Amazing Race 15, Ep. 3 – After Years of Blinking “12:00,” Who Hasn’t Wanted Wanted To
Amazing Race 15, Ep. 3 – After Years of Blinking “12:00,” Who Hasn’t Wanted Wanted To Smash Apart a VCR.
Sorry for the late recap, folks. Hopefully you’ll race to read this before tomorrow’s new episode. Sadly, sometimes a real life job gets in the way of reality tv recapping.
All Aboard the Traveling Pit Stop
When we last left our racers, they were heading to their pit stop in a boat in a harbor in the city of Cai Be, Vietnam. The Bassac III Pit Stop being a real riverboat, it set sail and they left port for another destination with all the teams on board. In the first time I can recall, the Pit Stop itself moved while the teams were on board, and they all traveled to the city of My Tho. It appears that the teams themselves weren’t told where they were going to end up, so any attempts to prep for the next leg were hampered by that lack of information.
I wonder what would have happened if two teams had been seriously delayed, with one being eliminated and the other missing their boat. Maybe it would be like late returnees from cruise ship day trips. I’ve heard that you’re responsible for getting yourself to the next port of call if you miss your boat, but I hope to never find out first hand.
Into the Mouth of the Dragon
Gary and Matt were the first team to depart their new harbor in My Tho, and find out they are heading to Ho Chi Minh City by cab. There they will search for the Golden Dragon Water Puppet Theatre to find a water dragon with their next clue.
On their way there, Globetrotter Big Easy reveals that his father died, two days before he left to start the race. In their team bio, they mention both Big Easy and Flight Time wearing mementos of a deceased teammate, so apparently Big Easy has lost several people close to him lately. He is thinking about his dad, and so is Marcy, whose father was in the military and was a pilot who was shot down in Vietnam, and survived.
The Globetrotters are the first to arrive at the puppet theatre, and find out that the water dragon puppets have clues in their mouths. However, they are darting around in a little pond, which makes it tough to reach them even with their wingspan, and just when they get close to grabbing the clue on in the dragons’ mouths, they squirt you when reach in.
Number One Clue, With a Bullet
Attached to the flag was a small bullet that the teams needed to unscrew open to reveal a postage stamp. The stamp had a picture of the Ho Chi Minh City Main Post Office, the location of their next clue. I really like it when the give the teams a clue without spoon feeding all of the information to them. They used to do it more often, as I recall one season the teams needed to figure out what country’s flag they had to figure out their next destination. All too often though everything they need to do is spelled out in excruciating detail for the teams, and all they need to do read correctly.
I liked the challenges in the Treasure Hunters reality show a couple summers ago, where teams of three had really tough puzzles to get the next clues, but that was a one-time deal I guess. They even had some tougher clues in the Great American Roadtrip show last summers with families racing across the country in RVs. The fun part about less than obvious clues is that teams sometimes struggle to figure them out. Case in point is our self-proclaimed “smarter than everyone else” lawyer and whiner team of Lance and Keri. They don’t even attempt to open the bullet, and wonder what they’re supposed to do next. They eventually figure out that they need to open the bullet, just as the last two teams are arriving.
Taking the Zoo Animals For a Drag Around the Park
The Globetrotters keep their lead in the race to the post office, and find a Detour. Their choices are Child’s Play, a physical challenge involving hauling heavy concrete animals around a park gathering colored balloons, or Word Play, a longer but not physically demanding challenge involving going to the top of a tall building and finding letters on top of cars and vehicles on the road below, and then making a local word out of the letters. All of the teams except one pick Child’s Play and start hauling heavy animals around the park on tippy dollies. Ron and Marcy seem less confident in their hauling ability and select Word Play. When all of the teams except one pick a challenge, there is usually a good chance that outlier will not be able to catch up with the rest. We’ll see if Marcy and Ron are able to break that trend.
The teams picking Child’s Play get their pick of which concrete animal to haul around. The Globetrotters wisely pick a sheep statute which has a low center of gravity and less likely to tip off their dolly. The teams are instructed that if they break their statute, they need to pick up all of the piece, which Flight Time reminds Big Easy about when he wants them to walk faster. Big Easy demonstrates his confidence (or insanity, depending on your perspective) when he talks his teammate into walking directly into traffic with their sheep, while cars, mopeds, and various other vehicles swerve around them.
Other teams also make interesting choices for their concrete animals. Zev and Justin make the foolish choice of a gangly giraffe, which falls off their dolly and they need to retrieve the pieces of its broken ear and chunks of neck. Poor giraffe. Ericka and Brian, our interracial couple, select a zebra because it is a mixture of black and white, and then decide to name themselves “Team Zebra.” Well, it’s more flattering than Mr. and Ms. America I guess. At least the zebra was relatively aerodynamic and stayed on their dolly. Yes, I love saying “dolly.” Dolly, dolly, dolly, is used to hauly, hauly, hauly around the smally, smally, smally statutes in the park.
