Originally aired on Sunday, 03/25/2007
Episode Rating: ** (2 stars out of 5)
Episode Overview: The Amazing Race takes a special detour to Dullsville with an episode that relies too heavily on airline travails for drama.
• Charla Baklayan Faddoul and Mirna Hindoyan take a major risk and separate themselves from the other teams. They also continue to speak the universal language: broken English with an indeterminate accent.
• Standby travel strands several teams well behind the pack.
• Uchenna and Joyce Agu are (insert dramatic music) MARKED FOR ELIMINATION! Can they maintain a half hour lead over all the teams to ensure they stay in the game?
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Last week’s episode of The Amazing Race was a non-elimination round, so all seven teams are still competing this week. However, Uchenna and Joyce, who came in last, are marked for elimination this round and are feeling the pressure. They will have a thirty-minute penalty upon arriving at the mat. If things are close, this could mean the difference between surviving another day and being sent home.
The teams depart in order of their arrival at the mat, and their clue sends them to the airport to fly to Tanzania. But upon arriving at the airport, they all learn that they must wait until the ticket counters open the next morning. Charla and Mirna even attempt to use some of their magic “I’m speaking to people who are not from the USA” language – which is sort of a cross between Super Mario and Jar Jar Binks and which makes me want to jab out my own eardrums – but to no avail. Some teams head off to a hotel, some teams decide to sleep on site.
The next morning, the teams have some choices: wait for standby on one flight, or head to Johannesburg, South Africa. The flight from South Africa to Tanzania is also booked, but Charla and Mirna decide to risk it, saying that Johannesburg is a larger airport and therefore might give them more options.
The rest of the teams are stuck, and thus begins one of the most tedious periods of The Amazing Race EVER. It is no more entertaining to sit on your couch to watch people try to get on a standby flight, argue with ticket staff, etc., than it is to be in an airport living it. This must be one of the most overall boring legs of the Race if this was the best, most entertaining footage they could dredge up.
The gist: the remaining teams don’t make it on their standby flight, so have to try to get on another. As they all wait for the ticket booth to open, Eric Sanchez notices the airline has an office upstairs. He and Danielle Turner, along with all the other teams excluding Team Guido (Joe Baldassere and Bill Bartek) and Teri and Ian Pollack, go to the office, where an airline employee gets them tickets and puts them on standby.
When it comes time to get on the flight, Teri and Ian and Team Guido are out of luck as all the other teams are able to get on...almost. Eric and Danielle are seated and ready to go when they are taken off the flight as they were given someone else’s seats in error.
Danielle is frustrated, and wants to give up, but Eric points out that at least there are two other teams also not on the flight, so all is not lost. Eventually, the three remaining teams do get flights, with Eric and Danielle taking a different flight plan than the other two teams that puts them on the ground a little sooner.
Meanwhile, Charla and Mirna’s risk pays off as they arrive first in Tanzania and head to the next destination – a ferry boat. They reserve a spot on the first boat, but unfortunately due to weather, their ferry can’t depart until the next day. This gives Oswald Mendez and Danny Jimenez a chance to catch up and also reserve a spot on the same ferry. Uchenna and Joyce and the Beauty Queens (Dustin Seltzer and Kandace Pelletier) wind up on the second.
After the boat trip, and a bout of seasickness for Charla, the teams arrive at the Detour: Solve It or Schlep It. In Solve It, they have to put together a puzzle of some local artwork. In Schlep It, they must take two heavy logs on a cart about a mile to a ship-building area.
Both Oswald and Danny and Charla and Mirna decide to do Solve It. Although Charla and Mirna manage not to devolve into the mild hysteria that they usually use as a problem-solving technique in challenges, Oswald and Danny are still able to complete this faster and head off to the next challenge. However, the boys lose ground when they stop for some fruit, and so Charla and Mirna actually get to the Roadblock before them.
The Roadblock is located at a Masai village, and requires the player to throw an axe-shaped stick towards a target on a stick many feet away. They must break the target to retrieve the clue. Mirna is able to complete this first, and she and Charla speed off to the Pitstop. They do come in first, and win a pair of catamarans, which Phil helpfully explains are a kind of boat. (Poor Charla, after throwing up her way across the water, that is probably the last thing she wanted to win. Hopefully she can sell it for cash.)
Oswald and Danny finish the target practice too, and make it to the mat in second place. Meanwhile, Uchenna and Joyce have completed their Solve It, then complete the Roadblock. (Uchenna is adorably enthusiastic about having the chance to jump with the Masai.) At the mat, Phil tells them they have to wait their thirty minutes before they can be deemed safe. Luckily, the Beauty Queens opted to complete the Schlep It, which slowed them down. No one arrives during the half hour, so Uchenna and Joyce are safe, and then the Beauty Queens arrive in fourth.
Eric and Danielle arrive, complete the puzzle, and then Danielle is able to get the Roadblock done as well. They arrive in fifth.
Teri and Ian and Team Guido are on the same ferry, and then both teams opt to complete the Solve It challenge. Team Guido, however, is able to complete their puzzle much more quickly. Teri and Ian are never able to catch up, and so Team Guido makes it to the mat in sixth place, leaving Teri and Ian to be eliminated.
With six teams left, I am starting to think that All-Stars is not such a hot idea for The Amazing Race. Part of what sustains interest during these boring legs can be the “getting to know you” aspect of maybe spending more screen time with some teams who weren’t featured much in earlier legs. Since all the teams are known quantities, it means that the much of the interest relies on the actual events of the race themselves. As this leg proved, the events are not always enough. Let’s hope that next week is a little more “Amazing” and a little less same-airport-nightmare-we’ve-all-had.
-Leslie Seaton, BuddyTV Staff Columnist
(Image courtesy of CBS)