Well the much hyped u-turn vote finally came into play this week and it was…boring. No fireworks…no spark…and it led to the most predictable outcome possible. Let’s get right into our episode recap for leg 8 – “You’re the Apple in my Eye.”
For leg 8, teams stayed in Switzerland and first traveled to the village of Ballenberg. Following the explosive end to last week’s episode with Nicole & Victor fighting on the mat with Rachel & Elissa…Victor was hoping to put all of that behind them. After arriving in Ballenberg, Rachel and Elissa tried to make amends with the Afghanimals after their failed attempt to save Victor & Nicole, but Leo & Jamal weren’t really buying it.
When the clock stroke 7:00, all the teams raced inside of where they were supposed to go in Ballenberg and quickly realized they were all running for nothing, because Phil was there waiting for them. After just a few seconds of speaking, Phil revealed that the race would now have its first ever u-turn vote, with all the teams required to vote for one team that they wanted to u-turn – sending them to have to do both detour tasks rather than just one. Phil also announced that all the non-elimination legs were now gone and as he was talking, Leo & Jamal mouthed the names ‘Colin and Christie’ to Rachel & Elissa who nodded in agreement. With two teams being u-turned the Reilly sisters or as Chris & Bret call them the “O’Reilly” sisters, were never not going to be u-turned, but it was a bit of a surprise that all the teams got on board with Colin & Christie. The relaxation king and queen have been the most dominant team so far, but have also been a bit quieter about their race tactics so far as opposed to the more boisterous Leo & Jamal or Becca & Floyd. It was also unfortunate that Rachel & Elissa had to cast the first vote rather than being able to tag onto what others were doing in the middle of the pack. If perhaps it was the Afghanimals who had the first vote, Colin & Christie might have given pay-back to Leo & Jamal instead, sending them to have to do both sides of the detour. Although this was much more boring than I think the production team wanted it to be, we did get a bit of a quarrel between Nicole & Victor. After Nicole refused to want anything to do with the u-turn and basically told Victor to “do whatever”, Nicole got mad at Victor for making the decision to vote for Leo & Jamal. In the end, their vote didn’t really matter, but it provided for some minimal entertainment in the yawn-fest that was the u-turn vote.
WHO U-TURNED WHO?
“I want more than anything to win the Amazing Race, and I don’t know if I can with Colin and Christie still in the game.” – Becca Droz.
|Team||Voted to U-Turn|
|Rachel & Elissa||Colin & Christie|
|Nicole & Victor||Leo & Jamal|
|Colin & Christie||Rachel & Elissa|
|Leo & Jamal||Colin & Christie|
|Becca & Floyd||Colin & Christie|
|Tyler & Korey||Victor & Nicole|
|Chris & Bret||Rachel & Elissa|
Colin & Christie’s niceness throughout the race so far proved to be all for nothing and they were u-turned. Chris & Bret then made the final decision and decided to u-turn Rachel & Elissa, ensuring that the rest of the leg would be a predictable Racehl & Elissa elimination. In a lot of ways, I think the u-turn vote really failed in entertainment value and that it would have been much more entertaining had it just been a regular u-turn board. It didn’t create any wild-sparks and having the teams vote in front of each other rather than in private like in Survivor and Big Brother really failed as a concept and killed any suspense. They would have seen way more fireworks had Rachel & Elissa been u-turned with two votes and not known who did it…same with the very mellow and relaxed Colin & Christie to be honest. Leo & Jamal also said that they would have u-turned Victor & Nicole, especially since they had a speed bump, in order to keep Rachel & Elissa safe had they known it was going to play out like it did. On top of all else, all it did was send the team with the biggest entertainment value in Rachel & Elissa out of the race.
