The Amazing Race 7 : Episode 3
Previously, the Robfather began playing his usual tricks, from bribing locals to make things a little easier for his Team and his allies (and a little harder for the others), but in the end, it was the Robcouple's skill and their detractors' ineptness that actually catapaulted them into first place. Budding shagbuddies the Maybellines and Dumb and Dumber found themselves in a race to the finish and it's probably not surprising that the athletic jocks beat the silly airheads to the finish and send the Maybellines home. Philo wonders which Team will be sent packing at the end of today's episode.
And with that, credits. With the IVFs' constant prattling about unborn babies and all, it will be great if their credit sequence features some long-haired floating ghost heads as a homage to countless unoriginal Korean rip-offs of The Ring.
Philo Koughie steps out from the scenery of Santiago and mentions that he and the Teams are in, duh, Santiago, Chile. The Pit Stop of the last leg of the Race was the Santa Lucia Hill, from where the Teams will begin this leg of the Race. Philo wonders whether the IVFs can maintain their pattern of moving ahead of the pack (oh, and they are unemployed, did they tell you that?) and whether Mom and Moan can really pull themselves together to move ahead in the Race. Did Patrick tell Philo that his Team would do just that? That silly man would have to eat humble beef, heh.
12:34 am. The new day is ripe for the picking and the Robfather can't wait to start the day. He and Ambore realize from their clue that they have to now drive themselves to Argentina via the roads through the Andes. After about 150 miles, they will come across a bridge called the Puente Viejo (which means, believe it or not, "old bridge") where they will find their next clue. Oh, and take care, there's a Yield ahead of them. Their vehicles are located in a car park. Walking to that car park, the Robfather tells the camera that luck has been on this Team's side so far and he thinks that by taking risks, he'd increase the chance of them continuing to receive good luck. How about bad luck then? What a silly optimistic dork, that man! And then, in a confessional that is no doubt taken from their initial interview and spliced here, the Robfather appears in a comfy room bragging about how he and Ambore are living the "American dream". The show is obviously trying to tell me what a delusional twit the Robfather is and hinting that he and Ambore will crash hard from one risk too many. But I wish they have done this in a more subtle manner. Sometimes, this show is the best edited thing on TV. At other times, like now, it's so sloppily edited and spliced together that I'm sure the editors' scissors are rusty. The Robcouple manage to find a local who will lead them to the car park . This leads him to remark to the camera on the friendliness of the people they have encountered so far. Oh look, here's Lex Loser, boarding the plane to Chile with a bag full of posters and powerpoint print-ups to tell the people there why the Robcouple are evil and not to be messed with.
1:24 am. The GOPs leave. GI Joe tells the camera that he isn't sure whether he wants to marry Barbie Jane because she wants to get married and have babies while he isn't so ready to rush into matrimony and parenthood. It is all I can do to stifle a yawn and wonder whether I should be playing a violin to his confessional or something. Those two get into a cab in order to get to the car park. Silence descends as the GOPs look blankly at the back of the cab driver's seat. Finally, GI Joe turns to Barbie Jane and tells her to say something to the cab driver. She gives him a blank look before turning to the cab driver and says simply, "Rapido!" What a tragic couple.
2:17 am. The RADs take their leave. He's looking for the "Andreas mountains". She's looking for the "Adidas mountains". They should have looked before they flushed the toilet because I think that's how their brains went missing. As they walk to the car park, Deana whines that Ray never listens to her and he responds by wishing that she'll assert herself for once. Er, she's telling him to start listening to her, isn't that a form of self-assertion? Ray tells the camera that Deana needs him to "usher" her through everything and he wishes that she'd "step up" and do those things herself. The sad thing is that she is sitting next to him as he is telling the world of her flaws in a tone full of contempt. Anyway, for this leg of the Race, Ray's master plan is for the RADs to not make any mistake. It is too easy to say that they made a mistake the moment Ray met Deana and didn't run the other way, I suppose.
3:16 am. Unborn children! Unemployment! The IVFs have never been to Argentina, but it seems that they never been to themselves as well, or so Charlene would sing in that cheesily fabulous song. Despite their neverending sad songs of wasted eggs and impotent sperms, futile lays and painful lay-offs, and other miscellaneous Why Haven't We Committed Suicide Yet? We Are Holding Out For A Million Dollars, That's Why! blues, Uchenna, his bald chromedome pate, Joyce, and her bulging eyes all take off in a cab as he hopes that this Race would help them figure out where they will go from their so-turbulent and dramatic relationship and hopefully bring them closer together. Philo better has the poisoned Kool-Aids ready if the IVFs are ever eliminated because this Team wants the money so bad, I can smell their desperation.
3:19 am. Sigh, the obnoxious Fat Fatales are off. They are excited about the Yield because they want to Yield guess-who. They say that they absolutely hate you-know-who and they don't want you-know-who on the Race. Oh, give me a break. I really don't like these supremely irritating, showboating creatures because they are not funny and they are just being bitchy fat slags without the wit to make their bitchy-fat-slag selves entertaining to watch. I miss the Guidos. I miss the Cha-Cha-Chas. The Fat Fatales can go hang for all I care.
