We're officially one week into the season, and with last episode's non-elimination, we've still got 15 teams in the game (meaning I can't give an alternative to whatever the losing team might be doing right now. Maybe Laurie is continuing to maul Don up until their departure this episode? Go girl).
Now that the airings have caught up with the OnDemand/online spoilers, I don't have to write these despite knowledge of upcoming episodes (I kind of had to do that for Ellody/Mary early on, and even more unfortunately, for the group eliminated in this episode). It also means my reviews probably won't be up as quickly next week, since I can't start writing in advance (unless they pop up on Youtube or OnDemand *again*).This was also the episode that I foreshadowed in my recent blogs, where I addressed my frustration at a plot-point that was kind of abandoned - not really frustration I guess, but more feeling like we missed out on something that could have been interesting. Kind of a 'that's-a-shame" scenario. So I'll address that after my typical character updates, since it's more of a headcanon than anything else. With all of that in mind, here we go!
Tom and Jen: They didn't get anything besides a celebratory "Eeeeee" after finishing the feather challenge, which is surprising. They could've commented on how feathers were tacky or on-trend. I don't know how people feel about feathers nowadays. Hoping for more in the next episode.
Chet and Lorenzo: There seemed to be some kind of mistake with them in the Botch and Watch. They didn't have one in episode 5, so yeah, it was Lorenzo's turn to do one. He starts it, but Chet finishes the job for the team. So now they're both down a hand, when they didn't have to be. Hmm. They get some physical comedy with the coconuts, which is fitting, and it *actually* feels like good-natured bickering, as opposed to their typical murder-each-other style of fighting. They survive the episode without any major physical altercations, which is different. I'm also kind of curious about the "Hey, you *are* good for something," "No I'm not!" lines. I'm wondering if it was just a situational gag, or if Chet has some kind of deeply-rooted confidence issue that we don't know about. Yeah, I'm probably reading into it too much, but hey, they opened a door there, and I'm here to speculate. They end the episode with some sarcastic bickering (while they're glued to each other, which is surprisingly clever), so yeah, no physical violence. Good for them. I imagine it will come back shortly, but I'm *hoping* it won't.
Dwayne and Junior: Props to Senior for finally thinking of his wife back home. Junior shows some remorse over the fossil incident with the Vegans (he has a soul, yay), but Senior brushes it off. Sure, he didn't *know* that it belonged to another team, but as per the directions of that challenge and the situation that came up, it *should* have at least been suspicious. He breaks the fossil on the runway, which causes a flat tire on the plane. His clumsiness is back in full force. It's nice that this dose of clumsy doesn't come paired with an insulting air, as it did so many times in the last episode. Senior almost gets murdered by Josee at the end of the episode, but at least he sends his son away from the danger. He also witnesses Josee's throw, so it will be interesting to see whether or not he points that out to Jacques in a future episode.
Emma and Kitty: Emma is the one to mention the little bit of trivia on the bullet ants (looks like she passed biology in college), and her eyebrows at this point at least *suggest* that she's worried for her sister's well-being. Even if it's just eyebrows, it's not '...we'd be disqualified immediately,' like episode 4. Kitty stands up for Mickey, and he returns the favor by giving her a clue. She appreciates the gesture, and catches him off-guard with a quick and cute selfie. Finally, a positive inter-team interaction! I waited 6 episodes, and even though the teams weren't the first ones I would have expected, it happened regardless. Emma gets on Kitty's case for making what she believes to be an alliance, and Kitty shuts that notion down (even though she says she never agreed to Emma's previous words). Emma gets an early-episode-callback to how she doesn't trust the other teams, and Kitty gives another callback to Emma's ex-boyfriend, suggesting that this is a plot-line, rather than a one-off gag. Prepare the ships people, because one is probably gonna set sail this season. Kitty and the Twins manage to convince Emma to give an alliance a shot, and she breaks and calls it a trial-run. Like I end up mentioning in the Twins' section, though, an unfortunate accident leads Emma to call off the alliance.
Ryan and Stephanie: They're quiet for the first half, and their first interaction is Stephanie telling Ryan off after their plunge into the ravine, followed by a sudden mood-swing when she sees the coconuts. No more lines after that. It seems like most of her negative energy is saved for Ryan. But it's been so back-and-forth so far that it's kind of hard to predict where it will go from here.
