I often find myself sad early on during a season of The Amazing Race – with so many teams for me dislike, why do ones that I'm completely indifferent to have to be eliminated? It's moderately distressing. But, I don't want to give too much away but what went down this week in terms of the episode's conclusion. No, I'd much rather discuss a big mistake I made last week in my review, which is going to involve a whole other set of spoilers about what happened this week.
See, I suggested that only about half the teams seemed to lack smarts. This week, three teams who proved themselves moderately dim last week showed that they weren't necessarily the dimmest. The minimal amount of travel this week required teams to jump on a couple of buses – one from Valparaiso to Santiago and then at least one more to Puerto Varas from Santiago. I say "at least one more" because while the vast majority of teams opted to sit around for hours on end waiting for a direct bus to Puerto Varas, Jordan & Jeff, Brent & Caite, and Jet & Cord instead looked into connecting buses that might get them there a whole lot sooner. Okay, Jet & Cord had the idea handed to them by someone else and Brent & Caite were merely riding Jordan & Jeff's coattails, but Jordan & Jeff had a great idea.
Have the rest of the teams never seen an episode of The Amazing Race? Have they never booked travel themselves? Why would they not ask about connecting buses? Why did they blindly accept the routing given to them? Did they really not even bother with a perfunctory "and that's really the fastest way, there's no other way for us to get there?" Ridiculous.
And, let's not pretend like the three teams who did it right were geniuses either. As noted, Brent & Caite were just following Jordan & Jeff and Jet & Cord had the idea handed to them by a passerby who was doing some translating. Jordan & Jeff were the only ones who actively made the right decision there (it was all Jeff's idea), but then in trying to make their connection they completely blew any IQ points that they may have earned. Their connecting bus was leaving at 6:30, and despite arriving early, they didn't bother to look for the bus until 6:29. It was only at that point that they found out that their connecting bus left from a terminal a few blocks away and not the one they were at. They missed the connection.
See? Dumb. Just dumb, and that makes it a clean sweep last night – the only team that acted intelligently in terms of their travel negated that intelligence at the very first opportunity that they had.
I hold out great hope that these teams are smarter than they initially appear to be. At the beginning of every season there are so many teams that are out there racing that we really only get the briefest snippets about most of them. I would be foolish to suggest that the information we have about the teams thus far allows for a complete representation of who these people really are, so maybe the truly brilliant ones just haven't been given a chance to shine in the final cut of the first two episodes. I do have a suspicion however that had a team done something ingenious, even if they were in the middle of the pack during a leg, we would have seen it.
I'm looking for things to change in future weeks. Jeff proved himself to have the potential this week, and had he not turned his brain off he and Jordan could have won the leg. Maybe there are other teams out there who are about to wake up and make this truly exciting. We'll have to see.