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'The Amazing Race' recap: 'Welcome to the Jungle'

The Amazing Race (tv program)here! (tv network)

About midway through the episode, it became so clear who this week's eliminated team was going to be that the show itself seemed to lose interest.

Not that Team You Tube was that interesting anyway, on this season or  Joey and Meagan were pleasant enough, but for two people who have willingly spent so much of their waking life talking into a camera, the two Internet personalities never really excelled in their "Amazing Race" interviews.

Ultimately, Team You Tube was tripped up by a banal mistake. They neglected to ask their taxi driver to hang around at the Kiansom Waterfall, the setting for this week's pretty-to-look-at but not very challenging roadblock. They were the only team that didn't think to hold their taxi in place and ended up falling farther behind the pack than they already were.

So long, Team You Tube, see you online sometime.

It was good to finally get the contestants out of Guangzhou, China, which never developed into an interesting backdrop for the competition. Leg 3 of this season took the teams to island of Borneo, the top fifth of which belongs to Malaysia. 

This leg had prettier scenery for sure, but nothing that took the contestants' breath away. Maybe it's because they're all veteran teams this season, but no one this season has pinched himself or herself and said, "I can't believe I'm here!"

We want pinching.

The waterfall Roadblock was pretty but too easy. Only one team, The Cowboys had any trouble with it. Jet didn't see the clue on his first rappel down the falls, but all he had to was get back in line and pick it up the second time.

Really, the only other things a team had had to do at this Roadblock was to ask their taxi to wait.

This week's Detour, which was a choice between River Delivery and Run Through the Jungle. The River Delivery option barely qualified as task, at least the way it played out. The Run Through the Jungle option, in which both team members had to successfully hit a bird target with a blowgun, was a little more challenging.

But it looked like it might have taken a good team about five minutes to complete the task and a bad team about 10 minutes.

But before teams could even start their Detour tasks, they first had to build a raft and float downriver. That's where things got fun, and interesting.

The raft assembly looked more difficult at first, to the viewer, than it probably was. The pieces were all pre-cut and pre-notched, and it was obvious, even to the Country Singers, how to put them together.

The Cowboys, of course, put their raft together in the time it took us to type this sentence. Gosh.

There was some cute interplay at raft assembly John and Jessica and Brendon and Rachel. The show seemed to suggest that John knew just what he was doing by constructing a pathetic looking Charlie Brown-style raft.

We saw teams capsize and crash ashore. Rafts came apart and had to be re-assembled, quickly, in mid-water. Impressively, everyone managed to keep their cool, more or less.

But there was something weird about the Detour, too. How could Dave and Connor make such a big mistake and remain so far ahead of the pack? Was their walk back down the river 100 yards or two miles? 

Here’s who’s looking the strongest:

Dave and Connor -- the father and son team earned their victory this week. They did everything right and worked well together.  

And, yet. We just don't like this team. There's something about Dave, the dad, that's rubbing us the wrong way. He's probably a nice guy, but he looks like someone who tips a straight 15 percent based on the pre-tax total. We can't place exactly what it is about Dave -- again, we're sure he's a nice guy, much nicer than us anyway.

The Cowboys -- They really are just so capable. The only thing that can trip them up is major gaffe. But they have an Express Pass in their pocket.

Leo and Jamal -- The Afghanimals are playing a much smarter game this year. In the first instance this season in which they could have told another team a gratuitous lie, they chose not too. Well done. 

Here’s who’s looking  kind of strong, for now at least:

The Country Singers --  A big improvement from Episode 2, in which they seemed helpless. They got through this week's tasks without asking anyone else for help. OK, they did panic on the rapids, but they weren't the only ones.

Would the old Brendon and Rachel have recovered as well as they did this time? We don't think so. They had some bad luck not getting a seat on the first plane, too. But they didn't sulk or in-fight. 

They've been in the back of the pack so far, but John and Jessica still have potential to be this season's sleeper team. 

Who has us worried:

The Globetrotters -- It looked like Herb "Big Easy" was going to tackle this week's Roadblock but he was simply physically too big for the challenge. That meant it up to Flight Time again. Eventually, Big Easy is going to have to do a Roadblock challenge.

Margie and Luke are still holding it together, but it looks like there composure could snap at anytime. And if the preview of next week's episode is at any indication, that time is coming sooner.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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