'The Amazing Race': Meet Phil's dad

Kellycrabb_christycook_amazingrace1 Things really do seem to be picking up now on The Amazing Race. On this Sunday's (Oct. 19) episode, everyone managed to actually read all their clues and directions correctly. Maybe next week they'll even have all their navigator skills intact. Maybe not.

The first thing up tonight was a quick jaunt from Bolivia to New Zealand. Ken & Tina, who started off first, quickly ran for a cab... because, you know, those extra three seconds were going to make a difference when they got to a closed airport in the middle of the night. Still, I appreciated their hustle more than Dallas's questioning where New Zealand was and Marisa & Brooke (the Southern Belles) wondering if "they like blondes" there.

When all the teams got to the airport, everyone quickly found an internet connection, or, at the very least, watched what other teams were doing so they could just steal their information. I'm not afraid to say that I don't much like the Divorcees, but to me their looking at the research of other teams when they couldn't get a computer themselves just made good sense. Sure, it upset a couple of people (as such tactics do every season), but any other team would have done the exact same thing in that situation. Plus, all the teams made the flight to Auckland anyway -- the Kelly & Christy weren't going to miss the flight if they'd been made to do all the research on their own.

Aja and Ty's relationship seemed to be on the rocks from the beginning tonight. At the airport, Ty kept saying that he needed an "I'm with Fidel" t-shirt, and it didn't get any better for them when Ty got a flat tire driving in Auckland before they even got to their first stop. Tires are a pretty easy thing to change if you've done it before, but neither Ty nor Aja had any experience and Aja had to flag someone down while Ty stared at the tire, marveling at its lack of air. Me, I might have busted out the owner's manual while my partner flagged down help.

Despite some folks asking for directions and a few wrong turns, everyone else (save Marisa & Brooke) seemed to arrive at their first destination in New Zealand without serious incident. After untying a big old rope knot, the teams were given both a clue and info about the season's first Fast Forward (a pretty standard "climb something tall and scary" deal). Ken & Tina and Andrew & Dan both headed for it.

Sadly for the Frat Boys, they got to the Fast Forward second. They did make a smart move however by bailing immediately rather than seeing if Ken & Tina would succeed. It put them a little behind most of the other teams, but not into last place because the Southern Belles hadn't even made it to the first clue yet. On their way to the next stop, a Road Black, the Frat Boys also passed Kelly & Christy, who hadn't been able to find out how to drive to the top of Mount Eden (where the Road Block was located). Consequently, Kelly & Christy opted to hike up to the top of the hill. I know that the producers don't give directions, but Kelly & Christy were the only people who couldn't find the way to drive up. It was not terribly surprising, but I couldn't focus on that as at about the same point as they were being foolish, the Red Sox made their final out and the Rays won their way into the World Series. I know that would break Dan's heart were he recapping, but it put a smile on my face. It was a smile I needed because the Divorcees left the Road Block (where one member of each team was given a picture of a tattoo and had to match it to a Maori warrior's tattoo) before the Frat Boys.

From spotting matching tattoos the teams went to spotting Roving Gnomes with binoculars. Who doesn't like a nice little product integration every now and then? Terence and Sarah found a gnome and ran off to the Detour -- which gave teams a choice between stomping kiwis to make juice and building and racing "blokarts" (which is kind of like windsurfing with kart) -- first.

Every team went all Lucy and Ethel rather than blokarting. I certainly would have done the kiwi crushing given the choice, but like the rest of the teams I wouldn't have known that there were jagged rocks at the bottom of the vat of kiwis. Dallas & Toni, Nick & Starr, Aja & Ty, and Andrew & Dan all changed over to the blokarts rather than completing the kiwis.

Making that change is always a hard choice, and in this case it was definitely one that Nick & Starr wished that they hadn't made. There must have been a solid breeze, because the karts were going awfully fast and Starr ended up crashing hers. She instantly decided that her arm was broken, and while she said she could move it, she let it hang limp at her side or in her lap for pretty much the rest of the leg.

Despite many teams switching from one Detour to the other and the fact that Aja & Ty couldn't build their blokarts correctly, the team going home tonight was the Southern Belles, Marisa & Brooke. They apparently got so lost on their way to the first stop in New Zealand tonight that they simply couldn't recover. Unfortunately for us, we never really got a good sense of how they got so badly lost. Marisa & Brooke got directions (with the famous last words "you can't get lost" coming from the person who gave them), got lost, and by the time they were back on track they were just too far behind. But, exactly what wrong turn they made and how far out of their way they went, that I couldn't say.

Other bits and pieces:

  • Ken & Tina, what with their Fast Forward, managed another first place finish on this leg of the race. Maybe it's me, but I'd really like to see Fast Forwards require more skill than they have for the past few years. Tonight it was just climbing a tower and grabbing a gnome (and then Ken & Tina even got choppered to the Pit Stop). More skill -- mental or physical -- should be required.
  • Our good friend Phil is from New Zealand, so their authentic cultural greeter at the Pit Stop this week was none other than Phil's dad. Phil's dad felt awfully bad about Marisa & Brooke losing tonight, or so he claimed, and he offered to comfort them, but if you ask me he just wanted to hug the cute blondes. Go Phil's Dad, way to use your son's job to pick up chicks!
  • If I had to place a bet, I'd say that Aja & Ty are going to have a huge fight at some point in the next few episodes (if they don't get eliminated first). Moving from a long distance relationship to an intense reality show one doesn't seem like the right way to find everlasting love.
  • Kelly & Christy, who were so close to making me happy by going home last week, managed to get through tonight without too much trouble. I guess I can't always get what I want.

From the previews of next week it appears as though Kelly & Christy will soon be causing even more drama. What do you think -- can we all look forward to them going home soon? If you had been given the chance, would you have pushed the sports bra off the balcony last week?

The TV and Film Guy's Reviews - our gnomes rove freely.