The Amazing Race Season 31

I’m a Bird, I’m a Plane, I’m on The Amazing Race! (Part One)

By David Mumpower and Kim Hollis

May 28, 2019

That face... means a non-elimination leg

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Previously on The Amazing Race, the most loathsome Survivor duo behaved in loathsome fashion on The Amazing Race. Who could have possibly seen that coming? The difference between the shows is that TAR producers won’t throw an immunity to a jerk to keep them stirring up drama for another few days. Ergo, Corinne & Eliza are gone.

Oddly, Corinne & Eliza seem to genuinely like one another, thereby demonstrating how witches covens can stay in operation. Apparently, sisters in evil aren’t sworn to knock one another off their brooms, only witches from competing covens. Or other men or women. Or dogs or cats. You get it. They’re vile. They’re gone. Hooray.

The last team to arrive last week isn’t much better. Sisters Elissa & Rachel are like Cinderella and one of her evil step-sisters. Elissa doesn’t seem like a bad person, but it’s hard to say for sure. Lizzie Borden wouldn’t seem that bad standing next to Rachel, who would ugly-cry if she read this. She ugly-cries at EVERYTHING.

The start of tonight’s leg involves bunching, of course. The teams will fly to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. While there’s a multi-hour gap between first and last place, it vanishes at the airport, leaving everyone in a race for the best cabbie at Dubai International Airport.

The teams seem remarkably enthusiastic about driving out into the desert at night. We’re left to wonder whether they’ve heard about various mob stories involving the Nevada desert outside of Las Vegas. Team Fun, Becca & Floyd, go so far as to happily bust out some rhymes about their upcoming experience. Their cab driver tolerates them. She offers a polite, “Very good,” along with a smile. This cab driver is already better than any of Corinne, Eliza, or Rachel. We wish that we could swap her into the race. Alas, we never see her again. We’ll miss you, tolerant cab driver!

As near as we can tell, the entire purpose of the opening segment is to show off the oppressively opulent wealth of some of the locals. They serve tea and dates from diamond-constructed, gold-inlaid housewares. You won't find them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond. Once everyone is done, they search luxury sports cars for their next clue.

Afterward, they read the clues and ride in ugly crossovers to the Dubai Frame. It’s like watching someone gloat about possessing countless bottles of Grey Poupon to The Poors who are visiting for the afternoon. Perhaps the funniest part is that the locals would love to sit and chat with their new American friends. The instant that most teams learn that the clues are in the sports cars, they ditch their new acquaintances and rush away. Only Yankees can be this rude.

The Afghanimals are the first team to arrive at the (gorgeous) Dubai Frame. They take a moment to admire the view before they read the clue. Then, their hearts drop as they read one of the options. Called Fall, it requires players to pick a “sky diving master” and then proceed to the top of the Burj Khalifa, that scary-ass skyscraper from Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.

The other challenge is Find. It requires guests to unearth five glowing dinosaur eggs at Dubai Garden Glow, the place designed by people that saw Jurassic Park and thought, “I see no problems with this idea.” Find seems like it could take forever. Fall looks like it’d be the most exciting few moments of your life, assuming that your heart doesn’t explode during the jump. We place the odds at 50/50.

The next two teams, Christie & Colin and Chris & Bret, are hot on the heels of the Afghanimals. The three groups see one another from the elevator near the clue box at the Dubai Frame. There seems to be a gap at the back of the pack, as the evil/not evil sisters have picked a frightened-looking elderly woman who isn't quite sure where they want to go. Her plan seems to be to circle until they get frustrated and jump out of the car.

Tyler & Korey and Janelle & Britney are next to arrive at the Dubai Frame. Assuming that the editing isn’t misleading, the gap is after them. Team Fun is shown racing right as the sisters finally make an appearance. At the same time on the top floor, Nicole & Victor are choosing Find.

Rachel makes the call for her team. She reads the clue and sees that only two teams may jump at once. She (correctly?) recognizes that if everyone else does Fall, they will be forced to wait at the end of the line. Still, Find seems like it will take forever, at least comparatively. I think we’d still jump…but only after we passed an EKG test. Team Fun agrees with the sisters and heads to Find.

During the elevator ride down, Rachel whines and whines and whines. Elissa ain’t having it and wants her sister to focus on the positives of the race experience. We will say, to the cab driver’s credit, she asked an official for directions and thereby led them to the correct spot. It took some extra time, but she did her job.

They are NOT exaggerating about the glow at Dubai Garden Glow. I’d need to wear sunglasses at midnight if I worked here. A funny thing happens when the sisters get there. They discover that most of the teams have chosen Find. Rachel wants to switch.

