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The Amazing Race 16: McMillen's Moments, Episode 9

Posted on 04/24/2010 by Gina in The Amazing Race and Reality Writers

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Sam McMillen  The Amazing Race 15


by Sam McMillen

The Amazing Race 15


Last week's episode of The Amazing Race took place in Singapore where the teams all held hands the whole time and had no drama at all. Riiiight. That's like saying the Earth is flat or Ryan Seacrest is funny. The teams take a bus from Penang, Malaysia, hop on a train to Singapore and take a taxi to the Victoria Concert Hall. There they must find Allen Wu (host of The Amazing Race: Asia) for their next clue. The Detour gives the teams a choice between playing the drums or selling ice cream sandwiches, followed by a U-Turn and then the Roadblock. The leg finishes up at a marina after a leisurely ride down a massive zip line. The drama is in full force (I'll try and avoid it as best I can) and the leg is full of excellent Amazing Race tid-bits, so let's dig in.


Mike and Louie did a great job at taking the U-Turn target off their back this episode. The detectives fed Brent and Caite's existing distain for the ladies by talking about how they're well traveled and full of secret skills in the intelligence arena. Even though Jordan points out on the bus that Carol and Brandy have yet to win a leg, Brandy and Carol are still the number one target. Meanwhile, Mike and Louie and The Cowboys have the majority of wins under the belts. Caite talks about how she wants to U-Turn them because they're mean to hear (enter "where's her tiara" clip for the 20th time this season), but we find out the target is also drawn from her mission to be the last female standing. While most racers' mission is to win a million bucks, I don't think there's anything wrong with having a personal goal in mind. She's there to redeem herself and change how people think about her based on her famed pageant answer. Understandable, since almost every team has a point to prove while on the race (interracial couples, breaking stereotypes, etc.), but Caite's personal goals have kept the two strongest teams in the race with them, which could backfire.


Once they find the Victoria Concert Hall, the Racers must locate Allen Wu for their next clue. I loved this Route Marker because it shows how vague the clues are. Is he inside the concert hall? Is he hanging out on the balcony? Is he hiding in the janitor's closet? No one knows. Dan and Jordan make a smart move and decide to scope out the front lawn before heading inside. Fortunately for the brothers, Jordan's instincts pay off as they're the first to locate Wu, sitting near a fountain in front of the concert hall. I love that Allen Wu made an appearance this season. Dan and I became very accustomed to his face, since The Amazing Race: Asia was pretty much all we could watch on TV while on our Pit-Stops in Southeast Asia. In English, thank God.


Dan and Jordan definitely made a bold move in going for the Fast Forward. Jet and Cord had a different reaction to seeing the clue. Instead of risking it and giving the flyer a shot, they decide to just go "head to head" with the remaining four teams that don't do the Fast Forward. This was a good move on their part in my opinion. So far, they've shown that they can do tasks with relative ease, and they've proven time after time that they can stay in the race without the help of a Fast Forward. We made a similar move in Dubai when our season's Fast Forward came up. Ours was earlier in the season, so there were more teams to go "head to head" with. We were much more comfortable just beating them at the regular race than risking getting lost trying to find the Fast Forward or, even worse, trying it and failing. Dan and I aren't exactly car experts, and he can't even drive a stick shift, so that could have been tragic. In the end, staying with the pack paid off for us, and it did for the Cowboys as well.


Some of my biggest chuckles this episode (second to Jordan, of course) came from Carol. At the Drum Detour, teams were taught a drum routine by young boys. Let's be honest, some of these kids couldn't have been more than 5 years old, and they were off in their own little world at times. We see Carol focusing intently on her infant instructors' hand movements, then she laughs when she realizes how lost she is. Brandy wants to go to a different instructor, and Carol tells the boy he's fabulous when they switch so as not to hurt his feelings. The boy looks clueless when they leave, probably thinking about Sponge Bob or something. At the other Detour (after the U-Turn ordeal) Carol decides that her marketing approach to selling ice cream sandwiches is to convince the locals that they are swine flu free. I just thought it was funny how she said it; so nonchalantly, under her breath and directed at no one in particular.


