Recap: The Amazing Race 2, Episode 2 – Help Me, I’m American!
Original Airdate: March 13, 2002
The 2nd Leg of the 2nd season begins with Tara & Wil departing at 11:06pm. They open the first clue (which includes $200) telling them to take a zodiac boat back to shore and choose a waiting blue taxi to take them to Academicos da Barra da Tijuca, a samba club. Once there, teams must find a dancer whose headdress matches the feather they’ve been given in the envelope.
Cyndi & Russell depart at 11:34pm and Shola & Doyin at 11:35pm. But the married pastors arrive at the club first and exchange the feather for the next clue. Tara & Wil are upset with their taxi driver having taken the long way around.
Blake & Paige and Hope & Norm depart at 12:19am, Chris & Alex depart at 12:20am, Mary & Peach at 12:45am, Oswald & Danny at 12:46am, Gary & Dave at 1:24am and finally Peggy & Claire at 1:32am.
The next clue tells teams to make their way to Pedra Bonita for the next clue. And that clue reveals a Detour: Freak Out or Seek Out. In Freak Out, teams will handglide down to Sao Conrado Beach with an instructor and immediately be given the next clue. In Seek Out, teams will take a taxi to Sao Conrado Beach and use a metal detector to search for the clue in the sand.
Arriving at Pedro Bonita, the taxi driver runs over Doyin’s foot.
Back at the samba club, Peggy & Claire consider the Fast Forward. To win the Fast Forward, teams play volleyball on Copacabana Beach. Teams will get the Fast Forward when they can score ten points against a pro pair. The locals will play Brazilian style with no hands while the Americans can play American style with hands.
Because Shola is afraid of heights, he and Doyin decide to also check out the Fast Forward.
All the other teams decide to handglide. With the rest of the night to think, Blake and Paige consider doing the metal detector. Blake suggests they go to the beach now and borrow someone else’s metal detector to begin searching tonight. Then in the morning when the Detour opens, they can use the provided metal detectors to get the clue. But they can’t get a metal detector and they find the beach area is huge. So they have to go all the way back to Pedro Bonita and get in line for the handglide.
Gary & Dave decide to also check out the Fast Forward which opens at 6:30am rather than sit and wait for the Detour which opens at 8am.
When Peggy & Claire arrive at the Fast Forward beach, seeing the twins already raring to go has them deciding to do the Detour instead. Upon reading the options, Peggy isn’t too keen on handgliding. But the other teams cheer them on and encourage them to do it.
At 6:30am, the volleyball matches begin and Shola & Doyin easily win the Fast Forward. They can now make their way to the Pit Stop at a jungle camp near Iguazu Falls… 900 miles away.
Gary & Dave decide to do the metal detectors. But when they see the handgliding is much faster, they quickly switch. The first teams are already arriving on the beach and open the next clue telling teams to take a bus to Foz do Iguacu.
Peggy hesitates to handglide because she can’t run fast, but she and Claire eventually do it.
At the bus station, Shola says he twisted his knee during the volleyball game and it is swelling. They, Tara & Wil and Chris & Alex make the first, direct bus departing at 9:50am and arriving 22 hours later.
Cyndi & Russell, Mary & Peach and Oswald & Danny get on a 10am bus.
Peggy & Claire and Blake & Paige arrive at the bus station. But Blake realizes he has lost their wallet. Peggy & Claire think this is their chance. A nice local man helps get them an 11am bus via Sao Paulo rather than a direct 2:30pm bus. Gary & Dave get on a different 11am bus.
Blake & Paige get a local man to help them write a sign begging for help with money. They quickly get enough money for tickets.
Hope & Norm, fifth to glide, arrive at the bus station in last. They and Blake & Paige end up on a 2:30pm bus.
Meanwhile, a tire on the first bus blows out. But Chris leads the other guys into taking over and changing the tire themselves to speed up the process.
Over in Sao Paulo, Gary & Dave snatch the last tickets for the 6pm bus to Foz do Iguacu so Peggy & Claire have to settle for an 8pm bus. Gary & Dave’s bus also breaks down and they have to hop on another bus.
The first bus still arrives in Foz do Iguacu first and Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil open the clues on waiting jeeps telling teams to drive to Macuco Safari Dock in Iguacu National Park.
