For reasons unknown The Amazing Race is offering up a two hour double installment very early in the season. There’s not a lot of connective tissue between the two hours which are very much their own episodes, unless you count some extreme bickering. With a few major exceptions the stranger teams have gotten along pretty well in this gimmicky season of The Amazing Race. This is all breaks down now as there is some widespread meltdown and drama across all the teams. The “getting to know you” honeymoon stage is over for most teams and The Amazing Race contestants have entered a new zone of obvious and palpable dislike.
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Shamir Sweats, Frets and Screams
The teams don’t have to go far in their first leg which stays in Tanzania. Once they step out of the Pit Stop they are able to walk on foot to their next clue location. It is the childhood house of Farrokh Bulsara, otherwise known as Freddie Mercury. If the name Freddie Mercury is just as unknown to you as Farrokh Bulsara, I’m truly sorry for your uncultured existence. Once the teams make their way to the Mercury House (or realize Farrokh Bulsara is Freddie Mercury) they get their Detour options of “Lock” or “Knock.”
With “Knock,” the teams must find three “royal doors” and get one-third of a little structure from each. In “Lock,” the teams must search some ancient Zanzibar chests to find a key that will unlock a special lock. There is no clear advantage to either one. If the teams are lucky enough to find a local who knows what the royal doors are, they’re golden with “Knock.” If they’re not so lucky, both Detours cause nearly everyone to be sweaty, combative messes with one another.
You can guess how this affects our resident Amazing Race sweaty mess, Shamir. Shamir loses his mind walking around looking for the royal doors and then later for the key. All of the Shamir trademarks come out. He blames Sara, he does his passive aggressive creepy smile with crossed arms and he sheds at least a quarter of his body weight in sweat. Like Shamir, the sweating is gross.
Brooke Still Can’t Do It
As Shamir and Sara fall hopelessly behind, everyone else bunches together for the Roadblock. The Roadblock requires the designated member of the team to do some amateur metalwork and create a ladle. This sounds simple but it is not the case for Brooke. Brooke has been defined so far in this race by her ability to not do things. She injured herself by just walking in the second episode and since then, has wasted most of her energy crying to partner Scott. Making a ladle is Brooke’s Mount Everest or whatever the whiny white girl equivalent is of climbing Mount Everest. (It’s probably not drinking pumpkin spice during the fall.)
Brooke’s screeching about how she “literally can’t even” for some reason brings out the kindness in her fellow racers. Almost all of them take time out completing their ladles to stop by Brooke’s station and tell her that she can. This includes the jerkwad Redmond because, apparently, the extended stay in Tanzania has softened him in a way it hasn’t for Shamir.
Brooke makes a big snotty show but eventually she “does even” and completes her ladle. Brooke and Scott arrive in the dead of night to the Pit Stop but they are not in last place. That honor goes to Shamir and Sara who don’t even get the chance to make it to the Pit Stop. Phil shows up and tells them they have been eliminated from The Amazing Race. Don’t let the metaphorical door hit you on the way out Shamir, but for the love of God, get a sweat rag or a cold shower.
Brooke Suddenly Can Do It
With very little pomp, we hop right into the next episode and the teams all get onto the same flight to Norway. Once they touch down they find their first clue at a light house, but to receive it, they must eat some local fish. This is another simple task but not for Brooke who once again “can’t even.” Brooke whines to Scott that she can’t eat the fish because she can’t breathe. This is even further proof that Brooke is the basic white girl meme who has been gifted life by some internet blue fairy or she has made it some 30 years without knowing it is possible for one to eat and breathe at the same time.
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Believe it or not, this is just the warm-up act for Brooke. In a switcheroo of the usual formula, the teams head from the first clue to the Roadblock, not the Detour. At the Roadblock one member of the team must climb a tall Jenga tower stack of wood (that will later become the largest bonfire in the world) get the clue and then scale back down. It’s about as cool as a gigantic wooden tower can be but it’s not exactly the most fun thing to watch. This is until Scott and Brooke arrive.