3:20 am. The Lilith Sisters leave. They say that they have $80 for this leg of the Race. They talk about their determination to win and other typical yammering. They too get a cab.
3:24 am. The Cannon Fodders are away. Gretchen says that she "verbalizes" her "emotion" (now I know who to send my "I can tell, thanks" card to) and she tends to be lousy at hiding her emotions. She says that Meredith holds her together and for that, she insists, "I make it up to him in a lot of other ways." You can hear a pin drop in the silence that ensued after her announcement. Even Meredith, who is sitting next to her in the confessional, looks stunned. Maybe this is news to him as well. They also get a cab.
3:35 am. Mom and Moan leave. Susan tells the camera that she wishes that Patrick will find a boyfriend that will take care of him the way she takes care of him. I don't want to touch that statement even with a pole. Patrick tells the camera that his mother wishes that there is someone in his life who will take care of him. For heaven's sake, Patrick, according to his official bio, is 26 years old. I bet the reason he doesn't have a boyfriend is because no sane gay man is willing to have a long-term relationship with a high-maintenance Mommy's Boy. Besides, Susan will never leave them alone and she'd be the suffocating mother-in-law stereotype. Maybe Patrick should just give up on love and open a motel instead.
3:46 am. Dumb and Dumber hit the roads and as they do, one of them makes cheering sounds while the other says like a WWE announcer about how they are starting in last place. Okay, that's funny. What's even funnier is when they get into a cab and it finally register on them that they must drive to Argentina, resulting in them going, "Dude, Argentina?"
The Robfather has hoped that his Team's good luck streak will continue but right now he and Ambore are looking at a closed car park. It will only be opened at 5:00 am. Now, I know some car parks have operating hours, but does this show really need to stash the cars in a car park that will be closed until 5:00 am? I see that the show has decided to keep up with its ridiculous practice of bunching the Teams up unnecessarily. The Robcouple thank the guy who led them here and decide to walk back to the hotel and catch up on their rest. The GOPs show up next and, upon realizing that the car park is closed, decide to head back to the hotel too. The RADs are the next to show up and Ray decides to go King Kong on the locked gates, rattling it and complaining that it's locked (no doubt wondering whether the Robfather has anything to do with this), until Deana reads the sign and points out that they have to wait until 5:00 am to get their vehicle. They decide to camp out here and wait for 5:00 am. The Lilith Sisters show up in their cab and, seeing that the gates of the car park are locked, ask their cab to wait while they go check out the sign by the car park door. They learn of the opening hour of the car park and head back inside their cab and tell the driver to take them back to the hotel. The other Teams show up one by one and they all decide to join the RADs and camp outside the building.
The Lilith Sisters make it back to their hotel and since it is close to 5:00 am (remember, they left the starting line about three hours later than the Robcouple), they can't do much rest. Instead, they begin asking the hotel lobby people for directions in anticipation of their drive through the Andes. The Robcouple leave the hotel, passing the Lilith Sisters who are in deep discussion with the hotel folks, and spot the cab waiting for the two women. The Robfather learns that the cab driver won't take them to the car park so he offers "ten" to the ladies' promised cab fare of "four". Of course the cab driver agrees to take them to the car park. The Robfather tells Ambore in the cab that this cab theft on their part will "teach" the Lilith Sisters. Of what? Leaving their cab unattended? "For accusing somebody of lying!" comes the disembodied Robfather voiceover. Now, maybe it's because I have watched too many episodes of The Apprentice so I became very good at spotting spliced-in voiceovers, but this badly segued voiceover to the Robfather's initial statement is very obvious. Does the show need to pull this kind of trick - splicing statements from parts of confessionals taken from several interviews over different times, places, and circumstances - to make the Robfather come off as even more villainous? If that is so, by all means do so, but do it well and don't insult my intelligence with shoddy splicejobs, please.
The Lilith Sisters denounce their missing cab as "retarded" but since they are at a hotel, it's probably not too hard to get another cab. They soon catch up with the Robcouple and the other Teams outside the car park. The camera zooms in on the Robfather's face when the Lilith Sisters show up, as if trying to tell me that he is not happy at being thwarted in his plan, but he could easily be showing that face to something Ray and Deana are telling him and Ambore. (By the way, if you haven't heard by now, Ray may or may not be Ambore's ex before this show and before the Robfather because there are some photos online of Ray and Ambore on some vacation. They must have parted on good terms if the Robcouple and the RADs can get together and even work together.)
At 5:00 am, Teams rush into the car park and hop into their vehicles. "Best way to get directions in Santiago? Get a police escort," says the Robfather as he actually gets a police car to show him the way out of Santiago and towards the Andes. Behind them, all working on their own concept of navigation, the remaining Teams hit the road. Some even break off from the herd because they think they know the correct route. Good luck, those navigators!
