Amazing Race
Can Horses Smell Fear?

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Pom-Pom And Bad Circumstance

At the train station, the lead pack arrives and goes in to buy tickets for the slow train to Mongolia. They learn that the train isn't leaving until 4:00, and they seem to immediately know that bunching is ahead. Dustin and Kandice go off to investigate other options, although unfortunately, they speak of doing so "conspicuously" rather than "inconspicuously." Or else they mean "conspicuously," in which case they are secret backwards-thinking double-spy geniuses. Tyler and James spot them and follow them. There is some effort to make this into some kind of secret spy thing, but I think that really, it's all just... kind of coming to nothing at this point. It might be foreshadowing, or it might compensation for a lack of real inter-team drama, which is great news to me, but not so much to the people who make the show. Come on! Fight, pretty people! Let's see some claws!

Outside, Peter and Sarah are sitting on the steps and relaxing, and her artificial foot (her running foot, the curved one) is attracting quite a bit of attention. Seriously, you can count at least ten people who are doing nothing but standing there and staring at her foot like they're on a desert island and she has a turkey leg. Sounding kind of weary, she says to Peter, "Should I stand up and do a little demonstration?" She stands up and jumps around for a bit. Peter's voiceover here is completely creepy: "It's good having a physical disability," he says, "because we're going to use that to our advantage." Okay, I don't know exactly what he means by that, but it sounds disgusting, like he's saying, "It wouldn't be nearly as helpful if she had an I.Q. of 50, because strangers might not notice, and what good would that do me? How can everyone admire me for being the inspirational disabled person's companion if they don't recognize her on sight as an inspirational disabled person?" He also stands up and announces to the gathered crowd that for a small fee, "she will dance and run back." It's not clear whether he, you know, asked her before offering to have her dance around like a circus animal for money. Sarah looks at the ground, and her mouth is smiling, but the way she smoothes her hair over the top of her head looks like embarrassment and frustration to me, and I do not think she wanted him to turn this into a display for money, rather than "if you're going to stare, you might as well just see what my damn leg does."

But anyway, Sarah runs, and then she runs back, but none of the onlookers want to pay Peter. When she comes back, she comments, "They'd pay money at a zoo, though." Heh. See, I liked her in that scene. Him? Gross. Her? I think she was trying to deal with being stared at as well as she could, and I took that last comment as much more resentment of being treated like a zoo animal in the first place than a comment on the refusal to pay. What's sad about this is that I think that if she had her way, Sarah would race with as little discussion of her leg as possible, and that's not Peter's agenda at all. I don't normally refer to non-show content, but if you watch her pre-race interviews at CBS.com, she explains about how she got the artificial leg, but that's about the extent of it -- she doesn't really talk about how her leg relates to why she wants to do the race or any particular point she's trying to make about amputees or disabled people or artificial limbs or anything. She talks about being really competitive and thinking it would be a really great thing to do, just like all the big competitive things she does (like triathlons) are great things to do. At one point in that interview, Peter starts talking about how wonderful it would be if she were the first woman with an artificial leg to win the race, and you can watch her face just deflate. I think she genuinely has the "show, don't tell" attitude about accomplishing things in spite of her disability, or at least she's choosing to adopt that attitude here. It seems like Peter likes the telling part, because he has nothing to show, if that makes sense.

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Amazing Race

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