The Amazing Race 31: Episode 2: Knock the Newbie Out of Us

This week in the Amazing Race: Lots of People Who Are Desperate for Attention and Team Fun, we went to Laos. We lost Rupert the biggest star this season had and Andy spoiled the whole episode for me in a twitter message about not having to use Rupert as the header image from next episode on. So now that we have established that Andy is a terrible human being who has no concept of timezones and the idea people with jobs can’t watch a tv show that airs at 2am their time before they get home from work, let’s get on with the recap.

Honestly though Andy, I thought Canada was better than this.


Kemper Boyd: so second leg of the Amazing Race Reality Stars and the most bone fide star is eliminated.

Blurry Denzel: That’s not right, Phil is there the whole season

KB:I know I’m not American but my understanding is that Rupert is the biggest competition star produced by any show. He’s no Kristen Cavallari but still.

BD: You would have to exclude singing competition from that statement

KB: Yes, they are a different beast entirely and it’s not like you’d be able to pull and Kelly Clarkson/Carrie Underwood Amazing Race team.

Bd: We can dream. I agree with though, Rupert is the biggest name here

KB: by a country mile

BD: His and Laura’s run was predictably short but it wasn’t bad to watch.

KB: No, as I tweeted, they are a great couple. They genuinely support each other and balance well. Laura is a very calm person, she evens him out and brings him back when he has a bit of a freak out.  May we all find the Laura to our Ruperts

BD: Oh God, I would be a Rupert. Going to ignore that and get to the start of the episode.

First Task

KB: As predicted a single flight swipes out the time differences

BD: I get why TAR does this, they need to make a riveting competition but it does feel like it waters things down.

KB: They also have to rent out the challenges and a lot of those need not to have 7 hour differences in arrival times.

BD: That is fair, those children do eventually need to go home. Before the flight we have some “drama” as Team Fun agree to help Rachel and Elissa before viciously stabbing them in the back.

KB: Yes, by wandering off when they were doing a confessional. And Rachel, I like you, but you are not Team Fun 2.0. How Dare You!?!

BD: She’s great in her own, as we’ll see in this episode but Team Fun she is not. Petty isn’t a bad thing to be known for.

KB: Petty isn’t a bad things for the race either.

BD: Do you think the producers saw this and rushed a U-turn board to be put out?

KB: Possibly but I think they knew that Rachel would hold that grudge a long way.

BD: Team Fun is dead to her. I love that when they get to the U-turn board, it wasn’t even a case of if they should use it but who they should use it on.

KB: So to go back to the beginning. The first clue tells them to go to a travel agent, get their tickets and go to Luang Prabang in Laos. We’ll get back to the U Turn Board in a bit.

BD: I was excited to see them go to Laos.

KB: This is a pointless section as everyone is on the same flight, all it does is create drama between Rachel and Team Fun, Elissa clearly does not care.

BD: Everyone lands and go searching for their next clue, which gives us a fun moment involving Tuk Tuks back in our life.

KB: the Afghanimals and Rupert and Laura split a pointless Tuk Tuk to go about 10 yards up the road.

BD: So ineffective, they should’ve just walked like Corinne and Eliza,

KB: Corinne and Eliza jog in front of the Tuk Tuk so they can’t be passed which was frankly genius.

BD: It was, I wish the stakes were higher but that was nice stuff.

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KB: I’d like to quickly circle back to Colin and Christie getting their first clue. We got a nice voice over of Colin saying he is way more chill now.

BD: I like that in contrast to the season 5 flashbacks.

KB: And that they fought every day for the first 10 years of their relationship. Christie, babe, why did you have kids with this psycho? I’m really hopeful all the meditation content is leading to the mother of all meltdowns from Colin at some point.

BD: I really think it is. They haven’t dealt with anything super stressful yet. It will be interesting to see how they handle that.

KB: Speaking of meditation and shit, the teams go to a monastery and give thanks to the monks in a sunrise ceremony. It’s really pretty but another equaliser.

