Recap: The Amazing Race 31, Episode 7 – Living Fearlessly
While still in Kampala waiting for their flight to Switzerland, Team Fun, the Afghanimals and the Reillys share a beer and discuss who they will U-Turn in the event they come across one soon. Becca & Floyd decide to bury the hatchet with Rachel & Elissa. They all agree Colin & Christie is the strongest team. But Leo & Jamal and Becca & Floyd suggest Nicole & Victor as well.
Rachel & Elissa, wanting to protect their Big Brother alliance, don’t want to U-Turn Nicole & Victor and decide to warn them later on the plane about the discussion.
Teams fly to Zurich, Switzerland. Upon arrival, teams will take a train to the Gletscherschlucht.
While on the train, Nicole & Victor decide to tell the entire group about Rachel informing them of a team wanting to U-Turn them. Rachel & Elissa ask to speak with Nicole & Victor who confirm they blabbed to the entire group. Rachel can’t believe it.
Nicole & Victor return to the rest of the group and they all agree that Rachel & Elissa are completely offensive for warning their alliance members of a U-Turn threat. Leo & Jamal are absolutely appalled.
Colin suggests he & Christie, Nicole & Victor and Chris & Bret all hold hands and feel the love in the universe. Rachel & Elissa come walking in. Elissa loves the zen and readily joins in. Nicole asks if Rachel wants to join, but Rachel says “no thank you.” Elissa tells Rachel to do it.
Teams arrive in Grindelwald and they run to the Gletscherschlucht where they find the Road Block: Who wants to take the scenic route? For this Road Block, teams will freefall into the Gletscherschlucht and then search the gorge for their next clue.
Korey goes first and he and Tyler open the next clue telling teams to take a helicopter to Grimsel Pass.
On the helicopter, Tyler comments on how beautiful the Swiss countryside is, which is in stark contrast to all the dirt poor places they’ve been to so far.
After Becca, Leo and Christie jump, Nicole wastes precious screentime by whining about not being able to do the jump even though she ends up doing it anyway.
At Grimsel Pass, teams find the Detour: Water Power or Water Down. In Water Power, teams will ride a funicular and keep an eye out for names of water basins and their water capacity. At the end of the funicular, teams will have to place the names and capacities on a map. In Water Down, teams will go canyoning by rappelling, catching their clue hanging around and then proceeding down the stream.
Tyler & Korey flirt with their canyon guide. Becca & Floyd and Colin & Christie also choose the canyoning while Leo & Jamal and Nicole & Victor choose the mapping.
Elissa and Chris are last to complete the Road Block.
Meanwhile, Leo & Jamal finish the Detour and can now drive themselves to the Pit Stop, Michaelskirche in Meiringen. But they have to wait for the funicular to come back up. Tyler & Korey also finish their side of the Detour. Colin & Christie are right on Becca & Floyd’s heels.
Tyler & Korey step on the Mat first and win a spa day.
Chris & Bret are right on the Reillys’ heels and they are able to drive off first. But neither team knows how to get to the Pit Stop. They both stop for directions and hurry off. Chris & Bret absolutely hate Rachel & Elissa for turning around in the middle of the road.
Meanwhile, Nicole & Victor are also lost and have to stop for directions.
In less interesting developments, Colin & Christie and Becca & Floyd finish as Teams #2 and 3, respectively. Leo & Jamal take 4th.
Rachel & Elissa are able to run to the Mat and claim 5th followed by Chris & Bret as Team #6.
Phil officially declares Rachel has tied the most Legs run by a Racer (with Jet & Cord and Flight Time & Big Easy) with 31.
Just then, Nicole & Victor come running in. Phil asks them what happened and Victor brings up the U-Turn situation. Rachel explains that they just wanted to warn them. Nicole struggles to try to make herself look like a victim before Victor steps in.
Victor asks Rachel & Elissa if they would confront whoever was threatening to do something to them if they were warned. The Reillys say they would not and would just thank them for the information since they would never throw them under the bus.
