Stuck in the Desert and Officially Detained - or, Philiminated with extreme prejudice.
Natalie & Nadiya (already eliminated)
[del]Bopper[/del] Mallory & Mark (down from “Stopping”) - I said before that I thought Mallory & Mark’s non-existent relationship would wind up hurting them, and I think that’s indeed what happened. The whole backpack issue was because each thought the other had taken it, and neither one checked. One could make a case that that was squarely on Mallory, because she was the last one that actually carried the backpack, but in the end the bickering about what to do sunk this team as surely as the missing backpack did.
Flat Tire - or, not likely to get anywhere soon.
Caroline & Jennifer (down from “Stopping”) - So Caroline & Jennifer finished Season 22 with some help from eventual winners Bates & Anthony. They finished the last leg with help from eventual losers Natalie & Nadiya. And they finished this leg with some help from Jet & Cord’s Express Pass. So far, they’ve not shown a penchant for doing much of anything on their own. That’s one wasy to run a Race, but not, I think, the most effective way.
Stopping for Gas - or, not broken-down, exactly, but not a good sign.
Joey & Meghan (holding steady) - Joey & Meghan will again leave in last place at the start of the next episode. They can’t keep that up for very long, and the competition is too tough.
"Rapido! Por Favor?" - or, making meaningless ineffectual comments from the back seat, but in no immediate danger.
John & Jessica (holding steady) - So the only teams John & Jessica have beaten so far are Caroline & Jennifer (once) and Joey & Meghan (twice). That puts them near the bottom on the power rankings for this season.
Leo & Jamal (holding steady) - Again we don’t see very much from the Afghanimals in this episode, as they finish comfortably in the middle of the pack
Margie & Luke (holding steady) - Margie’s done both Roadblocks so far, and we’ll see if that’s a winning strategy or not. They have, however, come in fourth and now second, well out of contention for last place.
In the Passing Lane - or, ahead of the pack, but not quite comfortably.
Flight Time & Big Easy (holding steady) - Again we don’t see very much from the Globetrotters in this episode, as they finish comfortably in the middle of the pack. (I purposefully used the same words for Flight Time & Big Easy and for Leo & Jamal: both teams have had little screen time, and have finished fifth and seventh in the last two legs).
Brendon & Rachel (up from “Rapido!”) - I’m still of the opinion that Rachel is a pretty unreliable partner, and indeed she hasn’t actually done much of anything, with Brendon doing both of the Roadblocks so far. However, she has been a pretty good teammate so far, and Brendon & Rachel have now finished first and second on the first two legs. I’ll move them up a notch this week, but I’d like to see how Rachel performs when she actually has to do a Roadblock.
Dave & Connor (holding steady) - Dave & Connor have been pretty impressive so far. I wondered what their performance would be now that they know they could win, and they’ve been doing pretty well.
Cruisin’ with Earl - or, drivin’ on the shoulder, takin’ shortcuts, and generally kickin’ butt.
Jet & Cord (holding steady) - Ouch! Rookie mistake by the cowboys: TAR Rule #11 is, “if you decide to hoof it, make sure you now exactly how far away your destination is.” They might have thought they did, but their information was at best uncertain. Still, despite dropping briefly into last place, they powered through the Roadblock and then the Detour - although they’re officially sixth, it looked like they were at worst only two minutes out of third, and only a few minutes more behind first place. Had there been only six teams, how “close” they were wouldn’t have mattered, but the point now is that a whole passel of teams, including the cowboys, will start out at the same time next week. And, don’t forget, they still have an Express Pass in their pocket. Neither do they have to worry about the other one, having already given it to the hapless Caroline & Jennifer (a decision which, I think, was strategically sound: you don’t want the pass used to your detriment, so giving to a weaker team who uses it immediately is actually a smart move.)