Recap: The Amazing Race 34, Episode 6 – Step By Step
To start the 5th Leg of the Race, Phil assembles all the teams at The Citadel in Amman. He calls Abby & Will to inform them that they have tested positive for COVID and are unfortunately eliminated.
Because of that, no other team will be eliminated this Leg. All teams will start the Leg at the same time and how they finish this Leg will determine when they start the next one. Two teams each will depart in the first three groups, while only one team will depart in the 4th and last group, 45 minutes behind the first teams.
Phil flags the teams off and they run into the Citadel to find the next clue. That clue tells teams they will be making their way across Amman on foot. And first, they must find Maktabat Khazanet bookstore.
The masked teams ask anyone they can if they know where the bookstore might be. Some teams pair up, hoping it can help. The sibling teams take the early lead as they open the clue revealing the Detour: Step by Step or Letter by Letter.
In Step by Step, teams must learn and perform a Jordanian flirt dance ritual that is usually performed before weddings. In Letter by Letter, teams must memorize the 28 Arabic letters with the help of an instructor.
The sibling teams both choose Letter by Letter. Derek & Claire also choose Letter by Letter while Aubrey & David of course choose the dancing. Glenda & Lumumba choose Step by Step with Quinton & Mattie and Luis & Michelle choosing the dancing as well.
Marcus & Michael go for their first attempt, but they fail when Marcus misses a letter. Emily & Molly go through the alphabet together, but fail their first attempt as well. The brothers go for their 2nd attempt, but Michael gets one wrong this time. They eventually pass on their 3rd attempt and get the next clue.
That clue reveals the Road Block: Who’s feeling broken-carted? For this Road Block, teams must build an arabaya, a Jordanian pushcart. When completed, they can roll it to the Pit Stop.
Emily & Molly are next to get the thumbs up while Derek has trouble rolling his “Rs”.
Over at the dance, Aubrey & David go for their first attempt, but fail. Luis & Michelle also quickly fail their first attempt. Glenda & Lumumba go for their first attempt. They have fun, but it’s unfortunately not enough for a thumbs up.
Aubrey & David and Luis & Michelle pass on their 2nd attempts. Marcus & Michael initially pass the park they’re supposed to perform the Road Block at. That allows Luis & Michelle to arrive first. The brothers arrive next. Luis, Michael and Molly decide to do the Road Block.
Meanwhile, Derek & Claire pass on their 3rd attempt and Claire decides to do the Road Block.
Quinton & Mattie pass at the dance, leaving Glenda & Lumumba now in last.
Aubrey & David arrive at the Road Block and David does the building as does Quinton.
Glenda & Lumumba finally get the thumbs up on their 8th attempt. They catch up to all the other teams at the Road Block and Glenda starts building.
Luis gets the thumbs up first and he and Michelle can now roll the arabaya filled with items to the Pit Stop at The Nymphaeum. But it falls apart before they even get far from the park so Luis has to fix it before they can leave.
Aubrey & David are able to leave just as Luis & Michelle get their arabaya back together. It appears to be a roll-Race to the Mat. But Luis & Michelle are able to check-in as Team #1 for the 2nd Leg in a row. They also win Expedia reward points good for a five-night trip for two to Barcelona. Aubrey & David finish as Team #2.
Quinton and Claire are next to finish the Road Block. Molly and Michael follow. Quinton & Mattie finish as Team #3 with Derek & Claire are 4th. Marcus & Michael and Emily & Molly finish as 5th and 6th, respectively.
Lumumba encourages Glenda who feels like she has disappointed him today. Glenda pushes through with the Road Block and the newlyweds head to the Pit Stop as Team #7. They will depart as the only team in the last group, 45 minutes after the first pair of teams.
A great Leg and episode! Surprising? Maybe! This is contemporary TAR with an extra touch of COVID. So “great” and “Leg” in the same sentence isn’t guaranteed. But this Leg and episode definitely deserved it.
First up, it was definitely a summer of frustration with the way TAR Canada and Australia each handled positive COVID tests. TARC did elimination fake-outs before bringing back teams in probably the worst way possible with some golden ticket nonsense. TARAu, meanwhile, held teams in quarantine until it was financially advantageous to get them back into the Race. That is, wait until the next country to bring a COVID negative team back. Essentially giving them multiple, consecutive First Class Passes (introduced in TARAu5) and having other, non-COVID teams eliminated while they were away. It was a mess.
All summer, I’ve maintained that if TARs insist on Racing in the COVID Era, they’re going to need to find a way to fairly deal with positive tests. And for now, it would seem eliminating a COVID-positive team is the only answer. It’s a sad way to exit the Race for any team. But holding teams and giving them a free pass to the Final Leg is not a better option, at all.
I think in this COVID Era, all teams understand the risks involved in running around the world at this time. So coming on the Race, they must understand that they could very well catch COVID. Vaccines and medicine will prevent them from experiencing severe symptoms and quickly recover. But the Race can’t wait for them. So, teams must also understand that the downside of Racing in the COVID Era means being eliminated in this way. It’s basically the same as if a team experiences a medical emergency or injury. Those teams have to withdraw and be eliminated. Unless TAR allows teams to run around COVID positive, a positive COVID test will just have to fall under that category of a health/medical-related elimination.
Back to the Leg, hearing Phil explaining how this Leg will determine their Pit Starts next Leg reminded me very much of TARPHDME22. lololol
Having them run around Amman was good. It’s a breather from self-driving.
The first Route Marker at the bookstore already helped to separate teams a bit. And it was good teams didn’t just decide to hold hands and walk there together. I’m sure that would’ve happened on those other TARs.
The Detour was great though I would say the memorization was probably a bit easier than the dance. Or at least, less challenging. As long as you’re good at memorization (which I, personally, am not lol), then the alphabet side of the Detour was for you. Now if you’re a dancer/performer like the other teams, then the dancing Detour was a no-brainer lol So overall, it was a good Detour.
The Road Block was alright. And what was good about it was that it was challenging and tedious enough to allow teams to move up or fall behind. It would’ve been a very dramatic finish if there was an elimination at the end.
Still, it was a great Leg, relatively speaking. And it was very nice seeing teams out and about. Even though, after a positive-COVID test, one might question allowing teams to run around the city. But putting the masks on is really the only thing you can do at this point.
One thing about the episode though is that I’ve noticed this season, they’ve really been overusing the *whoosh* transitions. (I don’t know the technical term lol) I feel like that’s a cop-out and lazy way to edit the episode’s moving parts. It’s like there’s no explanation or good flow to it. And with that, the episode loses the feel of Racing,
Glenda & Lumumba are just a joy to watch. They are so fun and happy on the Race. And I really, really hope they can continue to do well and step it up with every Leg.
The sibling teams Emily & Molly and Marcus & Michael are interesting teams. I still feel like they’re big contenders. But they do fall behind sometimes. So that’s worrisome.
Luis & Michelle have definitely had a great time in Jordan. They’ve been able to show their personalities a bit more alongside their strong Racing. And they call themselves the team to beat. For now, they definitely have a case for that.
Quinton & Mattie have quietly Raced better with every Leg. But they’re still relegated to the shadows, for some reason. Aubrey & David have also stepped up too and are getting more and more opportunities for more character moments from them.
Derek & Claire are also continuing to do well. They’re definitely not some dominant team. But for some reason, you just feel like they’ll remain consistent and can get themselves out of trouble when they need to.
Michelle: “Are we running carelessly?”
Lumumba: “I’m gonna flirt with my wife.”
Luis: “This is definitely not IKEA.”
Phil: “I’ve got an unpleasant look?!”