest rubber, if you get my drift.
The teams’ next clue was located at the Wijaya Motorcycle Shop, and it was this season’s very first Detour, and the choices were Ice By the Pound and Fish By the Barrel. In the former, teams had to deliver ten 65-pound blocks of ice by sliding it through an ice-making factory onto a waiting truck. They would then be driven to a local market, where they would unload the ice onto a special cart and deliver it to a specified location. In the latter, teams would go right to the same market, where they would have to sprt through piles of fish and arrange them onto trays for display. Neither task sounds like much fun, to be honest. The Pit Stop for Leg Two was the Pasar Pabean Market, a short distance away from both ends of the Detour.
Below is the order the contestants finished in, along with some of their more interesting moments.
#1. Natalie and Nadiya - The twins showed they know how to race and race well, but I still don’t like them. They profess themselves as “badass”, and I think that’s a quality that should be conferred on you by others, not by yourselves. They say that they formed an alliance with Trey and Lexi, though we never saw that in action this week as they did different Detour tasks.
#2. Trey and Lexi - I wasn’t sure about this team last week, as we barely saw them, but they have shown that they are a capable team and they work well together. Plus, they are cute as the dickens, and they are a million times more fun to watch than the twins.
#3. Jaymes and James - To their credit, Team Bohunk pulled it together really well after last week’s close call. They also showed that they are good teammates, good teammates, and really good guys. I think I could get on their bandwagon really easily
#4. Abbie and Ryan - Surprisingly, last week’s winners barely got any screen time this week, which is not surprising seeing as how they were in the middle of the pack the entire leg.
#5. Josh and Brent - Another team that we barely saw this week because they were nowhere near the lead or the back of the pack. The jury’s still out whether or not they can actually step it up and be front-runners. My money’s on this being their best finish ever.
#6. James and Abba - Team Rockstar got an early leg up, but for the second leg in a row, ended up sliding back into the middle of the pack. They were one of several teams to be hindered by an unsatisfactory cab driver, and I can’t really fault them for that. Hopefully they’ll have a leg in the near future where they have nothing but good luck.
#7. Caitlin and Brittany - Unlike the twins, this all-girl team has yet to show they have what it takes to be contenders. They are athletic, and they are not at all disagreeable, which works in their favor. They certainly are pleasant on the eyes. However, there’s very little that distinguishes them, and I hope that changes.
#8. Rob and Kelley - We learned this week that Kelley had actually been married before, to a very dear friend of Rob’s before he was tragically killed in an accident. Both of them helped each other through their grief, and fell in love in the process, which is nice. This was a terrible leg for them, as they were saddled with a horrible cabbie, and only because two other teams fared worse than them are they still racing. That may not be the case in the future.
#9. Gary and Will - Tenn and Peller (like I said last week, they look like Penn and Teller, but without the talent) proved this week that they are not long for this race. Will proved to be the world’s worst balloon-thingy maker, and the constant pedaling combined with the intense Indonesia heat didn’t help either. They should have been out. I look for that to happen next week.
The following team came in last and was eliminated:
#11. Amy and Daniel - I am so freaking disappointed by this turn of events, I can’t even tell you. I was rooting so hard for Amy… I mean, how can you NOT root for a woman with two prosthetic legs? They started in the front, and seemed to be coasting to another great finish. But sometimes all it takes is to get an inexperienced or dunderheaded cabbie, and this guy drove them all over town, and by the time he pulled his head out of his ass, they had no chance of catching up. Whatta revoltin’ development. Oh well, this is proof that bad luck doesn’t discriminate.
Next week: Caitlin and Brittany lose their shit, in more ways than one.
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