Recap: The Amazing Race 31, Episode 4 – “I Took Out a Polar Bear”
Corinne & Eliza don’t understand why no Big Brother teams have been eliminated yet.
Anyway, all teams are equalized at Snowtown Saigon which opens at 6:30am. Teams have to sled down to meet the polar bear with their next clue. Britney shoves Elissa to the ground and then crashes into the polar bear.
Teams must now make their way to College Transportation Central. But Chris & Bret must first complete their Speed Bump which involves them making snowballs and delivering them via cooler to the polar bear at the next Route Marker.
In the scramble for taxis, Corinne & Eliza try to take Rachel & Elissa’s (whom they asked to wait for them), but the driver refuses. Corinne & Eliza are pissed at the Reillys. Corinne vows to never speak to the sisters ever again. Eliza says they won’t have to because they would have beaten them.
Leo & Jamal and Rachel & Elissa arrive at College Transportation Central first and find the Road Block: Who feels like driving themselves crazy?
For this Road Block, teams must successfully pass a scooter license test including doing a figure eight within yellow lines and over speed bumps without their feet touching the ground. Jamal and Elissa decide to do the Road Block.
Victor arrives and starts the Road Block. But Leo & Jamal stay in first and must now make their way to Binh Quoi Village. Rachel & Elissa are close behind. Eliza and Chris start the Road Block next as Victor gets the thumbs up. Becca and Colin are next. But Colin finishes fourth. Janelle and Korey start last.
On the other side of town, Leo & Jamal find the Detour: Irritation or Irrigation. In Irritation, teams must row themselves in basket boats down the river for 200 yards to deliver a basket of fish while navigating over bridges and avoiding annoying fishermen. In Irrigation, teams must build an irrigation wheel and collect enough water to fill a large stone pot.
Leo & Jamal and Rachel & Elissa choose Irrigation. Colin & Christie and Nicole & Victor choose Irritation.
Back at the Road Block, Eliza is struggling and growing frustrated. But she passes on her 10th attempt.
Nicole & Victor and Colin & Christie finish the Detour and get the next clue telling teams to “Run to Phil on the Mat” at Tam Vu Park. They are side-by-side running. But somehow, Colin & Christie arrive first at the Mat without their backpacks and looking like they’ve just done something very strenuous.
Phil officially checks them in as Team #1 and tells them they’ve won a trip to the Dominican Republic. Nicole & Victor check in as Team #2.
Meanwhile, all the other teams (except Corinne & Eliza) are at the Detour and choose Irritation. Leo & Jamal finally get the thumbs up on their irrigation wheel while Rachel & Elissa are struggling to find out what’s wrong with theirs. Rachel thinks they should switch Detours as they see everyone passing them, but Elissa tries to get her to remain calm.
Corinne & Eliza are last at the Detour while the Reillys are now filling up their jar. Corinne & Eliza choose Irritation and, seeing the local men, believe they must row down the river while standing up.
Back at the Mat, Chris & Bret somehow finish as Team #3. Becca & Floyd are Team #4 followed by Tyler & Korey, Leo & Jamal and Janelle & Britney.
It’s between the Reillys and Corinne & Eliza. We are led to believe it is a footrace to the Mat. But Rachel & Elissa step on the Mat first with Corinne & Eliza right behind them.
Rachel & Elissa are Team #8 and Corinne & Eliza are last and eliminated.
An emotional Rachel & Elissa say they feel blessed to still be in the Race. Corinne & Eliza are not happy. At. All. Especially being on the Mat next to the Reillys. Corinne & Eliza say they do not respect themselves. But Rachel & Elissa say they respect them as competitors and as strong women. Eliza rolls her eyes.
In their post-Leg confessional, Eliza says they were not having any of the Reillys’ “fake BS” and vow never to speak to them ever again.
