Recap: The Amazing Race 34, Episode 9 – “Vamos a la Playa”
Teams fly to Malaga, Spain for the 8th Leg of the Race which will be a Mega Leg. Derek & Claire and Luis & Michelle open the first clue, containing zero euros, telling them to head on foot to Plaza de la Merced. The other three teams depart at 8:15am.
The clue waiting at the plaza reveals a Road Block: Who will be a master of pieces? For this Road Block, teams must recreate Picasso’s Three Musicians by correctly aligning six panels of painted glass. Claire and Michelle decide to do the Road Block. Aubrey and Marcus arrive next while the twins are now in last as Emily must slowly make her way down the hill because of her leg. Once they arrive, Emily decides to do the Road Block. Molly gets emotional watching her sister fight through the pain.
Claire gets the thumbs up first and she and Derek open the next clue directing teams to ride a bike to El Cubo. Aubrey is next to finish followed by Michelle who was beginning to get emotional and frustrated. Emily finally gets the thumbs up, leaving Marcus in last. It takes him a while to figure out his back panel is upside down.
At El Cubo, teams encounter the Detour: Fish Fry or Sailboat Supply. In Fish Fry, teams will make espetos by properly skewering and then grilling 18 fish. In Sailboat Supply, teams will use a stand-up paddleboard to deliver a filled ice cooler and eight life vests to a yacht in the ocean.
Derek (who has to overcome his fear of bikes) & Claire choose the fish fry as do Aubrey & David. Luis & Michelle choose the delivery as they had practiced paddle boarding before coming on the Race.
Emily & Molly pedal past El Cubo, losing them some time. They also choose the fish.
Aubrey & David arrive at the Detour. Aubrey has trauma from watching her Filipino grandmother eating sardines and struggles with even touching the fish. So David has to take care of most of the work as does Derek because Claire does not do fish either. Derek helps Aubrey & David by reminding them to salt the fish which they did not do.
Derek & Claire ask for a check and after Derek eats a fish, he and Claire are given a postcard with their next Route Marker telling them this is a Mega Leg.
Aubrey & David finish the Detour next, followed by Luis & Michelle who are able to save enough ice to get the thumbs up as well.
As the leading three teams drive to Ronda, Emily & Molly try to get their fish perfect while Marcus & Michael just arrive, still in last place.
I think teams were surprised this Leg with that postcard, but I’ll say this anyway lol…
*insertbrokenrecord* Why does the show feel the need to tell teams in advance about the Mega Leg? The show itself is its own spoiler. Why not surprise the teams in the middle of the “Leg”? Same thing with U-Turns or Yields, etc. Just let teams discover these things on their own. Up the element of surprise. It will definitely make things more exciting and dramatic.
The Road Block was good as it was not a typical puzzle. It was tricky enough to trip up teams and allow the second group to catch up at the start of the Leg.
The Detour was also good. Both were straightforward tasks that depended on whichever teams could be comfortable with. If a team was comfortable on paddleboards, then the delivery task would’ve been as fast as they could paddle. That said, Luis & Michelle didn’t necessarily paddle the whole way. So, this was one of those loose rules/poorly designed tasks. For the espetos, it was about teams getting the hang of the process. Unless you are supremely grossed out by fish which surprisingly, all the teams were. So I guess both tasks were balanced enough.
Overall, I’d say this was one of the better episodes of the season so far. There was enough solid competition and actual good tasks. Though again, they might have spent too much time on either task. Sometimes, having too much material in an episode is a good thing. Especially as opposed to having to stretch out and drag a certain task on longer than necessary.
I think regardless of how Emily & Molly finish this season, they are shoo-ins for the next All-Star/returning Racers season. A strong team with great personalities and an emotional story. They are a rarity in modern TAR casting. So I think they should definitely be considered if TAR survives long enough for another All-Stars season to happen. If TAR considers a whiny old man and his whiny son All-Stars because of an injury, Emily & Molly more than deserve to be All-Stars as well. And with more justifying qualities too.
Marcus & Michael have really not been at their best the last few Legs. It is definitely a departure from their dominant early Leg performance. That’s of course in contrast to Luis & Michelle who are really peaking at the right time. Aubrey & David are doing their best to keep up with the teams and slowly moving their way up. At this point, it won’t be a surprise anymore if the brothers end up getting eliminated before other teams when at the beginning, they were really the team to beat.
Like I mentioned in previous weeks, I get Derek being a nice guy. Wanting a bromance with every other guy in the competition and all that. But there’s gotta be a line sometimes. And I liked how in previous Legs, Claire was able to be the more steady, more competition-minded member of their team. I also feel like Claire has done most of the more difficult challenges too. So I love ya Derek, but Claire is definitely carrying the team so far.