Recap: The Amazing Race 26, Episode 11 – “In It to Win It”
Teams set off on the penultimate Leg by returning to Trujillo to find the longest mosaic in South America.
Here, they must use a magnifying glass given to them by a clown and a picture of a section of the wall to search the mosaic’s 30,000 tiles for one of four tiles with Race colors. They will exchange that tile for their next clue.
Hayley & Blair maintain their lead and open the next clue revealing the Detour.
In Shake Your Hips, teams must learn a traditional Peruvian courtship dance.
In Make Some Bricks, teams must help preserve historic adobe walls by making 12 bricks and then transporting 12 dry bricks.
Hayley & Blair choose Make Some Bricks.
Meanwhile, Mike & Rochelle’s taxi sounds like it’s about to blow up. They end up pulling over, much to the excitement of no longer-last place Laura & Tyler who “literally” prayed for another team to break down. They only wish it were “Nimrod & Nimrod” aka Hayley & Blair instead who they would be embarrassed to lose to.
In Trujillo, Jelani & Jenny choose Shake Your Hips. They dress up and begin learning the flirty dance.
Over at the bricks, Hayley & Blair get a first inspection by the foreman who steps on all but three of their bricks. After watching another demonstration, they get the hang of it.
After getting 12 bricks approved, they load their wheelbarrow with 12 bricks, but it tips over. They decide to do six at a time and they take turns pushing the wheelbarrow to the drop location.
While Jelani & Jenny attempt the dancing, Laura & Tyler find the clue at the mosaic, but are not impressed by the clown. Mike & Rochelle have gotten a replacement taxi, but are having trouble finding the right clown.
Hayley & Blair finish the Detour and must now make their way to Huanchaco where they find the Road Block, Who wants to ride a seahorse?
For this Road Block, both team members will carry a reed boat down to the beach for one team member to row themselves out to a buoy in the water with their next clues.
Blair decides to do the Road Block.
Over at the Detour, Mike & Rochelle catch up to Laura & Tyler at the bricks, but they struggle so they end up switching to the dancing.
Jelani & Jenny finally get the rhythm on their 3rd attempt and maintain their 2nd place spot. They head to the Road Block which Jelani decides to do.
Blair takes a while to get the hang of the reed boat, but he reaches the buoy and rides the waves back to shore. He reunites with Hayley to open the last clue of the Leg directing them to the Pit Stop at Virgen del Socorro.
They run to the Mat where Phil officially checks them in as Team #1 for the 2nd Leg in a row. They win a trip to Goa, India.
Jelani uses his own technique to get himself to the buoy and he and Jenny head to the Pit Stop as Team #2.
While Mike & Rochelle finally finish the Detour, Laura & Tyler get to the Road Block which Laura must do. They maintain their 3rd place spot and head to the Pit Stop.
Rochelle also must do the Road Block and she struggles before she and Mike can finally make it to the Mat. They are the last team to arrive… but
this is a Non-Elimination Leg FOUR teams will be Racing in the Final Leg! Which means Mike & Rochelle are still in it.
So this was absolutely a linear Leg. No doubt about it. And it even seemed like the show intentionally gave Mike & Rochelle a bad taxi just to make it seem like it wasn’t a linear Leg.
I guess it doesn’t matter since this was a non-Non-Elimination Leg. But it was definitely not one of the best designed Legs.
Now first off, these “zero-hour Pit Stops” are still so odd since they really are just Non-Elimination Legs without penalties. Especially in TAR25 and now this season in the penultimate/Final Legs where they obviously have a pretty substantial rest period before flying back to the US. They’re basically just wanting a Non-Elimination without any penalty in the Final Leg and the added “shock” value of a mid-Leg elimination.
As much as I loved Amy & Maya winning (though they really shouldn’t have in any other season) and as much as I like Mike & Rochelle, I don’t think this should be a regular twist. And it likely won’t be.
The tasks this Leg were okay on their own though. The clown/mosaic task was fine. The dancing and brick making were standard TAR. And the Road Block was basically a simple Route Marker.
Overall, a bland penultimate Leg. Let’s hope the finale does not disappoint.
My Subjective Team Rankings
Hayley & Blair all the way! They are one of the few bright spots of this season. As much as I sensed they hate each other early on, I do think they “get” each other now and have either gotten used to each other or have learned to just have fun. Hayley has also been awesome with physical tasks these last two Legs. I definitely hope they take the win.
Jelani & Jenny were my original favorites and I am definitely happy to see them in the Final Leg. I definitely would like to see them win as well. It just sucks to see them not be as dominant as they once were. Since a fun, interesting dominant team is better than a bland and/or cocky dominant team.
Mike & Rochelle would be fine winners, but I’m sad they weren’t able to step up their game before the Final Leg. I don’t mind them making it to the Final Leg and I definitely want them in more than Tyler & Laura. But they’ll need to really step it up in the Final Leg to avoid that mid-Leg elimination.
Tyler & Laura are just one of those grating, cocky, overconfident teams that you just can’t root for. They make all other teams seem like underdogs when the others are really just as capable as them, if not more so. Their comments toward other teams are also unnecessary, especially since their bravado isn’t really backed up by their Race performance anyway.
Hayley: “I don’t want to have to run and have these dogs bite me.”
Blair: “These love pats are key.”
Dancer: “Try to kiss him!”
Jenny: “He is getting his butt kicked by the sea.”
Jenny: “The boat is riding him instead of the other way around. *laugh* No, I shouldn’t laugh, it isn’t funny.”
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