The Amazing Race Review: Surprise Ending
We don’t know how many teams are in front of us and how many teams are behind us.
Without knowing it, Marcus’ comment while riding in to Bangkok turned out to be perfect foreshadowing for a tremendous ending to the leg. The 19th season of The Amazing Race has been a lot of fun and this week’s episode, "I Feel Like I'm In The Circus," continued that trend.
Despite a solid start to the leg which included an unexpected back to back Roadblock the real drama for this week did not occur until the last third of the leg. With the aforementioned two Roadblocks complete the teams scrambled to find bus transportation for a 500 mile trip to Bangkok. There were plenty of options and the separation and confusion that occurred because of those options gave us our phenomenal finish.
In terms of shaking up the standings at that time, the two biggest decisions revolved around the same bus. Laurence and Zac and Ernie and Cindy each found the express, first class bus, but Laurence and Zac panicked about first class transportation and ditched their bus. As Phil would say at the Pit Stop, the decision almost cost them the race.
What was particularly interesting about Laurence and Zac’s decision was that it was the second poor decision of the episode. Earlier, at the second Roadblock, Laurence felt that they did not need to take notes of how the spirit house was put together. He somehow blamed Zac for not being able to remember the intricate house, but the mistake was really Laurence’s.
When it came time to get on the bus, Laurence found the faster bus, but Zac felt the rule about not flying first class applied to traveling anywhere in first class. Having already suffered a penalty for en error earlier in the race, they decide to get off the bus and get a second class ticket on a later bus. Errors in judgment by both Laurence and Zac would drop the father/son duo from the lead pack and a possible first place finish to a tenuous sixth place finish.
Ernie and Cindy, on the other hand, made the first mistake, but did not make the second. Similar to Laurence, Cindy had the nerve to get annoyed with Ernie when he couldn’t remember the spirit house set up even though it was her idea (what is with these people, really?). Fortunately for the couple, despite being alone on their bus, the paranoia that they took the wrong form of transportation didn’t enter their mind.
What ensued after the teams boarded five different buses to Bangkok made the episode tremendous. For reference, here’s a timeline of what happened.
4:30 pm: Andy and Tommy, Justin and Jennifer and Jeremy and Sandy depart on a second class bus. Laurence and Zac get on a first class bus at the same time.
4:45 pm: Laurence and Zac get cold feet over their first class tickets, get off and run back to the bus station.
5:30 pm: Amani and Marcus and Bill and Cathi board a second class bus. Ernie and Cindy board a first class bus.
8:00 pm: Laurence and Zac board a second class bus.
Later that evening (no time given): Liz and Marie board a second class bus.
Ernie and Cindy’s first class leap-frogged them ahead of the lead pack. Did they know that? Nope. Did any of the teams know where they stood after delays? Nope. That’s what led to a tremendous finish.
What does matter brings us back to Marcus’ comment. The best reactions on the show are at the Pit Stop and Amani and Marcus delivered in spades this week. The neatest part about this finish is that we, the viewer, knew they were in first, but they didn’t. I knew they’d go nuts at the news and took the time to raise the volume a little bit and was rewarded.
The excitement didn’t end with Amani and Marcus. Bill and Cathi did their best to out do Amani and Marcus by getting equally as excited at the news that they…missed out on first place by mere minutes? Ok, they were probably thrilled to learn they were not eliminated, but I also think part of their celebration was for Amani and Marcus. What great sportsmanship.
Justin and Jennifer went the other way with their fourth place finish. They assumed that being the first group to finish out of the lead pack would have given them first place. Perhaps their reaction wasn’t as exciting, but it was great television to see their disappointment.
Finally Phil did his best to ham up the ending for Jeremy and Sandy the same way he nailed Liz and Marie last week. For the second straight week he convinced a team that they were going home without actually telling them as much, only to pull the rug (or mat, perhaps?) out from under their feet and give them the good news.
Nothing against Jeremy and Sandy (well, actually, she’s kind of lame) but the only thing that would have made this episode perfect was if Liz and Marie had somehow manage to be as far behind as they were, have no money and not be eliminated. Can you imagine how they would have reacted? I think they would have broken the standard set by Amani and Marcus only hours earlier.
More from this episode:
- Did anyone see Andy and Tommy being so religious coming? Took me completely by surprised. Amani on the other hand – I’m not surprised at all.
- If anyone is keeping track of how many times Cathi has fallen in the race, I’d love to know what it is. My guess right now is seven.
- I loved the double Roadblock. Good challenges, for sure, but I love when they mix up the race format.
- Kudos to Liz and Marie for not asking for money in a poor area of Bangkok. I’m not sure every team would have realized that there are some things more important than the race.