The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business: Did This Week's Episode Leave You Unsatisfied?

Unlike the globe that it’s trotting, the current season of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business has been disappointingly flat over the course of its initial five episodes. Sure, Mallory’s scream-and-grunt approach to the game never ceases to make me chuckle, and I’ll also admit I’m glad that the cowboys righted their ship and would up checking in first to this week’s pit stop. But for some reason, TAR‘s typical clutch-the-couch-cushion thrill has been muted for me during this all-star edition.

On Sunday night’s episode, I had a hard time getting past the fact that Kent and Vyxsin were allowed to keep racing after checking in last to the Eternal Tower pit stop (the conclusion of a cliffhanger from last week’s hour). I mean, it’s not like the Goth duo missed their flight to China due to car trouble or some other catastrophe beyond their control; they simply misread their compass and ended up hours off course. And then, even after making up most of the lost time, Kent left his fanny pack (and passport) on a gondola, costing ’em even more time. So how come TAR producers rewarded them with a non-elimination spot? I felt like if any team this season had earned its ouster, it was the man with the dangerously plucked eyebrows and his magenta-hued ladyfriend.

To make matters even weirder, Kent and Vyxsin incurred a 30-minute penalty for failing to take the “required flight” from China to Japan. Again, this didn’t make a lot of sense to me. It’s not as if the Goths chose a flight that gave them an advantage over their competition; wasn’t it penalty enough to miss the initial flight and arrive in China hours after their rivals? (Yes, I know, I’m simultaneously saying Kent and Vyxsin should’ve been booted and arguing against their time penalty, but there are two separate injustices at play.)

Anyhow, for those of you who missed Sunday’s telecast, Fievel and Fuchsia used one of two available U-turns on cheerleaders Jaime and Cara, who in turn used the second U-turn on the Globetrotters. When Jaime struggled to correctly reassemble a dinosaur skeleton, though, it was the redheaded babes who paid the ultimate price. Or, as Kent put it, “Putting a bullet in a Playboy bunny was the only thing that was gonna save us.” Final order of finish at the Pit Stop: Jet/Cord; Gary/Mallory; Margie/Luke; Kisha/Jen; Kent/Vyxsin (DQ’d from fourth via their 30-minute penalty); Flight Time/Big Easy; Ron/Christina; Zev/Justin; and Jaime/Cara (eliminated).

What did you think of the show’s decision to introduce another non-elimination leg and save Kent and Vyxsin? Take our poll below, and sound off on the rest of the episode in the comments. And for all my reality TV ridiculata, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV.

Comments are monitored, so don’t go off topic, don’t frakkin’ curse and don’t bore us with how much your coworker’s sister-in-law makes per hour. Talk smart about TV!

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  1. Ben says:

    Isn’t it possible that – despite lots of claims of rigging and suchlike, AR actually DOES pre-determine it’s non-elimination legs? Whenever have they been reliably given to the deserving? Or apply it’s set down rules only to those teams you don’t like?

    It seems to me neither of these are actually injustices, since what you are really arguing is that the rules weren’t flexibly changed in order to adapt to the particular situation. Changing the rules to suit events as they happen would seem the bigger injustice to me. I’m happy that episodes like this show that AR doesn’t manipulate the show that much.

    • Tego Livi says:

      The injustice here is that Michael Slezak doesn’t seem to know much about the show. Kent & Vyxsin shouldn’t have been eliminated at the halfway point of a double leg, because they don’t eliminate people at the halfway point of a double leg. The last paragraph of the article seems to imply that the show decided at the last moment to change a regular leg into a double leg for the sole purpose of sparing K/V from elimination. As to the 30-minute penalty: the Goths failed to take a flight which was expressly stated to be “required,” hence they were penalized. They and the other contestants expected them to be penalized.

  2. Stacey says:

    My problem with this season so far is none of the teams involved were my favorites. Some in fact were my most hated teams, so it’s hard to find someone to root for and the two (non elimination legs) involved severe bunching allowing for those in danger to catch up. Come on a train not leaving until 7 p.m. at night. I know it’s China, but come on… Kent and Vixen should have gone home. I know Brooke and Clair would have been on if not for Clair getting pregnant; so that might have been interesting given Brooke’s hyper personality. None of these teams make me root for them. I think they could have done better at casting… Although the different tasks are pretty difficult looking and intriguing, I just also am underwhelm so far for it being a All Star season.

