The Amazing Race Ep. 24.10, ‘I Need Hair to Be Pretty’: An infamous past challenge tests what players will do for a million dollars

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The Amazing Race Review, Season 24, Episode 10,
“I Need Hair to Be Pretty”
Airs Sundays at 8pm (ET) on CBS

Some of the best Amazing Race moments have shown players overcoming serious fears of heights, tight spaces, and even jumping into a pool. Seeing their thrilled reactions after overcoming these challenges is one of the reasons the show remains popular. In season seven, Uchenna and Joyce became fan favorites after she won the Fast Forward by getting her head shaved. His supportive reaction during and after the experience showed their tight bond. Thirteen seasons later, that challenge is back in a similar spot late in the season, but the results are much different. Brendon and Rachel could guarantee themselves a place in the final four by completing this task. This is the type of moment that could alter their status in the game and the eyes of viewers. He’s a former swimmer and has no issues, but the choice isn’t so easy for Rachel.

Watching from home, it’s easy to criticize Rachel for being unwilling to shave her head. She makes it simpler by denigrating herself and saying that she needs hair to be pretty. This isn’t Rachel’s finest moment, but many people (including a lot of men) would likely have a similar response. Her whining is hard to take, yet the actual choice isn’t so surprising. Starting three hours after the other teams, the Kentucky guys are more than willing to take the plunge. This is easier since Mark is bald and Bopper doesn’t have that much up there either. It isn’t fair to compare their response to Rachel’s. Bopper’s made it clear he’ll stumble on one leg around the world for the million dollars. After already winning Big Brother and not having kids to support, Rachel doesn’t have that same competitive fire. On the positive side, Mark’s glee at watching his buddy get his head shaved is wonderful. These guys are the breakout stars of the season and will likely be back in the future.

Despite the Fast Forward, it seems pretty clear that Mark and Bopper don’t have a great chance this week. The fairly brief leg remains in India, so there are no equalizers to shorten the gap. Their Speed Bump appears right at the start and generates the biggest laughs of the night. The task involves painting a tiger face on the large belly of a dancer, and Bopper can’t help but do a few dances of his own. The subjects are very enthusiastic and perform ridiculous moves while Phil explains the silly challenge. By this point, the other teams are nearly finished, which isn’t a good sign. The editors try to create tension that Art and JJ won’t reach the Pit Stop in time, but it’s clear that Mark and Bopper are too far behind. They give it their best shot, but last week’s troubles made survival nearly impossible.

The Roadblock requires players to spin a large amount of rope from a coconut husk and spool it. This task is about as exciting as it sounds. JJ uses the time waiting for his partner to try and convince Rachel to go back to the Fast Forward. Given the bad blood between them in the past, it’s no surprise that she ignores his pleas. His concern is Mark and Bopper grabbing it, which would put one of the top four teams in jeopardy. They all leave within a short distance of each other. Ralph and Vanessa have a scary moment when she takes a nasty spill after twisting an ankle. This type of injury could derail their chances, but it seems pretty minor and doesn’t play a major role. She ends up with a nasty welt on her shoulder yet seems to be moving fine.

The Detour options appear equal on first glance, but there is definitely a better choice. “Pachyderm” has teams decorating an elephant and then shoveling 15 wheelbarrows of manure. It’s an odd mix of a physical and intricate task, but neither is difficult. On the other hand, “Pack a Box” is a brutal challenge where teams work with ginger and must fill a box with the right weight. It doesn’t sound too difficult but is a seriously demanding activity. Art and JJ choose this one because it’s a more physical task, and they quickly realize it’s a mistake. JJ slices open his finger, and they’re exhausted by the end. This choice sends them back to fourth place behind the teams that made the wiser pick. Dave and Rachel complete the Detour in the lead and grab a ferry to the Pit Stop. It’s a close finish, but this slight edge gets them their sixth victory. The record for most wins is seven (Nick/Starr and Megan/Cheyne), and Dave’s sights are on the title. They’re the favorites, but plenty of front-runners have fallen short in the final leg.

Mark and Bopper exit gracefully, which provides a nice counterpoint to the awful drama on the mat from Rachel and Vanessa. It’s clear that they don’t like each other, and it only takes a subtle question from Phil to bring out the silliness. Neither comes off well, and it feels a lot like middle school. They shake hands in the end, but it’s a false reconciliation that neither believes. This type of conflict always feels out of place on The Amazing Race, and it will likely carry into the future. Hopefully one of them will exit in the next leg. Tune in next week for the big two-hour finale!

Dan Heaton





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