Dear producers of “The Amazing Race” franchise all around the world: This is how you make an incredible episode! The first half of this big “Australia vs. New Zealand” episode may very well contain some of the finest racing that we have ever seen since the series began in America so many years ago.
By this, we are specifically referring to the epic comeback that Daniel & Ryan made, as the two proved that the whole never-say-die attitude is important sometimes. A lesser team would have quit after falling behind in Namibia by an hour or so due to bad navigation, but these two were as calm as you would expect ICU nurses to be in a tough situation. They focused in, completed tasks quickly, and completely took advantage of the struggles of some other teams.
To make this all the more interesting, they were able to take advantage of the sudden debacle with Emily & Jono. The latter got so angry at John (of John & Murray) for insulting his sister that he forgot to take care of himself, and he became so dehydrated that he was barely functioning most of the leg. He cramped up time and time again, and we also got a sense from some of the Australian teams that they didn’t really want to help him. It’s actually interesting in a way; the edit made them more of the heroes than John & Murray, but we saw later that nobody hated these mates so much that they didn’t want to do an Intersection with them.
Still, we thought Emily & Jono were going to extremely far, and they fell victim to just one of the best comebacks in show history. The only thing that would have made this better in our eyes is if we actually saw the nurses pass the siblings before the finish line, which we didn’t. Still, an epic leg. Episode Grade: A.
There was another episode that aired immediately after this one, and it took the remaining teams to St. Petersburg, Russia. Was this the longest in-season flight that teams have ever taken? We cannot really think of one off the top of our head where teams went from one corner of the world to the next so quickly. The challenges in this episode themselves were good but not great; the dancing made for unintentional comedy, while watching someone solve a coat-check mystery was just as boring as hearing Sally & Tyson say that this sort of challenge suited them. (Really, and not something physical?)
The best part of the hour was the Intersection, mostly because it threw the teams into the world of espionage. It was a little unnecessary given that only two people still were participating in the task, though watching Ashleigh (of Ashleigh & Jarrod) having to work with John produced a few laughs.
At this point, it feels like Daniel & Ryan are the clear fan favorites, John & Murray (who finished first at the end) are the villains, and then you have some teams who are most likely not long for the race. Cat & Jesse and Carla & Hereni both seem like they don’t have much life left in them after this leg. John & Murray may be the only hope left for Team New Zealand, but are they getting anywhere close to a winners’ edit?
The biggest criticism that we can offer the show right now is merely two hours airing for it this week. Why not make the “To Be Continued” episode a part of a two-hour event next week? Unless Seven Network is just doing things like this here on out, we don’t really get having an elimination in the first hour and a cliffhanger in the second. Then again, we don’t really know a whole lot about Australian television. Episode Grade: B.
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Photo: Seven Network