  3. MEL31602 says:

    I agree that the extra penalty to Kent and Vxyskin seemed harsh, and I agree with the above poster that the long train wait that essentially canceled out the prior leg seemed unfair. I have been enjoying this season however, with the difficult challenges and close finishes making it more unpredictable.

  4. Laurel says:

    I think AR has been at this awhile now and they have predetermined elimination rounds.
    This was a 2 PART race.
    Plain and simple.

    What’s the sense in watching if you think the entire game is just a rigged buch of crap to keep favorite teams in ?
    AR has gotten rid of some hugely popular fan favorites over the years so I really doubt that this is a rigged game.

    That being said the Goth’s were so annoying last week during Part 1 of the race I wanted to throw something at my TV ! lol
    I mean how ridiculous can you be ! Forget I ask…
    They did pull it together this week though so we’ll see how it goes.

    • Sassy says:

      I liked the Goths during their first run but come on, their ineptness is truly amazing! Not a big fan of the cheerleaders (didn’t know one or both were a bunny, either) but I think they deserved to stay much more than those two. Losing their passports twice in one day! Getting incredibly lost, not out in the country, but en route to the airport from a major city! Having two or three (lost counts) mental breakdowns, all on same day! I think any of the teams we’ve seen lose in the past deserved to be here more than these two. (well not Nick and Vikki from last season but anyone else). I hope they go next (or next after Ron and Christina).

  5. JayK says:

    I think we should distinguish between non-elimination legs and “You’re still racing” extra-long legs. It wasn’t really a non-elimination, they just weren’t finished yet. I have always been a believer in non-elim legs popping up usually to save a popular team, but I think the “you’re still racing” legs would have to have been predetermined because things would have to be in place for them to keep going. I think the goths just caught a reeeally lucky break – a seven-hour catch-up window is huge and I think too much. On a side note: GO COWBOYS. Great to see them getting it together!

    • Stacey says:

      True. Although I don’t think we’ll see non elimination legs this season instead they are using the To be continued, continue racing legs. Which is really non elimination legs because no one is going home and this is the second one so far this season. I don’t mind the theory of bunching, but this is the second To be continued, still racing leg with severe bunching. You would have to be an idiot to totally not get to the train on time if you’re already in country and we knew Kent and Vixen were… Although the bunching in the first part of last week’s episode allowed the goth couple to catch up. And don’t tell me the producers didn’t help the goth couple catch up. By finding the fanny pack for them, allowing the bus to go back and collect it. Just annoyed that both TBContinue legs so far, have had severe bunching. Of course it adds to the suspense because it puts them back into the race. But it just annoyed me. Or maybe because there is no one I like this season to root for…LOL.

  6. David says:

    I think this season of all stars was made from the most “popular” couples, not necessarily the best compititors. There are actually some of my favorites this season and 3 of them came in 1,2, and 3 this week. I love the cowboys, I love Gary and Mal and Margie and Luke. They were 3 of my favorites during their respective seasons. I find myself normally liking the people who seem genuianly nice not only to their partners but to the other racers. I get a kick at Luke’s tantrums, I love seeing Mal become emotional, so I think this is one of the better seasons. I love how every task seems difficult and that the non-elimination legs continue the race instead of giving the past breaks. I do believe the legs are planned in advance because stuff has to be set up for them in advance like the required flights, organizing the detours and road blocks, and having Phil in position to welcome them to the mat. If they changed stuff on the fly in order to keep a team in, I think that is something we would notice….

    • Cobie says:

      How can you call Margie and Luke genuinely nice, how can you think it is funny to see a grown man have a tantrum? I don’t think tantrums are cute in a two-year-old, and in an adult male they are 100 times worse. He won’t always have mummy around to play interference for him. I don’t think she’s doing him any favours by babying him.