Corinne & Eliza leave the Mat and go off to the side and cry as they didn’t want to “give [the Reillys] the satisfaction” of them crying next to them at the Mat. Eliza says she hates the Reillys so much.
So this was definitely a much better Leg than last week’s and maybe the most interesting of the season so far.
But to talk about this episode, we have to talk about what apparently was the edited out Head to Head. TAR27 Justin tweeted that earlier:
— Justin Scheman (@JustinClassic1) May 9, 2019
It would explain the heightened tension between Rachel & Elissa and Corinne & Eliza at the Mat. But also the interesting editing before that. First, the clue after Detour included the line “Run to Phil at the Mat” without mentioning the Pit Stop. Plus, there was no stand-up from Phil introducing the Pit Stop either, just a voice over.
Then we had Colin & Christie and Nicole & Victor running side-by-side to the Mat. But then Colin & Christie arriving with no Nicole & Victor in sight. Not only that, but we go from Colin & Christie looking like this while running:
To them looking like this at the Mat:
No backpacks, Christie’s hair tied up, both looking a little more tired.
Even Nicole & Victor going from this:
Definitely helps the strange editing on the way to the Pit Stop make more sense. Though I definitely now wonder what the Head to Head could’ve been. How horrible must it have been? Lol It’s not like the episode was so full they couldn’t include it.
At the same time though, the less Head to Head, the better. lol At least until they move it to earlier in the Leg.
So with that out of the way, let’s go back to the beginning. Again, I’m fine with equalizers on contemporary TAR. It helps make things more interesting and exciting. The extra Route Marker was a little meh, if not random. Though even more random was Britney shoving Elissa to the ground during the scramble for the sleds.
I think I remember how shoving is a big No-No on TAR since Jonathan shoved Victoria back in TAR6. Or is it just okay here because it’s not a married couple that’s involved. Hmm…
Anyway, I enjoyed seeing all the taxi trouble. We don’t see that enough on TAR these days. With no more airport drama, the least they can do is maintain the taxi drama.
The Road Block was pretty good because obviously Ho Chi Minh City is known for the streets being filled with scooters. It’s as synonymous with Ho Chi Minh City as jeepneys are in Manila or tuk-tuks are in India or Thailand. So having teams pass the straightforward exam was good. It’s also about time they got teams on scooters/mopeds! Certainly not the safest thing for teams to do (lol), but the two drills were safe enough here. This was also a little better than the driving school Road Block in TAR20 I believe.
The Detour was alright. Though obviously with the history of basket boats on TAR, it was a little underwhelming. The irrigation assembly was good because it was a straightforward attention to detail task. But the basket boats side of the Detour was far simpler. I think one way to have balanced the Detour out was to have teams standing up as they made their way down the river. Or even having each team member in their own boat like in TAR3. That would’ve given teams a little more of a challenge, I think.
Finally, again, I wonder what the Head to Head could’ve been and why they decided to edit it out.
Overall, this might have been the most exciting episode of the season so far. Still not the best Leg design, but a huge improvement of what we’ve gotten so far this season as well.
Lastly, just for everyone’s information…
THERE IS NO AMAZING RACE NEXT WEEK! (Wednesday, May 15th)
TAR will take the week off for the Survivor finale. TAR31 returns on Wednesday, May 22nd with TWO episodes, airing at 8pm and 9pm.
TAR31 will also then move into its new timeslot of 8pm on Wednesday, May 29th and will stay there until the finale.
ETA (5/9/19): Just listened to Corinne’s interview with Victor & Nicole on their podcast:
Today on Coco Caliente Nic & Vic chat with Corinne and Eliza aka "Team Villain” of the Amazing Race 31. 💓They discuss their race experience and dive into some interesting questions you’ve been wanting answers to! #Cocoracerecap!✨LISTEN HERE https://t.co/WQ2ZIUb4Xw ✨ #TAR31 pic.twitter.com/KlnxmGm4Q9
— Coco Caliente (@cococalientepod) May 9, 2019
And lots of interesting tidbits about the mysterious Head to Head! First some bullet points:
-Taxi drama between Rachel & Elissa and Corinne & Eliza was not a big deal at all. lol
-Head to Head was badminton. (Another recycled task from TAR Asia 5’s Vietnam Leg)
-Rachel & Elissa had already lost to Leo & Jamal and Janelle & Britney before facing off against Corinne & Eliza for elimination.