However, the rest of the leg was still to play and with the easiness of the two detour tasks, Rachel & Elissa might have been able to catch up. The detour at Ballenberg was a choice between – “Make Hay” or “Cow Festival.” – basically cutting grass vs. walking a cow with a flower arrangement on its head. While this was going on, Nicole and Victor also had to complete their speed bump for coming last in the previous non-elimination leg. Their speed bump – “The Folding of the Flags” involved taking down and folding 26 flags that represented the 26 states in the nation. The Big Brother team continued to argue while folding the flags, but made it through and made their way to the cow-dressing task with ease. In the end, their speed-bump was nothing more than exactly that, a slight speed-bump that would slow them down but not send them out of the race.
WHAT HAPPENED TO THE EXCITING TASKS?Embed from Getty Images
Last week in the Swiss Alps, we had a bundle of interesting tasks, from free-falling to zip-lining. This week, the detour tasks really had nothing going for them other than brief moments in the cow-dressing task with the cows being making for difficult race companions. In the haymaking task, teams were literally just sweeping grass. Former farmer Becca knocked it out of the park and were the first team to be able to make their way to Oberschwanden followed by Tyler & Korey, Chris & Bret and Leo & Jamal.
Neither of the detour tasks were particularly difficult but teams without an animal to depend on might have had an easier time here.
At the cow-dressing task, Rachel & Elissa were staying positive and were the first to complete the replication task of their flower arrangement. Colin & Christie started to feel the pressure but in the end didn’t have much trouble with the task either. Although Rachel & Elissa took the early lead, their cow really did not want to budge and so they couldn’t get it over to the ‘Cow Festival’ before Colin & Christie were able to catch up. Before picking their cow, Christie “felt the energy of the cows.” and chose which one they wanted to have through what she described as “telepathic communication.”
Eventually Rachel learned a little secret and decided that the only way they were going to get their cow to move would be to grab its tail and guide it….drastic times call for drastic measures I guess. While this was going on, Colin and Christie’s cow was clearly not feeling their energy and had some difficulties moving too. This allowed Nicole & Victor a chance to catch up as the cycle of cows slowing teams down continued. Ultimately, Rachel & Elissa were able to get their clue first and were able to make their way over to the grass-cutting task, without their clue, which they had left at the flower-making station. Colin & Christie got it soon afterward, followed by Nicole & Victor and it became very easy for Colin to breeze ahead of Elissa on the grass-cutting and take away the Reilly sisters’ short-lived lead.
At the roadblock, teams had to shoot an apple off of a scarecrow’s head. My problem with this task was that anyone could have hypothetically completed this task within seconds. Anyone who had any experience with shooting things or had good hand-eye coordination would likely get it right away, and anyone without any experience in those kinds of things, would likely struggle and take much longer. So unfortunately the insanely cool tasks that really highlighted Switzerland as a destination last time out completely disappeared this leg. On the way to the roadblock, Leo & Jamal who are normally so stellar with their navigation, got lost! This meant that every other team ended up arriving to the roadblock before them.
Bret was the first to knock down the apple on just his second shot and was then able to race alongside his partner Chris to the pit-stop. Korey got it soon afterward and this created a close finish to the line between the two teams.
While this was going on, Leo & Jamal continued to fail to find the roadblock task and kept on going the wrong way. According to them they wasted around 30-40 minutes trying to find where they were going. Meanwhile, all the other teams including both u-turned teams had arrived to the roadblock and finally after several tries, Becca hit the apple, followed shortly after by Colin. Victor also knocked down his apple soon after, making this a battle between Jamal and Rachel to stay in the race.
To make the leg a little more interesting, on their way to the pit-stop teams had to first travel by car, then by boat, then had a “choice” between funicular or travelling by foot. The complexity of this helped to create a tight race to the finish between Chris & Bret and Tyler & Korey. If it had just been by car, Chris & Bret likely would have won the leg with ease, but the added elements thrown in made it a much more interesting race to the finish. BUT, the Amazing Race REALLY screwed up here as Bret & Chris got to the decision first, chose to do the funicular and then were instantly punished because the funicular wouldn’t even be running for another hour. This allowed Tyler & Korey to win the leg because they chose to go BY foot. Had it just been a foot race, not only would it have been more entertaining as the teams would have been racing right to the mat, but Chris & Bret might actually have been able to win their first leg of the race. Unfortunately for the former Survivor players, they would have to settle for second, as Tyler & Korey claimed their third 1st place finish in a row, and a cruise to Vietnam and Cambodia.