Elissa, who must have been Lizzie Borden in a former life to deserve Rachel as her sister, flatly refuses. She (correctly!) states that they need to stay with the pack. Rachel demands that they switch. Almost simultaneously, Janelle gets asked by Britney whether they should switch. She exuberantly shouts, “NO!”

Based on past The Amazing Race editing, we now know that Rachel has made a colossal mistake that will cost her team dearly. This idea is reinforced by the fact that they jump back into the same taxi. It’s like tasting sour milk, putting it back in the fridge, and then drinking it again later.


Find turns out to be a sight gag. The teams must wear ridiculous, oversized dinosaur costumes while they search. The funnier joke is at Fall. Yeah, it’s not a real sky diving challenge. It’s a virtual reality simulator game that teams must beat to finish. Once the simulation ends, both partners must correctly answer all five questions on a quiz to proceed.

The Afghanimals are first to finish and almost ace the test the first time. Alas, Jamal miscounted on one element, and so they only answered 9 out of 10 correctly. A perfect score is required to proceed. Colin & Christie don’t get it right the first time, either. Both teams converse and quickly realize their mistakes. Nobody should need more than two attempts for this. It’s definitely faster than Find. Oh wait, some of the questions differ. The Afghanimals will need a third try.

Aside: watching grown-ups in inflatable dinosaur costumes search for eggs gets old fast.

The first team to finish is one of the Find duos, Team #Bromance, Chris and Bret. The next two are from Fall. Christie & Colin narrowly edge Korey & Tyler. Meanwhile, the Afghanimals fail again, and one of the sisters describes the test as “harder than the DMV.” Neither one of them should probably be allowed to drive anyway. Over at Find, Team Fun and Nicole & Victor are done. Janelle & Britney are only a few moments behind. This leg seems tight from start to finish.

The Road Block asks a simple question. "Who can feel the beat?" The challenge involves a – and this is apparently a real thing – a silent rave. Everyone wears glowing headphones that feature different dance mixes. As our host, Phil, points out, this idea is a GENIUS strategy to overcome noise ordinances. The challenge is one that only Shawn Spencer from Psych could do, though.

Teams must discover which dancers are listening to the music coming from the DJ’s booth. The only clues are visual ones such as dance movements or hand waving. Only a handful of people are dialed into the DJ’s sound, making his presence seem superfluous to us. Also, the DJ is kind of a dick.

What happens is that teams make a bunch of wrong guesses. Then, the DJ acts like they're idiots for being wrong. We feel the need to tell the players that if they killed this guy off to the side in the dark, nobody could hear his death scream.

Speaking of bloody murder, Rachel tells Elissa that the latter woman must have gotten an answer wrong. Guess what! It was Rachel! This plot twist isn’t exactly The Sixth Sense, is it? The sisters are far behind everyone else. Even the Afghanimals have mercifully finished the challenge. Jamal was the Rachel of their team.

Team Fun’s weird background helps them yet again. As a drum major, Floyd’s job required him to notice when others were/were not keeping the beat of a rhythm. This challenge is his exact job title. He has no problem identifying a dancer. The DJ is impressed, something we hadn’t believed possible.

Teams must ride the world’s largest urban zip line to the world’s largest man-made marina. Someone’s compensating. Anyway, the teams fly to the stop “Superman-style.” Team Fun seems way out in front, but they’re not. Let's quickly catch up on why.

Nicole dominates at the challenge, but they get lost on the way to the zip line. Tyler & Korey and Chris & Bret follow soon afterward. Then, Christie does a decent job and exits in fifth, followed a bit later by Britney & Janelle. Back at the cab, Rachel is complaining. Either cut her tongue out or gouge our ears out. We don’t even care which.

The elevator to the zip line is a war zone. Chris & Bret are hot on Team Fun’s heels, and the two teams ride the same elevator up to the top. They’d be jockeying in their cabs down the streets of Dubai, with other teams watching from a short distance. The difference from first to second on the zip line is a matter of seconds, as Becca and Floyd climb the steps faster. The zip line is ordered, meaning that Team Fun can’t be passed. They receive $5,000 each for finishing first. They then force Phil to rap. He’d be right to take the money back.

Anyway, a few teams are on the zip line together and apparently separated by only a matter of minutes. The exact order of finish is #Team Bromance second, Colin & Christie third, Tyler & Korey fourth, Nicole & Victor only fifth for some reason, and then Janelle & Britney. The only mystery is at the end.

Elissa and her sister, Whatshername, show up at the Road Block just in time to see the Afghanimals leaving. Rachel seems to finish the leg quickly, although it’s hard to tell. Moments later, we see the gentlemen zipping down the line and know who has finished in last. We would be gleeful if we didn’t know what was coming next.

Yes, this episode was a complete waste of time. It’s a non-elimination leg. You’ve won this round, Crying Rachel! But your day will come…



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