The Amazing Race Season 30: Episode 7 Recap, Part 2

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

February 13, 2018

Lost. Again.

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Previously on The Amazing Race, we had a non-elimination leg. Oh, joy! As the first part of a two-hour broadcast, CBS in their infinite wisdom tried to shake up the formula a bit. They added the first ever #ParterSwap, wherein the six teams all engaged in a little side partnering. It wasn’t as sexy as it sounds. Okay, it was for Cody & Jen and Brittany (and possibly but not definitely Alex).

Everyone else suffered through an awkward situation, especially Lucas. He got stuck with Conor the Lazy. At one point – and this isn’t an exaggeration – Lucas dealt with a grueling winch apparatus as he pulled a car out of the mud. Conor…sat in the car. Ostensibly, Conor was there to steer the tires out of the mud. All he really did was add more weight to the vehicle, making Lucas work much harder. We fully understand why Alex wants Conor off his couch.

Anyway, the only interesting development during the episode was that Jessica & Kristi got stuck together. While they got along well, something of a rarity for Jessica & anyone not named Cody, they made for a lousy team. Kristi didn’t listen to Jessica, causing them to spend wasted hours working on a puzzle. The real upset here is that Kristi was the weak link on the team.

None of that matters now, though. The teams are reunited, and it feels so good…for the four teams who aren’t Team Extreme and Team Big Brother. Those two duos need some bunching. They seem like they’re at least an hour behind their opponents.

Per the instructions, the reformed teams head to Khan Fabrics and Haberdashery, which is back in Harare. The previously conjoined teams ride the same trams back to the capital of Zimbabwe. The first four teams all arrive at nearly the same time…but not exactly the same time. That’s important since the producers do something cruel here.

Only a few minutes after these teams participated in a #PartnerSwap, they discover a Double U-Turn. It’s like going to a key party and realizing that it’s also a secret society of Black Widow maters. Sure, the coupling was nice, but now somebody’s gonna die.

The first two teams to reach the U-Turn are the drivers and the lifeguards. Lucas and Alex agree that they should work together one last time to U-Turn two other teams. This move should ensure that they’re two of the top four teams in this leg. Whomever they select for the U-Turn will fight to survive the leg.

The shock here is that the best team this season doesn’t receive a U-Turn. Alex nervously suggests, “Big Brother and Yale?” While Cody’s good and Yale is formidable, this decision is poor. Team Extreme’s going to win this race unless they get eliminated today. Since they’re already tied for last place, a U-Turn could knock them out before they have a chance to recover. And Alex should know that they’re tied for last since he’s seen the other three teams. He has picked two of the four best teams in our estimation, but the difference between first and second this season seems significant.

The teams that will arrive afterward won’t know that this was a joint decision. For this reason, we want to point out that Team IndyCar U-Turns Team Yale while Team Ocean Rescue U-Turns Team Big Brother. It’s important since Jessica loves to feud. She’s also threatened by strong women, having already had a pair of altercations with Brittany. There’s a real chance that this grows into a blood feud now. Conversely, we expect Henry & Evan to view it as solid strategy and harbor no ill will. So, while Alex screwed up on the choice, he lucks into the right choice in phase two of the U-Turn process.

According to our TiVo, we’re not even technically at the one-hour mark of a two-hour episode yet we’re already at the Detour. The options are Handle with Care or Just Get It There. The former option takes place at a mall based on an anthill. Seriously. Some clever architect appreciated the utility of the anthill design and constructed a seven-story mall using that design.

Due to the ventilation, the building is dirt-cheap to operate. The heating and air conditioning happens organically. The tradeoff is that the many paths and stairs inside the facility are confusing. Players must acquire seven packages in the mail room and then deliver them to workers inside the building.

Handle with Care is much simpler. Contestants must roll a pair of used tires half a mile to the back of a delivery truck. The catch is that the rolling takes place through a bustling part of the city. Residents will knock the tires over from time to time. We think this one still looks easier, though. The interior shots of the mall remind us of The Shining.

How great are Kristi & Jen? Despite their massive gap at the start of the leg, they’re the third team to arrive at the U-Turn. We’re honestly not sure what’s happened to Team Yale and the twins. They’re both ahead on the trams but then kind of vanish. Since Team Extreme didn’t receive a U-Turn, they’re already all but assured of surviving a leg where they started tied for last. Alex blew this one.

The editing quickly confirms our belief. Guess which team finishes the Detour first! Yup, Team Extreme is back on top. They ostensibly work with the lifeguards to roll the tires to the drop-off point. At some point, Brittany & Lucas accidentally/intentionally lose the female duo. While annoyed, Kristi & Jen have the last laugh as the find the correct truck first. They then demonstrate a great deal of class by alerting their counterparts to the appropriate spot.

Other teams struggle with the challenge. A hysterical moment occurs when Alex & Conor roll their tires to the wrong payload area. They stick the tires in the truck of a dude sitting in traffic. His confusion is palpable. They’re lucky that he knows enough English to inform them that they’ve got the wrong truck.

As the drivers struggle, Team Yale passes them to finish this half of the challenge. The kindly gentlemen laments that he cannot give them a clue yet. They shake their heads knowingly. They’re approaching the U-Turn with the perfect attitude. These eggheads aren’t afraid of grunt work. Honestly, Henry & Evan are amazing people. They rarely quarrel, they have can-do attitudes, and they’re super-smart. If Conor had half of their work ethic, he’d be the most famous driver in the world.


