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Relationship goals on Amazing Race: even in a ditch, one team had just the best time!

Relationship goals on Amazing Race: even in a ditch, one team had just the best time!
Glenda and Lumumba's car in a ditch during The Amazing Race 34 episode 7 (Image from Amazing Race)

The Amazing Race 34 settled into its new timeslot following Survivor and took us to France, where in episode 7, two couples handled the journey between castles very differently.

At the first castle in Dordogne, France, teams learned they’d be driving themselves to another castle. There, they faced their Roadblock: a rappel down the castle wall, followed by a memorization task.

“All I’ve been waiting for is something crazy like this, and I finally got it,” Michelle said, and seconds later said “panic attack” when she saw the massive family tree. But thankfully, they didn’t have to memorize it, just match five crests to names, using that wall as a cheat sheet. They didn’t really know that, though, until they’d rappelled once.

When teams were walking up the path to Roadblock castle, we had an aerial view that made the five crests on the side of the building very clear, and I’m curious if they were able to see them or not on their walk up.

Phil Keoghan shows the Roadblock's cheat sheet on The Amazing Race 34 episode 7
Phil Keoghan shows the Roadblock’s cheat sheet on The Amazing Race 34 episode 7 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

That the rappel was just part of the path they had to take was surprising. “I figured there’d be something on the wall on the way down,” Michael said. Me too!

After he came down the first time, Michael went the wrong way at the castle, and then after completing the task, forgot the car keys and his sunglasses, and they had to climb all the way back up into the castle.

After that, they drove to a forested location for their Detour: walnut smashing or medieval games. (I imagine nut smashing would fall under medieval torture.)

If you have not watched the episode, please go watch at least the beginning of that task, where Marcus and Michael are directed to go gather walnuts in a walnut grove, and one of them says, “What does the walnut grove look like?” while standing literally in the middle of a walnut grove.

Marcus and Michael milk nuts during the Detour on The Amazing Race 34 episode 7
Marcus and Michael milk nuts during the Detour on The Amazing Race 34 episode 7 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Derek and Claire decided to leave the nut squeeze to play the games instead, thinking they could get ahead. That’s an interesting strategy, and they burned through the first two games.

The hardest, though, was a vertical ball maze that involves both dexterity and communication. The person guiding the ball around the holes couldn’t see the front, and honestly, to me it looked it would have been challenging for one person to do while looking at it. But Derek and Claire made impressive work of it.

Finally, teams drove to another castle, where Phil Keoghan showed off the view by saying, “the last to arrive will remember this majestic spot as the place they were eliminated.” Such a romantic, Phil Keoghan!

Marcus and Michael came in first, winning $7,500 each. Phil said they could enjoy that “after the race,” i.e. you’ll have to wait a while for that check. Emily and Molly arrived as they were leaving the mat, with Derek and Claire arriving seconds behind, and Luis and Michelle just after them.

The stress of The Amazing Race sets in

Aubrey and David attempt to navigate through France on The Amazing Race 34. Not pictured: David trying to explain navigation
Aubrey and David attempt to navigate through France on The Amazing Race 34. Not pictured: David trying to explain navigation. (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

This leg was, yet again, Roadblock –> Detour –> Pit Stop. While I miss more-complex legs, the navigation did present a third challenge, and was an example of classic Amazing Race showing how the stress of travel can affect people.

It’s not unlike like the classic early-date test: go canoeing with your date, and if one of you doesn’t drown the other one after whacking them with a paddle, you’re in for a great time.

What was amazing was that the couple with the shittiest leg had the best time, and the couple that was safe seemed miserable.

To be fair, a lot of the teams had a great time. Luis and Michelle sang Amazing Race music and the editors played it along with them; Derek and Claire got lost with friends. (“If we get lost, we bring them with us,” Derek told Claire, and he’s not wrong.)

However, the editing suggested Aubrey and David had non-stop navigation troubles, and when David was condescending, Aubrey’s frustration was clear: “Go ahead and show me where that is, David,” she said when they pulled over to look at the map.

Later, David tried to backseat drive from the front seat yet again, and while they were arguing, told Aubrey she should “give better directions.” She gave a look to the camera that was worthy of The Office. We’re not talking Jonathan and Victoria here, but their communication wasn’t the best in stressful situations.

Meanwhile, after last episode’s non-non-elimination, Glenda and Lumumba started 45 minutes behind, but had their usual good cheer and gratefulness for the experience and each other. They may not be the best at this race, but they’re pretty spectacular as a couple and as people.

As Lumumba climbed to the top of the castle for the Roadblock, he marveled at the scenery (“wow, this is gorgeous”) while Glenda was very concerned about keeping his walnuts safe (“I need him protected because we’re trying for a baby as we speak,” she told us, and then shouted up to him: “Careful, babe! I need those swimmers working”).

They literally had fun while crashing their car and being rescued by Amazing Race security and some locals.

After going down a side road, Glenda had to turn around, and backed the SUV into a ditch. “Oh my god—I’m sorry, y’all,” she said as we saw the car with its front passenger tire sticking in the air.

An Amazing Race security person, their audio engineer, and a local helped stabilize the car as they got out, and incredibly, one neighbor called another neighbor, who pulled them out within five minutes, and they and their car were completely unscathed.

“I went head over heels for this woman twice,” Lumumba said. Glenda said, “We are more in love with each other, we are more appreciative of each other, so for us it did what it was supposed to do.”

The Amazing Race did, too, showing that they can handle stress and pressure in such a graceful way. I’ll miss them!

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About the author

  • Andy Dehnart

    Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.

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Thursday 3rd of November 2022

This was, for me, probably the first truly great leg of this season. I thought that roadblock was fantastic (stunning setting, nice mix of physical and mental challenge) and finally something that reminded me of some of the show in its glory days. And it was so nice to have travel drama again! The constant confusion of the drives made the outcome much more interesting, though it's remarkable that four teams all arrived essentially in a tie. The neighbor showing up with a tractor to rescue Glenda and Lumumba's car was "The Amazing Race" as its best, capturing the unexpected magic of travel. I will definitely miss them as well. They were so charming. It's too bad they couldn't keep it together after those first two legs.

Bad Mitten

Friday 4th of November 2022

@AK, I really enjoyed this episode too! Even though there were no stakes and it was pretty obvious who was going home