Poker chicks Maria and Tiffany piss and whine about not having a man on their team to help haul around their statute. They manage to break their dolly while crossing a street, and need to get a replacement. They need to life their animal into onto the new dolly, and it’s haaaaaard. I suppose they could have forgone the dolly and just hauled the heavy concrete animal, but they didn’t have a man on their team who could carry it. Wah, wah, wah.
Taking Out Our Frustrations On Obsolete Technology
The Globetrotters are the first to finish the Detour and get their next clue, which is to travel to Dien Co 008 at the intersection of two busy streets with long names. I’m still trying to figure out how the city’s name somehow translates into a combination of words and numbers resembling a secret agent for the crown. The next challenge is for one member of each team to disassemble a VCR with provided tools and separate the parts into piles. Sounds like fun. Flight Time takes this Roadblock, puts on safety goggles, and starts in with a drill and a screwdriver.
Other teams are showing up to hack apart the VCRs. Cheyne and Matt are making progress while still being rather careful to get the parts into the right piles. Pink-haired Matt confesses that he enjoyed taking things apart when he was younger. He and his smart mouse friend likely also plotted world domination at the same time.
Back on the roof with Ron and Marcy, they have found most of the letters circulating in traffic, but are mistaking the Vietnamese letter for D with the letter for O and aren’t getting to the next step. Once they see the right tents and dots to get the right symbol, they ask some locals and get the right word, “doclap” and are on their way. Are they ahead of the pack, or trailing behind?
Try to Outsprint a Globetrotter, or Just Take Second Place
The Globetrotters, who have been in the lead this whole leg, are the first to leave the Roadblock. Their clue is to take a taxi to Reunification Palace, the location of the next Pit Stop. Cheyne and Meghan manage to out-maneuver Big Easy and Flight Time and in finding a taxi, so the race is on for first place. They arrive at the Pit Stop right after Cheyne and Meghan, and sprint towards Phil. Poor Meghan and Cheyne, they really didn’t stand a chance in a footrace against these professional athletes. Flight Time and Big Easy won the leg and a trip to Aruba from Travelocity. Yes, the product placements are annoying, but I do love that little gnome.
Lance and Keri, who earlier were the only team not to figure out you needed to open the bullet to get the clue at the water dragons, managed to haul an animal, but are in trouble again. They are having a hard time finding the VCR challenge in Dien Co 008 (which I’m guessing is right next to Dien Co 006, across the street from Dien Co 007), so Lance yells at Keri. Keri snaps back that she’s tired of being yelled at by Lance, that’s she’s not “the Directions Queen” (although that would be a good person to bring with you as a partner on this show), and Lance announces that he’s “done with” Keri. It could be Keri’s lucky day. Of course were her annoying, whiney voice, we’re probably better off with them dating each other and sparing the rest of us.
Lance and Keri arrive when Justin and Canaan are still dismantling VCRs, again, doing careful and conscientious jobs to sort the component parts into the appropriate piles. Lance shows up and starts smashing his VCR with a hammer, ripping it apart with his hands, and throwing smashed up parts everywhere. Keri cheers him on, and he passes Justin (but not Canaan) at the challenge. I keep hoping and expecting the he won’t get the next clue because he didn’t appropriately sort the component parts. It doesn’t seem fair that Lance didn’t follow the directions and gets a pass anyway, but maybe the Roadblock judge didn’t want him sticking around breaking things one minute longer than necessary. Ron and Marcy show up too, so now we see that they are bringing up the rear on this leg.
Let’s Race Again, This Time It’s Gazelles and Lions
We get another sprint to the finish when Lance and Keri arrive at the Pit Stop at the same time as Zev and Justin. Neither team immediately sees Phil, and when they do, they’re running. Zev and Justin win the footrace, but both teams are safe as Ron and Marcy are still disassembling a VCR across town.
At the Pit Stop, Phil teases Lance about his earlier comments that the other teams are gazelles and they are lions. Lance doesn’t back away from his own idiocracy, insisting instead that the gazelles will tired out soon enough – and then he’s going to catch and eat the other teams, apparently.
Marcy and Ron arrive at last, and are eliminated. They are disappointed, and I wonder how they would have fared if they would have opted for the Child’s Play Detour. We’ll never know, as Marcy and Ron are done, Lance, Keri, Zev and Justin are fighting for last. We’ll see who (if anyone) gets left behind next leg.