by pat howard

THE AMAZING RACE | 16×05: “I Think We’re Fighting the Germans, Right?”

In The Amazing Race on March 15, 2010 at 10:34 am

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve checked in on the teams, and this week’s episode is worth looking back on.

How about that battlefield detour? Is this the most elaborate Amazing Race staging area ever? We have to give them credit for not phoning it in during their 16th season. This Germany-to-France leg was another strong one for detectives Louie & Michael, who maintained their first-place lead the entire time and are therefore due for an upset, especially if U-Turn karma rears its head. They chose to send Heidi & Joe back for a seemingly impossible Morse code challenge. No one else even attempted it, so it’s difficult to gauge whether it was truly impossible or if Heidi & Joe got the worst case of roadblock block since that Globetrotter last fall.

A couple times each season, I am blown away by the editing team on this show because they manage to create such tension. The final act of this episode was tight, well-paced, and genuinely suspenseful. In a three-way race for last place, we truly didn’t know whether Brent & Caite, Jeff & Jordan, or Heidi & Joe would bring up the rear. I love being put on the edge of my seat, and I appreciate the occasions where this show can make that happen.

Jeff & Jordan’s last-place finish in the previous non-elimination leg all but guaranteed they’d make a comeback. If their Big Brother stint taught us anything, it’s that Jeff is at his best when the deck is stacked against him. They did remain at the back of the pack, mostly due to a second week of navigational mishaps, but due to that not-so-blind U-Turn, we’ll see them again next week. And we’re due for some racer bunching, either through an equalizing flight schedule or an attraction that opens at a certain time in the morning.

Seven teams remain, which means we’re nearing the season’s halfway point. I predict a fatigue-induced meltdown for Carol & Brandy, putting them out of the running; the same is possible for brothers Dan & Jordan. Brent & Caite continue to be baffling, coming across as especially out of it during interview segments. In a season that also includes Jeff & Jordan, it’s impossible to deny that ignorance can take you far, but in a leg where the teams were closer together, these two might not have been so lucky, penalty-wise. Then there’s Steve & Allie, who lost their allies Joe & Heidi this leg. Steve & Allie continue to be unmemorable after five episodes, which suggests to me that we won’t be seeing too much more of them; on the other hand, everyone will get more screen time as more teams get Philiminated.

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