Watch The Amazing Racers Whip, Watch Them Neigh Neigh
Two of Argentina's most famous exports -- meat and horses -- take center stage, while another team pays the price for being too helpful.
Bus-ting Out All Over
As Tanner and Josh prepare to embark on Leg 3, Tanner tests out the hamstring he pulled sprinting for second place last week. Verdict: not good. They'll try to make the best of it, though, and Josh still has two good legs, so all they can do is keep on racing and hope for the best.
Justin and Diana, departing in first place, assert that nobody's as prepared as they are: Justin has seen every season of the show at least three times. For those of you playing at home, that’s just over 1000 hours of television watched, which is only 10% of the 10,000 hours Malcolm Gladwell has said you need in order to become truly great, but in fairness, it’s probably 999 hours more Amazing Race than some of these teams have watched.
Teams are now on their way via bus to San Antonio de Areco, about a ninety-minute drive from Buenos Aires. Justin and Diana initially appear to have missed the first bus, but they slip on at a later stop, much to the chagrin of Tanner and Josh, whose dislike for Justin runs so deep that "destroy the green team" has now displaced "win a million dollars" as their primary goal. They try to strike up a deal with Kelsey and Joey to give away their express pass in exchange for U-Turning Justin and Diana, because pretty much the only three things you can do if you don't like someone on The Amazing Race are 1) U-Turn them; 2) get someone else to U-Turn them; and 3) talk shit about them. This is kind of an empty promise considering that nobody actually knows if or when the U-Turn will actually come into play.
Neither the three teams on the first bus (Texas, Green, and Newscasters) nor the five teams on the second bus (Chacs, Track, Paparazzi, Cheerleaders, and Mom/Son) have seen any sign of Ernest and Jin, who checked in ninth on the previous leg.
Elsewhere in time and space, Ernest and Jin attempt to puzzle out Argentine bus schedules.
Meating The Challenge
In San Antonio de Areco, Justin and Diana arrive at the Roadblock first, which asks the question, "Who's smokin' hot?" "I am, but you do it," says Diana with a grin. This may be not only the funniest thing Diana has said all season, but also the most she has spoken on camera at one time.
The Roadblock requires Racers to haul two racks of lamb and a rack of beef ribs across a field and string them up, Ramsay Bolton-style, to prep them for barbecue. It's physically taxing, because the meat's heavy, and it's detail-focused, because the meat has to be facing the right way with the skewers poking into all the right parts. For added distraction, the meat smells have attracted all of the local stray dogs, who have converged to stare lovingly at the action in hopes that someone will drop a rib.
The next wave of teams rolls in shortly after the first three get started, and while Josh and newscaster Joey are both finished pretty quickly, Rick's doctoring skills make him a whiz with carcass anatomy, and he and Cindy almost manage to take the lead from them.
A few teams aren't quite so skilled, though, and their non-Roadblocking partners are becoming more and more agitated. James Earl, in particular, has called the judge over to look at his meat several times, and he can't quite figure out what he's doing wrong. Denise figures it out -- his rack of ribs is upside-down -- and she can't keep herself from blurting this out. Whether or not James Earl hears her, he catches on soon after, and Denise is understandably worried that her outburst might cause a penalty.
Eventually, Tiffany, who was a little nauseated by the smell of the meat, is the last woman standing: "I'm hoping the boys don't show up. I just pray they're really far behind." Indeed, Jin and Ernest are evidently still enroute.
Putting The Cart Before The Horse
This week's Detour requires the racers to choose between equipping a fake horse on wheels as if it's competing in a polo match, or preparing and pulling a carriage from a local barn into the center of town. Only six teams will have the option to do each task, which they signify by choosing either a polo mallet or a buggy whip from a rack.
The popular Detour this week appears to be the polo task; everyone but Rick and Cindy makes a beeline for it. It's pretty similar to the Roadblock, in that there are a lot of tiny details, a lot of opportunities to put things on backward, and a lot of stray dogs just milling around because everyone now smells like meat. The editors do their best to make this seem like it's difficult, but nobody seems to have a particularly tough time. Tanner and Josh finish quickly, with Justin and Diana hot on their heels.
The carriage detour isn't all that difficult on its face, either, but Rick and Cindy manage to bleed a lot of time looking for the location, and once they do find it, they realize they've forgotten their ceremonial buggy whip and have to go all the way back. The cheerleaders show up to this half of the Detour just as #ChacAttack is preparing to take their carriage on the road.
Hey, remember Ernest and Jin? They've finally made it to the Roadblock, and despite knowing they're in last place, they're determined to make the best of their situation. Jin's amused by Ernest's initial terror at handling the meat slabs, and Ernest takes great pains to make sure all and sundry are aware that he's "not a meat-smoker."
When A Problem Comes Along, You Must Whip It
When Tanner and Josh roll up to the mat in first place, with Justin and Diana just steps behind them, you can actually pinpoint the moment at which Production gets on Phil's earpiece and orders him to instigate. This isn't Phil's wheelhouse, but he goes for it anyway, dropping the tantalizing spoiler that the next leg will, in fact, feature the much-anticipated Double U-Turn. Justin's no fool, though: "If you U-Turn someone, you’d better hope they go home. I know the Race enough to know that." Tanner and Josh bow to Justin’s superior Amazing Race-watching skills; indeed, they reiterate, that’s why they’re gunning for him.
James Earl and Denise have finished dressing their fake polo horse and are pulling it through the town square to the judging point. Cobblestones aren't easy terrain for giant wheeled equines, and tensions are starting to run high. James Earl's breaking point, though, happens when they land at the mat and receive the ominous "however" after Phil tells them they've arrived fifth. It turns out that Denise's sideline coaching at the Roadblock has earned them a thirty-minute penalty, and James Earl needs a minute to himself to just be angry. Over the course of the penalty, they reach some middle ground and agree to direct their negative energy outward going forward. Less fun for the viewers, maybe, but definitely sounder racing strategy.
Logan and Chris check in while James Earl and Denise are waiting out their penalty. When Phil drops a "however" on them, they are visibly relieved when it’s followed by the news that, thanks to Denise's screwup, Logan and Chris are officially Team #5, not Team #6.
The cheerleaders, like #ChacAttack, have also forgotten their whip, and they have to backtrack. Will their mistake allow Jin and Ernest to catch up?
Yeah, no. The very different sunlight illuminating the dancers' turn at the Roadblock is a pretty clear indicator that it wasn't even close -- they're Team #9, and they have been eliminated from the Race. Phil brings in some local dancers to entertain them on their way out, and there's a touching moment of cultural exchange in which the locals show off a few traditional moves while Ernest and Jin do the worm.
It's pretty clear from minute one which team's going home this week, and while there are a few amusing blunders to keep things interesting as well as some forward motion in the budding Texas/Green rivalry, this leg is pretty much filler from start to finish. With Africa AND a U-Turn awaiting the racers in the next leg, we can only hope that there’s something (figuratively) meatier coming up.