Just Get It There is every bit the nightmare we’d projected. The first team to try is the Big Brother couple. A funny and impressive moment ensues. Cody decides to delivery one package at a time since they’re large. Jessica is full of fire due to her impending girl-fight with Brittany. She grabs five others. Everything about Cody’s body language screams, “Damn!” The frustrating part about Jessica is that her wounds are self-inflicted, stemming from insecurities about other women. She’s actually a total badass.

To wit, Brittany is more man than either of the firefighting twins will ever be. They take one package to start. They must feel pure shame as they watch the episode. Both teams have the same overriding issue, though. This place is a maze, and the heft of the packages combined with the tight quarters frustrates everyone involved.

Eventually, Team Big Brother finishes their challenge after they deduce a mistake that they made previously. One of the businesses, a dentist, is the recipient of two packages. Cody only gave them one. As they complete the challenge, the helpful scoreboard graphic at the bottom of the screen indicates that the Firefighters are one package away from finished, too.

At this moment, Team Yale arrives at the mall. So, they’re behind but they also car-rushed the first half of the challenge, all things considered. Evan starts with two packages, wanting to see how difficult the process is. We kind of love the way her mind works. On the first floor, they run into the winded twins. The Firefighters demonstrate tremendous class in spelling out how the challenge works. They tell their opponents precisely where to go on each floor. It’s an incredibly thoughtful gesture, the kind of sportsmanship that all elevates all competitions.

Technically, Team Yale is ahead of Team Big Brother since they arrive at the second challenge before the other U-Turn victims depart from their first challenge. Both players look tired, and Jessica’s cheeks are flush. They debate their position in this leg as they ride over to the next location.

The first place duo, Team Extreme, receives their next clue. They must perform something called Get Down, The Zimbab-Way. It’s a traditional dance routine that involves the recitation of lyrics. The teams must pass two tests, one for pronunciation and another for showmanship. Helpful residents instruct the women on how to perform the routine accurately. As they try, Team Ocean Rescue arrives onsite. Elsewhere, the twins complete the Detour, and the drivers finally find the dance location.

The race between Team Yale and Team Big Brother isn’t going as expected. Both teams are killing it. Each one finishes the second half of the Detour in impressive fashion. Meanwhile, the Zimbab-Way proves difficult to master. The first five attempts to sing and dance are all total failures. All the teams seem impossibly lacking I rhythm. And the worst part is that once they fail, they have to go to the back of the line rather than trying again immediately.

The backlog of attempts is so significant that the two teams that faced U-Turns arrive before anyone completes the task. It’s a de facto six-way tie for the lead AND last place right now. At this point, we’re not sure who is going to lose. The team seems best positioned right now is Team Yale (!), as they know how to pronounce many of these words. This couple gives us hope for the future of America.

Alas, Team Yale is way back in the long queue. One of the earliest teams at the challenge is the first to complete it. Brittany & Lucas finally muddle their way through on their fifth attempt. Soon afterward, Team Extreme passes the test on their sixth try. Of course, that’s too late to help them, as Team Ocean Rescue wins this leg. Jen & Kristi must settle for second, but it’s still a huge missed opportunity for the other teams. These women should have been U-Turned.

Speaking of U-Turns, Team Yale finishes the challenge fourth. They needed exactly two tries. The only team ahead of them is Team IndyCar, who has a weak link. Alex has neither rhythm nor dancing ability. After it’s over, he lists the three greatest accomplishments in his life as:

1. Formula 1 Debut
2. Winning the Indy 500
3. Singing on The Amazing Race

We really hope that he beats #3 one day soon. It’s not quite the same feat as the other two. Conor & Alex finish in third place this leg while Team Yale is right behind them in fourth. Phil relishes this opportunity to point out that the drivers U-Turned the debaters. Alex addresses it like a pro, stating that he did it because he views them as a threat. For their part, Team Yale shows no acrimony, a commendable display of maturity. They had a tremendous leg all the way around.

This challenge does reveal something about the alpha males in the group. They are NOT musically inclined. While Jessica could do the song and dance in her sleep, Cody looks miserable. For the first time all season, they get frustrated with one another. He keeps wanting to try again, while she rightly wants him to practice. After a failed attempt, she scolds him like a disappointed parent. “You NEED to go tutor with him, because you’re way off-beat.” If their relationship works out, Cody’s going to need to nail that wedding dance to regain his pride.

The good news for Team Big Brother is that the Firefighters struggle with the easier part of the challenge. They cannot learn the pronunciations. As they flail, Jessica finally kisses Cody until he’s calm, and they nail their third official attempt. The Firefighters are the final team here and probably out. In fact, the editing doesn’t even disguise it. A few seconds later, Team Big Brother reaches the finish line in fifth place.

Then, the Firefighters finally reach the Pit Stop. Their spirits are high, as they’ve clearly made peace with their fate. “We went down dancing, Phil!” Those are the final words before Phil informs the twins that they’re eliminated from the competition. It sucks that very nice gentlemen are out of the race, but they were the weakest remaining team. Season 30 of The Amazing Race is poised to have a strong finish due to the overall quality of the remaining teams.



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