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As for the leg overall, it was an interesting design in that it didn’t really have any substantial opportunity for teams to get themselves lost or stuck.
On the surface, the clues of where to go were not nearly as obtuse as they have been in the past: The first clue was just a taxi race, and then the rappel was an intriguing task that by and large wasn’t going to create any major shifts unless someone gets too scared to do the task (which could have happened had Brian ended up forced to do the Roadblock due to the math of it all).
And yet here, we got to see them come from behind twice, and stay focused during the one task that felt like it could tear teams apart.
Yes, Cheyne got through the roadblock by closing his eyes and they fumbled with the trip from the Mirage to the Monte Carlo, but I think that almost made their win far easier to root for: for once, the team looked to legitimately be in trouble, and they went from the vanilla frontrunners to a come-from-behind story that felt “right” in a way that you sort of want at the end of the race.
As for the other two teams, Brian and Ericka’s meltdown was tough to watch, especially considering that they were our relative underdogs.
They had what often happens at the end of the race, a scenario where the ups and downs of taxi choice and direction issues and challenge woes wears down any emotional stability you have left.
It was only when they got to the Cirque de Soleil task that things got legitimately difficult, as a learning curve was inherent in the task that tripped up the teams enough to create some considerable tension.
For Meghan and Cheyne, that finish would symbolize the strength of their relationship as evidenced by their teamwork throughout the race (the frontrunners).
This isn’t to suggest that I don’t have teams I like more than others, but ever since I started writing television criticism I like to keep my distance to manage disappointment (like last year’s early exit from Mike and Mel and this year’s tragic end for Justin and Zev) and be able to avoid sounding too bitter if something goes wrong.