'The Amazing Race' Recap: U-Turned to Death
Bunching spells doom for one team and salvation for another
It's episode two! We begin exactly where we left off -- with Jet and Cord having been replaced by bizarro Jet and Cord, who, instead of being awesome at tasks, suck at them. "When we were doing the flag [challenge], everyone else was long gone," Jet says, and he is absolutely correct. As Jet comes up with the solution to last week's puzzle, Gary and Mallory, for example, are already trying to decipher (ineptly, it turns out) the next clue: "to sail to stop," back in Sydney. It's the jumping-off point for two charter flights, 30 minutes apart, to the Outback mining community of Broken Hill.
Some teams take cabs back to Sydney; other return on the ferry. None of this is incredibly dramatic expect for the absolutely sorrowful exchange between Mike and his 70-year-old father, who's struggling to keep up with the pace. "I don't want to kill you for some joy ride," Mike says. "I'll be responsible for my decision," Mel says. He's awesome, and I am very, very scared for him. Greg and Mallory squander their lead -- it's bananas, absolutely bananas, watching how some teams immediately, you know, find a computer and figure this out (Kisha and Jen and Zev and Justin, who arrive at the anchor first) and how others (ahem, Gary and Mallory) think they're going to somehow stumble upon it while walking through what is really quite a big city. Similarly versed in modern-day computer skills, Jaime and Cara and Margie and Luke sign in next, followed by Mel and Mike ("You're awesome," Mike tells Mel) and finally Kent and Vyxsin. That's flight #1 filled. The Globetrotters, Gary and Mallory, Ron and Christina, and Kris and Amanda take seats on the next flight.
Jet and Cord, meanwhile, struggle through the sailing challenge, which, you may remember from last week, involves yanking a clue off a buoy. After missed attempts, one of them advises: "Just run me right into it, if you don't mind." They check in with Phil and head back to Sydney -- but of course, absolutely none of this matters, thanks to the massive -- massive -- bunching of the charter flights. Jet and Cord finish around sunset -- so let's guess they have 12 hours to figure out "to sail to stop." Wow. Eh, I love the cowboys, but 12 hours?
The next morning, Mel is looking a bit livelier, thank goodness, and the teams are off to Broken Hill. They conduct themselves without too much hassle to the Outback site of The Living Desert, and all of them choose a task called Spirit World: make a mosaic, and then dance on top of it. This also takes place without either drama or hilarity, except when Kent runs around the complex yelling, "We need some children!" (To dance with. As it turns out, they didn't. "All you had to do is dance on top of [the mosaic,]" he concludes.) Everyone seems to finish fairy quickly -- especially Amanda and Kris, who were U Turned last week and need to do both tasks -- the second involves spitting on your hands. They finish this super quick, and they're just behind Ron and Christina on the way to "the home of the Magpies" -- the Central Football Club.
Zev and Justin are first up for the next task: Dress up like a kangaroo and decode -- or, er, identify -- two elements (Hg and Bi) on the Periodic Table. Turns out that Hg is mercury, Bi is bismuth, and this mining community has named many of its streets after the elements. Kent -- bonus points! -- identifies mercury from memory, and giant packs of teams, all dressed like kangaroos, set off for the intersection of Bismuth and Mercury -- and then to the Pitstop of Junction Mine. It's pretty straightforward, except for Margie briefly, and non-calamitously, losing a piece of her costume. Zev and Justin are first, followed the Globetrotters; the hugely helped Jet and Cord, who deserve an asterisk for their second-place finish; Kisha and Jen; Margie and Luke; Mel and Mike; Kent and Vyxsin; and Jaime and Cara.
It comes down to three teams: Gary and Mallory, Ron and Christina, and just slightly behind them, Kris and Amanda, who powered through their two tasks. The first two teams mount a short-lived joint effort, which collapses because Ron thinks Mallory's an idiot. "She's impulsive," Ron says. When they get to the intersection, Kris and Amanda are just behind the two bickering father-daughter teams. Mallory keeps darting off, and soon Ron and Christina set off on their own. Who's first to the mat, though? The impulsive one! Gary and Mallory check in for ninth place. Who will be next? It's ... Ron and Christina. Poor Amanda and Kris, twice done in by a U Turn. "We basically won the lottery twice," the ousted Kris says. "The experience of this is an opportunity of a lifetime." They went out with grace.