THE AMAZING RACE 17.4: “We Should Have Brought Gloves and Butt Pads”

THE AMAZING RACE ventured above the Arctic Circle this week, and the pace never cooled off. But the remarkable part was the level of cooperation in the normally cutthroat competition.

I have seen teams refuse to cooperate or even outright lie in seasons past in order to secure an advantage, but that’s not what happened this week. In fact, I do not recall another install of AR in which the teams seemed to watch out for each other so much.

Father and son team Michael & Kevin tipped off father/daughter team Gary & Mallory about an earlier flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Kiruna, Sweden. Meanwhile, doctors Nat & Kat chose not to lie when Brook & Claire asked them about an earlier flight. It was close, but everyone made the flight. Which was important for Michael & Kevin, who faced the prospect of a Speed Bump. At the Ice Hotel, they encountered that personal obstacle: They had to sit on furniture made from blocks of ice for 10 minutes. Which was harder than it sounds, because Kevin was wearing bicycle shorts. Hence the quote co-opted for the title, “We should have brought gloves and butt pads.”

I loved that Jill & Thomas took a wrong turn and ran into the wilderness without a clue after earning their race clue. It’s these trainwreck-in-progress moments that make the show so much fun to watch. No matter how loudly viewers yell, “Wrong way, go back!” at the TV, the racers cannot hear.

Everyone seemed to have a lot of fun running the dogsled teams, but not so much the “Sleds or Beds” detour. Connor & Jonathan were a riot trying to slide down the course and crashing constantly. Stephanie was having similar trouble, but she was frightened by the extreme-style sledding (which she had never done before), and partner Chad did not help by screaming at her. When she wanted to change challenges, he browbeat her and made her cry. “Damn it Stephanie, this is gonna be a bitch,” he said when faced with erecting an indigenous tent. (They accomplished the task.) Later, he said, “I should have not pushed Stephanie so much.” Ya think?

Figuring they were mired in last place, Jill & Thomas opted to use their Express Pass to skip the “Sleds or Beds” detour, finishing in fifth place. Nat & Kat finished first, and their prize was a trip to Belize – a tropical antidote for this frigid leg of the race. Connor & Jonathan were last, and were Philiminated. It was a special bummer for them, because they also missed their college graduation ceremony that day. Welcome to real life, guys.

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