Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, United States

Saturday, May 06, 2006

TR: Amazing Race - Epsiode 10 (Leg 9)

So we begin again from Australlia at the Freemantle Sailing Club. The race is now down to 4 teams with the elimination of Fran & Barry.

All teams arrived pretty close to each other at the end of the last leg, and I note that Phil does not specifically say its a 12 hour pit stop again.

So however long the teams were told to stay at the pit stop, they leave with:

Clue #54:
"Go to the Swan Bell Tower"

Its a pretty straighforward task, and the named attraction/tourist site is just 15 miles from the pitstop. The bell tower is a modern metal and glass structure which houses some church bells it recieved as a gift from England.

There is little mystery as teams leave the pit stop, hail taxis, and proceed without incident to the tower. I did know that we were in trouble as soon as Phil said the clue was at the top of the tower. The teams are leaving in the middle of the night, and are thus headed to a bottleneck. Not as though the teams needed it as they all left the pitstop within 45 minutes of each other.

Sure enough they arrive to learn the tower does not open until the morning. I don't get it, the bell tower really plays no part in the race other than being a clue point, would it have been so wrong to set the clue box up right outside the bell tower so the teams can grab the clue and continue racing? This is not to say nothing of interest happened. It seems as though while Eric/Jeremy and Joseph/Monica can at least stand to be around each other, neither team cares much for BJ/Tyler. Now to be fair, BJ/Tylers first question upon seeing the other two teams together at a bus stop just outside the pit stop is "Have you figured out how to get to the Sawn Bell Tower?" which to me sounds like a direct request for help. Not exactly a great conversation starter, and when Eric/Jeremy correctly answer his question with "Yes", it sounds as if BJ/Tyler expect Eric/Jeremy to tell them. The conversation gets worse as BJ/Tyler again try to get a conversation started or at least try to mooch help by asking "So, you're waiting for a bus?" to which Eric answers "Yes", right before their cabs comes and picks them and Joseph/Monica up. You might say Eric/Jeremy were being mean/dishonest, but really when it comes to a contest for a million dollars, why should you do anything that might even vaguely help the other teams. Ray and Yolanda start just a bit late to see this routine, but one by one they all get cabs, all go to the Bell Tower, all find out about the opening time, and then fail to find a hotel.

They comment about wanting to find a cheap hotel, and of all people Monica starts asking people milling about the area for cheap places to stay. The guy she asks reads this as a pick up line and responds that she can stay at his place for free. Jospeh then comes out of hiding for a bit of an awkward moment. They eventually just decide to sleep in the park surrounding the tower.

Early the next day we see Ray and Tyler on the phone ordering taxis for their teams to arrive at 8:05am, in anticipation that they might have to go somewhere after reading the clue. Good planning. We then see Eric/Jeremy on a different phone, also ordering a cab, but they use an assumed nickname. Here is where things get dirty, Eric/Jeremy then proceed to repeatedly call the cab company and CANCEL Ray and Tyler's taxis. Big alarm bells of flagrant cheating much less unsportsmanlike conduct start ringing, and I wait for the show to call them on it.

Eric/Jeremy talk trash like "They should have used fake names", well no they should not have had to think of using fake names, as they should not expect another team to venture into the category of sabotage. I thought there was a rule against flagrant acts of trying to sabotage another team. If they show doesn't step in here, they are setting a bad precedent, and we can excpet to see similar clever if unsportmanlike unethical moves made by teams in future races.

So the bell tower opens and the teams climb the stairs, admire the view (optional), and head back to the ground. Who cares, really? The show has set us up to not care so much about the task as in seeing how the dust settles in Taxigate.

