The Amazing Race Season 31

Who Wants a Rolex?

By Kim Hollis & David Mumpower

May 29, 2019

Failing at sandwich making and puzzles. Poor moms.

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After a (sigh) non-elimination leg wherein crying Rachel and her sister managed to remain in the race, we’re now on to hour two of this extended episode. All teams are still in Dubai, with Team Fun taking off first at around 2:30 in the morning. Their clue sends them to the Pearl of Africa, Uganda.

Since Uganda is more than 4,000 miles away from Dubai and a five-hour plane flight at minimum, we’re sure there will be bunching once again. This trend of top-finishing teams receiving no advantage at all is a bit troubling, but at least the winners of each leg get prizes.

Once teams have landed in Uganda, they will need to make their way to the capital city of Kampala. The next clue will be located at the Uganda National Mosque. Becca & Floyd acknowledge that the other teams are just minutes behind them, so they’ll have to be at the top of their game to compete.

Tyler & Korey take a moment to “appreciate a culture that doesn’t appreciate them back as gay men.” It’s the antithesis of the “ugly American” display we so often see from the more repugnant players to pass through the Amazing Race. The friends know that people in Uganda are unable to live openly and comfortably in a LBGTQ lifestyle. Korey cries, and other teams comfort them.

Rachel & Elissa and Janelle & Britney are all excited to see each other because Big Brother binds them AND they are the only two all-female teams remaining. They all repeat the phrase “Mom Squad” an annoying number of times. No one else is super happy to see Rachel & Elissa, though. The sisters are prepared to do their Speed Bump and make up their time.

Now racing in Uganda, the teams are all competing to hop in a cab quickly. The Afghanimals are hoping to see lions, tigers, and elephants. Tyler & Korey, on the other hand, are hoping to find ways to stay positive. They’re definitely feeling down about being in a country that jails people for life for being gay. (At one time, they proposed the death penalty but backed off after they got worldwide political pressure.) The two of them want to win the leg and they are more than unusually motivated.

When teams arrive at the mosque, they have to change into a “respectful” wardrobe before they can enter, which means a long white robe that covers them. The women have to cover their heads, too. They have to count the number of steps to the top of the mosque’s minaret (272).

World traveler and influencer Tyler is about to teach us an important lesson about trusting your guidebook. He and his partner Korey researched the building ahead of time. The website they visit lists the number of steps at the facility. Is it right? HELL NO. The gentlemen think they get to skip a step only to reach the top and realize they have been misinformed. Perhaps it’s the same guidebook that told Rick Blaine about the waters at Casablanca. Actually, they were supposed to count MARKED steps, not all of them. The Amazing Race was ready for Tyler and Korey’s shenanigans.

Chris & Bret get to the top first without realizing they had to count the steps. They were arguing about their speed throughout the climb to the top, and now Bret is winded for their second trip.

Nicole & Victor are the first team to reach the top while knowing the proper stair count, followed by a euphoric Colin & Christie. Their next stop will be Owino Market, where they’ll have to search the area for their next clue.

Traffic is terrible for Janelle & Britney, who are still attempting to get to the mosque. Their car appears to be swimming upstream, with no other vehicles going the direction they are headed. It’s possible there was an accident up ahead of them as well.

Now recovered from their mistake, Tyler & Korey have counted the correct number of stairs and are following Nicole & Victor and Colin & Christie to Owino Market. Chris & Bret have it figured out as well, which should de-grumpify Bret a little bit.

As they run over to the mosque, Leo & Jamal ask Tyler & Korey how many steps there are. The Amazing Race alliance isn’t strong enough for them to share. Rachel & Elissa have an incorrect guess, which means Rachel will start crying in 3… 2…

“Get your game face back on, Rachel,” Elissa snaps at her.

Leo & Jamal get their correct count in JUST before Rachel & Elissa arrive with a count that is one off of being right. The kindly judge sends them back to the bottom to start again. “Take your time,” he says. Team Fun is at the mosque, and if they can get the stair count correct, they’ll move ahead of the whiny sisters.