Chris & Alex think they can work together with Tara & Wil, but Wil doesn’t care to wait for them. That is, until Wil gets the jeep in the wrong gear and needs their help. Chris & Alex decide to stick with them in spite of Wil driving off earlier.
Gary & Dave arrive in Foz do Iguacu a couple of minutes before the second bus.
The clue waiting at the dock reveals a Road Block. For this Road Block, teams must use a map to direct a speedboat through Iguazu Falls. Teams must spot a flag on top of an island, walk over to it and retrieve the next clue.
Tara and Alex decide to do the Road Block. They stick together as they make their way up to the viewpoint and open the next clue pointing them to the Pit Stop at the Jungle Camp.
And that’s where Shola & Doyin are already checking-in as Team #1. Chris & Alex are Team #2 and Tara & Wil are Team #3.
A bunch of other teams finish the Road Block. Mary & Peach are 4th, Gary & Dave are 5th, Cyndi & Russell are 6th and Oswald & Danny are 7th.
Peggy & Claire, thinking they are last, finish as Team #8. The other teams cheer them on.
It’s down to the last two teams. Blake & Paige sneak to the back of the bus to copy the map of a local with a guidebook in order to gain an advantage over Hope & Norm.
That does the trick as Blake & Paige check-in as Team #9. That means Hope & Norm are last and eliminated.
Honestly, my initial thought after this episode was Wow! It feels like they just crammed every bit of footage they had into these 45 minutes. It was a very full episode even when the Leg itself was its typical early season self.
All the Detour switching and contemplating are stuff you definitely will not see today. TAR would have just cut all that out and found the simplest edit possible.
Instead, through all these extra scenes, we get to know the teams a bit more. And that’s very refreshing.
Now, the Leg design is very interesting to watch with a 2022 point of view. First off, I think the decision making when it came to Hours of Operation was more common. So teams had to decide whether to wait for the easier/faster task or do the earlier/harder task. Or something like that. And here, they even had a Fast Forward to choose from as well. So teams had to weigh their options a lot more.
Again, definitely nothing like you will see on contemporary TAR. And it’s all because of streamlining the logistics.
This Leg also had the dramatic bus rides that were more common in early seasons. You’d see teams scrambling, in the middle of a Leg, to hop on 24-hour bus rides. And of course, you’d get buses breaking down or getting into accidents. Definitely a staple of the early years.
It was interesting, but ultimately irrelevant how the Fast Forward team ended up on the same bus as the others with even the potential of not getting first. Back then, they would’ve been unheard of. A Fast Forward team not getting first?! How?!
The Detour itself was also common in those days where things like paragliding or skydiving or bungee jumping were tasks that teams would not do as they would seem so scary and extreme. Not the case today.
And finally, the episode just sped through the Road Block like it was irrelevant lol Which it kind of was since it all came down to the last bus.
Anyway, I’m glad we don’t have mid-Leg 24-hour bus rides or plane rides anymore. But there’s still a little bit of nostalgia seeing it here.
My Subjective Team Rankings
I’m still rooting for Peggy & Claire. It’s great to see them conquer their fears and keep going. But I know what’s ahead and I’m dreading it already.
Chris & Alex and Tara & Wil already feel like frontrunners. And of course, part of that is knowing where they end up later. But still, they feel like the most complete and strongest teams so far. And very interesting to see the first hints at the Alex-Tara relationship.
Most of the other teams blended together especially with that quick edit in the end. Blake & Paige probably stood out more amongst them with their late-night hesitation, begging for money and then just edging Hope & Norm for 9th.
I forgot about Shola & Doyin and getting their foot run over. For some reason, why did I think that was in season one. lol Going for the Fast Forward might seem like a poor decision at this point. But I guess with the injury, it made sense? I dunno.
Oswald & Danny, Mary & Peach and Cyndi & Russell all had their own character moments, but not necessarily anything in the competitive-sense. Gary & Dave‘s personalities also showed a lot as they went for the Fast Forward.
And finally Hope & Norm. They kind of faded away this episode even though they had a solid first Leg. And it’s crazy to think they were eliminated essentially because of that taxi back in Rio! Leg design did not do them any favors.
Paige: “I don’t like dancing with hot girls when we’re in a hurry.”