BD: Leslie from Survivor China would not have been a fan. It is really pretty though.

KB: Colin gave a weird speech about how the monks serve us all by feeding the world with good energy.

BD: I must’ve tuned that out. I can only handle so much of Zen Colin. This all served as the calm before the storm.

KB: All I could think of the great vibes monks in Burma spread when they go out and kill Muslims but I’m a bit of a grumpy arsehole about religion in general.

BD: Oh wow, that is terrible

KB: There is a fundamentalist group in Burma where the leader calls himself the Burmese Bin Laden, he is a monk. Anyway, back to the race.

BD: Not at all a jarring transition…

KB: How about this? Speaking of crimes against humanity, we get to a U Turn board and Rachel and Elissa (well Rachel) U Turn Team Fun.

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the U Turn Board

BD: First off, this felt very early in the Race for the U Turn to appear.

KB: we saw this in Perfect Strangers where Seth and Olive were U Turned in the second leg and eliminated, but this does feel too early.

BD: I also think it’s a horrible strategic move to do this to Team Fun, though strategy clearly wasn’t the motivation.

KB: two teams broke the Jessica Liese rules and u turned a team they would see again.

BD: Come at the king, you best not miss.

KB: After Rachel and Elissa u turn Team Fun the Afghanimals convince Team Fun to U Turn Tyler and Korey. Which was a great move for Leo and Jamal and a terrible move for Team Fun.

BD: Really clever by Leo and Jamal. Team Fun needed to U Turn Rupert and Laura if they were going to use it all. I don’t think Tyler and Korey will hold this against Team Fun long term though.

KB: Rupert and Laura were the obvious and best move. I think Team Fun can explain it away and I think teams don’t hold a U Turn against the team already U Turned in a double u turn. Team Fun wouldn’t have touched that board had they not needed to.

BD: Absolutely. Becca seemed really pissed that Rachel and Elissa did that to them. Interesting to see how that plays out.

KB: that U Turn vote looms large. I don’t believe you should touch a u turn board this early unless you arrive at it in the bottom 3.

BD: I agree with that.


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KB: We got our first Detour of the season. Abcs or BBQs.

BD: This is one of those deceptive ones where one task sounds a lot easier than the other but ends up taking longer.

KB: It’s a learning vs brute strength task too. In ABCs teams must learn the Lao alphabet. Which is very difficult for English speakers as it’s very tonal.
In BBQ: they must go to an indoor market and buy the ingredients and prepare traditional Lao bbq skewers. I know which I’d pick and it ain’t the learning one.

BD: Same but I do like the ways that most of the teams that picked the learning one accomplish their goal. Tyler and Korey picked up pretty quickly how tonal the alphabet was.

KB: So did Corinne and Eliza, they created mnemonic that really worked for them and got through it quite well

BD: That was a fun scene.

KB: But at the same time the Afghanimals and Victor and Nicole beasted the skewers

BD: Attention to detail is very important in that challenge and they were able to stay focused and steady.

KB: We find out that Korey’s dad is a butcher so he’s fine on doing both challenges.

BD: Both of the U Turned teams killed their challenges. Team Fun was in harmony learning that alphabet.

KB: Team Fun really beasted it. Rachel was right on one thing, they should be worried about Team Fun.

BD: She is correct about that and now she should be more worried.

The Road Block

KB: We get to the Road Block and it’s pretty much amazing. Ride an elephant to find some Hmong music and back. It seems like crazy good fun.

BD: So much fun and more glorious scenery.

KB: It seems that the biggest thing for this road block was to get a good Tuk Tuk driver

BD: I feel bad for the Tuk Tuk drivers. I doubt many races are had on those.

KB: Britney really shone when discovering she had to bareback the elephant. When she said she wanted to ride and elephant she meant like in a saddle.

BD: Janelle and Britney don’t get much camera time, which is a damn crime, but when they are shown its great.