Crimson and Ennui: First off, every other episode-start so far has featured the winning team of the previous episode sharing the entirety of the travel tip. This team continues its deadpan gold by instead reciting "...huh. Brazil." Maybe it's just their personalities and appearance, but the writers have found a way to make a team with such few lines *really* stand out. "Oww..." "Don't be so dramatic." You see what I mean. I also found the way that Ennui carried Crimson during the vine-swing to be hysterical, even if it was a subtle, one-second thing. Their black feathers were an appropriate touch (I like that a couple of the teams had outfits or situations that fit their teams, like these 2, Josee/Jacque's overdone outfits, and Chet/Lorenzo gluing themselves to each other). The 'Great Flying Birds of Death" come in second, and they're quickly establishing themselves as surprising front-runners. I was worried that this team might be filler/first-out before the season started, but they're actually getting great treatment so far!
Jay and Mickey: The 'adversity' part of their title is back in full force in this episode. First, their lactose intolerance acts up in the presence of cows (probably not scientifically accurate. Too bad the Geniuses aren't around to point that out). On the other hand, their 'adversity' status (finally) comes in handy, due to their immunities to bug-bites. Their high five thing was cute, even though it almost killed Laurie. I'm surprised she didn't sick the goddess of karma on them, too. See my section on Emma and Kitty, because a lot of Jay and Mickey's interaction in this episode involves the Sisters. The twins imply that they find the Sisters to be cute, and give them a tip, which is met with praise and thanks from Kitty. Their vine snaps over the ravine, so yeah, their adversity status is back in full swing. I didn't mean for that to be a pun, but I don't regret it. Thier luck finally balances out, as getting kicked aside by the Skaters actually *causes* them to get their next clue. They form the Alliance with Emma/Kitty as I mentioned in the Sister's section, but an unfortunately-timed sneeze leads them to crash both of their teams' gliders, leading Emma to call off any kind of alliance between the groups. Bummer. I kind of hope that their interactions continue, because it would be a shame for one of the earliest inter-team major interactions to go to waste after only a single episode of use.
Owen and Noah: Whoever wrote this episode gets a shout-out for the season 3 call-back with Owen's aerophobia. It seemed like this was kind of glossed over before, but we see it again here, now that they're in a plane that really resembles the one from TDWT. Owen eats his beloved stuffed animal and coughs it up on Noah, who sports cotton eyebrows in the aftermath. With a season 3 call-back, we also get some of their season-3-level interaction, which is great to see after a few quiet episodes for them. Owen literally inhales a coconut, and writing about Owen and coconuts reminds me that Mr. Coconut from season 1 showed up in this episode. So for all of you that love the unofficial 5th-place-finisher from Island, be on the lookout for it.
Geoff and Brody: Geoff damages both hands in the Botch or Watch, which seems like something he would do. He really feels like his Season 1 self again (typical nice, with a dose of 'dimwit'), which is good to see. Brody points out how 'ripped'(/damaged) Geoff is, which is equally expected based on his character and their interactions thus far. Brody receives the first crotch-shot of the season, which, after his electrocution episode, yeah, he was probably one of the front-runners for this honor. They finish the feather challenge first, but go for a dive when they don't hold tightly to their glider. Which is a shame since they probably would've won the episode otherwise.
Taylor and Kelly: Taylor starts the episode hating her life because her plane is full of animals. I liked Kelly's 'you eat them, you wear them' line. A cow poops on Taylor's boots, and she's determined to quit, until Mother Dearest promises her a car. This group has a very Dakota feel, as we can tell (based on that line) that they're not short when it comes to funds. This implies that Kelly signed them up for the bonding/sight-seeing aspects, and I'd like for that to be officially brought to the fans' attentions, rather than have it be suggested. Kelly is determined to prove thier team's worth to the audience, which is admirable. Yeah, we've had every reason to doubt this team so far, but it will be nice to see if they act on these early words, or if all this sudden screentime means their end is near. We also get a Tyler throwback as Taylor gets blasted by a goat after having kicked it during her 'quitting tyrade.' Taylor intimidates Mickey during the Botch or Watch, before getting told off by Kitty. In the Botch or Watch, Taylor proves that she has some brains, by being the *only* participant to think of an alternative to actually sticking her hand into the mitt. Props! They give some background on Taylor's childhood behavior, Taylor uses the word 'ratchet,' and this team is finally getting some much-needed development. Taylor seems less snarky (or, at least, her snark is better written in this episode to be humorous, and a weird kind of endearing), and their interactions don't leave you feeling bad for Kelly as they usually do. Kelly's yelling before the vine challenge *seems* a bit OOC, but it was only a matter of time before we saw *some* aggression come out of her, and it gets Taylor to go along with it. Taylor gives her mom props, which is the beginning of the kind of plot-line that I expect for this team, the Dwaynes, and the Sisters. Kelly utterly destroys a coconut, and Taylor spares her the embarassment of on-air pit-stains. Overall, I'm happy that they got some decent air-time this episode. After getting nothing in Calanque de Maubois, and Taylor derailing their interactions at the end of the Iceland episode, these two needed it. And really, they became a lot more likable at the end of the day.