Back at the apple task, the battle between Jamal and Rachel ended in Jamal hitting the apple first. Unfortunately this meant the race would say goodbye to their only remaining female-female team and their all-time appearance maker – Rachel Reilly, along with her sister Elissa Slater. The race for third became slightly more intriguing when Becca & Floyd got stuck behind a train, allowing Colin & Christie to sneak ahead and claim third place. Becca & Floyd came in next and Colin assured them that they had no ill-will toward Team Fun for u-turning them. Nicole & Victor arrived next in fifth, followed by the Afghanimals and then Rachel & Elissa in last place. The race then said goodbye to Rachel & Elissa and for the first time ever, Rachel was eliminated before the finale on The Amazing Race.
So that’s it for our episode recap. Now let’s take a look at who finished where, the leg design and a predicted finish for next time. Keep on reading!
This leg of the race had two simple detour tasks, a simple roadblock task that hypothetically could have taken just seconds to complete, and then an interesting race to the finish at the end. The choice between racing to the finish line by foot or funicular proved to not be much of a choice at all and Bret & Chris were actually punished for making a decision that they thought could propel them to the top. This definitely did not sit right with me. Meanwhile, the u-turn vote took up a lot of time during the leg for very little pay-off and it only culminated in a predictable Rachel & Elissa elimination. This leg of the race will score a 2/10, saved only by the Swiss scenery and the interesting race to the finish involving three different methods of transportation.
WHO FINISHED WHERE? – LEG 8
Chris & Bret were robbed of a first place finish, while Leo & Jamal were saved by the double u-turn of their friends Rachel & Elissa. Here is who finished where on leg eight of The Amazing Race 31.
|Team||Previous Show||Position in Episode 8|
|Tyler & Korey||The Amazing Race||1st|
|Chris & Bret||Survivor||2nd|
|Colin & Christie||The Amazing Race||3rd|
|Becca & Floyd||The Amazing Race||4th|
|Nicole & Victor||Big Brother||5th|
|Leo & Jamal||The Amazing Race||6th|
|Rachel & Elissa||Big Brother/Amazing Race||7th – Eliminated|
PREDICTED FINISH – LEG 9
Leo & Jamal have really been struggling since their opening first place finishes in the first two legs. For the upcoming leg, their bad run might finally catch up to them and they just might be eliminated. Colin & Christie meanwhile might be able to re-gain first place and beat out all the other teams, which will definitely feel good after being target number one at the u-turn vote. Here is our predicted finish for next week’s episode.
|Team||Previous Show||Prediction for Episode 9|
|Colin & Christie||The Amazing Race||1st|
|Becca & Floyd||The Amazing Race||2nd|
|Tyler & Korey||The Amazing Race||3rd|
|Chris & Bret||Survivor||4th|
|Nicole & Victor||Big Brother||5th|
|Leo & Jamal||The Amazing Race||6th|
This was an interesting enough leg of The Amazing Race 31 but I fear that it was the worst of the season and might send the race on a less intriguing path now that Rachel & Elissa are gone. There wasn’t much to any of the actual challenges and the only drama from this leg came in navigation and the already predictable u-turn vote, so it really wasn’t the greatest. However, it was still a fun episode of The Amazing Race 31 and one that may be remembered as the last time we saw Rachel Reilly on a CBS Reality TV show. For that reason, it just might be historic. Although the u-turn vote also didn’t provide any entertainment, it was also the first time we’ve ever seen anything like it on the American version of the show and so for that reason it also might be a historic episode in that sense too. With Rachel & Elissa now gone, the race is wide open again and it’s anyone’s for the taking.
Thanks for reading and see you next time!