'The Amazing Race': Cowboy up

Here's the fabulous Bucky with the report on last night's Amazing Race:

Last week's winners, Jeff & Ms. Jordan, depart the Pit Stop at 3:21 a.m. and receive their clue to start the second leg of the race, all of which will take place in Chile.  The directions are pretty complicated … take a bus to Santiago, then drive to Puerto Varas, then climb a trail to somewhere to get the next clue.  "It's a good thing I'm recording this," I think to myself, "so I can go back and get all the names later."

Jeff & Ms. Jordan get to the bus station only to find that the next bus departs at 5 a.m. which, in true TAR form, means all teams will start this leg off at the same time.

At the bus station, Joe & Heidi and Carol & Brandy decide to form an alliance, which I always think is goofy when teams do it on this show.  However, it means something tonight because when Joe & Heidi end up first in line for bus tickets to Puerto Varas, they save a place for Carol & Brandy.  It turns out that the first bus has only four available seats and the second bus leaves an hour later.  The rest of the competitors are thus relegated to the second bus.  (The Detectives are shown arguing with Joe about saving spots in line, so I'm guessing this foreshadows a larger conflict to come between Joe and the Detectives.)


The Cowboys have the bright idea to check for an indirect route to the destination, rather than just automatically buying nonstop, direct tickets on the second bus.  Jeff & Ms. Jordan and Brent & Caite follow suit and Shazam! Score one for the guys in Stetsons.  There is an indirect route that will give them a healthy lead.

So after starting even, the competitors end up in three groups:  1) the two teams in the Alliance, who think they are in the lead, 2) the Cowboys, Jeff & Ms. Jordan and Brent & Caite, who are actually in the lead and 3) everyone else, at least an hour behind.


When the Cowboys et al arrive at their intermediate stop, much confusion ensues.  It turns out that the intermediate-stop-city has two bus stations and the teams are booked to arrive at one but depart from the other.  The Cowboys figure this out quickly (while the others don’t) and make an alternate arrangement to leave from the same station at which they arrived.  The two other teams go chasing around town, miss their connection at the departure station and head back to the arrival station, returning just as the Cowboys are leaving on the last bus out of town for the day.

Again, this part was all very confusing and it is at this very moment I realize I’m not recording TAR, I’m recording the Winter Olympics instead.  So if I sound confused, I am, because I can’t double check all the running around at the intermediate stop.  The upshot is, however, that while the Cowboys are still in the lead, Jeff & Ms. Jordan and Brent & Caite have fallen behind The Alliance.

The Cowboys do get to the ultimate destination first, but find the trail to the clue box closed, so this narrows their lead.  When it opens, they head up the trail and get their clue to the Detour, go back to their car and drive off.  They are followed by the Alliance (in an unknown timeframe, due to editing) and eventually the rest of the teams, with the Brothers (Mr. Jordan and Daniel) and Granny & Shanny (thanks to commenter Eve for coming up with that cool nickname last week) trying to catch up.

In a moment of comic relief, we learn the Brothers can’t drive a stick shift.  NOTE TO ANYONE WHO WANTS TO BE ON THE AMAZING RACE:  LEARN HOW TO DRIVE A STICK.  It happens every season, doesn’t it?  Somebody gets in the car the first time and is surprised to learn it is a stick shift.

The Detour poses the following choice for the teams:  Llama Adoration (put a blanket and scarf on a llama to prepare it for a festival, then get the next clue) or Condor Consternation (dress in rubber condor feet and a two-person glider-wing device and try to soar off the end of a pier to the next clue which is on a buoy about 20 yards away.)  Sounds like an easy choice, doesn’t it?  Saddle up the llama.  (Unless you’ve ever been around llamas.)

The Cowboys and The Alliance (again, Carol & Brandy and Joe & Heidi) choose the Llama task while Brent & Caite and Jeff and Ms. Jordan opt for the Condor challenge.  The Cowboys seem to have little problem, while the teams in the Alliance struggle with it.  Joe even gets kicked ... somewhere. Nuts, I don’t think I can say where, because this is a family blog … but he gets kicked there.

The Condor challenge turns out to be less about gliding and more about swimming in really cold water after the teams jump off the end of the pier.  Neither team seems to have a problem.

Meanwhile, in what I was sure was a flashback to last season, the Brothers are lost and are bickering.


Granny & Shanny are way in last place, but they are calm, focused and determined.  These are two really nice people who are going to be in big trouble with the rest of their family today, because last night all the other grandchildren heard Granny say that Shanny was her favorite, as they drove leisurely through the Chilean countryside.

Monique & Shawne, the Lawyer/Moms/Terps, and the Detectives are shown at the Llama task, doing reasonably well, but still behind.

The teams proceed to the Roadblock, on a local farm.  The task is to gather up the ingredients for a cake and deliver them to the farm kitchen.  This is harder than it sounds when reading it, because the some of ingredients are still in their natural, organic state:  the milk, for example, is still in the cow and the eggs are still in the hen house, being guarded by the mother hens.  Racing for the Cowboys, Cord seems to make short work of this task and gets directions to the pit stop.  Carol and Heidi, racing for the two Alliance teams take a little longer, especially milking the cow.  Brent and Jeff race for their teams (Ms. Jordan, we see, thinks there are 10 eggs in a baker’s dozen) and the Lawyer/Moms/Terps have caught up some and send Monique on the challenge.

We cut back to Louis and Michael, the Detectives, who drive right past the Road Block clue box, and to the Brothers and Granny & Shanny, who finally arrive to saddle up the llamas.

The Cowboys arrive at the pit stop and each win a sailboat for their efforts.  Joe & Heidi and Carol & Brandy arrive almost together, so their alliance worked, I guess, and Brent & Caite are fourth to finish.

Jeff & Ms. Jordan get lost going to the Pit Stop (the producers obviously want to make Jordan out to be an airhead, because they show her spelling “San Jose” out loud as “H-O-S-E”) and encounter the Detectives, who are still trying to get to the Road Block, but who are lost.  Jeff & Ms. Jordan help them out with some directions.  The Brothers are still lost.  Granny & Shanny are still slow.



Note from SKK: The producers don't need any help making Jordan look like an airhead. Her Big Brother season sometimes read like she thought she was auditioning to replace Jessica Simpson on the first season of Newlyweds.


Monique & Shawne arrive at the Pit Stop in fifth place, with Jordan & Ms. Jeff getting there sixth.  The other teams eventually finish:  Steve & Allie (who have gotten very little air time tonight) seventh, Mr. Jordan & Daniel, eighth and the Detectives, ninth.

Granny & Shanny arrive last and are eliminated.  But they are really nice about it and I think Granny, at age 71, is pretty cool to have even tried it.  Shanny is a sweetheart — no wonder she is the favorite grandchild.

What did you think?  Good episode?  Anybody gain or lose your support?  Are the producers being fair to Ms. Jordan?  Tell us what you think.