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In another old-school Amazing Race episode, struggles to navigate permeate

In another old-school Amazing Race episode, struggles to navigate permeate
Claire, Derek, Luis, and Michelle look at a map together at the start of The Amazing Race 34 episode 8 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

The Amazing Race 34 opened with an ad for Expedia, and I don’t mean an actual commercial; instead, the episode began with host Phil Keoghan explaining that the teams would have to use the Expedia app to book hotel rooms.

Somehow, this was even less subtle than carrying previous sponsor Travelocity’s gnome mascot for an entire leg.

This acting challenge was not actually part of the leg, but I’m sure they would have all loved to keep the mobile phones to help them with navigation, because that was the real obstacle this episode.

Aubrey and David and their carefully folded map and well-organized race materials on The Amazing Race 34 episode 8 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Once again, having teams navigate themselves paid off in very satisfying ways, placing their fate in their own hands and steering wheels.

I’m sorry that so many teams got lost but oh, do I love that teams are responsible for their own issues. Bad cab drivers are ultimately just bad luck, but to me the race any time a cab driver was responsible for a team falling behind.

This began with a drive to Toulouse, France.

Michael and Marcus, leaving first along with Emily and Molly, attributed their success in the last episode to their navigation prowess, which of course meant they were about to misread signs and get stuck in traffic.

Luis and Michelle, and Derek and Claire, were the second group to depart, and collaborated on reading the map to find the one major highway they had to take. Yes, the route was basically a straight line. Of course, the real challenge was finding their way to that road, and then to locations in Toulouse.

Aubrey and David and their carefully folded map and well-organized race materials on The Amazing Race 34 episode 8
Aubrey and David and their carefully folded map and well-organized race materials on The Amazing Race 34 episode 8 (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Most of the navigation issues were little things, but those can build up. Quinton and Mattie turned the wrong way and ended up blocked by barriers, but convinced someone to lower them so they could get through.

Molly and made a wrong turn into a parking garage, and then couldn’t get out because the machine wouldn’t accept cash, and they don’t have credit cards. That may have been my favorite scene: such a small thing, but the compounding effects of a small error can really make travel unpleasant quickly.

Speaking of unpleasant: Aubrey and David’s navigation issues continued, with Aubrey looking at the map as if she was in an infomercial for a map-folding device (Tired of being unable to close your map?).

I was disturbed that Aubrey seemed to take the responsibility for their dysfunction during last week’s episode, telling us that they decided to “enjoy and speak nicely as David asked me to do.” Eek.A

But then it occurred to them to switch places in the car, with David navigating and Aubrey driving, and everything changed. “I’m really happy up here,” Aubrey said. “I’m living my best life.”

A blurry image of Quinton kicking a rugby ball, or as CBS called it, "Highest quality screengrab available"
A blurry image of Quinton kicking a rugby ball, or as CBS called it, “Highest quality screengrab available” (Image from Amazing Race via CBS)

Once the teams found the Roadblock, one person had to complete a drill with a rugby team that included rolling, throwing, and goaling with a rugby thing. (I am good at sports knowledge and writing.)

Molly tackled that, and while she struggled with kicking a goal, the six attempts it took her seemed rather impressive, until Luis and Claire showed up and kicked it through the goalposts on their very first tries.

The Detour was a choice memorizing six lines of a Victor Hugo poem in French, or laying bricks in an intricate pattern. The bricks seemed so much easier to me, but I don’t speak French. Derek does, though he’d never seen French like this.

While they did struggle, Claire found yet another successful strategy—just mapping English words and phrases onto the French ones—that worked. And sticking with the poem task led them to place first. They won a five-night trip for two to Bankok—I mean, they won Expedia reward points. SORRY EXPEDIA!

Marcus and Michael also finished the poem, but only after two teams finished brick laying: Luis and Michelle (who switched from the poem) and Emily and Molly.

The ended up placing second and third. Poor Molly was limping, and was in tears on the mat. I love them so much, and I am not at all prepared for a physical injury to take them out—and that was before I saw the preview for next week.

There was movement compared to last week among the top four teams, but the two teams in the last group remained the last two teams.

Would Aubrey and David’s newfound navigation skills help them? Would Mattie and Quinton’s navigation troubles eliminate them?

Mattie and Quinton arrived to the stadium as David and Aubrey were leaving the Roadblock, and then got caught in traffic, and they seemed way too far behind.

But some classic Amazing Race editing had me convinced they had a chance. We saw both teams running through streets and then along the shore of the river to the boat where Phil was waiting. It seemed like they were going to arrive at the same time. And then, nope.

Aubrey and David who arrived first, and Quinton and Mattie were nowhere to be found, and Aubrey and David were long gone from the mat by the time they arrived. Clearly, they’d fallen way behind, unable to come back.

Next week will add biking and boats, and more pain for Emily, which I also just hope is the editing of a promo tricking me into thinking they’re in real trouble.

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About the author

  • 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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Happy discussing!

NinjaWarriorFan

Monday 14th of November 2022

I know it's a TV show and they have to create drama, but I would love if in the post race confessional they said how far behind the team was.

Do you know if the losing teams travel with the production team or are they sent to the final destination?

Petr

Saturday 19th of November 2022

@NinjaWarriorFan, AFAIK, losing teams currently travel with the rest of the pack. Thats because they use charter now.