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Sunday, February 25, 2007
The Amazing Race: Team Coal Miner to Go It Alone?

As with Survivor All-Stars, I couldn't help wincing some times at the thought that these were supposed to be the best teams. Some astoundingly bad mistakes in this episode that make one wonder. As the teams are pulling out, One and a Half Women get stuck in ditch. Team Coal Miner pulls them out, and a bond is (apparently) formed. Team Baldy also gets stuck, but one of the guys harnesses himself to the vehicle and helps to pull it out. Hilariously, his partner then almost kills him by not stopping.

First task: Fly to Santiago Chile. Rob & Ambuh get an earlier-arriving flight as do the Young Gays, but the rest of teams get the second plane. However, as always connections are dicey and in fact the other eight teams get to Santiago before they do. However, given that the times were middle of the night, I figured that there would be some sort of bunching obstacle--a building that wouldn't open until a particular time in the morning.

Instead, teams were given no break--they went right into the Roadblock. This one involved using your powers of observation to notice the letters of the alphabet shown in a boardroom, and then use those letters to spell out one of the places on the wall. Joyce & Uchenna arrived at this task first, and Uchenna (DOH--Joyce) decided to tackle the task. Because the task is difficult, the teams all get bunched up here anyway. The Beauty Queens are the first to solve the puzzle, and teams start getting it after that. David and Mary solve the puzzle and help out One and a Half Women. In the end, only Uchenna (DOH--Joyce) and one of the baldies are left, and she idiotically helps him out by spelling the clue for him.

The next task is the detour, at a Copper Mine. Teams must choose between tightening the lug nuts on a giant mine car, or using a backhoe to cover a stake with dirt. Rob and Ambuh arrive first and Rob is experienced in construction. They make short work of the backhoe task and take an easy lead. The Old Gays also do this task, while the rest choose to tighten lug nuts.

It sounds easy, but there are something like 50 and they have to be properly positioned, so it does seem a difficult task. Of course, One and a Half Women are disadvantaged because they cannot try the backhoe. But still, somehow they finish just before the Beauty Queens, with Team Baldy and Team Coal Miner slipping behind.

And then comes the really stupid part. One and a Half Women have hired a guy to drive them to the next location, but they don't want the Beauty Queens to piggyback off their effort. So they stop and try to get the BQs to chip in on the cost of the guy. Finally the BQs decide to pass them by, followed by several other teams. Now One and a Half Women are in last place in the final drive to the Pit Stop.

Next stupid part comes at the entrance to the Valley of the Moon. Teams are instructed to go no more than 40 klicks per hour on dirt, but they can go 50 klicks once the paving resumes. Team Baldy decides to skip past this advice, which seems to serve them well until they get on the pavement, where everybody passes them by. They insist on sticking to the 40 kph limit. Along in here, too, One and a Half Women pass Team Coal Miner. Why after all we've done for them.... it is clear that Team Coal Miner has finally decided to stop trying for the Team Congeniality prize.

A bunch of teams zig when they should have zagged. Rob & Ambuh finish first (again) followed by the Old Gays. Team Baldy's insistence on driving their (incorrect) limit of 40 KPH ends up costing them at the finish, and they are Phil-liminated.


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