Mar 15, 2009, Ep 4: Changing Perceptions

The Amazing Race 14 Insider, Episode 4: Changing Perceptions

AR14_Ep4Kris & Amanda are sure that Jen & Kisha (pictured) U-Turned them while other racers are realizing that Jen & Kisha are a force to be reckoned with. This week’s brutal leg along with the massive placement shifts lead many teams to reevaluate others too. Plus Phil gets to see some Russian breakdancing!

After the Race

Jaime’s Silent Partner: Cara tells us that the reason Jaime brought her along for The Amazing Race is because Jaime knew she’d need a softer personality with her. Cara realizes that Jaime would need her especially when Cara perhaps didn’t agree with Jaime’s conviction but Cara’s people skills could get the job done whereas Jaime’s wouldn’t. Cara is well aware that Jaime bosses her around but is okay with it as she’ll stand up to Jaime when it’s necessary. It’s just easier not to most times.

Cara used to consider those kinds of people who were unapologetic for their behavior and wonder why they’d be like that. Jaime is one of those people and as Cara has gotten to know her better, it has just become part of who Jaime is. It is mostly all about Jaime in Jaime’s world and she’s aware of it. It’s not Cara’s job to try to “fix” Jaime. At the end, Cara confesses she thinks she’s doing alright with it so far, but to me, it looks like a future outburst is looming.

Jen’s Attitude Problem: Jen freely admits that she has an attitude problem, but says it’s not a bad thing. She just refuses to talk to Kisha in the way that Kisha expects to be addressed. When Kisha gets upset about it, Jen just shuts up. But it’s quite clear by the emotions on her face if she’s upset and she won’t change her tune just to make someone happy. After Jen says her peace, Kisha declares that Jen is just rude. Kisha wishes Jen would treat her the way she treats everyone else. Jen says that she’s tried and Kisha’s reactions have always been negative. Wow, there was tension in that video! Didn’t they get second place this last leg?

Amanda & Kris’ Farewell: Amanda finds the whole experience to have been amazing and getting to travel with Kris was the one thing they hadn’t had a chance to do together. Further they never before had a chance to work as a team together, and Amanda had a chance to see Kris’ leadership shine through. Kris agrees with her assessment and noticed that there was also a chance for them to learn how to interact with each other in stressful situations. It was a true growing experience for the both of them.

Caught in the Middle: Victor praises Jodi & Christie’s strengths stemming from their airline background and is very impressed with their willingness to talk to anyone. Their outgoing nature has been beneficial as frequently Jodi & Christie will come back and share what they’ve learned with everyone. Tammy finds that she’s like the Blondes but Victor’s reluctance will influence Tammy to keep from interacting with strangers.

Victor has noticed that this edition of The Amazing Race has punished self-reliant teams. He brings up Brad & Victoria and how they ended up getting labeled as sneaky and conniving. Mark & Mike also come up as being know-it-alls and have a stigma, but Tammy interjects that they also tell really obvious lies. The Blondes seem to be getting a stigma for doing their own thing now, and Victor & Tammy recognize that when they did their own thing, they also got branded. Neither understand the distrust associated with the Blondes but Tammy isn’t willing to defend them in order to prevent too much association. Both do feel sorry for them about getting alienated, though.

Extra Race Footage

Pushing Their Limits: On the cab to the dam, Tammy explains that she & Victor are doing the race because of the truly special experience it is to travel the world. If that experience involves being sleep-deprived and a very compressed schedule, well, that’s part of the fun. Victor agrees that the race isn’t just about enjoying yourself but also pushing yourself to your limits. Both are amused that it’s only the beginning of Leg 4 and their limits have already been pushed. Tammy finds she needs to remain calm and prevent anxiety from taking over. She needs a cool head and Victor jokes she can stick her head out the window.

Warm-Blooded Lawyers: Continuing the cab ride from Pushing Their Limits, Victor talks about how he read that the temperature in California was 79 degrees. He knows that no one in their right mind would decide to just up and leave California for Siberia. After attending law school on the east coast for three years, Tammy vowed never to return to cold weather, but laughs that here she is in Siberia! They’re surprised how beautiful it is. To Victor it looks almost like out of a fairy tale, yet they both hope they don’t have to trek through the woods.

Victor doesn’t think it’s as cold as he expected and Tammy warns him that they don’t know yet what they have to do. If it’s a one-person “be cold” challenge, Victor pledges to do it. Tammy will get through it if both have to do something cold. Victor wanted to put his swim trunks on in the plane but it was too cramped. He guesses he’ll just have to swim in his boxers if it comes to that.

