Recap: The Amazing Race 29, Episode 2 – "Pain is temporary, elimination is forever."

Recap: The Amazing Race 29, Episode 2 – Scared Spitless


Teams must book their own flights to Sao Paolo, Brazil at a designated travel agency. Shamir easily gets frustrated when they don’t make it on an earlier flight. Sara hopes he doesn’t let his emotions get the better of them on the Race.

Teams end up on six different flights. On the first are Zanck & Ashton and Matt & Redmond. On the second flight are Seth & Olive, Shamir & Sara and Brook & Scott. Liz & Michael are Flight #3, London & Logan are on Flight #4, Becca & Floyd and Tara & Joey on Flight 5. And Jessie & Francesca are on the last flight.

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Once in Sao Paolo, teams must travel to a helipad to sign up for a morning flight over the city to the rooftop of a skyscraper from which they will make their way to Praca da Se.

Vanck & Ashton and Matt & Redmond make a deal to flip a coin to determine who will sign up for the first helicopter ride. But Matt & Redmond arrive first and decide to sign in before Vanck & Ashton even arrive. Vanck & Ashton say they won’t be forgetting this any time soon.

All teams except Jessie & Francesca have arrived in Sao Paolo as Matt & Remond take off in the helicopter first. They arrive at the plaza and open the next clue to reveal the Detour: Keep the Beat or Work Your Feet.

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In Keep the Beat, teams must join a samba troupe and learn how to play the chocalho and surdo. In Work Your Feet, teams must assemble makeshift workout equipment using rudimentary items such as a refrigerator, tires and milk cartons.

Matt & Redmond choose Work Your Feet and quickly get started assembling the gym. Vanck & Ashton arrive just as Matt & Redmond get a check and fail because they have no water in their barrel. Shamir & Sara, Liz & Michael and London & Logan head over to Keep the Beat.

Seth & Olive arrive under the overpass as Matt & Redmond correct their mistake. They get the next clue pointing them to Avenida Paulista and a bicycle clue.

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Brooke & Scott aren’t moving in their taxi, so they get out and walk, unsure of where to go. Brooke trips and rolls on her elbow, but she ignores the pain and says they have to keep going. They get to the boxing gym after Vanck & Ashton and Seth & Olive finish and leave.

Shamir & Sara are first to get the thumbs up at the samba side of the Detour. Shamir points out the (minor) injuries to his hand from drumming. Liz & Michael are next to finish after their 2nd attempt.

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As Tara & Joey start the gym Detour and Becca & Floyd start the samba, Vanck & Ashton arrive at the next clue first which reveals the Road Block: Who likes things squeaky clean?

For this Road Block, teams must rappel down the side of the building and completely clean a dirty window.

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Ashton decides to do the Road Block. Liz, Redmond, Seth, Shamir and Scott are close behind. Scott is terrified of heights, but pushes through since Sara is injured.

Jessie & Francesca arrive at the samba Detour.

Seth seems to finish the Road Block first, but gets the thumbs down. Unable to reach the spot at the top of the window, he has to rappel all the way down and go back up.

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Liz and Ashton finish the Detour and both teams can now head to the Pit Stop: Trianon Park. Liz & Michael hop in a taxi while Vanck & Ashton run it. Liz & Michael are able to just beat Vanck & Ashton to the Mat and they finish as Teams #1 and #2. Liz & Michael win a trip to Barbados.

Vanck & Ashton are happy to finish ahead of Matt & Redmond who settle for 3rd. Seth & Olive are Team #4.

Tara starts the Road Block as Shamir has to go down and back up again. But he feels a lot of pain in his testicles saying the harness must be very tight. On his 2nd attempt, he punches a window asking for help as his testicle’s “about to rupture.” He gets down and asks for an ambulance saying his testicle’s bleeding.

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While Shamir is in the ambulance, all the other teams except Jessie & Francesca finish the Detour. Becca & Floyd, Brooke & Scott, Tara & Joey and London & Logan finish as Teams 5 through 8.

Shamir gets out of the ambulance and Sara says if it were her, she’d suck it up and fight through any “discomfort.” Jessie & Francesca arrive, but can’t see the girl with the clues riding the bike right next to them. Sara points them in the wrong direction.

