'Amazing Race' recap, Vietnam or bust

March 18, 2013|Janell Sutherland, For The Baltimore Sun

Remember last week on "The Amazing Race," when John had a few extended moments of crazy and got eliminated? That’s still funny. But now it is time for the teams to leave Bali and head to Vietnam. "Word on the street," tweets Phil, "is that Hotel California by the Eagles is the #1 karaoke song in Vietnam."

What happens at the travel agency stays at the travel agency

Father and Son Dave and Connor are planning to leave the Race. Dave’s surgeon at home has recommended surgery within seven days, so they plan to fly to Hanoi and be eliminated.

The Fearless Friends and the Newlyweds join Fa/Son at the travel agency and learn of this plan. Max has them reaffirm that they are leaving the Race, not just saying so to mess with everyone. Smart thinking, Max.

The Friends form a deal with the Newlyweds not to U-Turn each other in the coming leg. Max doesn't so much agree to make a deal with them as he just points out all the other teams on his hit list who are not the Friends. However you slice it, those teams are safe from each other…for now.

The part where Max wins over the Friends and the Recapper

Everyone travels to Hanoi on two different flights. But their next clue destination is closed for the night, so they camp out in a hotel lobby.

The Friends pull out reflective emergency blankets to bed down on. Max takes note and says, in a John voice, "Those look familiar. Jessica has a lot of those after her marathons. I feed her protein bars and wrap her in those." It's hilarious.

Did you know Max was such a cutting observer? I’ve totally overlooked him because of my Katie hate. OK, the hate plus the fact that he wears a pink plaid shirt and doesn't think it looks strange. So suddenly Max has a personality, and he's making fun of John -- which is perfect, because the last leg showed us that John is the best target.

By the way, these teams don't even know that J&J were eliminated!

In an interview, the Friends agree with me. They declare that Max (and Katie, although I'm still iffy on her) are cool, and retroactively apologize for any mean things they've said about them. They pretend to tell Max that his tan is cool, and they tell Katie that she has really good hair if it's natural.

The part where Max makes enemies of Team YouTube

The second batch of teams arrives at the hotel and informs the first batch that J&J were eliminated. There is surprise, but I was hoping for something more. Max, what do you have to say?

Oh, Max is too busy laughing. Then he takes a break to point out that John's elimination was "overconfidence [and] conceit." And then he laughs some more. Max is hereby invited to watch the show with me and laugh at other teams.

Now, Joey and Meghan were in an alliance with J&J and the Moms. Without J&J, they're worried. YouTube is still carrying some allegiance to J&J, and they interview how much they hate Max for laughing at John.

I'm all conflicted, because I like YouTube, but now I like Max, too. Knee socks versus a pink plaid shirt in a battle of sartorial notoriety. Who will win?

Oh, by the way, the Friends and Newlyweds do not tell the other teams that Father/Son are dropping out. They want to keep those other teams hungry and paranoid.


Sadness break

In the morning, Dave and Connor go to the Pit Stop to withdraw from the Race. They could have done it anytime, anywhere, so I really like that they chose to visit with Phil one more time and make it formal. With the way the production is timed, they probably waited through the night for the Pit Stop to be set up so they could stand on the mat one last time.

Dave and Connor are weepy, as they are wont to be. Phil is, too, but only deep in his heart where you can't see it. Can you imagine Phil’s emotions with this elimination as compared to the last one?

As they leave, Connor tells his father, "I would rather run four legs with you than win a million dollars with anyone else." Aw.

Dance break

And now is the time on the Race when we embrace other cultures! For the Roadblock, team members must watch a performance of a patriotic song. At the end, dancers will reveal words of a quote. Racers will have five minutes before the next performance to search racks of political posters for the same quote.

These performers are like high school students. The main singers are three handsome young men wearing white shirts and red ties. Katie says they’re like One Direction.

I transcribed the song, because the captioners on the Race did it, and you might enjoy it.

Vietnam Communist party is glorious

The light is guiding us to victory

Long live independence and freedom of our nation

Our land does not forget the truth in your name

Vietnam, we are going to the century of light

Socialism is growing more beautiful with time

Follow the party's step, be loyal, be pure

Although the path has been muddy with rain and dusty with sun

Vietnam, spring has come!

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