The Amazing Race All-Stars Epsiode Two
Sometimes Beauty is Skin Deep
By Reagen Sulewski
March 5, 2007

Sour grapes taste bad.

Leg two of the Amazing Race All-stars starts back in Ecuador at the base of an active volcano, an apt metaphor for a country that is threatening to eat one team alive already. After falling and injuring himself last leg, Drew is now suffering from altitude sickness and has to take on oxygen four times. This would be the time for Evil Phil to break out the mountain climbing detour.

America's favorite fame whores, Rob & Amber, lead the way out of the gate by virtue of winning the first leg, and are sent to Santiago, Chile, just a hop, skip and a jump down the Andes. Their first stop there will be at the corporate headquarters of the world's largest copper mining company. The Amazing Race's product placements have gotten strange.

Their strategy continues to be being Rob & Amber, and letting the other teams obsess over them like a horror movie serial killer in reverse, constantly chasing them and putting themselves off their own games. It's hard to argue with success.

They're followed by the extremely mellow Oswald & Danny, who are unlikely to fall for this, Teri & Ian, a virtual time bomb ready to explode, Eric & Danielle, who probably just want to find a private tent somewhere, and Joe & Bill, proudly wearing their gay chip on their shoulders. "Who says gay men can't drive?" says Joe. Uh... no one, that I'm aware of. What an interesting and random non-stereotype.

Dustin (or Kandice. I still don't know the difference between them) feigns excitement at visiting an office tower as they leave the Pit Stop, leading the way for the second half of racers, including Uchenna & Joyce, Charla & Mirna and David & Mary. These two teams have formed an Tod Browning-esque alliance, which comes in handy when Mirna immediately gets her vehicle stuck in the mud. Finally, there's team M*A*S*H, Kevin in Drew, who are not only injured, but start out trailing. Drew, driving like a maniac, gets them stuck as well, forcing Kevin to try and pull them out, since there's no one left to help them. Strong like bull he is, and he get them out of the mud, only to have Drew forget that Kevin is still attached to the vehicle as he drives off. That's pretty close to our first Amazing Race fatality right there.

Hot ticket booking action follows, with Rob & Amber and Danny & Oswald getting a break by finding a flight with a 40-minute lead on every other team. The rest of the teams play the "Where's Rob & Amber" paranoia game, but catch a stroke of luck, as the early flight is delayed. On the second flight, Drew plays airline cop, pulling David & Mary's bags out first class storage, where they'd tried to get a head start. Go, you reverse class-warrior, you!

The delay proves costly for the first two teams, as they miss the early connection. For once, the great producer hand in the sky does not come down and rescue these teams, and they're left in a hole. The other teams get to the office tower to find the Roadblock, which has them search a boardroom for scrambled letters to find their next clue. What's next, Suduko?

Some of the teams use the "random word" strategy, while Dustin proves to be the smart one, figuring out that it's the pictures on the wall that are important. The destination is Chuquicamata, the world's largest copper mine. Suddenly we're on The Amazing 8th Grade Field Trip. Eventually a couple of teams twig on, but not before Rob & Amber and Danny & Oswald catch up. Mary, against all odds, is the cleverest one of the bunch, immediately writing down all the names on the pictures and comparing the strange letters, like Q. This task has resulted in an almost complete flip of the order coming in, with the first teams in ending up with mental blocks.

However, it's another pointless roadblock, as all ten teams are on the same plane out, and the only thing accomplished is drama and tension. Oh quiet, Bertram van Munster. Rob attempts to stir things up, but even Amber's sick of his routine at this point. When did she develop a spine?

After a cab race to the mine, it's time for the detour, which is a choice between tightening bolts on a giant industrial tire, or using a front-end loader to haul gravel. This Chilean mining company is making out like a bandit with the cheap labor. Rob chooses the gravel task since he has experience in driving machinery, while the beauty queens go for the other task, since they have experience in handling nuts.

Charla & Mirna have their first crazy bit of drama, as Charla runs for a stepping stool since the tire is about ten feet tall, and she's pushing about three. Mirna seems completely unaware of why this would be necessary and then starts complaining about her hands cracking or something. Maybe she really is made of porcelain.

Rob & Amber make it through the Detour first (these guys are charmed), and are directed to the Pit Stop via the Valley of the Moon to the even more charmingly-named Valley of the Dead. They weren't really thinking about tourism, were they? They're not allowed to exceed 40 km/hr until they hit the blacktop again, so this will be a slow speed chase.

Danny & Oswald are the first to complete the nut tightening task, though it's proving to be a frustrating exercise for other teams, with Charla & Mirna at one point forming Master Blaster to get to the ones at the top. The lesson as always; choose brute force over repetitive detail whenever possible. The hot sun appears to be getting to a few teams, with Teri & Ian hopping in a cab to drive to the vehicles, about a 100-foot drive. David & Mary are last out of the Detour.

Charla & Mirna have hired a cab to take them to the Pit Stop and don't take kindly that their craven act of subverting the spirit of the show is being leeched off of. They get the driver to stop so that they can have a confrontation with Dustin and Kandice and threaten to just wait by the side of the road. Stupid nose! That'll show you! The beauty queens decided they've had enough of the crazy and head off, while Teri & Ian have also caught up at this point. Full on panic sets in for Mirna (admittedly, an hourly occurrence for her) and she throws all their money at the cab driver and then tries to offer food, I think. It's hard to tell over the screaming. Sex is probably not far behind. The cab driver doesn't really want any of this, but hey – break a deal and face the wheel!

David & Mary pass them here, putting them in last place, so excellent move all around for them then. Charla then tries to make this out as some sort of moral question, and that their not being pretty makes them better people or something. Okay – and we'll see how long it takes for Mirna to play the girl card.

One bumpy and desolate ride later and Rob & Amber have won the second straight leg, with the prize being an offroad motorcycle. Danny & Oswald continue their strong showing, taking second again as well.

Kevin & Drew are holding things up for a few other teams at a gate, and Dustin & Kandice go around, pissing off a few more teams. Of course, this is not The Amazing Wait Your Turn. Uchenna & Joyce display their incredible ability to get lost whenever possible by missing their turn, dropping them back a few spots, but doesn't hurt them too badly. Joe & Bill make it in for third, with Eric & Danielle in fourth and Uchenna & Joyce in fifth.

The second half of the pack is decided by a stubborn Drew, who tragically misunderstands a direction. He sticks to 40 km/hr even after hitting the blacktop and watching the other teams blow by them. He really is an old woman. Charla & Mirna use up all of their supposed nice people karma points by passing David & Mary when they are in a theoretical alliance. For Mary, the game is apparently on, and we now have a bit of a race. Mirna is somehow pissed off at this. How dare you pass me after I passed you! Add in that they decide to just follow them and we're well into hypocrisy land.

The delicious irony adds some cherry flavored schadenfreude sauce when it turns out that they're going the wrong way. Dustin & Kandice have stopped and asked for directions, and watch the other teams go past them. Teri & Ian make a critical decision and follow the beauty queens, and these two teams finish sixth and seventh.

The three remaining teams seem to be fighting as to who can be more pathetic, randomly cutting each other off and yelling at each other. They might be the three least physically capable teams out there, so the turtle race that ensues is something to behold. Charla & Mirna get in for eighth, David & Mary just in for ninth, leaving Kevin & Drew to waddle in for tenth. Drew walks off the mat before he can be officially eliminated, and has just completely broken down. It's about as poor a show of sportsmanship as we've seen on the show. Remember when these guys were the fun team?