You Say Dubai, The Amazing Race Says Hello
Sleepy sharks and speedy camels await the Amazing Racers in Dubai, where one team totally comes unglued in the desert heat.
Midnight At The Oasis...Or Races
In an uncharacteristic nod to early seasons, teams are mingling between legs while they wait to see who's been eliminated. Predictably, Brodie's pretty sad when Tyler and Korey, and not Scott and Blair, are still in the mix, but he vows to try to win a nice trip he can take her on. (Spoiler: they aren't together anymore, so regardless of how many trips the frisbee bros won, Brodie's probably stuck going with Kurt.)
Teams head for Dubai, where they'll be driving themselves to their first destination. (Inexplicably, the provided vehicles are not from the show's brand-new vehicular sponsor, unveiled just prior to the start of the episode.) Sheri misses an exit, but everyone else reaches their first stop -- a Bedouin tent -- in short order. There, they're compelled to choose between two camel-related Detours: "Races" (in which they'll try to outpace a racing camel on a bike) or "Oasis" (in which they'll lead four sluggish, but docile, camels to a Bedouin camp a mile away).
Dana and Matt find the "Oasis" camels slow, but at least they're moving, which has not historically been true of camels on this show. This hasn't stopped Dana from finding a lot to complain about, including that it's hot, there's sand, the camels are slow, Matt is wearing a flannel in the desert, and Matt is not complaining.
On the other hand, the racing camels at "Races" (which everyone else seems to have chosen) are booking it, which causes quite a few people to ponder abandoning ship on their first try. Rachel, in particular, didn't want to do this one in the first place, and she's skeptical that beating the camels is even humanly possible. Indeed, nobody seems to beat them on the first try, but everyone gets a head start on the second, and maybe the camels will start to get a little tired by that point.
At some other point in the space-time continuum, Sheri and Cole finally find the Bedouin tent and choose a Detour of their own.
Oh yeah: everyone's also toting a product-placement gnome with them this leg, for reasons that'll probably become apparent at the Pit Stop.
Live Every Week Like It's Shark Week
Brodie and Kurt smoke the camels (hee) on their second go-round, and they're out of there in first place. Zach and Rachel, on the other hand, could be there awhile, considering that Rachel has a previously undisclosed fear of "going fast on bikes."
After one attempt that left Ashley retching from the exertion, Burnie and Ashley opt for the quieter camels of the "Oasis" Detour, which, it's pretty clear, is the more fun half if not the faster one, considering it comes with a snack of flat bread and camel milk. Zach and Rachel go ahead and switch as well.
The next bit of the leg takes place at the Atlantis Aquaventure water park, site of the infamous Season 15 Roadblock in which country singer Mika stood paralyzed by various waterslide-related phobias until Phil put her out of her misery. (Superfan Tyler geeks out appropriately when he spots the slide in question.) This time, though, nobody gets to waterslide -- instead, they'll have to dive into a shark tank and retrieve a puzzle while wearing some pretty epic skimpy gold bathing suits straight out of the Honey Ryder collection. The suits are easily the most interesting part of this task; the sharks really couldn't care less that they're being invaded by a bunch of yelly, shiny-suit-clad Americans with camera crews. The Racers, in turn, understand that they're more likely to be killed by the puzzle than by any of the critters in the tank.
After spending some quality time with the puzzle (which is basically a larger, Amazing Race-branded Waterful Ring Toss game) and deciding it's just not going to happen, Brodie decides to burn the Express Pass after all.
Meanwhile, elsewhere in the desert, Sheri and Cole have out-biked the camels, but Dubai's highway system continues to flummox them.
Everybody's Taking Slides
Sheri and Cole, apparently halfway to Qatar at this point, finally find some good directions and get headed back in the right direction. Fortunately, Atlantis is a pretty big landmark, and most people know where it is. (I guess you just look for the giant pyramid with waterslides coming out of it.)
Remember how I said nobody gets to waterslide? Psych! Everyone gets to waterslide! Before they head to the Pit Stop, they're all going down "Poseidon's Revenge," which sounds like some kind of waterborne-bacteria-based disease but is actually reminiscent of the pneumatic tubes that launched Katniss and Peeta into the Hunger Games.
Burnie is the first person to actually get the puzzle correct (after everyone wonders aloud whether they need to go in through the front or the back...hee), and the rest of the Racers get a little salty when he refuses to offer guidance.
Kurt and Brodie, out in front thanks to their Express Pass, get a bit lost on their way to the Pit Stop, which makes the race for first place a little less anticlimactic than it otherwise would have been, but they secure the gnome-sponsored trip eventually, with Burnie and Ashley right on their heels.
After completing the Roadblock and waterslide, Dana and Matt get even more lost than the Frisbee bros did, which results in much yelling and tears. In a curious statement for someone involved in a race around the world, Dana reports that she does not like feeling challenged, and eventually, she hops out of the car and refuses to go any further. Even Rachel Reilly is watching this thinking, "Seriously, you need to chill." In fairness, Matt's not particularly good at taking direction, and he's even less good at talking people down from the ledge, apparently.
Sheri And Cole Get A Bye In Dubai
For a hot second, Dana appears to have not only quit the task, but the Race, and possibly also her relationship with Matt, but he does finally talk her into getting back in the car. Night's fallen by the time they finally hit the mat, and Phil's made so uncomfortable by the tension between them that he turns to the greeter for commiseration and the greeter is all, "Dude, leave me out of this." At any rate, the dancers are not in last place, so they'll have another chance to sort out their problems.
In actual last place: Sheri and Cole, who have accepted their fate...except Phil is all too happy to point out that they are sadly mistaken about their fate: it's yet another non-elimination leg, meaning they'll live to race another day. Sheri seems almost disappointed by this new turn of events.
You may be disappointed if you're waiting for these animals to show a little bit of the same unpredictability that's endlessly frustrated these Racers' predecessors, but this is still a solid, competitive leg with mostly interesting tasks.