The Amazing Race had one of the most boring and embarrassing ends to a leg of the race in week 4. The difference between first and last place was not determined by the team’s skill, luck or speed. It was merely determined by train schedule as 8 of the teams ended up on one train together to the Pit Stop. The last place team was all on their own and was eliminated from the race.
For Leg 5, The Amazing Race had to make this competition seem like an actual competition and hopefully separate the teams again. There were efforts made, but all in all, they failed. While not quite as bad as the finish to leg 4 was, week 5 of The Amazing Race was pretty disappointing, especially in its final moments. Not even the majestic beauty of the French mountains could save it from being a complete snooze fest.
Two by Two by Two…
In a desperate attempt to separate the teams, The Amazing Race folks make finding the team’s cars at the start unnecessarily complicated. Each team must find specific license plate and that is the only car that they can use. Unfortunately, no team has a difficult time with this, so the order stays exactly the same. With their first plot failed, The Amazing Race will now just decide to bunch the teams together in smaller groups.
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When the teams reach their Detour, which is on a mountain, they are only allowed to go two teams at time on a gondola. Everyone files in orderly with another team and it is all painfully boring. Not even Korey and Tyler fantasying with Brodie and Kurt about what would happen if they died on the gondola spices things up. Though they do say that Tyler Oakley’s laugh is so long and loud that you can still hear the echo to this day in the French mountains…
Once the teams reach the top of the mountain they are given their choice of Detour. The choice is between “Dynamite” and “Campsite.” In “Dynamite” the teams must climb on another mountain range and throw out a stick of dynamite to set off an avalanche. In “Campsite” the teams must set up a tent on the same mountainside, though out of the way of said avalanche. “Campsite” doesn’t really matter though because Burnie and Ashley are literally the only team to do it and it takes them (relatively) forever.
“Dynamite” is less of a challenge since it is simply a hike on a very linear path. It is unclear if it is possible for teams to pass one another on “Dynamite” but they are never shown doing so, so it seems like another first come, first serve sort of situation. Since the teams are already separated into pairs, this makes thing very dull. Pairs of teams cycle in and out and there is no sense that people are actually racing one another.
From the Detour the teams head to the Roadblock which is another height-based challenge. The designated team member must literally jump off the slide of a cliff (with a guide) and para-glide past a poor French guy wearing a yeti costume and waving a French flag. (I need so much backstory on this poor unfortunate soul. Does he work for The Amazing Race? Is he struggling French actor desperate for his big break? Or is he actually a very patriotic yeti? Is my assumption that he is a man getting paid peanuts to make a fool of himself false?)
The yeti does have some significance to the task at hand though because the person paragliding must answer what flag the yeti is holding when they touch down. Since no one left in the race is a moron, everyone gets this question right.
Wait Your Turn
There is some manner of skill involved in this Roadblock besides recognizing yetis and flags, but not much. The person doing this Roadblock must run fast and straight enough so that the wind catches their parachute. Brodie learns this fact to his peril when he and his guide rush and face plant hard in the snow. This gives Korey a chance to overtake Brodie (and his partner Kurt) which Korey happily does. This allows Korey and Tyler to finish Roadblock first and arrive first at the Pit Stop.
Frankly though, it’s just more first come, first serve with the Roadblock as it was at “Dynamite.” At least watching teams soar through the French mountainside is a lot more interesting and beautiful to look at than the “high drama” of Leg 4: Seeing 8 pairs of people nervously dart glances at one another on a train.
There is a moment where things actually get tense at the Roadblock, if only for the briefest of seconds. Sheri, Ashley and Erin are doing their Roadblock for their partner. They are all perched on the cliffside waiting to take off and waiting for the right wind. Ashley jumps the gun way to early and eats a face full of snow.
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This might be cause for some actual strategy and competition on this leg of the race but Ashley is so early that she able to get back up and get back to the top of the hill before Sheri and Erin are even given a chance to try.
All of this also turns out to be meaningless because Erin reveals herself to to be an actual human disaster. Sheri and Ashley are both able to get the parachutes up and into the air way before Erin. This leaves Erin far below and behind. Erin keeps falling in the snow, again, again and again. Erin eventually gets herself in the air but it’s too late.
Erin and her partner Joslyn are in last place and are eliminated from The Amazing Race. Technically, this elimination is Erin’s fault but let’s not pretend that the end of Leg 5 is any better than the Leg 4. This was just as poorly planned a leg as the Switzerland trek. Hopefully The Amazing Race will be able to turn things around in the next half of the season.
The Amazing Race airs Fridays at 8pm on CBS.
(Image courtesy of CBS)