Lessons Learned: Right before they start Leg 4, Tammy has realized that it’s not a bad thing to hang back with the pack to see what they’re doing as the pack is still quite large. Another thing both have learned is to keep level-headed. Victor & Tammy have discussed how Tammy can work with Victor to make sure her point of view is heard. They’re glad they weren’t eliminated in the last leg as they got to work through communication issues. Victor believes the last leg was cathartic as after all that stress, they were able to work through it.

An Alliance of One: On the cab to the airport, Amanda reveals that before this leg started, they met with Mel & Mike and agreed to stick together this leg. It’s a three-hour drive to the airport so the concern is about getting the earliest plane tickets to Russia. Mel & Mike ended up pulling over at a service station to book tickets and Kris & Amanda followed. The alliance began at the beginning of the race at LAX when they were in the parking shuttle with Preston & Jennifer and Mel & Mike. They’re sad that Preston & Jennifer are gone but Mel & Mike are still around and at the end, Kris would rather be with people who aren’t schmucks.

Jen’s Evil Eye: Mel asks if Mike noticed that at the beginning of this leg that Jen was giving them the evil eye. Mike didn’t but believes him. It’s clear that when the race starts, Jen’s game face is on. Mike calls it a stink-eye and Mel interprets it as Jen conveying she will beat you no matter what.

Jen the Builder: Jen is good at building things while Kisha is good at organizing, so Jen found that the wood-stacking challenge worked well because of their combined skills. Kisha laughingly confirms this as it was Jen who put all of Kisha’s home furniture together. Kisha agrees that their combined strengths are a great asset.

Smoke Break: Kisha is running across a pitch-black environment and gets back to Jen and reports that the dam was the front part and this isn’t it. Jen guesses that if this isn’t it and Kisha saw something earlier, they’ll go there. Meanwhile, their cab driver is lighting up a cigarette and taking in the whole scene. As Kisha & Jen run back to the cab, he strolls to it and remains outside while enjoying his cigarette. As the camera stays on the cab driver, we hear Kisha: “Oh my gosh, is he smoking a cigarette? Oh hell no!”

Kisha opens the door and leans out to the driver and says, in her funniest Russian accent, “We’re ready.” Hilarious. Jen tries her best to keep Kisha from talking but Kisha persists and the driver gets back in. Back on the road, Kisha is certain her driver is unaware of the urgency of their situation and recalls his cigarette break. They’re now headed to the right place but can’t communicate without pictures as the driver continues to speak “his language.”

Jaime’s Tummy Turmoil: In the cab, Jaime is concerned as she doesn’t want to get carsick. Unfortunately whenever she sits in the middle seat, she always does and she is now sitting in the middle seat. She’s already thrown up once in her mouth and had to swallow it while riding in Switzerland. Cara grimaces and notes that’s very attractive. Jaime goes on and says she has her “Gag Bag.” Cara finds it funny that most assumed these two girls weren’t going to get dirty. Now she’s certain everyone would like them to stop being so disgusting.

Jaime finally can’t take it anymore and has to switch seats with Cara so she can feel the cool breeze. Jaime notes that she’s like a dog at the car window. Cara speculates that perhaps Jaime was a dog in her last life and that’s why she gets along so well with pooches.

At the Pit Stop

Short, But Sweet: Phil believes that the other teams were threatened by Kris & Amanda. Both are bummed at getting eliminated but they’re positive about it as Amanda is happy about what they were able to do. They never would have made it to Siberia before and Phil asks what they think about Siberia. Both find it to be an awesome place even if the circumstances aren’t desirable.

Phil asks what they wanted to get out of the race and Amanda replies they wanted to see the world together. Done! Kris admits to wanting to have seen more of it but is grateful for the opportunity. Are they more worldly now? For Kris it’s hard to explain but traveling helps you learn so much more. He thanks Phil for the opportunity. Kris & Amanda really are pretty cool and remind me a lot of Kris & Jon from a few seasons back. Asked about their relationship, Amanda is happy to have been able to work with Kris as a team. The experience has brought them closer.

Down But Not Out: Phil calls out Mark & Mike and asks if they’re going to get wimpy on him. He’s expecting them to get competitive and step it up. Mark & Mike say there’s no stopping them but Phil points out they’re second to last right now. Mark points out they’ve been see-sawing in the standings and using that logic, they’re bound to be higher-placed in the next leg. Phil asks if they’re ready to play the game hard. Mike compares themselves to bumblebees in that they’re cute on the outside but they’re very intimidating and have a bad sting. With all that tough-talking, Phil now expects them to go the distance.

