I began the current season of The Amazing Race: Unfinished Business as a somewhat casual observer, not so invested in any one all-star team that I felt ready to declare my undying allegiance. But seven episodes in, I’m finding myself gripping the sides of my couch hoping that father-daughter duo Gary and Mallory aren’t the last ones to see Phil Keoghan’s sombre mug at the weekly Pit Stop.
Part of my allegiance has to do with Mallory’s unwavering enthusiasm and priceless facial expressions. During Sunday night’s “Feed the Fire” detour — in which teams had to create 50 manure discs, slap them onto a wall to dry, then start a fire using said fuel sources, Gary and Mallory maintained a goofy sense of humor and a friendly respect for the hard-to-please Mistress of Cow Patties. Mallory even confessionalized with giddiness that her white shirt was the same one she’d worn during a manure-themed challenge in Russia the last time she appeared on the Race. Kisha and Jen, meanwhile, gagged and squabbled, while Kent and Vyxsin fell into their standard panicky neuroses. Is it any wonder I’m rooting hoping season 18 finally gives us a parent-child victory?
As for Sunday’s episode, a few highlights:
* How in the heck did Jet and Cord not get suspicious and start checking for alternate flights when they went to their gate and didn’t see a single competing team on their plane from Kolkata to Varanasi? The dudes are formidable foes, but they can’t afford to be so blasé with only six teams remaining.
* Anyone else feel like Kent is courting a karmic comeuppance? During a Road Block which required players to find six different sadhus (holy men) in the insanely crowded Tonga Stand intersection, Kent asked if he could follow Gary, in exchange for Kent’s information about the location of the final sadhu. But instead of making good on his promise, Kent abandoned Gary the minute he’d drained him of his intel. “At that point, our co-dependency was kind of over,” said the goth with the terrifying brow situation. Look, I know all’s fair in love and The Amazing Race, and I know Gary was naive to help Kent in the first place, but it’s hard to respect Kent’s parasitic approach to the competition.
* Why why why did Christina allow her father to take on a task that required a cool head navigating a crowded urban center? Was this some secret urge to head home and get a jump start on wedding planning? Ron’s logic — that perhaps some of the sadhus had stripped off their colorful garments and gone for a dip in the Ganges — was, well, insane.
* Speaking of quick dips, I screamed with laughter after Vyxsin — who clearly thought the Ganges was super-shallow near its edges — ended up completely submerged after leaping off a water taxi to try to drag it back to the dock. Kent’s subsequent freakout and cries of “you need to calm it down!” proved worth of the DVR-rewind treatment, too.
* Oh, and speaking of karma, was I the only one mortified by the disrespect Kent and Vyxsin showed in dealing with their local transportation providers? After their freakout at the water-taxi stand, Team Pink and Black hailed a taxi and began screeching to its occupant — “get out! get out!” — to vacate the seats that they somehow felt were their birthright. I was hoping Ron and Christina’s decision to travel by water might pull them ahead of the dating goths, but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
* Final order of finish at the Pit Stop: Flight Time and Big Easy; Zev and Justin; Kisha and Jen; Gary and Mallory; Jet and Cord; Kent and Vyxsin; Ron and Christina (eliminated).
What did you think of this week’s Race? Which team are you rooting for? Take our poll, then hit the comments to explain your vote. And for all my reality recaps, follow me on Twitter @MichaelSlezakTV!