The Amazing Race Recap
By Kim Hollis and David Mumpower
October 12, 2015

So long, guys. We barely knew you.

Previously on The Amazing Race, a pair of Texas blowhards randomly decided to dislike a guy simply because he beat them in challenges. A homophobic mother tried to pretend like she’s fine with her son’s homosexuality when she’s clearly not…and she’s also kind of evil. And a member of the paparazzi blew up on her partner so quickly and contentiously that we can’t help but wonder whether we watch an in-show break-up at some point this season. Then again, they’d have to last another few episodes for the situation to reach that point, and we’re dubious about the odds of it.

The other strange moment of note from the second episode involved Justin & Diana, #TheGreenTeam. They deduced a clue, and then they chose to reveal the answer to Denise & James Earl, the mother/son team with more issues than Life Magazine (ask your parents what a magazine is, kids). The idea was to build goodwill in the social game with a team that clearly isn’t a threat to win.

To their complete shock, #TeamAlabama turned around and played a much more devious social game. They told EVERYONE else about the supposed mystery of the clue. Justin went over to a group of them and pointed this out. Everyone instantly took #TeamAlabama’s side and noted that #TheGreenTeam wanted to withhold key information. So, the mother/son tandem broke a promise, stole #TheGreenTeam’s plan as their own, and then framed them for the crime. That’s a lot of treachery in five minutes. Maybe we’re underestimating them.

The start of today’s leg involves a debate among the two members of #TeamTexas. Tanner’s reckless decision to sprint to the finish line to gain a spot over a non-threatening team led to them leaving one minute earlier than #TeamAlabama. It also caused Tanner to injure his hamstring, and the sprint wasn’t for first place. It was all about pride and ego, and crippling mistake could cost them the entire competition. Tanner plans to soldier on for now. Long term ramifications seem likely, though.

To the chagrin of #TeamTexas, #TheGreenTeam is the first to depart at 5:45 a.m. Their destination is San Antonio de Areco, which is presumably the class of the Argentinian basketball league. Justin takes this opportunity to mention that he’s watched every season of The Amazing Race at least three times. He…needs a new hobby. His wife tolerantly nods her confirmation of this factoid, and we now know the topic of choice when she vents about Justin to all her friends.

Tanner & Josh leave at 6:12 a.m., meaning that they were almost a half hour out of first place whenTanner injured himself sprinting to the finish line. They had literally nothing to gain by that move. They just couldn’t stand the thought of finishing behind #TeamAlabama.

Speaking of them, the mother offers this bit of backstory while venting to her son. “James Earl, you always tell me to shut up.” That’s an actual quote, not something we’re saying for the sake of hyperbole. If they win The Amazing Race, every dollar earned should go to hiring the finest therapists in ‘Merica. We suspect that she’ll spend her share on Home Shopping Network jewelry and Crimson Tide season tickets, though. He’ll spend his money buying a house as far away from her as possible, and probably one that isn’t anywhere close to an airport or train station, either.

There’s very little separation in the times of the various teams this morning, but it’s one of those rare instances where seconds count. Cindy & Rick, whom we resent having to call Team #ChacAttack, depart only nine minutes after #TeamTexas. They wind up on the second bus due to a lack of urgency. Conversely, #The Reporters finally do something of note. The seventh team to depart at 6:30, they win the taxi lottery to the bus station. Then, they note that #TeamTexas is in line at the terminal. They follow the two gentlemen, one of whom is limping badly, and ask for the same reservation. When they reach the first bus, the door is closed, but they plead their way on, moving them up to the top half of this leg.

The bottom group forced to wait on the second bus includes Mr. & Mrs. DoctorDentist (really, really hate to type #ChacAttack), track stars Jazmine & Danielle, #TheCheerleaders, and the feudin’ Paparazzi. As the last team to depart, #TheDancers should be thrilled that there’s bunching. As clearly the worst remaining team, it still won’t matter much to them in the long run, though. And the news gets worse for them. They fail to reach the second bus before it departs. So, they’re in last place by a huge amount and have demonstrated little skill in the competition. This episode feels like a foregone conclusion after less than 10 minutes.

