There's going to be some debate about this one, and honestly, I went back and forth before deciding to go with my gut, no matter how much disagreement there might be. The Amazing Race: All-Stars
week three U-Turn Award goes to the team that came in first place, even though the team that finished in dead last also committed an egregious mistake.
But before we get into why David and Connor's error was so much more dangerous, let's take a look back at the other screwups in "Welcome to the Jungle." That's right, baby. You're (race chances are) gonna die.
Can we start off by saying that it's just cruel to give six of the nine teams a three-hour advantage over the others? That's a lot of time, especially considering that none of the Borneo challenges were particularly time consuming, at least not in the "overcoming a three-hour deficit" type of way.
The cream certainly rose to the top right off the bat, with the strongest teams all ending up on the first flight and most of the obviously weak settling for an imaginary pact that they'd all make the final three. Hey, you have to kill layover time somehow, right?
As if to solidify that their second-leg win, their first ever, was an anomaly, first-out-of-the-gate Brendon and Rachel quickly got stuck in traffic and were the seventh team to arrive at the airport.
You can't really blame anyone other than the karma gods, with a cosmic intervention reminding them they're probably not going to win. It's like when you get in a taxi on the Upper East Side of Manhattan, and your cabbie takes the imaginary Times Square route to LaGuardia. It's a crapshoot if you're not from the area, and something tells me the driver could tell Branchel wasn't exactly local.
The River of Nightmares
Things didn't exactly get easier for Brendon and Rachel in Borneo, they of blurred hoo hah, poorly constructed reed raft and tear-stained meltdowns. And while several teams struggled to keep their makeshift boats together in the raging rapids, theirs was the only one that completely fell apart and required scouring for parts. At least Margie and Luke were able to re-secure their vessel with her shirt and the gushing blood of her leg wound.
Everyone was affected in some way by the rapids, except of course the cowboys, whose perfectly-constructed boat smoothly sailed past the Afghanimals while they were basically swimming their raft remnants to the end of the river. Jet and Cord weren't perfect though, with Cord missing the clue while rappelling down the waterfall. At first, I thought that might end up being U-Turn Award worthy, but the only ramification was getting passed by Margie and Luke, who they quickly overtook on the river.
In addition to the teams whose rafts didn't hold up, many also had trouble navigating the rough seas. A few teams got stuck on rocks or ended up turned around, and either Caroline or Jennifer almost lost a finger. But they were all subject to the same environment, and only Brenchel really seemed to lose a lot of time and pent up emotion..
They Paved Paradise and Put Up a Parking Lot
The YouTubers heard the screen door slam, and a big yellow taxi took their dreams of a million BitCoins away. My U-Turn Honorable Mention goes to Joey and Meghan for what I imagine many will consider the biggest mistake of the third leg -- they were the only team that didn't have their taxi wait at the waterfall, and it likely cost them a spot in the race.
We can't be certain they would have passed Brendon and Rachel for eighth place had they kept their cab, but they didn't stand a chance without it. The clue they showed, which read "You should hold your taxi when you arrive at the next location," was in regards to the river, so there was no visible evidence that the Route Info card they picked up in China advised them to do the same.
Still, the other teams had the wherewithal to tell their drivers to stick around, while Joey and Meghan paid the man and sent him on his way. It was without a doubt a damning error, and it left the two of them lumbering down the highway like a pair of failed viral videos.
David and Connor Get Lucky
I am here to judge the biggest mistake, not determine which mistake had the most dire consequences (though that is a consideration). And for that, I have to tip my hat to third-leg winners David and Connor, and may they enjoy their romantic getaway and couples massage in Budapest.
But the decision-making and attention to detail that led to the first-place finish were the key ingredients in a recipe for disaster. They mixed together old milk and watermelon and somehow produced a souffle. I, for one, was shocked they had a big enough lead to do what they did and still finish ahead of the pack.
First, they missed the village river stop to deliver their basket of goods. And they didn't recheck the clue, which they were holding in their hands, until well after they'd passed it. And since you can't paddle up river, they kept going until they reached the second stop for the blow-dart challenge. And here's where things get crazy.
Why didn't they just stop at that beach and do the other challenge? Teams switch detours all the time or even have to do both in the event of a U-Turn. Knowing that they missed the village and NOT knowing they would be able to carry the supplies back upstream after arriving at the end, they just blew past it and continued on their way.
Then they had to lug the 50- to 70-pound box of goods all the way to the village. Why not stop at that second beach and carry the box from there? Nope. And in the worst-case scenario, you're not only looking at getting passed. You're looking at the potential of a four-hour penalty if you're unable to complete the task. And that would've given even the back three teams a chance to catch up.
Now obviously none of that happened and David and Connor breezed to a first-place finish, but that's not the kind of luck you get multiple shots at. Unless, of course, the same fateful cosmic force that doomed first-to-worst Brenchel is anointing these two as the chosen winners of the race.
They're a strong team, but the margin of error will only get slimmer as the number of teams dwindle. And there are only so many pretty blond country singers and dancing Globetrotters to allow mistakes like this to fly.
Do you agree? Disagree? Which of these teams is the favorite to win it all right now? And which back-of-the-pack team has the best chance to ride the lucky tide to the final three?
The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)