Janelle & Britney are still stuck.

Actually, Rachel & Elissa manage to get to the top first. Rachel initially wanted to guess 270, but Elissa feels certain the number is 272. Instead of digging in as she often does, Rachel agrees to write down 272 and they are off to the next clue.

Becca & Floyd get their count right on the first try and inform Janelle & Britney that they are indeed the last team to arrive at the mosque. The friends exchange concerned looks.

At Owino Market, the teams are instructed to seek out Soweto Restaurant. Once they arrive, their next task is a Roadblock (plus Rachel & Elissa have a Speed Bump). More than 300,000 people visit Owino Market every single day, and the challenge for today has them crafting a street food known as the Rolex Sandwich, eggs and vegetables wrapped in a chapati (flatbread). They do have to shop for their ingredients first, which complicates the task.

Finally, Janelle & Britney have completed the mosque task. They are WAY behind, but editing tries to make it appear that they are in Rachel & Elisse’s general area.

For his part, Jamal has no idea what to do with this challenge. He tries to roll the chapatti and notes that “Leo is definitely the cook in the household.” It’s a sad looking piece of flatbread to be sure.

Once again, Nicole & Victor are the first team through the challenge. Also, Victor is the one who figures out that the “Rolex” in the “Rolex Sandwich” refers to “Rolled Eggs.” Their clue sends them to the Ggaba Landing Site, where they’ll need to locate the village boat builders. Tyler & Korey are right behind them, with Colin & Christie right there as well.

Well, what do you know? The race IS actually close enough that Janelle & Britney have moved up into seventh. That seemed thoroughly unlikely, but perhaps Rachel & Elissa had a difficult cab ride that wasn’t shown. Either way, the sisters have to do a Speed Bump, which requires them to…wait. Let's pause for a stupid player alert.




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Janelle is wandering the Owino Market, asking anyone if they sell a Rolex watch. Whoops.

The Speed Bump requires Rachel & Elissa to wash some clothes at a laundry facility, then somehow find a place to hang them up, which is easier said than done as there are scads of fabric hanging.

Janelle still cannot find a Rolex watch, but the sisters breeze through the laundry challenge.

Chris & Bret and Jamal & Leo finish their Rolex sandwich, while Floyd drops his flatbread on the ground. No worries, though! He picked it right back up and started cooking it again. Someone’s gonna get some additional vitamins in their meal!

Once players arrive at the next clue box, they’re sent to the village boat builders’ location. Amazing Race duos Tyler & Korey and Colin & Christie team together to find the boat builders. The clue introduces teams to this leg’s Detour, which has them choose between “Salty Roll” or “Move the Pole.” For “Salty Roll,” teams are required to get a wheelbarrow of fish to a workstation. Then, they have to salt and roll the skin and the meat.

“Move the Pole” asks teams to load firewood from a canoe onto a bicycle and then deliver that wood to the market, where they must stack it according to a model they are given. Wood seems like the better choice, and Tyler & Korey, Colin & Christie, Nicole & Victor, and Chris & Bret all agree with us.

Once the teams start getting wood over to the stacking area, Tyler & Korey realize “it’s like Jenga.” Jamal & Leo also choose Move the Pole. Christie & Colin ask for the judge to come take a look at their wood pile, but she shows them that it is WAY too low. They now have a point of reference, though, as the judge’s stick has an Amazing Race marker on it indicating the spot where they can stop.

For their part, Tyler & Korey seem to be having a blast. They’re saying hi to all of the villagers along the way and demonstrating real positivity that the locals respond to. Christie & Colin overload their bike and it falls over. Colin is being loving and forgiving and admits that Season 5 Colin would have flipped his $h1t.

Janelle is still looking for a Rolex watch. Britney sees the sign that indicates the sandwich, but she’s not allowed to help her partner. Finally, Janelle sees it and cries with frustration.