      • alphonse says:


      • HeatherS says:

        I totaly agree with you Cobie! Plus his Mommy should have taught him to stop making those nonsensical sounds and grunts and “AAAAAAAAHHHHHS!” when things get tough or do not go his way. I know a few deaf people, my Father included, who do not make those disgusting noises. His Mommy needs to tell him to only speak in real words or sentences, not gibberish. She is a complete enabler. What is he going to do if she ends up in a nursing home when she gets old? Move in with her?
        I can’t stand the Korean daughter/father team. She is a witch and he loves to throw a good tantrum too. They should have been thrown off of the show for him throwing a rock at the bus! And yet they penalize the Globetrotters for picking up the wrong backpack, but they left it behind. I know, I know, it’s part of the rules. But the Korean Witch threw a tantrum over it, only to be saved by them after her Father threw a rock at the bus that they missed! What a witch!

  7. Suzie says:

    Where are Mirna and Schmirna????

    • Erin says:

      They already had their turn on the first All-Stars season.

    • Beanergirl says:

      But, shouldn’t they really be on every season? Every once in a while, my husband will say “do you remember the knight in shining armor challenge, and the sausage eating challenge just before it”. And, we laugh…Mirna and Schmirna. Good times.

  8. JohnDoe says:

    Can’t stand the freakin’ cowboys, honestly.

    • JaneDoe says:


    • Tego Livi says:

      I can stand them; in fact, I don’t mind them personally, but I get annoyed at the way both the show and many of the fans who discuss the show on line are obsessed with them. They have the same types of negative aspects to their personalities that everyone does that tend to peek out occasionally (in their case, a sanctimonious streak, smug provincialism, occasional gloating), yet some people seem to think they’re flawless heroes.

    • jules says:

      I’m not a fan of teh Cowboys either. I’d rather see Zev/Justin or the Globetrotters win.

  9. janie says:

    The only thing that really bugs me this season is that whenever the mom and teh deaf guy get into a car.. the deaf guy drives.. how is that legal??

  10. Laurel says:

    The thing that annoys me the most is Ron !
    He can’t leave soon enough for me.
    Too bad for Christina she seems nice enough.

  11. Mallerie says:

    I think the penalty was necessary and fair only because the teams got bunched up on the 7pm train. If there were other train options, and teams in the lead could keep their leads, then I would argue against the penalty for the same reason that Michael suggested.

    I seem to recall some years ago, a married or dating-couple team ran into a tough challenge on a beach. She had to shoot arrows and throw things, and was failing miserably. They were down to only a few teams left in the race, and this pair was far behind the others. She was crying and apologizing, fearing the wrath of her partner. He said he knew this was a non-elimination round because of the number of teams and legs left in the race, so he ‘let’ her do the task so that he could do the ones that actually count in the final legs of the race. I remember having a rather negative reaction to that statement.

    Since that time, I believe, TAR has had more ‘randomized’ non-elimination and extra-long legs to keep the players and viewers guessing. The down-side to this is the inevitable rise of ugly conspiracy theories about fixing the race.

    Given the two options, I would rather the second choice and will remind myself that it’s only entertainment.

  12. John Smith says:

    I hated the fact that the goths did not leave the race, and that the readheads did, but at least, my favs won the leg and finally showed that they can win =)

  13. melissa says:

    Yeah, I think the goths deserved more than a 30-minute penalty. That was probably one of the worst legs run that I’ve seen in a while.

    However, Jaime and Cara should have U-turned someone else; U-turning a weak team could have saved them from elimination.

    • Tess says:

      ITA they deserved a longer penalty and I think they should’ve had to incur the penalty before leaving the psuedo pit stop rather than at the end of the leg. Yes, it wasn’t an actual pit stop but it was a check-in point and it was when Phil informed them of the penalty so that’s when it probably should have been served out – although it doesn’t seem likely that it would’ve affected when they got to that train. I hate when the legs are set up so that they all wind up bunched together at times because it makes it unfair for the teams that busted their buts to get to the pit stop when the teams that were way behind suddenly are back on a even playing ground without having to work harder to make it up. That’s the one thing about the show that has always bugged me.
      I think Jaime and Cara might have u-turned another team instead, but at that point they only knew that the Globetrotters were behind them. Didn’t seem to make a difference to either team though since everyone was at the dinosaur puzzle at the same time in the end.

  14. lucy says:

    It wasn’t a non-elimination leg, it was a continued race. If it had been a non-elimination, then he would have checked everyone in, Phil didn’t. He told everyone they were still racing, therefore, Kent and Vyxsin were also still racing at that point. The end of the leg was what we saw at the end of last night.

