This The Amazing Race 29 episode 2 review is going to get awkward — with that, it’s best not to shy away from it.
While Shamir & Sara may still be in the race, you have to start this review by looking at the story of what may be one of the biggest meltdowns we’ve seen on the show since one of the earlier seasons. It wasn’t Jonathan of Jonathan & Victoria bad, but it was bad. Here’s the breakdown — while on the Roadblock, which revolved around teams repelling down the side of a building to wash windows in Sao Paolo, Shamir repeatedly complained about discomfort in his nether regions — let’s keep it classy here, people. At one point, he claimed the pain was so bad that he went to an ambulance to have them checked out. It seemed like at one point he didn’t want to finish it, but he eventually did long enough for his team to stay in the race over Jessie & Francesca.
What struck us was just how angry he was at the Pit Stop — not at Sara, but obviously at production. We have a feeling that there were rants aplenty towards Phil and the crew that weren’t shown on the air where he felt like they gave him an intentionally painful task. Kudos to Phil for handling this so calmly, telling him that the pain down there is something that does come with repelling. We don’t want to minimize Shamir’s pain since we’re sure that it was there, but the Amazing Race crew tests this stuff on a ridiculous level to avoid any liability. They’re not going to give a team something to do that they haven’t tested time and time again. They’ve done more repel tasks than we can possibly count.
Our bitterness right now is over the fact that Shamir is obviously going to be a thorn in the side both to his teammate and production the rest of the season; meanwhile, Jessie & Francesca were a great story. They were the only all-female team, and they recovered from a conflict before they were even paired up to become really good friends. They were fun to watch. Unfortunately, they sunk their own ship after both arriving late (the show glossed over some of the differing flights down to the country, which is probably one of the reasons the show often provides flights these days) and then failing to see a clue that was almost right in front of their faces at one point.
Oh, and how did Shamir not get a penalty for breaking the window in the midst of him flipping out? While it was accidental, there are plenty of other instances where accidents, such as accidentally tampering with another team’s stuff, could get you in trouble.
Major kudos to two different teams this week. Liz & Michael and Vanck & Ashton last week both seemed destined to be the oddball fighting teams, but they were #1 and #2 on the board! Liz & Michael were perhaps the most impressive given that they aren’t obvious physical racers, and they recovered from being the third flight in to finishing first. they utilized their skills really well on both the Detour and the Roadblock and didn’t get lost.
There were a whole heap of forgettable teams in the middle of the pack, but an interesting story to follow here is the conflict between Vanck & Ashton and Matt & Redmond. Ashton in particular was mad (Vanck seems pretty chill about everything) over Matt & Redmond lying to them about a deal they’d struck at the start of the race. If these two guys are okay with reneging on a deal this early, imagine down the road. It was pretty stupid on the guys’ part given that there are U-Turns ahead and they are an obvious target as the only all-male team. Is getting first place important enough to make yourselves vulnerable to U-Turns? Because of flights and other things, you’re not always going to be at the front of the pack. This week, they were in third.
Meanwhile, one other interesting thing to follow is Brooke & Scott (6th place) and their attempt at stability. They argued at length last week, and this time it looked like things were getting rough after Brooke hurt her elbow and they were highly stressed-out yet again. However, it was almost like after that, Scott took things down a peg and worked to take care of his teammate. It was a more considerate side of him, and if that continues, they could be a better team (kudos to him for facing his fear of heights and doing the Roadblock in order to give her a break).
A compelling episode
We won’t deny that Shamir’s meltdown made for good, interesting television, though we would prefer a more positive team stuck around. Even if the tasks themselves were somewhat ho-hum, putting such good characters around them with great drama elevated them to a higher level. Grade: B+.
What did you think about this Amazing Race 29 episode, and some of Shamir’s reactions? Share in the comments!
Meanwhile, be sure to head over here to get some further coverage of the show. (Photo: CBS.)