Well, this episode was…unexceptional. Other than some smart U-Turn usage, I don’t know that there was anything all that exciting this week. Although I did like the basketball game–that was more fun to watch than the tasks were.
Stuck in the Desert and Officially Detained - or, Philiminated with extreme prejudice.
Amanda & Kris and Mel & Mike - Already eliminated.
Jaime & Cara (down from “Stopping”) - While I sympathize with Jaime & Cara for being on the wrong end of a U-Turn, it was the Roadblock that really doomed this team. And I’m a little conflicted about that, but only a little. Lifting fairly bulky pieces of plywood and hammering them into place is going to be far easier for someone like Jet or Big Easy, who has well-developed upper-body strength, than it is for someone like Christina or Jaime. On the other hand, it’s also far easier for someone like Jet or Big Easy, who put the thing together right to begin with, than it is for someone like Christina or Jaime, who didn’t. In any case, Jaime & Cara were on the losing end of too many things this episode, and away they go.
Flat Tire - or, not likely to get anywhere soon.
Ron & Christina (holding steady) - Yeah, Ron & Christina did OK the last couple weeks, but they finish seventh here in China, where they should have a substantial language advantage. I can see them sticking in the race for a few more legs, but I still think they’re the weakest team left.
Stopping for Gas - or, not broken-down, exactly, but not a good sign.
Kent & Vyxsin (shifted from “Drawing Chalk Circles”) - Despite their horrible no-good leg last week, Kent & Vyxsin were saved by the miracle known as “being featured in the previews.” Well, that and the bunching point that pretty much rendered the entire previous leg moot, save for Kent & Vyxsin’s 30-minute penalty. Still, they raced hard, never gave up, and turned in a credible performance that had them finishing far from any elimination risk. I’d also like to commend them on a smart use of the U-Turn, as well as the realization that they’d better keep quiet about it. No particular animosity toward Jaime & Cara, nor any convoluted stategy, it was just the realization that they needed to ensure someone was 30+ minutes behind them, and the only team they were sure enough about was Jaime & Cara.
"Rapido! Por Favor?" - or, making meaningless ineffectual comments from the back seat, but in no immediate danger.
Margie & Luke (holding steady) - I think it’s a good thing that Margie did the Roadblock for this team–I can just imagine Luke getting really frustrated when he put the dino together wrong. However, they wind up with another top-three finish, and I can easily see this teeam as a dark-horse final three candidate.
Zev & Justin (down from “Passing”) - Oof. After three tremendous (and frankly, to me, unexpected) legs, Zev & Justin now have two in a row where they’ve finished only one step ahead of last place (which, frankly again, is what I originally expected from this team). Now I’m not really sure what to think of them. On the one hand, I suppose it’s taxi trouble that really dropped Zev & Justin this week, but I’m getting suspicious. We’ll see how they perform next wek.
In the Passing Lane - or, ahead of the pack, but not quite comfortably.
Jet & Cord (up from “Rapido!”) - Unlike Zev & Justin, the cowboys are clicking. They didn’t really have any navigation problems, and Jet played the Roadblock smart by making sure his construction was correct from the get-go. Maybe that means they’re the favorite again, but there’s still a lot of racing to be done.So while other teams were disassembling their dinosaurs, Jet & Cord wind up in first place.
Kisha & Jen (holding steady) - Kisha & Jen are quietly racking up a series of upper-middle finishes. They haven’t come close to first place, but neither have they come close to elimination.
Flight Time & Big Easy (holding steady) - Despite being in last place and then being U-Turned, the Globetrotters pull off a sixth-place finish, comfortably ahead of three other teams. The Globetrotters haven’t really been dominating this season, and I wonder if its time to drop them a notch in the rankings.
Gary & Mallory (holding steady) - Gary & Mallory use their Express pass this episode. I think that. if Gary had chosen to do the Roadblock, they would have been all right, but it was a prett reasonable decision to use the pass, and if nothing else Gary & Mallory start the next leg a little more refreshed than they otherwise would have been. They nab a second place this leg, which makes them the only team with 4 top-three finishes this season (and only one other team, Jey & Cord, have 3 top-three finishes). So I’ll keep them ranked here at the top.
Cruisin’ with Earl - or, drivin’ on the shoulder, takin’ shortcuts, and generally kickin’ butt.
[sub]Props to Mullinator and his Raj Rating[/sub]