Recap: The Amazing Race 34, Episode 5 – The Amazing Race of Arabia
Phil welcomes teams on the tarmac before they board the plane. He announces that for the first time ever, teams will be traveling to the Kingdom of Jordan! Upon arrival in Jordan, teams board a steam train in the Wadi Rum desert. Along the way, a group of men on horseback and camels suddenly come galloping right alongside the them, waving swords in the air to welcome them.
The teams hop off the train when it comes to a stop and the men hand them the first clue of the Leg. The two sibling teams begin the Leg at 8am. Teams must choose a Bedouin driver to take them deeper into Wadi Rum for their next clue.
The sibling teams arrive at the cluebox in the middle of the desert. Running up to it, Emily experiences a sudden pain shoot up her thigh. Because of that Molly decides to do the Road Block: Who wants to test their metal?
For this Road Block, teams will use a metal detector to search this movie set crash site to search for a piece of spaceship debris buried in the sand. Once they retrieve the piece, they’ll have the next clue.
Marcus and Molly decide to do the Road Block. Marcus finds the piece first and they must now head an hour and half away to the historic city of Petra.
Group 2 departs at 8:15am. They arrive at the Road Block and Quinton, Abby and Luis choose to do it. Molly finally finds the piece just as the others arrive and she and Emily end up catching up to Michael & Marcus on the way to Petra.
Quinton is the first to finish from the second group followed by Luis. The third group arrives just as Abby finds the piece. Derek, Lumumba and David do the Road Block. Sharik decides her father Linton will do it.
Derek runs around the circle and is the first of the last group to find it. Sharik and Aubrey are so annoyed by their partners for searching only the outskirts of the circle. David and Lumumba are next to find the piece, leaving Linton still searching.
Meanwhile, Luis & Michelle and Derek & Claire catch up to the siblings at Petra. The clue waiting there reveals a Detour: Camel Caravan or Palace Puzzle. In Camel Caravan, teams must carry four bags of hay and provide water from a cistern to put together a station for camels who have just made a delivery to an ancient market have a place to rest. In Palace Puzzle, teams must complete a giant slide puzzle of the ancient royal tombs.
Derek & Claire, Luis & Michelle and Emily & Molly choose the puzzle while Marcus & Michael choose the camels. Abby & Will choose the puzzle as well.
Luis & Michelle are first to get their puzzle approved and can now make their way to The Great Temple, the Pit Stop for this Leg. Derek & Claire are next to finish. Michael & Marcus finish the camel side of the Detour while Abby & Will and Emily & Molly also finish the puzzle.
Luis & Michelle manifested this Leg win in their dreams last night and they now have $5000 to show for it. Claire trips and falls running to the Pit Stop where she and Derek have to settle for 2nd. Michael & Marcus and Abby & Will take 3rd and 4th. Emily & Molly, who got lost on the way to the puzzle, finish as Team #5.
Meanwhile Quinton & Mattie and Aubrey & David choose the puzzle while Glenda & Lumumba initially choose the camels. Once they see the task, they switch to the puzzle. Linton & Sharik choose the camels.
Quinton & Mattie check-in as Team #6 with Glenda & Lumumba in 7th. It’s down to the last two teams. Aubrey & David finish the puzzle and Linton & Sharik feed their camel. It seems to be a footrace to the Mat. And Aubrey & David take 8th. That means Linton & Sharik are last and eliminated.
Perhaps the most stunning start to a Leg ever. And I think quite fitting for this first visit to Jordan. It’s really about time the Race travels here. Now, the Leg itself was a bit sketchy. But just seeing the stunning images of Petra and Wadi Rum was really wonderful.
First up, that train ride was truly amazing. Yes, it was all for show. But it was a lot of fun and I legit got chills watching it. I definitely cannot say that for any moment of TAR in more than a decade, I think. Really a great start to the Leg. And probably enough to make up for everything else the episode was lacking lol
I think if this were a “normal” season, a Leg like this would’ve rightly been a Non-Elimination Leg. There was some weird editing between the Pit Start and the Road Block and Petra that didn’t give you any sense of time between teams. I think it had to do with the time they spent on the Road Block.