Never Say Die: Phil asks what’s wrong with Mel as he looks exhausted. Mike responds that he’s not even sure he’s gonna make it! It has been a brutal day ever since the multiple flights taken to get to Moscow. The 36 hours it took to finally get to Siberia and not having had water for 10 hours has taken its toll. But as Mel says ironically, “no complaints.” Mike affirms this and just shows that you can never say die. The woodpile falling over nearly had them wanting to quit, but they persevered and found that other teams were in even worse shape than them.

Phil reminds them that everyone else racing has been going through the same brutal racing conditions too. Mel thinks it’s fair to play the old-man card. Phil isn’t having it. He does ask if they used the blind U-Turn. Mike says it wasn’t them but thinks it could have been used to protect them and keep them in the game. He’s not sure who would do that, but thinks that they’re just a lot of fun to keep around.

Apparently, last night they used some of their money to buy wine for everyone to share. Mel gave back rubs too. Mike will constantly buy treats for people in order to ensure people love him. Phil wonders if they truly want to win the race if they’re doing all this nice stuff for people. Mel & Mike just want to party with the teams in Siberia. Raise the roof!

Shake Your Groove Thing: Phil instructs Cara & Jaime to take their jackets off (wha…?) and show him their moves. He gets the Siberian dancers to encourage them and Cara & Jaime relent. Phil asks the conductor to start up some music. Phil positions the Reds up in the front line of the dancers and the music begins. With a knowing look at each other, and in perfect timing with each other and to the music, Cara & Jaime bust out some super cheerleading moves. At the end of the music, they get a hearty round of applause from the Siberian dancers.

After their performance, Phil asks how they feel. Cara is thrilled that they’re not second to last as they had expected. They’re happy to be in the middle, and Phil agrees that he likes them in the middle too. WHAT? This conversation definitely is taking on some hilarious subtext! Phil bets it’ll be something to see their excitement if they become team number one. Cara promises that if they are first, Phil will be treated to a kick-line and possibly a jump split. Because after that, if they have a million dollars, they won’t need to walk again. Phil admits that may push him over the edge.

Mom’s Got Game Too: Phil asks Margie how it is racing with Luke. She’s having a great time but Luke has had to constantly keep her motivated as it’s been a long two days. Phil asks Luke if he thinks the other teams are surprised by his competitive performance thus far. Luke thinks they are and really wants to show that deaf people can do absolutely everything. He’s proud of their accomplishments thus far and Phil believes he should be proud.

Asked about who is the most competitive team to watch out for, both Margie & Luke think Tammy & Victor are the ones to beat. Phil asks them about the blind U-Turn and they admit to having used it. Phil thinks it’s necessary to use every tool available to stay ahead. Margie agrees but says they used it more to protect the other teams they’ve been working with. They love Kris & Amanda but they’re just too strong of a team to race against. Margie was reluctant to use it and didn’t want to but Phil reminds her you have to do what you can to win.

Margie confesses that Luke is helping her to make the tougher decisions and because of that she’s becoming much more competitive. Luke applauds this as Margie is finally realizing she has to play dirty and mean. Phil signs to them, “strong team,” and Margie & Luke agree and high-five each other.

Siblings Storm Back: Tammy can’t believe she’s in Siberia after being an avowed warm-weather lover from California. Victor agrees and finds that Siberia isn’t nearly as inhospitable as everyone usually suspects it of being. Phil remarks that the last time he saw Victor, there were tears in his eyes. What has happened since then? Tammy & Victor are proud and feel they’ve earned this happiness. After their dismal performance in the last leg, their communication improved and they stopped being overconfident. They finally realized they needed to make smart moves and stay in the race as opposed to focusing on expanding on a lead.

Phil wonders if Tammy is more assertive with her hunches and thoughts. She says she is but that today she & Victor were much more in sync. She’s aware that the next leg could be a challenge but they’ll just work on it when they get there. Victor points out that they’ve also stopped being so isolationist and they’ve come to realize that they can work with the other teams more. Both have seen that they don’t know how to do everything well and teamwork amongst the racers helps.

Girl Power: Phil notes to Jen & Kisha and Jodi & Christie that this has been a particularly brutal leg with regards to traveling. Airline food has been their only source of sustenance and Phil wonders how the flight-attendant Blondes rate it thus far. Jodi & Christie think it hasn’t been that bad but they ended up sleeping through one of the airline meals so they’re really hungry now.

Phil asks if Jen & Kisha and Jodi & Christie have been neck-and-neck this entire leg. The Blondes say yes and Christie expands on it, saying that Jen & Kisha are a strong team who have integrity and a willingness to give others props on a job well done.