KB: the pure joy Nicole has of being on that elephant is only beaten by the pure joy of Victor seeing her on an elephant

BD: That was so awesome and too cute. They are making up for any blandness by being adorable

KB: when Jamal and Nicole return to the river and you have 8 people having so much fun on the elephants it’s exactly why I love the Amazing Race. Amazing scenery and people having so much fun together.

BD: Christie was very helpful with other teams about the best way to talk to an elephant and no one was snarky about the advice.

KB: Becca’s elephant is not helping her at all and poor Rupert. They are his spirit guide, he has always wanted their strength

BD: But he did not know how to talk to one though.

KB: No, he could  not Pie Pie.

BD: Before I forget, Chris named his elephant after Bret

KB: a cute uncontrollable lump.

BD: They do seem to be really good friends.
We had a mad dash for first place between Nicole and Victor and Leo and Jamal.

KB: The clue from the elephant task tells them to go to the Mekong River (cough I’ve been there) .

BD: I have barely been outside of America.

KB: Nicole and Victor get out of their Tuk Tuk first but Leo & Jamal out think them again.

BD: They played poor Nicole pretty badly. Don’t trust them, Nicole. Between that and misleading Corinne and Eliza plus Janelle and Britney at the roadblock, I wonder if these tricks will come back to bite them.

KB: I like it in that it’s working for them and they are doing well and it’s entertaining, but it isn’t needed this early. If you are a strong team there is no need to play games until a little later.

BD: This is only highlighting their strength to other teams and they can get all gang up on you later. Leo and Jamal should know that is a possibility.

KB: I just think they just need to chill and turn it on later, but that isn’t their personality

BD: They do get first place for the second leg in a row. With Nicole and Victor in a close second, they have been the best newbie team so far.

KB: Leo & Jamal win, Victor & Nicole are 2nd then the next 5 teams all finish within minutes of each other. Nicole & Victor are strong, are supportive and if they remember it’s a game they might well do brilliantly.

BD: I like the group mat sessions. They are definitely a team to look out for. I’m confident they will go deep. This episode doesn’t really turn up the suspense of which team is coming in last.

KB: No, we all knew Rupert and Laura were doomed from the beginning but it told a nice story of the mind games going on with the rest of the cast and the relationship they have as a couple

BD: Yeah, it was good to see that their problems were never with each other. They seemed to consistently get to each marker near the bottom. These other teams are just quicker. It was only a matter of time.

KB: They were the oldest left by a long way, I think it’s Chris and Bret and Colin next. The difference between Colin and Rupert is wide.

BD: Now that Rupert is gone, Janelle and/or Britney can take their rightful place as the header pic.

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Wrap Up

BD: I think this was another fun showcase for what is a really standout cast. Everyone is bringing something. I’m really looking forward to some dancing next week.

KB: I really enjoyed the whole thing; this cast hasn’t got a dud on it. Everyone delivers and the show delivered on its goal of showing off the world. Laos looks stunning and like a place I’d want to visit. I’m sure we’ll leave SE Asia after Vietnam and end up in Amsterdam again because we always do but right now, I’m very pleased with seeing more places with such a good cast.

BD:  Who is going home next week?

KB: This is much tougher now Rupe is gone. I’m going to read the edit and say sorry Trav but it’s Janelle & Britney, pruely on edit.

BD: That would be so devastating. I’m going with Chris and Bret.

KB: I’d take that happily.

BD: Also, everyone listen to Kehlani. She has been one of the best in the R&B game the past few years. Her latest release, “While We Wait,” is fire. And she is a Queer Black woman, let’s show some support. Until next week, guys.

KB: I’d like to say please consider listening to Kandi “don’t think I’m not” a early 00’s banger I’d completely forgotten about until someone from Gay twitter was retweeted into my feed.

Do not listen to Me! by Taylor Swift, it’s very meh and just a parody of her own sound. Brendan Urie is deeply mediocre.

BD: God, that song was awful. I like Brendan but that was so mailed in.

KB: To finish here is a song my brother sang the entire time we were on the Mekong River which was like 3 days on a boat to Cambodia: