Inside TV+Movies with Daniel Fienberg

Recap: 'The Amazing Race' - 'Loose Lips Sink Ships'

Water, water everywhere. That's a bad thing if you hate water.

<p>Katie and Max of &quot;The Amazing Race&quot;</p>

Katie and Max of "The Amazing Race"

Credit: CBS
You'll have to tell me, fellow "Amazing Race" fans: Was Sunday (February 24) night's episode really, really lame and anti-climactic or did it only feel lame to this recapper who had to watch the episode after seven-ish hours of consecutive tweeting and live-blogging of the Oscars and really might have preferred to just to to sleep, rather than dealing with an "Amazing Race" Leg with little travel, a couple uninspired challenges and a lot of whining? I mean, I'd like to think that even in my exhausted state, I would have enjoyed a GOOD episode of "The Amazing Race," but this didn't feel like one of those to me.
 
Or am I wrong? 
 
Click through and I'm gonna run through the episode as quickly as possible. 
 
Imagine that you're Superman and you've entered a World's Strongest Man competition. You're prepared to flip tractor tires and drag busses and flip bales of hay around like they're nothing. And you get to the World's Strongest Man competition and you look off into the distance -- you can do that because you're Superman -- and you see that the later rounds are all set up with the tires and the busses and the hay. It just so happens that the first round is hula-hooping with a ring made of kryptonite. Hula-hooping isn't really a test of strength and it's not going to prove difficult for anybody else, but darned if kryptonite isn't... well... it's your kryptonite! So it doesn't matter how much you're going to dominate everything later in the competition, because if you got your kryptonite in the first round, well... that's it. 
 
Twin Gynos Idries & Jamil happened to get their kryptonite in the first two Legs of "The Amazing Race," so it doesn't matter if we suspect they might have been awesome later on... They're done. Unfortunately for them and unfortunately for the drama of the show, it's not like they were done in by something unforeseen. This is like if Superman decided to do a World's Strongest Man competition, but it wasn't just any World's Strongest Man competition, it was Kryptonite Brand Green Kryptonite Presents The World's Strongest Man. It's like, "Dude. Superman. Couldn't you choose literally ANY other strength-based competition? Because in this particularly competition, I can't feel sympathies for you, because you kinda had to know it was coming."
 
Team Dead Ringers' kryptonite wasn't a "Geez, who ever would have guessed *that* would come into play?" out-of-left-field obstacle. It was just water. You know how people wonder why The Wicked Witch of the West, knowing that water was the only thing that could melt her, would decide to stage a climactic showdown with a worthy adversary, a known witch-killer, in a room with a large bucket of water? Yeah. That kinda thing. "The Amazing Race" has water-based tasks. It's just something the show has. Sometimes they're early. Sometimes they're late. Sometimes you get lucky and it'll be a Roadblock and only one person on your team will have to deal with the water, or it will be a Detour and you can skip the water and do something more terrestrial. But you know water is coming. At some point. Just like you know you're eventually going to have to have at least one person in your pairing who can drive a stick-shift. So if you end up being eliminated by something that was inevitable, you really were just living on borrowed time. And if you're just living on borrowed time, surely there's a team that didn't make it onto the Race that would have been willing or able to give full effort. 
 
Yeah. I just don't know what to do with Idries & Jamil, because they really weren't a team that was able to compete on "The Amazing Race" this season  and yet they kicked around for two episodes of inevitability once they got the initial instructions telling them to go to Bora Bora. And that just meant Sunday's episode was an inexorable ticking clock, because there were 10 teams on the Leg and one team wasn't able to compete. Watching this episode, I felt a bit bad for Team Dead Ringers, but I weirdly felt worse for Matt & Daniel, who were eliminated last week, but might have been terrific in this week's episode. They probably wouldn't have been, mind you. They didn't seem good at things. But Idries and Jamil... Jeez.
 
