this episode started with Andy and Tommy online at the Ford website customizing the Mustangs that they won on the last leg of the Race. I’ve expressed my frustration with the constant ad placement we see on shows like TAR, Survivor, and Big Brother, but I was reading last week that Jeff Probst addressed it, saying that since so many people use a Tivo or DVR, and zip past the commercials, advertisers are more apt to place the products in the episodes now. We’d better get used to it, it’s only going to get worse.
- The final task in Belgium had teams dressing up like the hapless detectives from the comic strip Tintin, and trying to find out who they were. The costumes were rather entertaining, and I thought it was hilarious that people who already had moustaches, had to wear a second one overtop.
Sandy asked Jeremy, “Do you like me as a man?” and Jeremy responded that he did…which then transitioned into the obvious comment from Ernie, smiling at Cindy and saying “Nice moustache.”
Also, for the record, I have to think that wandering around the streets of Belgium at 3 am in suits, hats, and fake moustaches with a camera crew and asking locals in front of a Pizza Hut, “Are you into comics” would usually result in some sort of arrest.
- After they got their next clue from a remarkably lifelike Tintin, the teams were all off to Panama, where they proceeded to yell “Rapido” and “Andale” to every person they encountered. Marcus was given some “bad luck rocks”, which he had earmarked for Andy and Tommy, but since he forgot to give them to Team Snowboard, he just chucked them out the window.
And Yes Marcus, we get it: this leg is the Conference Championship, and if you win, you’re going to the Super Bowl.Yawn.
- After a train ride, a plane ride, and a cab ride, teams now had to board a boat and speed up a river in the pitch black of night. “Homey’s drivin’ by the stars right now,” the always affable Tommy told us. When they reached their destination, they would have to sign up for morning tattoo appointments, which were staggered by 20 minutes.
Here’s what I don’t get. It’s ok to drive at this hour of the night, it’s ok to race up a river in the middle of the night, and it’s ok for a musical welcoming party to be there in the middle of the night, so why make teams wait until the morning to have their tattoos done? Is it just so that the daylight makes for better TV viewing? And why wasn’t there 20 minutes between the 3rd and 4th appointments? Why was it 7:00, 7:20, 7:40, and 7:40? Why wasn’t the last one for 8:00?
- Andy and Tommy were talking once again about how much they were loving the experience of the Race, and the thrill of experiencing another culture. And the other teams were talking about how the Snowboarders were so strong. Only 20 minutes in, and with all the talk of Andy and Tommy winning 6 legs, I was worried this would be the last of them.
- The tattoos that the teams received said San Francisco Bay, meaning they were to now head to the San Francisco Bay Towers, despite the fact that I was really hoping Cindy would misinterpret the clue and hop a flight back to the U.S. There, they were faced with a Roadblock where one member would have to walk a tightrope between the towers 35 stories high, get a clue, and walk back. Well, I say “one member”, but based on who had already performed previous Roadblocks, the clue specified that “Andy, Sandy, Cindy, and Amani MUST perform the Roadblock.”
- That was less than ideal for Sandy , who is afraid of heights. But she powered through it and got it done despite her fears. I was really impressed with that, because in the past, we’ve seen Sandy get dramatically frustrated at tasks, holding her head in her hands and making statements like “we’re done”, “we’re screwed”, or “we’re out”, but here, she just sucked it up and did it. Well done, Sandy.
- Cindy’s response to the tightrope was “Holy Balls”, which would have been a lot funnier coming from Ernie, and as she was crossing the rope, she kept saying in her grating Chicago accent “Oh my gaaaaaaaad!” Even when she completed it and they were down on the ground again, she looked up and said “Oh my gaaaaaad, is that where I just was?”
- Amani got through the tightrope by picturing her kids at the end, knowing that they would see them soon, and Andy breezed through it, giving Tommy a “low-five” at the turn.- The next clue would send the teams to a Panamanian Sno-Cone cart at the statue of Ferdinand De Lesseps. Since it was located beneath a rooster, every team tried to communicate this to their cab drivers by saying “cock-a-doodle-doo.” Yes folks, the language of farm animals is universal.