As excpeted we get to see Ray/Yolanda and BJ/Tyler looking for their cabs. BJ/Tyler find a cab and get it, but the driver is under hire to Jonathan. One of the hippies ask the other why he surrendered the cab so easy, and I think it has something to do with the fact he realized it wasn't legally his cab, and that nothing would be gained by stalling or aggravating the scene. Jonathan/Monica of course view this as a flagrant move by BJ/Tyler of cab theft, not that they weren't caught on camera just one leg earlier planning to commit cab theft themselves. Lucky for them both cabs they came upon just happned to be theirs anyway. Its that holier-than-thou syndrome. "We'd never do THAT" (just because we haven't been offered the chance)

Anyway the way it shakes up, not only did Ray and Tyler's cabs not show up, but Eric/Jeremys cab also didn't show up. There has been a clever theory that maybe the show cancelled the cab as a subtle informal penalty, but what I think happened was the taxi disptacher, who might have had caller ID for all we know, had a bunch of calls one after the other, three from what sounded like the same guy, ordering and cancelling taxis. She may have viewed the whole thing as a prank and just cancelled all the cabs. (If they really need one, they'll call back). That and don't use a movie stars name as you alias, she may have recognized the name and thought something was fishy or pranky.

But, look harder this means that Eric/Jeremy, Ray/Yolanda, and BJ/Tyler are all stranded without cabs, and they saw a cab pick Joseph/Monica up. BJ/Tyler called the taxi dispatcher again to arrange for a cab and learned the other cab was canceled. Looking at what just happened they assume Joseph/Monica cancelled the taxi, and Eric/Jeremy are certainly not going to do anything to set the record straight. I mean, if not for the stunt backfiring and leaving them without a cab, they pulled off a great tactic, and another team gets setup to take the credit for it. What's not to like.

The teams do all eventually get cabs and there is a bunch of trash talking in cabs. Joseph/Monica continue their rant on how evil BJ/Tyler are, while the other teams are vowing revenge on J/M for canceling their cabs. BJ/Tyler decide to make it personal and accuse Monica of getting a bit too close to E/J just to try to upset Joseph.

Anyway, with all the excietment of taxigate, I almost forgot, the bell tower did hold:

Clue #55 - Route Info
"Travel by plane to Darwin, Australlia, once there go to a named crocodile zoo attrction, the clue will be suspended over one of the crocodile exhibits"

So not suprisingly Joseph/Monica make it to the airport first, but they must not have gained too much time as they were still at the ticket counter when the other teams arrived. Joseph tried to channel Rob and asks the ticket agent not to tell anybody else about this flight. The ticket agent, willing to be corrupt (or at least act like he can be corrupt to earn a few extra dollars) asks Joseph what its worth. Joseh answers back half a million dollars. The ticket agent rephrases his request "What's it worth to me?" Joseph responds "A kiss from my girlfriend" Uhm, way to totally fail to read the situation, Joesph. The ticket agent looks repulsed. All in all it doesn't really matter becuase the other teams go to the other ticket agent, and as it turns out everybody gets the exact same travel arrangements anyway. BJ/Tyler start their campaign to cause disharmony amongst E/J and J/M with the whole Monica playing E/J rumour/lie. It's doesn't appear to be working. It also means the whole taxi thing didn't mater, as no team gained any advantage from it, the only thing is the purportator could have earned some bad will from it.

They fly to Darwin, and travel to the crocodile zoo. Guess what, the zoo is closed for the night, so again all teams get re equalized. At least they have cars they can sleep in this time. The next morning the zoo opens, teams get safety directions, and they have to carefully make their way through the crocodile exhibit to the clue, and return to safety. A few teams (like J/M) were a bit nervous at first, but this appeared to be a non event as no team really had trouble getting their clue.

Once back to the car:
Clue #56 - Route Info
"Go to Batchelor Airstrip - Caution: Yield Ahead"
Phill tells us this is the second of only two yields along the entire race, and gives the usual explanation of what a yeild is. Lake/Michelle used the first Yield to eliminate Double D. Which means all teams still have full yield power. There is some competitive road racing, vowing to use the yield, fast driving and so on. They arrive at Batchelor Airstrip at about the same time. We see J/M pull in, park the car, and run to the Yield mat only to see BJ/Tyler standing there.
You can bet this doesn't go well.

