Simply because the series has gotten rid of some of its gimmicks and silly twists of recent years, The Amazing Race
hasn't felt like it's in a landmark season even though the show is in it impressive season 30.The show is all about the racing and it's great.
Still, something has been missing. The competition this season doesn't feel quite as fierce as normal. The Amazing Race 30 has been fun but a little too harmonious, lacking that necessary edge. Now halfway through the season, that sense of competition finally begins to emerge, all courtesy of one team in particular. A contentious line has been crossed in The Amazing Race and there's no going back.
Separation in the Czech Republic
The teams make their way to the Czech Republic. Although they book their tickets with the "incredibly easy to use" Travelocity app, the teams are split into two distinct groups with their arrivals. The second group is nearly an hour behind the first. This becomes important because The Amazing Race finally brings in the Double U-Turn for this leg.
As for the first group, they're not concerned about the U-Turn. They just want to keep moving. The first group consists of the female extreme team Kristi and Jenn, the newly engaged and barely civil couple Lucas and Brittany, Yale nerds Evan and Henry and indistinguishable big-head twins, Eric and Daniel. The focus of this first group is just get to the Detour and keep moving. Speaking of the Detour, there's a cool but small. twist. Unlike most Detours, the teams don't get hints before they arrive. They're just given a choice of "This" or "That".
Tap a Keg or Learn a Lesson
As it turns out "This" or "That" is a choice between the two stereotypes of college life, dealing with alcohol or dealing with boring lectures. In "This," the teams must handle kegs of beer. In "That," the teams must listen to a college hall lecture. (It shouldn't be a surprise which most of these yahoos pick. Hint: it ain't learning.)
For "This," the teams must tap a keg, pour the "perfect beer" and then deliver that keg across town to a party boat. It sounds much more fun than it is, but it's still enjoyable.
In "That," the teams must listen to two lecturers, one who teaches that the Earth is round and the other who teaches that the Earth is flat. Then afterwards, they must answer questions about minute details of both lectures, one which has been proven to be scientifically false for nearly a century. "That" could be a fun challenge, but since precisely one team does it willingly, its a bit of a moot point.
The focus here is on "This" as it brings out an Amazing Race favorite: the teams bickering like maniacs. After simmering with tension for the entire season, Evan and Henry finally start to boil over. Or more accurately, Evan starts to show zero respect towards Henry. Evan's septum piercing has never been more visible as she flares her nostrils in exasperation at Henry, bossing him all about with their keg.
Cody and Jessica Shows Their True Big Brother Colors
Sadly, Evan and Henry are just the opening act for on the final three teams on the latter flight. Big Brother power couple, Jessica and Cody, Indy Car bros Conor and Alex and beefy violinists, Chris and Trevor are bringing up the rear this time. Interestingly, but unsurprisingly, Lucas and Brittany also end up joining the trio, because after their last dominant leg, Team Ocean Rescue goes right back to being complete human disasters.
The story at the back of the pack is that after a whole season of being relatively kind, Big Brother finally starts getting cutthroat. It all begins when Jessica and Cody use the U-Turn on the last place team, Chris and Trevor.
They (well, just Jessica) justify it with saying they're doing whatever it takes to win. It's hard to blame them too much. However, their next under-handed dealing at the Roadblock is a little more morally ambiguous.
So Not Kafka-Esque
For the Roadblock, Amazing Race revisits an challenge from season 15. The designated team member must go into a nightmarish hall with hundreds of ringing phones. Certain phones in the hall will play one word in an eight-word quote that belongs the famous Franz Kafka. It's infuriating to watch, in a good way, and stands as proof that things such as second-hand headaches do exist as the teams get very frazzled, very easily.
This stress could explain, in part, why Jessica comes with a very stupid plan that pisses the other teams off very easily. Jessica arrives at the Roadblock around the same time as Brittany and Alex. (The Amazing Race tries to make it seem like Trevor and Chris are as good as dealing with kegs and listening to lectures as they are lifting weights, but they're really woefully behind.) Jessica convinces both Brittany and Alex to work with her to solve the Roadblock. However, Jessica leaves out a word that she's found in her search and doesn't tell either Alex or Brittany. This is an attempt to leave them astray and get out of the Roadblock first.
However, Jessica's plan blows up in her face because, understandably, Brittany and Alex follow Jessica the entire time. So when Jessica does give the right quote at the end of the Roadblock, the secret is out. They know instantly Jessica's been lying to them and the deception gives her the head start of only a couple seconds.
Luckily, The Amazing Race gods award Jessica's stupidity and betrayal by having her to proceed to make a silly navigating mistake with Cody on the way to the Pit Stop. This puts them behind both the Indy Car bros and Team Ocean Rescue, in next-to-last place.
Still, Team Big Brother's first cutthroat action does bear fruit. Trevor and Chris end up coming in dead last. They're going home to pump iron and play the violin, presumably at the same time.
What did you make of the episode? How do you feel about the two big moves from Jessica and Cody? Have you missed the competition not being as intense in season 30? Will this really turn things around to be more bitter and aggressive? Should it?