Amazing Race fans, watch for our quiz, How Well Do You Know: The Amazing Race 14, to be published the morning after the series finale!
Amazing Race Recap
Our Parents Will Cry Themselves to Death
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
April 19, 2009
Previously on the Amazing Race, Mark & Michael got busted cheating. Twice. The end result is that they should have finished in fourth place by 50 minutes. Instead, they are in last place by three hours and ten minutes. A more accurate title for tonight's episode would be: "Everyone Knows Who's Getting Eliminated, So What's the Point?" The editors even know this, so they're advertising the show as "The Deaf Guy Gets Bitched Out".
The departure times are a lot less important this week than in most episodes. That's what happens when teams are leaving at brunch hour instead of at 4 a.m., with one team being an entire football game behind. Even so, here they are: Margie & Luke depart at 9:36 a.m. Their journey will take them to Guilin, China. Despite having a large advantage and knowing that no other team is likely to be able to get on the same first flight as them, it looks likely that there will be some bunching at the connecting flight, which isn't until 8:30 p.m. In fact, this does prove to be true as both Jaime & Cara and Victor & Tammy get that 8:30 connecting flight. The sisters, Jen & Kisha, are a half hour behind on the connecting flight, which leaves at 9:10 p.m. Who knows what flight the brothers are on, as the editors decline to show us their connecting flight's departure time. This is not a good sign for them. At this point, they could get private planes and a personal chauffeur to everything and it wouldn't matter. In fact, although we don't understand Mandarin, we think the ticket agents at the airport ask them, "Should we just go ahead and give you tickets back to America?"
It turns out that the earlier flight advantage is completely nullified when the 8:30 p.m. flight is delayed. This allows Jen & Kisha to jump ahead because their connecting flight leaves on time. We'll see if they can hold that lead.
Once in China, we are reminded that Victor & Tammy are Chinese and speak Mandarin, which would seem to be a pretty big advantage. And it's not like they sort of speak the language. They're quite fluent. Luke takes this opportunity to complain a little bit, as he wishes he and Margie could go to a place where everyone just spoke in American Sign Language. He thinks it's a little unfair that Victor & Tammy have this advantage over the rest of the teams.
As the teams rush to get their first clue from a hair salon, we're reminded that Jen & Kisha have a bit of bad blood with Margie & Luke. In the previous leg, Margie & Luke encouraged their cab driver to give bad directions to Jen & Kisha's driver. This caused the sisters to struggle a great deal on their way to a near last-place finish. Now, they're pissed and ready for revenge, but Luke is feeling the competitive juices flowing. When Luke & Jen run up to grab the first clue, they arrive at the box at almost the same time and Luke throws an elbow. Jen's reaction is to call him a "bitch". We debated about how this played out a bit. On the one hand, you have to remember that Luke is deaf and Jen does come up on him and hangs on his back a bit, which might have been startling to him since he can't hear her approach. Even so, the elbow that he throws here would get him ejected from an NBA game. No matter what, it's clear that these two teams totally have it in for each other at the moment. Kisha & Jen are ticked about the perceived "bitch" behavior, while Luke is pissed that Jen called him a bitch. It's all very schoolyard, really.
The first clue directs teams to make their way to the 24 Bridge. We presume that their next task will be to dismantle a bomb faster than Jack Bauer. But we're wrong. Instead, the Roadblock has them training a cormorant (a small water bird) to dive for ten fish, which they will put in a basket.
Oh, hey! The Amazing Race takes a few minutes to remind us that Mark & Michael are still in the race! Instead of goofy music, they're playing Mission: Impossible-esque music as the stunt brothers try to locate the hair salon. Of course, we have no idea what time it is or how far behind they are, but we're pretty sure it's safe to say that we have as good a chance of finishing in fourth place or higher as these guys do.
On the approach to the clue box at 24 Bridge, Jen and Luke are at it again. They exchange elbows and run into each other and eventually, Jen is pushed into the clue box. Margie is quick to yell at Jen to "cut it out!" (and we understand this is maternal instinct kicking in), but really, this is juvenile behavior on the part of both teams. It matters pretty much not at all which team gets to the clue box first. We're not really sure if Luke deserves a little bit more slack because he's deaf, but we do know that it's just not a good idea to get into a war with someone who is disabled.
