This episode of The Amazing Race was disappointing. The reasons are almost too numerous to list… But I won’t let that stop me from listing them!
There was (again) too much time spent in the airport. There was (again) too little suspense – it was obvious that the team on the latest flight was in last place. No surprise in the ending, because the show had to have a non-elimination leg in order to have 13 episodes this season. The tasks were way too easy. The show didn’t even try to integrate the Travelocity product placement into the tasks, they just stuck a gnome in the least challenging challenge ever. The racers were in yet another country where everyone speaks English, so there were no communication problems.
I might have been able to forgive all of the above (well, sort of) if we got some drama from the teams. But even though everyone was talking about hating the BQ’s, everyone avoided bringing it up around the BQ’s, so the episode became like junior high with everyone passing notes and gossiping behind the BQ’s backs. Cha Cha Cha was in Hong Kong and didn’t even shop. And, most surprisingly, Team CrazyPants was not that crazy, and mainly seemed kind of funny and quirky.
We’re down to just four teams and the BQ’s are the first to leave Kuala Lumpur, getting their clue at 12:28am. We learn that teams must fly 1500 miles to Hong Kong, where they then must travel by taxi to Sun Wah Kiu Laundry.
The Amazing Race likes to give the teams clues that relate to the history and traditions of the location. And for Hong Kong, the show’s first choice for the traditions of the city…. A laundry. Yup, a Chinese laundry. Oh, Show, shame on you.
Team CrazyPants is the second to leave at 1:29am. Mirna talks some more about something she calls ‘Yield Karma’, which basically involves continuing to pointing fingers at the BQ’s for using “dirty play” because they yielded Eric and Dani. I feel very strongly that using a part of the game given to you by the producers is not dirty. I also feel strongly that this has nothing to do with Mirna, so she should just buttinsky on out and let Eric and Dani take it up with the BQ’s.
Dani and Eric depart at 1:50am, and Cha Cha Cha at 2:19am. Cha Cha Cha decides to call the airport for information and learns that Malaysia Air has a 9:15am flight and China Air has an 8am flight, but both flights are fully booked. They can only get on standby if they are at the airport. Mirna and Shmirna find out the same thing.
The BQ’s are the first to arrive at the airport. They decide to go to the Malaysian Air counter, which opens at 4am (China Air opens at 5am). Eric and Dani are the second team to arrive at the airport, and they set off in search of the internet.
The BQ’s and Eric and Dani get into the elevator together and I am super excited, because there is no way this isn’t going to be awesome, right? What will the BQ’s say when Eric calls them “dirty pirate hookers” to their faces? Or “bitches”, Dani called them bitches a bunch of times, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that the BQ’s won’t like being called that.
Except nothing happens. No one says anything. They all just stand there.
The BQ’s get off the elevator, and Eric finally figures out what he wants to say and it’s: “Beauty Queens. Eh. They suck.”
You showed them, Eric! A little bit of witty Yield Karma right in their faces!!!
Sigh. This non-exchange is typical of this episode. Being in Hong Kong should have been awesome. Having two rival teams together in an elevator should have been awesome. But yet, nothing awesome actually happens.
The BQ’s camp out in front of the Malaysia Air ticket counter, while Cha Cha Cha goes downstairs and finds their actual office. And who knew that you could just wander around airports, stopping by offices? But apparently you can – try it the next time you travel! Just tell them Phil sent you! Anyway, the nice guy who works in the office gets Cha Cha Cha on the wait list and tells them to check in with the code BC-4.
Then at 4am, the Malaysia Air counter opens. The BQ’s are the first in line, and are the second team on the wait list, with Eric and Dani right behind them. And again, Eric and Dani say nothing to the BQ’s, but as soon as they leave, they talk about how fake the BQ’s are. And it’s true, they did ask to be put on standby in the fakest of ways. And they were totally faking being happy about getting on the list, too. Big fake jerks!
Also, my mom always said, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say anything at all.” But I would like to amend that to say: “If you don’t have anything nice to say, and you’re on a TV show, make sure you say it to someone’s face, because otherwise things get really boring for us, the viewers. Thanks.”
The BQ’s then go to the China Air counter, while the Cha Cha Chas go downstairs to the China Air office. Team CrazyPants joins Cha Cha Cha. And when the China Airlines guy shows up for work at 4:45am, the entire group rushes him. Poor guy. He seems confused and tired.
