'The Amazing Race' recap: Tune in or, well, check out

Bucky's back with a report on tonight's Amazing Race:

The second leg of The Amazing Race 17 kicks off at last week's Pit Stop, Eastnor Castle in England, and Jill & Thomas are the first team to depart, Express Pass in hand.  Will they use it on this leg of the race?
The teams go to Heathrow Airport where they will catch flights to Accra, Ghana—whoops!  Make that will catch a flight (singular) because there is only one per day.  So everyone starts out even this week.
The Nerds from Princeton (Connor & Jonathan), the TV Shopping Hosts (Brook & Clair) and the Volleyball Players (Katie & Rachel) decide to work as a team.  Michael (Kevin's dad) is complaining that his leg hurts as they depart the Pit Stop. 
The trip to the airport—indeed, to Africa—is uneventful, except for when Brook exchanges a kiss for directions to the airport, and then makes a big deal out of that "strategy."


In Accra, the teams have to race to a park where they will get their clue to the location of tonight’s first task.  Team Tattoo (Nick & Vicki) leaves the airport first and OH NO!  This leg will be run using taxis.  (New viewers/readers should be aware that taxi drivers play an inordinately important role in TAR, either positive or negative, depending on the driver.)

Teams find that they must go to a local outdoor market for this week’s Roadblock (a task that only one of the team members can perform.)  There, the competing team member must sell a quota of sunglasses.


Nick (for Team Tattoo), Brook (for the TV Shopping Hosts) and Jill (with Thomas cheering her on) start the Roadblock task, in that order.  Father/daughter Gary & Mallory, endure a taxi breakdown and arrive last to perform the task.  The Roadblock, too, is pretty uneventful, except for when a woman walks off with a pair of sunglasses from Nick, without paying for them.  And when Brook gives bonus kisses to guys who buy sunglasses.

The TV Shopping Hosts emerge from the Roadblock challenge in first place, followed by Michael & Kevin (Michael performed the task) and the Nerds, whom Connor pulled from 8th to 3rd place.  Dr. Kat should stick with her anesthesiologist job, because she can’t sell sunglasses at all, and the Doctors finish the Roadblock in last place.

The teams race in their taxis to the next clue, which lays out this week’s Detour.  The Detour choices in Accra are:

“Tune In”:  teams will have to obtain an outdoor television antenna, race to a designated house, install the antenna and, when the reception is satisfactory to the resident, get their next clue.

“Check Out”:  teams must load a customized coffin onto a four-wheeled dolly and deliver it through Accra traffic (and we are talking about nasty, seemingly uncontrolled by any sort of traffic lights, traffic) to a destination, in order to get their next clue.

(I’m hoping SarahKK will be able to get a promo photo of one of the coffins for this week’s blog art.  The coffins are built to reflect the interest of the person who will spend eternity in them:  there was a piano, a fish and a camera, for example.  Myself, I’d want to be buried in a coffin that looks like a big ol’ bacon cheeseburger.  They were very cool.)

The TV Shopping Hosts, Chad & Stephanie and the Volleyball Players start the detour in that order, with the first two teams performing Tune In, while Katie & Rachel move the first coffin.

Meanwhile, out on the streets of Accra, Gary & Mallory, birth mother/daughter Andie & Jenna, and the Doctors have gotten lost and are shown in their taxis trying to find their way to the Detour.  Oddly, they all seem to be lost in close proximity to each other and are able to keep track of one another.

The Nerds begin the Detour by choosing Tune In, but switch halfway through to Check Out.  This is generally not a good strategy, but especially tonight when neither of the Detour tasks proves that difficult.

I’m wondering during the Detour how many of the competitors even know what an outdoor television antenna is and if any of them ever used one.

The TV Shopping Hosts (Brook and Clair) finish the task first and get directions to the Pit Stop, which is in a very large and very crowded outdoor marketplace.  The initial impression is that teams will have a difficult time finding Phil in among all those people, but that proves to not be the case.  Brook and Clair check in first and win a trip to Hawai’i:  five nights on Waikiki and five nights on Kaua’i.  Sweet.

The Volleyball Players check in second and Michael & Kevin arrive third.  Michael’s sore leg played no part in the race, as far as I could tell.  They are followed by Chad & Stephanie and Jill & Thomas.


The drama is once again provided by the trailing teams:  the Nerds, the Doctors, Team Tattoo, Gary & Mallory, and Andie & Jenna have a harrowing taxi race through Accra traffic from the Detour to the Pit Stop.  By “harrowing” I mean it’s a wonder there wasn’t a serious crash.  But these taxi drivers seem adept at creating a third lane of traffic on a two-lane road, without killing anybody.  The trailing teams finish in the order listed above and Andie & Jenna, the birth mother & daughter, are eliminated from The Amazing Race.  Too bad.  They were a nice story.

This was a sort of boring leg, don’t you think?  Of course, it is hard to top a watermelon to the face.  That set this season’s bar pretty high.

All of these teams seem to be getting along fine, so there isn't any drama there, and I thought the tasks were pretty cut and dried.  We could use some cheese rolling next week, don't you agree?
Any favorites yet?  I don't have any.  They are all relatively likable.  That's got to change.

Photo courtesy of CBS

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