The Amazing Race Season 29 Recap
Riding a Bike is Like Riding a Bike
By David Mumpower
May 25, 2017

We're gonna go from first to last? What?

Previously on The Amazing Race, Tara and Joey grew angry with Brooke and Scott for breaking their word to Liz and Michael. Then, London and Logan got mad at Brooke and Scott due to Brooke’s trying to pull London off a ladder, a real thing that happened. Finally, Tara and Joey picked a fight with Brooke and Scott at the Pit Stop, as Tara assailed Brooke for a lie of omission.

As for Team Fun and The Boys, these two duos laughed and frolicked and played.

The start of tonight’s episode reveals that Brooke asked for and received an apology from London during the evening stop. I guess she found it too exhausting to feud with literally half of her remaining opponents. This segment reinforces the notion that an alliance of three teams exists, with The Boys joining Team LoLo and Team More Evil than the Designated Hitter Rule. Scott immediately ruins this notion by saying how he’ll break the alliance whenever it suits them. Yes, Scott. Everyone has figured that out by now.

Team Fun is the first team to depart this leg. They leave at 7:59 a.m. Their destination is Ninh Binh, which Phil informs us is “famous for its rugged topography.” The gap from first to last is seemingly insignificant. Tara and Joey start at 8:47 a.m. By this point, however, we already know that they’re in some trouble.

The teams will travel by bus to their destination. The first bus leaves at 9 a.m. Team Fun and The Boys are the only ones who are on it. The next one leaves at 9:30 a.m. In a moment of unforced drama, Tara and Joey get out of their cabs only to realize that Brooke and Scott are right in front of them. The teams race one another to the bus station counter, while the camera pans to a clock that says 9:25 a.m. Brooke’s bus agent is better, so they exit first. When they board the bus, they then try to bribe the driver to leave. He seems to lean toward accepting the money, but Brooke recants when she sees Joey approaching.

So, all teams are within a half hour of one another, meaning Tara and Joey have already made up the last place gap. They still have to do a Speed Bump at some point in this leg, though.

This episode features one of those shameless Travelocity gnome marketing tie-ins. The gnome is the constant companion of the players through the leg. As always, this is reason enough for us to suggest that you watch Amelie, the movie from which Travelocity stole the idea.

A humorous edit shows The Boys and Team Fun having an easy time reaching the temple grounds. They have an uneventful bus ride and then a lovely bike trip through gorgeous landscape of Vietnam. Meanwhile, London points out that their bus is stuck in traffic. She isn’t worried, though. She’s confident the first bus went through this, too. Suffice to say that the gap between the first two teams and the last three is significant.

The Roadblock is a repeat from season 3. It involves basket cases, giant cocoon-shaped shrimp traps that take up a lot of room on a bike. Floyd and Matt work together to count the number of traps they’ll need to populate their bikes. Matt has no trouble maneuvering his bike at the start but finds it unwieldy to drive.

Floyd almost tips over immediately, which would have been a better outcome than what actually happens. During his trip, he unknowingly drops several of his traps. Becca notices immediately but can’t say anything. They have been better off if she had, depending on the length of the penalty. Floyd’s going to have to make a return trip, and his first one is kind of a nightmare. He falls over several times and seems to fall on his ankle at least twice.

A cruel edit shows Floyd struggling mightily followed by Matt chugging along that he’s been a shrimp trapper his whole life. Matt’s not just a freak athlete. He’s remarkably intelligent and intuitive. Redmond actually makes an interesting comment about the situation. He points out that he might have been physically unable to do this challenge, at least at a respectable pace. He did ride a bike earlier in the episode and is clearly good enough at the basic version of it. The shrimp traps might be too much for him, though.

We’ll never know since Matt absolutely wrecks the challenge. He delivers the requisite 32 shrimp traps, idly wondering where Floyd is. On his way back to his partner, Matt sees Floyd and kindly takes the time to help his opponent lift his back Then, Matt notices all the shrimp traps left behind. He feels a bit concerned for Floyd but also realizes his team has at least an hour lead. Their next destination is Den Thai Vi – Ben Thanh. It’ll be a total shock if they don’t win this leg.

At the 23-minute mark of the episode, Brooke cries for the first time. So, settle up your pre-episode prop bets.

The Speed Bump is stupid and pointless, even by Amazing Race standards. Tara and Joey have to find 72 eggs in a field. The only rule is that they have to be intact. Broken ones don’t count. They complete the mission but reach the Roadblock last out of the five teams.

