It's never been clearer that The Amazing Race is kept interesting by the many twists and turns. It's not only skill that wins this race, it's also a certain amount of luck. These teams who are on the show for their second time and earning a second chance know that better than anyone else. What took them out the first time was either dumb luck or dumb mistakes. They're all determined this time to eliminate the dumb mistakes, but there's nothing you can do to eliminate the dumb luck.
At the start of this third leg of The Amazing Race, the teams need to catch flights from the Australian Outback to Tokyo, Japan. They find they have two choices. The first flight is a direct one that will arrive in Tokyo at 6:15 AM. The second flight includes a connecting flight in Hong Kong, and lands fifteen minutes earlier, but the connection is risky, as it's only fifteen minutes, and leaves room for error. The teams split with some opting for the risk, and others taking the sure bet.
While the risk of not making the second flight didn't pan out, an additional problem did. There was an engine problem in Hong Kong, delaying the takeoff of their connecting flight for over an hour. Their fifteen minute lead time turned into an hour lag time. For some of the teams, it was their second time in three legs, as in the opening leg of the Race, some teams were on a flight that had to make an emergency landing when a passenger had a heart attack.
When the five teams on the delayed flight eventually arrive in Tokyo, someone makes an announcement that they'll travel in a pack and do it altogether. This would be beneficial to some, but not others. It was a dumb mistake. For a team like Jaime and Cara who are quick and athletic, it's a good idea, as they know traveling in a pack, once they run to the pit stop, they won't get there last. For a team like Mel and Mike, it will hurt them, as their strength isn't in their physicality. Zev and Justin were the first to bail on this plan, and in turn ended up passing everyone else up to win this leg of the race.
For Jaime and Cara they had an additional dumb mistake. Already in the back of the pack on the way to the Roadblock, Jaime sideswiped another car, damaging the other car's side mirror. She wanted to just give them money and move on, but the other driver insisted on calling the cops, which ended up taking another hour. They went from dead last to dead last and without a prayer.
At the Detour, only two teams took the choice that did not depend on luck. The Globetrotters decided to do "Prayer for Purity," as did Ron and Christina. Flight Time made a dumb mistake, then turned it into an even dumber mistake. He picked up the other team's fanny pack by accident. Once he realized the mistake, rather than give it back to them, he left it where he was when he figured out the mistake, in the men's changing room. Ron and Christina lost valuable time searching where they knew they left the fanny pack. The Globetrotters were penalized thirty minutes after Phil learned what they did.
Jaime and Cara not only had luck on their side after their dumb mistakes, they had another team's dumb luck help them as well. All the other teams that chose the Detour option that involved luck found the "lucky frog" fairly quickly. Mel and Mike weren't so lucky. They dog through frigid mud for a long time and came up with nothing. Mel wanted to keep on going, but Mike insisted on quitting. They were both shaking terribly. In the meantime, Jaime and Cara ran in and found a frog very quickly, then moved on to the pit stop, believing they were about to eliminated. They stayed in the race as the father and son team of Mel and Mike were eliminated.
Taking the option that involves luck at certain points in the game isn't dumb luck, but is a dumb mistake. There were ten teams participating in that leg of the race, meaning at least ten frogs were hidden in the mud. For the first couple of teams, they're easier to find. For the last teams, it's harder to find. Mel and Mike were searching for one of two frogs hidden at that point, instead of one of ten. Luck will not be on your side. It makes more sense to take the option that requires more skill, even if it's a little more difficult.
Jaime and Cara are only still in the race because of the dumb luck being on their side at the end. They were hit with dumb luck throughout the race, and made definite dumb mistakes. They hit upon lady luck at just the right time. Flight Time and Big Easy, on the other hand, made a big mistake, lost positioning, and now will have to play it right to get back in Ron and Christina's good graces. With everyone inexplicably working together on this race, it's not a time to start making enemies.
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Photo: Golden by CharlesLam, on Flickr