The last two episodes of The Amazing Race have been an exercise in frustration not only for the teams, but for viewers at home wondering how many of the teams found their way out of Los Angeles to get even this far in the race.
In the fourth episode of the season, “Good Old Fashioned Spit in the Face,” the rivalry between Texas boys Tanner & Josh and superfans Justin & Diana was coming to a head. So much so that the Texans made deals with virtually everyone else that if they weren’t able to U-Turn the Green Team, anyone else who did would get their Express Pass. The boys knew there was a Double U-Turn ahead so they played the odds and skipped a Road Block to advance themselves to … a Detour. Where there was no U-Turn waiting for them. Basically, they wasted the Express Pass much to the astonishment of everyone else who knew you use the Express Pass at the Detour, not the Road Block. I think my cat even knows that.
It didn’t even help them into first place because Justin & Diana were on their tail the entire time, even without the Express Pass. Needing to scramble and make amends and show respect, the two teams called a truce not to use the U-Turn when it finally popped up. And pop up it did at what everyone thought was the Pit Stop. Unaware that the race was continuing, no one used the U-Turn and Jazmine & Danielle said after the fact that they would have U-Turned the last team literally right behind them, Tiffany & Krista. The cheerleaders, and they had to know they were in last place, decided to honor the agreement with Tanner & Josh, U-Turning Justin & Diana. Had the Texas boys known that was going to happen, they could have told Phil to give the Express Pass to them, a move that would have really shaken things up.
With Justin & Diana in first place, Tanner & Josh were seconds behind when Phil Keoghan dropped a bomb on them. The race was continuing and they had to decide right then and there who to give the Express Pass to. One would assume they would have given it to the reporters, Kelsey & Joey, since they were the first team they talked to about U-Turning the Green Team. Shockingly, they told Phil to give it to Denise & James Earl, whom we’ve barely seen the Texans even acknowledge. Long story short, that move put the mother/son team in first place at the actual end of the leg.
While Tanner & Josh’s error cost them dearly in the first half of this leg, other teams suffered in the second half of the leg by making mistakes just as stupid as the Texans’. For as long as I’ve been writing about The Amazing Race, one of the things I’m always having to point out — and if you’re planning to ever be on the show, please heed this advice — READ YOUR CLUES!
At the Road Block, one team member at to “gorge” themself, leading many to think it was a food challenge. No, the clue referred to the gorge right behind them. The team member had to be harnessed to a line and jump several hundred feet into the gorge. An easy challenge, but scary and exhilarating nonetheless. Two teams, doctors Cindy & Rick and paparazzi Logan & Chris, completely forgot that a Road Block is right where the clue is. The doctors read the clue and ran back to their taxi, so the paps just did the same thing. Once they told the driver where to go, the drivers were confused as the location was where they had just left. This mistake put both teams at the back of the pack, and led to some uncomfortable tension and arguments between Logan & Chris.
I would like to say that karma found Logan & Chris just as unappealing as viewers probably are at this point. At the check in point with Phil, which was at an orphanage, teams were asked to donate as much money as they could before resuming the leg. Every team gave whatever money they had left before Phil gave them the next clue and $65.00. Chris put $20 in the collection box and Phil, noticing more in his fanny pack, asked how much money he had. He was still carrying $150, which Phil basically shamed him into putting into the box which didn’t help his mood one bit.
Knowing they were in last place, the tension only ratcheted up at the Detour which asked teams to choose between paddling a canoe across a river, or going into a steel cage and feeding crocodiles with some meat on a stick. The first two teams did the canoe while everyone else did the feeding. Justin & Diana were paddling pros and pulled ahead of Tanner & Josh, who were almost going around in circles, having no clue how to actually paddle a canoe. Of the two, this challenge actually took a little longer, but with only one team at a time getting into the cage, those waiting in line were put further and further behind. For the record, the canoe challenge was insane! Paddling across open water full of dangerous animals was not the best choice on any count. At one point, Josh was almost standing up in the canoe which I thought for sure was going to capsize. It was more frightening than the gorge!
Meaning Chris was totally losing his mind with Logan as they saw themselves slipping further and further into last place, and arguing violently about staying at the cage or going to the canoe. They were actually in the middle of getting out of their wetsuits before deciding to stay and do the feeding. For once, they made the right decision because fate and carelessness would screw up another team.
The final task leading up to the Pit Stop required teams to walk a path with lions. Real, out-in-the-wild lions! Not zoo-tamed creatures, but lions that would turn around and eat you if you made one false move. Teams had to walk slowly, quietly and with constant eye contact so as not to agitate the beautiful beasts, all the while looking for a skull that had the last clue to the location of the Pit Stop. At least this task got Chris to shut up for a few minutes.
The race to the Pit Stop became a one of the most comical moments in the show’s history as teams had to balance a basket of fruit on their heads and walk a path to Phil. Denise and James Earl didn’t have much to worry about since they skipped way ahead of everyone with the Express Pass. But Justin & Diana and Tanner & Josh were neck-and-neck battling for second and third place. One step at a time in the slowest footrace in history, the Green Team took second place, putting the Texans back in third. The real comedy came as the local women casually strolled by the teams with baskets on their own heads.
Fortunes changed for Logan & Chris, however, when Tiffany & Krista failed to READ THE CLUE and didn’t know the next clue was located with the skulls so they had to go back to the beginning of the walk and do it again, putting them behind Team Chac Attack and the paparazzi. At the Pit Stop, it came down to who could balance better and walk slightly faster between those two teams with the paps actually over-taking the doctors. Which means another week of that unpleasantness while Tiffany & Krista, who could have benefited from the Express Pass, take the next plane home.