Recap: The Amazing Race 29, Episode 6 – "I always wanted to be a beautiful something."

Recap: The Amazing Race 29, Episode 6 – Double U-Turn Ahead


While the other teams are booking flights to Milan, Italy using the Travelocity app, Liz & Michael hug it out to try and put their rough day behind them.

At the train station on the way to Alesund, teams all agree Vanck & Ashton are horrible and must be the target at the upcoming Double U-Turn so they can be eliminated. Scott suggests TAR’s version of the BB Backdoor by blocking the 2nd U-turn so Vanck & Ashton can’t use it.

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Once in Milan, teams must make their way to Piazza Fontana where they will find the Road Block: Who’s hungry for the next clue?

For this Road Block, teams must board a moving restaurant and eat a meal while looking out for three Race-colored words along the route: Cernobbio, Concordia, Lago.

Tara and Michael are on the first tram and decide to work together. Vanck, Redmond, Scott and are on the second tram. Logan has to wait for the next one.

Tara’s love for Italy and her wonderful memories help her easily finish the Road Block first. Teams must now make their way to Cernobbio on Lake Como. While Tara & Joey and Liz & Michael are on their way, none of the other teams get the correct words on their first try.

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Teams will spend the night on the Concordia steamboat while enjoying more delicious food. In the morning upon arrival in Varenna, teams will be released five minutes apart starting at 7am.

Tara & Joey run off to find the next clue and the Double U-Turn. They decide not to U-Turn anyone and grab the clue which reveals the Detour: Make a Mold or Grab a Hold.

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In Make a Mold, teams must head to Castello di Vezio to make a ghost mold. In Grab a Hold, teams must head to L’Angolo Benedetto Castelli and rock climb to get the next clue.

Liz & Michael U-Turn Vanck & Ashton. They tell Becca & Floyd to U-Turn them in order to negate that 2nd slot.

Ashton & Vanck fall to last place as everyone else finds the cluebox and U-Turn before them. Tara & Joey choose the mold with London & Logan arriving there later. The other teams choose the rock climbing.

Matt & Redmond finish the Detour first and can now take a boat to Tremezzo Park to find the Pit Stop. Becca & Floyd are right behind them and it’s a boat race to the dock. Matt & Redmond are first to the dock, but can’t get off the boat. That allows Becca & Floyd to hop out and run to the Mat to claim 1st and a trip to Argentina. Matt & Redmond settle for 2nd.

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Over at the rock climbing, Brooke is having a meltdown, as usual.

Ashton & Vanck run to the rock climbing and thank Liz & Michael just as they are running to the boats.

Tara & Joey, Liz & Michael, Scott & Brooke and London & Logan finish 3 though 6.

That means Ashton & Vanck are last and eliminated.


Episode Thoughts

So this was an interesting episode. But let’s get to the gripes first.

Inserting contrived staggered morning departures after an overnight stay right before a pre-Detour U-Turn? That’s absolutely a recipe for Leg Design disaster. And if it wasn’t for a solid Road Block, the beauty of Lake Como (or what little we actually saw of it), Liz & Michael’s 5 second argument and Brooke having a meltdown (again!), this would’ve been a completely horrible episode and Leg.

I’ve never been a fan of the staggered departure times, especially in the HD Era of TAR where Legs are have been more often than not stubbornly minimalist. It doesn’t help foster competition nor move the Race along in a way that is both competitive and entertaining.

And of course placing the U-Turn before the Detour and the fuzzy U-Turn rules this season are just a mess. Having that U-Turn so early with ZERO, absolutely ZERO chance for the U-Turned team to catch up is not the kind of competition TAR was about when it wasn’t in danger of cancellation.

The TAR version of Backdooring, that is, U-Turn a team that’s already passed the U-Turn board, completely negates the reason the U-Turn was doubled in the first place. But U-Turning a team early in the episode and ensuring they were eliminated basically negates the need for the rest of the ep. Why continue when you already know who’s going home?

Better idea if TARUS really wants to spice up the U-Turn and put it before the Detour: Either bring over the forced Vote U-Turn or have the U-Turn apply even if the team has already passed the board. How about that? The show wants to use flimsy rules, why not go all out?

We’ll talk about the ganging up on Ashton & Vanck later.

But to the rest of the episode… The Road Block in Milan at night was pretty good actually. A simple recycle of a few previous TAR tasks, but it worked here for a quick task.

The Detour tasks, separately, were okay. But it didn’t seem like a very balanced Detour. The molding was an interesting task, but it seemed very time consuming compared to the rock climbing, even if it was farther away.

Anyway, it was a very basic Leg made worse by the factors mentioned above. A waste of two! beautiful locations in Milan and Lake Como. I am amazed that the film Imagine You & Me managed to showcase Lake Como much better than this episode of TAR did. And that movie was half spent lip syncing in a car or singing karaoke in an apartment!

My Subjective Team Rankings

So it’s definitely a shame Vanck & Ashton were eliminated this early. And in such a horrible way too. Vanck hasn’t really been pulling as much weight as he should have these last few Legs, but this Leg definitely showed he and Ashton could reclaim their early Leg success. What was even more shocking was the other teams’ apparent dislike of Vanck so much that they wanted them gone with the U-Turn. That came out of nowhere considering Ashton has been the target of other teams’ ire (mostly Matt & Redmond and, inexplicably Brooke last leg). So Vanck being mentioned as the target was really pulled out of thin air. Sure, he’s gotten on Ashton’s (and many of the audience’s nerves) the last two Legs. But we haven’t seen a single thing that would cause the other teams to so against Vanck (and thus Ashton). Not only that, but they all basically ganged up against them.

Whew. That brings back horrible memories of the #BrainTrust (for anyone who actually watched TARPH2… the real one).

But really, the episode and Leg itself was all sketchy and then we got the teams ganging up on one team. Cliquey attitudes on TAR are never good.

Tara & Joey have been a good, consistent team. A little bump in the road with that Detour last week. But they’re on a good track to make it far. London & Logan move up my list if only because they were again pretty invisible this Leg.

With Michael & Liz, I still like Liz a lot. But Michael was just completely negative. Such a downer and I probably would have a hard time working well with him again after that blowup. And apparently, judging from the preview, he’s back at it next week.

Becca & Floyd were alright. But they’re also guilty by association and Becca herself talking about the perceived (nonexistent) negatives of Vanck & Ashton to justify jumping on the U-Turn train.

Scott & Brooke have just tumbled down my list. First with Scott, he was pretty annoying at that Road Block. And his sideeyes to Brooke are definitely getting as old as Brooke’s meltdowns are. I probably would’ve enjoyed Brooke’s absurd meltdown at the Detour had she not commented on how annoying someone else was. I think a good comparison would be TAR26 Hayley. Hayley was hilariously high strung and crazy, but she never passed judgment on other teams. She was annoying, yet didn’t paint others as annoying or worse than her. Brooke, however, just did and then went on to show how she was exactly like she described others as being.

It’ll be hard for Matt & Redmond to move up my list anytime soon. After their bitterness at the first U-Turn and their continued bitterness toward Vanck & Ashton, it’s definitely not a good look. It also appears that they were the ones who orchestrated the “Eliminate Vanck & Ashton” movement since they’re apparently very popular and the other teams will do whatever they say. I hope for the other teams that it won’t come back to bite them in the event Matt & Redmond go all the way.

Episode Quotes

Liz: “I called you a ‘jackass’ because you’re acting like a jackass.”

Becca: “I love touching rock, it feels so gooood!”

Ashton: “You are a beautiful ghost.”
Vanck: “I always wanted to be a beautiful something.”

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