After CBS' Academy of Country Music Awards detour last Sunday, we returned to Phil Keoghan’s “Rrrrace around the world” yesterday, which picked up right where we left off two weeks ago. Having secured first place in Baku thanks in part to their successful completion of their Fast Forward challenge, Rachel and Dave got a head start on the trip to Kilimanjaro, Tanzania, the highest mountain in Africa at 19,000 feet above sea level (although last night’s proceedings took place at a more manageable 8,000 feet above sea level).
Last night’s episode found the remaining six teams very close to each other in terms of proximity. Instead of three or four staggered groups, all six teams ended up competing at the final challenge at the same time. Strangely, that didn’t seem to increase any one team’s will to power as much as it increased everyone’s will to whine and undercut each other.
Which sort of makes sense. At this point in the Race, any team left can reasonably imagine that the million dollar prize could be theirs. And when you have one million dollars dangling before your eyes, some racers start looking at their competitors not as human beings but as roadblocks to victory and those sweet, sweet riches.
For instance, Art and J.J. vocalized they were tired of Rachel and Brendon following them around instead of figuring out their own routes. Team Border Patrol is sort of right, and they're sort of just being paranoid. But when you factor in the possibility that Team Big Brother’s “follow the leader” strategy could cheat the directionally superior team out of a cool mill, it’s easy to understand why Border Patrol was getting on their case.
Throw in the fact that everyone at this point is going on precious few hours of sleep, and it’s a wonder that a season of The Amazing Race hasn’t ended in a Series 7:The Contenders esque bloodbath...yet.
In addition to beefing with Team Big Brother, Team Border Patrol ended up squabbling with Team Feds as well, although that wasn't really their fault. While J.J. did expose their lie about being school teachers to everyone, it's hard to understand why Nary and Jamie responded so badly to him calling them on their ruse.
Firstly, Nary and Jamie are wholly responsible for blowing their own cover. We learned via flashback that in Baku Nary and Jamie started asking Art and J.J. about what sort of operations and caseloads they were part of as border patrol agents. They were casually dropping words that kindergarten teachers don’t use in their everyday vernacular, which is basically an admission right there. You can’t start talking in French and then claim you only speak English.
Secondly, they only lied about their jobs because they thought it would be an advantage to be underestimated. Given their poor placements so far, it clearly isn’t helping, so why not just own up to the facade when called on it?
Instead of acknowledging that Art and J.J. had caught them Fed-handed, Nary and Jamie paused like frightened animals for half a minute and then angrily reassured Team Border Patrol they were teachers. Probably not what real kindergarten teachers would have done in their places. Let’s just say acting is not part of their federal job requirements. Their poor lying skills made Rachel’s poor fake-crying skills look downright Emmy-worthy.
NEXT: Vanessa v. Rachel v. Viewers' Patience