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The Amazing Race Gets Carted Off To Cartagena

In Colombia, it’s a contest to find out whose epic fail will be the most epic: packing nine tons of beauty supplies in your backpack? Ignoring your clue? Letting your cab go? Or utterly destroying the Spanish language?

Excess Baggage

Previously on The Amazing Race, teams kicked things off in Mexico City, where father/daughter team Blair and Scott checked in last, but were saved by a non-elimination leg. Phil asks them what they'll do differently to avoid coming in last place again, and Blair suggests that maybe she could stand to lighten her pack, which contains both a hair dryer and a curling iron. (Well, actually, she's making her father carry the hair dryer.)

Now I suppose you could say the racers are graduating from the Cuervo Gold to the fine Colombian: they're off to Cartagena, Colombia, which Phil helpfully explains is a country the show is visiting for the first time. One by one, teams hit the airport counters and start booking flights, save for Cameron and Darius, who spend a large amount of time wandering aimlessly in search of an open ticket counter, pausing to engage with fans, and musing aloud that perhaps they need to have "a little more competitive initiative."

By the time everyone else has their plane tickets, Darius and Cameron are stuck bringing up the rear on a flight that gets in nearly an hour after the first group. The good news is that they're not alone -- Hagan and Marty are also on this flight -- but they're well aware they're pretty screwed right out of the gate this week.

Here's Mud In Your Eye

Teams' first stop is Vulcan Totumo, a volcano full of therapeutic mud. This Roadblock asks "Who's a hot mess?," which is an easier question for some teams to answer than others. Each Roadblocker has to find an emerald hidden in the mud, then swim out to retrieve their clue, I guess to rinse off the majority of the mud so nobody winds up muddying up the back of a cab. It's not terribly difficult, although some teams are more grossed out by the mud than others, and still others manage to find new ways to make it harder than it's supposed to be.

Korey manages to drop his emerald on the way out of the volcano, and has to go back and get another one. As it turns out, Blair decided that, along with the hair dryer and curling iron, she should probably jettison her bathing suit to lighten her pack, meaning she's got nothing to wear into the volcano. "Daddy! Do you have anything I can wear as a bathing suit that isn't a thong?" she asks, and Scott says that he does not, which frankly raises more questions than it answers. Fortunately, though, Rachel is happy to loan Blair a pair of spandex shorts for the volcano.

At some other point on the space-time continuum, Darius, Cameron, Hagan, and Marty have landed and begin making their way back into the competition. "Please, sir," Marty begs her slow cab driver. "We're in El Race-o." Strangely, her obvious Spanish fluency does not impress him into speeding things up.

Yes We Canopy

Frisbee-playing dudebros Brodie and Kurt are the first ones to reach the Detour, which asks them to choose between "Pop-Up" and "Parilla." They choose "Pop-Up," which entails building a makeshift canopy on the beach using wooden poles and netting. When they're done, a tricked-out car with a sound system that even Xzibit might find excessive will pull in under the canopy to provide the tunes for a beach party.

All four of the front-runner teams (Brodie/Kurt, Tyler/Korey, Dana/Matt, and Burnie/Ashley) choose this one, in fact, and it doesn't seem to be measurably harder than, say, putting together Ikea furniture, although your average Expedit bookcase comes with far fewer opportunities to make jokes about finding the thickest pole and burying it deep. There are also a lot of tiny details to trip the racers up. Dana and Matt hit one of these pitfalls particularly hard, which hits Dana particularly hard, and she quickly becomes enraged. Thanks to their excellent eye for detail (as well as their ability to locate the thickest poles), Tyler and Korey manage to finish well before Kurt and Brodie and eventually snag the first-place win.

Back at the volcano, Cameron and Hagan begin their emerald hunt, and while Cameron finds his almost immediately, Hagan gets the obligatory cut-to-commercial "this is impossible!" soundbite.

We've Got Bigger Fish To Fry

The teams in the back half of the pack, save for Zach and Rachel, all seem to choose "Parilla," which entails frying and plating a fish in the style of Colombian beach barbecues. But before Scott and Blair get to theirs, they've got a Speed Bump to conquer: they'll have to "help" some local fishermen pull in a net. Blair doesn't love getting her feet wet, and she really doesn't love handling live fish. Between the mud and all the fish, this really isn't Blair's day. I guess the show is saving the makeup tutorial Roadblock for next week.

It's not really Zach and Rachel's day, either, given that they totally fail to read their clue and end up having to build their canopy twice. Over at the "Parilla" half of the Detour, Erin tells the camera that she hates fish because one got into her bathing suit once when she was a child. The fact that this one arrives pre-dead, and thus is unlikely to get into her pants, does not endear it to her. The Instagram models aren't doing much better; Jessica manages to cut herself on either a knife or a sharp fin. Given the number of times everyone drops their fish in the dirt, I would not recommend eating dinner at any of their houses.

Dana and Matt, arriving at the mat in fourth place, recognize that they need to work on their communication, but figure if they haven't murdered each other, they're doing okay.

El Race-o Es Finito Para Madre Y Daughter-o

Most of the rest of the teams check in with Phil in one large clump, which he pretends is shocking, but it's far from the first time this has ever happened. I guess Phil's already trying to invent ways to make this interesting for himself.

When Hagan and Marty finally hit the cluebox for the Detour and retrieve a clue directing them to the nearby beach, they assume they're meant to find it on foot. Darius and Cameron, who bled some time when they found the beach before the cluebox, make no such assumption. This means that not only do they make up a little time by driving instead of walking, but also, once they're finished frying their fish, they actually have a cab right there instead of having to run back to the cluebox point.

Naturally, this proves to be Hagan and Marty's undoing. As they tearfully yet gracefully accept their Philimination, they tell Phil they're very proud of each other, wouldn't have run the Race with anyone else, etc.

Verdict

While it's exciting that the show's finally going to a new country of consequence (as opposed to some tiny random nation that they're visiting for the sake of ticking it off a list), and this group of racers never fails to find ingenious new ways to fail at things, some of the action drags a little bit in the middle. Hit the highlights, but I would hardly call this episode appointment television.

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