Mom and Moan stop at a gas station for directions. The Lilith Sisters zoom past their vehicle but they think they have missed a turn. When they finally return to that spot and make that turn, they announce in relief that they are "retarded". Is this where I nod heartily and say I agree with them? Somewhere ahead, obviously in the correct direction, the Robcouple zoom under a sign over the road that says "Los Andes". I wonder where "Hollyhills" are. The Robfather asks Ambore to confirm whether he is taking them in the correct direction. Oh, I love a man who isn't afraid to ask when it comes to directions. Ambore looks up from the map in her hands and says confidently that he is. Other Teams that take the correct turn are the Fat Fatales, the Cannon Fodders, the IVFs, Dumb and Dumber, and the RADs. All are more or less in one line of black vehicles heading towards the Andes. On the other hand, the Lilith Sisters are on Highway Number Five that - if they look at the road map - will take them in a different direction from the other Teams. In a premonition of things to come, Bianca thinks that they have made a wrong turn but Debbie insists that they are on the right highway. If she says so, really.
Morning in the Andes is a breathtaking sight. Before I croak, I'd love to be in a vehicle passing through the mountain range just after sunrise. Ahead of the pack of vehicles zooming along the road, Ambore mentions to the Robfather that there will be a Yield ahead, according to the clue, and she adds that she has a feeling that other Teams behind him don't like the Robcouple too much. I wonder where she gets that idea. Well, behind them, Lynn declares that every Team here wants to Yield the Robcouple and he'd love to see who has the "huevos" to pull a Yield on the Robcouple. Hmm, the fastest huevos, perhaps? It is not as if anyone can Yield those two unless they actually beat the Robcouple to the Yield first. Besides, Yielding a Team out of spite is stupid. Freddy and Kendra Yielded the Goth-Nots instead of the Templates in the previous season for petty revenge and the Templates nearly beat them to the finish line as a result. Even farther behind, Meredith complains of the effects of the elevation on his head and Gretchen tells him in a rather grumpy manner to drive slowly because she is getting nauseous. He grumbles that he has enough trouble already from watching the road. "And dealing with me!" Gretchen adds and giggles because she thinks that she has said the funniest thing ever and she is expecting the membership card to cool people to arrive at her doorstep anytime soon. As the sun rises over a panorama of golden mountains and breathtaking scenery, the Teams begin to cross the border from Chile to Argentina.
Except for the Lilith Sisters and - surprise, surprise - Mom and Moan, that is. Mom and Moan are still trying to locate the highway that will take them out of Santiago into the Andes range. It is dark when everyone started driving and now it is bright daylight. How long have they been wandering around the streets of Santiago? Patrick points out that it is now 6:49 am, which means that they have been lost in Santiago for nearly two hours now. How can anyone be lost in a city for two hours? They did stop and ask for directions, so what happened? Susan moans that they need to find a way out of the city. I agree. I'd extrapolate that to them needing to find a way out of their misery. When they come to a crossroad and realize that there is a sign saying that they can't make a left-turn to the road that they feel is the right one and there is no other vehicle in sight, they actually turn around so that they won't be breaking the law. That's so law-abiding of them! Maybe they will get some nice candies at the Pit Stop for being such wonderful people.
Somewhere else, on another highway altogether, Bianca behind the wheel wonders aloud why they are taking so long to reach their destination when they are told that this is supposed to be a short drive. Debbie has been reading a book - the guidebook, perhaps - and quickly and guiltily start ruffling through the roadmaps while assuring Bianca that they are on the right track. They are on the right track, true, if the track is supposed to take them to the wrong place. They eventually stop at a toll booth (which no other Teams that are on the right track passed on their way to the Andes) and ask the lady whether they are in the direction of Puente Viejo. The lady seems taken aback, no doubt wondering whether these crazy women are looking for an old bridge to jump off or worse. Bianca dismiss the lady with a smug, "They're all stupid!" I would appreciate that attitude better if the speaker isn't, at that moment, hopelessly lost. Bianca then remembers that the camera is on her and quickly adds after a hooded look at the camera, "Not that we're doing much better with directions, I'm just saying." That's the problem, isn't it? She's always saying. They are always saying. They need to be doing more and saying less.
Oh, the Andes is indescribably lovely. Every Team is suitably impressed and they gush out various degrees of awe and joy at the sight before them. Although I do hope Uchenna will keep a close eye on Joyce. She is so easily excited, it seems, and I swear her eyes nearly pop out of their sockets in her giddy and squealy excitement when Uchenna tells her, "We're in the game, baby!" Still leading the pack - no doubt because nobody wants to play cut and swerve on a highway where any accident would mean a lot of pain to everyone involved - the Robfather and Ambore spot the Puente Viejo. They note that they have to drive a distance to a turn where they will then take to get to the bridge. When they get out of their vehicle, Ambore reminds the Robfather that they have to step on the Yield mat first before they run to the clue stand. Philo comes out to explain the usual spiel about the Yield, revealing that, like the previous season, there will only be a total of three Yields in the entire Race. The Robcouple aren't Yielding anyone but they have to take a numbered tag that is their Yield token.