Scott, not wanting to hear Brooke screech about her shortcomings, volunteers to do it even though he is afraid of heights. Brooke is aware of Scott’s phobia and should be respectful enough to shut her damn mouth. Brooke can’t help herself from being a pain though, so she screams from the sidelines telling Scott to hurry up and move. All the while she implies that she can do it better. Someone better check that Shamir didn’t suddenly die after being eliminated from The Amazing Race because Brooke is channeling his spirit.
Not So Fast (Forward)
By some miracle, Scott doesn’t knock down the bonfire tower once at the top and crush Brooke below, so everyone moves to the Detour. It’s a choice of “Trolls” or “Troll.” In “Trolls,” the teams must scour the city and find some poor women dressed up like fairy tale trolls that are so terrifying they make Pennywise the clown look as cuddly as Barney. In “Troll,” the teams must hop into a kayak and look for some fishing buoys that will lead them to their next clue. “Troll” Is boring, confusing and luckily, many more teams choose Trolls despite the nightmare fuel of mascots.
What “Troll” lacks in enjoyment and clarity it makes up for in ease. The two teams who choose it find the clue they need almost immediately and are able to head directly to the Pit Stop. This allows them to overtake adorable nerds Floyd and Becca who used the Fast Forward and skipped everything this leg. It’s a sucky situation but Becca and Floyd are cool with it proving that they are the most likable team on this really antagonistic season.
Trolling with Trolls
The same optimism is not found at Trolls. Scott and Brooke mercifully team up with Team LoLo. This doesn’t completely turn off Brooke’s whining. She obviously doesn’t have an “off switch.” It does minimize the bickering ever so slightly though as the other “Trolls” teams pick up the slack. Ashton and Vanck have called off the truce with one another. They don’t really have any reason to bond anymore as they can no longer hate Matt and Redmond because they U-Turned them and Redmond has turned around his attitude. This causes Ashton to become extremely bossy and prompts Brooke to utter that she is “the worst.” When Brooke is criticizing your character, it is time to seriously re-evaluate your life choices…
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Ashton being a bossy type-A is nothing compared to the display Michael and Liz put on with each other. They start arguing over some miscommunication with the map while completing “Trolls.” All hell breaks loose when Michael discovers the Pit Stop is on top of mountain that must be climbed using 920+ steps. This mountain is Michael’s Mount Everest or Brooke’s ladle making / pumpkin spice celibacy. Being a larger gentlemen, Michael has no desire to climb the stairs and tries to find every way around it. Liz really just wants to get it over with and climb. Liz eventually breaks Michael down and they start scaling the stairs. They’ve wasted so much time trying to find another way though that they are the last team to arrive. This is a non-elimination leg though, so they have not been eliminated from The Amazing Race.
It’s not a happily ever after either, because when Phil asks Michael and Liz about the tension between them (with that vaguely constipated look Phil always has) the fight breaks anew. Michael and Liz start arguing loudly with each other on the mat in front of the poor Norway family that The Amazing Race has trotted out as greeters. The face of the little boy is priceless! It’s probably just a little squabble being magnified by stress and exhaustion, but The Amazing Race ends things on an ominous “To Be Continued” as Liz promises that, “It is over.”
So what do you think? Will Liz and Michael rebound or is their partnership done? Do you think Brooke could have scaled the bonfire tower faster than Scott? Is Ashton the worst or is there someone more annoying this season? What do you make of all the bickering?
The Amazing Race season 29 airs Thursdays at 10/9c on CBS. Want more news? Like our Facebook page.
(Image courtesy of CBS)
Contributing Writer, BuddyTV
Derek is a Philadelphia based writer and unabashed TV and comic book junkie. The time he doesn’t spend over analyzing all things nerdy he is working on his resume to be the liaison to the Justice League.