For its third season, there is little question to us that “The Amazing Race Australia” remains a good show. With that being said, there are still the occasional little things that keep it from being as great a show as it could be.
The biggest one this week was once again giving in to a familiar “Amazing Race” trope: Tasks that do not matter. Eating fried tarantulas in Cambodia was absolutely disgusting, and one of the few times in the entire series that we have actually looked away from the TV screen for a minute. What makes it worse is that it was useless. Unless you simply declined a task and took a time penalty, the equalizer that came afterward leveled the playing field. Why not have the equalizer first, and then the spider task? We understand the point of equalizers for the sake of keeping things dramatic, but you want to also make your tasks feel like something other than a waste of time.
The shame here is that this put a slight damper on a very cool leg. Going to Angkor Wat is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and of course many teams were down to cherish the moment as much as they possibly could. What makes Daniel & Ryan, for example, a likable team is that they are trying to enjoy every moment vs. just racing their butts off most of the time. Ironically, this philosophy has only put them a pace behind super-competitive John & Murray, who used their Express Pass at Angkor Wat and still finished second to Emily & Jono on the leg itself after breaking a rule in not settling a cab bill.
Strategically, we understand the idea of using your Express Pass at a time when you sorely need it, and given that they were not the first team at Angkor Wat, we understand the decision made there. However, we then question it later given that they probably would have figured out the puzzle guessing the right number of monks around the same time as the other teams, and if they picked the same Detour that they did, they probably would have been fine … even with a faux pas forgetting to pay their driver.
Speaking of smart race moves, Emily & Jono were wise to help weak team Aston & Christie, since you want to keep around people you think you can beat. We would’ve also told Cat & Jesse the answer for the monk task, given that they helped you and they are another team you could outrun in the end.
The end result of the leg is what makes us very sad, since it marks the end of Elizabeth & Todd’s glorious run at the title. Elizabeth was not a runner and was never going to win, but she was entertaining! Her rampant lying and sneakiness made her an outlier compared to past seasons of the show. The only reason she left was because she and her son chose the bad fishing detour versus leveling off a pool table. This was kind of an unbalanced detour in the first place, so we have no idea why anyone wanted to choose shrimp-catching in the first place (especially Ashleigh & Jarrod, who apparently have a pool table at home).
With this being said, the final three Aussie teams have potential to be in the running for some time, given that Ashleigh & Jarrod, Sally & Tyson, and Daniel & Ryan are all in good shape. Plus, we’ve got some weaker New Zealand teams still around. While the design of this season has been imperfect, we still salute the casting for getting this part of this very-great show right. Grade: B.
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Photo: Seven Network