They then head over to the clue stand and learn that it's now time for a Detour. Philo explains that in "Paddle", Teams must inflate a boat and paddle down seven miles along a river (which I'm nearly sure is the Palomar) with the "guidance" of some experts. Translation: they will be rowing with the Teams and one will be a nitwit not to do this one. In "Pedal", Teams must cycle on mountain bikes along a seven-mile stretch of railway tracks. It's a bumpy and rocky path and there are no three men helping to move those bicycles in this one. Who will be so stupid to do this Detour? (Hint: yes, it's exactly who you think.) The Robcouple will be paddling. Next, the Fat Fatales get their Yield token - they are not Yielding anyone though because it is too early in the game, or so Alex says, and I'd say that this is the case because the "anyone" in question have arrived at the Yield mat first, eh, Alex? - and decide to paddle too. The two Teams are pretty much neck-to-neck but Ambore's arms are not up to the strain. The Robfather, bless him, just encourages her to try as much as she can. Meanwhile, the Fat Fatales paddle and paddle furiously. They must be imagining that every paddle they make is a paddle on the Robfather's backside or something. Whatever it is, it's working for them so good for them, really.
The Cannon Fodders approach closer towards the bridge, but driving so slowly with the proper signals switched on and all. Safety counts after all, even if you're on a road with everyone else who knows that you are making a freaking right turn. Dumb and Dumber are stuck behind the old coots and they are not happy at being bottlenecked by the Cannon Fodders. Slowly, they manage to overtake the old coots. Both Teams are the next to reach the Yield mat (no thanks) and the clue stand. The Cannon Fodders will paddle while Dumb and Dumber, sure enough, want to pedal. Those two lugheads put on their helmets and crack that the bikes remind them of when they were kids. Which would be, er, one week ago, I suspect.
It's a race to the finish for the Robcouple and the Fat Fatales. I'd appreciate this burst of machismo energy better if they are racing to the ultimate finish line or at least the Pit Stop instead of, you know, towards the next clue. Alex spits in a confessional that he "hates" the Robcouple "so much". Goodness me, just what did the Robcouple do to this fellow? Steal his Judy Garland lunchbox at school, perhaps? "I was just so sick at that point of Rob and Amber being in front of me!" he snarls. Why? Is it because the Robfather and Ambore don't get to admire his big fat behind?
Still, the ridiculous hatred the Fat Fatales harbor for those two propel them to paddle harder and harder until they eventually overtake the Robcouple by a few seconds or so in the dash for the clue stand. Yes, the Fat Fatales beat the Robcouple to the next clue! Next stop, the Special Olympics! They learn that they can now drive themselves to Mendoza, about seventy miles from where they are right now, and locate a "traditional Argentine barbecue" at Camping Suizo, one of those faux "adventure parks" that tourists have to pay to get in. It looks like the show wants to highlight the adventurous side of Argentina this time around instead of tangos and a certain dead First Lady like the previous time the show paid Buenos Aires a visit.
In their vehicles, the Fat Fatales gloat about beating the Robfather in a manner that amazingly enough also remind me of how they are also very gay in an irritatingly bitchy and unflatteringly stereotypical manner (woo-hoo, someone give these two a high-five). These two are setting back gay people at least twenty years before Stonewall.
As they get into their vehicle, the Robfather smooches Ambore and tells her that she did a great job at rowing. This is weird. Shouldn't he, being the villain, be shrieking and shoving Ambore to the ground by now? Then again, that's why I think the Robfather is a great villain while the likes of Pornathan are just vile assholes - the Robfather plays to win but he doesn't go batcrap crazy on his own partner or other people. Ambore tries to make up for the personality void she has sunk into all this while on the show by chuckling in her confessional that she was thinking of her upcoming April wedding while she was rowing. She has to fit in that dress, you know, so she has to row, row, row. And speaking as someone who had felt the same and knew other women who had that same feeling before their weddings even when they aren't fat at all, I know where she is coming from. I think it's a law of some sort that every woman about to get married feels fat and hideous all of a sudden even if she is far from being any of that. Once the happy lovebirds are wed, though, chances are both husband and wife will never feel too fat or too ugly because... oh, just pass me those chocolates and eat your own chips, hon, and I think we have to postpone our evening walks because there's a new TV show at that time slot that we just have to see.
The GOPs, the RADs, and the IVFs, in that order, all don't use the Yield and all decide to paddle. Lemmings, all of them.
