The Amazing Race Review, Season 21, Episode 8, “We Was Robbed”
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on CBS
Last week’s episode concluded with three teams still trying to finish the leg. Brent was having no luck in the pool, and James and Abba were standing dumbfounded at the mat without a passport. Their chances for locating their bags are very low, and getting temporary documents from the embassy is a long shot. The rockers try to stay positive, but this feels like a case where the editors are creating tension where it doesn’t exist. Meanwhile, Josh and Brent take one last shot at the Detour and aren’t getting any leeway from the judge. They take the four-hour penalty and move on to the Roadblock with Abbie and Ryan. When she struggles with the keys, Josh sits down and basically does it for her. It’s impressive to watch these teams bond and show genuine caring. Liking other teams is such an old-school move! Where’s the hate? All kidding aside, it’s refreshing to watch them get along so well despite being way out of contention. When they arrive at the mat, Phil gives them the surprising news that another team is still on the course. Josh and Brent must take a four-hour penalty at the start of the next leg, but they’re still competing for the million dollars.
The first half of this episode is pretty strange, especially when Phil reveals that it’s a non-elimination leg. This device was probably set up in advance, but it’s still odd to have the rockers technically in the race. They’re wandering around Moscow and trying to make some headway, but it’s no surprise when they have no success. It’s too bad to see them go; their laid-back approach made them one of the better teams this season. Thankfully, the tasks are great fun and make up for the lack of a close finale. For the Roadblock, teams must travel to the Moscow Timiryazev Agricultural Academy. Once they arrive, the players must take a test and calculate the time zones of different Russian cities. The trick is realizing that Moscow is already plus four, so they need to subtract that from the other numbers.
Lexi works with Jaymes, and they eventually figure it out and move forward. The best part about this Roadblock is the ridiculous professor who looks very sad and then says “you win!” with glee in the end. That guy should be on every episode. When the twins arrive and see this task, they immediately use the Express Pass. This is the last leg where they can use it, and their quick choice makes sense. This isn’t their fault, but it shows once again how this prize has little value. Even if they had struggled for hours, there would be no effect on their placement. The Express Pass could work in theory, but the show puts way too much emphasis on its importance. Teams act like they have an easy road to the million dollars because they can bypass one task. The restriction of using it by the eighth leg makes it even less impactful.
The top teams head to the Detour to choose between “Movers” and “Shakers”. The first option is learning a Russian soldier dance, which has some painful moves. It’s really tough on James, who injured his ankle in Shanghai. Even so, they finish first and head towards the Pit Stop. Trey and Lexi are right behind them and are thrilled to arrive in second. The twins show their athletic skills and are easily the most impressive dancing pair. Now it’s time for the second group! Ryan and Abbie rave about his intelligence, and he confidently takes the Roadblock. Predictably, he struggles mightily and is baffled by the task. Nice foreshadowing, editors. After 24 attempts, Ryan finally solves the riddle and humbly exits the classroom. The professor handles his anger well and shows grace when he’s understandably frustrated. On the other hand, Brent has no issues and shows his skills as a student. He may not be a synchronized swimmer, but mental puzzles are no problem.
At the Detour, Abbie shows off her skills as a dance instructor and flawlessly executes the routine. Ryan struggles but does well enough to keep them heading towards fourth place. Thankfully, Josh and Brent continue their trend of choosing the Detour everyone else avoids. “Shakers” requires them to identify seven Russian leaders at a cocktail party. This is a fun task and feels pretty easy since each leader has distinguishing features. It’s clear the goat farmers are just excited to still be alive. Looking ahead, there are questions about how far apart these teams were after the previous leg. The times aren’t revealed at the start of the next one, which is strange. Did the producers adjust the gap to keep it close? It will be interesting to see if the times return next week. They can’t run the race with the teams separated by a large break. While bunching points like flights can bring everyone together, it only works if they’re relatively close. The early editions of the race were very clear about the times for each break. That no longer occurs, which is understandable given the difficulties of traveling. These issues add some confusion to the episode, but it’s still entertaining. The remaining teams are all likable, and the lack of silly drama should lead to a satisfying conclusion.