Alright, so I'm not going to get much into the drama for many reasons, but the U-Turn this episode was clearly important. For the second time this season, a team is U-Turned not for their skill in the race, but for personal reasons. Brent/Caite's distaste for Carol and Brandy overrides a perhaps more practical option of U-Turning a team that has proven more threatening, such as the Cowboys or the Detectives. Caite is overwhelmed with join when they leave the Detour before Carol and Brandy, and literally has a fit of euphoria when they reach the U-Turn box only to find that it hasn't been used yet. We find out that Caite's aversion to Carol and Brandy comes from the negative comments they've said about her, and Brent can't stand them because he thinks their "bitches". After the ladies see that they've been U-Turned, the gloves come off. Their commentary includes "She's an idiot, and she's on YouTube to prove it", "Let's be honest, she hasn't built a career on intelligence", and they even call them "Brent and Caite Gump". Wow. I was pretty shocked by the degree of bashing coming from Carol and Brandy (well... mostly Brandy), but you can understand why they were upset. A team that has proven significantly weaker than them had a few quick successes that put them at the U-Turn before Carol and Brandy. I would have been upset for that reason too, but I don't think I would have gone so far as to call someone Cruella DeVille. I mean come on, Cruella killed puppies to make fur coats. Nothing's that bad. Let's be honest, the editors had a hay-day with this one.


This week's episode features the season's only Fast Forward, and it was a doozie. I only wish I could have been a fly on the wall that day at the Singapore Flyer. What we saw of Dan and Jordan during the task was absolutely hilarious, adorable and nerve racking all the same time. The brothers must have had a pretty good idea that they found Allen Wu first, because they didn't seem too concerned about arriving at the Fast Forward second, which can really set you back. For the challenge, Dan and Jordan rode the Singapore Flyer to the tip top, where they had to climb from one pod to another. Did I mention it's over 500 feet in the air? Crazy. I love heights challenges and I wish our season got to enjoy as many as this season (mostly because Dan and I were one of the only teams without a member who was afraid of heights). Jordan was completely freaked out by the challenge, and I'm pretty sure I saw a little pee running down his leg at one point. Sucks for the people below him. They're able to complete the task and are awarded a fast-track to the Pit-Stop, obtaining their first win this season. The highlight of the event is when Dan looks over at his younger brother and says, "hey, if you fall and die, I love you". Brotherly love at its finest. Very nice job by the brothers, for having the guts to risk it and for triumphing over such an insane task.


Mike and Louie decide to try out the Fast Forward after their rhythmic skills failed miserably. Dan and Jordan were the only team unaccounted for at the Drum Detour, so I don't blame the detectives for giving it a shot. I probably wouldn't have suspected Dan and Jordan of going for the Fast Forward either, so I don't think this was necessarily a dumb move on the part of the cops. Also, they've got a little insurance since they convinced other teams to U-Turn Brandy and Carol. After already having their spirits crushed by finding out the FF was in progress, they return to the cab only to find their driver has taken a potty break. Bad timing, indeed, and the detectives really start to sweat as time is literally slipping away.


There comes the point when you're doing a challenge among hundreds of locals, just doing your thing and not thinking twice about it, when all of a sudden you realize, "wow, they must think we've escaped from a mental hospital." I'm sure Louie had this epiphany while selling the ice cream sandwiches, as he says "Ice cream... from some crazy Americans." I think the little drummer boy must have shared his crack with Mike because he goes nuts in this challenge, jumping for joy every time they sell an ice cream sandwich and doing little dances while using cartoon voices. Pretty funny, but I'm guessing a little overwhelming for the locals. Either way, they got the task done fast and were able to move right on to the Roadblock.


So Jordan is definitely my go-to-guy for a laugh this season. He's very witty and has a sense of timing that always seems to give me a chuckle. This week was no exception, and I felt we got an extra dose of his charm after the Fast Forward. My favorite line was when the brothers read the clue while riding back down on the Flyer, noting that the Pit-Stop is at the Marina Barage. Upon gazing out the window of their pod, Jordan says, "Oh , there it is, Marina Barage. Phil, we'll be right there!" Ok, so maybe it's not that funny when you type it out, but I died laughing when I first saw it. He's full of those lighthearted comments and I hope we see a lot more in the few remaining episodes.

So Carol and Brandy must say their goodbyes this week, unable to recover from the U-Turn. They didn't go lightly, as they extensively discuss their opinion of Caite even in their post-leg interviews. Hopefully the ladies have had time to let it go by now, but I'm guessing they'll never be pen pals with Brent and Caite. This week's episode is in China and the previews seem pretty exciting, so it should be a good showing. If you didn't understand some of this blog, just email Carol and she'll translate it into first grader English for you.


The Amazing Race airs Sundays at 8/7c on CBS.


(Image courtesy of CBS)

Follow Sam at twitter.com/sammcmillen

For more Amazing Race links, visit SirLinksALot.net


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