There are three teams on the first bus. Prior to #TheGreenTeam’s arrival on the bus, #TeamTexas tries to manipulate #TheReporters to do their bidding. They state that the team who slams a U-Turn on Justin & Diana will get the Express Pass. They also explain why they don’t like Justin, which comes down to the fact that he’s better than them. After the six people exit the bus station and jump on pick-up trucks, Josh describes what’s happening. The telling quote is, “#TheGreenTeam’sright in front of us. *pauses and laughs* As always.” Tanner doesn’t laugh and shoots a death glare at his partner. Okay, we like Josh better.

The first challenge today is Gaucho Grill. A bunch of men in kicky hats called gauchos sit around a campfire and grill Flintstone-sized racks of ribs. The players have to prepare several slabs of meat for cooking. The key steps are that the bones must face out, the right side (the butt) should face upward, and the players must skew the meat properly. This challenge makes us hungry.

Our favorite part of this leg is that clever dogs hang out near the campfire, anxiously awaiting scraps. If we were playing, we’d lose to everybody, because we’d be too busy petting and feeding the puppies. Josh & Diana do exactly this, while reporter Kelsey watches indifferently. If you’re a Nielsen family in Ventura, California, remember this slight against all dogs and animal lovers.

Just before and just after the commercial break, the story switches to #TheDancers. How bad is their situation? Everyone else got on a bus in the dark. #TheDancers are standing in broad daylight at a platform, awaiting a bus that is yet to arrive. It’ll be nothing short of a miracle if they’re not eliminated. Even making this a non-elimination leg would be pointless, because they’ve got to be several hours behind by now.

Back at the savory Gaucho Grill, we learn that attention to detail is crucial to completing the challenge. Players make several mistakes before eventually earning their next clue. Justin tries to charm his way into sneaking through, but the Gaucho isn’t won over by his effort. The process takes so long that the people from the second bus arrive before any of the first three teams completes this leg.

As everyone struggles, we learn a few things. First of all, #TeamAlabama makes a pinky swear not to fight for the rest of the day. Since they also promised #TheGreenTeam that they wouldn’t share any information with other teams in the last leg before telling everyone, we give this the respect it deserves. We also learn that Reporter Joey loves to cook, which should help him get a nice woman after he dumps his current dog-hating lady friend. #TheCheerleaders reiterate that they’re athletes, which makes them three for three on this point during the season to date.

Eventually, Josh finishes first, placing #TeamTexas in first place. Without Justin ahead of them, they won’t have anything to bitch about during the next challenge. The instructions direct them toward Plaza Principal, where they will appear in some sort of dance routine. Wait, didn’t we just have one of those?

Reporter Joey, whose cooking skills and local celebrity make you want to swipe right, beats Justin, who has resorted to basic guessing after a huge number of rejections. Thanks to some clever play today, #TheReporters have moved from seventh to second place before #TheDancers even arrive to the challenge. That’s a productive morning.

#TeamTexas arrives at the designated location where many people are dancing, but it’s a swerve. The choices for today’s Detour are Horse and Carriage. Horse requires teams to dress like a polo player and dress a (fake) horse for a polo match. Carriage requires teams to dress a carriage and then pull it down a street to a tree where they harness the carriage to the horses. No matter which side they select, they’ll bring their finished product back to the festival where everyone is dancing to receive their next clue. #TeamTexas chooses Horse, presumably because Tanner can’t drag a carriage due to his injury.

