Leg 9 – November 28, 2014
I wasn’t able to stay away, after all. This last show was incredibly well-edited and the challenges were fun and the race at the end to avoid elimination was nerve-wracking. This episode was a defining example of why I love the show and I ended up wanting to write about it again.
For now though, it’s going to be a transition period – no maps and none of my custom screenshots and graphics, except for the standings listings as I LOVE those. Maybe next week’s post I’ll be back to full-Hobie on these posts, but for now, let’s just hit some highlights while using CBS-provided screenshots!
Flying to Singapore from Malta
There was an interesting tidbit noted by Jim in this episode: once a flight has been booked, you’re committed to it. That’s an interesting way to really make sure racers are ready to truly commit to a flight and a great source of drama, as it means you could see what happens when you find out your flight wasn’t the first to arrive. Case in point, when Misti & Jim happily signed up for the same flight as Adam & Bethany without doing their own legwork and then being present for when Kym & Alli simply ask the question to the travel agent if there’s anything faster. Turns out there was! 40 minutes earlier and now Kym & Alli were going to be out in front.
Oof, this turned out to be a terrible decision, in hindsight. Kym & Alli arrived in Singapore on the first flight along with Brooke & Robbie and Amy & Maya. The first clue included a Fast Forward (for the first time in quite a while!) and Kym & Alli were feeling confident. Unfortunately for them, this challenge was custom-made for Adam & Bethany….but maybe Kym & Alli could pull off staying up on a surfboard in this environment for 2 minutes? Turns out they couldn’t, and in the process of trying repeatedly, Adam & Bethany’s flight arrived and they immediately knew that they had to at least go for it as they’re freaking SURFERS. Smart, reckless move that paid off as Kym & Alli were still there. And sure enough, Adam & Bethany completed the challenge on their second try, meaning Kym & Alli were now in dead last. D’oh!
Roadblock in the Clouds
Maybe not the clouds, but it was certainly very high up. At a spectacular hotel where there’s a huge platform atop it on the 60th floor with a giant park, infinity pool, etc, the Roadblock was to cross from one tower to another on a spread cable. It was nauseating.
Detours of Pain and Suffering
Both of these Detours had the teams dealing with some type of pain and suffering.
In the Cupping challenge, you had to get some brutal deep-tissue massaging with gleeful masseuses having their way with the racers – it looked brutal. Especially when they started scraping the skin and then applying the fire cups to the back. What the hell? While Amy & Maya were the most visibly in pain and Brooke kind of delighted in their agony, even she couldn’t hold out cries of pain as it looked intense.
The other option was to crack open an endless stream of hot crabs in order to get 2 pounds of crab meat. The crabs were super hot though meaning burnt fingers while there were festival musicians tormenting Misti & Jim with clanging cymbals and noisemakers right behind them. Maybe this pain was a bit more bearable than the other?
Find the Right Mer-Lion / Double U-Turn Ahead!
Here’s where it looked like there was hope for Kym & Alli. After they left the Fast Forward, they made quick work of the Roadblock and Detour. They didn’t actually catch up to the other teams, but the editing made it seem close. The problem was that there was just one more task to do before the Pit Stop, which was to find a clue box at one of 5 different Mer-Lion sculptures around the city. Clearly Kym & Alli’s fate was sealed – but then Brooke & Robbie and Amy & Maya had a bit of a clash.
At the Double U-Turn this leg (which yet again ended up having no impact just like the one earlier this season), the plan was to ensure Kym & Alli’s elimination. Once both Kym & Alli and Adam & Bethany went for the Fast Forward though, no one knew who would win out. Everyone assumed Kym & Alli would succeed before Adam & Bethany made it there. Regardless, the plan was to U-Turn both of those teams. So Amy & Maya U-Turn Adam & Bethany, while the plan was for Brooke & Robbie to U-Turn Kym & Alli. Easy, right? Nope – Brooke & Robbie decide not to U-Turn anybody figuring Adam & Bethany was all that was needed. The wrestlers are amusing but they are kind of clueless? stupid? So Amy & Maya get a little pissy with them after finding out what happened while they look for the Mer-Lion together at the first and closest location. Brooke doesn’t take that attitude very well. At the 2nd Mer-Lion location, Brooke & Robbie get there first and find the clue – Amy & Maya arrive in their taxi as Brooke & Robbie are leaving. Amy & Maya ask if the clue was there and Brooke tells them “no.” Oh damn!
So off Amy & Maya go to the other 3 locations, blissfully unaware they just got played. It seemed that now Kym & Alli had a chance – if they could find the clue first and get to the Pit Stop, maybe this leg wasn’t a total disaster. I’d love to have seen how close this actually was…but I’m guessing it wasn’t. While Kym & Alli did choose the right location on the first try, it couldn’t overcome their huge deficit in the race, and sadly, the Cyclists were eliminated. Boo!
Thoughts on Kym & Alli’s Gamble
It was a gamble to go for the Fast Forward, especially considering they knew it would involve a bit of surfing. I think that having that 40-minute lead on Adam & Bethany and Misti & Jim gave Kym & Alli a bit of confidence. Obviously they very likely could have gotten lucky and made it, but 40 minutes is not a lot of time. I think Alli’s gut was the right call (obviously) as if they had pursued the main race path this leg, they would easily have stayed in the race. My biggest gripe is that this Fast Forward was COMPLETELY geared towards the strengths of just one of these teams: Adam & Bethany. That’s patently unfair to everyone else. If it had been something athletic but not also someone’s primary occupation – then I’d have been on board. But this was tailor-made to keep Adam & Bethany in the game. I’m biased in that I liked Kym & Alli FAR more than Adam & Bethany – but still. It’s some bullshit!
Alright, I know I sound a bit bitter about how the Fast Forward was blatantly up Adam & Bethany’s alley, and I still am. Yet I do recognize they have been outstanding competitors and have been fairly strategic with their use of advantages. And hell, Bethany has ONE ARM – and still is a beast in Roadblocks and Detours. So I do congratulate this team while still thinking that Fast Forward was a bit o’ bullshit.
Standings for this Leg:
Overall Standings for the Race:
- Leg 1 Recap | Leg 1 Bonus Clips (NYC to St. Thomas)
- Leg 2 Recap | Leg 2 Bonus Clips (St. Thomas to London & Oxford, England)
- Leg 3 Recap (Oxford, England to Shetland, UK)
- Leg 4 Recap (Shetland, UK to Copenhagen, Denmark)
- Leg 5 Recap (Copenhagen, Denmark to Marrakesh, Morocco)
- Leg 6 Recap (Marrakesh, Morocco)
- Leg 9 Recap (Malta to Singapore)