The Amazing Race Recap
By Daron Aldridge
December 5, 2011
A 4 a.m. game of ask people drinking in public leads to no useful information for Andy & Tommy. One fellow puts them on the wrong path by saying they look like Charlie Chaplin. And the guys prove that the Internet is only useful if you know where to look for information or how to ask for it.
Of the remaining teams, each has their own unique assessment of this penultimate leg. Jeremy & Sandy fear that this is no time to revert back to their disastrous legs they had earlier in the race. Ernie & Cindy correctly conclude that they start out strong but flub up something in the final portion of the leg to cost them first place. Yes, they do and those moments have been rays of sunshine to me this season. Amani & Marcus are trying to pump themselves up for the leg because they are one away from the final, or the Super Bowl as Marcus calls it. And that man wants to go to the "Super Bowl."
These other teams are starting out with same bewilderment as Team Dude but the night owls they encounter are more useful. All three are given the right information. Score one for human interaction over anonymous computer-based queries.
As those three teams roll up on "Tintin" and get their clue, all the difficulty of the task is for naught because a Phil voiceover tells us that the teams will take a train to Amsterdam and then a flight to Panama City, Panama. I believe this is the first time the race has been back to Panama since the much-reviled Family Edition. Maybe the Panamanian government also hated that season so much that it took them several years to invite them back.
In a reversal of fortunes, the clumping finally benefits Andy & Tommy. After striking out with their Charlie Chaplin guess, the guys hit the web again for correct information. This time they get their clue but are in fourth for now. Justifiably beaming with excitement, Ernie is telling Amani & Marcus about the snowboarders’ error. Marcus says that this shows they are flawed and it also shows the audience that the others are painfully aware of Team Dude’s dominance.
All the teams are now settled in for a long haul of travel from Belgium to Panama, birthplace of Dallas Mavericks great Rolando Blackman. Sorry, Ro is my favorite NBA player from childhood and is the first person I think of when I hear anything Panama-related, even the Van Halen song. I didn’t want to miss the chance to bring him up.
Off the plane and out the chute in first are Andy & Tommy, who acquire the happiest cabbie in the Central America. I just hope that his joy stems from being a good driver and not because ignorance is bliss. The teams are all heading to catch a boat to the village of Parara Puru.
The dating couple and snowboarders arrive together and select their boats that are speeding through the darkness. It’s a similar story for Ernie & Cindy and the Pollards, who are also neck-and-neck.
Well, Sandy apparently jinxed them with her earlier proclamation that if they weren’t perfect this leg, they would be eliminated. While not done for just yet, their boat runs aground on a sandbar and they are stuck as Andy & Tommy pass them up.