Mom and Moan are finally driving through the Andes. Susan says aloud that her ears "popped" a few times since they started going through the mountain range. Meanwhile, the Lilith Sisters are driving along a beautiful coastline. This is the most beautiful scene of "Oh, That Is So Wrong" that I have ever seen on TV. They search for a mountain range and find a coastline. That's almost poetic in how catastrophic this situation is. Debbie and Bianca have switched places and Debbie is now driving, although obviously that hasn't helped the ladies in any way. They stop before a residential area and ask a lady for directions. They learn that they are two hours from Puente Viejo. "We're off this map!" the Lilith Sisters wail. Yes, and in an off-the-chart manner too. They then tell each other that they have stayed on the highway for two hours when the actual trip in the correct direction should have taken only about ten minutes. That means these two will bleed about four hours in total from their mistake by the time they reach Puente Viejo. This begs the question: why then do they stay on the road for so long before realizing that they should stop and ask for specific directions? They are supposed to be good in Spanish, right? Like I've said, this is a beautiful kind of catastrophe. They have the chops, the skills, and they totally screw themselves up nonetheless in a spectacular rarely-seen-before manner.
The Lilith Sisters console themselves by hoping that someone gets a flat tire. One that takes five hours to replace? I don't think so, lady.
Speaking of flat tires, Greg encounters a flat tire. Dumb and Dumber try to use a repair kit (where did it come from?) to fix the tire but ultimately, in frustration they decide to just carry the bikes and walk to the end of the track. Hey, is that allowed? Didn't the Clue specifically say that they must cycle to the end of the track? Still, I don't blame them. As they are trying to fix the flat tire, they can see the Cannon Fodders' boat pass them down the river. Yoo-hoo, Gretchen! Oh look, the GOPs move pass too. Hi, GI Joe! "Biggest waste of time!" Dumb and Dumber declare as they walk dejectedly down the railway tracks, adding that this Detour is "retarded". But that's nothing compared to the Cannon Fodders, where after they and the GOPs finish up and are on their way to Camping Suizo, Gretchen loudly asks Meredith obviously for the sake of the camera whether Meredith wants some mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Gentleman points given to Meredith for not answering, "Yes, dear. Where's Bianca?" The IVFs beat the RADs to the clue at the end of their Detour, prompting Joyce to playfully complain that she has broken all her nails and Uchenna to tell her, "You're one hot chick out there in the whitewater rafting!" Finally, Dumb and Dumber finish up. The RADs finish up at the back of the pack. Ray in their vehicle is convinced that Uchenna somehow cheated because Ray works out so in his mind that makes him undefeatable in physical activities. Maybe Ray should include his brain when it comes to body parts that he works out on.
Mom and Moan stagger out of their vehicles when they finally reach Puente Viejo. They step on the Yield Mat and refuse to Yield "anyone" when they should have. After all, they are in danger of being eliminated so there's no harm in trying to save themselves this way, right? I think Teams should start viewing the Yield as a last-ditch method to save themselves from elimination instead of a way to pettily thwart their rivals because that way, the Yield is actually useful to the Team who uses the Yield, but that's just me. Anyway, those two also decide to paddle. Finally! They choose a correct Detour at last!
The Fat Fatales reach Camping Suizo where they learn that they have to perform a Roadblock. The clue asks for the Team member who is not a vegetarian to step up for the task. But since both men eat beef on a daily basis (ahem), Alex takes it because he's younger and can take on all the meat the show throws at him (ahem). Philo explains that the show designers have gone completely insane. Okay, he doesn't actually say that but he points out instead that the Team member has to eat four pounds of "traditional delicacy" consisting of barbecued cow ribs, blood and pork innard sausages, and an appetizing mix of bovine udders, intestines, salivary glands, and kidney. To top it off, there are flies buzzing around the gourmet meal.
Now, I have for breakfast many times pork offal boiled in lovely herbal soup (bah kut teh if you live in the same postal code as me). I have tried haggish before. But four pounds is a ridiculous amount to eat especially when the food in question is cold and half-raw. Have this show been hiring folks sacked from Fear Factor to design the Race? In post-show talks, it is revealed that the show planned all along to have this Roadblock last several hours, meaning that they want to show the audience plenty of misery and puking on TV. I can only imagine why they want to do this; they either think that I enjoy watching people gorge and puke with miserable flushed expressions on their faces or they want to save money in design by introducing a few time-consuming Roadblocks instead of many short ones. Or maybe it's a combination of both possible reasons. Either way, I hate watching people eat and vomit because it's not entertaining. So when the Robfather pulls off That Stunt later on, that's me cheering him on because he's doing what I want to do all along, to tell the designers of the show that the volume eating tasks on this show are stupid and just not worth doing.
Alex looks at his food with an expression best described as "Ugh!" But when the Robfather and Ambore show up at the barbecue site, his ears perk up and his eyes blaze as he quickly starts to eat. All this to impress the Robfather, Alex? I'm impressed. The Robfather offers to perform the Roadblock although he's proven to be a total flop in eating gross food during Survivor Marquesas. Well, as he says to Ambore, four pounds of meat are a lot, so he's gallant enough to help her lose weight in time for the wedding. As the Robfather sits down, Lynn tells Alex to "barf up" the food to make more room in his stomach for the rest of the gourmet meal. Alex tells him to cram it - when he's trying to eat, the last thing he wants to hear is "barf it up". Okay, that is funny because it's spontaneous and not put on for the cameras.