Devin and Carrie: Surprisingly, one of the most focused-on teams in the first 5 episodes really got a back-seat on this one. It balances the team air-time out a bit, and we can't really gripe about them being screen-hoggers with that in mind. I'm still hoping that once they get some focus back, they'll explore new interactions, or other facets of their relationship that *aren't* relationship-oriented.
Sanders and McArthur: McArthur tackles Mickey out of the way during the Botch and Watch, gives an overconfident line, then shrieks about the ants actually getting on her. While giving a line about running in first, McArthur takes a kick to the back, and Sanders seems to giggle at it. She's been annoyed with McArthur a number of times through the first 5 episodes, so maybe she's glad to see fate stick it to McArthur a bit? Of course, fate kicks her in the back, too, 3 seconds later, courtesy of Chet. During the coconut challenge, McArthur tries to do things her way, against Sanders' more effective method. As funny as McArthur is, she needs to let her partner contribute more, especially since Sanders managed to crack the coconut successfully (the 'putting your partner down' thing is more effectively done here than with the Sisters, though). We get a Halloween call-back for McArthur, where we learn that she's wanted to be a cop for at least 10 years. We don't get a 'why,' but it's good development none-the-less. Of course, her years of experience with the same costume leads her to make police outfits out of the feathers, which is cute, funny, and an appropriate way for them to botch the challenge. Except...with Sanders being the smart one here, don't you think that they would have had one piece that made sense in their first 2 tries? Third time ends up being the charm though, and they're safe.
Josee and Jacques: Yep, they were saving their hissy fit for this episode. After coming in third again, they're upset with each other (what would they do if they finished, like, 8th?!). Honestly, it feels a bit out of place, considering they had no (shown) conflict in Iceland, and it was just a matter of Crimson and Ennui destroying the feast, and Tom and Jen presumably getting lucky with a fossil find. When the plane lands, yep, we see that Josee has finally *reached* the edge of being on-edge, and she comes across as very bossy to Jacques. She even mentions how *she* was the one that upped their game in the Olympics, and Jacques has to remind her that they're a team. Poor guy. Josee starts to freak out when she notices that a lot of the other teams are ahead of her, and inadvertently throws clues to 2 other teams. Upon realizing this, she chases down the Dwaynes and nearly breaks Senior's leg off before chucking a coconut at her teammate and getting a lucky clue from it. Those 20 seconds, and her lie to Jacques afterward, finally give us a taste of an antagonistic bite from this team, and it will be interesting to see if they (but mostly Josee) snap any further. You could argue that they godplayed a bit at the end, but at least costume-making fits their trope, so it's not totally out-of-the-blue (like, say, Sierra's basket-weaving talent in the second episode of TDWT). They win, and I personally don't think they deserved it based on their full-episode performance, but so be it. We finally saw them crack a bit, so it will interesting to see if some devious game-playing comes out next week.
Rock and Spud: Spud seems to be pretty oblivious where the game is concerned, but he completes the Botch and Watch without a complaint. Rock mentions Spud's standard delayed reactions, so we can expect something of it later on. I'm assuming the writer of this episode also did episode 1, due to Rocks' 3-way scream (imitating Spud's future reaction to the bug bites) and how it mimics his bird-calls in episode 1. (It also makes sense, considering Emma's mention of alliances again, and Dwayne's runway mistake feeling most in line with his episode-1-elevator incident. If I'm wrong, whoops, but if not, it makes sense). Rock shows concern for Spud throughout the challenge, and Spud seems confused, but at least his confusion leads him to topple a tree for easy ravine-crossing. While he still remains un/under-developed, Spud is doing things this episode (whether he means to or not), so I give him some props in that department. The bug bites finally kick in on the beach with a minute to spare on the Vegans' penalty. Spud runs like a maniac in pain, and Rock pulls a Cameron and jumps on his back (huh, after Rock carrying them through 5 episodes, Spud literally carries him across the line of the 6th. Ironic. I like). Although I personally prefer the Vegans, it was nice to see Spud pull some weight this episode, even if it wasn't always intended. I expect more from him though, especially since one of my top 4 teams was booted in his favor.
