Amazing Race

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M. Giant: B | Grade It Now!
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…And the Horse That Rode in on You

Way up in first place, Jet and Cord are negotiating some rugged terrain, but soon find the clue box. "What's the rules about breaking your gnome on the way down?" Cord wonders. "Probably not as bad as breaking your leg," Jet guesses. The clue, unsurprisingly, is a Detour. From a busy polo field, Phil tells us it's a choice between "Horse Sense" and "Horse Power." Oh, wait until Brandy hears about this. But it's not as bad as she might think. For Horse Sense, they go to a "gunslinger" (some dude by the railroad tracks doing all manner of trickery with a pair of shooting irons despite the fact that he looks like Robert Sean Leonard) who will give them a set of "coordinates" printed on a sheet of paper. This they will have to take out to a field with an "old-time compass" in the middle -- actually a post with signboards pointing north, south, east, and west. From there, the teams will have to count out steps to find the right coordinates under which a bag of stolen money is hidden. Already, this sounds way too hard. How do you measure the size of your steps? And what's to keep a team from digging six feet down, right past where their bag actually is? But as we will learn later, this is one of those tasks that's actually easier than it sounds, until we see the teams finding unexpected ways to make it harder for themselves. Once they find their sack, then they have to take it to the "lead bandit" at the train station, who we see slouching in a chair chewing a hayseed and looking like an older, more weathered version of Benicio del Toro, because this is apparently the celebrity lookalike Detour option. As a further challenge, the coordinates on the bag have to match the coordinates on the sheet for them to get their next clue. Yowch.

For Horse Power, they'll go to Phil's polo field. And then they have to take turns shooting a polo ball from a "practice pony." Sounds totally cowboy-centric, right? But then we learn that the "practice pony" is actually a horse-shaped scaffold made of wood. They have to get the ball the full length of the field in nine swings or less. Jet and Cord decide to "go with the horse," unsurprisingly. They have little trouble finding the polo training field.

Back at Peña Gaucho, Jeff decides that maybe he should try to "be a cowboy," which seems to work for him. He's got his target, and they're out of there in fourth place. Steve is still working on it.

The Detectives and the Moms find El Boliche Viejo at about the same time. "Let's play some cards, girls," Michael says as they enter. Steve gets his rope across the back of his target, and wisely crouches low and pulls slowly so as not to let it slip off. Which works, and he and Allie are now in fifth place.

At the polo field, polo players are majestically doing that polo thing as Jet and Cord arrive. Cord tries to go straight for the live horses, and is pretty disappointed to realize they have to mount a wooden one instead. Jet gives Cord a leg up, and Cord interviews about how little kids, like his twelve nieces and nephews, get on horses. "Today I felt like one of those little kids." Bet Jet doesn't think so. Swinging his polo mallet, Cord connects with the ball well enough, and now he and Jet just have to pick up the wooden horse and carry it down the field. No problem. It can't weigh more than a couple hundred pounds. Jet takes a turn on the horse, and they're making good progress with only two strokes down. Apparently all horse-related skills translate. I can't wait until later in the race when they are asked to make glue.

Carol and Brandy have found the bridge over the river they've been looking for, and now Brandy decides she's not going to fight about it. "If you want to have a tantrum, have a tantrum," she says, suddenly trying to claim the moral high ground now that she's been proven wrong. Carol accepts the invitation to have a "tantrum," because she says she's tired of not being trusted. Joe and Heidi, meanwhile, have just stopped for directions, only to be told they've been going the wrong way.

Jet and Cord are wondering if finding treasure wouldn't have been easier than carrying the horse. We're about to find out. Because Carol has just voted for Horse Sense at the Detour clue box. "You're the leader," Brandy passive-aggressives as they head down the hill. Carol calmly disagrees as they go to find the gunslinger.

Jet and Cord finish the polo task, probably with strokes to spare. They run over to the table where a guy is waiting with trophy cups instead of clue envelopes. They get presented with one, and do a little half-hearted mugging with the trophy before reading the clue engraved on the plate: "Estancia Fortin Chacabuco." Phil says, "This enormous ranch...is the Pit Stop for this leg of the race." Already? Last team to check in, blah blah blah. Jet and Cord run to their car, knowing enough Spanish to guess that "estancia" means "ranch." "I can't believe that was the horse we rode," Jet says. Seemed to me it was the other way around.