It appears it didn’t even take 15 minutes to find the metal piece. At least for the first teams who had more to choose from. So it’s very possible for a team like Derek & Claire or Luis & Michelle to be able to catch up to and eventually pass the two sibling teams on the way to Petra.
As for the Road Block itself, it didn’t seem to be a hard task at all. It just merely disadvantaged teams who were already in the back of the pack. In modern TAR, when a task takes only a few minutes to complete (as TARAu6 showed), it doesn’t make for an exciting Race to watch as it can feel a bit forced or contrived. Even though it was a creative task that was a nod to the many film productions in the area. Maybe make it a bit more difficult. How about assembling a set instead?
For the Detour, it was horribly imbalanced. The puzzle task was a bit of a copout, Leg design-wise. It really should’ve been an Active Route Info task instead. Both sides of the Detour should’ve been equally challenging. Maybe both be physically exhausting tasks in the sun. Also to maximize time at the iconic location. I mean, this is likely the only time TAR will ever visit Petra. Might as well do a bit more here.
It was also a shame they didn’t spend more time with the camels. When I did Jordan for TARPHDME12 in 2016, I read about how some of the camels that are used for transportation (mostly for tourists) were not well taken care of. So it would be nice, in an effort to show that it is different today, seeing teams taking care of the camels and treating them to food and drink.
A very simple and almost linear Leg that could’ve used one more task. I really didn’t like the editing towards the end where they were doing some TARAu6-style editing with teams getting their clue one after the other. And then cutting back to trailing teams like “Oh yeah! We forgot about the teams in the back!” When you spend too much time on one thing earlier in the episode, it forces this kind of rushed editing in the end that really takes away from the flow of the episode and the excitement as well.
Overall, the stunning location and finally getting to visit Jordan are both able to carry the episode enough.
A good win for Luis & Michelle. I guess all that manifesting talk at the start of the episode was just obvious foreshadowing to their win. But it’s good to see them becoming more interesting and visible week after week.
Sad that Emily & Molly couldn’t stay towards the top of the ranks. But I hope Emily’s leg won’t be a big bother for her moving forward.
Glenda & Lumumba are so fun to watch. I am really rooting for them. They are the kind of team who have so much fun on the Race and it doesn’t feel put on or fake like many other teams. That energy is infectious! So you can’t help but want them to do well.
I can’t fault Michael & Marcus for choosing the camel. I actually applaud them for doing it. It maybe cost them a win. But with them, I’m sure they can always recover from any misstep.
Derek & Claire did well this Leg. It was interesting to hear them talk about having to use their other skills because they might not be able to keep up or be faster than other teams. From what I saw of Derek on BB, he did well in physical challenges. He was a Veto King, I believe. So I don’t buy them not being able to keep up. Perhaps navigation is their weakness, but they are otherwise in a solid position so far.
Lots of focus on Aubrey & David this episode. From the Road Block to the puzzle. I guess it just had to do with them fighting to avoid last. But I honestly thought the increased focus meant it would be them going home today. I need to remember this isn’t TARAu6 though lol
I appreciate Quinton & Mattie being able to do alright since their horrible first Leg. But they didn’t get too much screentime this episode. Neither did Abby & Will who got some good development last week.
Finally, Linton & Sharik were very interesting. I was quite impressed by Sharik not complaining much this episode and actually did a lot of good work. Especially compared to the other teams who only did the puzzle. When they brushed past her meltdown in the recap and at the start of the Leg, I knew they would just ignore it this episode and that she would not have the same experience or quitting feelings this week. But I was definitely surprised that she was actually pretty fine with all the tasks. Especially when the physicality of the Detour as well as the hot weather were far more difficult than last week’s tasks. Still, it was time for them to go I guess. Linton is great and it was nice to see him so excited to be here. For Sharik, she got the experience of going on the Race. And she’s got a great relationship with her father. So, it’s a good time for them to go.