One particular type of mistake ran rampant this week on The Amazing Race: All-Stars
, and it completely derailed what was widely seen as season 24's strongest team. The cowboys got lost early and often in "Bull Down,'' and in the end, they were last to the Pit Stop and left wondering what might have been if they'd just asked someone where to go.
We're down to our final four teams, each with their own set of pros and cons for why they deserve to to step on that mat first. But it's disappointing to see the likable brothers eliminated, especially considering that they are the one team I think would have been universally appreciated as winners. You've got people who believe the Accidental Alliance is just a bunch of bullies and those who find Brendon and Rachel as annoying as the other three remaining teams do, but there isn't a viewer out there who would have been disappointed had Jet and Cord been the first to the final Pit Stop.
The cowboys were eliminated in part because of a U-Turn, but the fact of the matter is that it never should have gotten to that point. And they are ultimately to blame for putting themselves in a position to be the only team sent back to complete the other half of the Detour anyway. So what was this week's biggest blunder? Let's examine.
Perfection Starts with Two
Two teams put together flawless legs and should have been rewarded with first and second place for their efforts, but those fickle knee tendons got in the way. Dave and Connor ran in first the entire time, and they were joined on the earlier flight by the Afghanimals, who also avoided messing up.
Breaking the alliance's anti-Brenchel vow might not be the popular move, and it might come back to haunt them, but it certainly was the strategic move. It could prove costly if the other teams don't recognize a smart move when they see one, and I'm sure they'll all feel horrible if Brendon and Rachel actually finish first (even these three teams would have been fine with the cowboys winning), but they put themselves in a better position to go home with a million bucks.
Brendon and Rachel also ran a mostly-hiccup free leg, with only minor setbacks mostly out of their control. They were on the second flight to Seville, but there was no way they were making the first one anyway. They also got a little lost on the way to the hair salon, which was walking distance, but their cab driver eventually asked for directions and got them there close to the other teams, who they finished the challenge before anyway. Then they took a cab to the Detour, while the other teams went on foot, and got stuck behind a truck.
The Hapless Girls Get Lucky Again
Much like the cowboys, the country singers couldn't quite find their way along the route. But that's been fairly common for them, as they usually rely on following another team they are allied with. But there wasn't anyone to follow this time, and it took extraordinary ineptitude by Jet and Cord for Caroline and Jennifer to even have a shot to stick around.
The singers got lost on two separate occasions, first on the way to Real Alcazar for the Detour and then while searching for the Detour of their choosing -- the Flamenco studio. They were in last place through all this and had to complete a Speed Bump, yet amazingly, they managed to reach the U-Turn ahead of Jet and Cord. Sigh...
Why, Cowboys, Why?
The first glaring directionally-challenged moment happened on the way to the airport, when Jet missed the exit and cost themselves about 20 minutes. I can't say with 100% certainty, but it seemed like they were in great shape to nab a spot on that first flight had they not gotten lost. That would have sealed their safety, as the head start given to the other two teams was almost insurmountable (save a bum knee). But that was just the first of many.
Despite finishing the barbershop shaving Roadblock last, they arrived at Real Alcazar first and just wandered around looking for the clue, which allowed Brenchel to pass them despite their truck trouble and the country singers to complete the Speed Bump and catch up.
Then they missed the first matador sign and had to double back, which I guess is just congratulatory because it was a mistake that didn't involve them getting lost. Finally -- and I don't understand how it happened unless it's based on the location of the Detour -- they somehow got passed by the country singers on the way to the U-Turn even though they finished their half of the Detour first.
By the time they arrived at the General Archive of the Indies, there was no one left to U-Turn, and their self-induced fate was sealed. If even one of those mistakes doesn't happen, they at least have the opportunity to U-Turn Caroline and Jennifer, which puts them in the final four. It's almost inexcusable, and now I don't care who wins.
And the Uey Goes To...
So which of the cowboys' four errors earns them their first (and last) U-Turn Award of the season? The most egregious seems to be wandering around the maze-like Real Alcazar searching for the clue, simply because the Brenchels asked someone after getting out of their cab and immediately found the correct entrance.
I know it's supposedly not in a man's nature to ask for directions, but I'm left thinking that if either of Jet's and Cord's wife had been on this trip, the cowboys might still be racing. Sometimes, you just have to give in to the nag, like it or not.
The Amazing Race: All-Stars
airs Sundays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)