The first Double U-Turn of this season of The Amazing Race provided a heart-pounding episode. It also caused the end of road for one very likable and impressive team. In this episode of The Amazing Race, “Double U-Turn Ahead,” there is (obviously) another Double U-Turn. Sadly, like most sequels, it is a big ole dud. The U-Turn is used but in the most boring way possible, which by consequence, creates a dull episode.
The Amazing Conspiracy
The teams keep racing directly from the Norway Pit Stop and head to Milan, Italy. This is all thanks to the super “helpful,” “easy” and not at all clear product placement of the Travelocity app. Though The Amazing Race isn’t given the teams much down time this leg they do all manage to congregate at one point and decide that Ashton and Vanck must be U-Turned on this leg. Everyone on this season has decided that The Amazing Race is a very social game. It’s not a game where a bunch of sweaty Americans make fools of themselves across the world. (This is news to me.) Ashton and Vanck are not playing this social game and that means they must go.
In order for the teams to go ahead with their “Ashton and Vanck Plan,” they have to get to the U-Turn. Their first obstacle is the Roadblock. The designated team members must ride in a restaurant that is contained completely within a tram car. While riding and eating, they must find three red and yellow words along the route and repeat them to the clue giver. It’s a gorgeous challenge but with all the collusion going on, no one has much trouble with the task. Even if some words are missed, everyone works together so by the second go around, everyone has got it worked out.
After the Roadblock The Amazing Race decides to break up the teams by having everyone sleep the night and give them a staggered start in the morning. There are five minutes in between each team. This means that the last team to leave is 30 minutes behind the first which does suck, but The Amazing Race has had much larger staggered starts. The real issue though is that soon after the teams start racing the next morning the Double U-Turn is right by their next clue.
Tara and Joey are the first team arrive to the U-Turn but in their effort to not be the “bad guys” (or memorable at all) they don’t go about with the Ashton and Vanck plan. Instead, they leave it up to Liz and Michael. Liz and Michael U-Turn’s Ashton and Vanck but they are not done. Liz and Michael find Becca and Floyd and tell Team Fun to U-Turn them so no one but Vanck and Ashton will get U-Turned. If The Amazing Race is a social game, it’s not a very nice one.
Make a Mold or Grab a Hold
The conspiracy being successful everyone travels to the Detour. The choice is between “Make a Mold” and “Grab a Hold.” In “Make a Mold,” the teams must make a very creepy statue out of paper mache and a wire mold. One member sits inside the mold and the other does the molding. In “Grab a Hold,” one member of the team must climb a rock wall while the other member holds their rope and slack.
Heading to the Detour everyone but Ashton and Vanck, are feeling pretty pleased with themselves. Then Brooke makes her acquaintance with the rock wall and the good feelings crumble to dust. You might remember that in previous legs Brooke was very annoyingly confident that she could do climbing challenges better than her partner Scott. You might also remember that Brooke is the W-O-R-S-T.
It should come as no surprise then that although this rock wall looks pretty easy (certainly easier than anything Scott has had to scale this season) Brooke loses it. Brooke weeps and whines over the wall which creates a hilarious difference with rock climber Becca who has something of a sexual experience on the rock. Somehow Brooke’s weaknesses are also Scott’s fault. Though Scott is 20 feet below Brooke, he is supposed to tell her where to go and hold her literally every step up of the way. Scott deserves sainthood after this season because he could easily drop Brooke to her death and make it look like an accident but he doesn’t. He even encourages her in his sassy way.
Happily Ever After?
Ashton might be a little bit of snob and she certainly hasn’t been very kind to her severely awkward partner Vanck. Still, if there was anyone failing the social aspect of The Amazing Race it is whiny, snotty Brooke. Not that I’d wish that Brooke and Scott had been U-Turned because that means we’d robbed off more Scott who is a delight. He’s a sarcastic and snippy delight but a delight nonetheless. The point is that seeing Ashton and Vanck struggle isn’t satisfying. It is just sad.
The Double U-Turn is too much for Vanck and Ashton to handle. They are hopelessly in last place but for once they don’t turn on each other. Vanck and Ashton work well with one another. Ashton even tries to comfort Vanck at one point. (Vanck meanwhile remains a bit of a robot.) No kindness can fight the inevitable however. The two come in last and are eliminated from The Amazing Race.
So what did you think of Ashton and Vanck’s elimination? Was it fair and deserved or were they ganged up on by the other teams? Will you miss them? Should another team have been targeted? How do you feel about Scott and Brooke?