Laurie and Miles: Laurie's emotions are still running high after last episode (although her cries are of sadness at this point, instead of blind rage). Miles knocks some sense back into her, and gets her to focus on the next challenge. (Could Rock do the same to Spud soon?...whoop, wrote this early on, now that I've seen the whole thing, yeah, Spud was better this time). They're the first to do the Botch or Watch, and a tripping Mickey causes Laurie to get her face mutilated by bullet ants. No hell-fire rage this time though. Lucky for the twins. This puts them at a disadvantage, as Laurie is unable to see from this point on. Side-note that I forgot to mention - Don still has a black eye from Laurie's attack in Iceland. Nice continuity there - this has been a recurring thing early on, between this, Brody's electrocution carrying over, etc. I hope to see this pattern continue. Although I don't approve of Laurie's condition, it's used for some good physical comedy - 'the wind hurts my faaace *boom* now the CLIFF hurts my face!" Along with Taylor's fear-induced coconut throw. They've been the butt of the joke so far, but at least Laurie's second plunge into the ravine comes with a coconut clue. Miles ends up making both pieces due to Laurie's condition, and even though they come in first (yaaaay!), PENALTY, because of exactly what I just said - Miles made both pieces. (Side-note: We also find out that Laurie enjoyed the meat much more than she let on, which made for some minor jabs between the two). Their penalty ends up being their un-doing, as they lose to the Rockers by, like, 3 seconds. Their send-off is full of puns, and their walk-off includes some nice callback-to-episode-5 jokes. However, I'm still disappointed. I'll elaborate *more* below, but I'll at least start out saying that it was a bummer that they were shown to come in FIRST and be slapped with the penalty. I'm probably biased because they were some of my early favorites, but the weight of them getting the penalty was bolstered by the fact that they finished last in the previous challenge, and then first in this one (it might have hurt a bit less if they had come in middle-ground, the way Noah/Owen did in Paris, or Taylor/Kelly did in Iceland). As a Vegans fan, it made it feel like a slap, as opposed to a tap on the wrist. It also seemed unfortunate to keep a team in a non-elmination, just to boot them in the next episode...And as for my biggest missed plotline, yep, it obviously involves these two, and *now* I'll elaborate on that with . . .
My headcanon: The Amazing Race has a number of additional challenges that they added in later seasons (I stopped watching around the time of season 7, but checked back in a few times later), that The Ridonculous Race may or may not touch upon later. One of those is the U-turn, which forces a selected team to go back through the Detour (Eithor Or equivalent) and do the part of the challenge that they didn't select (in addition to the one that they already completed) - or something like that, don't quote me on it. There's risk involved, because each team can only use one per game, once a team is selected for a U-turn, they're the only ones harmed for that episode, and if they survive, it puts a target on the back of the picking team. I think they also added in a 'Speed Bump' challenge in later seasons, but I haven't paid enough attention to recent seasons to know what it is, or whether it actually exists/I'm just crazy (I'm pretty sure it does, and it's an extra challenge that only the chosen team has to do? Maybe?). Laurie and Miles were the first team to be negatively impacted by another, in the form of Dwayne, and Laurie raged at him (with fire and all!) to finish episode 5. There could have been the beginnings of a grudge there (even if the Vegans didn't seem like the type to hold one...of course, they also didn't seem like the type to tackle the host), but we didn't even get a moment of shady side-eye between the 2 teams. If Laurie was going to call the goddess of karma on them, I think it would have been an interesting touch if they had stayed long enough to force a U-turn/Speed Bump equivalent on the Dwaynes, therefore getting a little bit of retaliation, and making *them* the goddesses of karma that 'GOT [THEM] FOR THISSS' (they'll always be goddesses in my heart, though).
What are yall's thoughts? Does my headcanon bring up any interesting thoughts/questions - do you see them bringing in additional Amazing Race challenges (the ones I mention, the Fast Forward, etc) in later episodes? What do you think of the Twin/Sister alliance? And how about those teams that finally got some well-deserved development? Let me know your thoughts, and thanks again for following along through the first week! I'll be back on Monday, ready to blog the newest episodes!