Most days at work, I have a rule that no one can talk to me until after 10:45, when I’ve had at least two Diet Cokes. Can you imagine showing up to work at 4:45am, and being accosted by a crazy person, a little person, two Cubans and a camera crew?
Actually, Saturday Night Live, take note. That is a sketch waiting to happen.
The poor, confused, not entire awake China Air guy tells them to go upstairs to the ticket counter (you know, like everyone else in the world), but they follow him into the office. And he tells them to leave the door open, but they shut it. I can tell you what I would do at this point, and it wouldn’t involve helping these people get plane tickets. But this guy is way nicer than I am, and he agrees to help.
Oswald quickly tells Mirna: “You need to be calm.” Mirna, completely ignoring his request, responds “Can I do the talking?” And I think to myself “Yay! Mirna’s about to go el pollo loco on this guy!” But, again, like everything else in this episode, nothing happens.
When the guy tells Mirna that the flight is full, Mirna asks him to “kick some people off.” As she explains “Some people, they don’t need to go to Hong Kong. We need!” So true, Mirna. Airplanes are almost always full of jerks who book long flights not because they need to get somewhere but because they want to fill up space on the plane!
The China Air guy doesn’t fall for Mirna’s tricks and puts both teams on standby. Which is lucky for Mirna, because she won’t get any Kicking People Off the Plane for Purely Selfish Reasons Karma coming back at her.
Cha Cha Cha and Team Crazy head upstairs with the poor China Air guy. Cha Cha Cha agrees to give Team CrazyPants their code for Malyasian Airlines if they get onto the China Air flight and Crazy doesn’t. Meanwhile, upstairs in the actual line for China Air, the BQ’s are third on the wait list and Eric and Dani are fourth. And when they see Team CrazyPants and Cha Cha Cha with the China Air guy, they freak out. The BQ’s insist that they were there before the other teams.
Needless to say, Mirna isn’t standing for this. She says: “Look, take your padded bra and the stuff you got stuffed in there and take it elsewhere.” Well, naturally, she says it to Oswald and Danny, not to the BQ’s faces. And what a weird thing to focus on. I mean, the BQ’s aren’t exactly… well, they aren’t exactly Joyce or Dani.
But Oswald intervenes and explains that they had been waiting downstairs, Dustin replies, “Well, I guess it was just two different lines.” Yup. That’s what it was. And now it’s all settled and the bickering is over. Way to try to pretend there was drama there, Show. Sigh again.
But now the plotting begins, when Mirna tells Eric: “We have been screwed over one too many times by the giggly, bubbly girls… The Final Three – you guys, us and Danny & Oswald…. It’s gonna be a fun Final Three.”
And first I get confused, because I have no idea how Team CrazyPants or Cha Cha Cha has been screwed over the BQ’s. Did I miss an entire secret episode? Did The Amazing Race not show us some key scenes?
And then I get even more confused, because I don’t really understand how Mirna can determine who is in the Final Three. This isn’t Survivor where you can vote someone out. The Amazing Race seems like a game that’s pretty immune to strategy and alliances. So all this seems for nothing.
At 7:30am, we find out that only Cha Cha Cha is getting on the China Airlines flight. They give Mirna and Shmirna their standby code for Malaysian Airlines and take off. Eric and Dani decide that since they’re already on standby for that flight, they’re going to go and change some money. But the BQs and Crazy run over to the Malaysian Airlines counter. They then start to bicker about who should be first in line. And there’s nothing I love more than watching bickering!
Mirna shows the BQ’s her stunning power of retort with a “Good luck, Yield Queens.” Zing! The BQ’s decide that they could “crush her. We could make a Beauty Queen sandwich out of her.” And they say it like they have no idea that is also the name of a porno you can buy off the street in Hong Kong.
The BQ’s get seats. Team CrazyPants get seats. And Eric and Dani show up just in time to learn that they will not be getting seats. They book themselves on a flight that has to go through Ho Chi Minh City before going to Hong Kong.
And now we’re finally out of the airport. And we’re 23 minutes into the show.
Cha Cha Cha lands in Hong Kong at 11:55am. They hop in a taxi and get to the Chinese laundry with no trouble. Which means that it’s easier to find a totally random laundry in Hong Kong than it is to book a flight.