Shamir gets another thumbs down and has to return to the ground. His balls still hurt, so he takes a little rest as Jessie & Francesca finally see the girl on the bike. Francesca gets started on the Road Block. She gets the thumbs down on her first check and that allows Shamir to finally finish.

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Shamir & Sara head to the Pit Stop and officially check in as Team #9. Shamir expresses his anger over being hung by his balls. Phil tries to calm the situation, though Sara is very emotional after the frustrating day.

That means Jessie & Francesca are last and eliminated.


Episode Thoughts

Very interesting episode. Definitely an improvement over the premiere (like the 2nd ep usually is in the current era of TAR). But also still a very typical and almost generic Leg. It would’ve been a slow episode had it not been for Shamir’s balls, to be honest. And that’s even with the placement changes throughout the episode.

I think the fluidity of the Detour was negated by Jessie & Francesca being so obviously behind right from the start. They didn’t seem to even be in Sao Paolo yet when most of the teams hopped into the helicopters. But that illustrates just how far behind Shamir & Sara fell because of Shamir’s balls getting squeezed so hard if #SwoleSisters were able to catch up.

(Okay, I’m starting to feel the pain just typing about it. lol)

Not really a fan of the helicopters as the extra Route Marker of the Leg. It really served no purpose other than to stagger the departure times. Though again, it didn’t seem to matter. But having it is an example of the lazy and sometimes problematic Leg design on contemporary TARUS.

Both the Detour and Road Block were fine, but pretty generic for Sao Paolo and definitely recycled from previous TARs. It would seem like Sao Paolo was merely a logistical connection between Panama last week and Tanzania next week.

The editing this episode, partly because of the helicopter rides, also felt off and again you don’t really get a good sense of time or where teams are respective to each other. It’s almost just a mish-mash of teams doing stuff instead of Racing.

Anyway, it was an okay episode overall. Par for the course for contemporary TAR and nothing special about it, as usual.

My Subjective Team Rankings

Very sad about Jessie & Francesca. TARUS really hasn’t had many strong female teams in recent seasons, so I was really hoping they would be the one. They’re strong and had great personalities, but they didn’t seem to take advantage of the break they got this Leg from Shamir’s ballsack. It would appear that they had plenty opportunity to catch up, especially at the end with the bike clue and if Francesca had done the Road Block in one attempt. But anyway, it would’ve been great to have seen them go all the way.

Vanck & Ashton seem to have settled down from their first week tension. And in addition to actually working well together, it may have been Matt & Redmond’s little dealbreaker that took their (mostly Ashton’s) minds off of their polar opposite personalities. A great Leg for them, but I definitely hope to see more “dynamic” exchanges from them in the future. If you know what I mean.

In a similar way, Scott & Brooke also calmed down this week partly because of Brooke’s injury and party because of Scott’s fear of heights. They had good teamwork this episode, but again, I wouldn’t mind seeing their first Leg selves pop up again in the future while still Racing well. Brooke’s “”Pain is temporary, elimination is forever” quote though is a classic.

Tara & Joey are settling into their Mom and Dad roles well. They did fine this Leg, but certainly with less TV focus than last week. Same for Michael & Liz, Seth & Olive and especially London & Logan who seem to disappear for huge chunks of the episode.

Becca & Floyd have toned things down, which is very welcome. Matt & Redmond going back on their little understanding with Vanck & Ashton isn’t egregious. And at the very least, it gives the season its first inter-team tension which is always necessary for drama purposes.

And finally Shamir & Sara. I know people will say Shamir should get some balls (in the figurative sense) and suck it up. But hey, if your balls hurt, what can you do. If you can grit your teeth and suck it up (like Brooke did with her own injury, for example), then you should. I have no idea how painful Shamir’s balls felt, but if it really wasn’t that bad and merely a discomfort, then he certainly overreacted. Hey, it’s great for TV and it apparently takes a toll on him and Sara as teammates. So that’s promising. But from a Race perspective, Sara’s frustration is very understandable. And TAR was sure to point out Shamir’s tendency to maybe overreact with the travel agency at the start of the ep and his relatively minor cuts and bruises from playing the drums.

Episode Quotes

Brooke: “Pain is temporary, elimination is forever. Let’s go.”

Tara: “I’d rather be clean than dirty.”

Shamir: “I think my testicles are swollen.”

Shamir: “My testicle’s about to rupture.”

Shamir: “My balls hurt, what do you want me to do?”

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