Sucker MCs And Sad-Faced Clowns Try To Entertain You On The Amazing Race
Amazing Racers spend a long, stressful day in Paris missing tough details and butchering the French language.
Looking For A Heartbeat
James Earl and Denise wait around at the Pit Stop to thank Josh and Tanner for the Express Pass. They're curious about why they were the lucky recipients -- was it because Josh and Tanner consider them pals, or because Josh and Tanner consider them weak? It's the former, Team Texas assures them.
Before teams head out of Zimbabwe for good, let's kick off the leg with one more good Roadblock: who wants to get their heart pumping? One lucky team member will do a bungee jump off of Victoria Falls Bridge. Naturally, this is also an ideal juncture at which to integrate the [product-placed fitness monitor]: throughout this leg, teams will record their heart rate periodically. Why? Because of reasons, is basically what Phil says.
So the racers strap on the safety harnesses and jump off into the gorge. This would probably be a lot more interesting if we hadn't kicked off last week's leg with racers strapping on safety harnesses and jumping off into a different gorge on the exact same river.
Just like the first time this show visited Victoria Falls, fifteen years ago, now the teams are off to France, where Justin and Diana get an early lead out of the airport and are the only ones to catch the first train to the Aerodrome Musée Volat Solis on the outskirts of Paris. If the word "aerodrome" strikes you as familiar, it's because the teams just visited one two weeks ago in Zambia.
The task itself might look a little familiar to you as well. In THIS Roadblock, whichever team member didn't bungee has to ride around in a kooky aircraft -- in this instance, a 1940s stunt plane that throws a couple of sweet loops in just for fun -- and try to spot clues on the ground -- in this instance, the words "liberté, égalité, fraternité," which many of these racers are apparently seeing for the first time. "Liberty, EagleAHtay, Frater-naughty," says Justin. "Liberty, Eagle-etty, Fraternity," says Josh. "Liberty, Eagle Light, Fratter Night," says Tiffany.
Like so many expensive aerial-stunt-adjacent tasks, the show doesn't make this task terribly hard, since it doesn't want to plan for anyone to do it more than once. Against all odds, Logan misses the third word and has to go back up, which knocks her team to the back of the pack and causes them to miss the next train by mere minutes, which puts them a full hour behind everyone else -- even considering that Team Texas and the cheerleaders take a wrong turn heading back to the train station after Tanner sees a sign pointing to "St. Vrain" and decides that "Vrain" is probably French for "train."
For someone who spent the better part of last week yelling at his partner, Chris is remarkably zen about the fact that he and Logan are now in last place by a lot.
Rhymes Vs. Roughy
Back in Paris, a guy who looks like a cross between Criss Angel and Mystery the pick-up artist (except, you know, French) doles out Detour clues: in Bust a Crab, teams have to construct an elaborate seafood platter to the exact specifications of a local chef; in Drop a Mic, teams learn and perform a French hip-hop song (the show does not provide a translation of the lyrics, but they're basically "hey, check out our new record, we're awesome," and also a bunch of numbers).
Diana's leaning toward seafood, but she's immediately overruled and strongarmed into a cab bound for the rap task. Rapping, says Diana, "is totally [Justin's] comfort zone, but totally out of mine. "Get over it," Justin snaps. Tension between Diana and Justin has been bubbling under for most of the leg up to this point, but we're now at "frequently cutting away to shots of cab drivers and other bystanders looking really uncomfortable" levels of conflict.
And indeed, since the criteria for judging this task appears to be about 30% pronunciation, 20% musicality, and 50% racers' ability to be total hams, Justin nails it almost immediately, but his more reserved fiancée takes a few tries. They're still in first by the time they finish, but their confidence (not to mention their relationship) seems a little shaken. "Search for Phil," their final clue begins, which kind of gives away the ending at just past the thirty-minute mark. Sigh.
The cheerleaders and newscasters also choose to rap, though Justin and Diana are long gone by the time they arrive; Tanner and Josh and the Chacs head to the seafood. It's unclear which task James Earl and Denise are tackling because they have no idea where they are.
Krista, who's a speech pathologist by trade, nails the rap on the first try, and the cheerleaders head out in second place. Newscaster Kelsey is hilariously bad at the rap at first, making her officially the whitest person on a team that contains a dude wearing a polo shirt, fanny pack, and jorts.
At the seafood restaurant, Rick's surgical precision helps the Chacs overtake Team Texas, who regret their choice of Detour after several failed attempts. "I'm not a real big details guy," says Josh from his post at this very detail-oriented task.
At some later, unspecified point, Logan and Chris are back on track and have also chosen crab, though Chris is beginning to doubt that anybody would have struggled hard enough that they'd still be working on either Detour.
Cut to: James Earl literally saying, "Oh my god, we're struggling so hard today." They still haven't found either task, though they've given up on finding the seafood and are now just trying to get to the hip-hop.
She's The Mommy, I'm The Rapper
Tanner and Josh finish their seafood just as Logan and Chris are arriving at the restaurant.
While James Earl proves a surprisingly badass MC, for some reason, hip-hop is not in the wheelhouse of a fifty-one-year-old white lady from Alabama. I mean, homegirl can spit rhymes, but they're just not actual words, and periodically it seems like she remembers she's supposed to be pronouncing words correctly, which throws her off the rhythm and forces them to start over.
Justin and Diana are still trying to "find Phil" near the Arc de Triomphe. Diana tries and fails to point out to Justin that the clue says he's across from the arc, not at it. It's almost karmic retribution when they finally DO hit the mat in first place, and Phil announces that there's no sweet gnome-sponsored travel prize waiting for them...just another clue. Because the leg's not over. "Hey, be nice to her!" Phil yells at Justin as they dash off. "I will! I'm so sorry!" Justin replies.
As each team checks in, Phil reminds them to keep tracking their heart rates, because it'll come in handy on the next leg. Joey's heart is throwing up an impressive 157 beats per minute.
Logan and Chris arrive in sixth place. "We were shocked to realize we weren't in last place," says Logan. "Someone must have really messed up," adds Chris. Indeed, we end the episode on one final shot of Denise really messing up. Will she ever complete the task? Undoubtedly she will, probably thirty seconds into the next episode, though we won't know for sure until next week.
It's a little bit uncomfortable to watch Justin and Diana's relationship hit a rough patch, and a few tasks are a little bit too similar to things we've already seen this season, but watching these clowns try to perform a French-language rap makes some pretty great television. Plus, if you know how to pronounce "liberté, égalité, fraternité," you'll get to experience a sense of smug superiority akin to knowing Final Jeopardy when all the contestants get it wrong.