Mom and Moan complete the paddle Detour and move on to Camping Souizo. They announce that the Detour is tough. Really? And here I am thinking that navigation is tougher for them.
When everyone else has left, the Lilith Sisters finally show up at Puente Viejo. They can't Yield anyone, obviously, and can only take their Yield token. At this point, I notice that there is one Yield token left on the Yield spot, which means that one of the earlier Teams has forgotten to take it. Hmm, I wonder whether this will give rise to interesting repercussions later in the Race. The two ladies decide to paddle because Debbie was nearly killed in a whitewater rafting accident prior to the Race and this is her way to confront her fear and move on in life without fearing anything again. Except for the highways of Chile. Okay, that's a cheap shot. Anyway, they suit up (Debbie naturally whines and complains in the process) and brave death. If the Cannon Fodders can survive this horrifying ordeal, the determined Lilith Sisters will stare death in the face and laugh at how stupid, sorry, retarded it is!
The Teams between the first two Teams at the barbecue spot and the last two Teams trailing behind are on their way to Camping Suizo. Over at the All-You-Can-Ear Camp Carnivore buffet, Alex and the Robfather are munching away. Ambore asks the Robfather how the food tastes. He deadpans quickly, "I don't want to talk about it!" before resuming his joyless munching. Heh. Meredith and Gretchen show up and Meredith will be eating today. Greg will be eating for Dumb and Dumber. He insists that four pounds of meat is nothing, contrary to the Robfather telling him that, oh yes, it's a lot. GI Joe eats for the GOPs. If you are keeping count, he's saving the mountain climbings and the deep-sea divings for Barbie Jane. The Robfather now tells Ambore that he doesn't think that he can eat everything on his tray. He flashes her a look that, in my admittedly fangirlish mind, is all about a sad song about the pain of disappointing his beloved. Meanwhile, Uchenna shows up to eat for the IVFs and he, Alex, and Greg are starting to go all macho on each other when Alex suddenly throws up into a bucket placed beside him. Ambore quickly tells the Robfather not to pay attention to Alex and he, in response, turns so that his back is to the puking Alex.
Finally, the penny drops. He asks Ambore what will happen if he doesn't finish the Roadblock. She can't believe what he is asking him but when he asks her again, she masks whatever she is really thinking about the Robfather's decision behind a once-more impassive facade and tells him, "Penalty." In his confessional, the Robfather tells the camera that he has a plan to stay in the Race despite quitting the Roadblock. Back at the camp, he tells Ambore that he is not going to sit here and suffer for three hours like the others. But as he tells her and the camera, he isn't just quitting - he has A Plan. Oh boy, A Plan. This will be good. The Robfather explains to the camera that the penalty of this Roadblock is four hours. This means, any Team who takes the penalty must wait for four hours at this camp after the next Team arrives (that is, the next Team to arrive after the Team that quits has announced its intention to do so) before being able to move on to the next destination. Back to the camp, he stands up, hands back his tray, and says in beautifully understated simplicity, "I quit."
The RADs show up, where Ray shoves the Roadblock onto Deana. Just as Deana sits down to stare in horror at the tray of food placed on her lap, the Robcouple's penalty time starts. The Robcouple watch as Deana starts protesting to Ray about how her stomach can't have enough room to accommodate all the food, and being the Robfather, the man senses easy prey the way a shark would when faced with Gretchen paddling weakly in open waters while singing at the top of her voice. He tells Ambore that they can't sit here and hope for other Teams to quit so he's going to get over to the RADs and, um, apply some "incentives" to get the RADs to quit too. Ray seems skeptical at first even after the Robfather has explained the penalty to the RADs but when the Robfather explains that he has quit too, Deana's defenses break down completely and she declares that she will quit too. And with that, the Robfather has found one Team that will have to wait in this camp after the Robcouple's penalty is over, thus guaranteeing that there will be at least one Team behind the Robcouple at the end of the day. The genius about this simple plan is that Deana no doubt believes that the Robfather has helped her by giving her a way out of a distasteful task when in fact, he has just put the RADs in the Robcouples' shoes before the firing squad.
Lynn boasts that "his" Alex can finish the food where the Robfather can't, as if eating and vomiting cold parts of a dead cow the fastest is now the sign of one person's superiority over the other. The Fat Fatales are fat obvious examples of how competitiveness, if allowed to fester into uncontrollable levels, can drive one crazy and lose all perspective.
Meanwhile, Barbie Jane fans GI Joe who is finding it harder to chew and swallow his food. GI Joe gives a confessional where he compares the food to that in his Iraqi prison. He comes off much better than he would have on paper - he's actually relaxed and amusing and he even makes a few decent cracks about prison food. He's a lousy Racer and the less said about Barbie Jane the better, but if he gets a little less star-struck about his POW experiences (or at least, not exploit it too obviously for fame), I may not mind that much of being forced to strike up a conversation with him during dinner or something.