Nicole begins to cry for some reason and Victor says Rachel & Elissa should’ve just minded their own business. Rachel correctly calls them out for playing the victim.
Phil has to come in and suddenly make this a Non-Elimination Leg.
So this was actually a pretty horrible Leg, wasn’t it? TAR3’s Gindelwald Leg of falling pants, William Tell apples on heads and Chalet Arnika footraces SPITS on this poor Leg.
This fact was only highlighted even more by the U-Turn drama that took up a third of the episode. And we can only assume this U-Turn drama was to set-up the U-Turn Vote Ceremony next Leg. (Will rant about what looks like another horrible implementation of an international TAR twist next week.)
The Leg was already decided on who was able to run to the Road Block the fastest. Since the Road Block was of course a first come-first served task and then a helicopter ride next plus the same linear set-up on both sides of the Detour, it was a recipe for poor Leg design.
The Road Block was fine, but it was basically the same as the canyoning side of the Detour too. The other side of the Detour with the mapping also failed to be another “FRANZ” debacle from TAR15 and ended up being the better task of the two.
Obviously the big “highlight” of the episode itself though was all the U-Turn drama which was really pointless and, we should point out, started with Leo & Jamal and Becca & Floyd while they had some beers.
This has to be what TPTB, whether Bertram and Co. or CBS or both, wanted to see on this “reality showdown” season of TAR. Turns out, it was more annoying than interesting.
My Subjective Team Rankings
I’m obviously #TeamReilly for life. But let’s look at this objectively. Rachel & Elissa made a deal with Nicole & Victor to not U-Turn each other. Leo & Jamal and Becca & Floyd mentioned U-Turning them so Rachel & Elissa warned them. Somehow that makes Rachel & Elissa the worst people ever. Umm… what?
That’s really the most absurd conclusion to make. And talk about ungrateful. Rachel & Elissa were actually trying to protect their “friends” Leo & Jamal by not mentioning them to Nicole & Victor, but it only ended up working against them
Anyway, the fact is also that Rachel is the only woman to ever complete 31 Legs of the Race. That is a major accomplishment in addition to being the only woman and team (with Brendon) to cross the Finish Line twice. That deserves to be applauded.
Moving on. Colin & Christie are almost fading into the background now with their zen-like personalities. I said last week it’s time we got used to it. But with that kumbaya moment in the train, it just really feels so odd and partly unsatisfying as an Amazing Race fan. Strange.
For the first time this season, I’m tossing in GAPs in the rankings! And they’re well deserved gaps.
Rachel & Elissa were absolutely right about Chris & Bret being threats. They’ve been darkhorses and just sneaking by with a consistent Race so far. So the others shutting them down might prove to be a big mistake. Bret also came across like Art & JJ-lite throughout the ep which was also very strange. But it was funny how the show edited out Chris & Bret hugging Rachel & Elissa lol:
Leo & Jamal have really come across as huge hypocrites this season. Maybe even worse than TAR23 and TAR24 combined. They are one of the sneakiest and cutthroat teams during this HD Era of TAR and they think they can brings themselves to be appalled at other teams’ actions with a straight face? Yeah, I don’t think so.
Becca & Floyd certainly would have a reason to be upset that their scheming was revealed to the other teams. But again, they with their two wins try to make it appear they’re not a strong team. That shouldn’t work, but it appears these reality vets are playing emotionally. We all know how that works out.
Tyler & Korey‘s episode was basically them flirting with the hot guy. Which is certainly not the most annoying thing they’ve ever done on the Race.
Finally, Nicole & Victor. I haven’t really watched their seasons of Big Brother, but I’ve always read not so flattering things about them and their time in the house. I guess the real version of Nicole and Victor came out this Leg and yikes! I finally understand what Big Brother fans have been saying about them all this time. And it’s not pretty at all.
Rachel: “This is not Big Brother, this is The Amazing Race.”
Rachel: “Nicole your brand is watching. Just remember that.”
Rachel: “We’re not playing Big Brother.”