The blind U-Turn comes up next and Phil wonders why neither of them used it. Jen explains that it wouldn’t have really been “blind” if either of them had used it on the other, but Phil points out they could have used it on a way-behind team. Jen didn’t see the point in doing that but Phil reminds them they have to use the tools at their disposal. Jodi believes it wasn’t worth using yet as the teams behind were going to fight it out and of course during the rest period, the teams are going to ask each other about who used it. She’d prefer to not have a target on her back just yet.

Phil reminds them that no all-female team has won The Amazing Race yet. He asks if one of these two teams will be the first to cross the finish line. Going further, if it comes down to these two teams racing to the finish line, will they do whatever it takes to win? Jodi & Christie recognize that Jen & Kisha are faster than them (and a lot taller!). Phil speculates it could be a tunnel situation where Jodi & Christie’s smaller height could be an advantage.

Elimination Station

Kris & Amanda Eliminated: The moon rises on Elimination Station. The teams are sitting on the patio and this time they’re speculating on who they don’t want to see show up. Steve doesn’t want to see Mike & Mel but worries that it could be them because of Mel’s age and physical limitations. Everyone agrees he’s very smart though. Jennifer would love Kris & Amanda to show up but doesn’t expect that to happen. Victoria figures whoever it is will be someone that no one’s mentioned yet.

The van pulls into the driveway and everyone awaits who is going to step out of it. The front door opens and Kris & Amanda step through and Jennifer excitedly rushes over to welcome them. Preston gives Kris the bro-handshake while Amanda exclaims that they were U-Turned. Amanda & Kris explain they don’t know who did it since it was a blind U-Turn. After the excitement settles down, everyone huddles in to hear what happened. Kris & Amanda recall the whole leg from the flight to the wood pile to the window shutters thing and finally the blind U-Turn issue.

Steve asks who they think U-Turned them and they believe it was Jen & Kisha. Kris’ explanation that at dinner in Romania, everyone was eating together and the possibility of a U-Turn situation came up. Apparently everyone claimed they wouldn’t use it except Jen & Kisha, who declared they’d definitely use it. This rationale does make sense but it just turns out not to be true.

After catching up, Preston figures they want to get settled and shows them up to the sleeping quarters. Privately in their room, Kris & Amanda and Preston & Jennifer catch up and are excited to see each other. Preston brings up that Jennifer was hoping not to see them but only because she wanted them to win the race. Kris figured Preston & Jennifer were bored having to spend all this time with two older couples, which Jennifer definitely agrees with. Preston is thrilled to have Kris around as someone he can drink with, and the two immediately commence Shot Time.

That night, all the teams head out to celebrate a Thai holiday called Loy Krathong, which is when you ask for forgiveness from the sea and also make a wish. If you and your partner’s Krathongs float out into the sea and stay together, you will have lifelong good luck with your partner. Kris & Amanda’s stay together. Jennifer & Preston release theirs into the water and while dramatic music leads you to believe they’ll drift apart, they end up staying together too. Victoria notes that she’s happy that all four couples got to do this together. It makes me realize that there are no more couples left on the race!

They all then light this wick inside a light paper cylinder that floats away in to the night. It’s really cool to see and Brad comments that you’d create quite a UFO scare in Ohio if you released these in to the night sky there. Linda is happy to get this experience of other cultures. Steve mentions that since Kris & Amanda have arrived he’s loosened up considerably. Amanda tells us that she is happy to keep spirits high and hopes other teams don’t arrive and drag all their spirits down.

Phil’s Video Diary

Russia: Inside the Theater of Musical Comedy in Siberia, Phil comments that it’s nice to have an indoor Pit Stop. He’s currently surrounded by all the dancers who are hamming it up for the cameras. He is talking with them and gets the lead solo dancers Natasha and Vitali together. He asks if they’re the best and they confirm they’re the best at this particular dance but that others are the best in others. Phil asks how long they’ve been dancing and it’s been since they were six and seven years old. He finds out that everyone there is now between 16 and 18 years of age.

Phil had noticed some of the dancers breakdancing earlier and wants to see it again. The guys start into some fairly acrobatic moves and everyone cheers them on. One of the Russian boys shouts, “We are gymnasts! Word!” Awesome. The girls cheer on as the guys continue to do a lot of acrobatic dancing moves.

Apparently this interlude was a last-minute thing as all of a sudden Phil gets word a team is approaching. All the dancers are scrambling to get back into position and Phil seems a tad harried now. Phil shows us the path the teams will be running through the theater and then a countdown clock comes onscreen as a team approaches. As the last 17 seconds pass by until the team arrives, the camera pans by all of the dancers who wave and smile. With two seconds left, the camera points up quickly at the auditorium and a team comes in. The camera angle quickly changes as the camera looks to have been thrown under the stage. Later, Phil admits he had to do that as the team’s arrival was unexpected that quickly.

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