Ray, catching on to the Robfather's plan and the fact that his Team is toast if no one quits after him and Deana, notices Meredith choking at his task. He and the Robfather approach Gretchen. It's like Jan the Hen versus Bray and Porno in the Final Four of Survivor Thailand all over again, where those two men convince the befuddled old woman to backstab Helen and Jan obeyed orders without even knowing what she was doing (or so she claimed). Gretchen quickly bites the bait and tells Meredith why he should quit (he may end up taking longer than four hours to eat) - reasons fed to her by the two men, by the way - before graciously allowing Meredith to do what the man wants to do (of course). Meredith also announces that he is quitting the Roadblock. And I am howling with laughter at this point because - WOW. The Robfather has saved his own ass along with Ambore's even after he has suffered a time penalty by actually persuading two other Teams to stop competing and take the fall for his Team! He makes everything seems so easy as well, that rascal!
Uchenna is the first to finish eating and he and Joyce celebrate as they receive their next clue. They can now head straight to the Pit Stop in their vehicle, the Pit Stop being the Estancia San Isidro which is eight miles from Camping Suizo. "Estancia" means "big property" so Estancia San Isidiro means "a big property in San Isidiro". The noblemen of yore used to holiday in San Isidiro so the "traditional Argentine ranch" Philo describes as the Pit Stop could very well be one of these preserved colonial homes. Alex is the next to finish the Roadblock and the Fat Fatales too are off. Joyce asks Uchenna as they leave the camp site whether he wants a mint. "Do I want a mint?" he roars before laughing heartily. I believe it is right there and then that I stop liking them and start really liking them. In the meantime, Lynn is talking about Alex's awesomeness and I really wish he'd just shut up for the rest of the season. Annoying! These two are so annoying!
The IVFs unfortunately asks a cop to lead them to the Estancia only to be led to a completely different place. Because of this, the Fat Fatales are welcomed by Philo and the lovely lady VIP to the Pit Stop as team number one. "Congratulations, you are team number one," says Philo. So, what's the prize, you ask? The Fat Fatales get nothing for coming in first, except for the satisfaction of beating the Robcouple if I'm supposed to believe Philo. The Fat Fatales agree that it is so awesome to beat the Robcouple and they do some weird paddle dance that is too synchronized to be spontaneous. I have a feeling that these two fat losers have rehearsed that dance for a long time now to terrorize Christmas parties. Lynn tells the camera that it is a great feeling to beat the Robcouple. Some people can have so little ambition in life sometimes. Is the Robfather that significant a person on this show? Why can't the Fat Fatales just focus on doing their best on the Race? Next, the slightly disappointed IVFs show up as team number two. But they are moving up the ranks leg after leg so they shouldn't be so disappointed at how this leg turned out for them, really.
Mom and Moan are driving to Camping Suizo. In a hilarious scene that is just too good to be real, Susan is eating one of those smoked beef jerky stick thingies and talks about how this thingie will be her lunch as well as dinner. Patrick consoles her by saying that they could find some cheap dinner in Mendoza. Oh, he must be psychic! She wonders aloud that her thingie tastes like steak. Cut to GI Joe commenting that the horrid music that is playing to accompany the diners is making the whole evening "very romantic" as he tries to shovel the last bits of meat into his mouth. Finally, he and Greg are done and both the GOPs and Dumb and Dumber stagger out of Camp Carnivore.
Finally, Mom and Moan show up, triggering the penalty of the RADs and the Cannon Fodders. For the Robcouple, two hours and forty minutes have passed since the start of their penalty so they will be leaving about one and a half hour before the RADs and the Cannon Fodders. Ah yes, the Robfather is smirking as he knows very well that he and Ambore are not going to be eliminated today. Patrick will be doing the Roadblock for Mom and Moan. Elsewhere, the Lilith Sisters finish their paddling Detour and all but smooch each other in their celebration. Now all they need is to take nine hours to get to Camping Suizo.
The GOPs are team number three. Dumb and Dumber are team number four. The reign of the carnivores has begun.
Mom and Moan are indulging in a truly bizarre quarrel when Patrick is supposed to be eating. The gist of the argument is that he thinks that she is bossing him around and she thinks that he is refusing to listen to her, Mommy Dearest Who Knows Best, when she tells him to throw up after eating in order to eat some more. In the end, he announces, the back of his hands pressed against each side of his waist, that he will not eat just to spite her and she responds by telling him that he can very well do what he thinks is best for himself. Mothers, this is what happens when you cling on too hard and too long to your children. And overgrown children of 26, if you are still living with your parents, please, at least move out of the house into the garage.