Cut to Floyd. The news is grim. He reaches the destination without at least half of his shrimp traps. As he tries to drop off the ones that he has, the Vietnamese gentleman says no. Apparently, the rules of the challenge require teams to do the entire task in one heat. Floyd’s stubborn decision to move forward and make gradual progress has proven disastrous. He’s now tired, possibly injured, and in worse shape timewise than when he started. He’s just done a full run of this Roadblock with nothing to show for it. Team Fun has gone from first place and a huge lead to the middle of the pack. At this point, we’re sure that Becca should have interfered and taken the multi-hour penalty. Team Fun could very well lose this leg.

The Detour this week starts with some needless aggravation for Redmond. To reach the starting point, the players must row boats the way that the locals do. That’s with their feet, not their hands. This leg is extremely discriminatory against a man with an artificial limb. Fortunately for The Boys, Matt can do the rowing for both of them. Sure, he’s terrible at it, but we suspect everybody will be.

Becca’s fear is that Floyd is lost. Somehow, the truth is worse than her fears. She sees her partner return, and he has shrimp traps with him. She realizes how screwed they are and regrets that she didn’t choose to do this Roadblock. Actually, it’s a slow burn for her as she has hours to regret the mistake.

The surprise of the episode is that Scott can handle a shrimp trap bike. He does almost as well as Matt, all but guaranteeing that his (evil) team will survive for another episode.

During his second attempt, Floyd rides side by side with London. To his credit, he shows extreme thoughtfulness in assisting her when possible. The two of them ride side by side for a time and, at one point, even have to ask complete strangers for help keeping themselves upright. London looks like she’s in danger of heat stroke.

Floyd’s situation is even worse. He doesn’t realize it, but he’s dropped a trap. We’re remembering that infamous bale hay fiasco from an early season. It was needlessly cruel bordering on subhuman. There’s legitimately no reason why Floyd shouldn’t have been able to drop off his payload the first round.
Haven’t the producers of The Amazing Race ever played Overwatch? Anyway, Floyd guides London to the correct spot, where she receives a clue and he discovers he’s missing a trap.

London’s actually pretty selfish in this moment, at least briefly. After Floyd gets rejected, she freaks out about her own situation. Only after she receives the thumbs up does she appreciate how terrible this is for him. Then, she starts crying in empathy for him, which is quite sweet. If anything, the disparity in her reactions underscores the brutality of this challenge.

As Floyd takes a breather and hydrates, Joey arrives at the spot. Floyd shows tremendous class in telling Joey what to do. He does this while deciding not to quit, an admirable reaction to an impossible situation. Frankly, Floyd’s the big winner in this episode despite the outcome you’ve already realized is inevitable.

The term Team Fun has never felt more ironic, though.

The Boys, who we’d basically forgotten by now, finish in first place. They win a trip for two to Costa Rica. The other teams have dialed in on Tara and Joey as the biggest threat in the game, which mystifies us. After all, The Boys have never finished worse than 4th during a leg while winning two of the last four heats. They’re clearly the best tandem this season.

London’s misfortune isn’t over. Her bike breaks (!) on the return trip. She’s forced to push the heavy wood apparatus (and f’n Travelocity gnome) while she jobs. Joey, who she desperately wants to eliminate from the game, glides by her on his functional bike, the salt in the proverbial wound. All of this irrelevant, though.

When Becca sees the other players arrive without Floyd, she adjusts the Fun Meter to its lowest point ever. Just imagine how her partner feels. Floyd is shown retrieving the final missing shrimp trap and finally (FINALLY!) finishing the worst Roadblock in many seasons. They’re technically not out of it, but they’re totally out of it. And then it somehow gets worse.

Floyd is too tired to ride his bike. Don’t get us wrong. He certainly tries. He promptly drives off the road and into the branches of a tree, causing a crash. Then, he pulls over in the middle of the road and starts panting heavily. The camera does a dizzying effect to reflect that Floyd effectively collapses. He never technically passes out but he’s close. He’s in heat stroke and has no residual energy.

The rest of the episode is largely unimportant. Brooke does a lot of drama queen stuff that Scott describes as “giving birth again.” They still finish second. Tara and Joey fight over Joey’s lack of support while Tara foot-steers. London’s size works against him on this portion. His feet are too big to row. So, Team Mom and Dad passes Team LoLo for third place. Still, London and Logan’s fourth place finish keeps in the race.

Floyd doesn’t get to continue. He receives medical attention from two different physicians. They seem to leave it up to him whether he wants to keep going. He understandably isn’t enthusiastic. He never quits, which is an incredible display of will and determination given what happened to him. Instead, Phil bikes over to him and informs him that the other teams have finished. Team Fun is eliminated, and whoever planned this episode’s Roadblock owes them a tremendous apology.