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Wednesday, May 03, 2006
The Amazing Race: Thunder Down Under

Terrific drama tonight, with two mad dashes and loads of intrigue.

The teams start out having to visit the Swan Bells tower in Perth:

Almost needless to say, the tower doesn't open till morning, so there's nothing much going on until just before the opening, when the teams all get the idea of calling and asking for taxicabs. But the Frat Boys go one further, calling the cab company to cancel the cabs for the Hippies (and probably the other teams as well, although this is unclear).

However, as it works out, Mojo gets their cab (which BJ and Tyler had tried to liberate), and the other three teams are stuck looking in the middle of rushhour traffic. It appears that the Frat Boys have the toughest luck, and they remark on their bad karma coming back to bite them.

The next task is to fly to Darwin, Australia. Mojo tries to wheedle the Quantas representative into not helping the other teams by offering a kiss from Monica; suffice to say that the guy does not look thrilled. She's an attractive gal, but as an old friend of mine used to say, no matter how good-looking she is, there's a guy somewhere who's sick to death of her.

It turns out that all four teams get the same flight, so the only real drama is the dash to the parking lot, where Mercedes SUVs are waiting. They must visit a crocodile farm, and wade through a pool with lots of young crocs to get the next clue. The camera tries to emphasize the crocs snapping, but nothing really happens. Next stop airfield: Caution--Yield ahead! BJ & Tyler take the lead, but Mojo passes them, apparently by speeding.

BJ & Tyler explain that they had threatened to yield Mojo if they didn't give them some money at the beginning of the segment where they started out with no cash. The two teams pull into the parking lot virtually simultanously, and there is a mad dash to the Cluebox. The Hippies win the race and fulfill their threat by Yielding Mojo.

And Monica reacts like a ten-year-old. She starts crying and getting angry and inconsolable as the other teams pass them by. Joseph and Monica are so caught up in their anger that they don't even notice at first that the hourglass is empty.

The Roadblock is for the teams to be flown up into the sky and then tandem parachute down. Nothing much to it. BJ and Tyler head towards the next Cluebox, at the magnetic termite mounds.

The next task is the Detour: Wet or Dry? In Wet, the teams must make their way down a brook for a mile. In dry they have to drive six miles offroad to a place where they will learn to play a note on a diggery doo. A friend of mine had one of those a few years ago, but I only tried it once.

The Hippies and the Frat Boys opt for the run a mile, while the other two teams decide to learn to play a new instrument. It turns out quite obvious that the latter chore was the way to go, because Ray and Yolanda, who were third coming into the Detour leave first and coast tothe pit stop (and a one-year lease on a Mercedes SUV), while Mojo use the time they save to catch up.

At about this time, I noticed that gee, we hadn't had any of the usual "cliffhanger" touches that have punctuated the series as long as I've been watching it. You know, the moment when somebody says "I can't do this" while the partner shakes his head in disgust, and then we break to a commercial and when we come back they ace the challenge.

And shortly it becomes obvious why they didn't feel any extra flourishes were necessary. Incredibly, all three teams are within sight of each other as they barrel towards the pit stop.

What follows is the maddest dash of all time, with all three teams trying to make it to the mat. At first it appears that Monica won't make it, but BJ tries a short cut to the side that turns out to take longer, and the Hippies are the last team to arrive.

However... it should be obvious to anybody watching that this will have to be a non-elimination leg. There are always two during the race, and they clearly will not have it during the three-team segment to close out the season, so sure enough Phil just takes their money and possessions other than the clothes on their back. I remember that last season there was a non-elimination leg on the same episode as the second Yield, so the value of it really isn't as much as it might seem.

Be sure to check out the Viking Pundit's always excellent recap. Also Kris from Dummocrats summarizes the race in verse!
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