Carol and Brandy finish climbing the steep embankment to where the gunslinger is slinging his gun. They get their coordinates from him and soon find the compass post in the field. Using that as their starting point, they start walking 199 steps northeast, as their sheet instructs. Except they get about three steps before falling into bickering about who's doing the counting. They probably both need to count to ten, is what they need to do.

Jordan and Jeff reach the Detour clue in third place, and since Jeff doesn't wasn't to ride a horse, they're doing "the bandits." From their approaching car, Joe and Heidi see them climbing up the hill. "So Team Big Brother, they jumped a spot on us," Joe realizes.

And here's a team that jumps very few spots: Dan and Jordan, who are happy to see some cars still in the parking lot as they finally reach El Boliche Viejo. This dealer is smiling for some reason. I guess they must have gotten a note to act more friendly. Shawne and Louie are still trying to do the roping out back by the time the brothers win their gnome in eighth place. Dan will be doing this one instead of Jordan, sparing us all any number of gay cowboy jokes.

Carol and Brandy are still sniping mildly and kind of loosely navigating the field, and then Carol sees a shovel sticking out of the ground. She runs to it and they start digging, although Brandy worries that the dirt around it doesn't look freshly disturbed, because she's a CSI now or something. "Then we have to find the train station," Carol says, rather getting ahead of herself if you ask me.

Jordan and Jeff meet the gunslinger. Looking at the clue he hands them, Jeff reads, "'Give the lead bandit' -- that's you [oops!] -- 'will verify that your loot and coordinates match. If they do you will receive your next clue." Team BB11 hits the field, with completely different coordinates from Brandy and Carol, as you'd expect. You can't have multiple teams out searching for the same bag, even if there is no chance whatsoever of any of them ever finding it.

Joe and Heidi open their Detour clue in fourth place and Joe wants to do Horse Sense. He interviews about the compass on his watch. Then, after they get their clue from the guy that Joe calls "Joey the Gunslinger," they start from the post, Joe not bothering to count his steps. He thinks that's for people who don't have a compass. What? How does the compass on his watch measure distance? Heidi goes along with him like a spouse who knows better, but who also knows better than to argue.

Brandy and Carol are now wandering the field seemingly at random, and Brandy keeps pointing out that Carol went running ahead when she saw the shovel and they lost track of their steps. "I know, I've heard that a few times," Carol says pleasantly.

Steve and Allie reach the Detour clue next. They're doing Horse Power. Running back across the field, Steve totally eats it, not only falling on his face but rolling downhill into the only mud puddle I've seen on this entire race. He should get a time bonus just for that.

Carol and Brandy are now debating going back for the horses. Or rather Carol is, because Brandy is telling her to make the call. "This was something you wanted to do." And then Carol bitches, "I swear to God, I'm going to sit down and quit. I can't do anything fucking right!" She throws down her empty water bottle, and Brandy again acts like the calm and reasonable one. "That's a nice temper tantrum," she says. They interview about the possibility that all the arguing might do some long-term damage to this relationship. So clearly this is the first time they've ever really argued. Maybe people shouldn't go on the race with people they've never fought with before, just as a general rule. Finally Carol decides they should switch Detours. "Let's just stay in this bloody race." At least until it gets bloody for real.

Caite and Brent have stopped to ask directions. While Brent gets out to quiz some locals, Caite complains about the arrangement: "I wish he was driving right now and I was giving him the directions. Unfortunately, Brent can't drive a freaking stick shift, so I have to." Awesome.

But at least three of the teams ahead of them are still not done with the roping task. Then Dan manages to barely hook a horn-tip. "Oh, God, you're so close!" Jordan blares as though that's a near-miss. But Dan's able to tug the rope and get a better handle on it, pulling it to him and kissing it on the horns. "I love you!" he screeches in its nonexistent face in a way that briefly makes me wonder if I've gotten the two brothers confused somehow. Off they go. "Lassoed that bitch!" Dan shouts on the way to the parking lot. Am I going to have to bust out the gay cowboy jokes after all?

Out in the treasure-hunting field, Joe finds a loop of rope sticking o

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Amazing Race

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