The Amazing Race 15 – Life on Mars
Life on Mars – well, that’s how one contestant described his experiences in Vietnam.
With ten teams remaining, this leg has the novelty of a moving pit stop as the Bassac III boarded at Cai Be takes the teams down/up river to My Tho. With the father/son team of Gary and Matt first to depart, we learn the teams will be headed to Ho Chi Minh city. As subsequent teams leave, there’s some confusion as many teams seem to believe they’re already in Ho Chi Minh where it’s a two hour taxi ride away. Eventually, the coin drops. Of course, there’s the usual few hassles with securing a taxi but I think we can honestly key note this episode as one during which no taxi drivers were abused, verbally or physically. A record? The teams set off to Golden Dragon Water Temple theatre, where they must grab their next clue from the mouth of a dragon puppet dancing in the water.
We learn a little about a couple of the teams. I must say there’s only a few of the teams that stand out, I don’t feel the casting has been as good this time. Sad news about the very likeable Globetrotter team – Big Easy lost his father two days before the race. His father told him to take out the race and you can’t help but hope that he does. Marci is also finding the trip somewhat poignant. Her father was shot down during the Vietnam war, although he survived and managed to escape. At the other end of the spectrum is Lance who is very full of himself, declaring his team to be the ‘lions’ of the race, whereas the others are all ‘gazelles and zebras’. Those are fighting words and he’d be wise to remember pride often comes before a fall.
Once the teams locate the theatre, and some get a little ‘tired and emotional’ in their frustration, the dragon clue is a little box. The teams must work out that the stamp inside the box is the clue to their next destination – Ho Chi Minh main post office. The Globetrotters are first there and out quickly. Everyone seems to be able to work out how to get the clue except for Lance the Lion and Keri. Trying to find the clue that everyone else seems to have, they confront a number of Vietnamese theatre employees. Not outwardly nasty, just a little pushy, and that’s as nasty as it gets tonight. Finally, they crack on and get back in the race.
At the post office, the teams get their detour choice: child’s play or word play. Nearly everyone chooses child play. In child play, the teams must locate a kiosk in Tao Dan park and transport an animal statue to a children’s playground, collecting five different balloons along the way to receive their next cue. Physically challenging, some of the weaker teams, such as the poker players, end up struggling. Feel pity also for Zev and Justin who pick a giraffe and end up breaking it’s neck when their trolley tips over.
Only one team, Marci and Ron, pick word play. In this task, teams must go to the roof terrace of Hotel A Dong and watch traffic on a roundabout below to look for six Vietnamese letters hidden on the top of vehicles going around the roundabout. When they have collected all six, approved by a security guard, they must get help from locals to spell the word ‘Doc Lap’, meaning independence before they can get their next clue. This team seem to be operating in slow mode, they have no sense of urgency. When they finally clock up the six letters, they then waste time looking at local signs trying to work out the word for themselves. Some considerable time later, they finally ask a local and bingo. They get their next clue.
All teams are now headed to the roadblock for the episode. One member of the team must disasemmble two VCRs and place the component pieces in appropriate piles. Not particularly taxing but takes up some time. It’s a task taken on by males in the team, where they exist. Teams get through without any major problems and it’s off to the pitstop for this leg – Reunification Palace, made famous when a Vietnamese tank crashed through the gates and ended the Vietnam war.
It’s a bit of a foot race for first place but the Globetrotters take it out just ahead of Meghan and Cheyne, winning a trip to Aruba. Third place goes to Gary and Matt, fourth to Brian and Ericka (quite a comeback), fifth to Sam and Dan, sixth to Maria and Tiffany, seventh to Mika and Canaan, eighth to Zev and Justin, ninth to Lance and Keri and last place (and elimination) to the rambling couple Marci and Ron. Their lack of urgency cost them dearly.
Of course, you’ve all seen the teasers for this episode where someone looked as if they were going to wrestle Phil to the ground (girls, the line starts here!). In typical TAR fashion, it was all about nothing. Just Phil ribbing Lance the Lion about coming in ninth, with all the gazelles ahead of him, and Lance being playful back. So, no drama, and not even a soupcon of an eyebrow from Phil – so felt the need to add an eyebrow of my own upfront of this post.
TAR trivia: Did you notice the clue/roadblock/detour flags were different, as in yellow and white? This is routinely done on Vietnam legs to avoid confusion with the flag of former South Vietnam (red and yellow).
Next week, it’s back to Cambodia.