The Leg began with the first eight teams equalized before taking a water taxi to the Detour. The choice? Pick a Pearl or Take a Trunk. This was not a good Detour. In Pick a Pearl, teams had to dive to a very shallow depth, collect oysters, shuck them and find two red pearls. The exact logistics of how many oysters were available and how many red pearls was never discussed. In Take a Trunk, teams had to put on a diving helmet, find a treasure trunk, take it to an underwater umbrella and construct an underwater picnic dining experience. Huh? Exactly. From the initial group of eight teams, seven choice Pick a Pearl and Roller Derby Moms Beth & Mona did Take a Trunk, because they thought opening oysters would be hard.
 
Team Cancer, Dave and Connor, got out first heading for Pearl, but they failed to read the clue and didn't bring their diving equipment, so they went from first to last, but then they completed the task in third or fourth because if you could swim, it wasn't a hard or really interesting task. Nobody had an "approach" or a "strategy." If you could swim and dive, you just collected oysters and found the pearls eventually. If you couldn't swim or dive... Well... You were Team Dead Ringers.
 
Very quickly, Jamil just wanted to quit and take a six-hour penalty. Idries insisted they keep going. Jamil struggled in the water and had to be helped by the rescue team. Etc. It was hard to watch, but it was also hard to sympathize for two reasons: The first is that I just don't think you should go on "The Amazing Race" if you lack certain proficiencies that could get you killed. I know why the "Amazing Race" producers let people who can't swim on the Race. It's been good drama in the past. But this wasn't good drama. It was a lot of talk about quitting. But oddly, and this is the second reason, Idries & Jamil kept talking about quitting, but they didn't talk about trying the other task for a long, long, long, long time. They got to the other task and it was easy and the diving suit kept Jamil from experience his true fear, the whole "breathing" thing. But by then it was too late.
 
By then, Newlyweds Katie & Max and Country Blondes Caroline & Jen had already taken their penalty and been 90 minutes behind the other teams, chosen to do the Trunk Detour in order to keep an eye on each other and finished it. They caught up and moved ahead of Pam & Winnie, because while the African-Americans were being frustrated by their inability to swim, the Asian girls were getting frustrated by their navigational and driving abilities (on a water craft). Who says "The Amazing Race" is about breaking stereotypes?
 
Oh. There was a Raodblock, too? Kinda. One player from each team had to get on stilts and kick a coconut across the beach 35 yards. I absolutely know why this wasn't easy. It also wasn't good TV. Anthony was good at it and the Hockey Brothers finished first for the Leg. Connor was reasonably good at it and Team Cancer was second, but Daddy Dave hurt himself running to the mat and... we don't know his fate. John & Jessica were third and they seemed content to have Team Cancer depart, to free them from the Fight Club Alliance with the second Express Pass. 
 
Drama in the Roadblock included... Joey falling down a couple times, Pam getting a blister on her foot and Caroline being surprisingly good at stilt-soccer. 
 
Shrug.
 
Did I miss something appealing about this episode? It was very beautiful. I totally want to go to Bora Bora. In that respect, it was nice that I got to watch it in HD on my nice TV post-Oscars, rather than early on my so-so computer. Otherwise? Nothing. I don't like anybody any more than I did when we started the hour, nor am I impressed more by anybody. Other than Caroline, I mean. If the rest of this Race is nothing by stilt-soccer, the Country Blondes are a force to be reckoned with.
 
Other thoughts on Sunday's episode:
 
*** I'm really tired. The Oscars are exhausting. That sounds bratty and spoiled. I understand. Apologies. 
 
*** Just you watch: There won't be another water-based task all season. Team Dead Ringers is just gonna watch and grumble for three months. 
 
*** The title of this episode was "Loose Lips Sink Ships." I guess John must have said that to Team Cancer, because they really want other teams to kiss their butts for that Express Pass. Otherwise, there's no value to keeping a one-time alliance secret. Who would care? I just wanted to bring up the title of the episode in case you thought, "Did anybody say anything memorable in the full hour?" The answer is "No."
 
Anyway... That's it for me tonight. What were the awesome moments that I missed?
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Daniel Fienberg
Executive Editor
A long-time member of the TCA Board and a longer-time blogger of "American Idol," Dan Fienberg writes about TV, except for when he writes about movies or sometimes writes about the Red Sox. But never music. He would sound stupid talking about music.
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