With only four teams left on the penultimate leg of this season’s Amazing Race, viewers were left wondering if perennial second placers Burnie & Ashely could finally maneuver their was past Tyler & Korey to take first and if twice saved, almost always next to last place team Sheri & Cole would finally be the last to arrive at the Pit Stop, one leg short of the finale.
After two legs in Indonesia, teams flew to Shenzhen, China where they had to look for their clue in the Departure Hall of the airport. First two teams Tyler & Korey and Burnie & Ashely found the clue and the boys decided they were going to play dumb about not finding the clue when they saw Sheri & Cole at the money exchange booth. Burnie & Ashley walked up waving the clue around after Tyler had just said they didn’t know where it was, spoiling his plan to put the last place team of of their misery.
One the busses to the next location, the Window of the World, Tyler & Korey were on a bus with Matt & Dana and Burnie & Ashley were on a bus with Sheri & Cole, where Burnie proceeded to tell them that Tyler was intentionally lying to them to try to knock them out of the race. But Tyler & Korey found new allies in Matt & Dana, and the two pairs decided to work together at the next challenge to try to get ahead of Burnie.
The Window of the World is quite an amazing place in the middle of Shenzhen, a large park with replicas of famous buildings and landmarks from around the world. Teams had to find their clue on the Eiffel Tower, and this time they were confronted with a Road Block. One team member had to solve riddles to identify the proper landmark in the park and place a stamp on the right page of the “passport.” When finished, they had to get each location verified before moving on.
Tyler and Dana had some pretty good team work considering how out of control she can get with Matt. She didn’t lose her cool once with Tyler. But they knew they had Burnie on hot on their tails, and he was none too pleased to see them working together. At one point, they even pretended they didn’t know one location he asked them about, but he figured it out himself. Unfortunately, they had one of their locations wrong and had to find the Taj Mahal before proceeding. But that one mistake gave Burnie the advantage to finish the task first and take off to the next location, Lychee Park. Tyler and Dana were not far behind, but poor Sheri was a distant fourth. She still managed to find all of the locations but one on her own.
The three teams in the lead were all on the same train to Lychee Park where the next clue contained a Detour. Teams could choose Commuter Cycle or Master of Arts. The cycling challenge required both team members to master a gizmo that was sort of a combination hoverboard/unicycle that is all the rage for quick and easy transportation among the local businessmen. If you have good balance. Master of Arts required teams to pick up two parcels of artwork and go to a designated location to hang it. Sounds simple enough but the artwork actually had a pattern and all the pieces had to be hung correctly.
Burnie & Ashely decided to do the Commuter Cycle while the other two teams did the art challenge. The hardest part of that one was finding the address of the gallery, and once there both teams quickly figured out the pattern of the artwork. Tyler & Korey finished first but then discovered there was a little bit of a twist — the pieces had to be spaced the exact width of a level, so the boys had to rehang several pieces with the right spacing. Dana & Matt only had some very minor issues.
Meanwhile, Burnie & Ashley were quickly coming to the realization that they made a terrible mistake with the cycles. While people were whizzing around them and doing exceptionally choreographed movements, the two discovered they did not have the time to get their balancing act on par to not only ride the thing, but carry a briefcase and a cup of coffee at the same time. Sensing the mistake, they finally decided to switch, not knowing that Sheri & Cole had also decided to take on that challenge.
Tyler & Korey finished the art challenge and were leaving their gallery as Burnie & Ashley caught sight of them, putting another dark cloud over their heads. Dana & Matt were not far behind. At the cycles, Sheri surprisingly took to the devices much quicker than Cole, whirling about while he could not find his balance. Not knowing where they stood, they knew they had already spent too much time at the challenge and decided to stick it out until they were able to master it enough to move forward. Adding to the difficulty was the rain, which made tire traction perilous.
The first two teams were battling it out to get to the Pit Stop first at the Shenzhen Library Terrace. The artwork they hung was actually a representation of the location, and they had to give cab drivers a print of the building to know where they were going. But it was a huge place and the terrace was not easy to find, with the editors having a field day keeping us guessing as to who would arrive first. Turns out, the boys were taking first place again with Dana & Matt a close second. The real battle for the last spot in the finale was yet to come.
Sheri & Cole did finally manage to master their cycling, at least enough to start and stop their way to the finish line. But Burnie & Ashley got through the art hanging challenge with nary a mistake and were headed to the Pit Stop before Sheri & Cole even had their clue.
Of course, The Amazing Race loves to play up the idea that the last two teams are basically seconds apart, but they’re usually several minutes or longer. This time, Burnie & Ashley had a clear lead, so it seemed silly to even pretend Sheri & Cole had a shot. But … traffic played an even bigger part in the drama than did the editing. Burnie & Ashley were stuck, badly stuck in a huge traffic jam. They finally decided to ditch the cab and go on foot. Sheri & Cole seemed to have better of it as they may have been coming from a different direction. We still have no real idea of how far apart the teams are, but the editing makes them seem close as they both arrive at the location “at the same time” and then have to find Phil. Sheri & Cole could hear drumming and decided to follow that, while Burnie & Ashley seemed lost.
At the mat, Phil and the first two teams waited anxiously to see which team would be rounding the corner and coming in third place was …
Sheri & Cole! This was probably one of the most shockingly unexpected endings to a leg that there has ever been. As they ran to the mat, they kept asking where Burnie & Ashley were but no one knew and they mother/son team was really, truly in third place. Still not knowing where they stood, and having not seen any other teams, Burnie & Ashley tried to look on the bright side that maybe they were first, but rounding the corner and seeing the three teams on the mat, they knew it was the end of the road for them, a very shocking elimination that proved once again a bad decision can spell the difference between winning and losing on The Amazing Race.
What did you think of this week’s episode? Is your favorite team still in the race? Who are you rooting for to win? Tell us in the comments below!