Back over to the stunt men (we're not sure why they're even bothering at this point), they've finally located the hair salon and are discovering that it's time to do their Speed Bump. Unless it instructs them to go directly to the Pit Stop, we're pretty sure they're boned. Lindsay Lohan's career is in better shape. Of course, they are not instructed to go to the Pit Stop. Instead, they must wash and dry the hair of two women. No word on if Zohan-like activities are expected afterwards.
The cormorant training exercise is actually quite close between the first four teams. Jen & Kisha and Jaime & Cara are first to finish, and their next clue instructs them to proceed to the "Ancient South Gate". Yeah, that's not vague. It sounds like something Jackie Chan might have to look for in one of his movies in order to prevent the evil serpent god from finding all of the tokens that will allow him to rule the world.
Margie & Luke are next to finish, though Luke gets bitten by one of the birds. Jen claims he's a victim of karma, but we're pretty sure that she only believes in the My Name Is Earl-flavored karma, where it's karma if it's to her advantage, but she doesn't believe in that crap if it doesn't help her in some way.
W.C. Fields once said, "Never work with animals or children." Victor & Tammy are learning to appreciate the validity of this maxim. Their bird is unwilling to give up its food, so it comes up with the obvious solution none of the other fowl have considered. It just flies away. We're unsure if they will be given a new bird or if they just have to wait for their cormorant to fly back home.
Despite the renegade bird, Victor & Tammy finish ahead of Margie & Luke because the mother and son's boat driver just decides to sit in the middle of the lake for some reason. Once they finish, all four of the teams that matter are in their cabs, and Kisha & Jen are continuing to bitch about Luke & Margie and vice-versa. Seriously, if this is all you have that passes for drama, your television show is pathetic. We're sick to death of the whole thing and we're only a half hour into the show.
Back to the actual race, at the Ancient South Gate, the Detour gives teams the option between Choreography and Calligraphy. It's pretty much exactly what it sounds like. On the one hand, they must learn a dance, while the other task requires them to copy some intricate characters. In the case of Margie & Luke, choreography isn't even an option since they have to be able to hear the music in order to dance along with it. That seems a little unfair to us. We're sure Jen would just say that it's karma.
In fact, Jaime & Cara are the only ones to choose Choreography, and it does seem like they ought to have a natural advantage thanks to their experience as cheerleaders. In the description of the tasks, Phil tells us that Calligraphy could prove to be problematic since the characters are fairly complex and it might be easy to make a mistake. However, with Victor & Tammy leading the group of three in the calligraphy challenge, they all work together to blow through it. Jaime & Cara genuinely struggle with the dance challenge. They're clearly not doing something right, as they seem to be several beats off the other dances. Twice they are told that they are doing something incorrectly. Jaime immediately gets annoyed with the judges because "they don't speak English" and they decide to move over to the other challenge. Perhaps this would be a bad time to point out to Jaime that more than two times as many people speak Mandarin than speak English. Maybe we shouldn't bring that up.
Once teams have finished with the Detour, they must travel by foot to Banyan Lake and find the Sun and Moon Pagodas, which will lead them to their Pit Stop. It's going to be a three-way race between the teams that opted first for the Calligraphy challenge, and Jen & Kisha barely arrive in first. They don't care that they're getting a prize or anything, just that they beat Margie & Luke. It's going to be a hostile, hostile race between these two teams as we approach end game. Kisha & Jen do win a trip to Barbados, which obviously means that karma is on their side for some reason.
As all three teams stand on the mat together, Tammy & Victor try to be upbeat and positive. Phil notes that the competition seems to be getting more intense, and Victor says, "It's good, spirited, fun competition." Kisha & Jen reply, "No it's not." Margie signs to Luke not to say anything, but he is angry. Let's just say that the situation escalates significantly. All four are finding reasons to be mad at each other. Margie accuses both Jen and Kisha of laughing at Luke when he starts signing angrily. Phil says that he doesn't believe they meant it that way, and they probably didn't, but it's just a bad, awkward situation. We feel very badly for Victor & Tammy, who have both been making a concerted effort to be upbeat and positive and are stuck in the middle of the whole thing.
A little while later, Jaime & Cara finally finish the Choreography challenge, and they make their way to the Pit Stop. When Phil tells them that they are team number four, they ask if there were five teams in this leg. They were surprisingly upbeat either way, though.
Of course, this means that Team Bumble is finally eliminated from the race. We're not sure why the show had to waste our time keeping them on for another week. It effectively meant that we had two episodes where the final result was completely unimportant.