  15. PFitz says:

    I think it’s important to point out that this was NOT a non-elimination leg. Those come when teams are given their down-time, a reward for coming in first and then a reprieve to the last team with a speed bump to follow.

    In recent years, Amazing Race has thrown in at least one longer legs, where Phil tells the racers they have to keep on keeping on.

    Yes, this is the second time this season, but it makes sense–it’s a “all-star” season, so the producers decided in advance to milk the existing popularity of the teams for additional episodes.

    I love this season–it’s definitely one of my favorites. Some fun challenges, great HD, genuine suspense, less ugly American behavior and a lot less screaming. And no “baby, baby” talk with the absence of “dating couples.”

  16. Andrew says:

    Love your columns, but I don’t understand why you’re so hard on the goths, yet championing the cowboys when they were also saved by a continued-race leg – after a disastrous performance on the first episode (Come on, guys! Flag = letter.). Also, I’ve been pretty happy with the season so far. I’m am glad the producers front-loaded their limited number of continued-race/non-elimination legs with such a strong cast. Plus, the dinosaur challenge was one of the best they’ve had in a long time.

    • Cobie says:

      The cowboys got stuck over one task – the flags. They always try to solve the problems on their own, just as they do the navigating. Sometimes it’s to their own detriment, but at least you can’t call them out for riding everyone else’s coat-tails, which has been rampant this season. The goths are continually following everyone else, and the one time they didn’t, because they lost their car in the parking lot (!), they manage to drive hours out of their way. Getting lost is reasonable, but an intelligent person knows when something is wrong, stops and checks the map or asks for directions, and doesn’t keep doing the wrong thing for as long as possible.

      Then they lose their passports twice. Vixen is the only hard-working member of this team, but on this episode we see her have mental breakdowns repeatedly. It was hard to feel sorry for her, and for her partner. He should have done the horoscope task, after seeing her crack up during the navigating. They are such a hopeless team. I would hate for them to stay over other more deserving teams, because their progressive errors are much worse to me than a team making one bad mistake or having bad taxi luck. In my case, it has nothing to do with liking the cowboys more. I liked both teams about equally, when coming into this race. That’s probably what Michael was saying, not that he was a huge fan of one team and believed in favoritism for them.

  17. Sean says:

    My Random Thoughts:

    – Kent and Vyxsin U-Turned the Redheads right in front of them, which was a pretty ballsy move, if you ask me. But I like the immediate accountability of that decision. The one thing that does bother me about the U-Turn, is when teams apologize for using it. It’s part of the game…within the rules! Do you think that when a baseball player steals second base, he gets up, calls time with the umpire, brushes the dirt off of his uniform…and then apologizes to the second baseman?

    – A lot has been said on this season, and in their original season, about Ron’s strained relationship wth Christina. They both talk about having to improve the way they interact with each other, and I’m thinking that Ron closing the cab door on her leg as Christina was getting out, is probably a couple of steps backwards.

    After you’re done here at TVLine, I hope you’ll check out the rest of my recap at

  18. Mikos says:

    There have always been non-elimination legs. This wasn’t even that, it was a superleg so K&V didn’t come in last at the end of the leg, they just made it to that point of the superleg last.

    I’ve always felt that non-elim legs should always be announced at the clue before the pitstop or even at the beginning of the leg. And the penalty should be more severe. Finishing last in a leg should either get you eliminated or require a heroic effort (or someone else’s ultimate collapse) for you to survive.

  19. kathleen Wheeler says:

    I think this is a great season. The challenges have been fun to watch.

  20. Jellicle says:

    I’ve always wondered if the non-elimination pit stops were conveniently chosen depending on who was last (I don’t mean the double legs but real pit stops that were non-elimination – these happened in the past), but if they were to use a non-elimination pit stop to save a team, I’d think they’d do it in the last episode and save Jaime and Cara. They’re very disliked and make good television drama.

  21. Jessica says:

    it wasnt a nonelimination leg. It was just a longer leg than normal just like the season premiere. so there was no need to eliminate kent and viksyn. im assuming nonelimination legs are predetermined while they plan out the race.

  22. Ham says:

    Michael Slezak why the hate?
    Really sad the redheads being eliminated like that.
    Go Cowboys and Mallorie Team