The three Teams, waiting for the penalty to run out, are naturally watching with delight as Mom and Moan fight. When Susan tells Patrick to throw up, Gretchen squeals in delight that Susan shouldn't have brought up the act of puking to Patrick. Meanwhile, Patrick is just sitting there and picking at his food, wasting time as he talks about how he can't eat and how he is confident that the Lilith Sisters can't either. Oops, here are the ladies in question. Debbie already has her belt unbuckled as she sits down to eat. The Robfather, watching her, tells the camera with a grin that Debbie is one tough woman who not only has the guts to yell at him but also because she will no doubt start to eat the gourmet meal just to keep her Team in the Race. Since he has nothing to gain by praising Debbie to the camera, he is just being a sweetie, isn't he? Aww, what a sweetie.
By this point, the Robcouple's four hour penalty expires and they take off without a backward glance. They arrive at the Pit Stop as team number five. "I didn't think I could do it but I found a way to plot and scheme on The Amazing Race," the Robfather announces to Philo who is not only beaming but also trying to hold back laughter. The Robfather and Philo share a laugh over what Philo calls an "unprecedented" event where the Robfather actually convinced two other Teams not to move and just sit there with him and Ambore. Philo asks how the Robfather pulled that stunt off. The Robfather answers modestly, "Sometimes I wonder myself, Phil!" Memo to the obviously besotted Philo from me: "Wanna watch taped episodes of All-Stars Survivor with me, sweetie?" Memo to Philo from Jeff Proboscis: "Philo, he doesn't love you as much as he loves me!!!!" Memo from Lex Loser to Philo: "BETRAYER! HE IS A BETRAYER! HE'S SUPPOSED TO BE MY FRIEND! OOOOH THE PAIN! WATCH YOUR BACK!"
When Debbie eats and shows no sign of stopping, Patrick finally eats. And soon after this, the RADs and the Cannon Fodders have their penalty expire and hence they take off to the Pit Stop. This means that Patrick has wasted four hours dilly-dallying and moping before he starts taking his first bite. As much as some people rag on the Robcouple for quitting, I am saying that Mom and Moan deserve to be eliminated for this shocking bleeding of time on Patrick's part alone. Ahead, the evening has turned into night when the RADs check in with Philo as team number six and the Cannon Fodders as team number seven. And then, Patrick is done too and he and his mother now depart for the Pit Stop. It is still bright when this happens while it is night when Debbie receives her clue so the editors' attempt at giving me this impression that the two trailing Teams are in some dead-heat dash to the Pit Stop aren't working too well. Oh, and Bianca says that Debbie is the "only girl" to finish the Roadblock but there are some bits and pieces left on the tray when Debbie receives the clue. Do I take Bianca's word that Debbie actually finished the meal and not quit soon after Mom and Moan left? Hmm.
Anyway, Mom and Moan come in eighth, thus sending their former GLAM alliance buddies out of the Race. Philo welcomes the Lilith Sisters and rubs salt onto their wounded egos by asking them what went wrong because he is so certain that the two ladies would go far after their strong showing in the first leg of the Race. Bianca says that they made a "detrimental mistake" on this leg of the Race. In a way, I would rather see Mom and Moan go rather than these two ladies because Patrick is horribly inept while Susan is his enabler that makes him behave even worse. The Lilith Sisters, for all their faults, are much better than Patrick in this respect. They talk about sisterhood and stuff in their parting words and then they are off. Look at the bright side: they can now boast that they got lost and nearly ended up in Venezuela but in the end, they braved death and eat cold parts of dead cows.
Cold parts of dead cows - in the end, that is what the entire ridiculous debate about the Robfather's actions boil down to. I can give a long rant about how the Robfather did nothing wrong in taking advantage of a stupid rule where the penalty time can actually be shorter than the time one needs to finish the Roadblock but like I've said, I don't want to waste time arguing about the "honor" of finishing four pounds of parts of dead cows. That's like saying that I swallowed a gallon of drain water and ended up eliminated but hey, at least I finished a ridiculous Roadblock so I have "honor". Or do I? It all depends on which side you are on - do you support blind adherence to dumb orders or do you support attempts to go around these dumb orders? If the situation comes with an escape clause to retreat and fight another day, would you fight to the death anyway for a lost cause or would you retreat to plot a comeback?
But what I will address though is my opinion on whether the Robfather's action is stupid. Here's my take of it: in hindsight, we can all sit back and say whether the plot is stupid or not, but the Robfather doesn't have the gift of hindsight when he tries to get the RADs to take the fall for him. It is a gamble on his part, and it is a gamble that works. The fact that it works out well for him is all that matters here. The Robfather is a risk-taker when it comes to the competition. I won't have the guts to do what he does if I'm in his shoes but I can enjoy myself vicariously through watching him and Ambore as he schemes, plots, and pushes his way forth in the Race. And that's all that matters for me. He doesn't break the rule, so no one can call him a cheater. He bends the rules and gambles on outcomes that actually fall into play to his advantage so far, so no one can call him a foolish risktaker (yet). He entertains me so well in the process, so for that, I call him the best thing to happen to this show since the Friends of Gulliver in the fifth season.
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