-Corinne & Eliza arrived at the Head to Head in time to see Chris & Bret win theirs.
-Becca & Floyd lost a few face offs.
So that is very interesting. First, it is possible that all, if not most teams were at the Head to Head together. So that could’ve been really boring to watch the procession of teams facing off like that. Usually, the Head to Head (or Face Off/Duel Duel/Double Battle) can be interspersed with the other tasks on the Leg as other teams are still doing them. But of course here on TARUS, that’s not possible if the Head to Head is the last task and everyone gets bunched up at the end.
Even more interesting is Rachel & Elissa didn’t actually finish the Detour second to last like the episode depicted if they had already faced off against Janelle & Britney and Leo & Jamal. So the show just played around with time and just made it appear Rachel & Elissa were so far behind to make the faux footrace to the end make sense.
To help that edit, they made the taxi moment between the Reillys and Corinne & Eliza seem bigger than it was too.
So this was definitely the most interesting look at how TAR can really edit and create stories out of thin air. lol
My Subjective Team Rankings
No change to the rankings this week. Rachel & Elissa are still awesome of course. Though they certainly did choose the wrong Detour. I can understand Rachel’s frustration since they could see teams passing them one after the other. What’s interesting though is I think Rachel and Elissa definitely balance each other out. Elissa is just like how she was on BB15. “Zen”-like and maybe even too calm instead of being a little more competitive. But Rachel definitely takes care of that. And she has definitely used her TAR experience to help their team.
Janelle & Britney were kind of messy this Leg. Though I think we’ve gotten hints of it in the first three Legs. Like, they’ve gotten a little testy and annoyed with each other from time to time. And can get frantic easily. But Janelle certainly carried this Leg for their team. It’s one reason I think having each team member in their own basket boat would’ve been better.
We should pretty much give up on hoping Colin & Christie have a TAR5-style meltdown. That’s definitely not happening anymore. They’re different and grown people from their TAR5 selves. We’ll definitely see if that gets them the win this time compared to their TAR5 fate.
Corinne & Eliza have been hilarious so far. But this episode was not a good look for them at all. Their actions at the Mat were the precise definition of “sore loser”. It was very surprising actually. On one hand, I can understand especially if there was a Head to Head. But on the other hand, we’ve seen them be too snippy through at times. And their negativity, to the other teams and to locals, started to go too far. And I’m sure it could’ve gotten worse if they had stayed longer. They were fun, but it was the right time for them to go. (Though I certainly would prefer them over other teams still left in the Race.)
Chris & Bret are just the nice guys moving along nicely on the Race. I think of all the teams, they are the darkhorses. They could sneak right into the Final Leg. Nicole & Victor are like a less annoying Jess & Cody. But they’re still not too exciting for me as a team. Leo & Jamal were thankfully almost invisible this Leg even though they were in the lead for the first half of it. At least they didn’t get time to mug for the camera.
Speaking of, I prefer when Becca & Floyd are in the bottom of the pack because they have no time to mug for the camera either. They don’t get the time to overthink how to play up to the camera. Tyler & Korey were also in the same boat, no pun intended, with having less screentime. I hope that continues in future Legs. (Or better, they’re eliminated next.)
Corinne: “She didn’t grow up in a trailer park with a freakn’ moped.”
Elissa: “Hope for the best, expect the worst.”
Rachel: “No! I don’t expect the worst. That’s a bad saying for this situation!”
Janelle: “Now we’re in a water fight with these Vietnamese men!”