BJ/Tyler yield J/M as promised, and then J/M have to stand and watch the other two teams zip right past them. I think it is clear no one is loosing any sleep over this yield. Of course J/M are screaming bloody murder about how unfair it is that they have to stop and let the others go ahead. Its that whole ("We were here first","Yeah, but they beat you to the mat") concept. ) Actually Joseph seems to be taking this in stride, its Monica who is totally loosing it, acting like Flo, and ranting and raving about how unfair it is. She is totally that over competitve player who is taking this way to personally and letting it get to her. Joseph tries to calm her down, but in reality its only making it worse. Monica shrieks about how BJ/Tyler parked alongside the driveway instead of in the parking lot. Well, unless there was a rule specifically saying you had to park in the parking lot, thats fair game as BJ/Tyler would then be risking having their car towed, which I bet would eat more time than the Yield timer.

We alternate between shots of Monica going ballistic and the other receiving;
clue #57 - ROADBLOCK!
In this roadblock the player has to perform a tandem skydive with a professional skydiver. Its one of those roadblocks that requires no skill on the part of the player, except pushiing through the fear. In other words, its agreat roadblock to pass off to the weaker team member.

Also I don't know about the airfield, its runways, or how the contest was run, but it may have also been a first come first serve roadblock, where the teams each have to take their turn, can do nothing to try to improve their position as the other take their turns. Much like the bungee jump a few epsisodes back. In fact, I would not doubt if the sheer time it took for the Roadblock merely put J/M at the back of the group, and not really far behind the other teams.

So we see teams skydive, and collect the next clue.
Clue #58 - Go to the Magnetic Termite Mounds

Teams leave the airfield to head to this tourist site in what appears to be a large park. Oh, and Joseph/Monica are so distracted yelling about how unfair the Yield was, they lost track of the hourglass and didn't realize the time had expired. Doh! All teams drive to te tourist site and upon seeing all the mounds and hearing the words "Search amongst" I was fearing yet another lucky chance task, but the clue box was pretty obvious and teams did not seem to have any trouble finding it. The clue box contained

Clue #59 - Detour
"wet" or "Dry"
In wet - teams drive to a river and proceed to trek 1 mile down the river. I beleive teams were warned that there would be hazards like snakes, spiders, and that this would not be as fast as swimming laps in the pool.
In Dry - teams drive to antoher part of the park, then drive another 6 miles off road to a designated spot, pick up a diggerido, then find the aborigianese (by following the sound) with a matching Diggerido. They must then take lessons on the instrument and make one note.

Okay, os it appears that we have the physical, potentially scary even, defined length task, or the non physical task they involved a random chance element (finding the aboriganese) and then learning to play a note.

BJ/Tyer and Eric/Jeremy decide to take the physical task, which on its surface sounds better. They have no trouble finding the river, getting directions, donning safety gear, but then they enter the river and learn its gonna be no picnic as it will be a very slow go.

Ray/Ylanda are next and they decide to take the "dry" task, owing to Yolanda can't swim. We see Ray/Yolanda heading out of the park just as Joseph/Monica are pulling in. This helps my theory that the Yield of a second place team in that situation merely rearranged the order in which teams completed the droadblock, it didn't slow them down any further. Which alos means I think BJ/Tyler used that Yield purely out of spite, I won't say they wasted it as there are no more Yields, but it wasn't good game play. We see the "Amazing One Lane Road Rule" again, it seems that if there is a one lane road, a team going 'out' of the attraction has priority on the team coming in. Joseph/Monica of course act, maybe even prompted to act like this is another death blow.

See see Ray/Yolanda take their detour, the off road driving part was a marked trail, and sure they had to try two locals before they found the matching diggerido, but we see that all in all it was a fast task. Cut back to E/J and B/T still struggling with the miracle mile in the riverbed. They seem to be at least edited to be like the are helping each other, but I think even if they were its probably just a 'misery loves company' deal.

