Jet and Cord’s come-from-behind first-place finish not quite “unbelievable”

Upon arriving at the Roadblock and seeing Jet and Cord leave to go check in first at the pit stop, Carol asked Brandy, “How could they be that far ahead?”

That’s a fantastic question, considering they went from last to first despite having a Speedbump to complete; that was an The Amazing Race first, as Phil explained when they checked in, calling it “unbelievable.” Perhaps even more impressively, Jet and Cord left the airport behind other teams and lost their cab in addition to the extra challenge, yet were still easily in first place.

As much as coming from behind is a great story—the cowboys were nearly eliminated last week—they have the structure of the episode to thank more than their own hard work. So the answer to Carol’s question is not really perseverance, it’s lame challenges. Again.

Their Speedbump was completely ridiculous, the Roadblock was simple, and the two Detour tasks were severely imbalanced, though all the teams except Jet and Cord chose the one that actually took longer because they thought it’d be easier. The cowboys did do a lot right, like not freaking out when they lost their cab and couldn’t find another one, but that problem would have been more costly in a more challenging leg.

That said, this episode was somewhat better than previous ones, in part because a lot of little unpredictable things and consequential decisions—like getting out of a cab to run—made some difference and provided drama as teams jockeyed for position.

  • The big mystery of last week—would Steve and Allie go back to get their backpacks after checking in?—was solved when Allie revealed that they only had “the clothes on our back.” I’m sure the production has their bags, but it wouldn’t really be fair to give them back during the race, since they opted not to return—though in hindsight, since it was a nonelimination leg, it wouldn’t have mattered.
  • Louie said, “I’ve trained my wolf cubs,” and it turned out he was talking about Caite and Brent, as the four of them united against Carol and Brandy. Mike and Louie understand that the lesbian team is a threat, while Caite probably doesn’t know what the word threat means, but she was ready to “U-Turn the shit out of them.”
  • “Hard man to fill his pants,” Steve said of one of the detectives, who gave him some Under Armour boxer briefs.
  • All the teams had the same ferry and flight, and on board the plane, Jet said, “Right now we’re tied for sixth.” Cord added, awesomely, “and first.”
  • At the airport in Malaysia, Caite revealed that she and Brent “smoked all of the other teams.” That’s impressive and must have required some talent, because she and Brent managed to do that and get to their cab first.
  • There was a sufficient amount of cab intrigue this episode, which I’ll take over airport intrigue any day. “The cabs keep going back and forth,” Carol said as one overtook another and then lost its position seconds later.
  • At the Detour task, Brent said, “I wish God would turn on the air conditioning.” Well, I wish God would smite stupid people, so I guess both of our prayers are going unanswered.
  • In a traffic jam, Steve and Allie decided to jump out of their cab and run, because their driver said it was feasible. The brothers did the same thing. That kind of moment makes the race great: Stay in the cab and risk being left behind, like Mike and Louie did? Or run and risk getting lost or exhausted? For the teams that left their cabs, it turned out to be a bad call: “Of course we have to run up a hill. This was stupid,” Steve said. But it was smart that he told his cab to meet them there, so they met their cab as it drove past.
  • Lamenting their decision to leave their cab, Jordan told Dan, “I don’t want to walk by foot.” Did he really think walking by hand would have been easier?
  • Steve asked their cab driver if he knew where the destination was, and the driver said, “I don’t know.” Steve couldn’t hear and asked again, and then the cab driver changed his story, saying, “No problem.” Actually: huge problem.
  • “Everyone that’s got wrong opinions, screw them,” Brent said. No worries: Those of us with wrong opinions can’t understand your grammatically challenged nonsense anyway.
  • One of the Detour tasks had the teams “balancing the 32-foot poles on their forehead,” as Phil explained, and the cowboys found that to be relatively easy. But the only other team to go there, Steve and Allie, didn’t have such an easy time. Then again, Allie gave up before even trying: “I cannot do that,” she said.
  • Carol and Brandy checked in after breezing through the leg, and Phil tried to amuse himself by being silent. Carol said, “Waiting for the eyebrow to go up,” and since Phil was still quiet, started saying his line for him: “Carol and Brandy, you are, team number…” That’s when Phil help up two fingers in the shape of a vagina—how rude.
  • Steve and Allie got eliminated. I kind of don’t care, but it was nice that Steve said that his time on the race with his daughter “jumped ahead of” the experience of winning a World Series.

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