Amazing Race
It's a Great Place to Become a Millionaire

Episode Report Card
M. Giant: B | 2 USERS: A
YOU GRADE IT
Stumbling Toward Ecstasy

Brendon is finishing getting Rachel bucked up when they finally land. I could have used a look at the pilot to see whether he removed his headset so he couldn't hear them or to permanently deafen himself or what. Rachel drives the Wave Runner, Brendon telling her to take it easy as he bounces on the breakers. If he knows a way to drive smooth over rough waves, I'd love to hear it.

Meanwhile, the other two teams' taxi drivers are in search of the Coral Kingdom Gate. "Unbelievably frustrating to have your fate in the hands of a stranger," Dave says, right behind their driver. He wouldn't be talking that way of she were an Army vet. Eventually she drops them off at the side of the road and they go running into the wilderness. But Art and JJ have been dropped somewhere entirely different and they're the ones who find what looks like a marked path. They follow the red-and-yellow flags down a muddy dirt road and then off of it and up a hill. Meanwhile, somehow, Other Rachel and Dave have come across a boathouse, with oars and paddleboards all laid out. They figure this is for them, which seems unlikely to me until they spot a hand-painted sign with a red-and-yellow border that reads, "Ride a stand-up paddleboard across the fishpond to the marked dock. You must ride your paddleboard standing up!" Okay, that's clearly a race-related signpost, but if racers can stumble across one task while actively looking for another, they're too close together. Yes, I know it's an island. I don't care. As for the stand-up paddleboards, they must be easier to balance than they look, because soon they're both rowing across the water. "Finish strong and our day's over," Dave says.

JJ is also telling Art to finish strong as they reach the top of the hill where a hula drum combo is banging away. Just once I'd like to see a racer go all John Cleese on the local musicians and scream, "Shut that bloody bouzouki off!" There are also clue envelopes in the top of a tree. Yeah, something's screwy here and it's up to the subtitles to clear it up. Fortunately they do, with a triumphant chime on the soundtrack: "Art & JJ: Currently in 1st Place." So obviously Other Rachel and Dave's day isn't anywhere near over. JJ opens this clue and reads that it's another Roadblock, which has to be done by whichever racer didn't do the ice challenge. Phil shows up to tell us that they'll "be tested like ancient warriors," which is another overstatement. He explains, "Hawaii is not only the birthplace of surfing waves, but also surfing down mountains on sleds called holuas, which can reach speeds of sixty miles an hour." I'm just going to tell you that that is not going to happen today. The sleds look like narrow bamboo ladders on long, wooden runners and the racers will have to ride them headfirst down the hill without falling off. Then they'll have to pick up an 'ulu maika, a stone with a flower design painted on it, which Phil tells us is "a disk-shaped lava rock that warriors use to break the ankles of their enemies." So that would be an automatic head-start in favor of anybody who would have to compete against Vanessa, right? Alas no; instead of crippling someone with the rocks, all they'll have to do is roll one fifty feet across a patch of dirt into a small goal net to earn their final clue. Total rip-off. "This is the leg that never ends," JJ carps. Art greases up his sled's runners, saying he only wants to do this once. We'll see how that works out. "Is my friend gonna die?" JJ asks the local guide next to him. "No, he's not," she answers with way too much confidence for my liking. If she didn't need to say "probably not," the task isn't dangerous enough. Art lies headfirst, facedown on the sled at the edge of the hill and after making sure his pants are secure, he starts sliding down only to lose his balance and roll off into the grass before long. The main issue seems to be the fact that the sled is nowhere near as wide as Art is. JJ claims to the camera that he's a little more athletic and he could have done this, but then calls up encouragement. "It's fun as long as you don't fall off," Art says. How would he know?

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Amazing Race

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