- The next challenge was a Detour, which gave teams the opportunity to work in two of Panama's oldest trades: Filet or Sole? In Filet, teams would visit the largest fish market in Panama, and deliver exact amounts of seafood to different vendors scattered throughout the market. In Sole, working with a single piece of leather for the sole and straps, teams would have to make one pair of sandals.
- Three of the teams chose Sole, and Amani and Marcus’ cab driver tried to make it all four by taking them to the wrong place. Apparently there was a Cab Driver Pow-Wow, and the taxis were working together, despite directions from the teams to the contrary. The task was relatively easy for all three teams, but my favourite moment was when Ernie and Cindy were done, and the judge was coming over to check. Cindy asked him, “Bueno?”, as if he didn’t know why he was coming over, and he threw a hand up in her face before telling her it wasn’t good enough.
- Amani and Marcus were the only team that chose Filet, and soon learned that they had to transport all of the fish by hand. I can’t decide if that would have smelled better or worse than having to work with Panamian feet in the other part.And weren’t we all expecting Marcus, at some point with a giant armful of fish, to tell us that this reminded him of playing the Miami Dolphins?
- Now, teams had to go to the public dance at Cathedral Square, and figure out that the Pit Stop (Panama Viejo) was on one of the dresses, and one of the bronze plates. Between Andy and Tommy gawking up close, Sandy on her knees pointing at a woman’s crotch, and Marcus wiping sweat off of one of the dancers (imagine how bad that smelled after just coming from the fish market), it appeared to be an overall violation of the dancers’ personal space. Andy and Tommy deduced that the Pit Stop destination was Balboa, but they were wrong. Their cab driver took them to the Panama Canal for some reason, and then another cab took them to the Balboa statue on Balboa Avenue, which was wrong again. How bad is your cab driver, when you tell him you want to go to “Balboa” and even though there is a BALBOA STATUE ON BALBOA AVENUE, he still takes you to the Panama Canal?
- Ernie and Cindy and Amani and Macus both thought the answer was Balboa as well, so they left in their cabs, while Jeremy and Sandy sketched a picture of the building from the bronze necklace, and went to ask their cab driver if he recognized it. As they were leaving, Sandy reverted back to her over-dramatic ways, saying “if that’s not it, we’re done.” Lo and behold, their cab driver knew it was the Panama Viejo.
- Cindy told their cab driver not to communicate with the other driver, yelling at him “Don’t tell him! We have to win!” Interesting juxtaposition between Cindy and Sandy, who earlier in the episode, expressed that they don’t need to come first…they just don’t want to come fourth.
- So, to recap, Jeremy and Sandy are on the way to the Pit Stop, Team NFL is on the way to the wrong place, Team Cindy-Controls-Ernie is on their way to the wrong place, and Team Snowboard is presumably on their way back to Cathedral Square to figure out what they missed.
And here’s where the shit hit the fan for me, because the three cab drivers (not the snowboarders cab) started communicating with each other, and Jeremy and Sandy’s cab driver told the other two that they need to go to the Panama Viejo. So, in essence, two teams that didn’t figure out where the Pit Stop was, then had their cab driver decide to take them to someplace other than where he was instructed to, and reaped the benefits of Jeremy and Sandy figuring it out. Cindy doesn’t want her cab driver sharing information, but she’s only too happy to take it. Shameful. I can’t even begin to explain how angry I am about this. I know many people feel the same, so I look forward to the Comments section this week. - I would have been even angrier if Jeremy and Sandy hadn’t won this leg, since they were the ones who solved the final clue. Good for them on their first win, where they received a trip to Turks and Caicos.
Was anyone else as outraged as I was at Cindy’s insincere “I’m so happy for you guys” at the Pit Stop mat? I wanted some Panamanian children to come out of the bushes and start randomly punching and kicking her in her already-bruised legs. - Amani and Marcus finished in third, setting up the Season Finale, and all three teams did a “we beat the boys” celebration while Stringer Bell did an ass-slapping dance and launched into a self-congratulatory speech about David and Goliath.
- Andy and Tommy were eliminated, which is unfortunate, because they were the best team by far this season. I’m not sure they would have been back in time to survive anyways, but cab collusion is a pretty brutal way to go out.I loved their attitude, and I have to point out once again that Andy and Tommy always talked about the race as an experience, and were never upset at not winning prizes, even when they lost out on first place. The raced with class, and they went out with class