Back over at Jenga aka Move the Pole, Tyler & Korey have stacked their wood high enough and receive a clue that tells them “It’s time to go head to head.”

This leg feels like forever and we’re not just saying that because it’s the second half of the show. The next portion of the race is a “Head to Head,” where teams have to solve a puzzle made of stacks of drums.

In recent years, the show's producers have introduced these challenges as a way of evening the game. Teams may be a few minutes or even hours behind. Until a team has an opponent, however, they must remain at the Head to Head challenge. It's a way to force intrigue into an otherwise dull leg...and let's be honest. Unless you like watching strangers stack wood and make a sandwich, this leg is DULL.

The challenge is a puzzle. Each drum comes in one of four colors. Players must move the drums until all colors in a stack are identical. The trick is that they may only move one drum at a time. It's not difficult per se, but some of these (Big Brother) teams aren't very bright. And everyone is mentally and physically fatigued when they reach the Head to Head. So, they're not thinking straight.

We know from the editing that the sisters are way behind the rest of the duos. Three teams have finished the wood challenge by the time that they receive the clue. They pick Salty Roll, which they claim they've been doing their whole lives. We're...dubious.

Tyler & Korey are the first team to reach the Head to Head. While they await an opponent, Team MotherFriend has finally finished the Rolex challenge. Who would have thought that moms would struggle at making a sandwich?

Colin & Christie join the influencers at the Head to Head. Nicole & Victor are only moments behind them, and then Chris & Brett arrive quickly, too. With four teams there, three of them are in great shape. All winners will depart this challenge with a massive lead on the back of the pack. The fourth team may need to wait a while, depending on when the next group arrives.

This Head to Head is single player, although teammates can shout strategy. Tyler faces Colin. Since the influencers were there first, they clearly discussed how to approach the game. Tyler wins in extremely impressive fashion. Since the Head to Head is right by the Pit Stop, they also win the leg and receive a free trip to Singapore!

The duo then offers some kind words about their host country and the kind treatment they received during the visit. As Korey eloquently states, "Just because a government has a certain policy doesn't mean that all the locals necessarily agree with it."

Experience seems important with this challenge. First-time players struggle for the most part, although Victor narrowly loses to Colin. If he hadn't made a mistake, he would have won on his first attempt, thereby raising the odds of Colin blowing his stack. We all know that he's going to hulk out at some point this season. It's just a question of when.

Victor easily defeats Chris, but the Survivor tandem is fine for now. All of the other teams have arrived except for Janelle & Britney, who are way behind. So, as long as duos don't lose that last challenge and have to wait for Team MotherFriend, they're fine this week.

Chris doesn't like this puzzle and cedes to Bret, who wins a battle of first-timers against Floyd. For all of their entertainment value, some of Team Fun's strategies are comically weak. Becca tells her partner, "Figure out how to get the thing on the pole." It's not exactly the wisdom of Sun-Tzu.

Floyd faces off against one of the Afghanimals, the next team at the Head to Head. Leo takes the lead, while Jamal says he'll try the next one. There may be something to the idea of watching a round once and then trying. Jamal wipes the floor with Rachel, although it's, you know, Rachel. It's a mystery to us why Elissa lets her sister attempt the challenge. They are the duo forced to wait for Janelle & Britney.

Let's quickly review the order of finish. After the influencers win the leg, Christie & Colin finish second followed by Nicole & Victor in third, Chris & Bret in fourth, Team Fun in fifth, and the Afghanimals in sixth. Seventh place will be the winner of the battle between the Big Brother women. The losing team will be eliminated.

In the final Head to Head matchup, we understand Elissa's strategy. She uses her sister as a puppet. Rachel technically moves the pieces, but it's Elissa who screams out all of the instructions which pieces to move. The strategy proves effective, as the sisters defeat their maternal friends to remain in the competition. Dammit.

Then again, Janelle & Britney ran a terrible leg this week and deserved to get eliminated. Hey, the first leg was a non-elimination this week. Can't we eliminate both of these teams right now?


     


 
 

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