There is no sign of any ancient Chinese secrets, but they do get a clue, which also had a Fast Forward, which Cha Cha Cha decides to take. Phil explains to us that it involves a getting in a car with a professional stunt driver and participating in a high speed stunt being shot for a Hong Kong action movie.
At 12:55pm, the second flight that has the BQ’s and Team CrazyPants onboard arrives. Mirna and Shmirna are out the door first and to speed things along – Shmirna busts out her Go Go Gadget Shoes.
It was awesome. How is it that this is the first time we’re seeing this happen? Couldn’t you watch that all day?
Using their magic shoes powered by karma, they make it to the laundry first. And it’s a Detour. They must choose between Kung Fu Fighting – climbing the bamboo scaffolding of an 11 story building while avoiding stunt kung fu fighters – or Lost in Translation – flying to Japan and finding Scarlett Johannsen. OK, Lost in Translation actually involves finding a road in Hong Kong, and search the road to find a particular sign in Chinese lettering. But while the Amazing Race producers apparently first associated Hong Kong with Chinese laundry, they are now trying to associate it with a movie that took place in an entirely different country.
As Team CrazyPants is leaving, the BQ’s are arriving. The BQ’s quickly decide to do the Kung Fu fighting. As Kandace explains: “We’re in Hong Kong. We can only do Kung Fu once in our lives, we are gonna do the Kung Fu detour.” So confusing – What is this Kung Fu the Beauty Queens speak of? It’s obviously some Asian tradition that hasn’t made it to America yet, so they should definitely take this once in a lifetime opportunity to do it in Hong Kong.
Over at the Fast Forward, Oswald and Danny are fitted up into safety gear and put into a car. And I don’t want to say that The Amazing Race is lying to us about this being a stunt being shot for a Hong Kong action movie, but do real movies involve driving around safety cones in an old white hatchback?
Oswald is nervous, saying “If I wet these pants, it’s the only pair of clean pants that I brought.” And then the station wagon takes off, and goes over a ramp, and flies up into the air and then lands on its side.
It was exciting and fun to watch, but not really that challenging. Oswald spent most of the stunt with his eyes closed.
I remember the old days when Fast Forwards were things like drinking pig’s blood or eating a giant bowl of bugs. I guess we just have to be glad that this one is more than counting, like the lame fast forward in the towers.
Cha Cha Cha gets their clue and learns that they have to drive themselves and the Travelocity gnome to the next Pit Stop at the Hong Kong Jockey Club.
Meanwhile, in the cab, Team CrazyPants decides to do Lost in Translation because the Kung Fu Fighting might be hard for Shmirna. Seconds later, they decide that finding the sign might also be hard. Apparently they haven’t been paying much attention this season, because nothing has been hard! But Shmirna thinks that she can do the Kung Fu Fighting, because “maybe… it’s like you’re a monkey climbing on bamboo.” And everyone knows that monkeys find climbing bamboo easy, therefore this task will be easy. So they turn the cab around and go to do the Kung Fu Fighting.
The BQ’s are already at the building and ready to climb the bamboo. It really looks awesome.
The kung fu fighters apparently shake the bamboo a bit – or, as Kandace says “They’re starting to kung fu fight on me.” But the task is easy enough for Dustin to do some kicking right back.
So the girls finish up with little trouble and get the next clue – to take the Star Ferry across to Hong Kong Island, and then travel by taxi 4 miles to the Old Police Headquarters.
The BQ’s are getting in their taxi as Eric and Dani’s plane lands and as Mirna and Shmirna start the Kung Fu challenge. Shmirna actually does really well at the climbing, an impressive feat for someone who, as Mirna points out, has legs shorter than the amount of space between rungs.
And Mirna is actually hilarious as she climbs. At first she seems a little scared and asks the kung fu fighters to move away and declaring that they are there to “make love, not war.” Which is of course, the opposite motive of a Kung Fu Fighter, who even has the word “Fight” in his name. But Mirna then gets really into the task and declares “I’m coming to fight you!” and kicks out at the Fighters while screaming at them. It was the funniest thing I’d seen since Go Go Gadget Shmirna wheels.
They finish the task, and do some sample awesome kung fu moves. Apparently while they don’t have kung fu in New York, they do have it in Armenia.
Mirna declares that “Charla is here to prove on the Race that she can break down people’s expectations.” And I think she’s doing a good job of that. But is Mirna trying to prove that little people can’t speak for themselves? Seriously, has Shmirna ever said a word in any of those interviews?
