'The Amazing Race': Marching to the beat of a different drummer
The five remaining teams left behind Penang, Malaysia, on this week's episode of "The Amazing Race" for a leg in Singapore that tested the teams' abilities to count and count out beats but also proved just how each of them truly marches to the beat of a different drummer.
Brothers Dan and Jordan seem to be playing the race for themselves and not getting mired in inter-team conflicts or hostilities. This week, they even went so far as to agree not to elbow the other teams or hold anyone back. They're playing for the shared experience and the sense of adventure and aren't focusing on anyone else's game other than their own.
Similarly, brothers Jet and Cord are looking to win but their calm, aw shucks attitude has colored everything they've done on the race. Supportive, understanding and cool under pressure, these two have mastered the art of gamesmanship without resorting to dirty tricks. They're cowboy gentlemen, through and through.
Carol and Brandy are hyper-competitive. They're focused on winning above all else, but they're so distracted by the other teams--particularly the cowboys--that they're not really running the best race. Still, even they're confused about why the other teams view them as a threat.
The cops are trying to just do their best, even when the race gives them lemons. Or ice cream sandwiches. Their friendship hasn't been tested by their time on "The Amazing Race" and they've shown themselves to be steadfast friends and good competitors, especially in the second half of the season. They're adaptive and resourceful (even going so far as to attempt to steal the ladies' cab this week), though they seem to be far too willing to get to the end with teams that they like rather than weeding out the competition. That could prove to be their downfall.
And then there's couple Brent and Caite--or as Brandy dubbed them, "Brent and Caite Gump"--who have fallen prey to the cops' fatherly attitude and been brainwashed into thinking that U-Turning Brandy and Carol is the end-all-be-all of the entire race. Nevermind that the cowboys or the brothers are far fiercer competition. But these two clueless models have been so upset by the comments that the lesbians made early on that they've let their insipid rivalry with them overtake everything else.
I have to say that I'm really surprised that Brent and Caite made it this far in the race, but they clearly don't realize that they've been manipulated by the cops into eliminating Brandy and Carol, rather than them. While Michael and Louie might call them their "wolf cubs," I don't think the cops would have taken the two of them under their wings quite so readily if it had been, say, Brent and another dude.
Could Brent and Caite have altered the outcome of this season by U-Turning another team? Hell yes. They could have--and should have--U-Turned the cowboys, thus all but ensuring that they would be eliminated this week. (I'm glad they didn't though, as I'm rooting for Jet and Cord to win the race.) Or they could have betrayed Michael and Louie and got them out of the race too. But they didn't. Are these two naive? Or just plain stupid?
Carol and Brandy certainly thought it was the latter. Even they were stunned that Brent and Caite would waste the second of only two U-Turns on them this week. Among their theories: that Caite did it because Brandy is "prettier than she is" and because Caite "hasn't built her career on intelligence." (I'll agree with the latter but not the former.) U-Turning Brandy and Carol, the models ended up finishing second this leg. (Whah!??!)
Getting U-Turned seemed to sap the strength of Carol and Brandy, reducing them to little more than sniping by the time they had to do the other half of the Detour this week. Seeing Carol say "There's no swine flu" when attempting to sell ice cream sandwiches to local Singaporeans was pretty darn depressing. And there was no way that they were going to catch up to the other teams when there was still a Road Block (involving counting the number of links in a massive chain at the shipyard), a mega-zip line (soaring over 1,200 feet), and then a race to the Pit Stop. So it was no surprise that they were eliminated, with a few choice words pointed at Brent and Caite for good measure.
On the other end of the spectrum, Dan and Jordan overcame a fear of heights to tackle the Fast Forward, which involved riding the Singapore Flier to its height and then exiting the car and climbing to an adjacent car, high above the city. Jordan bravely pushed through a crippling fear of heights and Dan easily accomplished the task, leaving them with a first-place finish and a pair of motorbikes, which will likely remain in the garage. ("Our mother would kill us," said Jordan in all seriousness.)
While the cops attempted to fulfill the Fast Forward, they got there too late to do so and had to turn around. Still, they managed to remain ahead of Brandy and Carol and finish the roadblock just after Jet and Cord, with the cowboys finishing third and the cops fourth.
I was glad to see the cowboys end up in the middle of the pack, rather than the bottom after their disastrous performance in the drumming Detour. Though with their trademark self-deprecating humor, Jet admitted that the "closest thing to a musical instrument that we play is a radio." Aw.
Four teams remain, but we'll have to wait two weeks to see just what happens next. Me, I'm still rooting for Jet and Cord to win this thing, and I'd honestly be very happy to see any of the teams end up in the final three. Other than Brent and Caite, that is. Those two have got to go, and soon. Can I get a drumroll?
What did you think of this week's episode? Happy or sad to see Brandy and Carol go? Who are you rooting for now that we've only got four teams left? And who will go home next? Head to the comments section to discuss.
-- Jace Lacob (Follow my musings on television, food and more television on Twitter at @televisionary)
Photo: Brandy and Carol, smiling rather than bickering, on "The Amazing Race." Credit: CBS / Monty Brinton.