On tonight’s The Amazing Race, teams must endure the wrath of … puppies! Also, the twists keep coming, and they aren’t just on Dave’s leg.

Anyone feel like we spent too much time on Dave and Connor in the previews? Yes, Dave tore something in his leg last time and, yes, he and his son had cancer. I reckon that the producers felt this was more suspenseful than it was. Am I wrong on this front? I like this team, but I only know that they both had cancer and are father and son. Where’s the rest of their personality or drive? Maybe I’m just another cold-hearted German (see below). 

I can’t remember the last Amazing Race episode that focused so heavily on one particular team. Luckily, some of their personality shines through during this episode: along the way, they make bad jokes, keep a mostly positive attitude and remain determined to go as far as possible in the race. If they can somehow pull it off and win, their story will truly be … an amazing race. (I’m so gifted with words, just stop with all the compliments!) What I like about this team is that they know their chances of winning are less and less likely with his injury. 

Before flying to their absolute destination, Team JJ gives the second Express Pass to the injured Dave and Connor. Team JJ (John and Jessica) are definitely more strategic than those California dreamboats let on. But now, how will they get their beloved butt-kissing? Team JJ is going to play against the Hockey Players and are playing teams and alliances from the start. They are definitely more conniving than they initially appeared.

Now, a good third of this episode focuses on just getting to New Zealand. Mostly airplanes, but also a lot of driving, in which pretty much everyone makes some kind of mistake. Again, due to travel, everyone is taking off for the first flight together. But for the second flight, teams split up amongst flights. (Chuck and Wynona end up getting on the last flight, but manage to catch up again.)

After finally arriving (20 minutes into the episode!), teams must go to this River Gorge and pick a number to get a boat to receive their next clue. There is a cute little thing with the blondes not realizing what to do and managing to snatch it just barely before the Hockey Players.

Now there are two Detours. One is to drive stick on a muddy terrain in between cones in less than a combined 83 seconds. It’s like a crossover between this and How I Met Your Mother. If you get that reference, you are a true fan. Dave and Connor manage to be in first until they realize that this is not America and that most cars are manual, making Dave’s injury another hindering presence. Clutch it up, Americans!

That’s something that I think should be addressed. You’re going on a show in a race around the world and you can’t drive stick? Or you’ve just barely learned? That’s not as bad as being afraid of water like last week’s eliminated team, but still. This isn’t a new reality show. It’s in its 22nd season, future contestants.

The other detour is to go rod fishing. Both teammates must catch at least a 12-inch fish. Personally, I would have done this one because I can fish. But had I known I was going on this show? Yes, I would have learned to drive a stick really well.

After fishing for maybe five minutes, Dave and Connor use their Express Pass. I bet the producers weren’t thinking this would happen when they enabled this game changer this season, eh?

Contestants, after grabbing their next clue, must endure a Road Block. Called the “Shemozzle Race,” contestants go through an obstacle race getting molasses, feathers and dirty water while holding eggs. Oh, and did I mention they do it with dogs? If anything on The Amazing Race warms my heart, it will be adorable dogs.

And after this leg, contestants must race to the pit stop at Terrace Downs. Connor and Dave obviously arrive first, winning a swanky trip to Bangkok. And then Phil asks if they are ready to start the next leg of the race, which starts right now.


In my crazy reality TV conspiracy corner, I think The Amazing Race producers may have intervened. Logically, I know these events take a lot of time to set up and the producers probably don’t have that much power, but doesn’t it seem just a little too coincidental? Knowing this is TV gold, the producers at least edited or framed the episode so that we would be on another cliffhanger. So they are making this team’s saga into a trilogy when it only needs be two parts (i.e. The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn).

Those crafty people now have two cliffhangers on a team that is in no way going to make it to the end. But this show is not about a destination: it is about the journey (quite literally, otherwise we would just watch the finale). Despite my frustrations, it is clever and engaging television. 

So as we check in with the teams, it will be less about how they did this leg and more about … other things.

Checking In with the Teams

Anthony & Bates (Pro Hockey Players): So far, they seem to be strong contenders, as Team JJ has noted. They seem to like the Blondes, and realize that alliances are happening.

Dave & Connor: Dave and Connor must go see a proper doctor in Tahiti. He has a bunch of torn things. Achilles’ tendon?  I’m no doctor! Other teams learn of their struggles with this fake sympathy that kind of bothers me. At least these guys won a trip!

Jessica & John (Team JJ): John’s a bit of a piece of work, isn’t he? Quite the manipulator and strategist. I would really like to hear more from Jessica, though. 

Joey & Megan (Team YouTubers): As much as I want to despise them, I actually enjoy their presence. They are just having a good time.

Chuck & Wynona: They get on the wrong flight, but decide to tear it up fishing! And they catch some pretty big ones, way bigger than the requirements. They manage to get a lot of time back. Clearly, Wynona is the weaker of the two. Hopefully, she is good at puzzles.

Mona & Beth (Roller Derby Moms): They d well on the race track (which I oddly predicted, mind you). Not much else to report thus far. 

Caroline & Jennifer (Country Singers): “My dog’s name is Duck. And my grandpa was John Wayne,” says … one of the blondes. Honestly, I know I’m being hair-colorist here, but how am I supposed to tell the difference? I say this as a fellow blonde. Otherwise, the two have developed a friendship with the hockey players.

Max & Katie (Newlyweds): Is it wrong to speculate how long their marriage will last? Like, does that make me evil? So I’m evil. Katie was really down on her new hubby for not beating her time, goading him even. Sure, there is a competitive drive amongst these control freaks, but still. “I’m a warm-blooded and she’s a cold-blooded German,” says Max. And Katie says she’s 24 with a doctorate, so she’s “pretty much always right.” Woah. But you understand why I’m evil, right? These two do not seem good for each other. 

Pam & Winnie: They continue their streak from last week and get lost again. In addition, these girls cannot drive a stick. Sure, I can’t either and I’m a twenty-something girl, but I ain’t racing around the world. They will have to step it up if they want to stay in this long leg next week.

So that’s week three. As always, I’d love to hear your comments. What did you think of the challenges? What are your thoughts about the teams? Are there any good nicknames for the teams? Did you like this episode? And most important: do you think the producers intervened during production or just edited it to maximize the suspense and entertainment?

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(Image courtesy of CBS)

Emily E. Steck

Contributing Writer, BuddyTV