Originally aired on Sunday, 03/18/2007
Episode Rating: *** (3 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: Now that Rob and Amber have been eliminated, will the remaining teams find a new focus on their own game?
• Oswald and Danny continue to be one of the stronger teams, playing through their own admitted tendency to be grumpy with each other.
• The teams leave South America to travel over 7000 miles to Mozambique in Africa.
• Charla and Mirna still struggle towards the bottom of the pack, but pull out a surprising finish.
• Uchenna and Joyce swing from being front-runners this leg to struggling to make it to the mat. Is this the end of the road for the former winners?
With Rob and Amber Mariano out of the game, the field is wide open for a new strongest team to emerge. Oswald Mendez and Danny Jimenez have a head start out of the gate, with the first departure due to their first place finish last Pit Stop. Their clue directs them to a glacier outside this city at the southernmost tip of South America, where they will take a chair lift to a designated area. There, they will use avalanche beacons to dig in the snow for another beacon and their next clue.
Although all the teams leave with a staggered departure, they are quickly equalized as the park doesn’t open until the next morning. When they return, the order shifts, as Team Guido (Joe Baldassere and Bill Bartek) arrives to the chair lift line first.
At the glacier, the teams set about digging, and Team Guido maintains its lead, retrieving a clue that sends them to the airport to catch a flight to Maputo, Mozambique, 7000 miles away in Africa. The teams are provided with a set of tickets they may use, but they also have the option of finding a travel agent to get an earlier flight.
The teams have varying degrees of difficulty with the task. The Beauty Queens (Dustin Seltzer and Kandace Pelletier) once again set themselves back by not thoroughly reading the clue, which requires some backtracking on their part. However, they continue to keep their cool where other teams might panic, so the delay doesn’t cost them too much.
Unintentionally helping them are Oswald and Danny, who slip from first to last as they seem to be completely unable to locate their beacon. They bicker a bit – one of them says in interview that they “take turns being cranky” – but despite the setback find the clue and are on their way as well, good spirits restored.
In town, most of the teams wind up in the same travel agency, and all wind up booking a flight that arrives earlier than the provided ticket.
Once they land in Africa, the teams travel to a local park, where once again any lead is extinguished as they are all forced to wait for the park to open. Eric Sanchez and Danielle Turner and Team Guido aren’t pleased to be in close proximity to one another as the two teams continue to butt heads.
The task is a Roadblock – a task only one player from each team can perform – and involves using especially large rats that have been trained to sniff out land mines. The designated player will guide the rat on a series of ropes to sniff out tracks. Once the rat finds a deactivated mine, the local diggers will uncover it and the next clue.
Team Guido once again takes the lead as they successfully guide their rat to the clue first. Their clue directs them to go back to Maputo, where they will search the city for another clue box. Hot on their heels are Uchenna and Joyce Agu, and eventually all the other teams complete as well. The one exception of Charla Baklayan Faddoul and Mirna Hindoyan who seem to have ended up with a slightly less ambitious rat who is taking his sweet time to find their clue.
As the teams head back into the city, some of the teams are confused by alternate routes into town. Eric and Danielle, the Beauty Queens, and Teri and Ian Pollack all wind up delayed to the clue box due to a roundabout route. Team Guido gets there directly, however, and selects their Detour activity.
Their choices are Pamper or Porter. In Pamper, the teams must head to a local open-air market, where they will have to entice shoppers into buying a manicure. The team must earn a set amount (equivalent to one U.S. Dollar) in order to receive their next clue. In Porter, the teams must fill and sew shut ten bags of coal, then deliver one bag to a local address.
Guido selects Porter, assuming it will be easier. Well, the task might be more straightforward, but it’s definitely not easy. They quickly find themselves quite dirty, covered in coal dust. Oswald and Danny, Uchenna and Joyce, and Eric and Danielle soon join them, all getting completely filthy.
Meanwhile, Charla and Mirna selected the manicure option, and find themselves relatively easily able to cajole enough passersby into getting a manicure (they must have been more charmed than I would be by that special odd accent Mirna uses whenever she’s talking to someone who might not be a native English speaker). They complete the task, get the clue, and rush off to the Pit Stop. I’m really not a fan of these two, but I must admit even I found it touching how amazed and proud the two were that they were able to pull out from the back of the pack to first.
The Beauty Queens choose to complete, appropriately, the beauty-oriented Pamper task as well. Teri and Ian mean to complete Porter, but are accidentally taken to the wrong market, so despite Ian’s reluctance, they too set about giving manicures. Both teams made the right decision to stick with Pamper, and take second and third place respectively at the mat.
Oswald and Danny are able to overtake Team Guido, and make it to the mat in fourth, but not before they chase Phil around the location, threatening him with a sooty hug. Team Guido and their new rivals, Eric and Danielle, arrive at the location simultaneously, but Guido is able to beat out Eric and Danielle in a foot race (for which Eric berates Danielle – she is one lucky lady to have landed herself such a charmer!).
Uchenna and Joyce, who had difficulty finding the right location to which to deliver their coal, are last to the mat. However, Phil tells them, this is a non-elimination round, so they are safe for another leg. They are marked, now, though, and must make it to the mat first next leg, or risk a thirty minute penalty. With the many close finishes lately, this could mean all the difference for the two.
Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Images courtesy of CBS)