We go to J/M at the clue box, it is evident that if they take "Dry" they have a good chance at finsihing this leg in a competetive position, if they choose "wet" they can' just hang it up. They choose "Dry", your reaction will very depending on how you like J/M. We cut back to E/J and B/T continuig to struggle in the river as Ray./Yalonda are checking in at the pitstop.

We see J/M start to perform their detour, the guys are still struggling, and it is edited so that it looks like J/M finish their detour first, and then the River Crew finally finishes up. If they had to then hike back to their cars is not shown. They are clearly in a three way road race to the pitstop.

Speaking of which:
Clue #60 - Route Info
"Go to Lake Bennet Wilderness Reserve" - Caution this is a pit stop.

As I mentioned Ray/Yolanda check in and are visibly surprised to be in first place. It now leaves no doubt as to which was the better detour option. Phill awards their leg prize. "Congratulations - you have each won a 1 year lease of a Mercedes M class, just like you have been driving today"

Rather than the overjoyed screams of delight of a team that has just won a car on your typcial game show, they seem rather non challant, Ray even cracks a joke by asking if the steering wheel will be on the proper side, Phil assures him it will be. That prize was chinzy, I mean its not a new car, its a short lease on a luxry car. This will mean their auto insurance rated will soar for a year as they tack on what will be viewed as a luxury SUV here in the States. Then if they already have cars, they have to pay their expenses as well as the Mercedes expenses, along with all taxes. Man, they might actually lose on this deal by the time its all over. I think Donald Trump said in year 1 of the Apprentice "If you want to create exictement, you don't give away a lease on a car, you give away a car"

Back to the real Amazing Race. The other three teams are clearly neck in neck, they all pull intot the resort at about the same time, they are all seem running towards Phil. The camera pulls back far enough so se can't see the mat. It's gonna be a photo finish, and when the dust finally clears, we see Phil award the places.

2nd place to Eric/Jeremy
3rd place to Jonathan/Monia
4th place to BJ/Tyler

Joseph/Monica refuse to shake BJ/Tylers hands. Bad sportsmanship there, intense rivalries have started as a result of refusing the ceremonial post competition hand shake. (see XU/UC during the Huggins years after Bob Huggins refued to shake Skip Prosser's hand) I mean even player who are sworm mortal enemies should (and commonly do) at least follow the protocol and formalities of sport.

Here is where I expect to see Eric and Jeremy repaid by Phil for sabotaging the other teamss taxi cab reservations. But no such luck, Phil remains silent on that issue. Phil does inform BJ/Tyler that this is a non elimination leg. You can see Monica SEETHING when she learns they have not gotten ride of BJ/Tyler. Hold on to your seats, this race is about to get ugly.

BJ/Tyler don't have many posessions to take away, however it appears that at least BJ didn't put his shoes back on after the detour. That poses the question as to weather the show will at leave give him a pair of shoes. The rest of their money is of course taken away. So much for tht $300 collection on the airplane ride from Oman. It will now go to benefit CBS.

Next week - Team travel to Thailand! Challenges include setting table for dinner for sacred monkeys. (Who appear to not wait till meal is served to mess up the table) It looks like they have to set multiple tables, snd I have visions of the old tv routine where the guy is trying to keep plates spinning on the tops of several poles simultaneouly, and if a plate slowed down it would fall off. Also it looks like another challenge involves balancing a lot of clay pots on a wooden board while carrying the board. The preview promises another Monica meltdown. I pencil Monica as being safely into the final three.

Oh, on the subject of future legs:

Roadblocks - It appears Ray has perfomed all 6 roadblocks to which he is entitled, Yolanda will now have to pick up any more roadblocks they come accorss, regardless of the task. I hope that was a good choice Ray, to pick one that should have obviosuly gome to Yolanda this leg. (This of course assumes that the 6 maximum rule still applies)

(BJ, and Monica each have 5 to their partners 4, and Eric and Jeremy have 4 each owing to that fast forward)

Speaking of which, there should be one more fast forward this race *unless it was not used, and therefore not shown*, only Eric and Jeremy are ineligible. Will this come back to haunt them?


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