The Amazing Race 17 Recap

Episode Four

By Daron Aldridge

October 18, 2010

Sad songs say so much.

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Last week, the producers pulled out the first nonelimination leg of the season and bit earlier than usual. The beneficiaries of Phil’s benevolence were father and son Michael & Kevin. Their struggles in Ghana were truly befitting of a last place finish. But their stay of Amazing Race execution gives them a shot at redemption. Let’s just hope their Speed Bump task isn’t more difficult than rolling a bike rim with a stick.

We kick off this episode with some footage of how the teams "chose" to spend their pitstop break – by helping paint and fix up the Ghana school they visited on the previous leg. This immediately reminded me of Survivor: Africa when Lex won the new truck and delivered medical supplies. It was a very feel-good Extreme Makeover: Home Edition moment. But you’re here for the Amazing Race and not the human race, right?

The producers give me a break from having to follow when and in what order each of the teams leave thanks to a lack of flights from West Africa to the ARCTIC CIRCLE. More specifically, they are heading to northern Sweden but still. The most significant revelation is that Team Glee Connor & Jonathan are actually missing their Princeton graduation to be on the race. In fact, their graduation is apparently being held during this leg.

Because of the travel limitations, each team is booked on the same flight connecting through Frankfurt, Germany, but aren’t required to use the tickets. As the teams congregate at the Lufthansa counter waiting for them to open, last place (and future Speed Bumpers) Michael & Kevin use their cabbie’s phone to check on an earlier connection in Germany.




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Score!! They find one that lands about two hours ahead of the freebie flight. Surprisingly for people in a heated competition, father and son share this information with their alliance of father and daughter Gary & Sunshine…er…Mallory, the impossibly perky Miss Kentucky. It might just be the cynicism but I think that both of these teams view the other as a valuable partner because they think they can outrace them to the mat. The whole "keep a team you can beat in the race" mentality is what I would be using, but probably wouldn’t admit it on national TV. I say that but Gary seems genuine because he points out that the father and son team really need that time advantage to deal with their extra task.

Similarly, the doctors Nat & Kat are exercising their brains too by using the Internet Café at the airport to find the same earlier flight. Unfortunately, Team HSN Brook & Claire, who are now sporting ridiculously gaudy athletic wear for some reason, successfully found them and these teams decide to work together also. The doctors are eager and happy to join forces.

Our eagle eye singers notice Mallory & Kevin chatting up the Lufthansa worker and correctly conclude they have a better connection. Alas, they strike out as those four teams get the remaining tickets. Connor aptly summarizes the situation as the “worst graduation.” As the teams connect in Germany, we have four teams (doctors Nat & Kat, Team HSN, and the remaining parent child teams) looking at a pretty sizable lead and the others are in a “five-way sprint to not be last.” That’s the power of positive thinking courtesy of former first-place team Connor & Jonathan.


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