One thing is certain regarding the seventh leg of The Amazing Race: All-Stars
-- the wrong team went home.
Jessica and John were the victims of a bad cab driver, hardly a new issue but devastating nonetheless, particularly for a struggling team that had actually surged to the front of the pack. The dating couple were the first to finish the Gladiator Detour while the rest were struggling with the chariot race, and a competent driver might have even won them the leg.
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But as it was, they were left to lose a footrace with the Globetrotters after John had to run back to the chestnut cart to get another postcard at the Spanish Steps. Let's not kid ourselves, though, they faced an uphill climb and were unlikely to stick around much longer anyway. But it's tough to go out like that, having no control over the situation.
It actually would have been better for them if the Afghanimals hadn't offered both teams the answer in exchange for a promise not to U-Turn them, because Flight Time was having such a difficult time with the challenge. But more on that in a bit.
Finding the Mistakes
There are a number of blunders up for consideration in determining the Week 7 U-Turn Award, but most are more or less mini-mistakes that didn't affect the outcomes all that much. The biggest factors that related to finishing positions were the two cab drivers who led their passengers astray. Cowboys Jet and Cord were lucky to finish in fourth after their cab driver also took them to the wrong place. But we don't blame people for taxi trouble.
Brendon and Rachel and David and Connor put together clean legs, but the big surprise had to be country singers Caroline and Jennifer. After being saved by a non-elimination leg, they breezed through the challenges and the Speed Bump, riding the success all the way to second place. They nearly blew it at the chariot races, though, so sure they were in last and about to be eliminated that they almost stopped trying with urgency.
That really only leaves three options from the remaining two teams to choose from, with two of them coming from the usually sturdy Afghanimals.
The first time Leo and Jamal messed up was when they decided to switch Detours and partake in a Gladiator battle. Sure, it was probably the most fun anyone has had on the show this season, but it put them woefully behind the other teams. Even if they had stayed at the chariot race until all the other teams were done, they likely would've completed it on the less crowded track in one or two attempts.
The second and perhaps riskier decision was giving the Spanish Steps answer to both the Globetrotters and Jessica and John. They incorrectly assumed the country singers hadn't arrived at the Roadblock yet, when in fact they were already done with the leg.
Leo and Jamal arrived at the mat with the other two teams so close behind that host Phil Keoghan interrupted the greeting to tell the cameraman to turn around and capture the finish. Had it been a difficult Pit Stop to find, or even if the Afghanimals had made one wrong turn, there's a good chance both teams would've made it there before them. And that would have gone down in the annals of terrible eliminations, right up there with Jessica and John's ouster with pocketed Express Pass and the sisters getting sent home because one stopped to pee.
Flight Time's Spanish Step SNAFU
The Globetrotters were the team that deserved to go home, but they survived on luck more than skill. And Flight Time did not help the situation at the Roadblock, failing to fully comprehend the clue or possibly even read it.
Teams were supposed to count the steps, convert the year the obelisk was installed from Roman numerals into a number, add the two together and convert back to Roman numerals. Instead, Flight Time asked people at the top of the steps how many there were, then wrote and circled the number on the postcard.
And when he was wrong, he just asked someone else. It was only after several incorrect guesses that he bothered to count the steps himself, even though that still didn't fix the major error he kept making.
I'm fairly confident that had Leo and Jamal not given up the answer, John would have figured it out much faster than Flight Time, leading to a very different ending. And I'm also not convinced the Globetrotters would've cared all that much, as they still seem like they're coasting through without much urgency.
So Jessica and John ended up blindsided on the mat after going from first-to-worst based on a cabbie, and Flight Time and Big Easy are sticking around for at least another week. And now, in addition to their lax attitudes, they've got a U-Turn Award weighing them down as well.
The Amazing Race: All-Stars
airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS. (Image courtesy of CBS)