Throughout most of the second leg of The Amazing Race: All-Stars
, I was convinced that Jet and Cord's first-to-worst run to the Chen Clan Academy was going to be the biggest blunder of the week. Even though they didn't lose their cool and recovered nicely to avoid elimination, none of the other teams seemed to be screwing up that much.
It also could have been damaging to the cowboys if they had given the Express Pass to the only team behind them at the time, but they were done building the toy car with three other teams still working on it when they handed it over to the country singers. Likewise, Joey and Meghan cost themselves one spot in the standings when they helped Jessica and John.
But thankfully for the other teams, there was the mismatched ragtag pairing of Mark and Mallory to let everyone else off the hook. In addition to being pissed off at themselves for causing their own elimination, they should direct some animosity towards the cowboys and the YouTubers, as Caroline and Jennifer and Jessica and John almost certainly would have finished behind them without the help.
In the end, I don't think Mark and Mallory could have overcome their differences to have a real shot anyway, but there were so many different aspects to BagGate that led to their downfall. So which one was the most egregious?
Take This Bag and Shove It
The first and most obvious error was the actual leaving of the bag. The blame game is open to interpretation, with both Mark and Mallory sharing the fault. Personally, I assign 66.6 percent to Mallory and 33.3 percent to Mark. After all, Mallory was in charge of the bags while Mark was lugging around the giant motorized toy car (that he also put together quite quickly).
He certainly should have doubled checked once they were all loaded up, and he is ultimately responsible for knowing the whereabouts of his belongings, but you have to be able to trust your partner to some degree. And the bag was last spotted at Mallory's feet.
To Go Back or Not to Go Back
Next comes the real rub of things. Mark wanted to go back for his bag, claiming that he needed its contents to run the race. Mallory did not, saying that nothing inside was essential and he should just keep going without it.
Whether you think it was insane to waste time going back for it or not doesn't really matter, because they were far enough ahead to accomplish it and still not lose. Remember, they were in first place at the time, and quicker decision-making and a little teammate compassion could have kept them in the race.
Plus, we don't know exactly what was in the bag. Maybe it was something sentimental or something Mark wouldn't want to openly admit to owning, which means a lot more to him than a race he wasn't going to win anyway with a partner he can barely stand. It absolutely would have been safer to just leave it, but we just don't know, so I'm not going to judge him too harshly there.
Here's where these two totally fell apart and where a little cooperation could have gone a long way. Was Mallory calm or sympathetic at all? Did she calmly talk to Mark to find out why the bag was so important or come up with a fast plan to retrieve it before continuing on? Nope. She flipped her lid and started screaming and belittling.
I don't buy Mark's poorness as a motivation for the necessary bag retrieval, but they could have at least discussed his reasoning in the taxi. Instead, Mallory dismissed him and said, "Oh, I'll buy you another bag," prompting a response that she thought herself to be above him. This all led to "That's not how we treat each other in Kentucky," which is apparently the worst thing you can say to someone who knows that the Cincinnati Airport is actually in their state.
Still, though, despite all the bickering and hurt feelings, Mark and Mallory still could've gotten it done and stuck around to lose another day. It was the hesitation that sunk this ship. If they'd just hopped in a cab and headed back for the bag, they might have finished ahead of one of the other teams. But instead, they went back and forth to multiple cabs and stood in the street with their heads up their you-know-whats.
At least argue in the cab instead of outside it. So despite all the missteps, it was the complete breakdown that earns Mark and Mallory the second U-Turn Award of the season. Cool Hand Luke said it best. What we have here is a failure to communicate. And we all know what happened to him at the end.
The Amazing Race
airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS. (Image courtesy of CBS)