Team CrazyPants gets in a cab and their cab driver takes them to the wrong ferry terminal – he actually crosses under the harbor and drops them off so they start on the side where they’re supposed to end. Crazy then has to take the ferry across to the right side and then back over to the Hong Kong side again.
In the meantime, Cha Cha Cha is making their way to The Jockey Club. They don’t have enough money to hire a taxi, and have to spend their last $20 to a pay a toll, which is the sort of pointless stuff this episode is trying to turn into drama. But they finally find their way. Phil is either confused or repulsed when Danny tells them that they have no money. But either way he checks them in as Team #1 and gives them a trip to Hong Kong for Chinese New Year.
We also learn that there is no point to the teams carrying around the gnomes (remember how there used to be a prize attached to a random gnome, so anyone could win?) other than just extended product placement for Travelocity. Boo to product placement – don’t we get enough of that from Sprint?
The BQ’s have found their way to the Old Police Headquarters, where they are not arrested by old police for illegal use of a Yield. Instead, they find a Roadblock. Phil tells us that the person must “enter the stunt world” by kicking down doors in an abandoned building until they find the room that has the clue.
Apparently Phil, The Amazing Race and I are all watching very different movies. I do not consider kicking a door open and finding a clue to be “stuntwork.” I consider it “too easy for an All-Star Challenge”. Want proof that I’m right? Well, we spent about 30 seconds of screentime on Kandace looking before she finds the clue.
The BQ’s then get a clue that instructs them to drive themselves to Victoria Park and find a model boat pond. They have to pull a tiny junk with a gnome in it across the pond to get the clue, but if the boat tips, they have to start over. The BQ’s hire a cab and follow him to the park. They then slowly pull the gnome across the pond…
And while gnomes on boats are totally, totally adorable, it’s still another one in a list of unchallenging challenges. And in less time than the BQ’s spent in the elevator with Dani and Eric, they are done and get the clue to drive themselves, and the Product Placement Gnome, to the Pit Stop.
Eric and Dani start Kung Fu Fighting while Team CrazyPants is on their way to the Old Police Headquarters. They decide that Shmirna is going to do the task. And I don’t know if it’s because they have to split the tasks and Mirna had already done too many of them, or if it’s because they really believe Shmirna can do it. But I guess it’s the latter, because Shmirna tells us: “My legs are very strong, and I love kicking things.”
Shmirna does indeed seem to love to kick, and runs around kicking and looking for the clue. Meanwhile, Eric and Dani finish up the Kung Fu Fighting – as expected, they have no trouble at all – and get in a cab to the Star Ferry.
Over at the Jockey Club, the BQ’s check in as Team #2. And Shmirna finds the clue – “Finally. I’m, like, looking all over the damn place.” I would have more sympathy for all the time she had to spend looking all over the place if it wasn’t the TASK.
Mirna and Shmirna get the clue and head over to the Pointless Product Placement Challenge. Meanwhile, over at the police headquarters, Eric is making fast work of kicking down the doors. He finds the clue, and boy is Shmirna lucky she got to the room with the clue placed on the floor instead of this room!
Shmirna pulls the gnome and it’s easy and they get the clue to go to the Pit Stop. And there’s no real suspense from here on out. The Show tries to get us to think that Team CrazyPants are really lost and going in circles. And then Eric and Dani get lost trying to find the Park, and Eric refuses to ask for directions. But they finally make it, get to the Park, complete the Pointless Product Placement Challenge and get the clue.
Eric again refuses to ask for directions, thus getting them really lost again. The show is still trying to convince us that things are close, even though Team CrazyPants is just outside the Jockey Club. But the Show eventually admits, even to itself, that they can’t stall any longer and have Team CrazyPants check in as Team #3.
Eric finally gives in and agrees to follow a taxi. They make it to the Pit Stop, and Phil checks them in… but surprise, it’s a non-elimination leg.
And yawn. That episode is over.
Next week’s preview made things look exciting, there’s a Yield and Phil tells us that “two teams strike a surprising deal to target another team.” But I have a feeling I’m going to be mad, and it’s going to be Eric and Dani teaming up with CrazyPants, which isn’t really “surprising” at all. I guess I’m just hoping that we can have an episode where more than half the action doesn’t take place in an airport. You can say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one.