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Amazing Race Recap

It Was Like a Caravan of Idiots

By Kim Hollis

March 9, 2009

We were eliminated? But we were younger, faster and more competitive!

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Because Christie & Jodi are flight attendants, they put some of their knowledge to good use by stopping at an Internet cafe to go ahead and book themselves a flight. They're also savvy enough to know which connections are too short to work well.

Meanwhile, the other teams all gather at various counters at the airport and do their best to get set up on the best possible flight. All of them have to make their way to Moscow, and there seems to be just one flight from there to Krasnoyarsk, which means that if someone doesn't make the flight that arrives in that city at 5:40 a.m., we're probably going to be looking at another deadly dull finish.

As it turns out, only three teams get in on the earlier flight to Krasnoyarsk - Mark & Michael, Christie & Jodi (secret flight attendance knowledge pays off!) and Kisha & Jen. Everyone else is grouped together in Moscow, waiting for a plane to take them to Siberia.

But wait! Once the three teams arrive at the hydroelectric dam, they're informed that they can't really enter until 8:30. There might still be hope for the teams that have been left behind, after all. I always hate when The Amazing Race allows for this kind of bunching, as it punishes teams that have strategized well and even had some good luck. The truth of the matter is that luck oftentimes plays into The Amazing Race, and teams that benefit shouldn't have to give up their advantage, in my opinion.




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My griping is all unfounded, though. No other teams arrive prior to the 8:30 opening of the dam doors. The three leading teams all race to the clue box and are instructed to proceed to Church of Saint Innokenty, which seems to be located in a small village. This could prove to be interesting, because it's possible that their cab drivers may not know where they're going. Mark & Michael arrive first, and find themselves at the Detour. Their two choices for this portion of the race are "Stack" or "Construct". In "Stack", they must use traditional Siberian methods to make a big pile of firewood. Once this is done to a judge's satisfaction, they'll receive their next clue. The other option is "Construct", where teams will travel on foot to a workshed. There, they'll be required to assemble some shutters that they will then have to go on and install.

Mark & Michael choose stack, which does indeed sound like the easier of the two options (though I suspect it might be a problem for Mel & Mike given Mel's groin injury). Both of the other two teams agree on the same course of action. Mark & Michael get momentarily lost, which gives the flight attendants a slight lead. When they arrive at the stacking challenge, they're greeted by some drunk Siberians who say, "America, I love you!" Like the gypsy thing last week, this feels a little uncomfortable and cliche.

There does in fact appear to be an art to the stacking, as Kisha & Jen note that it feels a lot like Jenga. Mark & Michael think that they've got it figured out, but soon realize they're doing it wrong. All of the teams seem to be wondering if the "Construct" challenge might not have been the better option after all. In fact, Mark & Michael's stack falls down and even knocks down another stack behind it - which means that they're now responsible not only for their own stack, but also for a second one. Christie & Jodi seem to be doing pretty solid work, though.


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