The news gets worse for #TheGreenTeam when they fall victim to *sigh* #ChacAttack. Rick does better on the challenge than anyone else from the first two groups. Out of the first four teams to arrive, including the finally victorious Justin, three select horse. Only DoctorDentist chooses Carriage, and they promptly screw up by forgetting to grab their buggy whip. After being the most precise person during the prior leg, Rick promptly drops the ball here. They have to run all the way back several kilometers to where the clue was, only to discover that they have to run all the way back to where they just were and grab a whip. There will never be a 50 Shades of #ChacAttack.

The mother from #TeamAlabama screws up yet again. She is a tremendous control freak with no confidence in or respect for her son, who seems like a very competent young man. He, like almost everyone else, struggles a bit with the challenge. She…shouts out exactly what he’s doing wrong. Have you ever noticed teammates don’t do that on The Amazing Race? Do you know why? It’s cheating, and they’ll likely be penalized for it. In the process, she also notifies several other teams what they should look for. Soon afterward, virtually everyone from the second bus finishes this heat, thanks in no small part to MamaBama.

The Horse challenge isn’t that tricky. Yes, teams make mistakes, but nobody has an especially difficult time on it. #TeamTexas maintains their lead by finishing first. #TheGreenTeam isn’t far behind, but we expect a change at the top during this episode. Meanwhile, last place is a foregone conclusion. #TheDancers finally reach Gaucho Grill, and there’s nobody there. Given how long this challenge takes, they are multiple hours behind everyone else. Their best hope is that the equally incompetent cheerleaders make a critical mistake, maybe even two. Realistically, there isn’t any hope.

Most of the other competitors finish the race without incident. #TeamTexas wins, albeit only by a few moments over #TheGreenTeam. The southern men then tell Phil they’re angling to get someone to use a U-Turn against Justin and his girlfriend. The New Jersey native counters that his knowledge of the show allows him to appreciate that U-Turn aggression frequently goes awry, and he’s absolutely right. #TeamTexas seems to think that the moment #TheGreenTeam gets eliminated, they win. It’s as conceited as it is foolish. The producers of the show are playing up this rivalry, but there are nine teams left, eight if you want to go ahead and rule out #TheDancers. Everyone has the same chance of winning right now…except #TheDancers.

Why do we rule them out? Well, if this is an elimination leg, their odds are slim and none, and slim swears it’s an athlete. Odds go down when #TheReporters and #TheTrackStars reach the finish line in third and fourth place. They get a bit better when #TeamAlabama arrives.

First, there’s some true madness demonstrated by MamaBama as they guide the fake horse to its destination. She’s a control freak who orders her son around so much that we’re starting to think of them as Agnes and Seymour Skinner. She emasculates her boy so much that if he kills her in her sleep one day, it’ll be justifiable homicide. This woman is a psychopath. She’s also a cheater.

Phil informs them that he can’t check them in due to her aforementioned cheating. They must serve a 30-minute penalty first. We’re surprised the punishment is so brief. There are times during The Amazing Race when half an hour is a small price to pay when a teammate is stuck. It might even save time. We wonder if she’s not receiving a harsher timeout because they want her on television all season. It’s something to track as the season progresses, especially if they finish last but get saved by a non-elimination round.

Among the more competent, saner players, #ChacAttack and #TheCheerleaders have the worst problems. After dominating the Gaucho Grill challenge, the former team forgot a buggy whip that cost them over an hour. Now, DoctorDentist gets lost on the way to final check-in to the point that can see the building but can’t deduce a way to reach it. As they struggle, #TheCheerleaders suffer a similar mistake when they forget their buggy whip and are forced to return to retrieve.

While both these mistakes signal that each team is flawed and unlikely to win this season, there still isn’t much intrigue. #TheDancers get to have fun while performing both tasks, but it’s readily apparent that they’re way behind. They probably closed 80 percent of the gap between the teams in front of them, but missing the second bus undid them. When they reach the end, Phil informs them that they are eliminated from The Amazing Race. There are several bad teams this season, and they were definitely one of those, but they were also fun. That differentiates them from of the other participants thus far, many of whom we barely even know after three episodes. It’s been a strange start to The Amazing Race 27.