Longtime fans of The Amazing Race understand that it’s not all that uncommon for a team to lose its shot due to problems with transportation – a delayed connecting flight, or bad directions. So why was this past week’s episode so maddening that we’re making a hapless, anonymous Indonesian cabdriver our Villain of the Week?
Let’s summarize here. Most of the second leg of the Race took place in Surabaya, Indonesia. Following the Roadblock, teams had to proceed to “Wijaya Motor” to get the clue for the Detour, the last real task of the leg prior to the race to the Pit Stop. “Off and on daters” Amy and Daniel finished the Roadblock in the same position where they began the leg, in second place.
And yet, a few hours later, they arrived at the mat in tenth place, and out of the Race completely – entirely because the duo’s cabdrivers (there were at least two) were unable to locate Wijaya Motor before what looked to be several hours of elapsed time. Some teams were luckier than others when it came to getting to the shop quickly, but this is “snakebit” on a level we’ve rarely seen on TAR.
Are we being too hard on their first cabdriver, especially when you consider that Wijaya seems to be a popular name for local businesses, and that typical First World ways of getting help, such as flagging down a local with a smartphone, aren’t of any use in Surabaya? NO, I say! Most teams who have been able to blame their TAR loss on a cabbie were already pretty close to last place, so their bad luck came when they had little margin for error. But Amy and Daniel should have been completely safe up in second place. Even a small delay wouldn’t have been fatal. Two legs of solid racing shouldn’t be totally wiped out because a guy whose job requires him to know where he’s going gets lost.
And of course, there’s also the matter of Amy being a true badass – a competitive snowboarder despite being a double amputee. She and Daniel made a serious mistake on the first leg – telling rivals where to find the last clue, and then getting outraced to the Pit Stop by the same folks they had just helped – but they seemed to have what it took for a long run. Competitors this tough should only lose because they get beat fair and square, not because of a crazy fluke.
Are we being too hard on this humble working man?